The Team

Our team at River House Academy is made up of fully qualified teachers from Europe, India and the USA. We also have TEFL support teachers and a small team looking after our office and kitchen.

Our staff are committed to working within the ethos of River House Academy, to ensure that our children receive the best education possible within a holistic, nurturing environment.

Ellie Cottrell (Head Teacher)

Ellie Cottrell is the founder and Headteacher of River House Academy.

Ellie taught for 11 years in Norwich, England where she worked with students with a wide range of skills and abilities. She enjoyed finding innovative ways of engaging learners so that they reached their full potential: academically, creatively and socially.

Having two children of her own, Ellie is clear that a rounded education must offer a balance between academic achievement and creative expression.

This balance is the defining strength of River House Academy.

Sam Durrant (Deputy Head Teacher)

Sam has been a teacher at River House Academy since its very beginning.

Sam taught French for many years in the UK at comprehensives in London before moving to Norfolk. He has mainly specialised in pastoral care at Key Stage 4, including administering GCSE exams for 16 year olds at all ability levels. His passion for travel and new challenges brought him to Goa where he has now been settled for 5 years.

Sam believes in educating the ‘whole child’, providing experiences and opportunities that nurture the strengths and potential that he knows all young people have. River House Academy is the perfect place for him to practise this educational vision and continue learning to be an even better teacher.

Divya Shetty (Primary Teacher and Teacher Support Co-ordinator)

Divya discovered her love for working with children when she volunteered at educational organisations like The Akanksha Foundation and Mumbai Mobile Creche in Mumbai during her weekends off from work. Three years back, she took the leap of faith and started working full time in the education sector. She completed her 2 year fellowship with Teach for India (a part of the Teach For All network) where she worked as a full-time teacher to children from a low-income community in Mumbai.

She believes in developing her classroom into a community where every student feels free and safe to express their ideas and opinions, which resonates with the ethos of River House of educating the whole child. She believes that River House provides a safe and nurturing environment to all children where they learn while developing a well rounded personality. She believes that working in River House with such a diverse community will make her a better teacher and a better global citizen.

Louise Fernandes (Head of Art)

Lou has been working within the education sector for over 10 years, mainly in the UK as well as in India. She is a qualified teacher of Secondary art as well as having a Masters in Art Therapy. Lou has worked with a wide range of young people and adults, supporting them in their creativity in many different settings. She believes in the importance of creative self-expression within education for emotional health and well-being, allowing for a holistic approach to an individual’s learning experience.

Lou strives to create a warm, nurturing, creative classroom where each child can reach their potential, meeting the needs of her learners in an individualised way. She enjoys being part of a diverse yet unified community where the needs of the child are central.

Being a mum of a 3-year-old daughter, Lou is excited for her family’s future in Goa, and hopes to develop her work as a teacher and therapist further at River House Academy, as it continues to grow.

Resha Varik (Support Co-ordinator)

Resha is from a local family and has worked with our children for many years.

She is an integral part of the smooth running of the school, looking after our kitchen, administration of our day-to-day affairs as well as helping us to maintain strong relationships with the local community, neighbours and businesses.

Resha’s smile is available for rent 🙂

General Terms & Conditions


These terms & conditions form a legally binding agreement made between you and River House Academy

You are required to pay a non-refundable one month fee as a deposit to hold your child’s place once your application has been accepted. This amount will be deducted from your final month’s payment. This payment can be made via Transferwise or into our River House Academy bank account.

Admission fee
For the first year, there will be an admission fee charged as a one time non-refundable payment of Rs.5000 per child, made at the time of enrolment.

Administration Fee
From year two onwards, there will be an annual administration fee of Rs. 2500 per child made at the time of enrolment.

The day your child starts school, you will be required to fill out an enrolment form and sign our terms & conditions form. Please also bring two passport photos and a copy of your child’s passport and current visa.

Fee payment date

Please pay your first month’s fees on or before the day your child starts school. You are required to pay your fees at the start of each month. You will be invoiced on the 25th of each month and payment is due by the last day of the month for the next month. In addition, you are required to pay the last month’s fee’s at enrolment. 

Fee payments
If your child starts mid-month your fees are due to be paid at enrolment, for the remaining period of that month. If your child starts mid-week, you will be charged for the full week. Children who leave mid-month will be charged for the entire month.

Late fees
Any late fees will be subject to late payment charges of Rs.100 per day.

Yearly payment
If you pay the fees for your child’s full stay in advance you will receive a 5% discount.

Sibling discount
A discount of 10 % will be given for your 2nd and 3rd child.

Personal holidays and absence
There are no fee discounts available for holidays or absences (including illness) from the school. Where possible please try to avoid taking holidays during the school term. Before booking your trip, it is essential that you check with the school to avoid missing important dates.

Notice of leaving
When you enrol your child at the academy you are required to give your attendance dates. Should your departure date be brought forward, you will be expected to pay according to your original dates given at enrolment.

Do not bring your child into school if they are ill, or are showing signs of being ill. If your child becomes ill at school, a Parent/Guardian will be contacted and asked to collect your child. Please text, email or telephone in the morning to let the Headteacher know if your child will be absent from school due to illness and what the illness is if it could potentially affect others. All medication must be brought in by a Parent/Guardian with clear instructions as to how and when it should be administered. Please do not allow your child to come to school with medication in their bag. Please check your child regularly for head lice. If we discover your child has head lice, they will be sent home from school and not allowed to return until the head lice have been treated.

Valuable items (including all electronic devices)
Valuable items, including all electronic devices, are not allowed to be brought into school. Children in the Secondary class may bring in a mobile phone but it should be kept in their bag at all times. We do not accept any responsibility for any items that are brought in.

School opening times
School lessons start at 9am. Please ensure your children arrive at school between 8.45 am-8.55am so that lessons can start promptly. If you are going to be late, please let us know. There will be no adult supervision before 8.45am. Please be aware that staff are busy at this time preparing for the day. Should you wish to speak to a member of staff please do so at 3pm or by prior appointment.

Collection from school
Children need to be collected from the school building. Please let us know If someone else will be collecting your child from school.

Unexpected school closure Occasionally the school may be forced to close due to unforeseen circumstances in the interest of health and safety. In such cases, you will be informed by text as early as possible.


We are committed to reopening River House as soon as we are able to, with the necessary precautions in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff. River House Governors have decided a potential start date of November 2nd, 2020 and we are currently all working towards this.

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