Meet the team

Ben Hughes, Managing Director

Role: Ben runs Pippa’s Guardians and has been involved with the day-to-day management and development since 2011 when he returned from living and working in Melbourne, Australia.

Boarding connection: Ben attended boarding school from the age of seven to eighteen, and his mother, Pippa, worked in boarding schools for many years before founding Pippa’s Guardians.

Family matters: Ben is married to Louise, and they have two young children who are both educated at independent schools. Louise is a qualified Primary School teacher so between them they understand the education system and boarding world extremely well.

Ben Hughes

Debbie Lennard

Debbie Lennard, Travel Manager

Role: Debbie has been with us since 2012 and manages all of the travel arrangements for our students. Her background is in marketing and administration and she has a degree from Cambridge University.

Boarding connection: Before joining the office team, Debbie’s family acted as a host family for Pippa’s Guardians for many years, welcoming both boys and girls from Japan, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Austria and Germany.

Family matters: Debbie has a son and two daughters, the eldest two go to university and the youngest attends a local school.

Imogen Trevethan, Head of Safeguarding

Role: Imogen is head of safeguarding and manages our host family process from recruitment to retention. Her background is in administration.

Boarding connection: Imogen understands independent schools well having previously worked in an administrative capacity for the Headmaster at a leading Prep School. She attended boarding school herself from the age of eight to sixteen, and both her children attend boarding schools.

Family matters: Imogen is married to Mark, and they have two children.

Imogen Trevethan

Karen Daniel

Karen Daniel, Finance Manager

Role: Karen is responsible for all things financial: management accounts, cash flow forecasting, day-to-day transactions and student budget management.

Boarding connection: Since joining the team Karen has gained a good understanding of the education system and boarding school world.

Family matters: Karen is married to John, and they have two older daughters.

Lisa Hughes, Operations Manager

RoleLisa supports the Managing Director with the day to day running of the office, manages the business systems, polices and administration. Her background is in office management, compliance and administration.

Boarding connection: Since joining the team Lisa has gained a good understanding of the education system and boarding school world.

Family Matters: Lisa has two sons and a daughter, all of whom go to local schools.

Lisa Hughes

Yuan Layland

Yuan Layland, Chinese Liaison Officer

Role: As the Chinese Liaison Officer, Yuan is the connection between Chinese parents and the company. Yuan studied Human Resources Management at the South China Normal University, Guangzhou and English at the Sun Yat Sen University, also in Guangzhou. She then opened her own business which she ran until moving to England in 2007.

Boarding connection: Yuan has lived-in at school during her formative years and, later, lived away from home whilst at university in China. She also understands how living away from home for long periods and moving to a different culture can be challenging.

Family MattersYuan is married to Mark, they have two daughters.

Theresa Newnham, Office Administrator

Role: Theresa has recently joined the team. Her background is in administration as a secretary and PA in a variety of organisations.

Boarding Connection: Theresa attended boarding school between the ages of twelve and eighteen and was also PA to the headmaster at a leading independent boarding school for over six years.

Family Matters: Theresa is married to Mike and has two daughters, as well as two step-sons and a step-daughter, all of whom are in their twenties.

Theresa Newnham

Theresa Ollis

Theresa Ollis, Accounts Administrator

Role: Theresa has recently joined the team and assists the Finance Manager with day-to-day transactions and management of student budgets. Her background is in financial services.

Boarding Connection: Theresa attended an independent girls boarding school in Surrey as a day girl.

Family Matters: Theresa is married to Steve and they have two teenage children.

Area Managers

Our dedicated and experienced Area Managers are located near to your child’s school and on hand to offer continuous support for your child from the moment they start their education here in the UK. Our Area Managers have a genuine interest in the academic and personal development of your child and will visit them regularly, acting as mentor and advocate for your child, in your absence. Your Area Manager will have personal knowledge of the school your child is attending and will liaise with the school and host families on your behalf. You will receive regular reports and updates from your Area Manager and they are contactable by email or phone at any time, all of which ensures your child is getting the very best out of their experience of studying in the UK.

Nicky Avery, North of England

Nicky Avery

Role: Nicky lives in Yorkshire and is Area Manager for students in the North of England, where she was born and raised. Nicky trained to be a teacher on leaving school and later went on to pursue a career in social work, gaining considerable experience in adoption and fostering.

Boarding connection: Nicky lived away from home from the age of 12 as part of her secondary education. She also has experience of being a host family for international students.

Family matters: Nicky has three grown up children, two sons and a daughter. Her oldest son works as a business analyst and the younger two are still studying, at Leeds and Durham University.

Belinda Maunsell, North of England

Belinda Maunsell

Role: Belinda is area manager for Yorkshire. She lives in a village 20 miles south of York. She is a graduate of Huddersfield and Leeds Universities and her background is in secondary school teaching. Most recently she has been head of the Drama Department in a local independent school. She has also run her own local business publishing a parenting magazine.

Boarding connection: Belinda has experience of teaching international students at a boarding school and understands the needs and priorities of boarders and their parents.

Family matters: Belinda has been married to Chris for 17 years and has two children Isaac and India. Both children attend local schools.

Clare Carter, West Midlands

Clare Carter

Role: Clare is the Area Manager for West Midlands as she lives near to Cheltenham and Malvern. Her background is initially in childcare qualifying in her early working life as a Nursery Nurse. Clare then worked extensively in Insurance and in particular the handling of Claims as a Team Leader.

Boarding connection: Clare lived in Boarding Schools for many years as her Step-Father was both a Housemaster and then a Headmaster of a Public School in Dorset and then in Malvern. As such Clare has had a unique insight as to the running of schools and their day to day life.

Family matters: Clare is married to Tim and has two children Ben & Eleanor. Ben qualified from LAMDA in London following completion of a 2 year Stage Management & Technical Theatre Course and Eleanor is in her final year at school and hoping to attend Bristol University to do Midwifery.

Caroline Heath, Cheltenham

Caroline Heath

Role: Caroline is one of the area managers for the West Midlands and lives near Malvern. Her background is in Physiotherapy with more than 28 years of experience and specialising in Paediatrics. She has worked in Birmingham, Staffordshire and Worcester where she spent the last 22 years working with children all ages of children in the community setting.

Boarding connection: Caroline is new to the team and is enjoying learning about the boarding school world. She has always worked in a multidisciplinary team alongside the parents and understands the importance of good communication.

Family matters: Caroline is married to Andrew and they have three children.The two oldest girls are both at university and their youngest boy is completing his A levels at a local school.

Sarah Davies, Cheltenham

Sarah Davies

RoleSarah is an Area Manager for the Cheltenham area and she works closely with students at Cheltenham College. Her background is in financial services.

Boarding connection: Sarah has been a host family herself so understands first-hand the importance of international students having an approachable, caring and helpful person available whenever needed.

Family matters: Sarah lives in Cheltenham has been married to her husband for 12 years, they have two young children who both attend local schools.

Felicity Copp, Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire

Felicity Copp

Role: Felicity lives on the Hertfordshire / Buckinghamshire border and is responsible for our students in that area. She is a graduate of Oxford University and worked in London for twelve years producing TV and radio commercials before moving to work in schools.

Boarding connection: Felicity attended boarding school when her parents lived abroad so she knows what it is like to be at school far from your parents. She spent nine years working in Admissions in a leading Buckinghamshire independent school so is experienced at welcoming children from overseas.

Family matters: Felicity is married to Fraser and has two children, one at university and one at an independent girls’ school.

Vicky Dickinson, East Midlands

Vicky Dickinson

Role: Vicky lives in Oundle in Northamptonshire and is the Area Manager who looks after our students in the East Midlands. Vicky spent her early career in a number of managerial positions with retailer Marks & Spencer including Retail Operations Manager for the International Franchise Business. She later joined the Education Sector and spent many years as a School Business Manager.

Boarding connection: Vicky has two sons who attended a Day and Boarding Prep School for eleven years before they both moved on to Public School. Vicky has a good understanding of how boarding schools work and through her role as a School Business Manager is experienced in many aspects of school life.

Family matters: Vicky is married to Greg and they have two sons who attend Oundle School. Their faithful Labrador, Indy, completes the family

Helen Edginton, Shropshire

Helen Edginton

Role: Helen is the Area Manager for Shropshire and lives 10 miles outside of Shrewsbury. Her background is in global distribution and manufacture; she travelled extensively in that role to ensure that global business practices were implemented whilst honoring local laws and traditions.

Boarding connection: Helen has been a host family herself so understands first-hand the importance of international students having an approachable, caring and helpful person available whenever needed.

Family matters: Helen is married to Michael and they have a young son called Joseph.

Debbie Bellenger, Berkshire

Debbie Bellenger

Role: Debbie lives in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and is responsible for students in Berkshire and the surrounding areas.

Boarding connection: Prior to joining Pippa’s Guardians, Debbie worked for 14 years as an Admissions Registrar in both day and boarding independent schools. Having worked with international families from all corners of the globe, Debbie has a good understanding of the needs and concerns of boarders and their families and of the importance of a friendly, welcoming, caring individual to whom they can come for help and advice when needed.

Family matters: Debbie has four grown up children (three daughters and a son), two son-in-laws and four small grandchildren. She lives with her partner, Ciaran, a Maths and Psychology teacher, and their Border Terrier, Tiggy.

Sally Kinsey, Cornwall and Devon

Sally Kinsey

Role: Sally is the Area Manager for Cornwall and Devon and is ideally located living on the border of the two counties. She is a graduate of Southampton University and in her early career worked in customer services for a major luxury boat builder, she then went on to join the education sector working both in the state and independent sectors.

Boarding connection: Sally attended boarding school from the age of 8 whilst her parents worked overseas, travelling back and forward to many African countries as an unaccompanied minor. She went on to travel extensively before settling in Devon where she has worked for two independent schools latterly in admissions. Sally has been a host family herself so understands the needs of international students.

Family matters: Sally and her partner Chris have two young daughters, Alex and Lottie.

Elaine Kitt, Somerset

Elaine Kitt

Role: Elaine lives in Somerset, near Bath and is responsible for the Somerset area. In her early working life she enjoyed a 12 year career in journalism and also worked as a researcher for a well-known author. She later went on to train as a primary school teacher.

Boarding connection: Elaine taught at Leaden Hall School in Salisbury, the independent school her daughters attended, where she held a variety of roles. Most notably, she had responsibility for caring for boarders after school and at weekends, which has provided invaluable insight for this role.

Family matters: Elaine is married to Wes and they have two grown up daughters, Evie, a fine artist, and Alice, a Midwife. The family also has a dog, called Merlin.

Nicky Lee-Browne, Kent

Nicky Lee-Browne

Role: Nicky is the Area Manager for Kent and lives in a village near the cathedral city of Canterbury. After graduating from Cambridge University she embarked on a career in publishing, and has worked as an editor and author of children’s non-fiction books for more than 20 years. More recently she has been involved in marketing and admissions for Rydal Penrhos School in North Wales, where she worked as Registrar.

Boarding connection: Nicky has extensive experience of life in boarding schools around the UK, thanks to a husband who has taught at Rugby School, King’s Canterbury and Clifton College, and was Head of Rydal Penrhos for eight years. She has worked as a tutor, and has a good understanding of the needs and priorities of boarders and their parents.

Family matters: Nicky is married to Patrick, who is Principal of Kent College Dubai. They have two teenage children who both attend Kent College in Canterbury.

Susie Sedgwick, West Midlands

Susie Sedgwick

Role: Susie lives in Malvern and is the Area Manager for the West Midlands. She has recently returned to the UK after living and working in international schools overseas for many years as a Primary teacher, her most recent post was as the SENCO for a large school of Indian and Pakistani students from Nursery to Year 13 in Dubai.

Boarding connection: Susie was a boarder at the age of nine at a school in Zimbabwe whilst her parents lived in Zambia.  She then became a boarder in the UK at the age of 13 for a year, then boarded again at the same school at the age of 17 for her final year in school.  She worked in a boarding school in Penang, Malaysia, where Primary and Secondary students were boarding from many countries in Asia and Europe. She therefore has had a wide of experience of boarding schools, both as a boarder and as a teacher.

Family matters: Susie is married to Keith who has just retired as a Headmaster/Principal.  They have one son who is married, with a daughter who will be two soon.  Susie and Keith love being grandparents.

Ceri Thomson, Oxfordshire

Ceri Thomson

Role: Ceri is the Area Manager for Oxfordshire and lives on the outskirts of Oxford city centre. Her background is in teaching; firstly as a Head of Music in the state sector and then in the independent sector as a prep school teacher, Director of Studies, Deputy Head and Headmistress.

Boarding connection: Having worked for a local independent day and boarding school in Oxford, Ceri is used to this environment and also has experience of being the parent of a boarding cathedral chorister.

Family matters: Ceri is married to Simon and they have two children, a daughter at university and a son at an independent boys school.

Mary Watford, South East of England

Mary Watford

Role: Mary is responsible for the South East of England area, where she has lived all her life. She has a degree in Education.

Boarding connection: Mary’s early career was with British Airways, including time in the ‘Unaccompanied Minors’ department where she escorted large groups of school children on flights worldwide at the beginning and end of terms. Later, she lectured in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality at Further Education colleges. As a personal tutor, she gained a wealth of experience in mentoring and guiding students; she also organised and escorted overseas study visits and work placements.

Family matters: Mary has been married to her husband, Phil, for over forty years and they have two grown up children, and grandchildren, who live locally. Her aunt also lives nearby and they enjoy family get-togethers.

Carole Milnes, Somerset

Carole Milnes

Role: Carole is Area Manager for Somerset and lives near Wedmore. Her background is initially in investment banking, working both in the UK and in Mexico for many years where her two daughters were born. Once her eldest daughter started school, Carole became much more involved in school and education, and worked for four years on the Board of Governors for a primary school as well as organising many events for children, staff and parents.

Boarding connection: Carole attended boarding school for her 6th Form and now her daughters attend an independent day and boarding school locally in Somerset so she has experienced boarding both as a pupil and as a parent.  She also has experience as a host family so knows how important and rewarding this can be.

Family matters: Carole has two daughters, Sofia & Emma and a much-loved chocolate labrador.  Sofia will start her 6th form IB programme in September 2017, while Emma will do her last year of primary school.

Susan Watters, Shropshire & North Wales

Susan Watters

Role: Susan is Area Manager for Shropshire and North Wales. She lives 8 miles west of Shrewsbury. Her background is teaching English as a foreign language and Italian. She lived abroad for a number of years and this experience, alongside teaching international students, has given her a unique insight into the difficulties overseas students might encounter.

Boarding connection: Susan is a host family herself so understands how important having a caring, empathetic, helpful host mother can be to the students.

Family matters: Susan is separated with two grown up children and four pampered cats.

Kay Adye, East of England

Kay Adye

Role: Kay lives in Essex and is Area Manager for the East of England. Her background is in Public Relations, Marketing and Event Management, and prior to joining Pippa’s Guardians she was Marketing Officer for an independent school, with special responsibility for recruiting international students.

Boarding connection: Kay attended a girl’s boarding school as a day pupil and, having worked in an independent school, has a good understanding of boarding school life.

Family matters: Kay has two teenage children, both at boarding school. Her daughter is currently studying for her GCSEs, and her son for the International Baccalaureate. She has been married for 19 years to Nick, who works in the pharmaceutical sector.

Claire Cross, West Midlands

Claire Cross

Role: Claire lives in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and is one of the Area Managers who looks after our students in the West Midlands.

Boarding connection: Claire has worked as matron in a local boarding school, taking care of boys in a sixth form only house. Many of the boys were international and in the UK for the first time so she has a good understanding of the needs and concerns of overseas boarders and parents. Claire also has experience of being a host family with Pippa’s Guardians and knows the importance of providing a welcoming and caring home for students.

Family matters: Claire is married to Derek, a recently retired fire service officer.  Their son, Oliver will shortly be starting in sixth form and their grown up daughter, Chloe lives nearby. They share their home with their much loved dog, Wolfie.

Ann Johnson, East Midlands

Ann JohnsonRole: Ann is an Area Manager for the East Midlands and surrounding area. Her home is in Burton-on-Trent, and her background is that of teaching and international recruitment of boarding school students. In the latter role, Ann has travelled extensively meeting families and agents in many different countries.

Boarding connection: Ann has worked in boarding schools for 22 years as a teacher and, for the last 5 years has led the boarding and admissions teams in a small, well-known Midlands school as part of the Senior Leadership Team. This experience gives Ann a good understanding of the challenges that families face when their child comes to school in the UK.

Family matters: Ann lives with her husband, Geoff. They have a soon to be married son, David, and a daughter, Kate, who has recently married.

Georgina Morgan, South East of England

Georgina Morgan

Role:Georgina lives in Cobham, Surrey and is Area Manager for South East England. Georgina was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, went on to the University of Cape Town to study Economics. Since having a family, Georgina has developed a small business of her own running motivational workshops at Prep schools.

Boarding connection:Georgina has lived away from home since she was 7 years old and understands the importance of communication and reassurance between family members living apart.

Family matters:Georgina has been married to Simon for 22 years and they have 2 children, a daughter, Emma (19), who is going to study at Durham University in September 2018 and a son, Nick (17), who is in the 6th form at Reed’s School.

I was really fortunate to have Pippa’s Guardians looking after me whilst I was at Wycombe Abbey. Not only did they provide me with a kind and caring host family, but Pippa also visited me regularly and we had long, free chats and I felt like I could tell her anything – she was a breath of fresh air from outside the bubble of boarding school, helping to provide a broader perspective to any issues I had. Pippa showed so much personal interest in my wellbeing and by the end of the two years I felt like she really knew me as a person – a feat I wouldn’t be able to say for relatives I’ve known for over a decade!

Eunice Tse,
from China, at Wycombe Abbey

24/7 Emergency Contact Number: +44 (0) 7721 372865

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