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BEST - Chief Executive Officer

Alan Lee is an educationalist.  He is the Chief Executive Officer of BEST, a National Leader of Education, former Lead Ofsted Inspector, academic and public speaker.  As both an Executive Principal and Headteacher he has led schools, across all phases to outstanding status, securing numerous awards and exceptional year-on-year outcomes.  As leader of both a National Support School and Teaching School he has successfully delivered school improvement projects across the South East. 

Alan’s doctoral thesis on Distributed Leadership, was the BELMAS Thesis of Year Runner-Up in 2009; he has published a number of papers in different journals (see Boundary Spanners, NCSL: 2010); and, he is remains the only non-US recipient of the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award (UCEA, 2009).  Alan has visited, studied and presented papers to a range of audiences in some of the highest performing jurisdictions in the world, including: Singapore, New South Wales and Massachusetts. 

Principal - Samuel Whitbread Academy

Nick joined Samuel Whitbread as Vice Principal in 2013 and became Head of School a year later. He took up the role of Principal in September 2016 after the departure of the previous Principal, Mr Rob Robson, who had been Principal for 10 years. Previous to that he worked as Deputy Headteacher at Harlington Academy for 5 years. He has also worked for the National College of School Leadership and for the Local Authority as a School Improvement Advisor. His aim is for Samuel Whitbread Academy to be a school which offers students an exceptional curriculum and extracurricular experience, with outstanding academic results for all.

Principal - Robert Bloomfield Academy

Julian joined Robert Bloomfield as a Vice Principal in 2002 where his commitment to excellent standards helped secure an Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ since 2008, a status that the community has come to value. In February 2016 Julian’s hard work and dedication to the school was rewarded and he was promoted to Principal.   

Julian believes in building a child’s confidence, adaptability and resilience for the future within an ordered and structured environment, where high expectations are a habit.

Principal - Etonbury Academy

Alex became Principal of Etonbury Academy in September 2014. Previous to this he was a Senior Leader at an ‘Outstanding’ school in Hertfordshire and worked with many schools across the region on school improvement and course delivery programmes. Alex entered the teaching profession in 2003, after spending more than a decade working in Television, Film and On-line media, and he was once named Business Innovator of the Year in The Times for his work on early internet multimedia systems.

Alex aims to build Etonbury into a truly great school that is the pride of the community and transforms the lives of every student now, and for generations of students to come. This is already happening as a result of the support of BEST and an inspiring and committed staff. “Team Etonbury” believes that values, respect, care and challenge shared with our students, parents, staff and the wider community underpin all that we are and all that we do.

Principal - St Christopher's Academy

Pam has worked in the Primary sector for almost three decades. Her career has been focused predominately in urban schools and she is passionate about equality of opportunity for all children. Pam has a background in school improvement having worked as an educational consultant both for the DfE and the local authority. Pam is enthusiastic about developing new talent and has worked for a SCITT both as a tutor to trainee teachers and for a teaching school, as a middle and senior leader coach.  Pam took over St Christopher’s Academy in 2013 to manage the school’s transition from lower to primary status. The school continues to grow successfully and is now very proud to be the  first primary school to join the Trust. 

Principal - Gravenhurst and Langford Academies

Having been Headteacher at Moggerhanger Lower for three years Debbie became Principal at Langford Village academy and Gravenhurst Lower in September 2017.

Debbie enjoyed management roles in Insurance as an Underwriter before taking advantage of a career break with her two children to revert to her first love of teaching and qualify as a Primary School Teacher in 1987.  She began her teaching career at a multicultural school in Bedford before moving to Russell Lower School, Ampthill in 2000.  She enjoyed nearly fourteen successful years at Russell Lower becoming Head of Key Stage 1 and Early Years before rising to Senior Teacher with Deputy Head responsibilities.

Debbie has high expectations and is determined to further develop the excellent work of staff and governors at both schools and continue to ensure they work closely together for the benefit of each other and the children. 

Wrap around care, the involvement of parents and working with the wider community feature highly in Debbie’s priorities.  She is totally committed though inclusion and interaction to providing the children of both schools with an outstanding enjoyable and memorable educational experience.


Principal - Gothic Mede Academy

Thomas became the Principal of Gothic Mede Academy in September 2016 having been Vice Principal for three years. Thomas could not have wished for a better first opportunity to lead a school, as the previous Principal and Thomas had worked hard together to improve the provision that they make for the children of Arlesey and this is a pathway that the staff and Thomas have continued along.

Thomas’ personal journey started as a learning support assistant in a special school which inspired him to train as a teacher. After qualifying Thomas led PE in a lower school, became special educational needs coordinator then moved to Gothic Mede as Vice Principal in 2013.

Thomas’ background in special educational needs, as well as striving to adopt a growth mindset, has led him to have high expectations for all children and a belief that all children can progress and achieve across the curriculum. Thomas firmly believes that the challenge and support that being part of a multi academy trust brings is a huge benefit to the staff, and consequently children, of Gothic Mede Academy.

Heather Hudson
Managing Director –
BEST Nurseries LTD

Heather has a substantial career specialising in early years education and care. She is tireless in her resolve to raise the standards, expectations and recognition of this rapidly developing and significant area of education.

Having worked in early years settings at all levels since 1983, Heather took the post of Nursery Manager at Samuel Whitbread Community College (now Samuel Whitbread Academy) in 2006. She has worked closely with the senior team to provide the nursery with a bespoke building as well as developing the practice to an exceptional level, achieving Ofsted judgements of ‘Outstanding’ in 2012 and again in 2016. The uncompromising levels of excellence that Heather strives to achieve for all children is further evidenced by BEST Nurseries wraparound care for school age children at Langford Village Academy that was also awarded a judgement of ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.

Heather continues to work in partnership with senior management of BEST Schools to further support and develop early years education and care across the Trust.