Staff, Governors & Advisory Council

Senior Leadership Team

Jonathan Gillespie


Jonathan joined St Albans School as Headmaster in September 2014. Jonathan was educated at Bedford Modern School and Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he read Modern and Medieval Languages. After completing his PGCE at Cambridge he taught French and German at Highgate School, London before joining Fettes College, Edinburgh where he was Head of Modern Languages and then Housemaster of a boys’ boarding house. Jonathan’s first headship was at Lancing College, West Sussex (2006 - 2014).

In addition to his academic, pastoral and leadership responsibilities, Jonathan has been heavily involved in coaching sport, in particular hockey and in the Combined Cadet Force. He is an umpire in the men’s national hockey league, a keen hill-walker and an enthusiastic, but mediocre, golfer. He celebrates his family’s Scottish roots by playing the highland bagpipe.

Jonathan is married to Caroline and they have two sons.

Melody Jones

Second Master

Melody is responsible for the day-to-day running of the School. Melody oversees disciplinary and pastoral arrangements for the School; major School functions; the School diary; the selection, training and supervision of school prefects and the staff handbook.

When the Head is absent from School, Melody acts in the Head’s place, assuming his responsibilities. Melody teaches Physics at the School.

Prior to joining St Albans School, Melody held the post of Head of Physics at Wellington College, Head of Lower School and then Head of Lower Sixth and Admissions at Magdalen College School, Oxford.

Melody has a BSc (Natural Sciences) from Durham and a PGCE from Manchester University.

Mark Davies

Deputy Head, Academic

Mark is the Deputy Head Academic, reporting to the Headmaster. Mark takes overall responsibility for the quality of the educational experience at the School and for pupils’ academic performance. This includes designing the curriculum and chairing discussions of Heads of Departments, across teaching and learning at the School. Mark joined the School in January 1998, originally as Head of Classics and became Director of Studies in September 2006. Since January 2015, Mark has been Deputy Head, Academic.

His career highlight thus far was the feedback given by the Independent Schools Inspectorate that the quality of our pupils’ achievements and learning is rated as ‘exceptional’. Mark has a First Class degree from Oxford in Classics, Modern Greek and History.

Pat Taylor

Senior Master

Pat joined the School in 1985. As Senior Master, his role covers several different areas: as one of the three Deputy Heads in the School he is a member of the Senior Leadership Team; his role also encompasses staff welfare, staff cover, staff CPD/INSET, the induction of new teaching staff when they join the School and an overview of the School’s trainee teachers, on both the School Direct and HMCTT schemes.

Additionally, Pat has overall responsibility for the year-long induction of NQT’s and has a role in the recruitment of teachers, and the staff Common Room. Pat teaches Design and Technology, specialising in Graphics and Resistant Materials. Pat is also involved with training and expeditioning for the D of E at Silver level. Pat is a member of the Education Committee, Compliance Committee and Health and Safety Committee. He was also a Child Protection DSP for a number of years, and found working to achieve successful Safeguarding outcomes very rewarding.

Danny Swanson

Head of Lower School

Danny trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and regularly worked in all aspects of acting including radio, film, theatre and television. Danny qualified as a teacher through the Graduate Training Programme after being employed as an Actor in Residence at Sandringham School. Since joining St Albans School in 2000, he has enjoyed various roles including Head of Drama, Deputy Head of Middle School and Head of Hampson House.

Danny is currently Head of Lower School and Designated Safeguarding Lead. He is currently working towards his MEd in Educational Leadership. Danny continues to act and has directed and played lead roles in productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.

He is married with two grown up children and is a proud Arsenal season ticket holder.

Gareth Burger

Assistant Head, Co-Curriculum and Head of Third Form

Gareth joined the School in 2002. As Head of Third Form, Gareth is responsible for looking after the emotional, academic and social well-being of all Third Form pupils. Gareth is also responsible for the 12+ and 13+ Exams. As Assistant Head, Co-curricular, he oversees and develops the co-curricular programme, ensuring all pupils enjoy a broad, balanced and value rich education.

Gareth’s career highlights include long haul rugby tours to Australia and New Zealand and watching the joy and elation on our pupils’ faces when they do well in exams.

Gareth has an HDipEd from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and a Masters in Educational Management from the University of Buckingham.

Rebecca Baxter

Head of Middle School

As Head of Middle School, Bex oversees the pastoral care and academic progress of students in the Fourth and Fifth Forms.

Having joined the School in 2009 as a new teacher of English, Bex has enjoyed developing through the early stages of her career at the School and worked pastorally in the Lower School for five years, before taking on her current post.

Bex still very much relishes her time in the classroom teaching both English and Drama. Bex has a BA in English Literature from the University of York and has recently completed the Pastoral Leadership Qualification through the HMC.

Gary Walker

Head of Sixth Form

Gary joined St Albans School in 1994 as a teacher of History and Government and Politics.

Gary was a Sixth Form tutor for twelve years and Head of Government and Politics for ten. In 2009, Gary became Head of Sixth Form. In his role, Gary is responsible for the day-to-day pastoral well-being of students in the Lower and Upper Sixth, leading a team of dedicated and experienced Form tutors. Gary is also responsible for the provision of higher education and UCAS advice and guidance.

Gary’s success and experience in this field has enabled him to forge a successful career as a professional consultant for a number of CPD providers, training aspiring and current pastoral and academic leaders in the maintained and independent sectors in Sixth Form leadership and improving outcomes for higher education and entry to competitive universities. Gary is a Safeguarding Governor for a maintained primary school in East London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Gary graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1992 with a Masters in History.

Greg Hacksley

Assistant Head: Higher Education and Careers

Greg joined St Albans School in 2013 as Assistant Head: Co-Head of Sixth Form. Over the past six years, he has had academic and pastoral oversight for the young men and women throughout their time in the Sixth Form.

In September 2018, Greg was appointed to the role of Assistant Head: Higher Education and Careers and he manages and co-ordinates the extensive support students receive as they prepare for life after school. 

Prior to school teaching, Greg taught English Literature at Rhodes University, South Africa, where he completed his PhD. He is also a governor at a primary school in Hertford.

Victoria Saunders

Assistant Head – Teaching and Learning

Victoria joined the School in September 2018 from Stamford High School. Victoria previously held the positions of Head of Politics, Head of Higher Education, Head of Sixth Form and Head of KS5 Teaching and Learning. Victoria also worked at City of London School for Girls and Wolverhampton Grammar School.

Victoria is responsible for monitoring and developing Teaching and Learning in the School. Her role is to encourage a wide range of Teaching and Learning strategies and foster intellectual ambition, courage and independence in the pupils. She co-ordinates the School's Teaching, Learning and Assessment group.

Victoria studied History at Durham University and completed her PGCE at Cambridge. She recently graduated from Cambridge with a Masters in Educational Leadership, with a research focus on student voice and initiative taking.

Richard Hepper


Richard Hepper MA FCA joined the School in May 2015 as Bursar and the Clerk to the Governors.

Richard supports the Headmaster across all aspects of the finance and administration of the School, and supports the Chairman in managing the governance of the School. A Chartered Accountant, Richard had a successful career in venture capital and strategy consulting.

Richard was educated at Uppingham School and has an MA(Hons) in Economics from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Alison Crombie

Director, Marketing, Admissions & Communications

Alison is a Marketing and Communications professional with twenty years'​ global marketing & communications experience. Having built a proven track record in delivering standout communications for B2B and B2C brands and companies, Alison managed the PR for notable brands including,, and Getty Images, the world’s leading visual media company from 2002-2012, where Alison drove their global PR, rebranding, events and communications.

At St Albans School, Alison manages the School's internal and external communications and all associated platforms, channels and agencies, including its brand development, outdoor advertising and PR programme, social events and special occasions. Additionally, Alison manages the Admissions department and pupil recruitment, including Open Mornings.

Board of governors

Sir Roy Gardner


Sir Roy Gardner is Chairman of Serco plc and Senior Independent Director of Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd. 

Sir Roy is also an Advisor to Antin Infrastructure Partners, Digitalis Reputation and Gresham House PLC and Chairman of the Board of Governors at St Albans School.

Previously, Sir Roy was Chairman of Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd., Senior Independent Director at William Hill PLC, Senior Advisor to Credit Suisse, a Non-Executive Director of Willis Group Holdings Limited, Chairman of Compass Group PLC, Chief Executive of Centrica plc, Managing Director of GEC-Marconi Limited and a Director of GEC plc and Managing Director of STC PLC. 

Roy has also been the Chairman of Manchester United plc, and a Non-Executive Director of Laporte plc and he is the former Chairman of the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network.

Sir Roy is also a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, City & Guilds Institute and the Energy Institute. 

Sir Roy's son, Andrew, is a former pupil of St Albans School. 

Lesley Ainsworth

Vice Chair, Board of Governors

Lesley practised as a solicitor specialising in competition law for over 30 years with international law firm Hogan Lovells. After retiring from private practice in 2013 she was appointed as a Panel Member of the Competition and Markets Authority.

In 2018 she was appointed to the Competition Decisions Committees of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Systems Regulator and the Enforcement Decisions Committee of the Payment Systems Regulator.

Lesley joined the Board of Governors in September 2014 following two years as a parent member of the Advisory Council. She is also a Governor at St Albans Girls’ School.


Lt Col Matthew Cawthorne RM (retd.)


Matthew Cawthorne joined the Governing Body in May 2018 and sits on the Risk & Audit Committee. He completed twenty-seven years commissioned service in the Royal Marines and spent a further nine years in the private security industry in Iraq, before starting a third career in local business. 

Matthew’s academic interests include modern languages and history. He is passionate about performance management, coaching and mentoring, as well as maximising the effectiveness of all forms of communication. He is governor of another school in the maintained sector, sings in a barbershop chorus and church choir, chairs a local Russian club, sits on the committee of a London club and is writing a book about compliance in the armed private security industry. Matthew is married with two older daughters (one of whom is an OA) and lives in south west Hertfordshire.

Peter Brown (OA 1973)

Peter joined Knight Frank and Rutley as a trainee surveyor before moving to Chestertons. In 1984, Peter opened a general practice estate agency in London, Vickers & Co. which he still runs with his business partner.

Peter joined the Board of Governors at St Albans School in December 2012, following two years on the School’s Advisory Council.

Peter is married with two children.

Anthony Dalwood (OA 1989)

Tony is CEO of Gresham House plc, Founder of Branton Capital, and non‐executive director of JP Morgan Private Equity limited. He was formerly Chairman of SVG Investment Managers and CEO of SVG Advisers (Schroder Ventures (London) Limited).

Prior to this, Tony was Director at UBS Global Asset Management (Phillips & Drew Fund Management).

Tony has an honours degree in Economics & Accounting from Bristol University, a degree in Management Studies from Cambridge University (Judge Institute) and is a member of the CFA (UK) Institute.

Tony is involved in various charities, including governor of St Albans School (since 2011). He is a former junior international rugby player and Cambridge Blue whilst playing at Saracens RFC and is coach of rugby and cricket at junior age groups of Old Albanians.

Tony is married with three children.

Derek Foster

Derek qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1986 after training with Deloitte, and was admitted as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1997.

Derek specialises in risk management, audit, compliance and governance.

Derek joined the Board of Governors at St Albans School in June 2016 and is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee.

Derek is married with two children.

Anne Hurst

Anne Hurst is a Human Resources professional with over 25 years’ experience working in investment banking and professional services in UK and USA. She is a specialist in diversity and inclusion and employee wellbeing and has professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Anne lives in St Albans and joined the Board of Governors in 2014.

Rob Lucas

Rob is Managing Partner of CVC, the global investment firm. He graduated from Imperial College, London in 1985 where he read Electrical Engineering. Whilst at university he was sponsored by GEC Marconi with whom he spent a total of six years.

Rob moved into venture capital in 1987 joining 3i plc. Based in London and Cambridge, he spent most of his time at 3i supporting and working with young, high growth companies. He joined CVC in 1996 and until recently was Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association.

Rob Joined the Board of Governors at St Albans School in May 2016.

Outside of work Rob is a keen mountaineer.

Rob is married with two children both of whom have attended St Albans School.

Professor Paul Luzio

Paul Luzio was Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology (2001‐14), Master of St Edmund’s College (2004‐14) and Deputy Head of the School of Clinical Medicine (2012‐14) at the University of Cambridge, until reaching the University’s retirement age.

Paul graduated from Cambridge with a BA in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Biochemistry. Most of his career was spent in Cambridge and he was Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (2002‐12), where, as an emeritus professor, he still leads a small, Medical Research Council‐funded research group focused on aspects of cell biology, including abnormalities that cause human disease.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society of Biology, the Higher Education Academy and an Honorary Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford and St Edmund’s College, Cambridge.

Chris McIntyre

Chris recently retired from the role of Dean of Cultural Affairs at the University of Hertfordshire.

He has an academic background in the History and Theory of Art and Design, and since arriving at the University of Hertfordshire in 1996, Chris led the development of new curricula which respond to the university’s business-focused strategic direction. Chris developed multi-million pound investments in world-class resources, including new creative arts studio buildings, a new Digital Arts centre for film and digital media, and architecture studios.

Chris is active in national and regional cultural affairs and works as a consultant, particularly in the area of international higher education development where he has forged long-lasting partnerships across the globe, and in academic quality assurance and enhancement. He has been a board member at Arts Council England and the Crafts Council, and serves on the boards of one local charity and an international university.

Chris joined the Board of Governors at St Albans School in July 2004, and he and his partner have a daughter.

Shantanu Majumdar (OA 1986)

In over twenty years at the Bar, Shantanu has practised in most areas known to the law. For more than a decade, he has specialised in commercial and commercial Chancery litigation and arbitration, professional negligence and some employment.

Shantanu is a barrister at Radcliffe Chambers.

Shantanu was ranked as a leading junior in commercial litigation, commercial chancery, commercial fraud and professional negligence in the Legal 500.

Shantanu joined the Board of Governors at St Albans School in December 2012, following a year on the School’s Advisory Council.


Nigel Moore

Nigel Moore is a solicitor and a consultant in the London office of the international law firm CMS. He was formerly a partner and Head of its Pensions Team.

Nigel was at St Albans School from 1973 to 1980 and subsequently attended Warwick University, where he graduated in law, and then studied for an MA in Business Law from London Metropolitan University whilst he was a trainee solicitor.

Throughout his career, Nigel has specialised in the employee benefits field, focusing particularly on pensions.

Nigel was also a member of the team which brought the landmark Coloroll case on equalisation to the European Court of Justice.

Nigel was born and bred in Hertfordshire and lives in Welwyn Garden City. He is married and has two children. His son attended the school from 2003 to 2010.

Carole Pomfret

Carole became a Trustee in 2018 and is a member of the Finance Committee.

After gaining a degree in Physics from Oxford, she qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG before joining Schroders. Carole has nearly 20 years' experience of Private Client Investment Management, both as Director at Schroders and then as a Consultant at Rathbones.

Carole is a Trustee of PDSA, has served on their Audit and Risk Committee and is a current member of the Finance Committee. She is also Chair of Trustees at Monks Walk School, a secondary Academy.

Carole is married with a son and daughter, both of whom attended St Albans School. She loves sport, is a qualified hockey umpire and has recently completed the London Marathon for the second time!

Michael Punt

Michael Punt grew up in Brentwood, Essex and was educated at Brentwood School. He read Physics at Oxford University with sponsorship from the US chemical company Monsanto. In 1992, he left Oxford for Imperial College London, where he gained an MSc in Semiconductor Science and Technology with a research project in collaboration with GEC Marconi.

In 1993, Michael began teaching physics at St Dunstan’s College, SE London. He took a PGCE whilst teaching and variously held the positions of Head of Year, Head of Oxbridge and Head of Physics.

In 2001, he moved to be Head of Sixth Form at the Perse School in Cambridge where, in 2004, he became Academic Deputy Head. In 2007, he moved back to Essex as Headmaster of Chigwell where he has remained.

Michael is an inspector for ISI and a member of the HMC Wellbeing Working Group.

When possible, Michael enjoys spending time in Cornwall, cycling, sailing and gardening.

Michael is married with three sons.

Alastair Woodgate (OA 1981)

Alastair is a Director of Hertfordshire based Chartered Surveyors, Rumball Sedgwick.

Alastair holds professional membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and is an RICS Registered Valuer, with thirty years’ local property experience.

Alastair’s expertise encompasses valuation, acquisitions and disposals, planning and development and corporate estate management.

Alastair is also President of St Albans District Chamber of Commerce and the chairman of a local theatre company.

Alastair joined the Board of Governors in December 2010 and is also Chairman of the Woollams Trust.

Advisory Council

Chris Oglethorpe

Chris is currently HR Director at one of the largest international law firms, Gowling WLG. He coaches and develops senior leadership teams and boards, helping them to achieve business success through their people, talent and inclusion strategies. Chris has spent his career in the City working across different sectors, predominantly in complex global international financial services companies as an HR Director and Chief Operating Officer. Chris thrives on change and progress that has a positive purpose. Throughout his career he has encouraged individuals to fulfil their potential, and is proud to have supported apprentice, school leaver and graduate programmes.

Born and educated in Lancaster, Chris moved to St Albans over fifteen years ago, having completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Birmingham. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children. His son, Harry, is a pupil at the school. Outside of a busy work life Chris enjoys most sports, travelling and being a taxi service for his children!

Philip Rattle

An old Boy of St Albans School (1976-1983), Philip has a BA in English from the University of Oxford, from where he joined 3i as a graduate trainee.

After eight years he moved to JP Morgan Partners, where he was a partner. Philip joined August Equity in 2004, led a restructuring of the firm and was appointed Managing Partner in 2011. He led the fundraising for August Equity Partners III and IV.

Philip is responsible for the strategic development of August Equity, new investments and portfolio performance. He is responsible for the investment strategy of the funds under management at August Equity and chairs the investment committee.

He is currently on the board of SecureData.

Lindsay Sinclair

Lindsay attended the School from 1979 to 1986, when he went to the Royal Agricultural College to study Rural Land Management, gaining his degree in 1990 and MRICS in 1992.

Lindsay has worked for various land management firms in Norfolk, carrying out a variety of roles from the day-to-day management of traditional rural estates, to flood prevention in the Norfolk Broads. In 2004, he returned to Hertfordshire to take on his farm outside Colney Heath, which has been in his family since 1877.

In the last few years, Lindsay has developed former agricultural buildings to commercial uses, experimented with alternative crops, carried out woodland improvement and new planting, taken part in agri–environmental measures and invested in renewable energy schemes on the farm.

Lindsay is a current committee member and former chairman of Hertfordshire and Middlesex Country Land and Business Association. Lindsay has two children and enjoys shooting, riding, the countryside and travel, particularly to Southern Africa.

Jill Tasker

Jill qualified as an accountant in 1984. Having worked in the insurance industry for many years, she now provides consultancy services to a US owned non-profit company in the health sector.

Jill joined the Advisory Council of St Albans School in 2011 and serves on the Accounting/Finance Committees.

Jill is married with five children.

Ben Walker

Ben Walker is Headmaster of Lochinver House School, an independent day school for boys aged 4-13.

Ben worked for 13 years in large comprehensive schools in London and Kent, where he undertook a variety of roles including Head of Year, Teacher Governor and Teacher of English up to ‘A Level’.

He and his family undertook some development work in Kenya working with the Church Mission Society, helping the Anglican Church of Kenya to start a school. This led to a further two years as a Houseparent and Head of English at an international coeducational boarding school, before the family’s return to an IAPS coeducational day and boarding preparatory school in Buckinghamshire.

Ben is a Governor at St. Christopher’s School, Letchworth and is married with three children.

Mike Hodge

Mike is the current President of the Old Albanian Club having been elected in December 2015. He left St Albans School in 1965 and joined HM Customs and Excise as they were then. In 1985, he left Customs and joined Arthur Young (now Ernst and Young) as a Customs Consultant assisting companies in International Trade matters. Mike was the UK National Director of the E and Y Customs Practice. He left in 1993 to set up his own Consultancy practice, retiring in 2016. During this time he was Chairman of the Customs Practitioners group for 10 years.

Whilst at School, he was Captain of Hockey and has been heavily involved in coaching mini and junior Rugby at the Old Albanians and Hockey at St Albans Hockey Club. Mike is also involved as a fundraiser for a number of local Cancer Charities.

Mike joined the Advisory Council in 2015.

Judge Wilding

Judge Wilding has been a circuit judge since 2013.

Judge Wilding was educated at the London Nautical School and the College of Law.

In 1977, Judge Wilding became a solicitor and in 1991, rose to Deputy District Judge. In 2002, he became a full time district judge and in 2013, a circuit judge. Since 2014, Judge Wilding has been one of the senior family judges for Hertfordshire.

Judge Wilding’s interests include spending time with his family, rugby, theatre and the cinema.

The Mayor of St Albans City

Councillor Rosemary Farmer was made the 475th Mayor of St Albans City and District at the Annual Council meeting on 23 May 2018. At the same council meeting, Cllr Brian Gibbard was appointed Deputy Mayor. Cllr Farmer will be supported in her role of Mayor of the City and District of St Albans by her sister-in-law, Susan Farmer, who will act as consort.

Serving and caring for all in our community’ is the theme of the new Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Rosemary Farmer. Cllr Farmer, said: “It is a huge honour to be made Mayor of St Albans City and District. I am looking forward to serving the community and representing the Council at local and civic events throughout the year.

“My theme for the year is ‘Serving and caring for all in our community’. There are people in our society who are often overlooked, such as those suffering from mental health issues or who are older people living alone. They are all part of our community and we need to help them feel included and supported. As Mayor, I will be encouraging people to reach out to anyone who appears to be isolated and help ensure that they get any care and support they need." 

Cllr Farmer has been a District Councillor for Harpenden East ward since 2012. She also sits on Harpenden Town Council and has served as Mayor of Harpenden on three separate occasions while a Town Councillor. Cllr Farmer plays an active role volunteering in the local community. She is a Trustee of Druglink, a member of The Harpenden Trust Care Fund Committee and a Trustee of Harpenden Connect, otherwise known as the Harpenden Hopper. She is also a Governor of the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.


The Very Reverend Jeffrey John

Jeffrey John is Dean of St Albans Cathedral. He was born and brought up in South Wales.  He studied Classics, Modern Languages and Theology at Oxford. After a curacy in Cardiff he became Chaplain and Lecturer in Theology at Brasenose College, Oxford then Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has been a parish priest in South London, and before his present job was Canon Theologian of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Ministerial Training in the Southwark Diocese. His books include 'The Meaning in the Miracles', and 'Permanent Faithful Stable: Christian Same-Sex Marriage'.

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