There is a wide group of committed and well trained teaching and non-teaching staff at Northampton High School, working hard to enable the girls to achieve their best, in a perfect environment for learning and developing. They are led by a hardworking senior leadership team, who bring a broad range of experience and expertise to their roles but who all share a passion for the very best education for girls.


Caroline Petryszak


Read more

I was educated in the North West of England, with the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales on my doorstep, and I have many happy memories of my school days. I decided fairly early on that I wanted to teach and entered the profession via a degree in Mathematics from the University of York and a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics and Religious Studies from St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill.

It was during my initial teaching placement that I had my first experience at an all-girls’ school. I immediately noticed the difference in the way that the girls learned and behaved in their own environment and spent much of the rest of the year researching and writing on the subject of Girls in Mathematics. By the end of the course, my interest in single-sex girls’ education was really piqued and I had accepted my first teaching position at Dr Challoner’s High School, an all-girls grammar school in Buckinghamshire.

Three years into my career my husband’s studies took us to Cambridge and I accepted a teaching position at The Perse School for Girls. In 1997 I resigned this post to concentrate on raising our two daughters, Francesca and Olivia. Over the next few years I combined motherhood with my various part-time roles as a tutor, writer, editor and examiner, whilst also volunteering at my daughters’ nursery and serving as a governor at the local primary school. During this period I worked for the BBC, writing much of the original Bitesize Maths material and consulting on their Digital Curriculum. Later, I took two part-time teaching roles at St John’s College School and St Mary’s, Cambridge.

In 2007 – after a ten-year ‘maternity leave’ – I returned to The Perse School for Girls (now The Stephen Perse Foundation), where my daughters, by then, were studying. Over the course of the next decade, I took on a number of middle and senior management roles, including Head of Year, SENCo, Assistant Principal and Director of Studies. During this period I relished the opportunity to take a Foundation-wide perspective and particularly enjoyed having responsibility for the 3-18 curriculum and whole-staff training.

Having worked as Interim Head of Junior School for a year in 2018/19, I have a good understanding of Northampton High School and its people, history and ethos. It is therefore a privilege and a pleasure to serve the whole school as Acting Head (beginning of 2019/20), and, more recently, in the permanent role of Headmistress. I look forward to further-developing my relationship with girls in Nursery and Junior School whilst getting to know students in the Senior School and Sixth Form, and to leading a school that will continue to value the individual and prepare all for a happy, balanced and fulfilling life.

Adèle O'Doherty

Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance)

Read more

Originally from Birmingham, I was educated at an all girls’ school before completing my first degree in Information and Library studies. Having spent a number of years growing, computerising and running a large resources centre at Bromsgrove School, a boarding and day school in Worcestershire, I found myself increasingly interested in both the academic and pastoral life of the pupils at the school. A great believer in seizing opportunities as they arise, I was soon to find myself going from dabbling in teaching a little lower school ICT, to devising the schemes of work and teaching the very first A Level Applied ICT course in the school. The new A Level course was a success and ultimately led me to a change in career which saw me becoming a newly qualified teacher through the Graduate Teacher Programme.

Bearing in mind the ‘seize the day’ approach once more, I also took on the role of Head of Academic ICT, which serendipitously became available, during my NQT year. I also enjoyed taking on responsibility for the Lower Sixth as Assistant Head of Year, editing the school magazine and putting my librarian training to good use as the co-ordinator of the Extended Project, when Bromsgrove became an IB school.

It is fair to say that a boarding school is an excellent training ground for the pastoral practitioner and as much as I enjoy the academic side of school life, I increasingly found an interest and perhaps even a vocational calling, in the pastoral aspects of school. After an opportunity arose to be a maternity-cover Houseparent in a boarding house for a year I realised that this was a route that I wanted to pursue. So in 2011, I moved to Wycombe Abbey School to take up the role of Housemistress to 45 girls aged 12-17. Living amongst the girls and nurturing them through the academic and pastoral sides of their school lives is an absolute privilege and although it requires a person to give much of themselves to ‘the job’ I found it incredibly rewarding and a wonderful education for me too. After becoming Head of Boarding I then moved into the role of Head of Sixth Form, living with and mentoring Upper Sixth girls. Having gained a wide experience of educating girls and of many aspects of running a school and after recently completing an MA (Leadership) and the UCL Institute of Education, I was delighted to join Northampton High School as Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance). It is a school with values that echo my own and I thoroughly enjoy the stimulating and challenging  environment of an all girls’ school with such a wide range of experiences on offer for the girls.

I’m married to Graeme and between us we have three children. I enjoy long walks, geocaching and knitting when time permits. My two major passions though are reading and music.

Henry Rickman

Academic Deputy Head

Read more

I was born in London and grew up near Stratford-upon- Avon. Following secondary school, I chose another historic English setting for my Modern Languages degree; Canterbury, and I have lived abroad in both Spain and France. As well as my BA, I also have a degree in French Language and Literature from the Université Jean Moulin in Lyon and a Master’s degree in Education. I completed my PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages in 1998.  Before joining Northampton High I held a number of roles in schools, ranging from examinations officer to pastoral leadership and finally to departmental head for Modern Languages. At my last school I also chaired the Curriculum Board which influenced the school’s overall academic direction and inspired my passion for all things pedagogical.

I joined Northampton High School as Director of Studies and became Deputy Head, Academic in 2012. The highlights of my time at the school so far have been setting up a variety of academic programmes such as the Laureate scheme in the Sixth Form and the Digacy programme, as I believe these have empowered teachers and students to bring new energy to their teaching and learning.

I currently live in South Northamptonshire with my wife, Emma, a GP, and our children. Coming from a big family, I have a good understanding of what makes children thrive and it is always a life-affirming experience to be amongst young people. I try to bring a sense of positivity with me to school and have a simple philosophy of education; students work best when they have a calm environment where their individual dreams and ambitions are cherished and supported.

I am passionate about improving equality of opportunity and I feel that working in a GDST school with such vibrant and diverse pupils offers me a real chance to encourage the next generation to strive for change in the world.

Marissa Davis

Acting Head of Junior School

Read more

Mrs Marissa Davis has a connection with the GDST that spans over twenty years, having been Head of Junior School at Howell’s in Cardiff for nine years before becoming Deputy Director of Education at GDST. During this time, she also served as Interim Head of Junior School at The Royal High School Bath, and The Hamlets in Liverpool.

Marissa brings significant experience in primary phase education and corporate governance in school leadership, having also worked as a consultant in these specialist fields, both within GDST and other school trusts.

Marissa is passionate about putting ‘Girls First’, ensuring that each individual in her care receives the highest levels of education, academic and pastoral care.  She is unstinting in her pursuit of helping girls to develop a strong sense of self belief, confidence and a ‘can do’ approach, which they can take with them throughout their lives.

Katie Milne

Consultant Head of Junior School

Read more

I am absolutely delighted to have joined Northampton High School and it took me only a few days to realise what a special community it is, where excellent teaching and learning are underpinned by friendly and caring relationships.

I am very excited about working alongside Mrs Davis and the staff in achieving our school’s vision and, together, we shall ensure the girls have abundant opportunities and experiences which enable them to develop the skills and character essential for their future.

Having attended St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh and taught at The Perse School for Girls (now The Stephen Perse Foundation) in Cambridge, I feel very much at home within the GDST and fully committed to its ethos. What a privilege it is to share ideas and best practice about the unique ways in which girls flourish as active thinkers and learners, challenge themselves, embrace life and contribute to society.

Since retiring from headship, I have joined the governing body of a prep school in Suffolk, become a mentor for new head teachers in IAPS schools, trained as a Youth Mental Health First Aider and taken on the role of independent listener for sixth formers in a school boarding house setting. In my spare time, I enjoy Scottish dancing, singing, gardening and travelling.

Julia Cantwell

Director of Sixth Form

Read more

I experienced the advantages of being educated at a single sex girls school, James Allen’s Girls School in Dulwich. An innovative and forward thinking school with some excellent role models, it gave me the confidence to follow my interests in science and engineering and study Applied Physics and Chemistry at Durham University. On graduation I became a Process Engineer making silicon chips.

When the company relocated to California I decided that I was motivated by the development of people rather than money or objects and decided to teach.

I completed my PGCE at the Institute of Education at London University and begun my career teaching Physics and tutoring in the girls’ boarding houses at two leading co-educational independent schools, Felsted School in Essex and later at Eastbourne College where I taught with my husband, Philip. It was while we were in Eastbourne that our two daughters, Louisa and Helena were born.

Career moves took us to London and I became Head of Science at St Olave’s Grammar school in Orpington, a very different experience, as this was a single sex boys school. Our son, Joseph was born while we were there.

Our next move was to Cokethorpe School in Oxfordshire where I taught Physics part time. I also became manager of the West Oxfordshire Education Business Partnership, an organisation that brought together businesses and schools, setting up programmes to enable school students to learn about enterprise and the world of work. I continued to work in this area when we moved to Tynemouth, managing the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership working with schools and businesses across the North East.

When we relocated to Northamptonshire in 2010 I was appointed to teach Physics at the High School. I immediately felt “at home” surrounded by passionate and inspiring colleagues and welcoming, curious and motivated girls. I thoroughly enjoy teaching here, becoming first Head of Science and latterly Director of Sixth Form. It is a pleasure to see each girl develop her confidence and independence and to support them as they make the decisions and choices that will take them to university and on to their chosen career.

Amanda Wilmot

Director of Marketing and Admissions

Read more

I began working at Northampton High School in April 2016 as Registrar; in February 2018 I became Director of Marketing and Admissions and joined the Senior Leadership Team, expanding my role to include marketing, alumnae relations, development, outreach and enterprise.

I began my graduate career as a Trilingual Assistant at Mercedes-Benz Finance in Milton Keynes, and two years later moved to join a project team to establish a financial services company in South Africa for Mercedes-Benz. We launched the company in 1997, and I progressed from Product Controller to become Marketing Manager of a team tasked with product development, marketing and communications and dealer training. I then took up an international position for the Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAM) region, coordinating eBusiness and communications activities, and also became the Board Member for Marketing of the South African organisation.

I returned to the UK having spent a wonderful 5 years in South Africa, now with a husband and a son.  I worked as General Manager for Marketing and Product Development on the Senior Management team of the UK company for a further 3 years, before transferring my skills to the independent schools sector, firstly as Director of Marketing at Bedford High School (Harper Trust) and then as a marketing consultant. I took up  the role of Marketing Manager at Quinton House School in 2013, joining the Senior Leadership Team.

I gained a degree in French, German and Russian Studies from Keele University and have been lucky enough to live in France, Germany and Russia as well as travelling at every opportunity.

I have two children, a son embarking on a university degree and a daughter who attended the Junior School and is now studying for her A Levels at Northampton High. I love seeing at first hand the outstanding education our High School girls receive and to meet families who are looking for the right school for their own daughters.

I enjoy the theatre and am keen to explore all types of production on stage and screen. I am a member of a book group at home and at school.

Alex Hume

Director of Finance and Operations

Read more

I was born in Milton Keynes, and grew up locally in South Northamptonshire with teachers for parents, so I am finally following in their footsteps and joining the education sector!

I studied Music at University of Liverpool and then started my graduate career with Marks and Spencer as a Commercial Manager, then later as a Store Manager. I then developed my Store Manager career further moving to Lidl, an exciting time with the fast pace of company growth and new store openings. Prior to finishing University, I worked for Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers which gave me great experience in the hospitality sector, and my first leadership opportunities.

I’m excited to be able to bring some of my commercial experience to Northampton High School and look forward to being able to lead the support functions that are not only the nuts and bolts of operating the school, but also form part of the wider educational experience the school offers.

In my spare time I’m a fitness instructor and I teach some group exercise classes. I live over in Milton Keynes with my partner Jonathan, and we both enjoy going to the theatre.


Apply for a place