Meet the new head of Dunottar School in Reigate, Rowena Cole

Rowena Cole

Rowena Cole - Credit: TBC

Taking over as the new head of Dunottar School, Reigate, from this September, when the school will also become co-educational, Rowena Cole can’t wait to get started in the role

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what do you think you would have done instead?

I would probably have been a vet. I knew that I wanted a job that was active and involved interaction with people. I have always had a real love of science and animals so becoming a vet hung in the balance for a long time and I did consider training post graduation. However, as soon as I started teaching I never looked back and still think that working as a teacher is the best job going.


What were your favourite lessons when you were at school?

I loved biology lessons and had a very inspirational teacher, affectionately known to us all as Griff, who was as much fun as she was Welsh and fiery. She also ran the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme at school and took me on expeditions around the UK as I worked my way through to completing Gold. I look back and think about the hours of her time that she gave to us all and how much we gained from the experience. In fact, she really shaped my teaching career as I became a biology teacher and ran the DofE scheme in my first few years as a teacher – a real inspiration.


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Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?

Steak and kidney pudding – the rubbery bits of kidney! However, I can’t have minded them too much as I ate them right through until the end of the Upper Six.


How do you like to relax?

Time to relax is quite limited with a young family and a big job. However, I’m fortunate that anything which involves being outside relaxes me; from walking the dogs to visiting some of the amazing National Trust properties we have in Surrey. And you can’t go wrong with a great pub lunch with friends!


What is your favourite film?

Four Weddings and a Funeral. There’s nothing better than an English wedding and this film just makes me laugh. However, the hilarity is brilliantly juxtaposed with the funeral scene and the incredibly emotional delivery of Auden’s Stop all the Clocks.


So, your Desert Island Disc…?

This is really tricky as it depends so much on mood and situation. U2’s The Joshua Tree, specifically With or Without You, but so is John Barry’s The Beyondness of Things. He is such an incredible master at creating an atmosphere with music and I can imagine sitting on the shores of my island listening to this. To be honest, my list could go on and on.


If you were Prime Minister for one day, what’s the first thing you’d do?

I’d separate the education system from government so that it wasn’t at the whim of different political agendas. The frequency of change that teachers have to respond to takes some of their energy and creativity away from the children that they are teaching and that isn’t good for the children. I would want a robust and demanding body that ensures that the needs of the diversity of children in the UK are met and they are enabled to take their place in what is an increasingly international world.


• Dunottar School, High Trees Road, Reigate RH2 7EL. Tel: 01737 761945; e-mail; web:




School of thought...


Maths or English?

English – because of the power of words.


School dinners or packed lunch?

That’s obvious from my answer above – school dinners!


Newsletter or Twitter?

It depends. The real-time communication of an event or a response to an event is powerful with a tweet but sometimes you want the detail of a newsletter – though it needs to be an e-newsletter as my desk is testament to the fact I’m not good at filing!


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