Our Trust Members
Claire Barnard, Paul Webster, Dr Alan Davison, Lesley Ainsworth, Dame Helen Hyde
Our Trust Board of Directors
Claire Barnard - strategic/leadership
Years of service as a Governor: 15 years
Served as Parent Governor, Community Governor, Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of Governors
I graduated from Homerton College, Cambridge in 1983 and I am a qualified teacher. I taught in both the private and state sector, full and part time. Both of my daughters went to STAGS. More recently, I have focussed on governance and school management, both as a Governor at STAGS and on appeals panels for county school admissions. I led the governing body through an OFSTED inspection, managed the successful appointment of the current Head Teacher and I bring a wealth of relevant experience as well as a vision for excellence. I am also involved in a local church with leading Sunday school work and group discussions, have established a local art group, am a member of a book club, enjoy playing instruments in a band, gardening and keeping fit!
Paul Webster - finance/primary
Years of service as a Governor: 20 years
Chair of the Finance Committee
My name is Paul Webster and I have been a Governor at STAGS since 1996. During the whole of my term of office I have also chaired the Finance and Marketing Committee. My experience as a School Governor started some five years prior to this date when I became a Governor of my children’s primary school, Oakwood School in St Albans, a position I still hold. My motivation for putting myself forward for the position of Governor was to bring a more commercial view, which was required with the advent of Local Management of Schools.
By profession I am a Chartered Accountant and recently retired as a partner with Mercer & Hole a local firm based in St Albans. My responsibilities within the practice not only includes normal professional work dealing with clients but also that of being one of the Managing Partners of the practice responsible for managing 150 members of staff over three separate locations.
My connection with STAGS goes back many years initially with my sister attending the school in the days when it was a grammar school. Subsequent to this my three daughters have all attended STAGS and as a parent I have always valued the contribution of the school made to their development.
As an employer of graduates and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Education and Training committee I have a vested interest in ensuring that the students coming out of schools and universities are the right quality and aptitude to take their place in the business world and society generally.
In addition to the above I am also a keen golfer, ornithologist and aviculturist. I am also a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.
Paul Snook - safeguarding/HR/standards
Years of service as a Governor: 8 years
Vice Chair of Governors, Chair of the Curriculum, Assessment & Standards Committee. Serves on the Personnel and Student Wellbeing Committee, is Safeguarding Governor
Paul is a qualified teacher with 17 years experience in a variety of secondary schools. For the past 20 years he has worked as a consultant in the education sector supporting a number of Department for Education initiatives ranging from developing effective use of ICT in schools to building leadership capacity.
Paul currently divides his time between working in education and property development
Robert Foster - curriculum/employment
Years of service as a Governor: 12 years
Served on the Estates Committee. Chaired and served on the Curriculum, Assessments and Standards Committee
I have spent my entire working life as a teacher in secondary education. I became an Assistant Headteacher in 1989 and worked in a large multi ethnic mixed comprehensive school in Ealing. In recent years I have taken the opportunity to work more locally specialising in short term contracts and supply.
Margaret Chapman - executive Headteacher
I began my teaching career in 1988 in north London, becoming Head of Geography and leading assessment in two schools, introducing a range of measures to track student performance and raise standards, prior to my appointment as Deputy Head of The Priory School in Hitchin.
We introduced the raising boys’ achievement programme and having successfully written Specialism bids in 2003, the school profile and outcomes gained considerable strength, culminating in an Ofsted Good Rating. During this time I began school improvement work with the London Challenge and within the Local Authority which I continue to do today.
I have been Headteacher at St Albans Girls’ School since 2010 and following an Outstanding judgement in January 2013, I led the team to further raise standards and challenge underperformance. Appointed as a National Leader in Education and National Pupil Premium Assessor, myself and my team have supported a number of schools to raise standards. SEND provision is devolved within Hertfordshire and I lead the Higher Needs allocation for the St Albans and Harpenden areas for all young people aged 0-25. In addition, I am Governor at a Local PRU Academy as well as being a Board Member of the local Teaching School’s Alliance and Education Advisor with the DFE. Most recently, I have become Executive Headteacher of ATLAS MAT.
Alan Westcott - PR/Marketing
Years of service as a Governor: New Governor
Personnel and Student Wellbeing Committee and Premises and Operations Committee
I have worked in retail all my working life. I am a professional and expert in this field and I have found this to be very rewarding.
I have worked and been involved with all levels through to Board level. I spent 25 years with M&S, mostly in Head Office in various management roles, Head of Store Presentation, Special Projects for the Board and developing a European business across 7 countries, defining new trading and presentation policies as well as challenging local markets. Redesigning new equipment and store interiors. Finally as Head of Visual Retail for the menswear business, designing and developing new trading standards, from equipment and environment design to merchandising presentation and layout for innovative new brands.
I ran my own Mentoring Consultancy for Retail for 12 years and during this time worked with both the London College of Fashion and the Marangoni Italian School of Fashion. At the London College of Fashion I was an Industry Advisor and I was involved as an External Assessor when the college was introducing and developing 2 new courses to BA standard. I have lectured and taught at both of these.
I worked for 5 years with Worldskills International (UK) part of the Apprenticeship Programme for the Government. This is a worldwide skills competition targeted at young people from 16 to 22 years of age, it is a bi-annual competition and it involves over 50 countries demonstrating and competing in 48 varying skills. I wrote the competition content and the competition rules for a new skill and this has now been adopted as a World Standard. I have acted as both Chief Expert and Head Judge.
Working with young people has been an enriching experience over the years, stimulating and watching them develop to their full potential has been hugely rewarding. Trading off your own experiences and knowledge and seeing them capitalise on this by watching them develop has to be one of the best things you can experience.
My work has always been about looking at the future and the future brings with it change!
Being an energetic motivator has always allowed me to be a confident networker and communicator, this has helped me to bring about change.
I believe having enthusiastic leadership qualities has enabled me to deliver change and challenge in everything I do and I would like to use all these skills to support STAGS and the governors. Young people reaching their full potential is important to me and leadership, direction and accountability is the support that they deserve.
Other factors should also be about integrity and common sense as well as intellectual support.
I am passionate about what I do and will always try to make a difference in everything I take on board.
I now work with a select group of clients that interest me, I am Chair of my local residents association and I am a volunteer with Hertfordshire Police with their Drive Safe programme. I am a keen golfer and traveller.
Rachael Kenningham - Chair of Directors, standards
Years of service as a Governor: New Governor
Personnel and Student Wellbeing Committee and Curriculum, Assessment & Standards Committee
I applied to become Governor at STAGS because to my mind, there is little more important than getting education and schooling right for as many children as possible. STAGS is preparing our girls to thrive in an increasingly competitive world, as well as teaching them how to live together respectfully. I want to do my best to support STAGS in this important work.
I am the daughter of two teachers who instilled in me the importance of education from a young age. Watching them in their work, I understood early on that teaching is a hard and noble profession which deserves our utmost respect. For these reasons, I am delighted to be able to play a role in supporting the team at STAGS.
I graduated with an Honours Degree in French from the University of Birmingham in 1993. Since then, I have worked in government and politics both in Brussels for the EU and at Westminster.
I will be the Governing Body’s representative for Modern Foreign Languages and Government and Politics and will serve on two committees - Curriculum, Assessment and Standards and Personnel and Student Wellbeing.
Paul Lerwill - land/estates
I was born and brought up just outside St. Albans. I am a qualified teacher and worked for many years teaching students with learning difficulties, eventually becoming deputy head and then acting head of a special school. During this time I completed a MEd. in Special Education.
For many years I was a member of the St. Albans Community Health Council and was Chairman for three years.
I then worked as a senior manager in the Health Service and at an FE college with responsibility for a wide range of support and premises staff. During this time I completed a MA in Educational Management.
I finished my career working at St. Albans Girls’ School for 18 years as Business Manager and was acting deputy head for three years. During this time I completed an Advanced Diploma in School Business Management.
I retired from full time work in 2017 and now live in Hemel Hempstead where I have more time to spend with my wife, grandchildren and dog.
Claire Robins - standards/staffing
Claire taught at a number of schools in Hertfordshire before becoming head of Sir John Lawes in 2006. In 2008, Sir John Lawes became a National Support School and Claire was made a National Leader of Education, since when she has led on school to school support work with several local schools, leading to the setting up of the Scholars Education Trust, of which she is CEO, in 2011.
Claire has sat on the Regional Schools’ Commissioner’s Head Teacher Board for the NWLSC region since its inception and is also on the board of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust, which is setting up a new secondary free school (Katherine Warington School) in Harpenden. She is a founding trustee of HertsCam Network, a group which aims to improve teaching through teacher leadership and also a member of the Executive Committee of UCET (The Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers). Claire was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2018 for Services to Education.
Mary Newman - safeguarding/standards
I have lived in Wheathampstead with my family for the last thirty years and am keen to give back to the community that has provided so much support and friendship during that time. I graduated from Birmingham University with a Mathematics degree and gained my MSc in Operational Research and Management shortly afterwards. I spent eight years working for Cadburys at Bournville in Operational Research, Marketing and Data Analysis. We then moved south and I spent eight years as Assistant Director Management Services for ManuLife Insurance. We had our two wonderful sons and I became a teacher at St Albans Girls’ School. I had a fulfilling twenty years at the school, becoming Deputy Head Teacher before taking early retirement in 2017. It was here that I developed my real passion for outstanding quality education for every pupil. I am now a Director of the Atlas Multi Academy Trust and am delighted to become a Governor of Beech Hyde School.