16 inspiring Gloucestershire greats in the county's thriving education sector

Gloucestershire is home to an impressive number of incredible individuals who have a significant impact on the education and lives of young people. SoGlos reveals some of the most inspirational educators changing lives and aspirations across Gloucestershire.

By Sarah Kent  |  Published
Gloucestershire has some outstanding schools, colleges and universities, and countless inspirational teachers and staff members. SoGlos rounds up 16 of the most inspirational people in education in the county.
In partnership with Class People
Class People

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023, Class People is a leading, independent, family-run educational recruitment business that provides supply teachers and early years practitioners across the whole south west region. Priding itself on recruiting the best candidates, Class People is made up of experts from the education sector, with over 50 years’ combined experience.

Gloucestershire is home to many wonderful schools, universities and educational centres, and at heart of these are their incredible staff members, who work tirelessly to inspire children and young adults, giving them the best start in education and life.

SoGlos, in partnership with Class People — a leading, independent recruitment agency that provides supply teachers and early years practitioners to schools in the south west — has highlighted some of the most inspirational people in education across Gloucestershire in 2023. 

Eve Jardine-Young

Eve Jardine-Young has been the Principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College since 2011 and has worked in education for more than 25 years. Over the last few years, the independent school has gone from strength to strength, with outstanding results and the highest possible rating from the ISI among its many accolades and achievements.

Jardine-Young is firm believer in providing a nurturing, supportive environment for pupils, as well as fostering independence and diversity in the school community she oversees. Jardine-Young is also the chair of the World Leading Schools Association and a trustee of the Barnwood Trust.

Keith Metcalfe

Keith Metcalfe has been headteacher of Malvern College since 2019. One of his many significant achievements in post include the implementation of a pupil-led curriculum that would develop transferable skills, allowing pupils to graduate fully equipped for a more independent life.

Metcalfe has also overseen the opening of Malvern College in Tokyo and Malvern College in Barbados, strengthening the school's international presence and helping to prepare its pupils for a globalised world. 

Sabir Yousif

Saba Yousif qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and worked as a litigator for many years, gaining experience in regulatory and judicial reviews, as well as in public international law. She has worked on a number of high-profile cases including those involving unlawful detention and harm in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as landmark cases extending the application of the European Convention of Human Rights. 

Yousif joined the University of Gloucestershire in 2010 as senior lecturer in law and set up the university’s Law Clinic where students are able to work with clients on a range of diverse legal issues on a pro bono basis.

Kevin Parker

Kevin Parker is head of business at the Quedgeley-based Phoenix Learning Alliance, a multi-academy trust established in 2011 to support local schools wanting to develop shared approaches to school teaching, learning and improvement.

Parker started working in education in 2018 as a school business manager, and over a five year period generated £250,000 for schools he worked for. He was a finalist in the Times Educational Supplement National School Business Manager of the Year category in 2021; and now, in his role at the Phoenix Learning Alliance, he is the youngest CFO in the education sector in Gloucestershire, managing a budget of £10 million across five schools and more than 1,700 pupils.

Clare Marchant

Clare Marchant has recently been appointed vice chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, after six successful years as chief executive of UCASDuring her time at UCAS, she was passionate about increasing higher education opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, has championed digital innovation and helped launch its apprenticeship service. 

Prior to UCAS, her roles have included CEO of Worcestershire County Council, seven years with the Department for Health and a time in Ghana teaching IT.

Jane Monkton-Smith

Professor Jane Monkton-Smith is a forensic criminologist, a professor of public protection at the University of Gloucestershire, as well as an internationally-renowned author. She joined the university in 2020 and, in 2021, released her acclaimed book, In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder, which led to the creation of domestic homicide timeline, to help individuals and authorities identify the stages in which coercive relationships can escalate.

Malaki Patterson

Malaki Patterson is artistic director of The Music Works in Gloucester — a charity that supports disadvantaged children and young people, helping them to realise their potential and build confidence and aspiration through the making of music.

Patterson is also a self-taught musician, music producer, manager and mentor, born and raised in Gloucester. In 2021, The Music Works won a Queen’s Award for enterprise for social mobility and, in the same year at the Youth Music Awards, Patterson was nominated for the Inspirational Music Leader Award.

Dr Melanie Gibbs

Dr Melanie Gibbs is a physicist and manufacturing expert who, after achieving a PhD in mechanical engineering and initially working in the manufacturing industry, retrained as a physics teacher and worked at an Islamic secondary school in Gloucester, making it her mission to inspire the next generation of girls to explore STEM subjects. 

Dr Gibbs has also held voluntary roles in numerous educational and community youth organisations for over 40 years, as well as non-executive roles as chair of the South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust and vice chair of Gloucestershire Police Authority. Earlier this year she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aston University in Birmingham for her impact on promoting STEM subjects to young girls through her career as a physics teacher.

Helen Wood

Helen Wood is the head teacher at the award-winning The High School Leckhampton in Cheltenham — the newest secondary school in the county which opened in 2021 with outstanding purpose-built facilities. Prior to this position, Wood spent 20 years at Prince Henry’s High School in Evesham where she was latterly the senior deputy head.

As the inaugural head of The High School Leckhampton, Wood's ambition has been to 'establish an exceptional, flagship school at the heart of its community.' The school now has years seven, eight and nine on its roll, with full capacity expected by the academic year 2025-2026.

Pam Howells

Pam Howells spent 20 years as a head teacher, with her most recent headship at St John's C of E Academy in Coleford in the Forest of Dean. While at St John's, she transformed its Ofsted rating from inadequate to good; at Howells' childhood school, she increased its rating from requires improvement to outstanding; and she has since become a National Leader of Education, working to support school leadership teams to develop their schools and provide a better education for pupils.

Matthew Burke

Headmaster of St Edward's Senior School in Cheltenham since 2020, Matthew Burke, was named one of the top three UK secondary school heads at the UK Education Business Awards in 2023, with the school itself named as the UK independent school that had made the most progress. Burke's first role in education was as a religious education teacher at an independent school in Bath and his career has since spanned 25 years of headships and senior leadership positions. 

Kurt Doyle

Kurt Doyle joined Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Cheltenham as acting head in 2022, going on to become its permanent headteacher just six months later, in March 2023. Doyle has been responsible for implementing a new curriculum, bringing in more sporting and wider learning opportunities and introducing a big focus on improving the building and facilities at the school, working with with the councils, local businesses and the school community to achieve this.

Hannah Khan

Hannah Khan is headteacher at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in Wotton-under-Edge. Khan started her career in education as a physics teacher and in her time at the secondary school, was responsible for leading the sixth form to become one of the most successful in the country and also introduced the much-loved school dog, Berkeley. The prized pup has been at the school for four years now, providing emotional support to students and enjoying more than 2,000 walks from pupils over the years!

John Sanderson

John Sanderson was principal at Chipping Campden School for 20 years, achieving an outstanding Ofsted inspection during his time there. He has more than 25 years' experience leading secondary schools and now works as an educational consultant, helping to develop school leaders and support schools' improvement.

Martin Hughes

Martin Hughes is chief executive of the SAND Academies Trust, which is a multi-academy organisation made up of six schools in Gloucestershire, including both mainstream and special schools. Hughes has worked in the charitable sector for more than 12 years, with his previous role as chief executive of Lilian Faithfull Care, a Gloucestershire-based elderly care charity.

Paul Holroyd

Paul Holroyd has been the principal of Nyland School in Swindon since 2020, having spent more than 30 years working in education including headteacher roles at four other schools and time spent as an Ofsted inspector for secondary schools. 

Nyland School has been part of the White Horse Federation multi-academy trust, that is responsible for 32 schools across Swindon, Wiltshire and neighbouring counties, since 2012. Holroyd's vision for the school has been to provide an inclusive education within a safe, nurturing environment, always taking account of individual needs and preparing children for the next stage of education and supporting them to become successful citizens of the future.

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