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Co-educational independent day preparatory school for children aged 3-13 years

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Senior Leadership

Craig Watson, Headmaster

BEd (Hons)(Cantab) MA (Lon)

craig watson staff

Craig went to a boarding prep school from the age of nine with his younger brother before being educated at a Benedictine School, Belmont Abbey.  With degrees from Homerton College, Cambridge and The Institute of Education, London, Craig began his teaching at The Hall, a prep school in North West London.  Having specialised in English and teaching a lot of games, Craig also taught History, Maths and Religious Studies on the way.  He left The Hall after 16 years where he had been a Year 5 Form Master, Head of Year, Head of Middle School, House Master and Deputy Head.  Craig was appointed as Headmaster at Davenies Prep School for nine years before starting at Crosfields in September 2015.   As a boy and a young man Craig played a great deal of sport and now runs to keep fit.  As an English teacher it is no surprise to learn that he is an avid reader, he is also a Friend of the Royal Academy and The Tate.  He enjoys going to classical concerts, the theatre and cinema.  Craig is married to Helen and they have an 18 year old daughter, Rosa.

Simon Dinsdale, Deputy Head

MA (Open), BAHons (Chichester), FLCM, LTCL, LLCM, PGCE (Open)

simon dinsdale staff

Simon oversees the pastoral and organisational life of the school.  He loves teaching and working with children!

Over his many years in education, he has taught both music and maths across the age-groups, from Nursery to Undergraduate level.  At Crosfields Simon teaches maths in the Middle and Senior Schools but can also be found accompanying on the piano the Junior School and Middle School Boys’ choirs as well as lighting the Middle and Senior Schools’ productions. 

He has two very sporty teenage sons, both of whom came to Crosfields before moving on to their public schools at the end of Year 8.

Charlotte Bennett, Deputy Head (academic)

BEdHons (Oxon)


Charlotte was educated at Thorpe House School followed by Wymondham College in Norfolk. After qualifying with a BEd Hons in Maths at Westminster College, Oxford University she began her teaching career at Crosfields. In 2009 she was appointed Deputy Head of Pre-Prep and in 2016 joined the Senior Leadership Team as Head of Teaching and Learning.

Charlotte likes to challenge herself both inside and outside of work and in 2015 she completed the Marathon des Sables, a gruelling 156-mile race across the Sahara desert, along with her husband Steven and in 2016 completed the Paris marathon. Charlotte has two children who have both attended Crosfields.

Karen O'Leary, Director of Studies



Karen has a teaching degree from the University of Roehampton, London and began her teaching career in Wimbledon in 2000.  Karen started at Crosfields in 2009, shortly after moving to the local area and choosing the school for her son to attend. She joined initially as a form teacher in Year 5 before being appointed as Head Year 5 in 2010.  In 2016 she became Head of Drama and leads the school productions.  Karen joined the Senior Leadership Team in September 2017.  She was appointed to her current role as Director of Studies in January 2018.

In addition to a son who attended Crosfields Karen also has a daughter who currently attends the school.  Outside school life Karen enjoys an active lifestyle, loves travelling and enjoys supporting and taking part in triathlons. 

Janey McDowell, Head of Pre-Prep

BScHons (Reading), PGCE (Cantab)

janey mcdowell staff

As a child, Janey lived in many different countries. Born in Zimbabwe, she then lived, and was educated, in Sudan, Iran and South Africa.  Janey’s career in education began by studying mother/infant relationships in orang-utans (!) whilst gaining a B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology/Zoology. This was followed by a P.G.C.E.(Biology) from Kings College, Cambridge. Having taught A-level biology for a few years, she realised that it was the children's development that interested her more than the subject, so she moved gradually down the age range, eventually teaching a nursery class at Rupert House School in Henley for 12 years. When Crosfields became co-educational, Janey joined as a Reception teacher, before being appointed as Head of Pre-Prep in 2008.

Bringing up four children (three daughters and a son who attended Crosfields), has given Janey an insight into, and understanding of, parents' concerns and expectations.

John Ireland, Head of the Junior School

MEd (Reading), PgCert SENCO (Reading), PGCE (Reading), BA (Hons) (Kent)

eileen beard staff

John started his career in teaching at a  large local primary school before moving to Ashford Prep where to took up post of Head of Learning Support. Here he worked as a boarding house tutor, form tutor and took games among teaching commitments such as Science & Maths. During his time at Ashford Prep he completed his Masters in Education at the University of Reading before being appointed Head of Juniors at Crosfields in September 2017.

Contact Us

  • Crosfields School
  • Shinfield Road
  • Reading, Berkshire
  • RG2 9BL
  • Main Office: 0118 9871810
  • Bursar's Office: 0118 9862535
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