“Becoming a trustee director of Governors for Schools was the culmination of many years as a school governor, in business, and as a non-exec director in the commercial and non-profit sectors. As a chair of governors in a number of schools, I have seen the critical value of education for a young person’s future. We turned around one school from requires improvement to outstanding and now hundreds of children are getting a great start in life.”
Dominic McGonigal is a director, entrepreneur, and composer, with 35 years of experience in the creative industries, as a board director, executive, founder, and creative.
He is Chair of C8 Associates (consultancy specialising in creative and digital businesses), JiveBird (digital greetings and gifts), CICI (high-level political roundtables), DashboardFX (Forex training platform), and Chair of Governors of two schools, as well as being a trustee director of Governors for Schools.
Ian Armitage is an experienced venture capitalist and private equity investor in a career spanning more than 30 years. He was a founder, CEO and then Chairman of HgCapital. A successful European mid-market private equity and infrastructure asset manager, he retired in November 2012.
Ian now manages his family office funds. He is a shareholder and Chairman of The Key, a company that provides services to over 10,000 school leadership teams and boards in the UK. Ian is also a Director and shareholder of Arbor Education Partners, a data analytics firm working with 8,000 schools across 30 countries to improve the delivery of education all over the world.
He is a Trustee of the Golf Foundation and founder Chairman of the Locks Common Company, supporting golf in South Wales. Ian was appointed Chairman of Governors for Schools (then SGOSS) in 2016. Ian’s interests include art, sport, music and politics. He embraces new ideas and change.
Jane Higgins is a lawyer with the international law firm, Allen & Overy LLP, where she trained as a lawyer following a law degree at Oxford University.
At Allen & Overy, Jane specialises in advising pension schemes and others involved in running pension schemes. She is a member of the Main Committee of the Association of Pensions Lawyers and was previously responsible for organising junior workshops as part of its Education and Seminars Committee.
Jane joined the board of Governors for Schools in 2018.
Mark Twigg has extensive experience in communications, public affairs and market research spanning 25 years. He is currently Executive Director at Cicero/AMO which is one of the UK’s leading specialists in public affairs and thought leadership campaigns. Mark has worked extensively overseas in Brussels, Washington DC, New York and Singapore. He has run client projects in over 40 countries worldwide.
Mark grew up in a working class community in Yorkshire where his state school offered a source of inspiration and opportunity. Based on his experience growing up, he believes that a well-run school provides a solid foundation enabling young people to get the best start in life. This belief motivated Mark to become a school governor in 2016. He has served as a Vice-Chairman of Governors working closely with school leaders across all aspects of school life including financial management, curriculum, and student wellbeing. He has also been a remote governor working with a school in Yorkshire. During his time as a governor, he supported numerous Governors for Schools initiatives. He became a Trustee in 2019.
Mark also campaigns extensively to break the stigma around mental health in the workplace and in schools. He sits on UK government taskforces to promote disability issues and positive mental health and speaks regularly at conferences in London and around the UK. This includes supporting the work of mental health campaign group Inside Out. He was named in the Sunday Times list of business leaders working to tackle mental health issues. He has also supported projects run by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, the Institute of Directors and the insurer Legal and General. As a governor, Mark has helped schools to develop mental health and wellness policies.
Adrian McLean is a former headteacher and experienced senior leader. Currently he is a Multi Academy Trust lead for Character Education and Personal Development working with staff, students and parents to understand the importance of developing character traits, and how these influence success, both in and out of the classroom.
Adrian was motivated to become a governor when his own children started school, initially taking a parent governor role. He has been instrumental in advocating the recruitment of a diverse governing body. Now as Vice-Chair of Governors, he works closely with school leaders and community members to ensure that the school provision provides the right level of support and challenge for young people, so that they develop a lifelong love of learning and the ability to flourish in life.
Growing up in a deprived area of Birmingham, Adrian knows how important school is in providing confidence, challenge and commitment to young people to be their best. As a passionate educator, and someone who’s own life was transformed by education, he seeks to ensure that today’s young people get the best education and opportunities presented to them. Adrian is aware of the lack of visible role models for people of colour and diverse backgrounds. His work includes campaigning to improve equity, diversity and inclusion through increasing the number of people from the protected characteristics in positions of authority, and supporting the 'usualisation' of their presence in such positions. Through becoming a trustee of Governors for Schools, Adrian is motivated to inspire people to take action and become a voice in their schools and communities to make this change.
Anita Ralli has worked in healthcare policy for over 20 years in roles in Westminster, the third sector and for the past 11 years in the pharmaceutical industry in various Government Affairs & Advocacy positions. She is currently Associate Director of Government Affairs at Gilead Sciences where she works on a variety of policy projects and is responsible for a range of policy campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of cell therapy in the UK. She has extensive experience of engaging with senior level stakeholders within the NHS and political environment.
In life outside of work, Anita is a former chair of governors at her sons primary school and is currently a trustee of Brentford Football Community Sports Trust leading on inclusion and diversity.
Emma has seen firsthand the power of bringing government, business and education together for the benefit of transforming the futures of children and young people.
She currently works for The Prince’s Trust with a focus on Government Strategy and Partnerships, engaging across a number of government departments and related partners to support young people, including those most disadvantaged, across the country to engage with education, employment and enterprise.
Prior to this, Emma led Academy Ambassadors which was funded by the Department for Education. This national programme provided transformational governance solutions to the boards of academy trusts throughout England by matching, then supporting, senior business directors from business and the professions to pro bono non-executive director/trustee board roles.
Emma is passionate about supporting children and young people and has over ten years’ experience chairing school and trust governing boards, having originally started as a parent governor at her children's school. Prior to working within the third sector, Emma's career focused on HR within large corporates, including Marks and Spencer and Siemens.