Mike grew up in a family of teachers and education runs through his core. After prep school, he attended Blundells’ School in Devon and then Cardiff University where he graduated with a degree in Ancient and Byzantine history. He has considerable experience of the prep school world and has been teaching for 25 years in both day and boarding prep schools in London and the southeast of England.
Before joining the Lyceum in September 2022, he has been the Head of Years 5 and 6 at Rokeby School in Kingston, the Deputy Headmaster of Walhampton School in Lymington and most recently, the Headmaster of Forres Sandle Manor in Hampshire. He made a huge impact in all three schools, developing a reputation for introducing a more child centred approach and understanding how to unlock each child’s potential.
Mike believes that “all children are stars and that, we as teachers will help them shine.” His educational philosophy is based around recognising, understanding and nurturing children as individuals and working with parents to help develop their skills for the future, their emotional intelligence, and their inner strength. Children’s school days should be filled with laughter and excitement and every day should be an adventure.
Mike has been married for over 20 years and he has a teenage daughter at Bath University and a son at Bryanston school in Dorset. He loves all sports, particularly rugby and cricket – he is an avid Surrey County cricket member. He also enjoys travelling with his family and has an ambition to visit every country on the planet.
Mrs Taggart trained very close to The Lyceum at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, gaining a First-Class Honours Degree in Stage Management and Technical Theatre. It was during her time at Guildhall that she met Mr Taggart, who was training as a classical actor. Throughout her degree course, and for a few years after, she worked on various large West End shows including We Will Rock You, Joseph and Oliver.
After a number of years in the theatre world, working very late into the evenings, Mrs Taggart decided a career change was the path to follow. She took a job as an Assistant Teacher and, shortly after, was accepted onto a prestigious Graduate Teacher Programme, being thrown in the deep end with a Year 5/6 split class. During her training, she achieved outstanding in all areas and gained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Mrs Taggart has taught in both state and independent schools in every year group within Key Stage 1 and 2. She particularly enjoys the challenge of working with older pupils and preparing them for the 11+ and secondary school transfer. Mrs Taggart is The Lyceum’s Safeguarding Lead and oversees the pastoral care of all the children at the school; ensuring children feel safe and happy is something she is deeply passionate about.
Outside of school, Mrs Taggart enjoys spending time with her young family and pets, as well as travelling, cooking and gardening.
Miss Lamond is the Assistant Head (Pastoral) at The Lyceum. She is an excellent practitioner with nine years teaching experience, with a particular passion for the EYFS. Miss Lamond grew up and studied in Glasgow, gaining a BA (Hons) in Primary Education from the University of Strathclyde.
In 2018, Miss Lamond relocated to London. She began at The Lyceum as a Class Teacher and has since progressed to Head of Early Years and subsequently Assistant Head. She is a passionate teacher who loves her job, values her pupils and most importantly, creates a happy, engaging atmosphere for all in her care. Miss Lamond won “Staff Member of the Year” for the EYFS division in the Annual Dukes Awards in 2019. In her spare time, Miss Lamond enjoys running, cooking and attending live music gigs.
Miss Ismail has been a Primary teacher for over ten years, teaching the National Curriculum both in the UK and Internationally across Key Stage 1 and 2. Most recently, she spent four years in the United Arab Emirates teaching at a British School in Dubai, where she excelled to the positions of Head of Year and Head of Department for English.
Before teaching abroad, Miss Ismail graduated with a Psychology degree from Royal Holloway, University of London, and began her career in the Inclusion Department of a Secondary boys school. She then went on to complete the Graduate Teacher Programme in Primary Education and achieved Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Miss Ismail is always looking to develop her teaching practice and recently completed the National Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) with UCL Institute of Education.
Whilst teaching, she has always enjoyed volunteering within the field of education and engaging in charitable initiatives. During her role as Head of Science at The Lyceum, Miss Ismail led and completed a voluntary project which developed the Science Curriculum in schools in Tajikistan. Her most recent charitable engagement involved walking/running/cycling over 100 miles in a month-with the students in her class. They managed to raise £2000 for the Bulogo School in Uganda.
Miss Wray joins The Lyceum from King’s House School in Richmond where she was employed as a Commercial Operations Manager.
She is a qualified School Business Manager with 15 years school-based experience having undertaken a number of roles such as Deputy Head of Sixth Form and School Operations Manager. She is an experienced school governor and has developed and managed co-curricular programmes which she believes are invaluable to a child’s development.
Miss Wray is a decorated National League hockey player and passionate Liverpool FC fan.
Ms Lowdermilk has been at The Lyceum since 2000, first as a parent of 3 children who attended the school and then as a Assistant Teacher. She has worked with children across all age groups on the academic curriculum as well as in art, music, drama and physical education. From January 2019 – July 2020, Ms Lowdermilk worked on Learning Enrichment Activities for both gifted and SEND children.
Ms Lowdermilk received an International Diploma in Montessori Theory and Methodology (Early Childhood Course) from the Montessori Centre International (London, 2009). She has an M.A. in Modern Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art (London, 1996), an M.A. and Ph.D. in the Economics of Developing Countries from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts, University (USA, 1991) and a B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Brown University (USA, 1982).
Ms Lowdermilk was born in Pakistan and grew up there as well as spending time with her family in India and Egypt. She returned to the United States to finish high school and to attend University. Prior to moving to the UK, Ms Lowdermilk worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development as Food Security Adviser for Africa. She travelled and worked extensively in Africa advising governments on nutrition and food policy. Moving to the UK in 1993 was a life and career changing event. While living in London and raising a family, Ms Lowdermilk’s interest in childhood development and the learning process prompted her to re-train as a Montessori teacher and to work in the field of education.
Miss Rothery is one of our Year 1 teachers. She recently graduated from The University of Chester with a Primary PGCE. Prior to that, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Business Management. Miss Rothery relocated from Cheshire to Fulham this year to pursue her teaching career with all the opportunities London has to offer. She has experience in both Key Stage 1 and 2 and is currently undertaking additional training and CPD opportunities from 3 different organisations.
Miss Rothery enjoys spending time with her friends and family and loves to meet new people. She is passionate about sport and healthy eating. She wishes to bring even more awareness of the benefits of healthy eating to all the children she teaches. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with new, healthy recipes.
Miss Graden previously taught at a state school in Hoxton before joining The Lyceum in September 2021. Growing up and studying in Canada, she gained a BA (Hons) degree in French and Linguistics, at which time she also supported the University’s French Department as a Teaching Assistant. During her summers throughout university, she would often be found coaching youth sports and working in children’s recreational programming, specifically supporting children with special needs.
Following a year abroad studying in the south of France, Miss Graden decided to relocate to London to pursue her PGCE at London South Bank University. As a lifelong lover of learning, with a passion for working with children and young people, becoming a teacher has always felt like her calling.
In her free time, Miss Graden loves travelling to new places (26 countries and counting!) and snuggling up with her greyhound. As a hiking and camping enthusiast, she plans to hike Mount Kilimanjaro with her partner in the near future.
Ms Knox has been working with young children since 1998. Originally from Lithuania, she moved to England in 1995 to join her new family. In her country, Ms Knox studied and gained a degree in Economics and Computer Programming at Vilnius University. After moving to London, Ms Knox embarked on a career change to work with children. Within 2 years, she completed Levels 2 and 3 in Childcare and Education. Since then, she has been working with children of all primary school ages.
Ms Knox has been part of Minerva/Dukes since 2002 and joined The Lyceum School in September 2019. Apart from her native language, Lithuanian, she speaks Russian and English and has been learning French over the last few years.
Mrs Ufland is a Year 2 Teacher and the Art Coordinator at The Lyceum. She gained her Primary PGCE in 2017 and has since taught in the EYFS and KS1. Mrs Ufland has worked in both the state and private sector prior to joining The Lyceum in 2019.
She completed her BA (Hons) in Textile Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University, subsequently deciding to pursue a career in Education. She is a passionate teacher who is particularly fond of using creative and interactive methods to engage students. Mrs Ufland has always been a keen artist, spending many hours completing sketch books and paintings as a child. In her spare time, she enjoys painting abstract canvases, spending time with her family, and travelling.
Mr Fernandez graduated with a five-year BA in English Philology from the University of Seville and an MA in Secondary Education from the Valencian International University. Currently, he is studying a part-time PhD in Primary Education at the UNED University with a direct focus on creating a more broad, inclusive, and diverse connected curriculum through the study of significant individuals.
In his spare time, he plays volleyball and badminton. He also enjoys cooking and aims to learn how to cook every country’s national dish.
Ms Moreno is from southern Spain, where she originally studied nursing. She has spent half of her life in the UK and is happily settled with her partner and 2 sons.
She has accumulated a wealth of experience in education, especially within Early Years. She began by volunteering in nurseries and schools, specifically interested in supporting children with SEN. She also volunteered for different charities within the local community, focusing on hard to reach families. Having worked in education for over 20 years, Ms Moreno has gained many qualifications, most recently obtaining a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in the Children and Young People’s Workforce.
Ms Moreno enjoys spending time with family and friends and has a passion for cooking healthy Mediterranean food. She also enjoys developing new skills which allow her to channel her creativity, such as sewing, singing and painting.
Mr Welch is originally from the South of England and has worked in some amazing schools and countries over the last eight years, including London, Amsterdam and Berlin.
He loves creativity and encourages this with all his pupils and this is one thing which attracted him to The Lyceum. With a degree in Music and a love of sport (especially rugby) he hopes to bring his skills and experience to all the children at The Lyceum.
Over the last year he has been travelling and volunteering where possible in six different countries in Central and South America.
Miss Cortez has been working in education for the past seven years. She graduated in English Language and Literature from the University of São Paulo and qualified as a primary school teacher at Nottingham University. During her undergraduate years, Miss Cortez worked across both Key Stage 1 and 2 at the Independent British school of São Paulo (St Paul’s School), a practice she has continued developing since moving to London in 2018 and joining The Lyceum.
An avid reader, Miss Cortez had learnt how to read before the age of 4 and has taught herself different languages – such as English and Spanish. Being born and bred in a multicultural environment has nurtured her curiosity, respect, and passion for learning.
Having trained at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating with Teaching Qualifications from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) in Ballet, Tap and Modern, Miss Haynes has worked in a variety of roles across the Entertainment Industry. Over the last 20 years this included Choreographer, Dancer and Children’s Entertainer. This culminated in 2019 where she had the pleasure of working in a 5 star resort in Egypt, being responsible for 42 Entertainers and producing West End quality shows with professional singers and dancers.
Mr Lopez was born and raised in Jerez, Spain. From a young age, he loved sports including football, tennis and athletics. Mr Lopez became champion in the long jump in Andalusia (a southern region of Spain) in 2005 with 6.12 metres when he was 17 years old; he then went to compete at the National Competition in Madrid but unfortunately wasn’t so lucky this time.
Naturally, Mr Lopez chose to study sports at university and combine this with his other passion – teaching. He gained a BA in Education, specialising in PE. A few years later, wanting to improve his English, Mr Lopez decided to leave Spain and move to England. He has been teaching Spanish in the UK since 2014 and Sports since 2017.
Mrs McGovern has been working in music education for 15 years. After graduating from the Royal College of Music London, where she studied the oboe, she moved to Russia to complete postgraduate studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow. Whilst in Moscow, she performed with orchestras and taught English in a nursery. It was during her time in Moscow that she became interested in music education after being inspired by the ability and musicianship of very young Russian children and wondering how the Russian method could be applied to music education here in the UK.
Mrs McGovern moved back to London in 2011 and the same year married her wonderful husband, a professional saxophone player, who had flown out to Russia and got down on one knee to propose in the snowy subzero temperatures! Since then, she has worked as a peripatetic teacher delivering lessons on the oboe and recorder in a number of prep schools while freelancing with orchestras and running her own chamber music ensemble ‘The Gelachter Trio’ who have been featured on Classic FM, BBC Radio 3 and in BBC Music Magazine.
She is very excited to join The Lyceum team and hopes to instil in the children a lifelong love of music. Outside of school the majority of Mrs McGovern’s time is spent home educating her four children but she also enjoys running, weightlifting classes and helping at her local church by working with the young children, playing piano for Sunday school and helping with the deaf ministry, having recently completed her Level 2 British Sign Language qualification.
Tanya Sultana completed her PGCE in Secondary English in July 2016. Her first post as a teacher was at Chingford Foundation School in East London, teaching students from Years 7 to 11, with particular focus on students undertaking their English GCSEs. Whilst there, Ms Sultana also worked closely with students with special educational needs, specifically children who were diagnosed within the autism spectrum. After three wonderful years at the school, Ms Sultana decided to challenge herself by moving her attention to Early Years. She began this journey by initially accepting a short-term contract at The Lyceum and, after a refreshing and delightful experience, she accepted a permanent post within the Early Years team.
Ms Sultana, a proud Londoner, has studied in the city throughout her life, having graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature at the University of Westminster, before embarking on her PGCE at the University of East London. Despite her fondness for the city she grew up in, Ms Sultana loves exploring different parts of the world, having been on a number of adventures around the globe.
Miss Leach has been at The Lyceum since September 2009. She grew up in London but has always been interested in the great outdoors. For many years, Miss Leach was a member of the Scouting movement, dedicating her spare time to volunteering. She ran her own Beaver and Cub groups, often taking the children on adventures to learn basic life skills and this is what encouraged her to pursue a career in childcare.
Before joining The Lyceum, she studied for three years at Bromley College in Kent, gaining both Level 2 and 3 in Childcare and Education. Miss Leach works in Early Years and is also our Head First Aider at The Lyceum. Each year, Miss Leach works with the Year 6 children in the Summer Term, running a course to complete their Young First Aider qualification.
Christine is an education specialist with over 30 years of experience in education. She spent 20 years working as the Headmistress at a number of co-educational, girls’, and boys’ schools. Her time at leading schools such as Godolphin Prep and Hawkesdown House enabled her to form a deep understanding of independent schools and what they are looking for in prospective students. Christine has spent 12 years as an ISI inspector, finishing as a trained Reporting Inspector (RI). She has represented children’s interests in legal cases, offering judgments in school investigations and participating in grievance panels, and has over 20 years of experience as a school governor, with four as Chairman of the Board for an overseas English international school. Alongside this, Christine has 12 years of state school experience, including overseas army schools.
Currently an independent adviser with The Child and Family Practice, she uses her wealth of experience to provide parents and their children with well-grounded education advice to help them make the right choices when considering independent education in the UK.
She supports Dukes in an advisory capacity, retaining her independence as a consultant for parents.
Aatif founded Dukes Education in 2015. He is also Chairman of Cavendish Education, a group of schools for pupils with dyslexia and autism; and a trustee of St James Independent Schools. Aatif is also on the board of CReSTeD.
Aatif has a first-class degree in Mathematics and Economics and also had a British Army commission. In 2020, he was awarded the Freedom of City of London for services to education.
Born in West London, David attended a local comprehensive school and was the first member of his family to do A levels or go to university. He graduated from Oxford with a First in Classics. From 2012 – 2023 he was Head of Latymer Upper
School. David is committed to advancing social mobility through independent school bursary programmes, in conjunction with their partnership and outreach work. In 2017 he launched the Inspiring Minds campaign, which successfully completed its aim of raising £40m to offer 1 in 4 pupils a means-tested bursary. In 2018, Latymer won 3 TES Awards, including ‘Independent School of the Year’; David was also a finalist in the ‘social mobility champion’ category of the UK Social Mobility Awards.
David has two sons who both attended Dukes schools; he chaired the Dukes Education Advisory Board prior to his appointment as Managing Director. He is a trustee of the Dukes Foundation, as well as a Fellow at Winchester College.
Mr Wheeler is passionate about education and worked and volunteered in several academic settings before joining The Lyceum in October 2021.
He graduated from the University of Cambridge before studying marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and then an MBA with the Quantic School of Business and Technology. He became a Chartered Marketer in summer 2021.
Outside of work, Mr Wheeler is also active in the charity sector. He first became a trustee at 21 and was a founding ambassador of the Young Trustees Movement. He is currently the interim Chair of Trustees at the intergenerational charity InCommon.
He also loves learning languages – so if you get the chance please say hello in Spanish, French, Russian or Catalan!
Miss Bird has worked in a variety of management roles over the past eight years and has spent time volunteering with children and young people of all ages in the Greater London area.
She has a passion for delivering excellent service and ensuring that all families feel welcomed and excited to be a part of The Lyceum.
Miss Bird started with the Lyceum in February 2023 and is delighted to be joining the school.
Outside of school, she can be found singing along to showtunes, browsing food markets and making sure that she’s got her 10,000 steps in!
Horacio was born in Portugal and was brought up in a small village in the countryside. At school, he was known for his football prowess where he played in midfield and defence. He was always first when competing in running races and was keen to trampoline until he overshot the crash mat! At 16, he followed in his father’s footsteps and worked in a brick making factory, helping out in a bicycle shop at the weekends. He was so skilled at mending things that he was soon offered a full-time job at the shop. He met his wife in Portugal and they came to England 34 years ago. He has worked at The Lyceum for over 22 years. He loves animals and has 2 Yorkshire terriers called Tiger and Lilly.
Mr Clifford is a highly experienced teacher, maker and creative technologist. A qualified teacher, Paul has also worked in the cultural and heritage sector as the Digital Learning Manager at the British Museum and Museum of London, and as Schools Officer at the V&A, designing, delivering and evaluating STEAM learning activities, courses and projects.
He has worked for education companies and charities including Kano Computing, Open Futures and the Institute of Imagination. A guest lecturer at many UK and overseas universities he has also championed STEAM approaches at educational and cultural conferences all over the world.
Mr Clifford also designs and builds digital/physical products, interactives and games as well as running design and build workshops for a range of audiences in cultural, learning and creative environments.
An advocate for STEAM and maker culture, Mr Clifford is a passionate supporter of blended and applied learning.
Miss Sillitoe joined The Lyceum School team in 2021 as Club Leader within our ever growing after school clubs. She comes from a performance background, having graduated from Chichester University with a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre. Since then Miss Sillitoe has performed as a vocalist across various holiday parks in the UK and 5 star resorts abroad.
Miss Loh graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (AGSM) majoring in the piano, winning the Robert Wise Memorial Prize. She continued her postgraduate studies there, gaining the Advanced Solo Studies Certificate and her violin teaching diploma (LGSM). As a student and young professional, she won prizes in several national competitions, making her debut at the South Bank as part of the Maisie Lewis Young Artists series and performed in the Park Lane Group Young Artist series to critical acclaim. Concert appearances include concerto and recital performances as a soloist and chamber musician in many venues including the Fairfield Halls, Barbican Centre, South Bank Centre, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James’ Piccadilly. She has made broadcast in the UK and abroad as well.
Miss Loh is passionate about music education and is especially interested in nurturing young learners. She has vast experience with Early Years starters, fostering in them a love of music and developing confidence through music making.
“an unflappably cultivated touch and sinuous sense of phrase” The Independent
“attractive flashes of energy and lyricism” The Financial Times
“bold splashes of colour and pleasing sense of spontaneity, impetus and cogency ….. real virtuosic dazzle” The Times
Mrs Machado is a specialist teacher with over 20 years’ classroom experience and has worked extensively to deliver lessons that are fun and engaging for pupils with a range of educational needs. Her speciality is creating personalised learning for learners to support them to achieve their full potential, whatever their needs.
In addition to her teaching qualifications, Clare holds a BSc in Psychology and a MA in Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia). She is accredited by the British Dyslexia Association and is qualified to administer full diagnostic dyslexia assessments.
My name is Manu and I’m The Lyceum School dog! I am an Irish born greyhound and I moved to England in January 2021, after my racing career ended.
I was adopted from the Harvel Greyhound Trust in Kent in August 2021 by my mum and dad (my mum is Miss Graden).
My hobbies include taking long sofa naps, snacking on tasty treats and receiving never-ending belly rubs. My favourite part of the school day is when the children sit with me quietly, give me gentle strokes and read me stories!