As an experienced educationalist, having worked in five different secondary schools, three of them in the St Albans and Harpenden area, Alan has a strong understanding of what students and parents expect from their local school. Alan has senior leadership experience in three high performing schools and as the Headteacher of Roundwood Park School he is really excited by the prospect of working with his fellow Headteachers, Rothamsted Research and the University of Hertfordshire to set up this new school.
Helen has been a director of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust since February 2015. Alongside her work at the trust, Helen has also been a parent governor at Sauncey Wood Primary School since 2009. During that time she has spent 5 years as Chair of Governors and had linked responsibilities which included safeguarding, Headteacher performance management, financial procedures and computing/e-safety. Prior to education voluntary work, Helen worked in the fitness industry as an instructor and later in the IT sector as a trainer and project manager. She has 2 girls who both attend local Harpenden schools.
Claire Robins is head of Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden. After reading Classics at Oxford University, Claire gained a PGCE in English and taught at a number of schools in Hertfordshire before being appointed deputy head at SJL in 2003 and becoming head 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 Sir John Lawes Academies Trust in 2011. In 2012, Sir John Lawes became joint lead school in the Alban Teaching School Alliance, which contains the Alban Federation SCITT.
Claire has sat on the Regional Schools’ Commissioner’s Head Teacher Board for the NWLSC region since its inception. She is also a founding trustee of HertsCam Network, a group which aims to improve teaching through teacher leadership.
British born Laura Smillie was until recently the Senior Communications Adviser to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). She held this position since 2010, where she played a key role in defining and recommending communications approaches based on EFSA’s strategic priorities. Having successfully completed a Masters in European Communications, specialising in cultural diversity, Laura spent 2 years heading up internal and external communications for the international business services firm Deloitte. Thereafter, she worked for 5 years as a senior communications consultant for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. She spent the following 5 years heading up communications for the European Food Information Council (EUFIC). Laura is the former Chair of the Crisis & Risk Communications Working Group of the European Association of Communication Directors, and now works as the Director of External Relations at Rothamsted Research.
Taking a less conventional route in to the teaching profession than most, Ray’s experience brings a rather different perspective about what a school and an education experience can mean for a child and their future. Having left school at 16 year old, followed by four year engineering apprenticeship, then nine years’ service in the Royal Air Force, Ray knows, first-hand, that a high quality education does not necessarily mean A’ Levels and a degree at University.
Having entered the teaching profession through the Licenced Teacher route, which is most akin to the current school placement, teacher training route, Ray understands that high quality teachers are developed through working with, and being supported by, high quality colleagues.
Ray has more than 20 years’ experience, working at every level from classroom teacher to Headteacher in Further Education, state and independent secondary day and boarding schools in England and Wales. During this time Ray has been involved in a number of major education development projects including the tendering consultation to develop some of the very first, purpose built, PFI academies in Somerset. At his previous school he successfully led it through a major expansion in pupil numbers, two capital development programmes and academy conversation. As Chair of both the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) and State Boarding Schools Association (SBSA) Ray has worked closely with Government ministers, Department for Education officials and Ofsted in the development of national policy and practice.
Ray is therefore able to bring to the work of the Trust a wealth of experience that will support the development of the new free school so that it will offer a diverse and enriching learning opportunity and high quality learning environment for the pupils who will attend it, and the community which it serves, for many years to come.
Steve is the nominated finance governor for the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust.
An accountant by profession, Steve is Finance Director at a Clinical Research company in Hertfordshire. Throughout his financial career, Steve has had the opportunity to work in various service industries developing an extensive commercial and financial skill set. Steve is looking forward to applying his financial expertise on this exciting project.
Away from work, Steve is a lifelong Harpenden resident and he attended Sir John Lawes School.
Philip has been involved in the management and administration of educational organisations for over 40 years. He started as a Graduate Trainee with the Inner London Education Authority in 1974 being successively appointed to administrative positions in three Further and Higher Education colleges in London. He then took a senior appointment at a London Polytechnic before moving to the University of Hertfordshire in 1989 eventually becoming the Secretary and Registrar in 2001. During that time he served as a Director of various national Higher Education bodies before he retired as Registrar of the University in 2013. He continues his involvement with the University chairing the society comprising retired staff and the legacy society. He served as the founding Chairman of the Harpenden Secondary Schools Trust the trust which promotes co-operation between the secondary schools in Harpenden and became the first Chairman of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust when it was founded in 2014 to make the application for the new school. He is also Chairman of two bus companies (Universitybus Ltd and Unobuses Northampton Ltd) which trade as UNO and he undertakes a range of transport consultancy.
Philip and his family have lived in Harpenden for over 20 years and all four children attended primary and secondary schools in Harpenden. He is Secretary and a Trustee of Harpenden Cricket Club and still plays cricket at vets level.
Helen Fish is CEO of an international digital publishing company which specialises in Human Resources, Recruitment and Leadership. A business she has led since 1990. She has transformed it from a traditional print publisher to a multi-channel, world class digital platform, delivering daily newsletters, magazine’s, events and recruitment reports to over 150,000 readers every month.
She is an experienced school Governor and represented the LEA on the governing body of a Hertfordshire secondary school where her focus was to mentor the senior leadership team to improve the OFSTED ratings.
As Pro Vice-Chancellor, Julie is responsible for:
⦁ business development
⦁ marketing and communications
As well as overseeing strategy in these areas, she manages teams and initiatives relating to knowledge transfer, graduate employability, reputation management, fundraising and recruitment.
Julie’s role also covers leveraging intellectual property, and developing enterprise and entrepreneurship opportunities for students and staff.
As director of Marketing and Communications, Julie is also responsible for:
⦁ UK, EU and international recruitment
⦁ corporate media
⦁ PR and events
⦁ alumni relations
She joined the University’s Business School in 1996 as a Senior Lecturer in Business Strategy, and held various posts before being appointed Head of the Business School in 2006.
Julie’s academic career began at the London Institute in 1993, after achieving management success in the hotel and restaurant sector. This included running a chain of high street cafés for Martin The Newsagent, and subsequent strategic marketing position with Guinness when it acquired the business.
Julie was awarded her MBE for services to Higher Education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014..