Housemistress: Olivia Firek

House ethos

Melvill is a house with a friendly and happy atmosphere. Everyone has a part to play in creating a supportive community, where everyone is valued and encouraged to develop their talents.

House spirit and team effort are essential elements in Melvill, and all girls get involved, and help out with duties, to ensure that the house runs smoothly, and all feel happy and secure. Our sixth form prefects and peer supporters do a brilliant job of caring for the younger girls, and all are encouraged to achieve their very best in all aspects of their school life.

Melvill girls are motivated, caring and respectful.

Be it aiming high in academic subjects, sport or music, or making the most of all of the co-curricular activities on offer, Melvill girls should always put in their best effort. They should be ambitious and enthusiastic, as well as encouraging and supportive of their house mates.

Melvill girls should care for one another regardless of age, interests or character. A happy house is one in which everyone feels cared for, and where there is always someone to talk to and spend time with.

Melvill girls should care about all members of our community, take care of their house, and appreciate their surroundings.

Melvill girls should respect each other’s individuality, personal space and property. Everyone should feel comfortable and happy in the house and be able to express their own cultural and spiritual beliefs. Melvill girls should show respect towards all members of staff working in the house, and within the College, and be respectful of the rules and expectations.

Aims of the House

House spirit and a feeling of camaraderie are essential components of a happy boarding environment. Girls are encouraged to join in House and school events and to broaden their experience academically as well as in sports, music, art and drama.


Olivia joined Haileybury in September 2011, having worked for 12 years in a variety of schools. These included international schools in Portugal and Switzerland, where she developed her passion for skiing and all things outdoors. At Haileybury she enjoys taking part in cross country running and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme Gold expeditions. She has been Housemistress of Melvill since September 2013, and is married to Simon, who is also a Biology teacher.

House tutors

Alison McWhirter: Removes Tutor & Assistant Housemistress
Alison joined Haileybury in September 2013 as Head of Academic Drama having previously worked as Head of Drama and Head of Year at a girls' school in London. She was a tutor in Albans' House for one year before joining Melvill this September as our Assistant Housemistress. She grew up in Wiltshire and studied Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. Alongside her passion for theatre she loves wandering in the woods around Haileybury with her dog Theo and also enjoys knocking up knitted creations for friends. It is food (and cooking) that is Alison's greatest motivation, so if she has had a stressful day she is likely to be found in front of the cooker concocting something tasty.

Elizabeth Dow: Middles Tutor & Resident Tutor
Liz works as a music teacher in the Music Department and runs the Jazz Band and Lower School Music Factory. Previously she has worked in schools in Scotland and Switzerland as both a classroom music teacher and instrumental teacher. Liz plays the Cello and Saxophone, and has performed on TV and radio and at the Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican and Royal Festival Hall.

Dora Callington: Fifths Tutor
Dora began teaching at Haileybury in September 2013 with over 23 years’ experience as a teacher and lecturer of Spanish and French. She has also been an Examiner of both EDEXCEL and AQA. Dora is originally from Peru and speaks four languages. Her interests include: Travelling, Current Affairs, Fitness, World Cinema and Latin Dance.

Elspeth Harvey: L6th Tutor and Academic Tutor 
Elspeth is the School Librarian. She was educated at the Fort Beaufort High School (Eastern Cape) and the University of Cape Town. Before arriving at Haileybury some 20 years ago, she held the post of librarian in South Africa, Canada, and at Wellington College in the UK. She is married to Dr Duncan Harvey, a long-standing member of the Maths Department. She has always been a Sixth Form tutor, and knows how stressful it is making those crucial decisions about courses and universities. Leisure time interests are gardening, films, reading, antiques, wildlife and rugby.

Cheryl Loughton: L6th Tutor
Cheryl started off her career in industry but has enjoyed (almost) every moment of her last 14 years here at Haileybury working in the Biology Department. She also takes great pleasure in interacting with her two young daughters (Madeleine and Chloe), keeping fit and studying random on-line courses!

Kathryn Galbraith: U6th Tutor
Kathryn joined Haileybury in September 2014 as Head of History having been Head of History at Ipswich School. Kathryn is a keen marathon runner and has completed the London and New York marathons. She coaches athletics at club level.

"'With all our Common Rooms, there is always somewhere you can go to chill out and relax with your friends. Melvill is a very homely House, with a very caring Housemistress."

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