Staff, Governors & Advisory Panel

Senior Leadership Team

Jonathan Gillespie

Headmaster

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.

Victoria Saunders

Deputy Head – Teaching and Learning

Victoria joined the School in September 2018 from Stamford High School, having 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 has overall responsibility for Teaching and Learning and the School Curriculum. Her role is to ensure excellent Teaching and Learning, within a relevant, stretching and engaging curriculum. Victoria has strategic oversight of the academic life of the School and seeks to foster intellectual ambition and independence in all pupils. She is developing a ‘Learning to Learn’ strategy which will be integrated across the curriculum.

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.

Gareth Nichols

Deputy Head - Staff

Having joined the School in 2010 as a teacher of Economics, Gareth has enjoyed developing through his career, taking on the roles of Assistant to the Senior Master, Head of Economics and Head of Middle School before becoming Deputy Head - Staff. He has also been a keen supporter of the School’s co-curricular programme, working with different rugby teams across the Lower and Middle School, and supporting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award programme, through which he has enjoyed leading expeditions to the Italian Dolomites, French Pyrenees and Picos de Europa in Northern Spain.

As Deputy Head - Staff, Gareth’s role 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.

Gareth has a BA in Business Economics from the University of Leicester and recently graduated from the University of Buckingham with a Masters in Educational Leadership.

Rosie Harris

Head of Lower School

Rosie went to Oriel College, Oxford where she read Theology and graduated in 2014. In 2015, Rosie completed her PGCE at Sussex University while teaching full-time. In 2016, she became Head of House and Head of Oxbridge Admissions at St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham, West Sussex.

In 2017, Rosie joined St Albans School and held the position of Deputy Head of Lower School until September 2021. 

Rosie has been a governor of St Mary's Primary School in Wheathampstead since July 2019. In her spare time, Rosie enjoys being involved in the School’s Duke of Edinburgh programme and its trips to Pen Arthur trips in the Breacon Beacons. Outside of School, she enjoys playing netball and exploring the countryside with her husband. 

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.

Chris Johnston

HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOL

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

Since joining the School in 2012 as a teacher of Geography, Chris has enjoyed a variety of roles including Head of Geography, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Manager and Deputy Head of Middle School. He has also been active outside the classroom, coaching numerous rugby teams and leading a range of trips and expeditions in both the UK and abroad, most recently to Nepal in 2018.

Chris has a BA in Geography, from Durham University, a PGCE from Exeter University and an MA in Geography Education from UCL. He lives in St Albans with his wife Laura and their son Charlie, and in his free time is an avid Saracens supporter and hill walker.

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 Co-Head of Sixth Form, a role he held until 2019. During these six years, he was responsible for the academic and pastoral oversight of cohorts of young men and women throughout their time in the Sixth Form. In September 2018, he was appointed to the role of Assistant Head: Higher Education and Careers in which capacity he now manages and co-ordinates the Higher Education and Careers support and guidance students receive as they prepare for life beyond the school gate. 

Greg teaches in the English Department, having previously taught English Literature at Rhodes University, South Africa, where he completed his PhD.  In addition to a keen interest in literature, he enjoys playing in musical ensembles and assisting with drama productions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Director of the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy Trust.

Judy Robertson

Assistant Head – Safeguarding and Wellbeing

Judy joined the School in 2011 from Ripon Grammar School. She previously taught at Brentwood School, St Paul’s Girls’ School and Scots College in Wellington, New Zealand.

Judy studied Mechanical Engineering (BEng) at Edinburgh University and completed her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at Canterbury Christ Church College.

Judy has always been interested in the pastoral care of young people through her work as a form tutor and, for the past four years, as Deputy Head of Third Form. Judy is now responsible for safeguarding and wellbeing at St Albans School and will be developing her role with a whole-school strategy, to ensure that every member of the community thrives.

 

Richard Hepper

Bursar

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.

Jon Saunders

Assistant Head – Data & Curriculum

Jon joined the Mathematics Department at St Albans School in 2011, having completed a degree in Astrophysics at Clare College, Cambridge and a PhD and further research in Computational Geophysics at Imperial College London. After graduating from Cambridge where he held a choral scholarship, he also found time to sing professionally, taking numerous operatic and concert solo roles, being a member of EXAUDI for ten years and a regular with the Monteverdi Choir.

In his current role as Assistant Head – Data & Curriculum, Jon oversees and manages all academic data, reports and timetabling and has a strategic role as part of the Teaching and Learning team evaluating and developing the curriculum. He continues to be involved in the musical life of the School as much as possible, assisting with the choir, running the Barbershop ensemble and providing backing vocals and trumpet interjections at the Summer Cabaret.

He lives in St Albans with his family and, where time allows, enjoys mountain walking, cycling, gardening and coding.

Joanna Morrison

Director of Marketing, Admissions and Communications

Joanna joined St Albans School in May 2022 having spent thirteen years working in independent school marketing, communications and admissions. For the past ten years, she successfully led the Marketing and Admissions Department at Edge Grove School in Hertfordshire.

After ten years at St Helen’s School in Northwood she went on to the University of Leeds and graduated with a degree in Communications Studies and English. Joanna then enjoyed a ten-year career in advertising at several leading London advertising agencies, working on multimedia campaigns for numerous local and global brands such as Royal Mail, Peugeot and Reckitt Benckiser.

As the Director of Marketing, Admissions and Communications at St Albans School Joanna is responsible for the strategic leadership, management and day-to-day running of the Marketing and Admissions Department, working closely with both the Headmaster and Senior Leadership Team. She also ensures that all marketing and communications activities are aligned with and support the School’s ethos, aims, vision and values

Board of governors

Neil Osborn

Chairman, Board of Governors

Mr Neil Osborn attended St Albans School from 1961 to 1968, and after reading Modern History at Worcester College, Oxford, Neil became a successful international executive and private investor, focused on business-to-business publishing, financial services and sustainability-related businesses.

A great supporter of the School for many years, Neil is a benefactor of the Bursary Fund.

Neil became the Chairman of Governors on 1 October 2021.

Anna Philpott

VICE CHAIR, BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Anna was one of the first intake of girls to St Albans School in 1991 and subsequently attended De Montfort University where she graduated in law, before joining the accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward.

Anna moved into teaching and became Head of Business Studies and Deputy Head of Sixth Form at St George’s Harpenden and has recently joined Townsend School St Albans as Head of Business Studies.

Anna, who has one son, was born in New York City and has a sister who is also an OA. She is the daughter of a former President of the OA Association and is a trustee of the Old Albanian Sports Association and a Vice President of the Old Albanian Cricket Club. She became a Governor of the School in 2021.

Carole Pomfret

VICE CHAIR, BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Carole became a Governor and Trustee of the School in 2018. She chairs the Audit and Risk Committee and is also 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!

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.

Frances Lightowler

Frances is a solicitor and was formerly a Corporate Partner at international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner. She led numerous high profile projects including mergers, acquisitions, divestments, public fundraisings and international projects. Frances also undertook various Executive level client secondments, which included overseeing legal aspects of plans for the 2012 Olympics and to stabilise the financial situation at the Millennium Dome.  

Frances is currently a Panel Member and a Member of the Audit and Risk Committee at the Competition and Markets Authority. Prior to this, Frances was at Lloyds Banking Group plc, leading the legal team on a major regulatory reform programme.  

Frances graduated with an honours degree in Jurisprudence from Oxford University. Frances, who became a Governor in 2021, is married with two children and her son attended the school from 2010 to 2015. Frances is also a trustee of a St Albans Choral Society.

Professor Paul Luzio

Paul 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.

Paul was elected as a Governor of St Albans School in 2015 and served as the Interim Chair of Governors March-September 2021. He chairs the Education Committee.

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.

 

Cheryl Millington

Cheryl has extensive board experience in the public and private sectors. She is currently a Non-Executive Director at Atom Bank Plc, Hays Plc, a global recruitment specialist, AXA, the UK insurance business and Siris Capital, a US private equity firm.  

Cheryl is also a Trustee and Member of the Governing Council of Durham University from where she graduated with a degree in Physics in 1987. She is married with two sons both of whom attended St Albans School. 

Previous executive roles include Group Chief Executive of Equiniti Plc, Chief Digital Officer at Travis Perkins Plc, Waitrose Ltd, and ASDA Plc.

Cheryl joined the Board of Governors of St Albans School in February 2022.

Nigel Moore

Nigel Moore is a solicitor and now Chief Executive of Ross Trustees, where he acts as an independent trustee for large pension schemes.

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. He completed his legal career as a partner and Head of the Pensions Team at leading international law firm CMS.

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 became a Governor of the School in 2018. He 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.

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.

He became a Governor of the School in 2021.

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!

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 became a Governor at the School in 2015. He is also 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 St Albans School Woollams Trust.

Advisory Panel

Peter Brown

Peter joined Knight Frank & Rutley as a trainee surveyor before moving to Chestertons. In 1984, Peter opened a general practice estate agency in London, Vickers & Co.

Peter became a Governor at St Albans School in 2012, and in 2021 stepped back from his role as a Governor and now sits on the School’s Advisory Council as a member of the Property Committee.

Peter is married with two 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.

Oliver King

Oliver developed his career after qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor Wetherall Green and Smith, as a Developer with London Town PLC, Redrow Homes PLC and Tesco Stores PLC.

Oliver is a founding director of King & Co with Jonathan Collins. Oliver is the director responsible for strategic asset reviews on behalf of landowners, identifying development opportunities and maximising income and revenue for clients through financial options analysis. Oliver oversees the creation and management of Joint Ventures with landowners to deliver a property strategy to maximise value.

Binita Mehta-Parmar

Binita Mehta-Parmar is Head of Partnerships at Engage Britain and Chair of Watford Conservative Women’s Organisation. She was a candidate for Watford Mayor in 2022 and the last Conservative Group leader at Watford Council: at 24, the youngest council group leader in the country. She is a published writer with articles in The Times, The Spectator and The Telegraph.

She was previously Deputy Chair of Watford Conservatives, Secretary of Watford and South West Herts Business Club, Trustee of the Barrow Cadbury Trust and founding Governor for Lanchester Community Free School. She currently sits on the board of Watford Palace Theatre, as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead, and is Advisory Board member of Conservatives Against Racism for Equality. Binita is a founding Director of Modern Britain, a centre-right think tank exploring innovative thinking on a range of issues important to BME communities, and authored a report on migration policy post-Brexit.

Binita read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Warwick and lives in Watford with her husband, who has many memories playing at Woollams! 

Andrew Mills-Baker

Andrew attended St Albans School from 1961 to 1968. He was a keen sportsman during this time and was a member of the unbeaten 1967 rugby 1st XV, hockey 1st XI and Captain of Tennis. He went on to study at Manchester University and graduated with a degree in Economics and then pursued a career in accountancy, finance and general management. Finance Director of 3 publicly listed companies and Chief Executive of a listed company and two leading London law firms. In recent years, Andrew has acted as a business consultant to a number of growing businesses. Andrew is an active member of the OA Association and previously served two terms as President, chairing the team that developed the OA facilities at the Woollams Playing Fields.

Carrie Preston (Adams)

Carrie Preston is a global inclusion, culture and engagement expert. Skilled in creating long-term, embedded change, her areas of expertise include Change Management, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability as well as Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. She is currently the Global Head of Inclusion at a FTSE 100 PLC. She started her career in the Not-For-Profit sector at Oxfam and The Prince’s Trust. More recent roles have including EY, News International and DLA Piper Law.

Carrie is an Old Albanian and left the School in 1997 to study Sociology at the University of Birmingham. She lives locally with her husband; they have three young 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.

Martin Sutton

Martin has spent his career in the audit and risk profession, originally qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in 1995 after graduating from Durham University. Currently, he is the Director of Internal Audit and Risk Management at Spire Healthcare Group Plc, and has worked previously for De La Rue plc, and the Camelot Group, who have operated the UK National lottery since 1994. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England and Wales) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Martin sits on the Audit and Risk Committee. Martin has had a life-long love of the theatre and is not averse to appearing in the local Panto.

Martin is married with one daughter.  

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.

© Copyright 2022 St. Albans School. All rights reserved.

Website designed & built by Pistachio Design Ltd.

Open Mornings