Membership of the CGS Governing Body

Professor Toby Salt, Chair 

With a career spanning over 30 years in education, Toby brings an enormous amount of experience to the group. He has a keen interest in good governance and a deep understanding of regulation, compliance, inspections, and safeguarding.

His governance roles include the Academies Enterprise Trust, one of the largest groups of school academies in the UK. He is Chair of The Pearson National Teaching Awards, advises an ed-tech social enterprise, and is a former Board Member and Non-Executive Director of UCAS and UCAS Media Ltd. He has held several CEO positions, most recently for Ormiston Academies Trust from 2012-2017 and the examinations board AQA from 2017-2020. Toby is now Senior Advisory Director to AQA’s chairman and CEO. Toby was a Founding Director of the DfE Innovation Unit and the Deputy Chief Executive of the National College for School Leadership – leading on schools and leadership policy. 

Dr Craig Wilson, Managing Director Schools and Safeguarding Governor

Craig read Chemistry at the University of Oxford obtaining a first class degree and stayed on to study for a DPhil. Following a PGCE, he became a Head of Chemistry in the UK before moving to an international school in China as Head of Science then Deputy Head, with responsibility for student tracking, intervention and academic target setting. Craig has been working for CEG/CATS since 2013, initially as Director of Education, coordinating the three UK CATS Colleges’ academic activities. He became Executive Principal in 2019 and Managing Director in 2022 with his role also covering operations and property. He was Principal of CATS Cambridge from January 2016 to December 2019. Craig was previously DSL at CATS Cambridge and last attended DSL training in May 2022. Craig chairs the CGS Cross-Group Designated Safeguarding Lead meetings.

As a governor Craig focusses on safeguarding, health and safety and academic delivery.

Ms Carmel O’Dolan, Headteacher Guildhouse School

Prior to starting at Guildhouse School in August 2023, Carmel has been a teacher for over 25 years, 12 of which are as a Head Teacher. She has held senior leadership positions at independent and international schools in the UK and Kenya and has in-depth knowledge of delivering the British National Curriculum. With a whole-school approach, Carmel ensures that life in boarding is enriching, homely, and supportive, with systems in place to promote pupil and staff welfare.
Carmel holds a BEd (Hon) in Business Education from Manchester Metropolitan University, a Master of Arts: School Development from Canterbury Christ Church University and also has a National Professional Qualification in Headship.

As a governor Carmel focusses on boarding and academic delivery.

Dr Ian Gross, Principal The Worthgate School

Ian was appointed Principal of The Worthgate School from August 2023. Over the past two decades, Ian has held several senior academic leadership positions at prominent international schools worldwide, including Bahrain, Thailand, Egypt, Argentina, and, most recently, Malaysia. He joins with in-depth knowledge of delivering GCSE, A Level, and International Baccalaureate programmes to international students. Ian holds a Doctorate in Education (EdD), an MA in Educational Leadership and Management, both from the University of Bath, and a PGCE Secondary Science from the University of Greenwich. Ian has been a visiting team member for the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA). Ian is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching (FCCT) and believes all students should be inspired and empowered to achieve and reach their full potential in all that they do.

As a governor Ian focusses on academic delivery.

Mr Jason Lewis, Headteacher Bosworth Independent School

Jason has nineteen years’ experience in education, with nine years as Headmaster and Principal. He is originally from North Wales and read Geography at Aberystwyth University before completing his PGCE and embarking on a career in education. From 2014-2020, Jason was the Principal of Rainbow International school in Kampala, Uganda and has extensive experience of school development and embedding a culture of sustainable growth and academic success. He firmly believes that every student should be taught a curriculum that inspires, challenges and stimulates in a safe and secure environment. Jason was a school inspector with the ISI and a Lead Improvement Partner with the Council of British International Schools. He is now an ISI TI. Jason chairs the CGS Cross-Group Assistant Principals Pastoral meetings.

As a governor Jason focusses on boarding and pastoral matters.

Mr Benson Ferrari, Headmaster St Michaels School

Benson has led St. Michael’s since 2017, following Deputy and Assistant Head posts in other independent schools.  He holds a Master’s degree in Education, along with postgraduate certificates in educational research and mentoring & coaching.  Before teacher training, Benson worked in accountancy and later held a music scholarship at university, for organ and piano.  He is a school inspector as well as fellow of the RSA & CIEA. Benson inspects as a Team Inspector with Estyn.

As a governor Benson focusses on academic delivery.

Ms Maria Coulter, Headteacher Bournemouth Collegiate School

Maria started her career teaching business and economics and since then has held various leadership roles in different areas of school operations, having previously specialised in sixth form education. She joined BCS as head of sixth form 11 years ago and progressed to senior deputy head, teaching A-level business and leading teacher training. She has been responsible for recruiting and training almost 100 new teachers. Maria took on the headteacher role on an interim basis in September 2022, and her demonstration of outstanding leadership and her student-centred philosophy meant that she was appointed to the permanent headteacher position in October 2022.

As a governor Maria focusses on academic and pastoral delivery.

Ms Anna Coakley, Director of School Operations

Anna joined Cambridge Education Group as Director of Operational Quality in November 2016. Anna has 20 years of experience in customer service environments including eight years at The Savoy Hotel in London and managing front of house and event spaces within investment banks and law firms in the City of London. During her time with the company she has worked closely with the Operations Management team to drive standards and challenge practices to enhance the student experience outside of the classroom. She aims to act as a central voice promoting the group ethos when in the schools and a voice of the schools and the customer when within the central team. Anna chairs the CGS Cross-Group Heads of Boarding meetings as well as the CGS Cross-Group Student Services meetings.

As a governor Anna focusses on boarding, student experience, student voice and health and safety.

Dr Sue Brindley, Chief Education Advisor

As well as working as our Chief Education Advisor, Sue Brindley is a University Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her current interests are working with teachers and schools on professional development through practitioner research (CamSTAR). She is particularly interested in the legitimisation of professional knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism through research. CamSTAR brings her into contact with substantial numbers of teachers working across a wide range of areas, and she is now working on a cross school project (with ten schools) on Conditions for Excellence.

As a governor Sue focusses on academic delivery.

Mr Michael Spens, Independent Governor

Michael read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and then had a brief spell in the food industry before embarking on a career in teaching. In 1993 he was appointed Headmaster of Caldicott Preparatory School and in 1998 moved to be Headmaster of Fettes College in Edinburgh Michael was Headmaster of Fettes College for 19 years and during that time oversaw a major development programme including the growth of the school from 460 pupils to the current 750 pupils and the introduction of the IB Diploma programme in the Sixth Form. Michael stepped down from Fettes in 2017 and has since worked in consultancy and held a variety of governor roles.

As a governor Michael focusses on academic and pastoral delivery.

Ms Kay Smith, Independent Governor  

Kay recently retired from the role of Head of Bournemouth Collegiate Prep School after 12 successful years. Her career spans over 30 years in education having worked in both state and independent schools, as teacher, senior leader and Head. Kay has a wealth of knowledge and experience in leading and developing schools, and a commitment to ensuring the highest standards in education and the very best outcomes for all students. To achieve excellence, Kay promotes ‘education with character’, where academic achievement is enhanced by rich culture, strong values, broad opportunities and a sense of community and social responsibility. She holds an ILM Level 7 qualification in Executive Coaching and has worked in partnership with many senior leaders to transform their leadership. She has also worked with schools to promote a coaching culture within their organisation.

As a governor Kay focusses on Prep School delivery, particularly the Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework.