Staff and Governors

We are proud to have highly talented, experienced and enthusiastic staff who help Berkhampstead children to achieve remarkable things. We have a good balance of male and female teachers - a real asset for both boys' and girls' education.

Our subject specialists draw on a strong knowledge base to teach creatively. Teaching assistants support and bring their diverse talents to make learning memorable and fun.

Effective teaching methods are used to engage pupils’ interest, motivating them to apply themselves well to tasks that are set.

— ISI Report, November 2023

About Our Staff

Parents’ Comments

“The teachers are Berky’s greatest asset.”

“Berkhampstead and the incredibly supportive staff have changed the way my daughter views herself!”

“I am extremely pleased we chose Berky - the change in Jess has been nothing short of monumental.”

I am able to work in a caring and supportive environment where everyone enjoys coming to school every day. It is a job where you capture the ‘light bulb’ moments and encourage each child’s enthusiasm to continue.

— Year 2 teacher


Our Governing Body is active and engaged. With a wealth of experience in the fields of education, business, finance and child development, their input into strategic planning and their role as a positive steering force is invaluable.

More than this, they get involved, they know the staff and pupils well - attending events, singing in the choir, even dressing as aliens - they are a real part of the Berkhampstead community.

The effective working relationship between governors and leaders supports the school and day nursery to meets its aims.

— ISI Report, November 2023

Staff and Governors

Richard Cross BSc (Hons), PGCE

Executive Head

Michelle Bareham BA (Hons), PGCE

Head of School

Jacqui Holland BA (Hons), PGCE

Deputy Head

Tom Denmead ACA, BSc (Hons)


Zöe Meredith-Smyth Postgraduate Early Years, BA (Hons), PGCE

Head of Early Years & Reception teacher

Jo Shoukry BSc (Hons), PGCE

Head of Learning Support

Aimee Stephenson B Ed (Hons)

Head of Pre-Prep, Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Pre-Prep Co-Ordinator & Year 1 teacher

Martin Kirby

Chair of governors

I was educated at Evesham High School and was a member of their rowing crew. After leaving school I worked for the Inland Revenue (where I met my wife) before joining Lloyds Trust Dept. In 1986, David Scott and myself established our own accountancy business at 111 Promenade Cheltenham where it continued until my retirement in 2011. I have been involved with Berky since 1989 as a parent, chair of PTA, chair of Finance Committee (involving purchase of Andrews Centre and Day Nursery), and now Chair of Governors. I have also played an important part in the Christmas Fayre - but don’t tell the children! My son Alastair was a pupil here and then returned as a teacher. I am keen on all sports, more watching now than playing, and have been to three football World Cups. I support Leeds United, but do not find that relaxing at the moment!

Gill Agg

Safeguarding Governor

I came late to the teaching profession, joining Berkhampstead as an NQT at the ripe old age of 39; 26 years later, I retired but became a Governor in order to support the school I love. Although my degree was in Music, I have wide interests including history, writing and reading, and have been devoted to encouraging the many pupils who have passed through my hands to feel equally interested. For many years, I was a Year 2 class teacher, becoming the Head of Pre-Prep and, later, Head of Pastoral Care and DSL. Latterly, I became Deputy Head; once in this role, I mainly taught Year 3 English. Throughout my time at Berky, I was fully involved with the PTA, starring at Christmas as Santa’s elf! Berkhampstead embodies the ethos in which I believe; it offers a holistic and creative approach to education. It values and includes all pupils and builds their confidence and self-esteem. It is a happy and friendly place to be. I have three grown up children, all of whom benefitted from a Berkhampstead education, and four grandchildren.

James Walton

Education Governor

I was educated at Warwick School and studied Business at the University of Sheffield. After working at Heligan Gardens in Cornwall as Director of Education, a career in teaching beckoned. Having taught at Clifton High School, Cheltenham College and Elizabeth College, Guernsey, I was appointed to the role of Headmaster of Clifton College Preparatory School in 2018. I sit on the IAPS Education Committee and fulfil the role of Boarding Representative for the IAPS Area 4 group. My wife Melanie and I have 2 boys who attend Clifton College.

Cassie Martin

Education Governor

Cassie Martin is Head of English at the King’s School, Gloucester and has worked in a range of state and independent schools over the past 20 years. She is also currently studying for a Masters in Shakespeare and Education at the world-famous Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon. Cassie is a published author of Christian books for children and teenagers and is a committed member of her local church where her husband is lead minister. She has three teenage boys who all loved their time at Berky and have gone on to thrive at three very different schools.

Diane Cox

Finance Governor

I was born in Cheltenham, attended Pate’s Grammar School and obtained a degree in Molecular Sciences from the University of Warwick. I joined Eagle Star as a Graduate Insurance Trainee whilst also studying for the Institute of Personnel exams. I then returned to Cheltenham to take up a post in Eagle Star HR department where I worked until I had my two children. A few years later, my husband and I set up our own Insurance Broking business which we ran successfully for over twenty years.

Joey Bowden


I have worked in higher education, at the University of Gloucestershire for over 18 years, in student support and have a post graduate in coaching & mentoring. I have also worked for the last three years for MAPPA, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, working alongside many organisations, including the police, social services, probation and prison service, adult social care and others. I have been involved with Berkhampstead since 2014 as a parent, Chair of the PTA for five years, and now as a Governor. My family and I live in Cheltenham and our son, having left Berkhampstead, is now at The King’s School, Gloucester. We enjoy long walks in the beautiful countryside we are blessed with in Gloucestershire, and I am a volunteer at our local archery club, where my son is an active member.

Paul Connaughton

Day Nursery Governor

I was born in Ireland and moved to the UK in the late 90s. I spent a number of years in London working for an international airline, and moved to Gloucestershire in 2002 where I joined a leading property company. I have worked on many designs and build projects in the Cheltenham area. My partner and I went through the adoption process in 2013 and have a wonderful daughter who attends Berkhampstead School. I am very passionate about pastoral care and believe that a happy, inclusive and confident journey throughout the school years is crucial for a child. Being a governor at the school is a real privilege, and I am delighted to be part of such a wise body of governors, who all care deeply, not only for the children, but for the entire team. The staff work hard every day to ensure Berkhampstead is a leading school for all children.

Allan Roberts

Legal Governor

I was born in Southampton and obtained a Law degree before being called to the Bar in 2004. I am an independent Barrister, specialising in employment, discrimination and commercial law. I have developed a successful practice and am ranked in Tier 1 by Legal 500. I am especially passionate about volunteer work and was recently appointed as the South West Regional Representative for ELIPS (a pro bono legal services charity). Before my degree, I was an IT/Business Consultant for Honeywell. My career has given me a wide range of legal, commercial and practical skills which I hope to bring to the Governor’s role. My wife and I moved to Cheltenham in 2007. We enjoy adventures with our two young children, both of whom attend Berkhampstead (currently in Year 1 and 3).

Stephen Ackland

Compliance & Health and Safety Governor

I was born and raised in Plymouth, Devon where I attended Devonport High School. On leaving school I joined the Merchant Navy and rose through the ranks as a Navigating Officer. After 12 years at sea a career change saw me join the Gloucestershire Constabulary where I served until 2010, finishing as an Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for Specialist Uniformed Operations and Counter Terrorism. I then became a ‘stay at home dad’ to my young son whilst my wife returned to her career. I have a Masters Degree in Management in Public Service and a broad range of experience in budgetary control, operational & strategic planning and Health & Safety. Berky has been part of my life since 2014 as both a parent and as chair of the PTA and I am delighted now to be able to contribute to the future development of this great school as a member of the governing body.

Clive Collier

Finance Governor

I had 34 years of working for Lloyds Bank in corporate, retails and risk management positions, taking early retirement as a local director. I remain a lay member of the finance committee at Gloucester Cathedral, and for 14 years was a Governor of King’s School, Gloucester, where I first heard of Berkhampstead School. I play golf, which is supposed to provide relaxation!

Kate France


I was born in Lancashire and obtained my teaching degree in Art and Education from the University of Sussex. For the past 20 years, I have worked in the independent sector, and have been actively involved in leadership and management. I am particularly passionate about Early Years education, through my role as a Reception class teacher and Head of a Pre-Prep department from 2011-2022. To experience different settings and gain inspiration, I have travelled to  various schools and nurseries both within the UK, Sweden, and Finland.   A few years ago, I qualified as a Forest School leader, and enjoyed sharing the wonders of the outdoors with Pre-Prep children. I have only been part of Berky for a short time, but already feel part of this wonderful family!

Staff Portals

School Staff Portal

Day Nursery Staff Portal