We pride ourselves on having very experienced, friendly and enthusiastic staff at The Elms. They provide a fantastically broad and in-depth education to the children at The Elms, making learning fun and inspiring.
Strategic Leadership Team
Chris HattamHeadmaster and Deputy Safeguarding Lead B.A. (Hons)
Chris Hattam jointed The Elms school in January 2018, having taught previously at Sedbergh School. Whilst there he taught Philosophy and Extended Project Qualification whilst holding the position of Designated Safeguarding Lead. Chris also enjoyed eight years as a Housemaster ensuring the welfare and educational wellbeing of sixty 13-18 year old boys. A passionate sportsman and outdoor enthusiast Chris coached rugby and cricket whilst also running the school shooting and conservation society.
Prior to becoming a teacher Chris had worked as a Probation Officer for adults and young offenders, and with children with disability for Barnardos.
having been at Farleigh Red Rice and Sherborne School Chris has a deep understanding of the value and nature of independent education and is passionate about ensuring children are given the best possible start on their educational journey.
Chris is married to Jess and the have three children, Rosie, Charlie and Eliza, four Spaniels and three ferrets!
Chris is never happier than when he is outside be it with the spaniels or out running over the Malvern Hills, he counts one of his most memorable achievements as breaking the record for the Ten Trigs Run in the Howgills, running the 46 mile course in 11hrs 43 minutes.
Jonathan BungardInterim Director of Studies and Head of Music M.A. (Cantab)
Music has been the constant driving force of my life. My earliest memories are of hearing my mother teaching the cello at home, and she gave into my constant demands to play the instrument aged four. After university I had a full-time performing career, based first in the choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and then Westminster Cathedral. Alongside these church commitments I sang professionally all around the world, taking part in recordings, concert, film sound tracks, operas and dinner entertainments. I have since been the Director of Music at two wonderful Hertfordshire schools – York House and Aldwickbury, and am thrilled now to be at The Elms.
Away from school, I have four wonderful children. The three eldest are all boarding choristers at Ely Cathedral and live in that city with their mother. My youngest, Thomas, is in Nursery at The Elms. Moving to a school with Saturday commitments has finally meant that I have had to hang up my rugby boots but I am glad to be involved on the games field here. My wife and I, despite both being professional musicians, met at our local running club and I have been known to run up to 80 miles in a single day! We are also very keen gardeners – I am hugely passionate about the outdoors and the impact that a wider perspective can have on broadening minds. I am currently studying for a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management at Buckingham University.Email Jonathan Bungard
Anthony RendallDeputy Head, Pastoral and Deputy Safeguarding Lead B.A. P.G.C.E.
After attending and loving a prep school up on the Wirral called Kingsmead, my family moved to Essex where my 3 brothers and I attended Brentwood School. I left there to study Education and a Primary PGCE at University in Bath, a city which I loved. Whilst at University I met my wife on a Christian’s in Sport camp, who was studying at Cardiff University. We were soon married and moved to London where I taught at Northcote Lodge, in Wandsworth Common, for 3 years and Lucy worked for BBH in the finance department. We then moved out to Newbury where we took the roles of House Parents and I was appointed Head of Middle School at Horris Hill Prep School. We ran the boarding house for 6 years before I was appointed Deputy Head at Horris Hill in 2016.
I love to play and coach pretty much all sports. However; rugby, cricket, golf, tennis and football are certainly top of the list with skiing, surfing and climbing pretty close behind. Along with my wife Lucy, who is also working at the Elms in the front office, spending time with Sebastian and Isaac our two boys, who are joining The Elms in years 1 & 3 is what we love to do. If further free time presents itself, spending time relaxing with friends and holidays with family is very special to us.Email Anthony Rendall
Suzy BrandwoodBursar B.A., C.I.M.A.
I was born and grew up in a boys’ boarding school in Reading, daughter to a housemaster and sports teacher whose passion for canoeing inspired his boys and me to reach international standards. I was selected for the Los Angeles Olympics Sprint Team, but declined due to O Level exams, but competed in Seoul 4 years later. In between I was the UK National Champion 5 years running and World Champion for Marathon Canoeing.
After finishing a BA in Business Economics at Reading University I went onto complete my CIMA exams whilst working at 3M, then into the commercial world of Semiconductors and finally Finance Director at Laurent Perrier Champagne, before returning to the independent education world, working as Finance Bursar at Bloxham School and then as Bursar at the Elms. Married with one daughter Jess, who has just finished at Newcastle University.Email Suzy Brandwood
Senior Management Team
Jo VizorHead of Learning Support B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, A.M.B.D.A
For the last 13 years, I have worked across key stage 1 and 2 in a local primary school as a class teacher, PE coordinator, Music Lead and Modern Foreign languages Lead. In the latter, I have trained teachers locally and nationally and designed and conducted government-backed research projects. Five years ago, I followed curiosity and a desire to do more for my pupils and studied to qualify as a dyslexia specialist and this led me to the role at The Elms.
As a 15 year old volunteer, working with severely disabled children, I knew that working with children was the direction that life would take me and yet, I took a circuitous route there. In the UK and then New Zealand, I spent several years working as a project manager on dynamic and challenging projects which came very close to the thrill and wonder of teaching. So, I retrained and have never looked back.
The Elms’ culture of understanding and educating the whole child really appeals to my personal ethos and experience. I enjoy the challenge of finding the key to every child’s learning journey and helping to make sure they access all the wonderful opportunities that The Elms can offer.
At home, I am always singing, crafting, baking or cycling although I try not to do all of them at the same time.Email Jo Vizor
Philip RichardsonHead of Safeguarding, Head of History, Head of Boys’ Games B.A. (Hons), MEd, G.T.P.
Prior to arriving at The Elms, I worked as a Deputy Head overseeing the Co-Curricular provision at a British Curriculum IAPS School in Kenya. I have played Hockey at National League level for Cheltenham Hockey Club and I also played cricket at ECB Premier League level for Cheltenham Cricket Club. I love all sports. The sports I have played to a good level are Rugby, Hockey and Cricket, but I will give anything a go and spend a lot of my spare time on the golf course, where I am trying to improve; a rather painstaking process. Alongside this, I love a good book and travelling.
As Designated Safeguarding Lead I am the main point of contact for any pupil or parent with worries or concerns about a child’s welfare. If you have a concern please report it by clicking on this link.Email Philip Richardson
Gigi CameronHead of Early Years B.Ed. (Hons)
Having graduated from Worcester University with a Bachelor of Education in Primary Art I taught in local primary schools. There I enjoyed teaching throughout the Primary age range, leading art departments and taking on the role of Head of Key Stage 1. After our first child, Mark & I had some time out on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, a truly wild and incredible place! On return, I enrolled Daisy & Hamish in Kindergarten and started teaching at a local Prep School, focussing on Early Years Education and learning about the Montessori teaching method. This, along with Art and Outdoor Education has long been a passion and an inspiration in my teaching. Wanderlust took us away from The Malvern’s again and I became Head of Early Years at a Prep School on the south coast. Here I introduced a Montessori curriculum from 2 ½ – 5 years and developed the outdoor learning environments. As our children moved on to their senior schools, we moved back here and I was delighted to be enticed back into a Montessori Early Years classroom here at The Elms. Taking on the role of Head of Early Years has been a pleasure, with each day offering a unique mix of fun, awe and wonder! When away from school, I enjoy family time with the dogs, walking, gardening, eating well and playing with vintage Morgan cars.Email Gigi Cameron
Helen TaranczukDirector of Sport and Marketing Assistant B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I joined The Elms in 2015. Prior to this, I worked at Ribston Hall High School in Gloucester as Head of Physical Education and at Wycliffe College as a Hockey coach. I gained a BSc degree in Sport and Physical Education at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in 2004 and then was awarded a distinction in a Secondary PGCE at the University of Gloucestershire. In my previous teaching job I taught GCSE and A level Physical Education and I was a team leader for examining GCSE PE for AQA.
As a junior, I enjoyed playing all sports but my main strength was Hockey. I was selected to play County Hockey at the age of 13 and from there stemmed a successful career playing for the West of England and getting selected for the U18 England Hockey Development Squad. I captained the senior Gloucestershire County Hockey squad and I’ve played National League Hockey for a number of years. One of the highlights of my playing career was winning the Welsh Cup and captaining my side in the European Cup in Prague in 2004. I now play Netball in the Worcester league and I still have a huge passion for sport and all that it offers.Email Helen Taranczuk
Early Years and Pre-Prep Teaching Staff
Widad Alami-ButcherEarly Years Teacher B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I studied for my undergraduate degree in Education and Early Childhood studies in Cardiff, followed by a PGCE with Early Years specialism. After qualifying I spent three years teaching in Cardiff in two very different state schools, before moving to Worcestershire to start my Elms adventure. After joining The Elms I completed my Montessori training. What I enjoy most about teaching the Early Years is seeing the way the children engage with the Montessori environment, allowing them to become independent and confident learners. There is nothing like the joy on a child’s face when they are able to work something out for themselves.
I am mum to two young children. I am at my happiest spending time with my family, being outdoors and travelling and exploring new places.Email Widad Alami-Butcher
Anna EllisYear 2 Class teacher B. Ed. (Hons)
My own education started at The Margaret Allen Preparatory School in Hereford followed by seven years at Hereford Cathedral School. I enjoyed sport, outdoor pursuits, drama and music in equal measure, gaining Grade 8 distinction clarinet, and played saxophone and sang in a local jazz band.
After leaving school in addition to travelling around the world, I trained as a Beauty Therapist at the London Institute of Beauty Culture and worked in a Health and Fitness Centre, before achieving an HND in Business Studies. After completing my B.Ed(Hons) at Kingston, I started teaching in 1990 at Holmer Primary School, Hereford, during which time I gained Cert Ed Maths (Oxford), Cert Ed Geography (Warwick), teaching years 1, 4 and 6 and held post responsibility for PSHE, R.S., Humanities, Head of English, produced numerous plays and ran the school steel band. During this time, I spent school holidays running summer camps for disadvantaged children in Romania and also worked alongside social services supporting children I taught who were living in ‘Care’ and prison visiting. I later became joint Deputy Head at Holmer School before being appointed Headmistress of Haberdashers’ Redcap School, Hereford in 2000 where I remained in post for six very happy years. Here, I also taught Year 2, became Safeguarding Lead, gained ‘Outstanding’ in ISI Inspection and gained Investors in People status for the school.
After daughter Jasmine was born and taking two years out of teaching, I took up the post of Maths Lecturer and Tutor for The Robert Owen Group as a teacher trainer / supervisor, visiting schools all over the West Midlands. In 2012 I was fortunate to join The Elms, getting back to classroom teaching where my passion really lies.
Outside school, I love spending time with family and friends, enjoy renovating my home and still have a huge bucket list to tackle!Email Anna Ellis
Rebecca FinneyEarly Years Montessori Teacher B.A. (Hons), Mont. Dip
I was born and raised in China, and came to the UK for University. Although planning to return home, I ended up staying in England having met my now husband while studying.
Having been bought up in the rigid Chinese education system, I was very drawn to the Montessori Philosophy when we had our first daughter. I decided to actively learn more about the philosophy purely to be a better Mum.
I was in awe when I visited The Elms Early Years for my placement. I enjoyed working with the children so much that I really wanted to be part of the team and jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself, and haven’t looked back.
I am passionate about travelling with my family, enjoying good food and I love cooking.Email Rebecca Finney
Alexandra GirlingEarly Years Teacher Mont. Dip.
I attended Rougemont Prep School in Wales, followed by six very happy years at The Royal School Bath girls boarding school, where I was Head of House. From there I moved to London to St. Godric’s Secretarial College, where I lived and worked for several years, progressing from a personal assistant role in Advertising, to a Marketing Consultant. I took time out aged 22 years to travel and work my way around the world for a year.
I then decided to pursue my dream to work with children, and attended St. Nicholas Montessori Centre in London. I have had the pleasure of working in four different Montessori educational environments, in addition to assisting in a Primary School. I have also had the privilege of working in a Therapeutic Horticultural Environment for children with severe disabilities. This helped hone my belief in the natural world as an incredible learning environment. I am married to Simon, and have two sons Edward and James. My passions are my family, the children I teach, nature…and my chickens!Email Alexandra Girling
Catherine JonesEarly Years Teacher and Early Years Designated Safeguarding Lead B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, I.M.P.
After five very happy years at Llandovery College, I studied English and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London. I then spent a year working with teenagers with challenging behaviour and a summer volunteering at a holiday club for children with special needs before embarking on my journey into teaching.
Following my PGCE, I taught in Mainstream Education for two years and was then drawn to the child – centred Montessori Philosophy. I have loved developing my knowledge through training at Montessori Centre International in London and since 2013, I have spent many really fulfilling years at The Elms as an Early Years Montessori Teacher.
My other interests include music, sport and theatre as well as being passionate about travelling and exploring new places.Email Catherine Jones
Bryony KirbyEarly Years Teacher MA (Cantab), Mont. Dip.
I grew up by the sea in Dorset, before studying History of Art at Cambridge University. After graduating, I moved to London and for eight years, worked at Sotheby’s as a specialist in Old Master Drawings. Although this was a magical job, when our first child was born my focus changed, and I helped to run a company which held lectures for parents with babies and small children in London galleries and museums.
My husband and I moved to Herefordshire in 2015, to take over the family farm. We worked in partnership to run the farm, until our middle child started in Early Years at The Elms, and I found myself falling in love with the Montessori philosophy, and our beautiful school.
I decided to take the huge leap to become a Montessori Teacher, studying for the Montessori Diploma at Montessori Centre International, and qualifying in Autumn 2019. After working at The Elms on my placement, I was incredibly fortunate to be offered a teaching post. It is a great pleasure to be part of the Montessori team, and see the children’s learning and independence flourish.Email Bryony Kirby
Sarah AustenHead of Classics B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
After being born in Baghdad, I spent the first 12 years of my life in Nigeria and Aden. I went to school for the first time aged 12 at Edgehill College in Bideford, visiting my parents once a year in Malawi, Libya or Malta. The other holidays I spent with guardians, who had a show pony stud and a hunting livery yard.
I read English at London University and then spent two years working for R S Peters, a professor of Philosophy of Education at the London Institute of Education, before going to Cambridge to do my PGCE.
I then taught GCSE, A and S Level English at Eastbourne College, where I was the only female member of staff!
I then married and went to Norfolk, farming and running our own private pack of beagles for twelve years. After this, my two children and I moved to Wales and my son came to The Elms. When my daughter also went to boarding school, I started Bruern Abbey School with Sterling Stover – a school for dyslexic boys preparing them for mainstream public schools. I taught there until persuaded by Clive Ashby to take over the Classics at The Elms. The rest is history…
I have been passionate about the Classics since being taken to Rome for a week by my mother at the age of seven on our way out to Nigeria. My other great love is hunting and I love introducing the young Elms entry each season.
I now divide my time between The Elms and our houses in Maine and France – and my grandsons.Email Sarah Austen
Jane BaileyGames teacher
I grew up in Herefordshire and went to school at St Mary’s, Wantage and Millfield. I represented the county in Swimming, Lacrosse, Tennis and Netball and played Tennis to a National level as a junior. I then got married, lived in Australia and had children, whilst eventing horses. I was shortlisted in Australia for both the World Championships and the Olympics. I have been at The Elms for many years. Two of my children went to The Elms and I have been coaching sport here ever since!Email Jane Bailey
Lucy BairstoYear 4 Class Teacher and Learning Support Teacher B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, O.C.R., Level 5 Dyslexia/SpLD
I was educated at Oakham School and spent my Gap Year at Kings College, New Zealand. After university I worked in London for five years in Public Relations for GAP and John Lewis. I then made the move into teaching and worked as a teaching assistant at St Nicholas Prep School, Knightsbridge. I completed the GTP at All Souls’ Primary School in Folkestone and then re-located to Herefordshire. I started work at The Elms in a part time position in January 2011, as the drama teacher for the brand new Ashby Theatre, whilst also supply teaching across the county. I then became the Year 3 teacher at The Elms before taking a career break to move across the world and have my two boys. My family and I lived and worked in Kenya, Turkey and Jordan for the next few years. Whilst away from The Elms, I took the opportunity to train as a specialist dyslexia teacher. I returned to The Elms in 2016 and haven’t looked back!Email Lucy Bairsto
Kate BlanceEAL and Learning Support Teacher B. Ed. (Hons), Level 5/Dyslexia/SpLD, CELTA.
My connection with The Elms began in 1977 when my mother opened the Pre-Prep. Her enthusiasm for her job was infectious and led me into teaching. I trained at the Froebel Institute, part of the University of Surrey, and worked in state and independent schools in London for a number of years. In 2001 we moved to New York with my husband’s job, and on our return we decided that rural life, and The Elms was best for us as a family. I was delighted to be asked to teach at the school and have spent 15 happy years teaching English.
I am excited that I am now able to extend and develop my skills by working in the Learning Support and EAL Department, having recently completed my Level 5 Diploma in Teaching Children with Dyslexia and Specific Learning Disorders, and undertaken a CELTA course.
Outside school, I take pleasure exploring our wonderful countryside with my Labrador, Arthur, or running with friends. As a family we enjoy visits to the theatre and generally spending time in each other’s company.Email Kate Blance
Helen BuckleyYear 3 Class Teacher B.A. (Hons), Q.T.S
I began my teaching career in an all boys independent prep school in the North East of England having spent the previous four years training in Primary Education at Charlotte Mason College in the Lake District. I taught all subjects from Years 3 to 6, and became Head of English. After seven years at Yarm Prep I decided that I needed a new challenge and was offered the Head of English post at The Downs School in Colwall. Here I taught from Years 3 to 8 and soon became Director of Studies, where I remained for another seven years. I then left to work with my husband renovating property in the local area, but continued with some teaching at Ledbury Primary School on a supply basis. The Year 3 post at The Elms was initially a maternity cover, but almost seven years later, I am still here!
Whilst at college I discovered I could run over distance and competed (and won) many 5K events. I have never joined a running club as I prefer to run for pleasure in my own company and on my own terms, but I now prefer to participate in 10K races. I am yet to be a 10K winner, although I have been very close a few times. I also enjoy walking with our dog, Scrappy, who sometimes comes to school with me and lounges under my desk. I have recently finished my first (and possibly only) knitting project, I am quite handy with a chainsaw, I love being outdoors, either gardening or simply enjoying the fruits of my labour and I sing in a village choir, performing at local venues throughout the year.Email Helen Buckley
Cecilia DeanHead of Science B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E.
I gained a degree in Biological Science and then worked in the food industry for 4 years, starting as a Quality Technician and rising to a Process Manager, for a multinational company. It was not offering the challenge that I was looking for and I left industry to study for my PGCE. I have been teaching for over fifteen years now and have never looked back. I have had experience of teaching science in many different settings from standing in a field full of cows explaining digestive systems, to explaining sustainability to a room full of degree students who were my seniors. I find that teaching prep school aged children is by far my favourite age — I love the look of awe and amazement that the children have when introduced to the wonders that science offers.
When I am not in the classroom, I can normally be found at my stables riding horses, having competed in dressage to Advanced Medium, or training for half marathons, which I run with massive enthusiasm and a distinct lack of speed! I am so excited to be joining The Elms as not only is it in a beautiful location, but it has equine and farming facilities. I have grown up with horses and farm animals all around and I am certain it will feel like a home from home.Email Cecilia Dean
Camilla DuffHead of Theology, Philosophy and Religion B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I was born in Devon and enjoyed an idyllic upbringing surrounded by ponies and the wild outdoors. I attended St. Christopher’s prep school in Somerset before moving on to Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset. Life out of school continued to be filled with ponies, any spare moment was taken up with hunting, eventing, team chasing and later on point to pointing. From Sherborne, I moved on to Bristol University where I studied Politics. After that I headed to London where I survived for a year working in a publishing company. Deciding that the Big Smoke was not for me, I retreated back to the West Country to work in a racing yard. Having taught riding to the pony club I then decided that teaching was a career I’d like to pursue and so headed off to Cambridge University to do my PGCE. Following this I moved to Kenya for a couple of years to work in a prep school out there. Kenya gave me some amazing experiences and memories I will treasure forever. Returning to England I was lucky enough to be offered a job at The Elms teaching as the Year 3 form teacher in 2001. Since being here at The Elms I have become a wife to Dan and a mother to George, William and Katinka. I have taught almost every subject to almost every year group and have maintained a keen interest in the hunting and riding side of life.Email Camilla Duff
Laura DuffinMontessori Teacher B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I was born in Bangkok and spent my early life abroad travelling with my parents’ jobs. I arrived back in the U.K. aged 5 and I went to a Montessori nursery in Sussex before heading to Swanbourne House in Buckinghamshire. I have a degree in Equine Dental Science and almost made this my career until I fell under the spell of teaching. I began my teaching as a Reception teacher at Swanbourne House before moving to coordinate maths and teach Year 2 at St. Hugh’s Prep School in Oxfordshire. I am extremely passionate about working with young children and watching them flourish. I am thoroughly looking forward to bringing my passion for teaching to The Elms. I have always spent most of my spare time riding horses competing in British Dressage and British Eventing competitions or training my working Springer spaniel. However, the arrival of our son William in 2018 meant a few tweaks to our lifestyle were required and my horses have had to take a back seat since!Email Laura Duffin
Will GrantHead of Computing, Rural Studies & Theatre Technician B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
Having attended The King’s School Ely I obtained an honours degree from Sheffield University in Accounting, Financial Management & Economics – specialising in public sector accountability. While studying I worked during the holidays as a River Inspector for the Environment Agency on The River Great Ouse and related navigations. I then went to Cambridge University to train as a specialist Key Stage 2/3 Mathematics teacher. Before joining The Elms as Head of Mathematics, I worked at St John’s College school (Cambridge) and Alban Church of England Middle School where I had been Head of PSHE.
Before joining The Elms I was a parish councillor for 7 years including times as both Vice-chairman of the council, Responsible Financial Officer and chair of both the Finance & Recreation Ground committees. My wife and I have lived on a Herefordshire smallholding for the past decade where we produce our own Apple Juice and organic hay. Being the son of the lead programmer of the revolutionary Sinclair ZX 80 & ZX Spectrum it was, perhaps, inevitable that I would eventually end up teaching Computing.Email Will Grant
Jon Harris-BassGap Graduate
I have spent the last 21 years working in the Sports Media Industry, commentating by trade on a variety of sports around the globe, but most consistently on wet cold Saturday afternoons at Sixways, Kingsholm, the Rec and other such Premiership grounds (It ain’t always as glamorous as it sounds!). I have always considered a move into the teaching profession, and now seems like the perfect time to embark on a new and exciting career. I was educated at Oxford University, finishing with a BA (Hons) in Theology from Regent’s Park College, and before that attended Sherborne School for boys. My passion for education and sport has been present since my schooldays, and since my very first step into Elms life, I am so glad to see that this passion is a driving force at the school.
Away from the school I have 3 children, Jacquot, Maya and Louis, who are the most important part of my life. We will often be found taking on athletic challenges, including 10 – 20km bike rides, with me running at the tail, up hill and down dale, on the West Oxfordshire border. I took up running late, and managed to chalk up a couple of marathons in 2020, and cannot confirm nor deny whether I quoted Sir Steven Redgrave at the end of the second one! I love music, drama, poetry and cooking, not in that order, but in equal portions.
Megan HickmanScience Teacher B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E
After graduating from Nottingham University, I worked as a manager in the food manufacturing industry. I then went onto qualify as a Science Teacher. I have worked in various schools, teaching GCSE and A Level.
After swimming competitively when I was younger, I now enjoy teaching and coaching swimming, as an ASA Level 2 Swimming Teacher and Swim England Coach. I am a qualified lifeguard and work with the RLSS as a Trainer Assessor.Email Megan Hickman
On leaving school I attended Eastbourne College of Food and Fashion. Following this, I studied at Cheltenham College of Art and then Plymouth College of Art and Design, where I attained a diploma in mixed media with metals.
My working life began in dress design, before moving into catering. In this field, I have worked in France, New Zealand, London and Herefordshire.
A husband and children changed things and in 2008 I began working at The Elms. Initially I helped in the Early Years and more recently I have become one of the Librarians and a Classroom Assistant. My two girls, Isabella and Evie, began their Elms lives in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
I am a true countrywoman at heart; born and raised in rural Herefordshire to a life of rural pursuits. My early years were idyllic, with a menu of ponies, Labradors and plenty of mud. My parents instilled in me traditional country values, a love of literature, music and home grown food. We have a menagerie of animals at home including sheep, chickens and ponies and I like nothing more than a day in the garden or a ride with the children by the river.Email Rose Hickman
Louise HughesGames Teacher B.A., M.A., Grad. Dip. Ed.
Having trained and qualified as a Primary School Teacher in Australia I returned to the UK and started working at the Elms as a Year 3 and 4 Form Teacher before moving to the Games Staff. I am also a Guardian to a number of our International students at the Elms as well as running the Chinese Camp at the Elms during the summer.
I have enjoyed playing a variety of sports since I was very young. As a child my favourite activity in the world was playing Hockey. I am passionate about health and nutrition especially in regards to the health of children. I am currently studying a Masters in Science (Nutrition) focusing on food allergies that develop in childhood.
I set myself a challenge 2 years ago to run 10 marathons, so far I have completed 7 out of 10.Email Louise Hughes
Henry LambHead of Geography B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I have been teaching Geography since 2008 and I strive to inspire children to connect with the natural world around them. Prior to joining The Elms, I taught in a London prep school. I am a keen tennis player having also run a tennis school. Cricket is my other summer pursuit. I play for the MCC and I have been called on as a warm up bowler for international matches. I also enjoy shooting and the countryside having been brought up on a farm. I have a passion for geography, love of sport and character building in children. I have a wife called Caroline and a young daughter called Cleo.Email Henry Lamb
Philly MooreYear 4 Class Teacher and Games Teacher B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I played county hockey for Somerset and BUSA Premier League at University (Cardiff). I currently play netball in the Worcester league. My goal this year is to take up the piano, having not played for a long time. I enjoy playing and watching all sports, travelling, and time spent with friends and family over good food and wine.Email Philly Moore
A PanebiancoHead of French B.A. (Hons), M.A., P.G.C.E
I was born in Italy and I graduated with honours from the University of Bologna and the University of California with a combined degree in modern languages and contemporary history. I later moved to the UK to pursue a PGCE in Seconday Modern Foreign Languages teaching. In the years I have specialised in teaching French, however I have also had the opportunity to teach Italian and Spanish. I have worked in a variety of contexts, including a selective school in Kent, before finding my teaching niche in preparatory schools.
Outside of teaching French, I have a passion for travels, outdoor excursions and water sports. In my local community I volunteer as a Leader for a Sea Scout group and I enjoy spending my free time rowing, paddleboarding and hiking.Email A Panebianco
David PearceGames Teacher and Alumni Coordinator B. Ed. (Hons)
I spent my early years in Birmingham at The Blue Coat School in Harborne, just five minutes from home, followed by seven very happy years boarding at Oakham School in Rutland. My Gap Year was spent playing rugby and indoor bowls (I still have the Division 5 League winners’ trophy in my classroom!) alongside being a Gappie at The King’s School, Ely. This prompted me into a four year teaching degree course at The College of St. Paul’s and St. Mary’s in Cheltenham resulting in my first ‘proper job’ as Head of Geography (with a little maths) at Arnold Lodge Prep. School in Leamington Spa. My Housemaster from preparatory school then poached me back to Blue Coat, after a fifteen year absence, as Head of Geography (with a bit more maths), 1st XV rugby coach and his resident Assistant Housemaster in my old House, St. George’s. After six years in St. George’s playing lots of table tennis, snooker and billiards with the Housemaster and prefects (after official lights out!) I found myself making the shift from town to country and becoming Director of Studies and 1st XV coach here at The Elms (and lots of maths teaching with a bit of geography!). Three children of my own later and too many years to mention now, I have been unable to escape from the foot of the Malvern Hills – and why would I want to leave a school as good as The Elms and with that view!Email David Pearce
Beverley StokesHead of Art and Design Technology B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E
After studying at Davenant Foundation Grammar School, where I grew up, I followed an Art Foundation one year course which led me to study for my BA Hons Degree in WMCP (Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics) at Brighton University. I was lucky enough to stay in Brighton for a further year to complete my P.G.C.E. which enabled me to launch into my life long career in teaching.
Over the course of too many years to mention, I have worked in a variety of educational establishments, with a broad age range of children, in both the state and independent sector. This has enabled me to gain valuable knowledge and understanding of teaching approached which I bring to my current role.
I took a break in my career to start my family and with my husband’s work we moved from Cambridgeshire to Herefordshire. We have spent nearly 20 years living and working in this beautiful area where I can indulge in my interests of gardening, walking and popping on a train to see amazing exhibitions held only a stone throw away.Email Beverley Stokes
Alex TaylorInterim Head of Mathematics B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, M.A.
I was born in Wolverhampton and moved at an early age to the small Warwickshire town of Kenilworth, known for its castle and the siege of Kenilworth, the longest siege in medieval history. I was educated at the University of Birmingham where I completed a BA in Applied Golf Management Studies. After university, I coached football at Birmingham City Football Academy and Manchester United Soccer Schools and played semi-professional football for Hinckley United and Leamington FC. I undertook a PGCE at Oxford Brookes University followed by three years in the state sector, a further year at the University of Warwick, completing a MA in Educational Innovation, after which my desire to teach Mathematics gained momentum. I worked my way through a number of secondary schools and an independent college, in which I taught pure mathematics to future engineering students. Most recently, I taught Year 3 at Notting Hill Preparatory School, in London, and sport to Years 5 to 8. I very much enjoy being outside, riding my bikes and walking/running in the countryside.Email Alex Taylor
Stephanie Underwood-WebbHead of Drama and Teacher of English B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, T.E.S.O.L.
My formative education took place in Guildford, Surrey, where I campaigned successfully to get GCSE Drama offered for the first time at my senior school and won prizes for acting, directing and script-writing in the House Drama. I was a girl on a mission! I went on to study for my degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where many of my happiest memories were with the student volunteering bureau, running poetry and drama workshops in local primary schools and day centres for adults with special needs. Summers were spent teaching English as a Foreign Language in international schools. Teacher training in English and Drama (secondary) followed at Durham University, which included a month of teaching at a school in the Czech Republic, before my teaching career saw me take Head of Drama roles at schools in Kent and Herefordshire. I have directed over 50 school productions of varying cast size and genre, and have also enjoyed teaching GCSE and A-Level English for the majority of my career in addition to drama.
I am wife to Ted, Mum to Noah and Hazel, and owner of various cats and chickens. I play netball weekly in a local league, love to perform with local amateur dramatics groups and can be occasionally spotted with my blue guitar at an open mic night in Malvern. Life’s never dull!Email Stephanie Underwood-Webb
Ted Underwood-WebbHead of English B.A. (Hons), P.G.C.E, T.E.S.O.L.
Growing up in Malvern, my first experience of The Elms was playing rugby for a rival school in dreadful weather before being ushered into the dining room for a delicious match tea. Even then, I was struck by what a special place I found myself in and wondered what it might be like to spend my days here, as opposed to just one afternoon.
Following my education at Kings Worcester, I read English Literature at Aberystwyth University where I continued to play rugby, enjoy the spectacular Welsh countryside and read an awful lot of books. With my summers working on camps for international students, I always knew, deep down, that teaching was the career for me. So, after a brief flirtation with sales and marketing, I returned to university at Durham before teaching in Kent and Worcestershire.
I have been fortunate in my career to have worked in some brilliant schools and alongside inspirational colleagues, several of whom have become firm friends. However, when I had a second chance in my life to walk through the gates of The Elms I immediately felt at home. I love what I do here; the wealth of new opportunities every day brings and the close knit community a boarding school environment brings.
When not at The Elms, I relax into the comparatively simple roles of husband to Steph and father to Noah and Hazel. I enjoy the great outdoors in as many ways as possible, particularly walking and running, planning family adventures; and I still seem to have an awful lot of books to read.Email Ted Underwood-Webb
Jane FanshaweMatron R.N., R.M., DipN, P.G.C.E.
I trained as a nurse / midwife and tutor, mostly in London. I worked as a midwife for over 5 years, delivering babies and teaching, this including missionary work in India. In my early thirties, I taught at University College Hospital and then I emigrated to Sydney, Australia and worked for 25 years alongside my husband David Fanshawe, internationally renowned composer and explorer. We worked throughout the world with music, concert production, music publishing, educational guest speaking and TV documentaries. Since David’s death, I am now the main librarian for David’s World Music Archive. I come from a family of Antarctic explorers, and I have an identical twin sister who lives in New Zealand. I have travelled extensively including many islands of the South Pacific. I continue in the music business and I am also is a guest speaker at concerts, schools and festival productions. Closer to home, I have set up ‘Just Jane’ – a local printing service and I am also a vicarious carer in the community, including my extra support work here at the Elms. I love singing and I am Vice President of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and in my spare time I enjoy creative sewing, hill walking and off shore sailing.Email Jane Fanshawe
I went to Prep School and Senior School in Malvern. Most of my working life has been spent in the catering industry mainly as a chef until I decided to open a Sandwich Bar and ended up with 3 in total. My biggest achievement in my life is my family, especially my 2 Grown up Children who have given me 3 wonderful grandchildren and I have been married for 35 years. I’m a country bumpkin at heart and enjoy walking and working our dogs.Email Gillie Lane
Andrea ShawHead Matron
Born and raised in Gloucestershire, I currently reside in the beautiful Spa town of Cheltenham. I’m a mother to three grown-up children and three wonderful grandchildren. Over a number of years, I have looked after over 100 children within my family home, through my role as a foster carer and host mother.
I enjoy spending time with my family, doing water aerobics and taking our rather boisterous Border Collie on long country walks.
Courtney SmedleyHousemistress B.A. (Hons)
Before I arrived in England, my main interest was surfing but since this is slightly more difficult to do in Hereford I have taken up crafting. I am passionate about crafts such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, calligraphy and anything that I can get my hands on. Another interest kindled on my arrival to the UK was Special Educational Needs. I believe that all children should be given the space and time to learn, process and thrive. Adapting learning styles and settings to suit each child is a challenge that I will always strive to meet. I have recently completed my TEFL course, which has enabled me to teach EAL lessons.Email Courtney Smedley
Jan BainAlumni Coordinator B. Ed.
I joined The Elms in 1986 from Bedford, when Steve, my husband, was appointed to a job at King’s Worcester. After four years, I left to help Steve run a boys’ boarding house whilst raising our three small children. During this time I taught supply and then part-time at both Hawford Lodge (now King’s Hawford) and Abbey Park First School in Pershore. A chance conversation with a former Elms colleague a few years later brought me back to the school, in a new role as Head of Pre-Prep. Over time, I moved from this role to one as Director of Studies of the Main School. All three Bain children (Will, Lottie and Lucy) attended The Elms before moving on to Malvern College and Malvern Girls’ College respectively. I took on the new challenges of Designated Safeguarding Lead and a return to Head of Pre-Prep – the role which I love. Away from school, I have spent many years teaching swimming and coaching girls’ gymnastics but now I delight in gardening, crafting and visiting my grown up children in London, Norfolk and Cheshire.Email Jan Bain
Helena GrantHeadmaster’s Secretary
I re-joined The Elms in September 2014 having left in 1987. My background is in the wine trade, having worked in sales and customer service for 16 years, I decided to give up the joys of wine tasting and trips to vineyards, to be rooted to Colwall and The Elms, a school I love a bit too much! I have two daughters and an estate agent husband. When not at school I love walking on the Malvern Hills, listening to and playing music, cooking and travelling whenever possible.Email Helena Grant
Jess HattamRegistrar and Headmaster’s Wife RSCN
I qualified as a Registered Children’s Nurse (RSCN) in 2004 and worked at Lancaster Hospital on the General Children’s ward for 5 years before starting a new job as a School Nurse which I loved. I ran the London Marathon in 1998 and climbed Kilimanjaro in 2017 with 3 school friends – it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have 3 children, Rosie is at Cheltenham College and Charlie and Eliza are here at The Elms. I play the violin and piano. I love reading and I am currently doing a 50 book challenge for the year. I like any opportunity to get out on the hills (here in Malvern and in Scotland where we have a house) with the dogs and the family. In the future I would like to learn how to keep bees and get a hive.Email Jess Hattam
Helen HitchingsAccounts B.A. (Hons), Dip. R.S.A.
I joined The Elms in 2013 having worked for a number of businesses across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. As a keen gardener and animal lover The Elms is the ideal place to be – beautiful grounds, a busy farm and equestrian yard and a dog-friendly workplace!Email Helen Hitchings
Riding and the Outdoor Staff
Jojo GlanvillYard Manager
I have loved all animals, especially horses from a young age and knew as soon as I left school that a career in equine was for me. I attended Sparsholt College in Winchester to compete a 2 year National Diploma in Equine Management for A level which I completed with top marks! I then went on to work at a high end livery yard, local to my hometown of Salisbury, here I learnt to work to a very high standard in all aspects of horse care and yard management. After 3 fun years here it was time to progress and I moved up to the Cotswolds to work for Olympic Eventer Vittoria Panizzon and was lucky enough to groom for her at many top events in the UK and abroad. After a further 3 years here and progressing to yard manager I left to run a close friends eventing yard near Worcester for 18 months.
As much as I love horses I have always really enjoyed teaching children too as it is so rewarding and a lot of fun, so once my friend was firmly back in the driving seat of her event yard luckily for me the perfect job came up at The Elms last November, combining horses, teaching and farm animals. I have now completed my UKCC level 1 teaching qualification, first aid training and safe guarding course and am looking forward to developing my skills further.
Apart from competing my own horse and hunting in the winter my other passions are art especially drawing and crafts and spending time with my family.Email Jojo Glanvill
Sarah HanceEquestrian Manager BHSAI, APEC
I have worked in the equine industry for a long time, having started off doing veterinary nursing then moving to equine nurse.
Whilst doing this I found the love for eventing, so I then moved to this full time riding a string of horses up to Advanced Level.
After getting married and having 3 boys I moved to Coaching where I did my BHSAI and have been coaching since then, covering all levels, Two years ago I did my APEC course which is Rider Psychology which I find very helpful.
I am chief instructor of the CVFH Pony Club and also train my Mounted Games Team.Email Sarah Hance
Paul SmedleyFarm Manager B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E
I grew up in the Natal Midlands of South Africa where I attended a prep school very similar to that of the Elms called Clifton. I then spent five years of senior school at Michaelhouse, after which I studied at Rhodes University where I majored in Geography and Environmental science as well as obtaining my PGCE. After playing Provincial and University Cup rugby I decided I wasn’t quite finished playing the sport and thus dragged my wife over to London to pursue it further for what was meant to be just one season! We however caught the travelling bug and both realised that teachers’ holidays were by far the best opportunity to explore Europe and thus three and half fond years were spent at Shrewsbury House School in Surbiton. After leaving Shrewsbury House Courtney and myself went travelling for a year which proved a hugely eye opening and enriching experience. My passions in life other than my beautiful wife Courtney and my slightly psychotic dog Khaya, are my faith, being outdoors and of course playing or watching sport.Email Paul Smedley
I have recently joined the School from Sedbergh School which is also where I was educated. I spent just over three enjoyable years at Sedbergh working as a part of the Grounds and Gardens Team and I am looking forward to the challenges that The Elms School will provide. Away from work I have a keen interest in most sports having played rugby, football, cricket and athletics.Email Dan Tuson
Paul ScottHead Chef
I have worked in many Rosette and Michelin starred restaurants and hotel in the UK within my career and I bring my experience into the daily running of the school kitchen. I enjoy searching for new ingredients and keeping up with food trends. I enjoy cooking different food that the children have not had before and then listen to what they comment on the lunch/supper. I am always trying the improve things with the food to keep it interesting. I have been at the school almost 3 years now and it’s never a dull moment in the kitchen. There is always something to keep me occupied and busy.
Magdalena SyczKitchen Assistant
I was born in Poland and came to UK in 2004 for a summer holiday but never went back. I worked in various places fruit farm, warehouse (team leader), day nursery (nursery nurse) and a Garden centre (chef). I have two children.
Esme WardAssistant Chef
I have worked at the Elms for 18 years! Before joining The Elms I worked in offices, cooked in pubs and was a police officer. I am married with three daughters. I love crafts and enjoy making and decorating cakes especially for birthdays and weddings.
Andrew WilliamsAssistant Chef
I have lived in Ledbury for over 30 years working in varied establishments until I found my passion for cooking. I have worked at the school for around one year starting with the kitchen assistant job and then becoming a cook helping the head chef prepare the food on a daily basis. Before I came to the Elms I worked in a care home feeding the staff and residents. In my spare time I love cooking for friends, gardening and cycling.
Beverley ButlerDomestic Staff
I have been employed at The Elms for the last 4 years. Before starting here I was happily working as a Lunchtime Supervisor with Key Stage 1 at a local Primary School in Malvern, and prior to that as a Beauty Therapist.
I have lived in Malvern all my life, marrying my husband Nic 15 years ago and we now have two beautiful daughters.
One of my greatest pleasures is performing in our local Amateur Dramatic Society having been a member for the last 12 years but have been performing for 28 years in total (you will often hear me singing around the school!)
I very much enjoy coming into the school to support the children involved in their Musical Evenings.
Carol DanceDomestic Staff
I have lived in the area for many years and have been involved with The Elms over a period of around 30 years. Part of my job here allows me to be very involved with Early Years which I absolutely love. I live with my pets, Bella, Tom, Tigger and George, and very much enjoy taking Bella, my puppy Shitzu, on long walks. Apart from walking I also enjoy going out with friends and visiting National Trust properties.
Amanda InceDomestic Staff
I have lived in Colwall village all my life. I am married with three sons and two grandchildren. I have worked at The Elms for 31 years in various roles.
Jennifer MatthewsDomestic Staff
I have been married to Terry for 31 years and we have two children now in their twenties. I have lived in Frome’s Hill all my life and started at The Elms in 2003, Prior to working at The Elms I was a Carer in Pencombe Hall. Terry and I love to walk and are members of the National Trust, and we also love travelling and staying in our accommodation in Wales. I am a keen darts and crib player and in the past I was a blue belt kick boxer!
Sonya McMannDomestic Staff
Before coming to work at The Elms I was employed as an electronic engineer in Oxford where my husband to whom I have been married for 30 years was stationed with the RAF. I live in Ledbury now and we have two children, both of whom have flown the nest!
My husband and I love to travel and walking our dog, Alfie, and I have fond memories of many happy hours spent Ballroom dancing particularly Latin (eat your heart out Strictly!) We are also volunteers for the ARUK, Alzheimer’s Research UK.
I have been happily employed at The Elms for last 14 years and have the enjoyed the experience of working with three Headmasters.
Mr P. J. BaileyHead of Property SMG
Patrick’s principal occupation has centred around agriculture in one form or another, with excursions into the property and manufacturing sectors.
He is on various local committees and is also a Parish Councillor and a member of the CLA Committee.
Married to Sarah with four children who have all benefitted from an Elms’ education.
Mrs L. Chenevix-TrenchGovernor
Lucy trained as a woodcarver and gilder at the City and Guilds of London Art School, and has held numerous solo and joint exhibitions of her work. She now lives in Worcestershire with her husband and four children (all educated at The Elms), where she runs a historic house open to the public, and otherwise divides her time between her family and various charitable interests.
Mr M. J. Gilliat-SmithGovernor
Mathew grew up in Kent and spent his early career in London before moving to the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire borders in 2004. His career has been in publishing, print and running new technology businesses. In the last 20 years he has focused on the media and entertainment sector marketing security solutions to the Hollywood film studios. His three sons were pupils at the Elms over a 12-year period from 2004 to 2016.
Mr. A. A. MackinnonGovernor
Alan was born to teaching parents and grew up variously in Shrewsbury, Manchester and Edinburgh. He and his wife Anabel have been Elms parents since 2014, having moved to the Severn Vale to help run a rural property and land management business. He practised as a solicitor for a number of years and is now a director of a marine insurance company. He is also a qualified mediator.
Lady S. McFarlaneHead of Welfare SMG M.C.S.P., D.L.
A physiotherapist working part time at Bromyard Community Hospital; mother of 4 former Elms pupils; Governor Rugby School, 2004 – 2014. Several other voluntary roles over the years connected with the magistracy, law and order, the church and education.
Mrs A. M. MillikenGovernor B.Sc.(Hons.)
Alex grew up in Worcestershire and attended Malvern Girls’ College, before gaining a degree in Equine Science. She spent 17 years working in Marketing within the education, retail and insurance sectors. Most recently, Alex ran the Marketing Department at Malvern St James.
Alex is married to Andrew, they have 2 children at The Elms and live on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border, along with their 4 horses and 2 Labradors.
Mr C. W. MilneHead of Education SMG B.A., M.Phil
Educated at universities both in Australia and England, he spent most of his teaching career at Eton College. He retired to Herefordshire in 2014 and maintains an active involvement with charitable ventures in the educational world both locally and in London.
Mr H. G. Steele-BodgerGovernor
Guy has taught at Rugby School since 1983, following a degree in Economics at Cambridge. He has been a teacher, Head of Department, Housemaster and now Admissions Registrar during his time at Rugby.
Married to Anne, he has two sons and three grandchildren.
Mr T. W. StubbsHead of Governance SMG
Toby Stubbs was a Lloyd’s underwriter for 36 years & is still involved in Insurance in the world of green energy. He went to Winchester College & then St Andrew’s University. He was Master of the Grocers’ Company in 2011. Toby is also a Governor of Oundle School, Laxton Junior School and was a Governor of Horris Hill school. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and has two children.
Mr P. D. ThomasGovernor
Phil is an ex-Elms pupil who has lived in Herefordshire for over 40 years. He has a wife and three children, who also attended the school. After completing an Urban Estates management degree in Birmingham, he spent 14 years working in Europe buying and developing property in all sectors. He now manages his own property development and consultancy business.
Mr S. TownsendChairman
Simon has spent his entire career in the hospitality industry, latterly as CEO of Ei Group plc, the UK’s largest pub company comprising over 4,000 venues. He is also a Non-Exec Director of FTSE-listed housebuilder Countryside Properties plc and chairman of tech business Round App.
Simon has lived in Herefordshire for almost 20 years with his wife Sally and three boys, all of whom were educated at the Elms between 2002 and 2015
Mr C. WhitworthMA (Hons.), GTP
Charles is Deputy Head Academic at Godstowe Prep in High Wycombe, a role he previously enjoyed at Abberley Hall. Before switching to teaching in 2005, he strung out a 14 year career as an equity analyst for stockbrokers James Capel, Jardine Fleming and ABN AMRO. Educated at Rugby School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, he is married to Sophie who is a Development Director at the Girls’ Day School Trust. They have three sons and live near Ludlow.
Mr A. G. WynnHead of Finance SMG L.V.O., M.A.
Following a career in the Royal Navy Andrew Wynn served as assistant Bursar, then Bursar at Eton College for 22 years. He retired to Herefordshire in 2011, has been involved in county events as a volunteer organiser and is a trustee of a number of local and other charities.