If you reflect on the novels and films where a teacher is the hero, or at least an important character, you will see just how often this figure turns out to be a teacher of English. Now, this may well be because the creators of such works were pretty good at English at school, maybe even spending some time teaching their favourite subject before becoming successful writers, but there is, perhaps, something in the idea that English teachers tend to be particularly inspiring figures.

In the English Department at St. Catherine's, we may not be the heroes of narratives on the page or screen, but we do harbour some hope that we will remain in the mind when schooldays are ended – remembered for passing on some of our own knowledge and love of a language and literature of unparalleled richness. A taste of what we do to bring this about may be had by roaming around this website.

English Department Staff
  • Jonathan Worthen: Head of Department MA(Oxon), PGCE (Oxon)
    email: jonathan.worthen@stcatherines.info
    Has taught in both the state and independent sectors. Literary interests are diverse, rooted in the classic canon of Shakespeare, Milton and Chaucer, and ranging through writers as varied as the Metaphysical poets, Doctor Johnson, the Romantic poets, Jane Austen, Orwell, Larkin and Kingsley Amis. Quite often chooses a Stephen King for bedtime reading, and, as is the case with King, Amis, Orwell and Johnson, finds the English language itself a subject of continuing fascination.
  • Sophie Hay: BA (Hons) (Kent), PGCE (Canterbury Christ Church)
    email: sophie.hay@stcatherines.info
    Starting as a newly qualified teacher at St. Catherine's in 2010. Main areas of literary interest include Shakespeare, nineteenth century literature and Modernist literature. Extra- curricular enthusiasms include dancing and music.
  • Mrs Deborah Kitchen: BA Oxon, PGDip
    email: sophie.hay@stcatherines.info
    Following a rewarding 14 years working as a solicitor in the City of London, which included mentoring trainee solicitors, Debbie decided to take a new career path and joined the English department at St Catherine’s in 2014.  She thoroughly enjoys sharing her interest in the intricacies of language with others and has a particular regard for the social commentary of Dickens, as well as the poetry of World War I.  In her spare time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, reading historical fiction and is aiming to take up the saxophone again, after a break of many years.
  • Alice Phillips: Headmistress MA (Cantab)
    email: alice.phillips@stcatherines.info
    Has taught since 1983 in a variety of schools including 10 years at Rickmansworth Masonic with four as Head of English; Deputy Head at Tormead School, Guildford; and now Headmistress at St Catherine's since April 2000. Still holding on to some teaching for dear life and the sake of sanity! Subject specialisms include Geoffrey Chaucer; Shakespeare; 19th century prose, in particular George Eliot; the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins; Practical Criticism of Poetry and Prose. Extra-curricular enthusiasms include every aspect of Drama, Sixth Form Discussion Group and wide reading when time permits.
  • Louise Robson: BA (Hons), PGCE (Distinction) Hull
    email: sophie.hay@stcatherines.info
    Has taught since 1997 in both state and private sectors; previously employed as Head of English at the British School of Barcelona, Spain. Areas of literary interest and specialism include post-colonial literature, Romanticism, Twentieth Century Drama and The Gothic Tradition.
  • Mrs Hannah Simcock: BA (Oxon), PGCE (Sussex)
    email: hannah.simcock@stcatherines.info

    Joined St Catherine’s as an NQT in 2015, after an amazing year teaching English as a Foreign Language, both to adults in Spain and to teenagers in China. As might be imagined, has a real love of languages (also speaks Spanish), but a special fascination with the English language, as manifested in a passion for Middle English and medieval English culture. Other areas of literary interest include nineteenth-century novels penned by women (Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Charlotte Bronte especially); a diverse range of twentieth-century fiction, from E.M Forster, to Ernest Hemingway, to Sebastian Faulks; as well as a more unusual love of Reformation literature of the 1500s. Will read absolutely anything, especially if it has a beautiful vintage Penguin cover. Lives at St. Catherine’s as a Resident Tutor, and is Merriman House Tutor for U3/L4.