Discover the talented individuals behind St Helen and St Katharine’s success. Our dedicated staff and leadership team are committed to providing a quality education for every student – find out more about the people working at St Helen’s and their commitment to excellence.
Headmistress, MA London, BA Bristol
Rebecca Dougall studied English Literature at Bristol University and then took a Masters in Nineteenth Century literature at King’s College, London. She spent ten years as an English teacher at both boarding and day girls’ schools, accruing various pastoral responsibilities along the way. She became a Deputy Head in 2003 and began her first Headship at The Royal High School Bath GDST in 2010. She became Head of St Helen and St Katharine in 2015. Outside of school she reads, gardens, walks with her husband, attempts to control her West Highland Terrier and spends too long watching and discussing football and cricket.
Director of Finance and Operations
Director of Finance and Operations, BSc London
Nicola McAvoy studied Aeronautical Engineering at The City University and is a Chartered Manager with the CMI. She spent 17 years as an Army Officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers including operational tours to Macedonia and Kosovo before taking up the role as Bursar at Pinewood School, a coeducational boarding and day prep school near Swindon. She joined St Helen’s as the Director of Finance and Operations in January 2022. Outside of school she enjoys mountain walking, swimming and orienteering.
Senior Deputy Head
Senior Deputy Head, MA St Andrews
John Hunt studied Mediaeval History at St Andrews, worked for Procter & Gamble for five years before a career change to teaching. Spent ten years at Loughborough Grammar School in a variety of pastoral roles. Joined St Helen’s as Director of Staff in 2012, subsequently took on responsibility for IT before becoming Deputy Head in September 2021 with responsibilities including curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Father of three; fascinated by Russian history, the Normans and the East India Company; technophile; dinghy sailor and inveterate player of board games.
Pastoral Deputy Head
Pastoral Deputy Head, MA Oxford Brookes, BA Durham
Liz Bedford studied Geography at Durham university. She joined St Helen’s in 2015 having spent 20 years in three schools as Head of Department and Faculty before becoming Head of Lower School. She has a Masters in Educational Management. As Pastoral Deputy Head Liz has responsibility for safeguarding, welfare and day to day activities of the students. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Outside the classroom she is usually to be found up an Alpine mountain, running or reading.
Assistant Head, Director of Academic Development and Partnerships
Assistant Head, Director of Academic Development and Partnerships, DPhil, MSc Oxon, BSc Oxford Brookes
Abbie Pringle studied psychology at Oxford Brookes followed by an MSc in Neuroscience and DPhil in Psychology both from University of Oxford. After a career as a Research and Teaching Fellow at University of Oxford, she was keen to devote even more of her time to sharing her love of psychology and neuroscience and has enjoyed teaching in schools ever since. She joined St Helen’s in 2021 with responsibilities for promoting scholarship and developing academic enrichment, as well as our work with partner schools. Enjoys reading, (slow) running and as much travel as she can squeeze in.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Director of Communications and Marketing, MA Southern Denmark
Lea Askgaard has a Masters in International Business and Modern Languages from the University of Southern Denmark, which has been put into use in various marketing, communication and advertising roles on both client and agency sides, including Ogilvy & Mather and Havas. She joined St Helen’s in 2017 from a role at the University of Oxford to oversee the School’s communications, marketing, admissions and alumnae functions. Originally from Denmark, she enjoys travelling with her family, exploring other cultures, cycling, practising yoga and playing WordFeud.
Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education
Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education, MA Warwick, BSc London
Heather Darcy studied anthropology at University College London, then worked as a researcher for the photographer Steve Bloom before completing research for VSO in Mongolia for four months. On her return, she completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme (English, 2010) in the West Midlands, whilst achieving a Masters in Educational Leadership and the NPQSL in 2015. She has been a Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education since 2014 in both the independent and maintained sector with teaching and learning, curriculum and pastoral responsibilities.