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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 the Board 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 Maureen Cussans

I am delighted to rejoin the Board of Governors as Chair of the Education Committee having served as Beechwood Park’s Interim Headteacher in 2023. I hope to be able to offer the benefit not only of the unique insight interim-headship provided but also of over 30 years leadership, management and teaching experience in the U.K. 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 look forward to continuing to support all aspects of school life at Beechwood Park.

Mrs Clare Cutler

I have been on the Board of Governors at 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 Hugh Ford

I was delighted to be invited to join the Board of Governors in December 2022. Both our sons attended the school between 2000 and 2011 and I have great affection and appreciation for Beechwood and the thorough academic and broader grounding it gave them. My links with the School have continued since then through my wife, Susie, who has run the Junior Department Library since 2003, along with various other roles throughout the school, the latest being as a TA in Year 2.

I studied law at Durham University and started my career at the City law firm Freshfields, before moving into industry. For the last 25 years, I have held various senior legal and finance roles in the aviation and real estate sectors, most recently as the general counsel and group treasurer of intu properties, the listed shopping centre business. We live in Harpenden and I enjoy tennis, golf and dog-walking, alongside the ever-increasing fitness challenge of playing hockey for Harpenden HC.

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 have been able to give my time to help the school on the board of governors since 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

Prof. Thomas Jacques

I am a doctor with expertise in diseases of the nervous system in children. I trained in medicine at Cambridge and undertook junior medical jobs in general medicine and histopathology in London before my appointment as a consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I am the Professor of Paediatric Neuropathology at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and the Laboratory Director for the Department of Histopathology at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I am Editor in Chief of the international journal, Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, and I am an editor of the World Health Organisation Classification of Childhood Tumours.

Both of my children have been educated at Beechwood Park.

Mrs Genevieve Mackenzie

I am delighted to be a part of Beechwood Park’s Board of Governors. As an early years specialist, my role as part of the Board’s Education Committee is to support the Early Years and Junior Department, ensuring the School’s smallest children have a voice at Board level. I have held many managerial roles within early years education, as well as inspecting for Ofsted, lecturing at Nescot College, working for the Department of Education as a Covid Recovery Expert, and mentoring across many educational programmes. Having a busy professional life, I am devoted to my family in my spare time and enjoy trips to the theatre and travelling.

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. Both my children enjoyed they time at the School, my daughter having left in July 2017 and my son in 2022.  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.

Mrs Jo Wadham

I am delighted to join the board of Beechwood. As a past Beechwood parent I know first-hand the brilliant opportunities and education Beechwood Park and its staff offer. I have worked as a governor previously at the British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi where I lived with my family for eight years.  Al Khubairat is an English-curriculum school for 3-18 year olds with approximately 1,600 students. I was twice elected to the Board of Governors during my time there.

After reading law at Oxford University, I qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and worked in the London and Paris corporate departments of Linklaters, and in the corporate development team at BT plc. In Abu Dhabi I was a regular feature writer for the national daily English-language newspaper, The National.

I am currently working part-time as a legal consultant for a charity called Pennies. Using our digital charity box, customers can make micro-donations of a few pennies to charity by topping up when they buy goods or services. When not working, I can usually be found gardening (with the help of my two dogs).

The Chair of Governors can be contacted via email or in writing to:

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