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Meet some of CATS Canterbury staff:

James Slocombe, Vice Principal

Tell us about yourself?

I have worked in British international schools since the beginning of my career, having previously been Head of Sixth Form and Director of Studies of two uniquely different boarding schools overseas. I am an outdoor and travel enthusiast involved in The Scout Association and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, leading expeditions for disadvantaged young people to different countries.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, I regularly take part in the RSA’s ‘Creative Learning & Development’ programme. The charity and its supporters seek to close the creativity gap, working with learners, educators and leaders to develop new approaches that enable everyone to generate unique, valuable ideas and make them happen.

Originally I come from Somerset, in the South West of the United Kingdom, I speak Spanish and avidly read The Economist.

What is your job?

As the Vice Principal I cover all matters relating to the academic and pastoral management and leadership of the College. On occasions the role demands that I deputise for the Principal in his absence, but for the most part we work together in partnership to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, student welfare and boarding, and general experience of life here at CATS Canterbury.

As well as presenting at assemblies, handing out certificates, and celebrating in student success; I am also responsible for holding students accountable for their actions.

What do you like most about your job?

CATS Canterbury could be described as a ‘mini United Nations’. So many nationalities and cultures are represented here that it genuinely reflects our aim of developing ‘Global Citizens’. Almost everyone speaks at least two languages, has high aspirations to go to a good University, and the breadth of extra-curricular activities available sometimes means it’s hard to choose. 

Lynn Weston, IB Co-ordinator

Tell us about yourself?
Having returned to the UK from Switzerland, where I was Principal of my own School of English, I joined CATS College Canterbury as Director of Studies. I have written several English-German textbooks for the publishing house Langenscheidt and in my free time enjoy reading – I run a Book Club – and keeping fit at the gym.

What do you do?
I am responsible for the operational running of the curriculum for our programmes of study. I’ve been involved with the development of the College as an IB World School since our initial authorisation, and am very proud of the way the IB has grown, especially the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) side of the programme, and often join the students in, for example, a beach clean-up, or a cultural evening.

What do you like about the College?
I love the nationality mix of the students, and the way one can learn so much about different cultures and traditions through them. The College has a warm and friendly atmosphere, and it is easy to get to know the students.

Dawn Merriman, Director for Higher Education

Dawn Merriman is a graduate of Kent Law school, trained for the English Bar and a pupil at local chambers in Canterbury. Specialising in Contract Law with a specific interest in Public Law particularly Inquests, Dawn qualified in teaching in 1995 and went on to take a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Management.

Ms Merriman has led a varied and diverse career including developing post-16 education for young adults to media projects working with TV companies on miscarriages of justice cases. Previous posts have included lecturing at Kent Business School (Kent University), postgraduate and CIPD Employment Law at Christ Church University, Canterbury and examiner for A level law.

Now the UCAS Officer and Business Studies tutor for CATS College Canterbury , Dawn says:
"CATS College is a unique place to work, the students are wonderful here. The best part of my job is helping our students get to the Universities they want to go to. CATS College students are very special and they are my main motivation.

I have met some truly talented students since I have been here. The hardest part of my job is saying goodbye to our students, but I know when they leave us they are going on to fulfil their ambitions and that is all of our reward here at CATS College."

Mark Algar, Curriculum Director of Business & Senior Tutor

Tell us about yourself?
As Curriculum Director of Business, I am fortunate enough to lead a first class team of academic staff. I have a degree in Business, and a Masters Degree in Management from Loughborough University. Prior to joining CATS, I was Head of Business and Economics, and Day Housemaster, at an Independent School on the Kent coast. Other posts include, founder and Managing Director of a Social Enterprise; and working in a busy City of London commodity trading firm. I have taught in variety of education institutions from grammar and secondary modern schools, to further and higher education colleges. I am married, and have two young daughters.

As Senior Tutor, I am the first point of contact to 65 students across the college, and responsible for my tutees academic and pastoral welfare. In order to provide personalised support, I communicate on a daily basis with my tutees, their subject teachers, House Parents, and the college welfare team. Furthermore, in my role as Curriculum Director of Business, and teacher of Economics, I am able to steer my students in the right direction from within the classroom as well. Prior to joining CATS, I was a Day Housemaster to Year 7 and 8 Boys, at an Independent School on the Kent coast.

What do you like about the college?
It is a pleasure to teach highly motivated and hardworking students, in a vibrant and superbly resourced setting. The diverse mix of students, and staff, from the UK and around the world, makes for fascinating discussion inside and outside of the classroom, enriching the learning atmosphere for all.

What are your interests?
I am a keen sportsman and a retired rugby player. While my two young children keep me busy, to stay fit, I play five-a-side football, swim and play badminton. I enjoy countryside walking; annual family camping holidays, and the adventure of wild camping, particularly in Snowdonia National Park.


Dianne Amiri, Senior Tutor and Head of the Academic English Programme

I am Lead Senior Tutor and Head of the Academic English Module. I have worked at Cats College Canterbury for over 15 years, previously having a career in Banking.
As Lead Senior Tutor I co-ordinate and support a team of Senior Tutors at the College and work closely with our Welfare Team to ensure that students have a balance between their academic and social life. As I believe every student is a unique person with the potential to contribute to the life of the college, I see my role as crucial in helping students achieve their goals as they progress in their academic career.

I have two children. My son is currently living and working in China, and my daughter lives and works in London. I practise yoga, and enjoy walking and skiing. I am a keen traveller and I have visited several countries all over the world.

Dr. Jennifer Walters, Curriculum Director of STEM (Maths and Science)

Tell us about yourself?
I have long-standing connections with Canterbury as I studied at the University of Kent for both my BSc. and Ph.D degrees. I started my career as a research scientist at University College London, but decided on a move to teaching following two years working at a school in rural Tanzania

What do you do?
I am the Curriculum Director for STEM (Science and Maths) at CATS Canterbury, which means that I work with a large and very dedicated team of teachers to deliver the curriculum across the whole range of courses offered at Canterbury. I am also responsible for supporting any students who sign up to the Medics key professions programme; preparing them for admissions tests and interviews, as well as working with them to produce excellent applications for universities

What do you enjoy about your job?
I love working with all the students at CATS Canterbury, The students here are so interesting and motivated, and it is a pleasure to get to know them and to be in a position to advise them about their future.

Anna Brzozowska-Kuzniarowska, Welfare Officer

What do you do?
Anna supports the Head of Welfare and Boarding by dealing with the pastoral support of the College students. This can include a number of activities; the implementation of the college’s policies and procedures, liaising with the House Parents and the Residence Manager on any concerns raised about a student, dealing with all student behaviour issues and the implementation of student welfare plans and risk assessments. Anna will also help students to apply to live in private accommodation and approve Exeat visits and trips.

Claudia Albertini, Senior Tutor and Head of Pre-Programme

Tell us about yourself?
I come from Italy and have been living in the UK for nearly 20 years. I have been teaching for 15 years in different countries and have been working at the College for over 7 covering a number of different roles. Like many students I came to England to learn English as a foreign language after having attained a diploma in Business and Accounting and I fell in love with this country its customs, culture and traditions. I completed my university studies in the UK and I was so fascinated by the different approaches to teaching methods used in this country compared to Italy that I decided to become a teacher and focus in particular on English as a second language, I completed my teacher training at Canterbury Christ Church University. I am married and I have a little girl who keeps me very busy when I am not at work.

What do you do?
I have been Head of Pre Programme for 4 years and I have enjoyed the challenges of setting up, running; and developing a new course. Part of my duties are coordinating the many different subjects that are taught on the course so I spend a lot of my time working closely with our Curriculum Directors and staff. As a Senior Tutor I am responsible for the personal development of Pre students as well as making sure that they develop their confidence and strengths which can sometimes be a challenge as I look after our youngest students. It is however, a challenge I welcome as I love working with young people.


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