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Board of Governors

Beechwood Park benefits from a committed and experienced Board of Governors who support the Head and the Senior Leadership Team with the strategic direction of the School

Mr Mark Hammond - Chair

My children were both pupils at Beechwood Park between 2004 and 2016. My association with the School continued in the role of Finance Governor which began in 2015, as my son was approaching his leaving date. I was appointed as Chairman of Governors in September 2020. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1991, my career has been primarily in banking and fund management. Although I have retired from full-time work, I am a director of a small number of listed and private companies. In my spare time I play golf at Harpenden and follow the fortunes of MK Dons FC.

Mrs Clare Cutler

I have been a Governor of Beechwood Park for 6 years serving as Deputy-Chair and Chair of the Pastoral Care & Welfare Committee. In my role, I oversee Boarding and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). I am a past parent of the school; my eldest left Beechwood at 11+ and is reading Maths at Balliol College, Oxford. My two sons left at 13+ and are now at Harrow. I read Law at Bristol University and was called to the Bar in 1995. After a career in Family Law I am now a part-time specialist adviser to the Citizens Advice Bureau. I spend all my spare time watching cricket, football and rugby.

Mr Scott Black

I have been a Governor since 2017 and chair the Buildings and Estate Committee. A former Head Boy of Beechwood Park, I have two sons, both old Beechwoodians. I am a Chartered Architect with 22 years’ experience in the development industry and with a passion for design and the creation of sustainable new communities. I was the Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration until recently and was responsible for the group’s major mixed-use regeneration projects, partnership schemes, and both the private rental sector and commercial portfolios.

More recently I have joined the Board of Places for People as the Executive Director of Development. Places for People is the UK’s largest Registered Social Landlord (RSL) and property manager with £4.5bn of assets under management, 14,000 staff and builds 3000+ homes a year. I am currently responsible for all development activities for the group and lead the Development Board which is responsible for all our development companies.

Mr Andrew Briscoe

I became a Governor at Beechwood Park in June 2018 when I moved to Hertfordshire, having been a Governor for five years at my local school in Surrey. I have an Honours degree in Philosophy & Literature and an MBA from Cranfield, and I am a great believer in the power of education to help people to lead fulfilled and happy lives.

My executive career was spent in financial services, including senior management roles at American Express and Bupa as well as managing directorships at Centrica and the AA. I was also strategic advisor to two private equity firms, the Carlyle group and Candover. My non-executive career has included chairing a range of private sector companies as well as public sector organisations such as the Money Advice Service and more recently Indesser, which is a joint venture between Equifax and Cabinet Office. I live with my partner and two teenage boys in Studham, and I enjoy playing golf, tennis, gardening and walking.

Mrs Jenny Brown

I was educated at North London Collegiate School and Oxford University, where I read English. I started my career publishing for Robert Maxwell at Pergamon Press, but the move into English teaching at Cranleigh School felt like coming home. I taught at Highgate School, South Hampstead High School, Channing School and St Paul’s Girls’ School, prior to taking up the Headship at St Albans High School for Girls.

Since September 2019 I have been the Headmistress of the City of London School for Girls. I have sat on a number of Boards including the Advisory Board of the New College of the Humanities, the Membership Committee of the HMC and Professional Development Committee of the GSA. I am also a governor at Cranleigh School.

Any leisure hours are full of John Donne, George Eliot, Jane Austen, editing my husband’s plays, swimming in very cold water and enjoying the company of my son and daughter.

Mrs Maureen Cussans

I am delighted to have been invited to join the Beechwood Park Board of Governors. I hope to be able to offer the benefit of over 30 years leadership, management and teaching experience in the UK and Africa. I was Headteacher of Kenton College Preparatory School, Kenya, an IAPS and BSO accredited British International Preparatory School for 15 years, during which time I led the school to outstanding judgements in DfE inspection. With specialisms in staff mentoring and training, I also served for six years as Independent Association of Preparatory Schools District Chair and International Representative to IAPS Council, receiving the 2019 Outstanding Service Award by the Association. More recently, I have been involved with the Association of British Schools Overseas (AoBSO) as a Consultant Leader which continues to give me a connection to schools across the globe. I am very much looking forward to contributing to, and supporting all aspects of the community and school life at Beechwood Park.

Mr Guy Freeman

My four children attended Beechwood between 2003 and 2015 and it gave all of them a great educational and social start in life. I have lot of affection and appreciation for the school as a result and am delighted to be able to give my time to help the school as a governor from December 2020.

I am a retired actuary and have worked in financial services since 1986 focusing on the management of risks involved in employers making pension promises. After completing a Maths degree at St John’s College Cambridge, my career started in consulting but moved onto sales within investment banking and then corporate finance. For the last 14 years I have worked in the insurance world at Rothesay. I am a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. I also help a charity pension fund with its investments, organise an actuarial networking club and play squash and golf to stay fit.

Mr Jonathan Gillespie

I became a Governor at Beechwood Park in 2014, following the start of my tenure as Headmaster of St Albans School. Educated at Bedford Modern School and Selwyn College, Cambridge, I taught French and German at Highgate School before becoming Head of Modern Languages at Fettes College in Edinburgh. I subsequently became a Housemaster at Fettes. My first headship was at Lancing College in West Sussex. During my career to date, I have been heavily involved in the Combined Cadet Force and in sport, especially cricket and hockey. My wife and I live in St Albans and we have two grown-up sons. I hope that my educational experience and expertise is of benefit to the Governing Body in ensuring that Beechwood continues to offer an exceptional all-round education to enable its pupils to be fully prepared for starting in their chosen senior schools.

Mr James Hodgson

I am Headmaster at Bedford School, and in my role as Governor it is a privilege to be able to pass on some advice to Beechwood; a hugely impressive school which continues to have high aspirations. Before Bedford, I was Usher (Senior Deputy Head) at Magdalen College School in Oxford and Housemaster (Boarding and Day respectively) at Tonbridge School in Kent and Trinity Grammar School in Sydney. I joined Trinity from Ernst & Young where I started out as an auditor, having gained a degree in Classics from Durham University and a PGCE from Cambridge. I played an awful lot of sport in those days, including winning a Blue at Lords in my year at Cambridge, a passion which has stayed with me throughout my life. I loved my own prep school days and hope that I can play a small part in helping others to enjoy theirs

Mr Gavin Mairs

It has been an honour to serve as the Governor with responsibility for communications and marketing at Beechwood Park School since 2014. My daughter spent five happy years at the School and my son is also enjoying his time as a pupil here. A strong communications strategy is central to the Beechwood community, and we are fortunate to have a first-class marketing team at the school, which is constantly finding new and exciting ways to tell the fantastic story of the pupils’ experiences and achievements.

I am the Chief Rugby Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, having joined the newspaper in 2009 and during that time have been shortlisted five times for Rugby Journalist of the Year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards. I previously held the role of Rugby Correspondent at The Belfast Telegraph and The Yorkshire Post newspapers and have covered six World Cups and five British and Irish Lions tours.

I was the co-author for the autobiography of Rory Best, the former Ireland rugby captain, which was published in 2020.

Dr Richard Maloney

I became Uppingham’s Headmaster in September 2016 after seven years as Headmaster and CEO of the St Bede’s School Trust in East Sussex. I grew up in London, attended Latymer Upper School, and went on to read Theology and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. After my PGCE at Cambridge University, and whilst working as a teacher, I completed an MA and PhD in education at King’s College, London.

I believe wholeheartedly that children benefit best from a rigorous all-round education. Yes, they must be inspired and enthused by outstanding teachers in their academic studies, but, equally importantly, pupils should be immersed in broad-ranging co-curricular enrichment opportunities. Young people will need to leave school ready to face a rapidly changing world and education is the transformative mechanism by which that process will happen.

Enhancing educational standards is at the heart of my work. As a Governor of Beechwood Park, I hope to add value so that the School continues to best prepare its pupils to enjoy success and fulfilment at their senior school and the world beyond.

Mr Neil Scragg

In December 2020 I was delighted to be invited to join the Board of Governors of Beechwood as Chair of the Finance Committee. I am a Scottish Chartered Accountant and after spending 27 years working in Private Equity, I have recently retired from a full-time role. Alongside other business interests, I am the Finance trustee of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, a scientific research establishment delivering world class environmental research.

My wife and I moved to St Albans from Scotland 25 years ago and have two boys who greatly benefited from their education at St Albans School. I am a regular tennis player although my game never seems to improve.

Mrs Katharine Swaine

After a fascinating 25 year career working across all areas of HR at leadership level in Financial Services, including serving on UK boards, I was delighted to use this experience for the benefit of Beechwood Park and to give something back to the school for providing my two children with such a great educational start in life. I have had the privilege of being a Governor since 2017 at the point my first son left. I am passionate about people development and I am a Certified Executive Coach. I live with my husband and two sons, Jamie (16) and Alex (14), near Redbourn and I enjoy adventure holidays where I can scuba dive. I also play the cello when I get the chance! As a mother of teenagers and keen sponsor of Graduate Recruitment and Early Careers at work, I am very aware of the challenges faced by young people as they develop and plan their way forward. Establishing the building blocks for their future with the positive and well-balanced curriculum in the safe and happy environment Beechwood provides is so important, and I am pleased to be a part of this.

The Chair of Governors can be contacted via email cog@beechwoodpark.com or in writing to:

Mr Mark Hammond
Chair of Governors
Beechwood Park School
Markyate
Hertfordshire AL3 8AW