Governors play a very important role in the life of the School: they provide strategic direction to the School, support the work of the Headmaster and leadership team and provide the necessary accountability and challenge which helps ensure the School remains outstanding in all aspects of its work.

Governors are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and are recruited for the skills they can bring to the Governing Board as a whole.

The Board has four committees with the following responsibilities:

  • Admissions (Chair: Sheila Bradburn): responsible for admissions arrangements
  • Audit (Chair: Virginia Crellin): responsible for the programme of internal scrutiny to ensure that the School complies with its policies, controls and systems
  • Pupil Welfare (Chair:  Lee Hill): responsible for ensuring health and safety compliance, safeguarding, pupil well-being and  the school asset management plan
  • Resources, Staff & Pay (Chair: Richard James): responsible for staff and pay issues, approving the Finance Manual and for teaching and learning and educational standards.

The detailed remits of each committee are set out in the terms of reference and scheme of delegation below.



Richard James (Chair of Trustees)

Richard was CEO or equivalent for 25 years in the National Health Service. Following his retirement from the NHS  he spent three years as Company Secretary and Treasurer of a group of Independent Schools.  He has been Chair of The Crypt School Governing Body for 29 years and also Chair of Hopelands Preparatory School in Stonehouse for 16 years. During that time he has also served on a number of other school Boards including a start up Multi Academy Trust and two other boards to support them in difficult times. Two of his sons were students at The Crypt School and one son returned to undertake his teacher training at the school and go on to be Headmaster of preparatory school.  Richard lives in North Nibley.

Contact email: [email protected]

Lee Hill (Co-Vice Chair)

After attending Crypt as a pupil between 1989 and 1996, Lee studied Business Management and Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. Lee has over 20 years’ experience of working in national sales and consultancy roles across companies such as HSBC, Pearson and Randstad. More recently he has worked as a Group Sales Director within the FE space, supporting public and private sector organisations with their L&D, Apprenticeship, and wider training strategies. Lee works closely with the school on the Sports Foundation and Wellbeing strategies and has a son now studying at Crypt. He volunteers coaching football at Hardwicke AFC.

Sonia Macleod (Co-Vice Chair)

Sonia is a researcher at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University. Her research involves looking at non-adversarial approaches to compensating people after injuries, particularly when healthcare has gone wrong. Sonia has an active interest in policy-making, she was the lead researcher at the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and acts as an expert advisor to the Patient Safety Commissioner on her Redress Project.   

Sonia is a kinship-carer to two students in the Sixth Form and so brings Board representation for non-typical families. 

Nicholas Dyer (Headmaster)

Nicholas was educated in Bristol and at Nottingham University, where he studied History.  He completed his Masters in 1998 and his NPQH in 2003. He joined The Crypt School in 2009 as Deputy Headmaster, moving from a boys’ selective school in Wiltshire, where he had been Director of VI Form Studies.  In April 2015, Nicholas became the 48th Headmaster of The Crypt School, following the previous Headmaster’s move to an independent day and boarding school on the south coast. Nicholas is married with one daughter.

Ray Fish (Parent Trustee)

Ray spent 26 years as a Civil Servant in the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the last ten of which were in an Internal Audit roles and the final two in Defence Internal Audit. Since taking early retirement from the MOD he has been working as a Management Consultant with Atkins specialising in Governance, Risk and Controls.

Ray is passionate about Wellbeing and has trained as a Mental Health First Aider. He has extensive experience as a school Governor having had roles in the past at Churchdown Academy (2008-2012),  Churchdown Village Junior School (2012-2016) and Pates GS (2018-2022).  His main pastime would appear to be driving his children to various rugby matches/competitions across Gloucestershire and beyond.

Suzanne Aspden
Suzanne is an academic in the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, having served in both roles since 2005.  Alongside a commitment to academic excellence, and to the wellbeing of students and staff, she is enthusiastic about the life-enhancing role of the arts for all. She is also practically involved in the school, running an Oxbridge-tutorial-style book club for Y12-13 students.
Sheila Bradburn

After qualifying from Leeds University, Sheila completed her PGCE for secondary education at Bristol University. She then worked for the army in Germany for two years. Returning to Cheltenham, she began her teaching career. She worked at St Edwards School for 18 years in both the middle and junior school. Following that, she served as Head at Hopelands Preparatory School for 18 years before retiring in 2022.

Virginia Crellin

Following a BSc Hons in Business Computer Systems and IT from the University of Gloucester, Virginia has had several roles, including an estate agent, office manager and working in hotels. In 2004 she started working for Gloucestershire County Council and worked in the Early Years department (responsible for training) and the School Census team (responsible for analysing and collating the census data from schools). She started working in primary schools in 2014 and found School Business Management, a job she loves for its diversity. She undertook the Certificate in School Business Management in 2017 and now works for a primary school in Bristol.

Ahmed Goga

A former pupil and now a parent of The Crypt, Ahmed has 20 years’ experience in senior leadership and Board/ Non-Executive Director positions across the public and private sectors in strategy development, business planning, operations and service delivery with major national organisations such as KPMG, AECOM and the Confederation of British Industry. He has an extensive network of relationships with business and education stakeholders across Gloucestershire and experience of working within community organisations in the city of Gloucester, including regeneration projects in Barton and Tredworth and serving as secretary of a local community cricket club that provides sporting opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ciaran Hollywood

Ciaran is a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon in the NHS. His son attended The
Crypt, leaving after A levels in 2022. He has a strong interest in teaching and is a
clinical trainer at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and Honorary Lecturer at
The University of East Anglia , and a member of the postgraduate medical faculty at
The University of Edinburgh.  Prior to medicine he graduated from The University of
Reading with a degree in Zoology and Psychology with a strong interest in mammalian
reintroduction. He has spent a number of years travelling, teaching sailing and skiing,
and being involved in voluntary work for The Jersey Overseas Aid committee, and the
Kenya UK Health Alliance.

Amit Ray
Amit has been in the Information Technology industry for over 25 years, during which he has worked with organisations such as HP, IBM, DWP, Ministry of Justice, Aviva and NHS. He holds an MBA degree from Durham University Business School, and currently works as a Business Analyst at UK Home Office. His son is a student at The Crypt School.


Amit is a club level badminton player and an archer, and has a keen interest in economics, business and personal finance.

Joanne Hitchings (Company Secretary)

Joanne joined The Crypt in 2010 as Finance Manager and became Company Secretary when the school converted to an Academy in 2011. Joanne graduated from Cambridge University with a BA hons in history before spending 5 years in the banking sector and completing her CIMA accountancy exams..  Since then she has held a variety of financial positions both in large blue chip companies and smaller family run businesses.  In January 2015 she was promoted to School Bursar and is now Finance Director.  Outside of school Joanne is married with 3 sons.

Nicola Donlon (Clerk to the Trustees)

Nicola has worked in policy and management at the House of Commons, the Natural History Museum and the Welsh Government. She has also served as trustee of several charities, including the McDougall Trust and her local community centre. She has a BA in Biology and a Masters in Public Administration.

Gordon Taylor (Associate Trustee - Support Staff)

Gordon was educated in Nottinghamshire and attended Nottingham Trent University to study Computer Science, and then on to Nottingham University.  He worked initially with a private computer network company before becoming self-employed running a company that distributed Wireless broadband in a village.  Since moving to Gloucester, Gordon has worked at the Crypt School and is currently the Network Manager.  Gordon is also a City Councillor for Gloucester City Council.

Kate Williams (Associate Trustee – Teaching Staff)

Head of the Maths Department.

The Board is using the National Governance Association’s diversity indicators to assess its diversity across a range of attributes and ensure the Board includes different perspectives in its work. We will continue to review and monitor our position on a regular basis as a core part of the Board's overall strategy for The Crypt School to ensure we reflect the communities we serve and support.


Parent Trustee Election


Terms of Reference


Minutes of Trustee Board meetings


Our StoriesAnd achievements