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Surinder Buray

JP IENng MICE AMIStructE RMaPS FFPWS MCIAT Member, Chair of    Directors, Chair of Professional Fulfilment Sub-Committee, Performance Review    Committee 

I have been a Governor at the Trust for over 24 years, having served 6 years as Chair of Governors and 3 years as Vice-Chair.  Both my children were schooled at the Trust, went on to gain Honours Degrees, post graduate studies and successful careers. As an educationalist, I understand that a child’s life ambitions can be realised through education.  However, it is equally important that standards are maintained and raised in both teaching and learning through challenge target setting, monitoring outcomes, strategic management including working with and challenging the senior leadership team. In my working life I am a Magistrate of 22 years standing, I am chair of the Bench sitting at Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham. I am a director of a firm of multi-disciplinary architectural, civil, structural firm            of consultants, having links with schools offering work experience placements to children       with career aspirations in this area.


 Rachel  Burroughs

Chair of Governors,  Aspirations and Attitudes Committee,  Performance Review Committee, Chair of the Achievement and Learning Sub-Committee

Having taught in the West Midlands for 30 years, I have expanded and used my pedagogical knowledge to support the academy trust. I believe in promoting inclusivity and cultural diversity. My extensive knowledge of critical governance spans over 20 years and includes pastoral, safe guarding, strategic leadership and management. I am passionate about every student’s achievement and believe that every young person should leave school with life skills which will enable them to encounter and overcome difficult tasks, be tolerant and remain learners throughout their lives. My daughters, who were previously educated at Hamstead Hall,  achieved very well and have gone on to undertake very good careers. I live locally, have strong links with parents and through my role as a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator am able to reach out towards the community.



Peter French

Vice-Chair of Governors, Professional Fulfilment Committee, Performance Review Committee

I have been a governor at Hamstead Hall since 1997 when I was the Vicar at St Andrew’s Church in Handsworth.  I have been Chair of Governors and have served on the Professional Fulfilment and Finance Committees.  Prior to this I have been a governor of another secondary school in Bury, Lancashire and Chair of Governors of a primary school in Bury.  Part of my current job as the Assistant Director of Education for Church of England schools in the Birmingham  area is to support and train governors – I am also a National Leader of Governance.  As well as leading governor training I have participated in governor training to ensure my skills are up to date.  As a governing body we have worked hard to ensure Hamstead Hall, and now Grestone, provide high quality all round education for the pupils.

Sukhbir Farar

Executive Principal, Hamstead Hall Academy Trust

I started my teaching career at Hamstead Hall as a Mathematics Teacher in 1989. Over the last 28 years I have held many management positions at the school including Head of Year, Head of Maths and 16 years on the Senior Leadership Team. At Leadership Level I have been a Senior Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Head of School and in January 2017 I was appointed as one of the Executive Principals of Hamstead Hall Academy Trust.  My particular areas of expertise are Human Resources, School Improvement and Self Evaluation. I have also been an Associate Headteacher in a number of underperforming schools, in Leeds and Birmingham and I have been an assessor for the Cultural Diversity Quality Standard on behalf of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. In 2013 I became an Ofsted Inspector and have carried out a number of school inspections over the last 3 years.                     

Jonathan Mortimer

Executive Principal, (Accounting Officer) Hamstead Hall Academy Trust

I have over 20 years teaching experience as a Maths teacher and have worked at Hamstead Hall since April 1998.  I have undertaken a variety of roles including Head of Maths, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher with specialisms in curriculum and assessment and more recently as Head of School at Hamstead Hall Academy.  In January 2017, I became one of the Executive Principals of Hamstead Hall Academy Trust and recorded as the designated Accounting Officer at the Trust.  Hamstead Hall Academy has been a National Support School since 2009 and I have a wealth of experience of school to school support working in schools across the West Midlands to improve leadership and student outcomes.  In October 2015, I became the Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) Secondary District Representative for the Perry Barr District.  I am also a member of the BEP School Improvement and Commissioning Committee for Birmingham.


Maxine Blake

Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities and BA (Hons) Open

Chair Aspirations and Attitudes Sub-Committee

As a retired civil servant, I spent the last 25 years supporting people with disabilities to continue in work with financial support and helping the unemployed back into full time work.  Since 1984 I have served at a Pentecostal church in the capacity of Public Relations Officer promoting information and protecting the church’s stance in the community.  This led me to get further involved in other community events.  I volunteered my experience in events to help combat gun and knife crimes in the Handsworth and Hockley community during the period of 2005-2011. As Parent Governor at Cherry Orchard Primary School (2007-2011) I supported the teaching staff and served on the Attendance and Finance Committee


Lee Emo

After working in the mining and building industry I returned to work in Birmingham at Handsworth Grammar School as a caretaker.  After a period there I joined Birmingham City Council Mobile Caretakers Team working at various schools before joining Grestone Primary School in 2006.


Yvonne Jackson

Staff Governor

I have worked in the main school office at Grestone Academy for the past 8 years. Starting as a receptionist and gaining my NVQ level's 2 and 3 in customer service I currently hold the post of Senior School Secretary. My job role is mainly aimed at admissions and attendance within school and being the first point of contact for parents and visitors I am able to fully take on board any issues and concerns raised. I'm used to working in a busy environment where I am consistently having to think on my feet and use my initiative to come up with creative solutions to challenging problems. 


Eaton O'Connor

I am known as “Des” by my friends.  I was born in Jamaica and came to England in 1964.  At present I am employed by a large international electrical manufacturing company and have lived in Handsworth Wood for 25 years.  I am married with two children, My daughter, who attended Grestone and Hamstead Hall schools before going on to the University of Leicester, is now a qualified teacher.  My son is currently in Year 6 at Grestone.  I am an ex-serviceman having served in the British Army as a Military Policeman with postings in Berlin and Northern Ireland.  I was also employed by Aston Villa Foootball Club as Chief Steward in charge of match day safety and security.  I am a keen fundraiser and raised over £1,500 by climbing Ben Nevis for Breast Cancer Care and have been a Patron of the NSPCC for over 20 years.  I was a founder committee member for a local children’s after school club and worked with the West Midlands Police to form an inner-city boys football league.  I am an active member of the Handsworth Wood Residents Association and take an active part in organising community events.  I believe that all children are entitled to the best education and school experience possible.


Gurpal Singh Rai

Environment and Finance Committee

I have lived in the West Midlands since finishing university in 1997 where I began my career at Prudential Bank/EGG.  I obtained a BSc in Accounting and Finance (Hons) from Aberystwyth University and whilst in employment completed my professional examinations and became a member of ACCA. I have various accounting, project and analytical experience(s) by working in various sectors, such as banking, public sector and more recently at Aston University.  I also spend some of my spare time coaching and managing a young football team and within the last year completed the FA Level 2 Coaching Badge.   Over the last few years I have helped to establish a  young football academy within Wolverhampton.  I have three children, two of which attend Grestone.  As well as being a Parent Governor, I am also the Chair of the Ofsted Post Action Plan Committee at Grestone Academy.


Amrick Singh Ubhi

FCMI, FInstLM FRSA, FIC MBA (Warwick), BA (Hons), Professional Fulfilment Committee

I am currently Centre Director of the Nishkam Centre, part of the Nishkam Group of organisations.  The Centre is a faith inspired third sector civic organisation that merges spirituality and secularity creating a seamless fusion of values, ethics and justice for the common good of all humanity.  I am driven by the need to make a difference to the interplay between the third sector/faith based organisation and Civil Society per se.  My professional background is diverse and varied; an innovative, forward thinking Organisational Development Consultant/Change Manager with experience of working in private, public and the third sectors.  My previous roles have included being an Investors in People Advisor, EFQM Assessor and Practitioner, A Quality Improvement Process (QIP) Change Facilitator, Accelerated Learning Practitioner and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner.  My projects have included high profile prestigious organisations like Shell in the UK and Holland, British Gas, Bosal International, Thyssen Krupp Group, Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Ford.  I was privileged to receive expert tutelage during my management career from Japanese Masters from Toyota and Honda whilst I was Head of Operations Improvement within the Automotive Industry.  As a Sikh, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Leadership Management, I am


Dr Rob Smith

Achievement and Learning Committee

I am a reader in Education at Birmingham City University.  I have taught in Birmingham schools, colleges and higher education institutions for 25 years. I trained as a secondary English teacher and I was teaching at Holt Schools in Lozells when the National Curriculum was introduced.  In 2012, I co-founded the Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education at the University of Wolverhampton. I am a staunch believer in comprehensive education as a basis for every young person achieving excellence. I also believe in the necessity of pursuing a multicultural ethos.  My body of work explores the impact of funding and marketisation on Further Education provision in England.  I have researched and written extensively in collaboration with FE and HE practitioners.  Recent articles include: Rob Smith  (2015) College Re-culturing, Marketisation and Knowledge: The Meaning of Incorporation, Journal of Educational Administration and History,  47:1, 18-39;             Smith, R. and O’Leary, M. (2015) Partnership as Cultural Practice in the Face of Neoliberal Reform, Journal of Educational Administration and History, 47:2, 174-192.


Michael Watson

Staff Governor and Academy Community Manager (pt)

I have been employed on a part-time basis at Hamstead hall for 12 years. My current function as community project manager is primarily to ensure weekend use of the school site is managed effectively and safely. I’m passionate about seeing the teaching and learning develop and community use of the school expand and the obvious benefits that will bring. I believe I do have a unique skill and knowledge set to help achieve this through discussing and carefully developing ideas with governor and staff colleagues who share the same passion and determination to put and keep the Academy at the centre of the community.

I’m a qualified PE teacher, gaining a BEd. in physical education from Borough Road College (Brunel University) in the late 80’s. I have worked in sales and marketing for commercial and industrial companies and have extensive sports event management working on some of the biggest youth sports events in Europe including floor managing 3 Sports Hall Athletics finals at Birmingham NEC and securing the BAA National Youth Games Finals event for Southampton City Council in 2000.

I have expert knowledge of communications and marketing technology and have been involved in developing leisure department customer relationship management systems (CRM) for Birmingham City Council and Stafford Borough Council, the latter includes a highly bespoke online transaction management system for the leisure department service.

I have extensive sport and community development experience having worked for Birmingham City Council Leisure and Culture department where I introduced and delivered some ground-breaking programmes, not least the original community project that fully opened Hamstead to the local community. Part of this was securing funding for the Artificial Hockey Pitch and revenue funding for programmes in excess of £400,000 for imaginative and inclusive physical activity and engagement programmes. I work with local and national organisations helping to provide development and performance solutions for their members. An example of this would be the work I carry out on behalf of Hamstead Hall Academy with the National Dwarf Sports Association, helping the Association to develop and train their competition squads for national and world events. Hamstead gained significant recognition and for this and runner-up position in the 2011 TES Education Awards.

In the last 2 years I have set up an education company specialising in Outdoor Learning and currently employ a team of 8 practitioners who are delivering and testing a range of outdoor learning services and sessions/training to the primary sector ( KS 1,2) in the West Midlands. I am also business development director for a communication company that focuses on improving quality of communications for public and private sector organisations.

Triskelion Communications Ltd is an established company that provides marketing and employee communications consultancy and services. These include:

  • Communications audits
  • Communications strategy development
  • Customer relationship systems including online and social marketing
  • Service marketing and management
  • Event planning and delivery
  • Employee communications programmes planning and delivery, including newsletters
  • Marketing and PR programmes planning and delivery (email, direct mail, Social media channels etc.)
  • Website content creation and management

The company has worked extensively with National Grid and is currently contracted to National Grid European Business Development directorate, providing employee communications services. Other clients include T-Systems Pre-Sales division (German global IT services and consulting company).


Mansukh Dhillon

Student Governor

Mansukh was elected as our new student governor on 23rd November 2016. She's a year 12 student currently studying at our sixth form where she takes Religious Education, Psychology and History.  


Rajveer Sanghera

Student Governor

Rajveer was elected student governor back in 2015. He's a year 13 student currently studying at our sixth form where he takes Business Studies, Psychology and Media Studies.