Pre-IB and IB Diploma teachers
With highly-experienced academic staff, specialist knowledge of the IB methodology and our high staff-to-student ratio, students really benefit from the quality of our teaching. This is backed up by our quality IB exam results and positive inspection reports.
‘The quality of the students’ academic achievement is excellent’. ISI report 2019
Also, many of our teachers are IB Examiners or International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) Workshop Leaders, so they know exactly what skills and attributes are needed to help students thrive.
Our Teaching staff
Our teachers are listed below in alphabetical order:
Alastair has always had a strong sense of international identity having spent his formative years studying for a European Baccalaureate at The European School, Culham. He graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from Edinburgh, but quickly realised he lacked the patience to be a research scientist. He subsequently worked for several years in London recruiting finance staff for a range of clients in the oil industry before returning to Edinburgh University to retrain as a teacher. Subsequently, as well as successfully producing two offspring, he taught in a state school in London before moving to Abingdon School where he taught biology and ran the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. This allowed him to indulge his love of hill-walking, whilst attempting to persuade the students to love it too. He moved to St. Edward’s, Oxford in 2008 and held various posts including Head of Year and Head of Biology before being promoted to lead the IB Diploma programme. Five years of effort saw IB numbers eventually eclipse the numbers studying A levels.
Alastair joined St Clare’s in November 2018 and is looking forward to continuing the development of the highly successful IB diploma programme at the college. Thanks to his schooling he is able to discuss topics such as US agriculture in the 1930s in German to some extent, but wishes his everyday speaking and writing skills had not suffered 25 years of neglect. He still enjoys hill-walking, cooking (particularly Lebanese dishes), occasional triathlons, playing the piano and watching Oxford United draw 0-0 in the pouring rain with his son.
Alex Palmer is an English teacher who has worked at St. Clare’s since 2011. After reading English Language and Literature at the University of Manchester, Alex began his teaching career in Argentina in 2008, where he taught groups of teenagers, trainee teachers and managers from banks and oil companies. On his return to the UK in 2011, Alex started teaching at St Clare’s International College and completed the DELTA qualification through the University of Cambridge. Over the next four years he taught every option offered on that campus, including the University Foundation course, the English plus Academic Subjects programme and exam preparation classes. He was also the Director of Studies for the teenage and junior summer courses (2013-2015), where he developed the syllabuses to encourage students and teachers to progress onto the courses that run during the academic year. In January 2016 Alex moved to the IB campus on a full-time basis to teach English B on the IB Diploma. Alex has since gone on to teach English A: Language and Literature, as well as Pre-IB English, including IGCSE. His aim is to not only develop a student’s intrinsic motivation to learn the language, but also to expand their vocabulary and understanding of their other subjects too.
Andrew Young, who graduated with Combined Honours from the University of London, has been teaching both History and Politics at St. Clare’s, Oxford since 1987. As Joint Head of the Humanities Department he has recently overseen the introduction of the IB’s newest course, Global Politics, into the curriculum. As an author he has published articles in Modern History Review on topics as diverse as Benito Mussolini’s rise to power, and Mao Zedong’s policies towards women. Andrew has a particular interest in an arcane branch of politics known as Psephology – the study of electoral systems and voting behaviour. He has helped to organise and co-lead multiple St. Clare’s trips including India, Israel, Prague, Northern Ireland, Krakow and Auschwitz. As part of his commitment to advancing international education and understanding he runs the in-house Model United Nations group, and has co-led delegations to inter-school MUN conferences. Married to a Californian girl, Barbara, they have four mid-Atlantic children: Acacia, Jemma, George, and Ian.
Angeles Torres-Armendariz was born and grew up in Paris. A French citizen, her parents were Spanish, and she grew up with two cultures that she loves sharing with her students. She has been a teacher of French B, Spanish B and pre-IB at St Clare’s since 2013 and a personal tutor since 2016.
She studied at the Sorbonne in the University of Paris, where she gained BA Honours in Spanish and an MA in Teaching French as a Foreign Language. Before coming to St Clare’s, she taught French at the Oxford University Language Centre where she prepared and equipped students from the colleges with the skills needed for the Oxford University language programme (Opal exam) at different levels (beginners-threshold advanced).
She also taught French and Spanish at Oxford Brookes University, where she prepared students of various nationalities to become Spanish teachers or to study in France on the Erasmus scheme. She also delivered Spanish booster courses which trained students to prepare the PGCE in teaching Spanish in primary and secondary schools in England.
She started her teaching career teaching French and Spanish at two preparatory schools, Godstowe in High Wycombe and Cothill House in Oxfordshire, where she prepared children from 8 to 13 years of age for the Common Entrance examination.
Over her years of teaching, Miss Torres-Armendariz continues to love giving language classes to students from different nationalities. She really appreciates the cultural diversity at St Clare’s. It is the reason why she feels lucky to work in such a rich environment.
She enjoys travelling and discovering new cultures. She also loves art and studied fine art for a year at the Tolbiac University, Paris I. She has a strong interest in French baroque music, literature and French cinema. She also does a lot of cycling, which is one of her favourite activities.
Andrew Hennigan graduated with a BSc Hons from Aston University, Birmingham, which included a year spent working in industry for BP in Scotland. After university he worked as a Process Technologist for London Rubber Company and then as an Industrial Chemist for Linde Gas.
He moved into Science teaching having completed a PGCE at Keele University, and discovered that his time spent in industry allowed him to engage his students, motivating them with real life experiences. After seven years teaching at both state and independent schools in the UK, he has spent the last thirteen years teaching IB Chemistry overseas, in such diverse locations as Malaysia, Thailand, El Salvador, Slovakia and most recently Lithuania. In addition to science teaching he also taught Theory of Knowledge, Maths and coached rugby and athletics.
Any spare time is spent cooking, reading, travelling and enjoying time with his family.
Astrid Fraser is the Senior Librarian at St. Clare’s, and has worked at the college since 2004, starting as the Assistant Librarian and moving into her current position in 2006.Astrid graduated in Politics and Media Studies from De Montfort University, and went on to work in bookselling and publishing before deciding to make the move into librarianship. She did a library traineeship at the Bodleian Library and gained her MA in Librarianship from the University of Sheffield. She returned to Oxford and worked at the Politics and International Relations Faculty Library, for the University, before joining St. Clare’s.Astrid is a longstanding committee member of the Oxfordshire School Library Association, and was on the editorial committee of the School Library Association publication, Riveting Reads Plus: a view of the world, which consisted of reviews of books and films chosen to increase young people’s understanding of different cultures. Astrid has worked in children’s homes in India and Bangladesh and loves to travel. She also enjoys visiting museums and galleries, watching films and reading.She loves the fact that a book can open her eyes, and transport her, to another time or place.
Claire studied Mathematics at Manchester University and completed a Master’s in Computer Aided Engineering. She worked in the field of Meteorology both in the UK and Australia before completing a PGCE in teaching.
She has worked extensively in schools in Australia and the UK has taught across the age range and numerous different syllabi. She finally settled on the IB for its pedagogical values and has been teaching IB Mathematics at all levels for over ten years.
Having always been interested in ways to improve teaching, Claire went back to university and completed a Master’s in Neuroscience at Kings College London. This has helped her understand how the brain learns, especially during adolescence, and in turn she has been able to apply these ideas both in her teaching and as her role as Houseparent, for which she has over five years of experience. Claire is the House Parent for 155-159 Banbury Road.
Claire is very keen to develop wellbeing programmes that support students through the IB, such as mindfulness.
Darrel grew up by the coast in Devon before going to study at the Oxford School of Architecture. As a RIBA Chartered Architect he worked with various private practices involved in projects all over the UK, Europe and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As well as undertaking private commissions, he has mainly specialised in the education sector working on schools, colleges and universities. This exposure eventually led Darrel into teaching, where he chose to specialise in Maths because of his fascination with mathematical concepts, his enjoyment of problem solving and the importance of Maths in the workplace – especially relating to construction. He enjoyed studying various Maths courses with the Open University before returning to Oxford for a PGCE course. Darrel worked in three UK schools and recently managed a department of 12 secondary maths teachers, and undertook leadership and management of assessment and progress before moving to St. Clare’s as Assistant Principal Academic in 2014. Darrel lives in the beautiful city of Oxford and spends time progressing building projects, and with his family (including 3 children). He enjoys visiting new places, art, architecture, design, painting, woodwork, reading and KenKens. He likes a wide variety of music, plays guitar and aspires to play piano. Darrel enjoys swimming and has intermittent success when surfing in the summer months.
David Beale studied Environmental Science at Kings’ College London and completed a Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. He worked in wildlife conservation in Oxford, Indonesia, Eritrea and Tanzania and then made wildlife documentaries at the BBC. He moved into teaching having completed a PGCE and over the last twenty years He has been lucky enough to work in some of the most amazing schools in the UK and Australia. He has taught IB Biology for over ten years.
David Chaplin has been a member of the St Clare’s community for twenty years. He teaches Theory of Knowledge on the IB and Photography on our Pre-IB, summer school, and senior courses. He also developed our popular ’TOK tours’ of Oxford, which explore the rich intellectual heritage of the city. In 2015 he began working as a Personal Tutor, and also works in the library where he recently set up an educational e-video platform for staff and students. He was awarded his first degree by the University of Wales in the Humanities, gained his PGCE in Oxford, and has studied Art and Design. He also has a certificate in teaching basic literacy and numeracy to adults with learning difficulties, which was inspired by his work prior to St Clare’s in the mental health division of the NHS. His main interests are photography and hiking. He has exhibited photographs in Oxford and has taken many of the pictures on this website.
David has worked in education for over 35 years. Having graduated with a BSc from the University of St Andrews and then a PGCE from the University of Southampton, his teaching career started at King Edward VI School, Southampton. Subsequent posts as Head of Chemistry then Head of Science in Framlingham College and then Rossall School led to the role of Deputy Head at Rossall and then the English International College, Marbella. On his return to the UK in 2003 David took up the post of Director of the IB Institute at St Clare’s, Oxford where he organises Diploma teacher training workshops (in cooperation with the IB) as well as a growing number summer school programmes for students of the Diploma. Alongside his work in Oxford, David has maintained and developed his roles as a private chemistry tutor, web developer and author. David was one of the content authors for the highly acclaimed Multimedia Science School by Plato learning and he has published a number of GCSE and A level chemistry texts for Pearson and Nelson Thornes (now part of Oxford University Press).In his spare time David enjoys sailing, cycling and swimming – much of which he does with his wife and two children.
David has been working at St Clare’s in different capacities since 2010. He is currently teaching Russian Literature and is also a Personal Tutor. After receiving his Master’s Degree in English Literature and Culture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2010 David moved to Oxford to read for the degree of Master of Studies in Classical Armenian Studies at the university. In the next year he began working on his doctoral dissertation entitled “The Representation of Women in Early Christian Literature: Armenian Texts of the Fifth Century,” for which in 2015 he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. In the past three years David has been a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford researching the colophons of Armenian manuscripts from the late 14th and 15th centuries.
Trilingual from birth (Armenian, Greek, and Russian), David loves learning foreign languages, especially the ones with unique scripts. He is also semi-professional chess player with the title of FIDE Master. David runs the chess club in school and coaches St Clare’s chess team, which regularly competes in the Oxfordshire Chess League.
David Harris is the Head of Mathematics and has been teaching at St Clare’s since 2006. He also teaches Theory of Knowledge. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics (Edinburgh), and MEd (Bristol) and a PGCE from Manchester. David has had articles published by the European Council of International Schools and the Association of Teachers of Mathematics. He also co-authored a Maths HL revision book for the International Baccalaureate Organisation. His main online publication is planetqhe.com. Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, David has taught in international schools in London, Cairo, Buenos Aires and in France where he was part of the team who founded the International School of Toulouse. David has given talks at the International Conference for Technology in Mathematics Teaching and the British Congress for Mathematics Education. David delivers IB teacher workshops and has been an assistant examiner for the IB since 2004. David loves music, and at the moment is channelling inspiration from this field to create a website exploring the diversity of the mathematical experience. David finds relaxation in the gym, by cooking, photography or by following his football team with a loyalty that is unconditional and at times irrational.
Denise Saunderson is Head of Physics and first arrived at St Clare’s in 2006 as a part-time teacher. She has spent a few years teaching elsewhere in Oxford but in 2016 her fondness for the students and staff and the ethos at St Clare’s brought her back as a full timer. Her teaching history spans nearly thirty years, with her first experience of teaching the IB in Cairo in 1992 where she was responsible for the design of a new IB Physics laboratory. Denise has an honours degree in Physics from the University of Southampton, a PGCE from the University of Manchester and an MEd from the University of Bristol where she focused not only on science teaching but also philosophy of science and counselling. Denise began her teaching career in the state system in inner city Manchester, moving on to Egypt. After three years Denise returned to the UK, taking up a Head of Physics post in London. Ever keen on travel, Denise went on to teach in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Toulouse, France. This wanderlust has left her with a variable proficiency in Turkish, French, Spanish and Arabic. Denise has two teenaged children whom she dotes on, and relaxes by spending time with her family. Her hobbies, time permitting, include yoga and belly dancing – though not at the same time! She has a passion for physics that she can never quite switch off outside the classroom and aspires to pass this on to her students.
Didier Descamps is fluent in five languages has been a language teacher all his working life. Although principally a German teacher, he has taught Dutch, French and English as a Foreign Language. After completing an MA and PGCE in Germanic Languages from the Catholic University of Louvain, he worked in his native Belgium for ten years before moving to Oxford.
Didier loves teaching and engaging with others in an international context. In addition to his language teaching, he has taught first aid to asylum seekers and refugees with the Belgian Red Cross, managed residential English Language summer coursesin the UK and helped run a summer youth theatre programme in the US.
Here in the UK, Didier has continuously taught IB German as well as GCSE and A level French. He arrived at St Clares in 2021 to take up the role of part-time IB Dutch teacher, while he continues his role as Head of Languages in another independent school.
When not working, Didier loves to travel or organise trips for friends and relatives to various places around the world. He has a keen interest in history, specifically post-WWII European and postcolonial history, which he incorporates into his courses. He is particularly enjoying discovering the world anew with his four year-old daughter, who is already trilingual. Fond of cycling and hiking, Didier has spent countless hours roaming the wilds of the United Kingdom with his two dogs.
Emily Woodeson is our Assistant Principal of Pastoral, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, Biology teacher and Oxbridge adviser. She has worked at St Clare’s since 2014. Before this she worked in a variety of local schools as Head of Science. A keen traveller, Emily has worked in schools and charity projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Nicaragua and spent two years helping to set up an international school in Penang, Malaysia. Emily has a Biology degree and PGCE from Oxford University and has been involved in interviewing PGCE candidates for the Department of Education. Whilst Biology has her academic heart she places considerable emphasis on the importance of extra-curricular activities and has many years’ experience running Duke of Edinburgh Award, diving trips, field trips, sports tours and overseas personal development expeditions. At Oxford University, she was more likely to be found in a boat than in the lab and represented the University in the Boat Race, being part of the first victorious Oxford crew for 10 years. Now she runs, cycles and is a keen netballer.
Fanny Gutjahr started teaching at St Clare’s in summer 2018. She studied Sociology, Pedagogy and Philosophy in Mannheim and Darmstadt to a master’s level. For 10 years, while still living in Germany, she managed a charity supporting schools’ in improving their pedagogical and educational concepts. During this time, she also taught at the University of Darmstadt, and led a research projects on how to implement better communication and mediation in schools. She gained additional specialist qualifications in family therapy and psychotherapy, which enabled her to get involved in the first email emergency call service set up in Germany, where she supported clients as well as she trained volunteers.
Having lived in France and Germany her career as a teacher and translator took her to companies like BMW and the Ministry of Defense During this time, she studied creative writing at the Open University (part-time), and in 2017 she gained her PGCE in Oxford.
Fanny speaks German, French and English. As an admirer of different cultures, she has travelled through most of Europe, China, Georgia, Mongolia and Russia. Her passion for education, language, literature and the arts make her feel very much at home in a city like Oxford.
Francesca Shakespeare is a practising artist and Art teacher. She has worked part time for St Clare’s for nearly a decade and teaches on the Pre IB program, the senior courses and the summer schools. Francesca did a Fine Art and Italian degree at Exeter University, living and working in Italy before and during her course. Before moving to Oxford over twenty years ago, she ran a mural and decorative Art business in London with a studio in Notting Hill and commissions all around the country. She then started painting and teaching and exhibits both locally and further afield. Francesca is an active member of the local art community. She co-ordinates Summertown Artweeks (part of the big Oxfordshire Art Festival) and is a founding committee member of Young Art Oxford, a county-wide children’s art competition that exhibits at The Ashmolean Museum. She also works regularly with the Ashmolean’s education department to create interactive artworks for the galleries. As an illustrator, she has produced the decorative map of St Clare’s as well as ones of the River Thames and Cherwell. Francesca is married with three children in their twenties. Website: www.francescashakespeare.com
Ida joined St Clare’s in 2017 and teaches Psychology and Swedish literature, and also runs the CAS Psychology film club. Ida was born in Sweden, but visited England with her family every summer from a young age and learned to love the country, its language and people. Ida has a degree in Politics & English and a PGCE from Uppsala University, and a Psychology degree from Stockholm University. She studied parts of her degree at the University of Hull and at Oxford Brookes University. Ida also teaches Swedish at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education. Ida returned to Oxford (for the third time) in 2016 and loves being back in the UK after 10 years of teaching at a popular secondary school in Stockholm.
Inger Marie moved to Uk in 1997 and worked at the Norwegian school in London for 13 years. In 2010 she began teaching in the IB context and she has now taught students of all ages, including IB Norwegian Literature, IB Norwegian Language and Literature and Norwegian Language B in different London-based IB World Schools.
Inger Marie qualified as a teacher after studied at the Artic University in Tromsø, Norway. She studied at the same University for a BA.
Jadwiga studied Literature and French at Jagiellonian University in Kraków and at Sorbonne IV in Paris. In 1986 she was awarded a Master’s degree in Romance Philology from Jagiellonian University, which included a Polish equivalent of PGCE. Between 1986 and 1989 she taught French at the French Institute in Kraków, after which she moved to Oxford. During her first three years in England she worked for Oxfam as a part-time translator, translating monthly bulletins from English into French. Jadwiga has been working at St. Clare’s since 1993, teaching both Polish and French. She has also been working as a residential warden, duty manager and library assistant. Jadwiga loves literature, films, art and has a keen interest in Japanese literature and culture. She also very much enjoys her voluntary work for Mind, the mental health charity.
Jennifer Taylor has been teaching Italian literature at St. Clare’s since 2005. She is passionate about her subject and has always been immersed in language and literature from an early age. Born in Turin, Italy, to an Italian mother and Canadian father she began her childhood in Germany, returning to Italy aged 7. Jennifer is a dottore in History of Art which she has studied alongside with Italian literature at Turin university and has grown up speaking 5 languages: Italian, English, German, Spanish and French. She studied in Berlin for a year having gained a place on the Erasmus scheme. She also obtained a creative writing diploma at Scuola Holden in Turin. She taught in Italy for two years before moving to the Cotswolds in 2005 where she lives with her potter husband, Adam, and their four children. Jennifer loves teaching at St Clare’s and continues to be very enthusiastic about her roots and regularly returns to Italy.
Jennifer Wirth joined the Mathematics Department at St. Clare’s in 2011. With both of her parents as teachers, she had wonderful examples of the joys and commitment linked to the field of education. She received her BA in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, Morris, while also working on her teaching certification. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Technology from the University of Phoenix, and she uses her technology skills to ensure colleagues and students update their calculator software every year. Jennifer completed her teaching practicum in Geelong, Australia. The experience teaching overseas opened her eyes to the idea of blending teaching and travelling. She returned to her native USA and taught Mathematics at middle and high school levels before making the bold decision to return overseas. Her first overseas school was the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. During her tenure, she was Head of Maths and served as the first IB Diploma Coordinator after helping to bring the IB Diploma to the school. She also enjoyed participating in Habitat for Humanity projects that took the students to India and Bangladesh. Jennifer moved to Budapest to teach at the American International School of Budapest. After her time in Hungary, she followed her heart to the UK to marry her husband. Jennifer lives in Abingdon with her husband and two children. She has shared her love of travel with her family through local walks and trips to visit family and friends around the world. She aims to get back to trying new recipes with the assistance of her little chefs.
Jing is a teacher of Chinese who joined St Clare’s in 2003. She currently teaches Chinese A: Literature, Chinese B, Mandarin ab initio and Pre-IB World Literature. She is also a personal tutor and has worked as an IB examiner. Trained as a teacher, Jing graduated from Central China Normal University with a BA in English Language and Literature, and she then did a postgraduate certificate in Comparative Literature in Wuhan, China. She also holds a PhD in Education and PGCE in Language Teaching from Goldsmith’s College, London. During her PGCE work placement, Jing spent one academic term at the prestigious Eton College, where she had an interesting and memorable experience. Before moving to the UK, she worked as a university lecturer, teaching English as well as Chinese to undergraduate students.In her spare time, Jing enjoys yoga, swimming and playing the piano. She also enjoys travelling with her family, exploring exotic places and authentic foods.
John Woodings has been a teacher of English Language and Literature at St Clare’s since 2015 and has previously taught secondary English for ten years in Reading, in the United Kingdom, and as an English language teacher in Lima, Peru and Imola, Italy. Born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, he initially graduated with BA (Hons) from the University of Sheffield, with an exchange year in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst before going on to complete a PGCE in English with Canterbury Christchurch University College and an MA in Education for Global Futures at Reading University.
John enjoys reading and studying contemporary English and world fiction; he has been fortunate to pursue a career teaching a subject which is complemented by his wide range of interests. A true jack-of-all-trades, he variously enjoys international travel, travel writing, cinema, philosophy, and outdoors sports. One area where he does not prevaricate is his near-obsessive interest in cycling, racing mountain bikes, and has raced locally and around the country, to no great distinction, but with great enthusiasm.
He lives in South Oxfordshire with his wife Rita and their two young daughters, whose emerging personalities and aptitudes are a constant source of fascination and enjoyment.
Juan Pablo graduated in Psychology from the Universidad de San Simon in Bolivia, and completed courses in Audiovisual Language and Audiovisual Production in Argentina and Bolivia. Juan Pablo combined his experience in psychology and audiovisual production to work on the “DFD-PROFORTES Higher Education Strengthening and Transformation Project” in Bolivia, in coordination with the Universiteit Twente and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Holland.
He also worked in the Department of Culture at the Cochabamba City Council in Bolivia, in the area of Communications, and was the production director of the film “La Cruel Martina”, which won the national Best Film of the Year prize. In the area of psychology, Juan Pablo worked in Bolivia as a psychologist for the National Foundation of Cancer Sufferers. Juan Pablo holds, and has held, many roles in St. Clare’s: between 2011 and 2014, he taught Spanish to Pre-IB students and he is currently part-time librarian, senior invigilator and has been working as a relief warden for 14 years.
A very important part of his life now is looking after his little daughter, and in his free time, he enjoys casting off on his narrowboat, The Temeraire, with his daughter, to travel along the canals of England, and down the Thames.
With a background in both the private and public teaching sectors, Julia Hammett has lived and worked in Finland and Italy where she taught for the British Council. Julia is an experienced course designer who has devised many specialist courses in every type of English imaginable including technical courses for adults and a language course for diplomats which she taught at the University of Westminster, London.
A graduate of the University of Dundee, Julia has a MA in English and History, a PGCE from Moray House in Edinburgh, and a Diploma in TEFL. Before beginning her job at St. Clare’s where she has been teaching English and History since 2007, Julia worked as Director of Studies of the busy summer language programme based at Banbury Road. Julia has also produced successful theatrical events for summer courses at the school.
Outside the classroom Julia is an active member of her local community and was a local Councillor for eight years. She is a passionate defender of the natural environment in Oxfordshire and, in her role as Chair of the Oxfordshire Badger Group, liaises with local councils and other organisations about planning issues and their impact on wildlife. Julia also enjoys field work and mapping out wildlife habitats in the countryside and is a Trustee of a British animal charity based in Sri Lanka.
Julia joined St Clare‘s in 2011 as a part-time German language teacher. She has a History of Art and English Magister degree from Frankfurt University, Germany and a background in gallery education.
It was at Westminster School, London that she discovered teaching her native language is exciting and rewarding. Even though Oxford, where she took a PGCE in Modern Languages, is her home now, she regularly goes back to Germany for a bit of European air.
She enjoys gentle running and meeting with friends for book club evenings. Julia lives in East Oxford with her husband, three small daughters and two cats and likes to cycle to school through Oxford’s historic centre.
Kevin Hennessy is a qualified History and Business Teacher with experience in the Republic of Ireland and an amazing opportunity to teach for three years in Botswana. His first degree was from Cork, Ireland where he also completed his PGCE. He then did a Master’s in Educational Management at Oxford Brookes University. In 2001 he moved to Oxford as the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Co-ordinator at St. Clare’s, and in 2006 he was appointed Head of Department. He is a trained IB CAS workshop leader. He was awarded the UEFA B Diploma for Football Coaching in 2010 and is a member of the English Football Coaches Association. He has the Leadership in Running Fitness Award and is working towards the British Athletics Coach in Running Fitness qualification.
Creativity, Activity, Service is at the heart of the IB Diploma programme. Kevin is attracted to the key idea that CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. He has organised and led school trips to Belfast, Barcelona, Jerusalem and most recently to Verona. He works with colleagues in delivering the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award with expeditions across the Brecon Beacons Mountains in Wales.
Kevin works closely with the English Language Courses Department at St. Clare’s. He has responsibility for the Summer English Language Activity programmes along with the recruitment and managing of the Summer English Language Activity Organisers team. His pastoral responsibilities have included being a Dean of Students on the Summer English Language courses and a House Warden from 2002 to 2006. Work aside, ultra marathons, off road running and his toddler Jack keep him fit and healthy.
Kristel Vandenrijt joined the Humanities department as a Teacher of History in September 2018. She is also a Personal Tutor, and she’s involved in the Model United Nations sessions that are run at St Clare’s. Kristel is a qualified History teacher with an MA and PGCE from the Catholic University of Leuven, in her native Belgium. She is also an IB History Examiner, and has a CELTA qualification.
Kristel is a true believer in the IB’s internationalism, and has lived on 3 different continents so far. Her first experience with living abroad came during an exchange year in Arizona, USA. After completing her teacher training, Kristel wanted to combine teaching with her love of traveling and exploring new places. She moved to Vietnam where she taught English as a Second Language to Vietnamese students. She returned to Europe afterwards to pursue her passion for history, and started teaching at the International School of Nice in France. During her time there, Kristel was involved in the development of the history curriculum, as well as responsible for the organisation of many school trips. Kristel moved to the UK to seize the amazing opportunity to become part of St Clare’s community.
When not at school, Kristel has developed a real love for French cuisine, in particular cheese, and will be found hunting the UK to discover new flavours. She has a real sense of adventure which often manifests itself in traveling to faraway places or finding herself outdoors hiking.
Lewis Fraser is an Activities Teacher at St Clare’s with the main role of overseeing the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) participation of the Pre IB students. He has worked at St Clare’s since 2015. Lewis completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Gloucestershire, graduating with a First Class Degree in Sport and Exercise Science, and his postgraduate degree at the University of Bristol, graduating with a Distinction in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health.
Since graduating, he has gone on to complete a Level Three Diploma in Personal Training and Fitness Instructing and offers training programmes to St Clare’s students. He has also completed a variety of other fitness instructing certificates, including gym based boxing and studio cycling. He hopes to continue his professional development in the fitness industry to continue offering a variety of different classes. Since coming to St Clare’s, Lewis has taken leadership of the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme and believes passionately in the skills this challenging award can develop.
Mark studied Economics at Liverpool University, graduating in 1988. He attended Warwick University for his PGCE in Economics and Mathematics and began his teaching career in state schools in London and Berkshire. He has been teaching IB Economics at St. Clare’s since 1997, initially as Head of Economics and Business and subsequently as Joint Head of Humanities. He has a particular interest in game theory and in macroeconomic schools of thought.
In his spare time Mark is a passionate rugby player, currently in transition from semi-retired to almost-retired.
Matt has been working as a Chemistry teacher for seventeen years and has six years of experience teaching the IB diploma. Since arriving at St. Clare’s in 2012 he has also enjoyed teaching the Theory of Knowledge and is currently the staff development co-ordinator.
Matt studied Chemistry with industrial training at the University of Bath which included a year working in the research and development department of Shell in The Netherlands.
He has always enjoyed opportunities for travel and has worked abroad in schools in Rome and Buenos Aires. In addition to his science teaching in Italy, he also taught maths, IT, and PE. He particularly enjoyed teaching Italians to play cricket.
In his spare time, Matt is most often found exploring the Cotswold and Chiltern hills on his bicycle, but this is mostly just preparation for his more ambitious and exciting trips to the mountains of France and Spain during his holidays.
Melanie Martindale has been teaching Geography and Environmental Systems and Societies at St Clare’s since 2013. Her first degree was from Liverpool University. She then completed a PGCE and a MA in Geography in Education from the University of London.
Melanie has been teaching since 1990. She began her career in London before moving to Botswana where she spent nine years working in both government and independent schools. She moved to Oxford in 2004 where she was Head of Geography at a local independent school before heading to Thailand to teach IB in an International school.
Melanie enjoys travelling and spends most of her holidays exploring the world. She has organised numerous trips for students including geography tours to Botswana, Sri Lanka and Iceland. She accompanied a group on a World Challenge expedition trekking in the Himalayas, in India. She has been involved in volunteering programmes including working with the sea gypsies in Thailand and setting up a permaculture garden in Botswana.
Melanie is an IB examiner in Geography and is presently involved in writing an online textbook for the new Geography syllabus. She is a member of a local golf club and spends most of her weekends on the golf course
Nadia Jones was educated in Romania and studied Mathematics at Babes Bolyai University, Cluj. Following her Master’s in Numerical Analysis and teaching diploma, she taught in various schools in her home country before relocating to the UK in 2004 to learn English. Prior to her appointment at St Clare’s in 2009, she was a teacher of Mathematics at The Oratory School near Reading and at Wycombe High School. She is married with two young children. Although her passion is Mathematics, she also enjoys cooking, languages and travel.
Nisha Bauluck graduated from the University of Sussex with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and French which she followed up by completing a PGCE in Mathematics. She has taught Maths since 1996 in various schools in England and joined St Clare’s in 2011. She is an examiner for the Standard Level internal assessment and is therefore very familiar with the requirements of this component.
Nisha has taken on many different challenges whilst teaching and these have included Head of Maths as well as Head of Year roles. She worked with the University of Oxford on their PGCE programme where she was in charge of recruiting and training new Maths teachers. Now she has settled into the role of a full time Maths teacher as this is where she feels most fulfilled.
In her spare time, Nisha has been following a yoga course for the last six years, where the focus is on the physical as well as the spiritual benefits of yoga. Otherwise, she can be found at her sewing machine or with knitting needles in her hands.
Dr Olga Borymchuk is a teacher of Ukrainian Literature in the Modern Languages Department. She has been teaching at St Clare’s since 2010. She gained her BA degree at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and completed her Masters with Distinction at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. She was awarded a Doctorate from the University of Oxford and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Olga is also an Examiner in History for the International Baccalaureate and an Associate Lecturer at the Open University. She works as a part-time Academic Policy Officer for the University of Oxford. In her spare time she sits on the Committee of the Alumni Association for St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and co-edits its annual publication for alumni. She is also a member of the editorial board for the Library and Information Research Journal, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain and Oxford University Ukrainian Society. She is married and has two multi-lingual children.
Paul Sinclair is the Director of Studies for the Academic Programmes at the International College and enjoys both working with our university partners in the USA and advising students who apply to American Universities, a role he has fulfilled since 2007. He studied Medieval History at the University of St Andrews and also completed a year of study abroad at Queen’s University, Canada, and an MA in History at the University of Washington in Seattle before moving to Oxford to research thirteenth century England on a British Academic Scholarship at St John’s College, especially kingship, knighthood and the reign of King Henry III. Paul teaches Liberal Arts courses on history and art history and gives seminars on a range of medieval topics, J.R.R. Tolkien and Victorian medievalism; he is currently researching the utopian writings of William Morris. In his spare time, he likes to explore eighteenth century English landscape gardens and listen to 1960s American soul music – although rarely at the same time.
Rebecca Pyrah has been an Activities Teacher and the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) Coordinator since 2007. She has gained a wealth of knowledge in the field of CAS and extra-curricular activities and she enjoys adapting the provision of the programme to meet the needs and interests of the current students.
Rebecca has a first class honours degree in Physical Education (PE) from Leeds Beckett University, and studied for her PGCE at Loughborough University. Before coming to St. Clare’s, she worked as a secondary PE teacher, and thoroughly enjoyed taking GCSE and A Level PE classes.
Rebecca loves to travel and had a gap year before starting her teaching career travelling around South America, Australasia, South East Asia, China and India. She has used her passion for travelling by organising St. Clare’s trips to Northern Ireland, Barcelona and the mountains of Wales. Rebecca also helps with the delivery of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and values the skills that this challenging award instils in students. Moreover, Rebecca helps with the planning and delivery of the Summer English Language Courses.
Rebecca is currently looking into becoming an IB CAS workshop leader. She lives with her husband John and their two sons Toby and Sebastian. When she does find some spare time she enjoys baking, gardening, yoga and keeping fit.
Ricardo Da Silva Esteves
Ricardo Da Silva Esteves was born in the Portuguese University city of Coimbra and subsequently brought up in Nantes, France. He teaches literature in French and Portuguese, and French and Spanish language; he has been teaching at St Clare’s since September 2005.
After finishing his French Baccalaureate, Ricardo completed a Master’s degree in English and Portuguese applied to business and international affairs at Nantes University and first came to the UK on an Erasmus exchange, studying at Cardiff University. He then settled in Cambridge, working as a Language Teaching assistant for Anglia Polytechnic University whilst also running language classes for the Cambridge Alliance Française.
In 2000 Ricardo completed his PGCE at Hughes Hall, Cambridge University, beginning his teaching career at Comberton Village College. He then taught at Didcot School for Girls before coming to teach at St Clare’s. Ricardo came to us with a breadth of teaching experience from primary school language workshops, GCSE and A level, to adult evening classes and business courses. As well as teaching both language A and B courses, Ricardo has also been an examiner for the IB for a number of years. In his teaching, Ricardo strives to give his students first hand experiences and encounters with the languages they are studying. Consequently, each year Ricardo organizes and runs trips to both Paris and Lisbon.
Ricardo is a passionate linguist who relishes the cross-cultural exchanges between the four cultures that have shaped his intellectual development. He is an avid reader, cinemagoer and gardener, with strong interests in both the visual arts and music. Ricardo divides much of his spare time between the UK, Northern Portugal and France.
Roy Raby has worked at St Clare’s since January 2019, as Head of Music and teacher of Theory of Knowledge. He studied with the distinguished Polish pianist and piano teacher Ryszard Bakst at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music where he was the first undergraduate recipient of the RJ Forbes Award. A musician with eclectic musical taste, for many years Roy combined a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor with multiple roles, including leading music departments in the independent sector, examining composition and harmony at A-level for Edexcel and OCR, work as a composer, and lecturing nationally on metacognition and the use of technology in the modern music classroom. He seeks to create a climate that fosters a sense of community, individuality and possibility in the classroom and on the concert platform.
A keen traveller, Roy has trekked mountains in North Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Poland and Tibet with his wife, Karen, who is a specialist in performance practice on the baroque violin.
Sarah Jinks is Head of Biology and teacher of Theory of Knowledge, as well as being the learning difficulties and disorders coordinator and medics supervisor. In addition, she is an IB examiner for Biology. Sarah has taught at St Clare’s since 2006 after teaching positions elsewhere in Oxford and in Costa Rica. She also teaches on numerous IB introduction and revision courses at St Clare’s and around the world. Her aim is to fill the Biology lab with a range of animals and plants and to help students learn a love of barnacles on the annual field course whilst writing their internal assessment.
Sarah has a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Warwick, and a PGCE and Masters in Learning and Teaching from the University of Oxford. She takes an active interest in the role of ICT in learning and is a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator and a Quizlet ambassador. She has written about Biology extended essays for the IB Review and has also written several Biology textbooks for Harper-Collins Publishers.
In her spare time, she can be found sailing yachts and singing regularly with the Oxford Bach Choir, most recently performing on a recording for Jonathon Dove’s ‘For an Unknown Soldier’ with the London Mozart Players.
I joined St Clare’s in September 2020, as a teacher of Japanese literature. I majored in education at Hiroshima University in Japan. I also achieved a master’s degree in pedagogy at Hiroshima University. I was interested in both Japanese Literature and Mathematics, so I studied both at the university and got a secondary teaching certificate in Japanese and Mathematics. I mainly taught Mathematics for the 9 years I lived in Japan. Since moving to Oxford, I have been teaching Japanese at the Oxford Japanese School. I enjoy reading, playing sports and traveling.
Sophie Howells joined St Clare’s as a teacher of English and Theatre in 2016. She currently teaches Pre-IB English, Pre-IB Theatre, Pre-IB World Literature, IB English Language and Literature and IB Theatre. A graduate in English and American Literature from the University of Manchester, Sophie taught in the Northwest of England following her Postgraduate Certificate in Education, before a love of all things French led her to take up a teaching position at an international school in Lyon. Sophie became an examiner for the French Baccalauréat during this time. More recently, she spent ten years at another independent school in Oxfordshire, where she developed an in-depth knowledge of the university application process in her role as a Deputy Head of Sixth Form. As a teacher of IB Language and Literature, she has also trained and been accredited as an IB examiner. Sophie is very active on the IB Theatre circuit, regularly attending workshops and training sessions with colleagues from around the world. St Clare’s Musical Theatre productions have been an entertaining finale to the end of the college year, and Sophie has worked with students on We Will Rock You, And the World Goes Round and Muybridge the Musical. She has also directed IB students on productions such as Pinter’s Party Time and helped to bring their own devised work to the stage. Away from the classroom, Sophie travels the world vicariously through her reading of travel writing. Having dusted off her tennis racket, she has enjoyed getting back on court over the past few years, despite being quite rusty.
Stephen completed an English degree and a PGCE at the University of Cambridge, and then taught at IB World Schools in Dartford, Reading and Oxford before joining St Clare’s as Head of English in September 2021. Stephen loves the breadth and depth of study which the IB Diploma affords, particularly the opportunity to teach literature from around the world.
A voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction, Stephen has been part of the judging and longlisting panels for the UK Literacy Association’s annual book awards, and has written several articles for the English & Media Centre’s emagazine on writers including Virginia Woolf, Kazuo Ishiguro and Alan Bennett. He is also a governor at his local primary school. In his spare time, Stephen enjoys playing the piano, viola and accordion with varying degrees of success, as well as walking, baking and theatre.
Steve Marshall is an IB enthusiast with international experience in the Seychelles, Jordan, Spain, Brazil, China, and Ethiopia. He is currently Head of the Geography and Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) Departments at St Clare’s, where he has been teaching since 2007, and delivers science and geography courses during summer school. He organises and oversees the annual residential field trip to Dorset, recently visited Iceland with a group of St Clare’s students and coaches the school volleyball club as a CAS activity. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Geography and PGCE from Newcastle University (UK), taught at King Edward’s, Morpeth in the North East of England for a number of years, and played volleyball at National League level, which explains his ‘adopted Geordie’ status and his curious support of Newcastle United.
Previous posts have included teaching Geography, Asian History, Biology, Economics and Business, Head of Economics, Head of Humanities faculty, Board Member, IBDP Coordinator and Examiner. He recently edited the new IBDP Pearson ESS course textbook and is currently editing and in charge of quality control of Kognity on-line textbooks in ESS and Geography. He also leads category 1 and 2 teacher training workshops in Geography and ESS throughout the Euro/African region for St Clare’s, the IBO and other providers including IBICUS and In Thinking.
He lives locally in Marston with his wife Mej, and two young boys (Zayne and Zak), which has temporarily curtailed his wanderlust, and spends the little spare time available to him playing and watching numerous sports, with a single figure golf handicap a future target.
Suso Rodríguez-Blanco has been teaching Spanish Language and Literature at St Clare’s since 2002 and he became Head of Modern Languages in 2011. His alma mater is Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where he completed his BA in Spanish and English literature in 1992 followed by a PGCE and a postgraduate degree in Comparative literature. Suso started his career as a researcher in literary theory in Santiago and his experience in education began in 1998, when he was appointed to teach Spanish by Liverpool University and then Knowsley Community College before joining St Clare’s.
Suso is passionate about the IB Diploma and he has been a team leader of Spanish B examiners, as well as a regular member of standardisation and grade award committees and a workshop leader. He also took part in the IB joint groups 1 and 2 curriculum review and he wrote the Spanish B Course Companion and Skill and Practice books published by Oxford University Press. Moreover, he works every summer for the Department of International Courses of the University of Santiago de Compostela, where he teaches Spanish literature and culture to Spanish teachers from all over the world.
Apart from literature, Suso enjoys independent cinema, early and sacred music, flamenco, classical art and exploring the wonderful landscape and gastronomy in his native Galicia, as well as resting in old monasteries or castles turned into hotels.
Tatiana graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in Soils Science and spent several years mapping and studying soils of Northern Russia. Tatiana joined St Clare’s in 1998, and has been supporting science teachers since then by providing practical support in the labs and on the annual field trip to Pembrokeshire. In 2006 she also become a Personal Tutor. When not looking after students, teachers, pets and plants in Biology lab she is tending to her allotment or exploring the mountains of Scotland and Wales with her family.
Teodora has been a teacher of Bulgarian Literature at St Clare’s since 2011. In 2012 she also joined the Theory of Knowledge team, and in addition to the regular TOK lessons, she teaches introduction to critical thinking to teenagers in some of St Clare’s summer courses. She also works as a part-time Library Assistant, and has established a collection of books in Bulgarian in the college library.
Teodora’s background is in the field of media. She has BA and MA in Journalism (Sofia 1988), and read for MSc in Media and Communications (LSE 1996). Earlier in her career, Teodora worked in PR for a national NGO, and as a journalist in a national daily in Sofia, Bulgaria. After settling in the UK, she worked in London as a Producer-Presenter in the Bulgarian section of the BBC World Service (1995 – 2003).
Teodora’s career in education began in 2004 in Moscow (where she followed her husband), in the Anglo-American School (where she followed her daughter). After returning to England from Russia, Teodora taught Colloquial Bulgarian at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at Oxford University (2011-2012). In January 2015, together with a friend, she established a weekend language school for the children of the Bulgarian community in Oxford, which she continues to manage.
Ulf von der Osten
Ulf-Wedig v. der Osten is a Teacher of Economics and Business Management. He has been teaching since 2006 and at St. Clare’s since 2010. He graduated from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany with an MA in Economics and Management in 2002. After working at the University of Navarre in Pamplona and the European Parliament in Brussels he did his teacher training at the Institute of Education in London. Since 2010 he has been the Link teacher for the Young Enterprise group at St. Clare’s and he is also a Personal Tutor to a group of Pre-IB students.
A German native, he enjoys building birch plywood furniture with his German engineered power tools and spending time with his family.
Vicky Bullard has been teaching English and Theory of Knowledge at St Clare’s since 1983, making her the longest serving teacher in the college. She has a degree in English from Oxford University where she also studied for her professional teaching qualification. After three years teaching English to the whole age range (7-77) in Imola, Italy, she returned to Oxford taking up the post at St Clare’s, initially as part time teacher of English A and Theory of Knowledge, later adding teaching of English Language and Literature and TOK coordinator. She loves literature and theatre and enjoys the opportunity of living in Oxford where she can go to university lectures in literature and current affairs, particularly environmental politics. She speaks Italian, French and a little German and Spanish. Another interest is music: she plays the piano and sings in a choir. She is a keen cyclist and has travelled with her husband and their tandem in more than 15 countries.
A European citizen, Vicky Watson has lived and worked in France, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. With a background in both literature and linguistics, Vicky has a BA in French and Italian from the University of London; a diploma in TESOL from Trinity College, London; a maîtrise from the Faculté des lettres d’Avignon and a PGCE from Christ Church College, Canterbury.
Vicky has been teaching English at St Clare’s for two decades and is an IB aficionado who believes the IB is gradually making the world a better place. An IB examiner for Group 1 English, Vicky is also an IB teacher-trainer who has led successful workshops all over the world and taught numerous IB revision courses.
Outside the classroom Vicky likes learning languages, riding horses, playing/learning musical instruments, painting and reading (everything from Shakespeare to dystopian fiction to 18th century diaries to Tolkien to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series). Vicky is also a keen collector of boxes and fountain pens. She is a member of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, a proud holder of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and a politically active pro-European.
Victoria Staveley works at St Clare’s in various capacities. In addition to teaching Theory of Knowledge, she is a residential warden, a duty manager, and the Academic Office manager. She also teaches Liberal Arts courses in Renaissance Studies, European Crime Fiction, and Jane Austen. She studied English and French at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada before coming to do postgraduate research at St. John’s College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellow.
Specialist IB teachers
We have been teaching the IB Diploma for over 40 years
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