Together we inspire
We are delighted to introduce you to our Senior Leadership Team. The aim of this exceptional team of people is to provide a coherent educational journey for all children from Nursery to Year 8. We will ensure that your child will have an exciting, seamless and rich education.
Under the inspirational guidance of Suzannah Cryer the Senior Leadership Team works across Highfield and Brookham including the Nursery, the Pre-prep and the Prep School. This expert team of people will build on the first-rate leadership and pave the way for the future vision of the school. Through a dynamic curriculum, unwavering pastoral care and an exceptional school environment, the aim is to develop happy, inquiring and caring young people who are engaged citizens of the world.
The strength of a school comes from the members of its community. This is the driving force behind our unified Senior Leadership Team. Our vision is to help your children develop qualities for a successful future. We will provide them with a learning environment that challenges, supports and inspires. The result is a school community that values individuals for their unique contribution and brings out the best in everyone. In order to be effective in our roles as Senior Leaders the whole team will preserve a strong presence in the classrooms.
I believe in developing the whole person through a dynamic Arts, Sport and Leadership programme. My 20 years’ experience in the independent and state sector will allow me to guide your children on this exciting journey. Most recently, I held the position of Deputy Head at Thomas’s Battersea London and, previous to that, I had the immense honour of being Head of Drama and Head of Boarding right here at Highfield. I have never worked in a school where the children are able to spread their wings as much as they are able to here.
Head of Early Years
As Head of Early Years, I will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Early Years Foundation Stage. I will have an oversight of your children in Nursery and Reception, where they are in terms of their development and what their next steps need to be. An important part of my role is to be outward looking to ensure I am up-to-date with current developments and pedagogy. This is to ensure we deliver a high quality, creative and stimulating education for the children in Early Years. As research continues to show, these years of your children’s educational journey are vital and lasting.
I have worked at the school for the past 14 years across multiple year groups and for the last six I have been part of the Senior Leadership Team. I look forward to continuing to drive the longer-term vision and development of the school’s educational provision.
Head of Pre-prep
My position as Head of Pre-prep involves the responsibility for the efficient running of all aspects of our Pre-prep. This includes developing and maintaining strong relationships with every parent in our community and understanding the needs of your children and our staff. My role will also include working closely with my colleagues to support the successful transition of your children from one year group to the next, guiding them on their journey to Prep school.
Having been a member of the school community for six years as a Class Teacher and Head of Year, I am pleased that I will continue to teach in addition to my leadership role. During my previous role of Pastoral Lead, I have built close and genuine relationships with you and your children. I will uphold high levels of pupil welfare, pastoral care and behaviour and will continue to contribute to the strategic planning of the whole school to ensure that we are striving towards achieving our vision.
Deputy Head (Professional Development)
I am committed to ensuring our children benefit from the highest quality teaching which, in turn, will make the biggest difference to their learning. As Deputy Head (Professional Development), I will be leading the operational aspects of the continuous growth of all our staff across our Nursery, Pre-prep and Prep. I will draw on the latest evidence to help maintain the highest quality professional learning environments and teaching methods to improve pupil outcomes and encourage an ethos of lifelong learning for your children and our teachers.
I have been at the school for nearly 16 years and have always closely followed the latest evidence-based educational research and pedagogical advances. From my previous roles as Deputy Head (Academic), Year Group Lead, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead and Junior Houseparent, I am acutely aware that supporting and sustaining high standards in our teaching body is crucial for your children’s success. I will lead by example as I continue as a Pre-prep Class Teacher.
Deputy Head (Management and Organisation)
As Deputy Head (Management and Organisation) my role is multi-faceted. I am responsible for the essential, day-to-day running of the school and all that this entails. I will lead the school’s preparations for inspections and make sure we are compliant from Nursery to Year 8 with all that the Independent Schools Inspectorate requires. The management of our staff is also a pivotal part of my role, including leading inductions for our new members of the community.
I have 26 years’ experience of teaching in junior schools and joined Highfield in 2017. I have previously been Head of Boys’ Boarding and Head of Science before becoming Deputy Head in September 2021. I am a keen believer in championing the underdog and allowing children to find their passion and be given the opportunity to shine. I will still have my hand in the Airfix Club and teaching in the science labs.
Deputy Head (Academic)
I will be supporting Suzannah and the whole team to drive the vision, ethos and values of the school as Deputy Head (Academic). I have the fundamental responsibility to monitor and be accountable for the creative, seamless and skills-rich curriculum which will be delivered to your children from Nursery to Year 8. To achieve this, I will work closely with all of my colleagues, monitoring this delivery through policy, appraisal, assessment tracking, and regular collaboration. This will lead to evidencing pupil progress through reporting to you and building your children a pupil profile on a digital platform. Using all this information, I will be able to support Suzannah to advise you which Senior School is the best fit for your children.
I am passionate about the future of a skills-rich education combined with academic rigour. I have 24 years’ teaching experience in prep schools, most recently St George’s, Windsor Castle, and I am happy I will continue to teach a subject I love – Maths. My experience of leading academic programmes and launching new curriculum models means I will ensure your children’s education will be exciting while being underpinned by depth of knowledge.
Deputy Head (Pastoral)
In my position as Deputy Head (Pastoral), I will place pastoral care at the beating heart of the school with the clear understanding that we can only teach your children effectively if they are thriving in our care. My approach is simple and founded on parents and staff working with our children to ensure that they are flourishing from the moment they join Nursery all the way through to their final year. This is manifested in your children taking measured risks, laughing, working hard and learning from their mistakes. I am delighted to be able to see this first-hand as I continue my role as a Class Teacher.
I have been at the school for 10 years and for the past three I have made a positive contribution to the strategic vision of the school as part of the Senior Management Team. I will continue to work with the rest of the Senior Leadership Team to modernise our pastoral provision, to reinvigorate the Pupil Leadership Team, and to implement a whole school measured and consistent approach to behaviour management. I believe that leaders must have a clear vision, lead by example and, very importantly, reflect and adapt when necessary.
Mikayla van den Berg
Director of Boarding
As Director of Boarding, I am responsible for ensuring that we provide the highest possible standard of boarding experience. I will be working closely with Vivienne Liddell, Deputy Head (Pastoral), and Ian Nicholas, Deputy Head (Academic), to ensure that your children are valued, challenged and supported in becoming the very best versions of themselves. I will be guiding the development of our staff in both the Junior Boarding and Senior Boarding Houses. As Designated Safeguarding Lead, it is my responsibility to instil a culture of safeguarding across the school, leading the safeguarding provision from Nursery through to Year 8. I will be working closely with the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team to ensure that we have a strong team of safeguarding excellence.
I joined the school in September 2023 from The Oratory Prep School, Reading, where I held the position of Head of Boarding. I am looking forward to getting to know your children in the Boarding Houses and in the classroom while I teach them History.
Head of Lower Prep
I will be leading a wonderful team of teachers in Year 3 and Year 4 in my role as Head of Lower Prep. We will provide excellent pastoral care and support academic progress for your children in this age group. I have the additional honour of also being a Year 3 Class Teacher.
I am excited to build on my experience of Head of Year and my past five years at the school. I look forward to supporting your children in the pivotal years as they transition into Prep school. Building strong, real relationships with you and your children is paramount to supporting their success at school.
Head of Middle Prep
My passion for teaching comes from a desire to help shape the future of young people, preparing them for the world ahead whoever they are and whatever they want to be. My role as Head of Middle School, coupled with my passion for mindfulness, will allow me to support your child on their journey through Year 5 and Year 6. I know that all young people are different and strongly feel that supporting your children’s mental health alongside their academics is vital. An honour of my position is holding the additional role of Head of Future Schools. It is a privilege to guide you and your child on selecting the right Senior School.
The past nine years at the school have accelerated the love of my subject, Modern Foreign Languages, and I am delighted I will continue to lead and teach this subject alongside my leadership role.
Head of Upper Prep
The final two years at Prep school are unique. As Head of Upper School, I am there to support your children during this special time as they reach their final years at the school. This includes continued delivery of our excellent academic provision and, most importantly, providing exceptional opportunities that your children may not have available in Year 7 and Year 8 at a Senior School. My role also has an important pastoral focus, supporting your children through these important years of discovery and self-belief. This is to aid every individual to be best prepared to flourish at their chosen Senior School.
I have worked here for 12 years and have recently held the positions of Head of Year and Head of Geography. I am delighted that I will continue to have the opportunity to teach your children the subject I am so passionate about in their classrooms and around our amazing grounds.
Head of Learning Support
As Head of Learning Support, I am responsible for the provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). I provide professional guidance to our teachers and parents in the area of SEND, to ensure that your children are supported in their learning and achieve the best possible outcomes. The SEND provision is delivered both through adapted teaching in the classroom for your children’s needs and, where relevant, additional support outside the classroom from a dedicated team.
I have worked here since 2014 and am a Specialist Teacher and Assessor with a passion for inclusion, fostering an enthusiasm for lifelong learning and independence of thought. Through this approach your children will develop self-esteem, a wide range of knowledge and essential communication, study and life skills.
I joined the school in October 2023 from Eton College, where I held the position of Country Sports Officer, tasked to broaden the provision of fishing, shooting and other field sports. I was also appointed Adjutant of Eton College Combined Cadet Force having previously served with the British Army within the Parachute Regiment. Prior to that I enjoyed a varied career path which includes Facilities Manager at the National Clay Shooting Centre, agricultural land management as well as service within the Police.
My objective for the team as Estate Manager is to provide the best prep school facilities and grounds in the country to support the academic and co-curricular staff in their work enabling your children to thrive. We are proud of the stunning facilities and grounds that we have and will continue to maintain them to the highest standard. My focus will be to always strive for perfection whether it is our ecological and woodland management, maintenance of infrastructure, equipment or state of the art facilities such as the outstanding astro pitch and pavilion. I am looking forward to building on this success for the future in terms of new developments on the estate, futureproofing our focus on sustainability and pushing the estate and school to be carbon neutral by 2030.
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and then worked for five years at GE performing a range of different financial and management accounting roles. I took a career break to be the main carer for my two daughters before returning to full-time work when I joined Highfield and Brookham as Finance Manager in September 2021.
My close working relationship with Mel Harris, our outgoing Bursar, and my existing knowledge of the school’s financial and operational functions will be invaluable in providing continuity and support to the school. I am thrilled to be part of the Senior Leadership Team as we take the school forward into an even more successful future.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Over the last 10 years I have specialised in education marketing, in particular the prep school market. Prior to my current role, I was at Danes Hill School, Oxshott, where I was Director of Marketing and Admissions. Before that, I was Head of Marketing and Development right here at Highfield and Brookham. Just like Suzannah, I could not stay away.
I am so pleased to be back and to be part of the Senior Leadership Team. Working here is more than a job, it is being part of a vibrant extended family. I am excited to work with such a talented and passionate group of people to drive the future vision of the school. I am eager to welcome the next generation to such a brilliant school, one that will nurture their talents and provide the skills to last a lifetime.