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Highdown School
and Sixth Form Centre

Ms Rachel Cave [Headteacher]

Rachel joined the academy as Headteacher in 2013. She joined Highdown having worked as a Deputy Headteacher in a large secondary school in West London. Rachel is a teacher of Science, specialising in Chemistry. Away from Highdown, Rachel enjoys visiting her ‘second home’ of Wigmore Hall to listen to chamber music such as Bach.

Mr Matthew Grantham [Deputy Head]

Matthew joined the academy as Deputy Headteacher in 2013, having been an Assistant Headteacher in a large secondary school in West London. Matthew is a teacher of Geography.  Whenever possible, Matthew enjoys escaping to the countryside to hike up and down some mountains, most recently in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mr John Reid [Deputy Head]

John was appointed as Deputy Headteacher in 2015, having worked at Highdown School since 2002 as Head of History, Head of Humanities and an Assistant Headteacher prior to his current post. John is a teacher of History and Politics and is the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Away from Highdown, John manages a youth football team – AFC Reading Red Arrows.

Mrs Sarah Flynn [Assistant Head]

Sarah has worked at Highdown School since 2005 as Head of Mathematics and was appointed as Assistant Headteacher in 2014. Sarah is responsible for learning and teaching. Sarah enjoys singing in the Senior Choir whenever possible.

Dr Sara Capaldi [Assistant Head]

Sara has worked at Highdown School since 2002 and was Curriculum Leader for Science prior to being appointed as Assistant Headteacher in 2016. Sara is responsible for culture and attitude and promoted student leadership through re-introducing our House System. In and out of Highdown, Sara is a keen choral singer.

Mr Andy Franks [Assistant Head]

Andy joined Highdown in 2009, coming to the school as a Newly Qualified Teacher. Andy has also worked as a Head of Achievement before joining the Senior Leadership team in 2018. Andy is a History teacher but has also taught Politics and Sociology. Outside of school Andy enjoys reading, spending time with his family and friends, and enjoying using his newly acquired National Trust membership.

Mrs Laura Cripps [Assistant Head]

Laura joined the academy as Assistant Headteacher in 2013, having previously been Head of MFL and Assistant Headteacher at a large secondary school in Surrey. Having taken a step back from senior leadership to start a family, Laura was thrilled to return to the team at Easter 2021 and is looking forward to leading on professional learning and learning and teaching development at Highdown. When not teaching French, Laura can be found chasing her children round the park, taking on silly roles in a local pantomime or cheering on her beloved Tottenham Hotspur!

Mrs Mary Grantham [Assistant Head]

Mary has worked at Highdown since 2016 when she joined as an English teacher. In her previous roles, Mary has been Head of English and Learning and Teaching Lead, although now she is responsible for raising standards within the curriculum. Away from school, Mary enjoys running in the great outdoors, combined with a good audiobook. 

Mr Daniel Burnell [Associate Senior Leader]

Daniel started Highdown School to finish his Newly Qualified Teacher training in 2014. He quickly became an Assistant Head of Achievement in 2015, Head of House in 2016 and then Head of Achievement in 2018. He continues to work in this role in addition to his Academy leadership responsibilities. Daniel’s main passion is sport, in particular playing competitive rugby.

Mr Kevin Prior [Head of Sixth Form]

Kevin has been at Highdown since 1998, when he joined as a newly qualified History teacher.  He has worked as Head of History, Head of Year at KS3 and in Sixth Form, before becoming Head of Sixth Form.  He also works as an examiner for AQA Sociology.  Kevin is also a Highdown parent, and spends his spare time following Reading FC and watching every MCU film repeatedly.