Discover the way WAKEFIELD GIRLS have excellent academics

Our students have a curiosity and enthusiasm to learn and are fed by subject specialist, self aware teachers with excellent academic, and often industry, expertise.  Our teachers know girls and our environment is especially suited to them.  Our teachers also know each individual girl well  and teaching and learning happens in small classes in a highly personalised, effective way.   Meet our academic department leaders here.



Mrs K Varley, Head of Art and Design: BA (Hons) in Visual Art (Bolton), PGCE Secondary Art and Design (Leeds). Mrs Varley has over 16 years experience of Art Leadership. Passionate about working within the community and how creative experiences shape rounded individuals, she has worked extensively on outreach projects in the local community and exhibits students work annually with ArtWalk Wakefield, Royal Academy of Arts and at Wakefield Cathedral. Mrs Varley is also a Head of year 10/11 and is the House Coordinator and is currently working towards her NPQSL qualification. 

Mr S Besford, Director of Drama: BA English Language and Literature (Leeds), PGCE in English Secondary (Leeds), Postgraduate Diploma (LAMDA). Mr Besford has 20 years of drama teaching experience. He has also led on enrichment and the teaching of gifted and talented students. Mr Besford has directed over 15 productions for the Foundation and has a particular interest in writing for the stage and screen. 

Mrs K Bentham, Acting Head of Music: : BMus (Hons) (Huddersfield), PGCE Secondary Music (Huddersfield). Mrs Bentham is a keen musician with personal interests in pop, jazz and folk music.  She is a brass player and has played in concerts, recordings and competitions in Yorkshire’s Brass Band Championship Section for over 25 years.  

Mrs E Critch, Head of Textiles: BA Fashion Design (Leeds), PGCE in Secondary Education (Leeds) Mrs Critch has 23 years of teaching experience and has worked in a wide variety of roles including as a moderator and Team Leader for GCSE Design and Technology Textiles and GCSE Art and Design, as Head of Careers and  Head of Year 8/9.  Mrs Critch now focuses her time on all things Textiles related and has a particular interest in working with Textiles artists who provide inspiration not only for her teaching but in the growing number of workshops held for our students. 



Mr J Hargreaves, Head of Classics: BA (Hons) Ancient History and Archaeology (Newcastle), PGCE in Classics (Cambridge). Over the last 29 years Mr Hargreaves has taught Classical Civilisation and Latin to students across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. He has an interest in using Classics to develop an understanding of modern world issues and, as passionate advocate of learning outside the classroom, he has led numerous Classics and Battlefields trips at home and abroad. Mr Hargreaves has a variety of examining experience in A Level Classical Civilisation and History and as Principal Examiner for GCSE Classical Civilisation as well as being an experienced Year 7 form tutor and previous Assistant Head of Sixth Form.  

Mr R Tribe, Head of Geography:  BSc (Hons) Geography (Durham University), PGCE – Secondary Geography (University of Leeds), Post Graduate Diplomas in Law and Legal Practice (The College of Law), NPQSL (The National College/Department for Education), Solicitor (Non-practising). Mr Tribe has 20 years’ experience of teaching in a wide variety of roles – including as assistant headteacher and deputy headteacher, leading in staff development and welfare, safeguarding, pastoral care and boarding. He has a particular interest in the place of silence within pedagogy and has co-authored published papers on the subject. Before he became a teacher Mr Tribe was an officer in the Royal Navy and a partner in a solicitors’ practice. 

Mrs A Potts, Head of History: BA (Hons) History and Russian (Birmingham), PGCE Secondary (Leeds). Mrs Potts has 23 years experience of teaching History and is a registered exam board marker. Her UK studies are complemented by studies at Moscow State University and The Smolny Institute affiliated to St. Petersburg University, where she studied History, Economics and Linguistics. She is particularly interested in Russian and Irish History. 

Mrs R Keegan-Phipps, Head of Religion, Philosophy & Ethics: MTheol (Hons) (St. Andrews), dPGCE in Religious Education (Durham), MA (Open University)​. Mrs Keegan-Phipps has 16 years experience teaching Religion, Philosophy & Ethics and has also spent time teaching in Japan, which is of special cultural interest. She is particularly interested in Church History, Ethics, Feminist Theology & Sacred Music and serves as an acolyte in Sheffield Cathedral.


Ms C Donau-Green, Head of MFL: First State Exam (eq. to BA + MA) in Romance Philology – French and Spanish (Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich/Germany) and in English (Otto-Friedrich-University, Bamberg/Germany), Magister Artium (eq. to BA + MA) in German as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies (Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich/Germany), Second State Exam (eqv. to PGCE) and QTS in Education and Teaching French, Spanish, German and English as a Foreign Language at all levels (Berlin, Ministry of Education). Having lived for extended periods in France, Ecuador, Mexico and Argentina and having taught French, Spanish, German and English as a Foreign Language up to university or A level for over 12 years Ms Donau-Green brings outstanding teaching experience along with extensive subject and cultural knowledge. Among others, she has taught German at Kings College University London and worked as Head of German and Teacher of French and Spanish at Putney High School for Girls, London. Within her teaching roles Ms Donau-Green has led a broad and diverse variety of trips and school exchanges, taken part in competitions and developed partnerships with cultural institutions such as the internationally acclaimed‚ ‘House of the Cultures of the World’ (HKW, Berlin) with whom she launched several educational projects promoting diversity and empowerment at school.

Mr J Shaw, Head of English: BA (Hons) English Language and Literature (Newcastle); PGCE in Secondary Education – English with Drama (Newcastle). Mr Shaw has over 20 years experience of teaching English across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. He taught in the state sector in the North-East for a decade before working at WGHS. He is passionate about the importance of English as a subject that promotes communication, literacy, tolerance and a broader view of the world. Mr Shaw has held various roles of Pastoral responsibility at Wakefield Girls’, including becoming the school’s first ever male Head of Year, a post he held until taking the position of Head of English in September 2023.

Physical Education

Mrs K F Robinson, Director of Physical Education: BA (Hons) Physical Education with QTS (Leeds Met). Mrs Robinson has 23 years teaching experience and has taught PE and Games to Key Stages 2, 3, 4 & 5. Mrs Robinson delivers the Level 1 Sports Leaders course and has experience as an Internal Verifier for both the Level 1 & 2 course. She has overseen several students develop and complete their initial teacher training and has been previously in charge of Athletics & Netball at school. She has also played Lacrosse for England at U18, U21 and Senior level.   

Mrs G Morgan, Head of Academic PE: MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition (Loughborough University), BSc Sport and Exercise Science (Loughborough), PGCE Secondary PE (Exeter). Mrs Morgan leads school Athletics, Indoor Hockey and Hockey, having competed in National League hockey for a number of years as well as coaching at County level. She is an avid follower of football and has previous experience of working at Derby County Football Club. Her passions within Academic PE lie in both Sports Nutrition and Biomechanics. 




Social Sciences

Mr G Chatterton, Head of Economics:  BSC (Hons) Economics and Finance (Loughborough University), PGCE Secondary Education (Institute of Education, University College London). Mr Chatterton has 22 years experience teaching economics and business.   Mr Chatterton is an Assistant Principal Examiner for A Level Economics, authors economics entrance exam papers for Manchester University and delivers training to economic teachers across the UK for Hodder Education.

Mrs E Maher, Acting Head of Food & Nutrition: BSC (Hons) Textiles & Knitwear Technology (De Montfort University), PGCE in Home Economics (Northumbria University). Mrs Maher has 30 years teaching experience including working for the AQA for over 20 years as a Team Leader for GCSE Food & Nutrition, and for CIE for 15 years as Principal Examiner for A Level Food Studies. Additionally, she is involved in pastoral care and community outreach projects, and is currently undertaking her Level 4 Counselling Skills to qualify as a practising counsellor.

Mr S Davies, Head of Politics: BA Hons History (University of Hull), MA Security Studies (Hull) and GTP (Bradford LEA). Mr Davies is also EPQ and Gifted & Talented Coordinator at QEGS and has been in both roles for 6 years. He has regularly run a number of school ski trips and battlefields visits.

Mrs K Edge, Head of Psychology & Head of Business Studies: BSc Psychology (Hull), Cert Ed. and Business Studies (Leeds Trinity). Mrs Edge brings experience working in the finance sector and human resources to her teaching. Her industry experience coupled with her undergraduate degree, led to her teaching both Psychology and Business.  Alongside examining for AQA psychology, Mrs Edge is particularly interested in studying the psychology of mental health and has gained qualifications in both advanced counselling skills and cognitive behavioural therapy.



Dr S Barber, Head of Biology: BSc (Hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology (Bath), PhD Neuroscience (Bristol), PGCE Secondary Science (Huddersfield). Dr Barber has co-authored multiple research publications focusing on oxidative stress in MND and also brings industry experience from SmithKline Beecham, researching inhibitors of nerve regeneration in the central nervous system to her teaching.

Dr S Duerden Brown, Head of Chemistry: BSc (Hons) Chemistry (Bradford), PhD Chemistry (Leeds), PGCE in Secondary Chemistry/Science (Leeds). Dr Duerden-Brown brings Nanoscience research experience at Exxon Chemical to her teaching. She is an AQA associate, an A-level Science Practical Advisor and also an A-level Chemistry examiner.   

Mr S Paget, Head of Computer Science: BA (Hons) Radio, Film and Television Studies and Science (Kent), PGCE in ICT (Sheffield Hallam).
Mr Paget has been a teacher of ICT and Computer Science for 23 years, having previously worked in the radio industry. He has developed software to help student programmers which is used in many schools around the world. He is also currently the Coordinator for the Extended Project Qualification at WGHS.

Mrs S Cairns, Head of Design and Technology: BEd Design and Technology (Huddersfield). Mrs Cairns has over 20 years of experience teaching Design & Technology. In 2008 she qualified as an Advanced Skills Teacher for Design and Technology and has worked at a variety of schools in lots of different capacities including senior leadership roles. She is a qualified graphic designer, has run two successful businesses and loves to inspire her students to enter into careers within the design and technology field.

Mrs J L Rees, Head of Mathematics: BSc (Hons) Pure Mathematics (Sheffield), PGCE Mathematics (Swansea). Mrs Rees has over 28 years experience of teaching mathematics to students of all ages and is a senior A level Mathematics examiner for Edexcel.  Mrs Rees is passionate about getting our students to believe that maths is not a male dominated sphere, that everyone can be successful and that mathematics is an essential life skill. 

Mr D Hannard, Head of Physics: BA(Hons) Astrophysics (Edinburgh), PGCE Secondary Science (Leeds). Mr Hannard is a member of the Institute of Physics and a Trainer for Physics Partners, delivering support and continuing professional development for teachers of physics as part of local and nationwide programmes.  Mr Hannard is an examiner and question writer for AQA for A-Level Physics.

Learning Support

Mrs V Gardiner, Foundation Director of Learning Support: BEd Hons (Birmingham University), NASENCO (Sheffield Hallam), AAA – Patoss. Mrs Gardiner qualified as a teacher with a Geography specialisation in 1993 at Birmingham University. Since qualifying she has taught pupils aged 3-18 in a variety of school settings. Most of her roles have been linked to inclusion and included community engagement projects. She took her first leadership role as a SENCo in 2014.  She is now a fully qualified SENCO and Access Arrangement assessor. 

Ms Rose G Harries – Librarian, Diversity and Inclusion Champion: MSc Library and Information Management (University of Northumbria) (CILIP); BA Illustration (Cambridge School of Art); BA Classical Civilisations (University of Leeds) Ms Harries has worked in the Library sector for almost 20 years, across Health, Academic, School and College libraries. Ms Harries has qualifications in teaching (AET) and adolescent mental health. Her main areas of interest professionally lie in online bias, social media use, data manipulation, and algorithms and how these are used to sway us in daily life. 

Mrs N Phillips, Head of PHSE: BA (Hons) Fashion and Clothing (Leeds), PGCE in Secondary Teaching Design and Technology (Sheffield Hallam)​. Mrs Phillips has been Head of PSHE for 12 years and is passionate about encouraging young people to become well-rounded, forward thinking, empathetic people within different communities; her other positions within school as Head of Year and Charities Coordinator provide the opportunity for her to work with all students in the school to achieve these personal attributes.