Leadership & Governance

Mr Amit Mehta 



Mr Vernon Hales

Chair of Governors


Inspired Learning Group 
Georgian House
Park Lane
Stanmore HA7 3HD


+ 44 (0) 207 127 9862




Senior Leadership Team

Mr James Nichols – Head

Having achieved a First Class Honours in Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton, I knew that I wanted to either be a politician or a teacher of these fantastic subjects. Obviously, the latter won out and I completed a PGCE at the University of Warwick. I subsequently did a MA Education alongside my emerging teaching career. I have been incredibly fortunate to hold several leadership positions in the four schools in which I have worked since 2008; three of which have been all-girls' schools. I also established and managed my own commercial enterprise in political education services and have worked with over 250 schools in developing their political education provision. The combination of commerce and education is something that I find particularly exciting. I joined St. Francis’ College as Deputy Head in April 2021 and have not looked back once. The College is such a warm, welcoming and well-established community and I was delighted to be appointed as its first male Head from September 2022. The College’s ability to secure outstanding academic outcomes and produce well-rounded, respectful and global young people is extremely special. Outside of school, I am a political junkie, foodie and lover of reading and writing. Although I adore Hertfordshire, I also regularly return home to Oxford, which I fervently maintain is the best city in the world. 

Ms Cathy Eames – Bursar

After completing my degree in Business Studies at the University of Brighton, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with BDO.  I have had a varied career in the commercial sector, mainly in Financial Services, before settling into the education sector. I was very proud to join St Francis College in 2018. Whilst at leisure, I enjoy time with my family, going out with friends and working on the house and garden.  Every weekend I am out and about cycling or rambling through the Hertfordshire countryside, with friends, via the counties many teashops.  When finally at rest I enjoy reading, current affairs and box sets.   

Mrs Julia Spence – Deputy Head 

By experiencing a childhood dominated by sport, there was only one career path I was going to take. I knew from an early age that I wanted to teach PE and achieved my dream by attending university where I achieved a 2:1 degree in Sport and Exercise Science, and later my Post Graduate Certificate in Education with Qualified Teacher Status. As a newly qualified teacher I quickly realised my passion for developing the character of young people and in my first year of teaching I took on the responsibility of developing whole school PSHE. From that point on, I continued to develop my career by taking on the Assistant Head of Department role in PE. In 2012 I started a family having given birth to our first son. My career continued on the back burner through a part-time PE role while I had two very young sons - the second to arrive in 2015. At the start of 2016 I decided I would branch out and took on the role of Head of Year. This was a hugely rewarding job as I developed a culture of success among a group of students who I guided through to their GCSEs. During this time, I simultaneously took on an Associate Assistant Head position responsible for timetabling and managing the complex project of migrating the whole school management information system. Following this success, I felt it was time to progress my career further and I took on the role of Assistant Head at a brand-new academy free school - with only a year 7 cohort on roll - as Safeguarding and Pastoral Lead. Developing this school from the beginning has been both a rich learning experience and a joy to oversee as it now stands full today with a cohort of Years 7-11 (1200 pupils). While in this role, I subsequently began a two-year master's degree and apprenticeship in Educational Leadership and Management, which I completed in July 2022. I joined St. Francis’ College as Deputy Head in September 2022 and have been touched by the warm community feel of the College. The staff and students alike are a pleasure to work with and I am very excited for what the future will bring, not only for me personally but for the College and its students and staff.  Outside of College life I continue to be extremely passionate about all sport and I am an ardent Manchester United fan. I continue to play netball competitively and am an avid gym goer and runner. My husband, two sons and I are the very proud owners of our Golden Doodle, Molly who we enjoy spending lots of time with in the outdoors.

Mr John Sample – Head of Preparatory Department 

Having completed my PGCE at Bedford I have spent my career within the independent education sector. My first position was in a Prep School in Buckinghamshire where I taught for 4 years and became an Assistant Housemaster. I moved to North Yorkshire in 2001 to become a Head of Department and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Head, a role I carried out for over 10 years before making the step to Headship. I enjoyed 5 successful years as a Headmaster and bring  this experience to St Francis. Away from my professional life I am a father of three beautiful girls aged 16, 13 and 8. I can therefore empathise with the challenges of modern parenting! I'm a keen athlete and continue to play club cricket and golf whilst following the fortunes of Newcastle United Football Club.  To be an educator is a privilege and I aim to ensure every St Francis student receives an outstanding educational experience.    

Mr Dan Carr – Assistant Head, Director of Studies

Having completed my undergraduate degree in French and Spanish (Language and Linguistics) at the University of Southampton, I completed my PGCE at the University of Cambridge. Having started my career teaching Modern Languages at a co-ed school, I have since moved into the private sector and have developed my career working across a range of girls’ independent schools. Here, I have been fortunate to gain a vast range of experience in supporting pupils academically and pastorally, holding roles of Assistant Housemaster and Head of French along the way to becoming Head of Sixth Form here at the College in 2016, prior to recently moving into my current role as Director of Studies. My true passion is holistic pupil development, and the role which extra-curricular activities play in this. I have coached rugby and badminton, led more DofE expeditions than I can remember, and have led school trips across a range of countries and continents as diverse as Mongolia, Tanzania, and Costa Rica, and have seen the unique benefits these opportunities bring to young people. As I grow older, so does my passion for History and visits both personally and with schools to the World War I Battlefields, The Normandy Landings, and Colditz Castle have fuelled this interest, together with taking part in the Lessons from Auschwitz programme alongside 6th Form students. Away from school I am a sports fanatic, both watching and playing several sports. At the weekend I will often be found refereeing rugby union matches anywhere across Hertfordshire.

Governing Committees

Education Committee

David Tidmarsh, ILG, Chair
James Nichols, Head
Julia Spence, Deputy Head
Dan Carr, Director of Studies
John Sample, Head of Prep 
Vernon Hales, ILG

Finance and General Purposes

Vernon Hales, ILG, Chair
James Nichols, Head
David Tidmarsh, ILG, Chair of Advisory Group
Carrie Askew, ILG, Head of Operations
Wrichik Majumder, ILG, Head of Finance
Cathy Eames, Bursar
Julia Spence Deputy Head
John Sample, Head of Prep
Hannah Brown, Estates Manager 

Full Board

Amit Mehta, ILG, Chair
David Tidmarsh, ILG, Head of Education Committee
Vernon Hales, ILG, Head of Finance and General Purposes Committee
James Nichols, Head
Carrie Askew, ILG, Head of Operations
Neil Roskilly
Julia Spence, Deputy Head
Cathy Eames, Bursar
John Sample, Head of Prep