The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village. Roald Dahl, Matilda

When you study English at Caterham School, we hope that this is what your English lessons will be: exciting, adventurous, challenging and mind-expanding.

Of course, we arm our students with the skills to perform at their very best in English and across the wider curriculum, but we aim to make sure that everyone’s experience of English is an enriching one. Even when teaching GCSE and A Level, we try to make the study of English fun and creative through workshops, author visits, theatre trips and academic seminars from university professors.

We also make time for full stops, spelling rules and grammar, because communicating well matters – whatever a student chooses to do when they leave school.

We run an annual whole school Poetry Recitation competition, offer entry to national competitions such as Foyles Young Writers, run weekly Lit Soc. sessions and publish ‘Mind’s Eye’, a creative magazine produced with the Art Department.


The English Department is made up of a number of deeply committed teachers who love their subject and have high expectations of the students they teach.

Mr Nicholas Crombie BA (Hons), Head of English

Nick joined Caterham in 2016 as Second in Department, after completing five years at Repton School, Derbyshire. After two years in the role, he was privileged to be asked to step up and lead a thriving and committed team in the teaching of a subject he loves. He balances his time in English with coaching the U15A team for both cricket and rugby. Nick is in charge of the enrichment programme for our students which sees him run the weekly Junior and Senior Literary Societies, the Upper Sixth Form Revision Clinics and Coursework Clinics for the GCSE cohort. He also supports Dr Gray in her ‘English at University’ sessions. 

Ms Hannah Wildsmith MA, Second in Charge of English

After graduating from Magdalene College Cambridge in 2011 and spending several months exploring Asia, Hannah worked in Fundraising Events for the charity The Prince’s Trust. Alongside this she volunteered as a Progression mentor, helping young people to build confidence and employment skills. Feeling the call to teach but not yet ready to finish charity work, she moved to Tanzania where she volunteered for a year as an English teacher in an isolated, rural secondary school. Hannah joined Caterham in September 2015 and brings with her a delight in all things dramatic, a strong belief in pushing students to think for themselves and a rather raucous cackle. After three year’s in the department, Hannah was promoted to Second in Charge of English, a role where she will oversee the running of KS3 within the Department.

Miss Angela Cox BA, P.G.C.E, Teacher of English

Angela brought with her not just an enthusiasm for her subject, but a love of equestrian sports as well, which she has promoted very successfully within school. With a BA and PGCE from the University of Sussex, Angela teaches Fourth Year, Fifth Year and the Sixth Form. Angela is a firm believer in enriching students’ experience of English Literature and she frequently organises theatre trips for all years. Angela is a deeply committed teacher, ensuring that her students do as well as they possibly can, irrespective of ability.

Ms Catherine Drummond BA (Hons), Teacher of English, Deputy Head (Co-Curricular) 

Cath graduated from Cambridge in 1995 and took her PGCE course at the UEA. She also has a counselling qualification. She is motivated by the power of literature to help us to see the world in different ways and from different perspectives and particularly enjoys Medieval Lit, American works, modern poetry and feminist criticism. She has taught in a range of schools in both the state and private sector; she also worked in France and for French companies for some time, and so enjoys French literature. Aside from reading, she enjoys singing, learning new languages and umpiring netball.

Matthew Godfrey MA, Teacher of English, Deputy Head (External Relations)

Matthew joined Caterham School in September 2013 as Deputy Head. A graduate of Durham University, he started his career in business before moving into teaching. He completed his teacher training at the University of London (Institute of Education). Caterham is the fourth school in which Matthew has taught; most recently, he was a boarding housemaster as well as an English teacher at Brighton College. He has a great love of Shakespeare and modern American literature. He is a keen sportsman – especially tennis, squash and skiing.

Dr Emily Gray Phd, Teacher of English and History of Art

Having studied English at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Emily completed an MA and PhD in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, specialising in Renaissance art. Before joining Caterham in 2015, she was Head of History of Art and English Teacher at Tudor Hall School in Oxfordshire. Emily is passionate about the relationships between literature and art and particularly enjoys reading and teaching poetry. Emily also teaches History of Art A Level. She also loves rock climbing, cycling and walking and is helping with Caterham’s Climbing Club and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Miss Jessica Hookway BA (Hons), PGCE, Teacher of English

After graduating with a degree in English Language and Linguistics from the University of Brighton, Jessica completed a PGCE at the same institution. She joined Caterham in 2018, having previously taught at Lingfield College. Jessica seeks to promote curiosity in her students through developing a love of literature and a fascination of the English Language. She has a love of all things creative, incorporating aspects of art and drama in her lessons wherever possible. Placing a strong focus on technology, she uses this to both enthuse students and encourage them to be independent learners. She has a passion for language and learning about the latest developments and neologisms in this field. Alongside her teaching, she assists the running of Junior Lit Soc. and the Lacrosse teams.


Ms Catherine Stedman MA (Cantab), Teacher of English

Having graduated from King’s College, Cambridge with a degree in English Literature with Italian, Catherine worked in both drama and documentaries at the BBC and ran media training courses across the Commonwealth with the charity Scriptnet. This culminated in an MA in Screenwriting at the University of London and a career change.
She re-trained at Exeter University with a PGCE in English and Drama and started teaching at Guildford High School for girls.  Catherine brings a passion for literature and theatre to her lessons and runs the school creative writing group ‘Writer’s Block’.

Adam Webster MA (Oxon), Teacher of English, Deputy Head (Innovation)

Adam is a graduate of Oxford University and has previously taught English at Trinity School. He brings with him a suitcase full of creative ideas for teaching the subject which varies as widely as wooden spoon puppetry to high-resolution movie projects, but always with the aim of instilling a deeper understanding of literature and the use of language. In his role Director of Digital Learning he has ensured the smooth introduction of iPads throughout the school and continues to train staff in the use of technology in the classroom.

Mrs Alexandra Yankova BA (Hons), Teacher of English and Drama

A graduate of the University of Bristol with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the University of Cardiff and a PGCE from Roehampton, Alex has previously taught English and Drama at Hinchley Wood School, Esher, The British International School in Cairo and St John’s School, Leatherhead. She has a passion for both subjects and all elements of performance, and has been involved in school productions since she arrived at Caterham in 2008 including ‘Toad of Toad Hall’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Alex also runs the LAMDA Drama examinations which have proved very popular. 

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