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Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School

Governing Body

The Governing Body complement and enhance the leadership at St Albans Girls' School by providing support and challenge, ensuring that all statutory duties are met, appointing the Headteacher and holding them to account for the impact of the school’s work on improving outcomes for all students.

The Governors bring a wealth of experience from a cross section of the community. They meet throughout the term at Committee level and at Full Governing Body meetings. The Trust Members meet annually.

The St Albans Girls' School Governing Body is a member of ATLAS Multi Academy Trust and consists of:

  • The Head Teacher
  • 3 elected Staff Governors
  • 4 elected Parent Governors
  • Up to 8 Governors appointed by the Members
  • 3 Co-opted Governors

The Academy Trust Members (‘Trustees’) are the Chair of Governors, 2 Vice Chairs of Governors, Chair of Finance and Head Teacher. These appoint Member Governors who bring relevant experience to the Governing Body.


Claire Barnard 

Claire Barnard


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!

Bob Foster 

Bob Foster


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.

Lesley Ainsworth 

Lesley Ainsworth


Years of service as a Governor:  3 years
Finance,  Premises and Operations Committees

After qualifying as a solicitor in 1981 I specialised in competition law working mainly in London but with spells in Brussels and New York. When I retired from private practice in 2013 I was appointed as a Panel Member of the Competition and Markets Authority.

I was brought up in Lancashire but have lived in St Albans for over 30 years. I have two children, both now at university.

I am also a governor at St Albans School.

Sarah Murphy 

Sarah Maguire


Years of service as a Governor: 8 years
Chair of Premises and Operations Committee and serve on the Personnel & Student Wellbeing Committee

I have been a Governor of STAGS since February 2008.  After studying  for my GCSEs and A Levels at STAGS, I went to Keele University and  completed a degree in Psychology and Business Administration gaining a 2.1 and providing me with an interest in people in business.  This led me to seek a career in the field of Human Resources.  I have now been a generalist in the HR field for 15 years and am Head of HR for a top accountancy firm, giving me a good understanding of business.  I am fully conversant in employment law and thrive on the challenges it presents in the workplace.  I very much enjoy being a Governor of STAGS as I loved being a pupil there and want to give something back and make sure that the school excels in everything it does.

Amanda Jefferies 

Amanda Jefferies


Years of service as a Governor: 4 years
Curriculum, Assessment & Standards Committee

I graduated with a BA in Modern Languages and  trained and worked originally as a secondary teacher.  I took a career change to pursue an interest in the field of computing, and completed a Masters in Computer Science  as a mature student and later a professional doctorate in Education.  My current role is Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Hertfordshire.  My research focus is in developing digital literacy and exploring the role that technology can play to enhance the learning environment. 

To the School Governing Body I  contribute another positive example of a role model for girls’ education, with a particular interest in the STEM subjects.

Paul Snook 

Paul Snook


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

Paul Webster

Paul Webster


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.

Dominic Houlihan 

Dominic Houlihan


Years of service as a Governor:  3 years
 Premises and Operations and  Curriculum, Assessment & Standards Committees

I have devoted my life to excellence in education. I have 3 grown up children and my stepdaughter is in Year 10. I was a University scientist, senior manager and Professor; I started enterprises and was awarded an OBE for encouraging children in science. I am the product of a good education from a low-income family. I am  retired and do my best as a parent governor for all the children of STAGS.

Rachael Kenningham 

Rachael Kenningham


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.

Alan Westcott 

Alan Westcott


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 

Fiona Harper

Years of service as a Governor:  New Governor
Finance, Premises & Operations Committee

I have worked at Stags for 6 years and been Senior Science Technician since 2016.

After studying Microbiology at Leeds University I worked for many years as a research Microbiologist in various settings.

I have 3 children, 2 boys who attended Verulam school and a daughter who has just finished at Stags.

I am not new to governance having served as a governor at a local primary school, during which time I also held the role of Chair. Being a staff governor is a new role for me and I am looking forward to representing our hard working support staff on the governing body.


Paul Kershaw 

Paul Kershaw


Years of service as a Governor:  3 years
Finance Committee and Personnel and Student Wellbeing Committee

I am an Assistant Head at St Albans Girls' School and lead on Key Stage 4. I grew up in St Albans before studying in America and completing a BA in English with American Studies. After a subsequent MA in Creative and Transactional Writing and an interval of vocation in video-games development, I have been a teacher of English, Film and Media at schools located in Japan, the Middle East and the UK. I have been at St Albans Girls’ School since 2011 where I have been involved in leading the curriculum in English and Media; Coordinating and overseeing the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Library Resource Centre and Whole School Literacy; implementing the successful launch of 'Show My Homework'; convoying expeditions to Morocco, India, Borneo and Norway as well as enjoying being involved in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, trips and visits.

Paula Randerson 

Paula Randerson


Years of service as a Governor:  3 years
Premises and Operations Committee

I am originally from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, where my much loved family continue to live. I have worked in the Modern Foreign Languages Faculty at STAGS for the last eight year and am currently Curriculum Leader for Key Stage 4 Spanish. I do believe we offer something ‘special’ at STAGS not just on the outstanding academic or extracurricular front. It’s a sense of community where each person has their own valued place and develops a knowledge of what is expected of them in the world.  It is a privilege to represent our hard working staff on the governing body and I hope my contribution will help STAGS to endure and improve.

Chris Curtis 

Chris Curtis


I am a Parent Governor, with a daughter in Year 9.

I graduated from Aston University in 1994, and have spent the subsequent 25 years working for Network Rail, holding a variety of posts across the country in operations and construction projects. As part of my current role I am a member of a Project Board that governs the development of a major new railway project, which includes dealing with all levels of local and national Government.

I have an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and have a passion for developing and mentoring young people who are pursuing careers in construction and engineering. I will bring my experience in this area to help encourage the students at STAGS to consider further studies and careers in these areas, where there are a wide range of exciting opportunities.

I also have an autistic daughter, and consequently an interest in education provision for those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). I am a member of the Finance, Premises and Operations Committee.



Get in touch

Mr P O'Neill, Business Manager

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans



01727 853134