Senior Leadership Team
The school has outstanding staff who are dedicated and demonstrate kindness and commitment towards the children they support. The Senior Leadership team are responsible for delivering on the strategy of Crosfields School.
Mr Craig Watson, Head
BEd (Hons) (Cantab) MA (Lon)
Craig went to a boarding prep school from the age of 9 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 Northwest London. Having specialised in English and teaching a lot of games, Craig also taught History, Maths and Religious Studies along 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’s no surprise to learn that he is an avid reader, he’s 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 a 23-year-old daughter, Rosa.
Mr Simon Dinsdale, Second Master
MA (Open), BAHons (Chichester), FLCM, LTCL, LLCM, PGCE (Open)
Simon oversees the administrative 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 Junior and Senior Schools but can also be found accompanying on the piano the Junior School and Senior School choirs as well as lighting the Junior and Senior Schools’ productions.
He has two very sporty sons, both of whom came to Crosfields before moving on to their public schools at the end of Year 8.
Mrs Caroline Purdom, Bursar
OBE BA(Hons) CMgr MCMI
Caroline studied Economics at Reading University before joining the Royal Air Force as an Administrative (Secretarial) Officer. Her 19 years flying a desk included a wide variety of roles including accounts, HR, property management and strategic planning in the UK and operational tours in Italy and Turkey. Her last tour was as Officer Commanding Support Wing at RAF Northolt where she oversaw a multi-million pound rebuild project and the expansion of support services. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2011.
After a short stint as Head of Communications and Client Relations at ISS, Caroline took a career break and was Vice-Chair of the Friends of her daughter’s Prep School, Treasurer and Trustee at the Battle of Britain Bunker, Uxbridge and provided governance support to the Military Wives Choir Foundation.
Caroline joined Davenies Preparatory School in January 2013 and project managed the operational logistics of the building of a new prep and junior school, developed a new health and safety framework, and ran the Gardening Club.
Caroline joined Crosfields in January 2019 as Bursar and Clerk to Governors.
Away from School, Caroline is a Brownie Leader, a fair-weather cyclist, and a keen gardener. Caroline is married to Mark, has a netball mad daughter and 2 Irish Setters.
Mrs Karen O’Leary, Director of Studies
BAHons QTS (Surrey)
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 of 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.
Mrs Joanne Phillips, Director of External Relations
BA (Warwick) MA (Bath)
Joanne studied Law and Sociology at the University of Warwick. Joanne has held senior roles both at UK universities and leading independent schools. She has lived in the Middle East and North America exploring her passion of travelling and learning languages.
Joanne specialises in developing high performance teams by utilising a data-driven approach to meet strategic objectives. Joanne joined Crosfields in February 2022 and leads the External Relations Department with overall responsibility for Recruitment, Marketing, Admissions, Alumni and Community Outreach.
Mr John Ireland, Deputy Head of the Junior School (Academic)
MEd (Reading), PgCert SENCO (Reading), PGCE (Reading), BAHons (Kent)
John started his career in teaching at a large local primary school before moving to Ashford Prep where he took up post of Head of Learning Support. Here he worked as a Boarding House Tutor, Form Tutor and took games alongside teaching commitments such as Science and Maths. During his time at Ashford Prep he completed his Masters in Education at the University of Reading before being appointed Deputy Head of Juniors at Crosfields in September 2017.
Mr Tom Goodhew, Deputy Head of the Junior School (Pastoral)
BSc (Hons) (UWIC), PGCE (Reading)
Tom joined Crosfields School as a PE and Games Teacher in 2013. Prior to this he spent three years teaching in the Middle East and before that, four years as a PE Teacher at a local secondary school. Tom’s natural abilities shone through quickly and since joining Crosfields, he has been promoted to Head of Year 6, Head of Middle School and as of September 2021 was appointed to his busiest role to date, Deputy Head (Pastoral) for the Junior School.
Tom’s passion for helping young people develop confidence and character combines well with his aim to create a sense of togetherness and community within each class and the wider school body. A natural team player, outside of school Tom has played Rugby, Football and Cricket and is driven by a strong sense of celebrating the different attributes within a community and recognising how when brought together they empower all within.
Mrs Janey McDowell, Head of Pre-Prep
BScHons (Reading), PGCE (Cantab)
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 orangutans (!) whilst gaining a B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology/Zoology. This was followed by a PGCE(Biology) from King’s 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.
Mrs Alice Westley-Smith, Deputy Head of Pre-Prep
BA ed QTS (Canterbury)
Alice studied Primary Education with a music specialism at Canterbury University and since graduating, took up her position at Crosfields as the Head of Junior and Pre-Prep music in 2014.
Her passion for music stemmed from childhood, becoming a chorister at Exeter Cathedral School at the age of 9 and pursuing the piano, violin and singing to achieve her grade 8’s in all three. Alice’s expertise and enthusiasm for teaching music chimed a chord with her peers and two years ago she was promoted to the position of Deputy Head of Pre-Prep, working alongside Janey McDowell.
Recently married to Mr. Murray-Smith, a Science Teacher at Crosfields, Alice continues to sing in choirs outside of school and keeps active by walking their dog Nyla.
Mrs Kerry Stone, Head of Early Years
BA Hons (Queen Mary University of London), PGCE (ARU)
Kerry began her career teaching in a large state primary school before moving to Budapest to teach at the British International School. She went on to take up the role of Lower School Co-ordinator at the British Embassy School in Ankara before returning to the UK. In 2008 Kerry joined Crosfields as a Reception teacher, before taking on the role of Head of Early Years.
Having taught young children for over twenty years, Kerry still enjoys discovering the unique character of every child and watching them learn and develop during this crucial phase of their education.
Away from school Kerry enjoys Pilates and exploring both cities and the countryside in the UK and further afield.
Mr Richard Ebbage, Deputy Head of the Senior School (Academic)
BSc (Roehampton), MSc (Southampton), QTS, NPQSL (UCL)
Richard Ebbage joined Crosfields from Shiplake College, bringing with him considerable expertise in teaching and mentoring children and adolescents.
As well as leading the way on teaching and learning, he was also Assistant Housemaster and Head of Football, and has taught Maths and Psychology at GCSE and A-level.
Having spent seven years at Shiplake, Richard initially joined the College as Head of Psychology before moving into the role of Deputy Head, Academic.
Mr Adam Mallins, Deputy Head of the Senior School (Pastoral)
BSc (Birmingham), PGCE (Buckingham)
Adam began his education at Donhead Prep School in Wimbledon, before moving across the road to Wimbledon College. He then earned a BSc Hons degree in Geology and Geography at the University of Birmingham before entering a career in television production at the BBC. Adam returned to education in 2010, becoming a teacher and Housemaster at Shiplake College.
Outside school, Adam loves sport, both watching and playing, with rugby being a particular passion. He is married to Elizabeth, a primary school teacher, and has two children at Crosfields.