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Sarah Salathiel

Headmistress, Riverston School 


After qualifying as a PE Specialist in 1976 at Dartford College, Sarah’s first teaching post was at La Sainte Union Convent Girls School, London NW5 where she remained for three years. Sarah’s employment at Riverston commenced in January 1979 when she became the teacher in charge of Girls PE across all age groups. In her first term she introduced gymnastics and dance. Her passion for Physical Education has continued throughout her long career at Riverston and she is still actively involved in promoting and teaching Physical Education.

During her 40 year journey at Riverston, Sarah has held the following responsibility posts; Head of PE, Head of Expressive Arts, SMT Member with responsibility for marketing and Deputy Head with responsibility for Pastoral Care.

Sarah became Headmistress of Riverston School in 2001. Since that time she has successfully led the school through four ISI Inspections; in January 2014 when the school was deemed to be outstanding and excellent in many key areas. The following quote from the final ISI Inspection Report summarises the ethos that Sarah has helped to create:


'The excellent personnel development of the pupils, and the warm supportive atmosphere of the school, are the result of the nurturing ethos that has been created by the strong leadership and management provided by those with pastoral responsibilities in accordance with the school’s aims to build confidence and self-esteem and prepare the pupils for the next stage in their education.’


During the last ISI Compliance Inspection in February 2016, Riverston was deemed to be fully compliant in all of the 8 standards with no action points identified.  

Sarah has been instrumental in the development of Riverston Plus whereby pupils with mild to moderate learning differences, associated anxieties and ASC have been successfully integrated into the mainstream structure of the school. She has instigated the opening of the new Sixth Form Centre in 2010 and ensured that pupils are able to follow individualised learning pathways which includes a variety of Vocational Courses and “A” level Options to suit their developmental needs and interests. Offsite courses and work experience programmes have been established and include day-release programmes at Hadlow College where students study Animal Management and Horticulture. Sarah has been instrumental in developing Riverston’s bespoke curriculum and ensured the adjustments necessary to meet the individual needs of all students, including the introduction of Food Technology, Financial Capability, Functional Maths, Hospitality, Catering, Hair and Beauty, Life Skills, Textiles, Rock Climbing and Karate.

Over the last five years Sarah has been instrumental in driving the school to continually improve with new curriculum developments and a real focus on the Welfare and Wellbeing of all pupils with anxiety related conditions. To this extent the school has achieved a renowned reputation within the local and wider community with close working relationships established with 9 separate Local Authorities who consider Riverston School as a preferred provider for young persons with additional SEN needs.

Specialising in providing an inclusive and bespoke education to those children specifically on the autistic spectrum, Sarah has led a successful team in their quest for autism recognition and Riverston School was awarded the prestigious award by the National Autistic Society (NAS) in June 2017 and is now an accredited school.  

Sarah has recently been awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Education Degree by the University of Greenwich in recognition of her excellent contribution to education.