The key responsibility of the Governors is to ensure that the Alpha Plus Group has a clear sense of direction and purpose. They are responsible for creating an ethos of high expectation and are expected to monitor, evaluate, support and challenge but not to manage nor interfere with the day-to-day operation of each school and college. Good Governance is ultimately concerned with providing insight, wisdom and good judgement. All Alpha Plus schools and colleges are expected to support the Group’s strategic priorities and to discuss their own development plans with the Governors.
The Governors of all of the Alpha Plus Group’s schools and colleges are the following Directors of Alpha Plus Holdings plc:
Sir John Ritblat (Chair of Alpha Plus Group)
Sir John is Honorary President of The British Land Company PLC and Chairman of Delancey’s Real Estate Advisory Board. He is a philanthropist with a keen interest in education, young people and the arts. His experience as a school governor includes the Deputy Chairmanship of The Hall School in Hampstead and as a governor of Dulwich College where he remains as a Special Advisor to the Governors and a founding member of the College’s Development Strategy Committee.
Sir John stood down as Chairman of the Board of Governors of London Business School in April 2014 after 25 years on the Board and 10 years in the Chair. He remains as a member of their Estates Committee and is an Honorary Fellow. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Wallace Collection Foundation and an Honorary Fellow and Honorary Trustee of the Royal Academy of Music. He is Vice President of International Students’ House, and an Honorary Fellow and Vice President of the Council of The Royal Institution.
Sir John sat on the Board of the British Library 1995 – 2003 and was reappointed in 2015. He is the sponsor of The Sir John Ritblat Gallery, Treasures of The British Library.
Sir John is also the President of British Ski & Snowboard and has been the principal sponsor of The British Alpine National Ski Championships for the last 36 years and, with Delancey, the main sponsor of all four Ski and Snowboard disciplines until 2018. He is also Vice President of the Tennis & Racquets Association,
He holds Honorary Doctorate of Literature at both London Metropolitan University and the University of Buckingham and an Honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) from London Business School.
Graham Able (Deputy Chairman)
Graham was Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Plus from 2009-2014. Prior to that, he spent 40 years teaching in independent schools, the last 21 as a Headmaster in London. He retired from the Mastership of Dulwich College in August 2009. He is a former Chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference and was President of the International Boys’ Schools’ Coalition for 3 years. A keen sportsman, he is a member of MCC.
Mark Hanley-Browne (CEO)
Mark graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences from Oxford University before going to Cambridge University to study for his PGCE. He is an educationalist, having taught at Sevenoaks School in Kent, Charterhouse School in Surrey and Highgate School in North London before becoming Head of Emanuel School in South London. He held this post for thirteen years, leading the school through a period of very successful development and making it one of the most popular schools in the capital. Mark has created partnerships with schools in the USA and in China, and worked with the United Westminster Schools Foundation.
Mark is married to Rachael, who is Head of Leadership Consulting at Harvey Nash. Mark’s interests include wine, travel and Arsenal football club.
Mark Sample (Director of Finance)
Mark is a graduate of Imperial College London where he studied Mining Geology. He then qualified as a Chartered Accountant at BDO Stoy Hayward in 1989. He subsequently accumulated 22 years of experience in the Chartered Surveying Industry and was Group Finance Director at Colliers International UK plc between 2008 – 2012. He lives in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and is married with three children. His interests include cycling and cooking as well as being a huge sports fan with a particular love of football.
Paul Brereton (Director of HR)
Paul joined Alpha Plus Group from his previous role as Head of HR and Safeguarding at Ark Schools Group. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Kingston University and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors. Paul has over twenty years human resources, change management and commercial experience across many sectors. This includes as HR Director for both The Natural History Museum and BBC Resources Ltd. He has a proven track record for successfully introducing innovative and lateral approaches to business opportunities and ensuring that the HR function supports and leads the vision. Paul is married with three children and has varied interests including music, the sciences and the odd game of tennis.
Tim Haynes (Director of Senior Schools)
Tim Haynes was the Headmaster of Tonbridge School from 2005 to 2018. During his time there he oversaw £40m of development, including a new Library, Science facilities and Sports facilities. He helped to raise the academic standing (often 30-40 Oxbridge places each year and 90%+ A*, A and B grades at A level) and made many improvements to the systems of pastoral care. Prior to being Head of Tonbridge he was Headmaster of Monmouth school for 10 years.
Tim has also spent many years teaching in London. He started his teaching career at Hampton School before moving to St Paul’s School in Barnes, where he taught History for 13 years and was promoted to be the Surmaster (Deputy Head).
He is an Old Boy of Shrewsbury School and is now the Chair of Governors there.
He studied for his BA at Reading University and for his PGCE at Cambridge.
Tim has wide interests ranging from classic cars to sailing. He is governor of several schools including Academies and senior and junior independent schools. He is a member of the Skinners Company and the Haberdashers’ Education Committee.
Liz Francis (Director of Education)
Liz started her career in education as a teacher. She has also worked for a number of government agencies, including the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Training and Development Agency for schools, where she was Deputy Director for Strategy, Standards and Qualifications. She has also been a senior education adviser for Suffolk County Council and an Ofsted inspector. Prior to joining Alpha Plus Group Liz worked at the Department for Education where she was a policy adviser on school leadership and departmental performance reporting. She holds a PGCE and Masters degree in Education. Liz lives in Suffolk and is married with two grown up children. Her interests include keeping fit, reading (she is a member of a book club) and walking.
Jenny Stephen (Director of Schools)
Jenny has held Headships in independent schools for 22 years and has also managed a start-up school and a college. She was board member of the Halle Orchestra at a crucial time in its development, a JP working with Youth, and has served as a Governor for numerous schools including Chetham’s School of Music for many years. A scientist, she is married with 3 grown up sons and retains a deep interest in sport, dating from her time as a County runner. Her other passion is restoring derelict houses, which came in handy when she decided to rebuild South Hampstead High School, London!
Richard Jones (Director of Property)
Richard, a chartered surveyor, has over 25 years’ experience in the field of specialist asset, development and estate management. Having worked for a private practice he then joined the Board of several private property companies and also spent time with a firm of chartered accountants running a banking workout unit.
Richard joined Alpha Plus Group as a consultant in 2008 and the Board as Director of Property in 2010. As well as overseeing the real estate portfolio he supports new acquisitions and brings a breadth of expertise. In his spare time Richard is a keen sportsman, although this is now limited to golf, running, and touchline support at his children’s schools.
Rossella Proscia (Director of Marketing & International Sales)
Rossella joined the Alpha Plus Group in July 2016, assuming responsibility for the strategic marketing direction and development of schools and colleges, nationally and internationally. Rossella has 14 years’ experience as a Marketing Director in the global education sector, her latest role with McGraw-Hill Education. Here she created the EMEA marketing hub, led customer insight and demand generation programmes and managed a team of 18 people.
Prior to this she was EMEA Marketing Director for Cengage Learning, a provider of education solutions for higher education, schools and libraries worldwide. She set the marketing strategy for the EMEA region, led many successful product launches and achieved consistent improvement in marketing Return on Investment. Rossella graduated from University of Trieste with a BA Hons in International Relations and is fluent in both English and Italian. Married with three children, her ambition is to find time to restart her triathlon training. Other interests include history and music.
Jane Ritchie (Director of Nurseries)
Jane’s career in Early Years Education began over 35 years teaching in some of the London’s top Independent Schools. For many years she owned and ran The Minors Nursery School developing and expanding this into a successful business before selling to Alpha Plus in 2006. She has remained with Alpha Plus as their Director of Nurseries and expert on Early Years as well as developing her own successful consultancy.
Jane has worked as an advisory role for nursery groups, schools and companies and has been involved with the conception and start-up of many nursery projects both in the UK and abroad. She believes that a young child’s introduction to education should be a supremely happy one and that getting it right in their early years is vital for ensuring both their social and academic future.
She travels widely and her interests include textile art, gardening and music.
Russell Seaman (Director of IT)
Russell joined the Alpha Plus Group as Director of IT in December 2016 to lead the strategic alignment of technology, ensuring that the IT department fully supports the vision of the schools and colleges. Russell brings a wealth of experience of managing IT operations, projects and strategy from his previous role as contract manager for an international IT managed service provider and more recently as Head of IT for the Defence sector at Carillion Plc.
Russell met his wife whilst studying Computer Science at the University of Exeter and they now live in Haslemere, Surrey with their son. When not testing out the latest IT innovations, Russell is a keen photographer and avid motorsport fan.