Mr Paul Mitchell
Mr Mitchell took over as Headmaster of Cobham Hall in September 2008. A Mathematics graduate from the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, he spent the first part of his career in the state sector, teaching Mathematics and some Physical Education. A period of part-time work followed in order to spend more time pursuing his athletic interests representing Great Britain as a modern pentathlete.
His return to full time employment was at Godolphin School, Salisbury – his first experience of working in an all-girls school. He has been in independent boarding and day schools ever since, including being Head of Mathematics at Tettenhall College, Wolverhampton, and the Royal High School, Bath. Immediately prior to moving to Cobham Hall he was Deputy Headmaster at St Mary’s, Cambridge for three years.
Working in a Round Square school and one that offers the International Baccalaureate were two of the major factors that attracted Mr Mitchell to Cobham Hall. He regularly states one of the others was the friendly, confident, polite and interesting students he met on his visits here!
Mr Mitchell maintains an interest in sport, competing in equestrian events when time allows. Apart from riding, he and his partner also enjoy travel, cinema, music, and are both avid readers.
Deputy Headmistress and Director of Studies
Dr Sandra Coates-Smith
Inspired to consider a career in Science by a teacher at school who had worked on the design of the Concorde aeroplane, Dr Coates-Smith holds a BSc in Chemistry from King’s College London and completed her PhD in Physics whilst being sponsored by one of the world’s largest gas and oil companies, BP.
She sees Science as a way of explaining a whole range of natural phenomena and enjoys the intellectual challenge involved in learning and teaching Science. A strong believer in encouraging girls to think about Science as a career, she teaches Physics and Chemistry to Sixth Form level and enjoys teaching both subjects to all ages and abilities.
While living and studying in London she worked with young people within the Guiding movement and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and counts finishing her own Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award as one of the major achievements of her life. Originally a kayak instructor in her spare time, she now participates in the slightly more sedate sport of sailing by occasionally acting as crew for her husband on their boat.
Assistant Headmistress and Head of Boarding
Mrs Wendy Barrett
Mrs Barrett joined Cobham Hall in September 1993. She has a BSc (Hons) degree from Royal Holloway College, London, in Mathematics and Physics and a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics Education from Canterbury Christchurch. She initially trained as an Engineer and worked for Thorn EMI Instruments in Dover, Kent, eventually specialising in sales and marketing.
Following this she worked for the Department of Trade and Industry in London before taking up employment with the Royal Fellowship of Engineering as a Manufacturing Engineer.
After a career break, Mrs Barrett retrained as a teacher and has taught both Mathematics and Physics to students across all year groups. She has held various academic and pastoral roles at Cobham including that of Round Square Representative, which involved taking girls on Round Square trips to South Africa, Botswana, Australia, Europe and the USA amongst other duties.
Mrs Barrett enjoys teaching as it is always a challenge to make Mathematics engaging and to help students gain an understanding of just how often Mathematics is used in the world outside the school gates.
While she occasionally dreams of being able to tell people she walks the tightrope in her spare time, in reality Mrs Barrett enjoys the simpler pleasures in life, such as getting together with friends, going out for meals and to the cinema. She likes reading and watching both political and crime dramas and has watched ‘The West Wing’ box set several times. The excessive consumption of the West Wing has not yet mutated into dreams of political greatness, although she may have come across a few aspiring politicians in her classroom!
Mr David Standen
David Standen joined Cobham Hall in 2010 but has been involved in the Cobham Estate since 1997, when he took on the role of Project Director for the Cobham Ashenbank Management Scheme (CAMS). A landscape and heritage project set up in response to the development of the High Speed Rail Link, CAMS worked to restore the historic Cobham Park and associated historic buildings.
Mr Standen was educated at The Judd School and went on to obtain a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science. On leaving University, he moved to Essex to work on the management and development of country parks and nature reserves reaching the position of Countryside Services Manager with responsibility for over 1,500 hectares of parkland and associated facilities.
Mr Standen moved to Kent to head the CAMS project. Following a successful application for over £4 million of lottery funding, he was asked to develop and run a charity to manage a £2 million fund aimed at stimulating landscape, heritage and access projects in the area affected by the development of the High Speed Rail Link. Having established the charity, Mr Standen took the decision in 2004 to go part-time and set up his own consultancy business. As a consultant, he successfully developed funding bids for a range of landscape and heritage projects securing over £15 million over six years for projects across North Kent. He also returned to the CAMS project on a part-time basis in 2006 to manage the implementation of the restoration project and secure further project funding.
Married with two children, a son and a daughter, Mr Standen used to race 600 cc motorbikes at amateur club level and enjoys cooking. His daughter currently attends Cobham Hall.