Damian Kelly BA
Damian was appointed a Governor in 2011, Vice Chairman in 2021 and Chairman in 2022. He also chairs the Strategy, Finance & Premises Committee. He is an Old Silhillian (Windsor) who attended Solihull School between 1981 and 1988. Damian is a partner at the award-winning law firm, Lodders LLP, specialising in employment law. He has extensive experience of a wide variety of HR matters and works closely with the firm’s Business Development team to attract new business of all kinds. Damian is a member of Copt Heath Golf Club and is a lifelong supporter of Birmingham City Football Club. His other interests include music and real ale.
Dr Andrew BurtenshaW
Andy was appointed as a Governor in 2017 and has four years of prior experience as a Governor at a local school in the state sector. He is a member of the Education Committee. As a hospital consultant specialising in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, he has almost 20 years of experience in the NHS. He has additional professional interests in post graduate education (including speciality recruitment and high fidelity simulation training, clinical research and patient safety) and is passionate about continually re-developing the processes through which patients are managed to create consistently safer and more effective care. Andy is married with two children (both at Solihull) and has recently been enjoying introducing them to his lifetime interest in sailing.
Jason Dalby BSc, MRICS
Jason is a chartered Surveyor who started his career in 1998 working for Countryside Properties PLC in London after leaving Reading University. He moved to Solihull in 1996 to work for Kingspark Developments. After Kingspark, Jason has set up and sold two property businesses, and now works for SEGRO plc who acquired his last business, Roxhill Developments. Jason is married with 3 children, two of whom attended Solihull School. Jason is President of the Old Silhillians Hockey Club, a member of Copt Heath Golf Club and also enjoys sailing and skiing.
fenella de minckwitz
Fenella became a Governor of Solihull School following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2011. Fenella is Chair of the Human Resources Committee and is also a member of the Marketing Forum. Fenella herself attended Saint Martin’s from 3-18 and has had a long family association with the school. Fenella's passion for food resulted in her studying at the Cordon Bleu Cookery School before pursuing this professionally. She spent time living in Germany with her husband, who was a serving Army Officer. Fenella returned to Solihull and started her own catering business. Four years later, she acquired another local catering business leading to the provision of event management and catering services locally for the past 20 years. Both Fenella's sons attended Solihull, and she was President of the Parents' Association in 2003. Fenella is passionate about balancing a child's academic and practical abilities in a secure learning environment. She enjoys swimming and gardening in her spare time.
HELEN ELLIS BA PGCE
Helen became a Governor of Solihull School following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2015. Helen is Chair of the Education Committee. Helen has had two careers - firstly in senior management in the NHS, running major teaching hospitals in Oxford, London and Birmingham, and secondly as Head of Economics & Business Studies at Stratford Girls' Grammar School where she was also Assistant Head of Sixth Form. Helen has strong historical links with Solihull. She has two sons who were both J1 Troopers at Solihull, the elder becoming Deputy Head Boy and the younger Head Boy. She was the first ever female President of the Parents' Association and was, until recently, a Trustee of the SSPA Trust Fund. Helen is also a Trustee and Treasurer of the Solihull Children’s Special Needs Association, a Trustee of the Birmingham Boys & Girls Union, which runs Woodlands Adventure, and a Trustee of Jobs Close in Knowle. Most of her spare time is spent on the family farm in the Brecon Beacons and her other passion is watching Wales play rugby.
Heather Gay BSc PhD
Heather retired in August 2014 after 20 years in teaching, latterly as Deputy Head Academic of Edgbaston High School, 12 years as a Lexicographer for Longman Dictionaries and six years in scientific research at Imperial College, London. Heather was appointed to the Board of Governors in 2015 and is a member of the Education Committee. Heather is married with two children; Rebecca, who works for Google, and Alex, who works for SenseOn Cyber Security, and is a former Head Boy of the school. Her interests are choral singing and crosswords.
Ian was appointed as a governor in January 2020 and is a member of the Education Committee. Having been a pupil at Warwick School, he joined the Police aged 19 and worked within West Midlands Police. He has 21 years’ policing experience across a number of areas, including child safeguarding and investigations (covering both Solihull and Coventry for three years) and local policing, where he is currently responsible for policing within Birmingham and working with senior partners and educational establishments. Whilst in work Ian completed a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Management with Warwick University and has previous governor experience as a parent and safeguarding governor at a local primary school where he served for four years. Ian is married with two children (one at Solihull) and enjoys running, watching rugby (having hung his boots up some time ago) and family time, which includes walking his two dogs.
Sarah Haslam joined the Board of Governors in December 2023. An experienced school senior leader, Sarah is Head of Withington Girls’ School in Manchester, an independent day school for pupils aged 7-18. Sarah spent many years teaching English at secondary level and in pastoral roles before her appointment to Deputy Head and then Head. She is also an independent schools inspector. In her spare time she thoroughly enjoys the great outdoors, walking and sailing, and the arts, especially literature and music.
JUdith Hetherington FCA BCom
Judith was appointed as a Governor in 2017. She is a member of the property and investment subcommittees. Judith is a partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP specialising in the provision of pension audit and assurance services. She is responsible for graduate and non-graduate recruitment for the firm and oversees the audit trainees training and development programme. Judith’s son attended Solihull. Her interests are holidays and reading.
DR sue houghton mb bs mrcs lrcp
Sue became a Governor of Solihull School following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2018 and is one of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Governors. Sue took a keen interest in the pastoral and spiritual life of Saint Martin’s, including the initiation of a prayer and faith space. Sue is a member of the Human Resources Committee. Since moving to Knowle with her family 25 years ago, Sue has been a GP in a respected local practice. Sue has three adult children who, in their time, attended either Solihull or Saint Martin’s and who now themselves teach in both the independent and maintained sectors in other areas of the country. Sue has also been active in the community through involvement with youth work and mentoring at Knowle Parish Church. Sue enjoys tennis at Knowle & Dorridge Racquets Club as well as other local sports interests.
Born in Newport, Wales, Nick left Solihull School for the University of Bristol and a degree in Modern Languages (French and Spanish). He became Joint Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising then joined Maurice and Charles Saatchi to found M&C Saatchi as Joint Chief Executive. He then launched an agency called George & Dragon, and in 2021 became Chief Executive of AKA, an advertising agency owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group. AKA specialises in the global entertainment sector (theatre, movies, attractions and destinations) with offices in London, New York and Los Angeles. Beyond advertising, Nick is Chairman of The Groucho Club in Soho and is a member of Sunningdale and Royal Porthcawl Golf Clubs. He spends several nights each week at the theatre and sometimes enjoys watching Chelsea and Wales play football and rugby, respectively. He lives in London, is married to Elvira, and they have four children.
Carol MCnidder bsC
Carol became a Governor of Solihull following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2013 and its Chair of Governors since 2015. Carol is a member of the Strategy, Finance & Premises Committee. Carol is a Pharmacist Manager in an independent Community Pharmacy and sits on several local professional representative committees. Carol is the widow of an Old Silhillian and has two sons who both attended Solihull during which time her late husband was President of the Parents' Association in 1999 and 2003. Carol is also a Trustee of Elizabeth House care home in Solihull. In her spare time she enjoys reading, theatre, travel and watching rugby.
Paul Newby FRICS MCIArb
Paul was appointed to the Board of Governors in 2013. He is Chairman of the Endowment Property Sub Committee and is also a member of the Building Sub Committee and Share Investment Sub Committee. Paul attended Solihull between 1969 and 1977 (Shenstone). Paul is a Chartered Surveyor and Company Director working in private practice and is an arbitrator, independent expert and accredited mediator in his specialist market sector. Paul is married and lives in Knowle and has three children, Rebecca, Hannah and Joshua (all former Solihull pupils). Paul’s interests are sailing, golf, rugby and music.
IAN RALPH BCS ACA
Ian became a Governor of Solihull School following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2015 including as Vice Chair. Ian was appointed as Vice Chair in 2022 and is a member of the Strategy, Finance & Premises Committee. He also chairs the Investment Sub Committee and sits on the Property Sub Committee. After university, Ian joined PricewaterhouseCoopers practicing as a Chartered Accountant for over 30 years. Ian was a taxation specialist who worked from the firm's Liverpool, St Albans and Birmingham offices. Ian also worked for three years as UK Taxation Manager for a UK listed company. Ian has a son who attended Solihull (leaving in 2007) and a daughter who attended Saint Martin’s (leaving in 2002). Ian likes walking and watching Liverpool Football Club.
Prof Swaran Singh MBBS MD MRCPsych BM
Swaran was appointed as a Governor in 2016. Born in India, he originally trained as a surgeon in New Delhi before moving to psychiatry following his work with children traumatised in ethnic conflict. He relocated to the UK in 1991 and has been involved in a number of major mental health reforms, notably the ETHOS early intervention in psychosis services for young people. He is currently head of the Mental Health and Wellbeing division at the University of Warwick Medical School and also a Commissioner for the Equality & Human Rights Commission. When he finds the time, he enjoys literature, poetry, theatre, cricket and fishing. Swaran has two children, both at Solihull.
GILL TILLMAN BSC
Gill became a Governor of Solihull School following completion of the merger in January 2020, having previously served as a Governor of Saint Martin’s School since 2014. She is a member of both the Education and Human Resources Committees and is one of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Governors. Gill is also the representative director on the joint venture board of Daycare at Saint Martin’s. Gill is a pharmacist in Warwick. She is highly involved with MacMillan Cancer Support, both in terms of fundraising and in their education department. She also acts as a mentor to newly qualified pharmacists. Gill has two daughters, one of whom attended Solihull's Sixth Form. Her Husband, Roger, is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Birmingham. In her spare time Gill enjoys cooking, walking and sailing.
The Chairman of Governors' contact address is: