Board of Directors


MR JULIAN DUTNALL (CEO/Director of Secondary)

Julian studied Law at Exeter University and qualified as a barrister in 1996. After a year working as a Crown Prosecutor he completed a PGCE at Anglia Ruskin University and began teaching. He has taught in 5 state schools in 3 local authorities. At Chelmsford County High he was Deputy Headteacher when the school was graded Outstanding by Ofsted and gained the highest GCSE results in England in the January league tables.  He is in his 5th year as Headteacher at Frances Bardsley Academy, a Good school with Outstanding features.  Julian holds a 1st Class honours degree in English, a Masters in Educational Leadership and the NPQH. He is currently Joint President of the Association of State Girls Schools for the second time, has chaired the cross phase Havering Education Strategic Partnership and writes for the National Education Trust.



Ann is a Qualified accountant (FCCA retired) and worked in the NHS for 40 years, 20 years in Director of Finance or equivalent posts at board level. Ann has experience of provider services (NHS trusts), commissioner services and strategic management (most recent appointment was a Director of Finance for NE London Strategic Health Authority). Familiar with structural change (10 different structural reorganisations during career) - ranging from consensus management, general management to purchaser/provider splits, directly managed units and NHS Trusts.

Ann’s responsibilities have extended beyond financial management to include (in different jobs) IT, Estates, Capital projects (including PFI), Contracting (as a provider), Commissioning, Performance management (A&E waiting times and Elective Waiting times), and Family Practitioner services and Ann also participated in risk management committees and audit committees.  Ann spent three years acting as professional adviser to RCN remuneration committee and was awarded an OBE for services to the NHS and community in NE London.

Ann is also on the Governing Body at FBA with over 20 years’ experience as a school governor, including acting as Responsible Officer (Finance) and Vice Chair of governors. Part of a small governor group that worked on a school PFI project (resulting in consolidating the school onto a single site) and on a steering group overseeing conversion to academy status. Experience of dealing with school HR issues, including appointments, grievances and complaints.  Ann is retired but undertakes part time voluntary work in another local secondary school (mainly linked to SEND students). And is qualified as a level 2 LSA post retirement.



Michael holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from London Guildhall University and Practitioner accreditation in Managing Successful Programmes.  Michael was a manager in the Met Police for 31 years until retirement in 2011.  The post included managing teams in specialist areas such as analysing accident claims and injury liabilities to assess accuracy of data on criminal records and arrest and conviction reports.  Michael was a Business Manager for the police in the Borough of Tower Hamlets involving, among other things, budget control, recruitment, promotion, discipline and oversight of the local estate and Michael has experience of chairing various HR related boards.

At a more senior level, he was a Programme Manager on corporate change programmes such as Met Police Modernisation, balancing the demands of local community expectations for safer neighbourhood teams against the more specialist requirements such as anti-terrorism, sexual offences and fraud.  Michael became Director of Business Strategy setting out annual and longer term strategic business plans in conjunction with the Senior Leadership Team at the Met, the Metropolitan Police Authority and latterly the Mayor's Office.

Since he retired from the Met in 2011, Michael has joined the Parent Staff Association at Frances Bardsley and chaired this group until he became a Parent Governor in 2014.  As a Governor he has recently been elected Chair of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee and is also the link Governor for attendance.



After reading law at University and winning a scholarship to the Bar, Sophia was called to the Bar in 2001.  Sophia has developed a successful career as a commercial lawyer, both in-house and in private practice working with US multinational utility companies and also acted for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Ltd on the procurement of telecommunications and technology infrastructure for the 2012 Olympics.

Sophia is qualified as a solicitor and also holds an International Practice Diploma in Intellectual Property Law. Sophia is Vice President and Head of Legal at Colt, a multinational technology company headquartered in London.



Toni is a management consultant and currently a Doctoral Candidate and Associate Lecturer (PT) at Manchester Metropolitan University.  As former International Director of one of the UK’s largest NGOs, she has specialist experience in social development policy reviews, national programme management (including child care/ safeguarding protocols and young people’s participation). Much of this work entailed working linkages across the private, public and third sectors. Having worked as an Independent Consultant, her background spans: high level missions with ministries, corporate through to small enterprises, local government and town partnerships. These initiatives often helped to support local governance and business enterprise for social transformation. 

Toni is a recipient of a Government of Canada Presidential Star Award (CIDA, 2005). As a former Consultant Coordinator to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (Eastern Caribbean), Toni has worked extensively with international Donors (including: DfID, UNDP, UNICEF, the OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank).  Her most recent work on youth enterprise and non-formal learning in the UK was included in an EU funded (SALTO) publication (2014). Toni is very accustomed to cross-cultural settings and maintains an active research interest in relational

business models and youth enterprise.



Louise is a consultant and trainer working in a variety of settings across the world, many of which are schools.  Her current activities include leading HR consultancy for a federation of schools in an inner London borough, training and development activities, safeguarding audits, policy development, support and advice.  Louise has strong relationships with many schools across the country and regularly supports them with employment issues and safeguarding activities.  She also works with solicitors, doctors, social workers and other professionals in safeguarding.

She has worked at senior levels for over 20 years and was for a number of years a trustee of YMCA training.  Louise has successfully developed child protection strategies for many third sector organisations and gained much of her experience in this area, whilst a director of a high profile youth development charity.  She also supports voluntary organisations with training, audit and consultancy activity and currently works with a large London based young learners’ training provider.  Louise is a director of Graffam Consulting Ltd a leading consultancy focused on safeguarding and learning and development.

Louise holds a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management Practice and is particularly interested in learning and management.  She is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and often combines her child protection expertise with specific HR activities, particular in support schools with allegations made against staff, senior team recruitment processes and in formulating staff documentation.

Her interim and management consultancy work has included major change management projects for national and international organisations focusing on people and organisational culture.  Louise is also the independent reviewer for the Bishop of Chelmsford, scrutinising personnel and clergy files in line with current statutory requirements and is the safeguarding adviser to the national Cathedral and Choir Schools Safeguarding Group.


MR DAVID DENCHFIELD (Director of Primary)

After working in banking for 5 years, David returned to full time education where he completed a BA (Hons) in Business Studies. Following this, he undertook a PGCE and began teaching in primary education. David has taught in 6 state schools in two authorities. Whilst working as Deputy Headteacher at Great Berry Primary in Essex, the school was graded Outstanding for the first time and is widely recognised as a lead primary in Basildon. The school also successfully converted to an academy during this time.

Upon completion of the NPQH, David was awarded his first headship at Benhurst Primary. Within his first year of headship, David successfully led the school from Requires Improvement to Good. Three years on, the school is now firmly working towards Outstanding. In 2014, Benhurst’s excellent work was recognised and the school expanded from 1½ FE to 2FE. Benhurst Primary is now widely known for its forward-thinking ethos and has worked extensively with many local, national and international schools and businesses in its constant drive for excellence. David also held the position of Executive Headteacher for another local school during a period of prolonged absence of the substantive Headteacher.

David is an active member of the local Cluster group, has been a governor in four schools and holds a position on the Schools’ Funding Forum for Havering.



Principal and Chief Executive Havering College of Further and Higher Education

Born in Hull, Yorkshire Maria studied languages at the University of Bath before going on to gain her Masters in Marketing at Humberside University. 

Maria Thompson joined Havering College of Further and Higher Education in July 2001 as Director of Studies for Business & Management and was appointed as Vice Principal with responsibility for the Curriculum, Quality and Student Achievement in January 2003 and in 2008 was appointed as Deputy Principal. In January 2012 Maria was appointed Principal Designate and took up her role as Principal in September 2012.

Prior to this Maria worked at Hull College as Director of Customer Services and Head of the Business Faculty. Before she entered education Maria had 10 years’ experience of working for large blue chip international companies in the areas of Business Development and Marketing.  She is a published author in the areas of Business and European Studies.





Tony worked for a major UK clearing bank for 31 years where he gained his ACIB banking Diploma and rose to the position of Senior Business Manager. Tony has experience in analysing business plans and lending propositions and arranging finance for the Bank's business customers. Tony spent 2 years working in the Bank's Major Corporates Team where he was involved in putting in place multi million pound financial packages for major international corporates. During this time Tony also enjoyed a 3 year secondment to the Inter Bank Research Organisation which was a consulting "think tank" funded by all of the UK clearing banks and worked on major projects of interest to the financial industry as a whole covering such areas as the setting up of a debit card payment system and cash availability systems in the UK.

Tony is currently a manager of the Witness Service at Romford Magistrates' Court where he leads a team responsible for supporting witnesses through the Criminal Justice System with particular emphasis on the process of giving evidence at a criminal trial

Tony joined the Governing Body of FBA 20 years ago, initially as a parent governor and then a community governor and subsequently a partnership governor. He has been a member of several working parties including a small group tasked with looking at a PFI project to merge the 2 previous school sites onto the one site that the Academy currently occupies.

Tony currently sits on a number of the Academy's sub-committees including Finance and Facilities which he chaired for a number of years before taking on the role of chair of the Pay & Personnel Committee  



Please see above



Please see above



Ian Wigston is a co-founder of Bright Field Consulting.  Originally a banker, Ian developed and built one of the first Innovation Units in Europe for Barclays.  He has been working as an independent consultant for more than 20 years.

He has specialised in education for most of that time, and was inspired to establish Bright Field having established a reputation for originality and innovation across a range of client projects.  These have included the DfES Innovation Unit, Odyssey Charter School, the Learning Schools Trust and Woodard Corporation. 

He is a Trustee of Potential Plus (UK), and is a member of Bishop’s Council and Diocesan Synod for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Ian has a BA (Econ) from Nottingham University, an MBA from Henley Management College and is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005.



Fred is a Chartered Surveyor and has reached the highest level in his profession, being elected a Fellow of both The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Chartered Institute of Building. He is also a Member of The Institute of Civil Engineers and a Member of The Chartered Management Institute. He has over forty years of experience as a construction professional and manager.

Fred is currently working as a Building Consultant. Prior to this he was employed as Head of Building Services at a London Borough where he worked for over thirty years. During this time a major role was dealing with schools’ new build and major maintenance. 

Fred has extensive experience as a school governor in Havering and has currently served twenty-nine years at Benhurst Primary School (where he attended school as an infant). He also served for over twenty-five years at Parklands Junior School and four years at Hall Mead Secondary School. Fred has been the Chair of Governors at Benhurst for 24 years.

Other positions include being a Vice-President of Upminster Cricket Club and previously as Honorary Construction Officer of The Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford.

Fred has experience of working with young people outside of school and has managed local youth football and cricket teams in the past. Also, outdoor adventure and other events under the umbrella of the National Association of Clubs for Young People.



Denise worked for Marks and Spencer, joining the graduate trainee programme at their Head Office in London. This led to her appointment as Procurement manager within the Food Division, securing contracts across all stores.

She was recruited by London Borough of Havering to set up the finance system and infrastructure at the Havering Sixth Form College, ready for its opening in 1991. Staying within Havering she moved to a secondary school and as Bursar took them through the Academisation process as one of the first converters. During this time Denise studied for the certificate in School Business Management (CSBM).

Whilst at this school, Denise was seconded to another secondary school, for one year, to review financial systems, processes and procedures reporting directly to London Borough of Havering



Ian has over 30 years’ experience in education, in the UK and overseas. Having achieved a BA (Hons) in Economics and Geography (2:1) and a PGCE, he started his teaching career in 1980 but then spent much of the next decade travelling, living and working abroad, including teaching in Australia and Guatemala, where he became fluent in Spanish. From 1991 to 2008 he held middle and senior leadership roles in three Inner London secondary schools, as Deputy Headteacher in two schools, a period as Acting Head in one and achieving the NPQH. Since 2008, Ian has worked as a senior education adviser for Havering Local Authority and for a national academy chain. His advisory work has been across the primary and secondary phases, specialising in data analysis and improving teaching and learning and school leadership. As well as carrying out in-school support, Ian has regularly delivered staff training at all levels, including to headteachers and governors. He has undergone Ofsted inspector training and supports schools through the inspection process, as well as carrying out school reviews. Ian is also an experienced governor, having served for eight years as a governor in a primary school and three years for a sixth form college.



Kathy worked as a Legal Secretary at Clifford Chance LLP for 7 years before moving on to become PA to the Managing Director of Development at Canary Wharf.  After 10 years she moved closer to home to work as the Church Administrator at her local church where she successfully managed the planning and tender process for the church refurbishment and extension programme.   Kathy then moved on to work as PA to the Fundraising Director of Saint Francis Hospice in Havering atte Bower where she worked closely with a team of fundraising staff raising vital funds for patient care.   Kathy started working at The Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls in 2012 as PA to the Headteacher and has since worked closely with him and the wider Senior Leadership Team providing help and support.  Kathy took over as Clerk to the Local Governing Body in 2014 and, once the Academy joined LIFE Education Trust, now clerks Board, Member and Committee meetings as well as continuing to work as PA to the Headteacher and CEO.  Kathy is currently working towards a National Clerk’s Development Programme qualification run by the National Governor’s Association and the National College for Teaching & Learning.