'Head, Hand and Heart'
Concept is a newly-formed, independent group, not beholden to any larger concern. The leaders of the group are themselves deeply involved in private education and owe their livelihood to it.
The group was born out of the conviction that private education is a force for good, but that, as in everything, there is room for improvement.
How will that improvement happen?
Primarily by listening.
By listening - to why parents spend money on education for their children. What do they really want out of it - certainly not a mediocre result.
By listening - to what the pupils themselves want from their schooling - of course it is exam grades which they know are the price of entry to a good university (and there are a growing number which are not good) or to a satisfying career, but what else do they want?
By listening - to employers - what sort of people will they be looking to recruit into the companies of the future?
By listening - to the worthwhile commentators who cast their minds forward to see the way in which the world is changing all around us, every day.
In the lifetime of our children, standing still will be moving backwards.
By listening - attentively, with our heads and with our hearts, we aim to provide schools and schooling that is consequential, and in being so recognises that children enjoy their lives when they see a purpose in their learning. In striving to achieve this, we will also be looking closely at ways of halting the apparently inexorable rise in fees for private education, with the result that over time a greater number of families will be in a position to choose the independent option.
My vision is for schools that are relevant to the 21st century but that do not lose sight of independent schools’ traditional strengths. As a parent of three children and governor at leading independent schools, I am passionate about the transformative power of an independent education.
Our schools will not only provide outstanding academic and co-curricular opportunities, but also focus on developing the life skills that are becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
The schools in our group will not pay lip service, but really develop the resilience and character of their pupils to enable them to overcome failure and deal with the challenges of modern life.
I also set up Concept because I believe that the benefits of independent schooling, which I saw at first hand, should be made more widely available and not just dependent on income.
In a world increasingly divided by differences in wealth, ideology and race, our schools will aim to produce happy, open-minded and outward-looking young adults who can think for themselves and want to make a positive contribution to society, skills that are becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
& Key Principles
Concept Education is a school group led by experienced educators from the independent schools sector who are looking to safeguard independent education for the next generation.
Concept Education believes that the best schools are not those which have a centrally dictated template imposed on them, but which differ and develop on the basis of their historic ethos and the needs of the community which they serve.
Concept Education’s educational philosophy is based on high aspirations in everything we do and underpinned by our key values which are based on the three concepts of Head, Hand and Heart:
Head - meaning that our pupils need the qualifications our society demands if they are to lead successful adult lives;
Hand - meaning that practical skills are also essential for success in the work place, and a good citizen and at home; and
Heart - meaning that a good education contributes as much emotional and moral growth as it does to the intellectual
To develop independent thinking and learning as well as other skills critical for success in the 21st century. All our efforts will be focused on instilling in our pupils that holy grail of teaching: a love of learning.
To produce pupils that place we before me - we want our pupils to aspire to be 'Servant Leaders', understanding when it is right to lead, when to follow, when to work in a team.
To produce pupils who care - for themselves (both emotionally and physically), for each other and for the environment.
Accessibility - commitment to keep our schools accessible to as many people as possible because our education is a force for good.
Hugh is the Founder and CEO of Concept Education.
Prior to this he spent five and a half years at BlueBay Asset Management as Fund Legal and Product Development Manager. From 2010-2012, he trained as a solicitor at London city law firm Ashurst.
Prior to that, he spent six years as an officer in the Irish Guards (including one year at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst) deploying on operations to Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
Hugh was educated at Stonyhurst College and has a degree in Classics from Bristol University as well as a LLB from the College of Law. He is a governor of Downside School and is married with three young children.
Martin is the former High Master of St Paul’s School in London. Prior to that, he was High Master of The Manchester Grammar School and Headmaster of The Perse School, Cambridge.
He was Chairman of HMC (The Headmasters’ and Headmistress’s Conference) in 2004.
He was described as ‘the most influential Head in the independent sector’ by the Times Educational Supplement and the Daily Telegraph.
After St Paul’s, Martin was the Director of Education for GEMS (UK) and Chairman of the Clarendon Academies Group, and Founder and President of The National Mathematics and Science College.
Martin was educated at Uppingham School and has a PhD from the University of Sheffield. He is a Founding Governor of The London Academy of Excellence, as well as being the author of several historical novels and books on education.
Stephen Fern is a qualified ACA who trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers and has over 18 years’ experience in finance, operations and risk management.
Stephen has worked in the UK, Australia and more recently the US. He has worked in a turnaround capacity for SME businesses as well as supporting a number of businesses through a growth phase ensuring the infrastructure is sufficient to drive safe growth, with an ever-watchful eye on cash flow.
Stephen was Finance Director of Country Court Care from 2014 to 2016 and subsequently a Partner and Finance Director of Nelson Solicitors until May 2019.
Stephen is currently the Finance Director of 200 Degrees Coffee based in Nottingham and 9 months ago opened Venture Learning an Alternative Provision set up to support Key Stage 3 and 4 students.
James is the founder of Hall Lahaise which is one of London’s leading retail property consultancies.
Prior to the formation of Hall Lahaise, James was a director of niche retail practice Johnstone Hall and Executive VP at New York based Thor Retail Advisors.
James was educated at Stonyhurst and holds a BSc (hons) in Property Valuation and Finance from City University Business School (now CASS). He is married with two children.
Aly is the Managing Director of Country Court Care which owns and manages more than 30 care homes across the UK having expanded from 5 homes since 2005.
He was educated at Oundle School and studied his LLB at BPP law school before joining the business in 2005.
During his time within the Company, Aly has been passionate in his vision; to improve quality of care and hospitality within the sector and is proud for Country Court Care to now be considered as market leaders in the luxury care market.
Aly is the Chairman of Oundle Rugby Club where he also captained the first team for several years.
Will is the founder and a director of Keystone Tutors. Will attended Harrow School and Oxford University.
After Oxford he taught history at Fulham Prep School. He set up Keystone Tutors in 2007, and has established it as one of the UK’s leading tutoring organisations with offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
As well as being a governor of Westside Free School, Will is an active participant in UK education debates, appearing on Newsnight, The Today Programme and at the Wellington Festival of Education.
He is a board member for The Tutors’ Association and the Harrow Association.
Harry is the Managing Partner of Harrington Cooper, a U.K. based asset management business with operations in Europe and Asia.
Prior to his career in asset management, Harry was an officer in the Irish Guards, retiring as a captain in 2006.
He was educated at Stonyhurst College. As a father of three children, aged eight to sixteen, Harry takes a keen interest in educational matters.
Jenny is the former Head of South Hampstead High School and former Director of Schools and Colleges for the Alpha Plus Group.
Prior to that she was Head of The Grange School which is a HMC co-educational school. Jenny was also the Project Manager for the rebuilding of South Hampstead High School.
Jenny is Chair of the Education Committee of the Marist School. Jenny has a chemistry degree and was awarded a distinction in her PGCE. Jenny has been the governor of numerous schools, including long-standing Governor of Chetham’s School of Music, Chair of Academic Committee, Repton School and Governor Glendower Prep. School.
She is a former county runner and one of first women to perform with ‘The King’s Singers’. She was a long-standing member of the Board of Halle Orchestra. She is a former magistrate and a trained ISIS inspector.
Francesca is the founder of the Italian School in London and is also a PR and marketing consultant. She started her career as a bi-lingual magazine and book producer for an anglo-italian publisher in London.
Subsequently she specialised in the production of promotional events for the SMH-Swatch Group. She put together a group of volunteers and opened the Italian School in 2010 where she was Chair of the board of Trustees until last September. She still sits on the board as leader of the business development team.
She has a degree in Philosophy and Modern Languages (French) at Oxford University. Francesca is the Local Authority governor of St Francis of Assisi Primary School in London.
Grace is a director of the Education Consultants at the Good Schools Guide.
She has a wealth of experience in education in the UK having visited about a hundred schools for the Good Schools Guide since 2004.
She also runs her own advisory, Moodystuart Advisory, helping parents to identify the right school for their child, assisting them with the process and securing the best outcome.
Grace read Classics at Cambridge and practised as a Barrister at Outer Temple Chambers until 2003.
She then spent 7 years teaching Classics at Sussex House School where she was also Assistant Director of Studies responsible for advising parents about senior schools. She has four school age children and lives in West London.
Jessica is the Head of Monmouth School for Girls. Prior to this she was Head of Queen Margaret’s School, York which is the only girls only full boarding school in the North of England.
Jessica was the first female Head of Queen Margaret’s since 1982.
Prior to this she spent seven years as Deputy Head of Leweston School in Dorset and eleven years teaching at Dulwich College, London during which time she rose to be Deputy Head of the Upper School, Head of Lower Sixth and Head of Spanish.
Jessica was educated at Farnborough Hill School, Hampshire and at Oxford University.
Areti is currently the Deputy Headmistress at Downe House and Head elect at Luckley House School for September 2020. Areti has been at Downe House for over 7 years now and prior to that was Assistant Headmistress at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham and Head of House at St George’s in Ascot.
She has a particular interest in digital teaching and learning. Areti serves as both a Regulatory Compliance and Education Inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
She is also a long serving Governor at Holme Grange School, where she Chairs the Marketing Committee.
Educated in South Africa, Areti holds a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Education (hons) and a PGCE from the University of South Africa.
She is currently completing her MBA with UCL. In addition, Areti is a published author, working with Oxford University Press and has co-authored three books on Computing. She spent many years as an examiner for AQA.
Andrew is the Member of Parliament for Northampton South (2017 to present). He is the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Independent Education and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Office.
Andrew was a Member of the European Parliament from 2014-17, Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Association from 2011-14 (Vice-President, 2014 to present) and Leader of Derbyshire County Council from 2009-13.
He was awarded the MBE for services to local government in 2014. Andrew has served as a UNESCO World Heritage Site Chairman, Chairman of a Health and Wellbeing Board and Deputy Chairman of a Tourist Board.
Andrew served as a University Governor for nine years and chaired the annual conference of European independent schools in Brussels.
Andrew was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, Derbyshire (a state boarding school at the time) and studied History at Newcastle and Cambridge universities. He is married with a young son.
Robert is the Founder and CEO of R Fletcher and Partner who provide advice to schools and universities on communication strategy, key messaging and implementation since 2005.
The clients he has worked with include the following schools – Eton, Ampleforth, Worth, Sedbergh, Sherborne, Rugby, Roedean, Downside, Stonyhurst, Tonbridge, Bedales and Westminster.
Prior to this Robert worked in advertising for Interpublic and Saatchi. At Saatchi he began as Group Head in London followed by three years as CEO of the South East Asia region based in Hong Kong, then 9 years as CEO of Central Europe, based in Frankfurt followed by 8 years as CEO of North America, based in New York City. This involved working with senior management of multi-national clients such as P&G, KGF, J&J, BA, FT, Toyota, Microsoft and HP.
Robert was educated at Repton and Oxford University where he read Modern Languages.