9 August 2022
“The Upper School is a very special place – it is the start of an exciting time in our pupils’ educational adventure. We work in partnership with pupils to help them become independent learners who are intellectually curious and aspirational – we want them to enjoy learning!” – Mrs Anna Dourountakis
As Assistant Head (Upper School), Mrs Anna Dourountakis oversees the academic progress and pastoral care of the Upper Fourth, Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth (Years 9, 10 and 11).
Pupils joining the Upper School are entering a significant phase of their education and these three years are decisive in helping them to shape their futures; making choices for I/GCSE, the Sixth Form and, ultimately, life beyond. Anna ensures pupils’ pastoral and academic progress and she intrinsically values her relationships with parents.
As they transition into and through their Upper School years, Anna’s goal is to encourage all girls to become more academically focused, independent and outward-looking. Pastorally, her focus is that girls are fundamentally happy and encouraged to develop a positive self-concept, sound judgement and motivation to succeed. Anna works closely with academic staff, tutors and housestaff to gain a holistic view of pupil’s progress, and she has an ‘open-door policy’, ensuring that girls can see her effortlessly too.
Anna’s career in education spans nearly twenty-five years, including 14 years in boarding schools, and she is passionate about educating girls. Undoubtedly, the quality of teaching and learning, together with a strong pastoral tradition, distinguishes the educational journey at Downe House.
Anna takes great pride in welcoming pupils into the Upper School as they start this pivotal part of their education; now with the support of Mrs Compton Ilott in the new role of Head of Upper Fourth.
“Together with their parents, we will ensure that our pupils’ time in the Upper School is academically productive and that girls flourish into young women who are confident and equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in all areas of their life.” – Mrs Anna Dourountakis
“I am delighted to have been appointed Head of Upper Fourth, a new role within Downe House that reflects a desire to focus even more support on the girls during this pivotal and formative year. There is so much to enjoy and embrace during this influential year.” – Alison Compton-Ilott
From September 2022, Alison will join the Upper School leadership team as Head of Upper Fourth. She will oversee the academic progress of the pupils in conjunction with academic tutors and teachers, and together they will provide support through the exciting process of making their I/GCSE choices.
Alison will ensure all pupils enjoy a wide range of cocurricular activities that interest and challenge them. Pastorally, Alison will support the girls to develop resilience and confidence, and importantly the belief that with hard work and motivation, nothing is beyond their reach!
Graduating from UCL with an honours degree in Geography (BSc), Alison soon discovered her passion for teaching. She completed her PGCE at Goldsmiths, University of London and spent the first few years of her career teaching Geography in a challenging but rapidly improving and highly rewarding maintained school in Tower Hamlets, East London.
Alison joined Downe House in 2015 and, throughout her time here, she has enjoyed being immersed in all aspects of School life; initially working within the Foundation, organising events for parents and the whole-School community, as well as being part of the team that fundraised to build the Murray Centre. She has also been a pastoral assistant, working in both Lower and Upper School Houses and, since 2018, an Academic Tutor for Upper School pupils.
The lure of teaching and a strong desire to get back into the classroom saw Alison transition back to teaching Geography full-time – a position she will continue to hold alongside her new role.
“The Upper Fourth is such an exciting and life-changing year with so much on offer. I am looking forward to supporting each and every girl through this year, encouraging them to try new activities, embrace new experiences and forge more friendships.” – Mrs Alison Compton-Ilott