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The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants team is selected from our most experienced school reviewers up and down the country, chosen not just for their knowledge and expertise but also for their ability to empathise and engage with our clients’ needs.

All are parents themselves and some have formerly been teachers or hold educational qualifications. All have spent many years visiting schools, interrogating head teachers, sampling school lunches and speaking to parents and pupils to get the inside scoop. Their knowledge of the sector is second to none.

Our consultants’ specialisms include international relocations; moving out of London; boarding schools; SEN; state comprehensive and grammar schools; online schools; specialist arts schools; girls’ and boys’ education; the International Baccalaureate and many other niche areas such as scholarships, bursaries and appeals. Many speak a second language, so please ask if you need to use a language other than English.

If you would like to discuss how we might be able to support you, please contact Shari Lord or one of her assistants in our office. They will take your details and a brief summary of your current situation, before consulting with consultancy director, Grace Moody-Stuart, to decide which member of the team is the best fit for your needs.

You will find brief introductions to the team below. Asterisks by consultants’ names mean that they are part of our SEN team.

Grace Moody-Stuart - director

Grace (Malden) Moody-Stuart

Grace is director of the Good Schools Guide Education Consultants and has worked for the Guide for 20 years.  

She graduated from Cambridge with a Classics degree.  After a 10 year career at the Bar, specialising in pensions and childcare, Grace taught Classics at Sussex House School for 7 years where she was Assistant Director of Studies responsible for senior school transfer. 

She has long and wide-ranging experience of advising parents about schools and education, working with families with children of all different ages. She loves her work and says: “ I particularly love matching a child with the right school, where I can be confident they will flourish.”   With four children of her own, all educated at different types of school, including boarding, state and independent, Grace understands the pressures and anxieties that parents experience surrounding decisions about the education of their children.   

Education has always been an interest of hers, growing up in a boarding prep school in Sussex, founded by a direct ancestor in 1837 and run by her parents as joint heads. Grace is based in West London and her extensive expertise includes London schools, state and independent, as well as boarding schools across the UK. 

Shari Lord – senior administrator

Shari LordShari is the senior administrator at the Good Schools Guide and manages the office team as well as running the consultancy with the director. She has worked as the administrator of The Good Schools Guide since 2005. Before working for The Guide, Shari was a teaching assistant in a primary school giving one to one support to those children who needed it. Shari, or one of her team will be the first person you will encounter when you contact The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants. Shari will take your contact details and a brief account of how you would like us to help you.  She enjoys listening to parents and getting to the heart of what they need.  Shari says, “A mother of three grown-up children myself, I feel I have an understanding of parents’ concerns about education and schooling and enjoy finding the best possible consultant for them.”

Megan Johnson – assistant administrator

Megan has recently joined The Good Schools Guide and is a key member of the office team. She works closely with the editorial and consultancy teams. As a primary school teacher of 14 years, Megan has a lot of experience of the diverse styles of teaching and learning as well being familiar with the state school system. As a teacher she mostly taught children aged between 8 and 11 and gained a good understanding of the experiences and stresses involved with the end of key stage exams and transition into secondary school. Megan has a master’s degree in mathematics education and is a Primary Mathematics Specialist Teacher of England. She has one son who is currently educated in the state sector. “Being a parent and a teacher allows me to see and empathise with situations from all angles,”  she says.

Amanda Perkins – assistant administrator

Amanda PerkinsAmanda has worked for The Good Schools Guide during the autumn term for over four years, contacting schools and updating the database. She says she is thoroughly enjoying her new role working with Shari as an administrator for The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants. Amanda has three children, two still in education, and has experienced both state and independent schools as well as a few years in the French school system. Amanda’s youngest is currently starting GCSEs so she knows just what it is like to weather the angst this produces.  Having experienced the French Brevet in between, she is looking forward to the challenge and is sure this helps her empathise with the worries that parents have about their child’s education.

Kathryn Berger – assistant administrator

Kathryn Berger

Kathryn has worked for The Good Schools Guide since 2010, helping on the Great Annual Edit which takes place each autumn. In 2015, she joined Shari and Amanda as an administrator for The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants. Kathryn has four children, two at independent primary and secondary schools in Cornwall as well as one at university and one a graduate of LSE. She previously worked in the research sector at Mizuho, JP Morgan and Accenture in London and Reuters in Devon. Kathryn has a Commerce degree and an MSc in Information Science. She is married to a teacher. 

Marijke Doldersum – assistant administrator

Marijke Doldersum

Marijke joined Shari, Meg, Amanda and Kathryn as an administrator for The Good Schools Guide education consultants in June 2019. She speaks 5 languages and has moved abroad several times. Marijke has two adult daughters, both raised in Australia and educated in the International Baccalaureate (IB) system in Brisbane. She was a family host for international high school students from Asia and Europe for 10 years. As a result, she is very aware of practical and emotional issues parents go through when it concerns the education and well-being of their children. She has extensive telephone and face to face counselling experience and loves helping parents finding the right education path for their children. Her motto in life is: “What can I do to make this better. 


The Consultants

William Bancroft

Selina Boyd

William joined the Good School’s Guide in 2018 and has reviewed state, independent and boarding schools across the North of England. He is a third generation teacher who grew up in a prep school in Nottinghamshire. With a degree in history from York university and post graduate qualifications from Kingston and Lancaster universities he has worked in the state and boarding sectors for forty years as a teacher and for eighteen years as head of state and international state boarding schools in Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria. He was a school adviser, consultant head teacher, set up a multi academy trust and has delivered on initial and in-service teacher education as well as school leadership and governance training programmes. He is a trustee on two academy trusts and, with a keen interest in the performing arts, is also a trustee of a major theatre. When not working for the Guide he enjoys walking and gardening and travels as widely as possible.  Passionate about discovering how different young people learn he believes his wide experience across a diverse range of schools gives him a good insight into what makes different schools tick and what will and won’t suit different children. 

Selina Boyd

Selina Boyd

Selina has been with the Good Schools Guide since 2020 and is the international editor. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of international education to the Guide as the former co-founder of School Notices Asia and consultant for BESSA (British Education and Schools Show in Asia), Talk Education and US college consultants, IvyWise. With an extensive network of international school leaders and admissions teams, as well as the many families she speaks with when reviewing international schools, Selina has an unrivalled level of insight into the subtle nuances behind the glossy marketing of international schools and a deep understanding of different curricula and pathways. Now based in the UK, Selina previously lived in Singapore for 12 years as a result of two family relocations. ‘Having moved my own children between British and international schools when they were young and then again as teenagers, I understand and empathise with the anxieties and concerns of families considering an international school move and I really enjoy advising and supporting other families through their own decision making processes.’ 

Susannah Cannell

Susannah Cannell

Susannah lives in Wimbledon. She read history at the University of York, worked in publishing and as an investment analyst before moving into the education world, first as a mother and then as a teacher. She has spent most of the last twenty-five years working at a prep school in south-west London in various capacities but mainly teaching years 5 and 6 and as a member of the leadership team. She has also worked one-to-one with children to build confidence and to reinforce key skills. 

Susannah is fascinated by schools, in their almost infinite variety, and has always enjoyed advising parents and helping them navigate the complexities of the English school system both locally and further afield. ‘Working with children and parents is a privilege and the importance of finding the right school for the right child cannot be underestimated.’ She has three adult children (educated at state and independent schools, day and boarding) and two spaniels. 

Janita Clamp

Janita Clamp

Janita joined The Good Schools Guide in 2008 and is now the commissioning editor; she has two children who were educated at state and independent schools and she lives in Oxfordshire. After studying English literature at the University of York and a master’s at the University of Sussex, she worked as a commissioning editor in trade publishing and the university sector for many years. Despite her busy role as part of the senior editorial team Janita loves travelling far and wide across the UK to visit and write about day and boarding schools. Her prolific review writing and being part of the editorial team gives her a great advantage in consultancy work. 'I’ve become a complete school nerd' she says, 'and love finding out about all the diverse and fascinating schools we have in the UK. What I enjoy most about being a consultant is talking to parents about their children and the challenge of helping them to find the best choice of suitable schools.’

Elizabeth Coatman

Elizaabeth Coatman

Elizabeth is our leading state schools consultant and in over ten years working with the Good Schools Guide she has advised about 400 families in their search for a good state school. She identifies the best state school throughout England with a particular focus on London and the Home Counties. She has helped parents – relocating within England or from abroad - choose the schools that best fit their requirements, decide where to live and negotiate the great variety of admissions policies and processes, of which she has a vast knowledge.

Elizabeth also leads our state schools appeals team and has advised around 100 clients, including writing application letters and statements for hearings. “I am always delighted if clients feel I have helped them construct a more effective appeal, as I know how deeply they care about getting their child into the most suitable school for them.”

Elizabeth lives in Sheffield and taught English, mainly in independent schools and Further Education colleges, for 40 years. Her children attended a state primary, followed by either a comprehensive or independent school, so she has experience of both sectors.

Elizabeth says, “I am a self confessed education nerd and have found visiting a wide range of schools for The Good Schools Guide fascinating and at times inspiring. My favourite part is talking to the pupils, always a delight.”

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans

Former head of a leading independent school in Birmingham and before that, head of a co-educational boarding school in Saffron Walden, Sarah Evans has chaired a number of national education committees including establishing as an independent company and chairing the Independent Schools’ Teacher Induction Panel. She now chairs the National Induction Panel for Teachers in Academies and Free Schools and works as an educational consultant advising governing bodies on senior leadership appointments and leadership training. 

A Governor of four state and independent schools, Sarah is also a trustee for two Charities involved in social enterprise. She has advised her own family and friends extensively on educational matters! Sarah has been awarded the Tatler Award for Best Headmistress of a Public School, an IoD Midlands Leadership Award and an OBE for Services to Education in the January 2014 Honours List.

Sarah is a welcome and highly experienced member of The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants team and can advise parents on all matters to do with their children's education.

Sue Fieldman

Sue Fieldman

Sue Fieldman has been with The Good Schools Guide for twenty years and is one of our most experienced consultants. She has first hand experience of the crucial importance of school choice – her daughter has been through the British education system from age 3 -18. 

Sue says she enjoys every minute of her work advising parents about schools. Sue encourages clients to keep in touch with her throughout their child’s time in school,  and she has many clients who recontact her to help again as their children progress through the education system. She says, “there is nothing more satisfying than hearing from parents that their children are happy in their new schools – it makes all the hard work so worthwhile.”   Sue currently lives in London and previously lived in Surrey. She specialises in schools in London and the South East. 

Sue is used to helping people in various aspects of their life. Prior to working for the Guide, she was a national newspaper consumer journalist specialising in readers’ financial problems. She is also a fully qualified solicitor. 

Jonathan Forster

Jonathan Forster

Formerly head of a leading girls senior boarding school in Shropshire for more than 20 years, Jonathan joined the GSG as a writer and consultant in 2022. He is currently working as Interim Head of another boarding and day school in East Sussex but is looking forward to returning to his consultancy role, despite enjoying a new challenge at a later stage in his career. He has also worked in a boys’ school in Yorkshire and a large co-educational school in Scotland, where he was a housemaster and head of English and Drama. 

Extensively experienced in the development of international student recruitment, he had long admired the impartial advice and guidance offered by the GSG, having been featured himself in schools’ reviews in the Guide for more than 20 years! Jonathan is very familiar with the Cotswolds and Scotland as well as schools in Shropshire, Yorkshire and Sussex. He is a trustee of a hospital, a school governor and volunteer for the National Trust in both Scotland and England. 

With four young grandchildren in independent schools in Buckinghamshire, Jonathan and his wife are now enjoying seeing prep schools from a different perspective, admiring the wonderful extra-curricular opportunities and learning experiences offered to younger children by the sector. 

Lisa Freedman

Lisa FreedmanLisa is an experienced education consultant and education journalist. She writes for The Good Schools Guide and about education for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, and Prospect Magazine. She holds a PhD from the UCL Institute of Education, and continues to carry out educational research. A Canadian by birth, she is married with two sons, educated in both the state and private sector and at leading British universities at undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Judith French

Judith FrenchAn Oxford graduate, Judith is a highly experienced Drama and English teacher, and over twenty-five years has worked extensively in both the independent and state sectors. She has taught in girls’, boys’, mixed, academically selective, non-selective, specialist and SEN schools, and has particular in-depth knowledge of schools in south-east and south-west London. As an actress, she specialised in theatre-in-education and community theatre, and toured to primary and secondary schools all over the UK in a huge variety of shows. She holds an MA in Performance Arts from Middlesex University, and continues to have a passionate interest in music, drama and dance education.

As well as writing for The Good Schools Guide, she is a commissioned playwright for BBC Radio, where her Sony-nominated work has won consistent popular and critical acclaim; she also regularly wrote and presented “Something Understood”, the BBC’s contemplative arts-strand for insomniacs. She is married with two sons, and lives in south east London. She says, “Putting together my teaching, my acting, and my work for The Good Schools Guide, I’ve been inside more schools and met more teachers than almost anyone I know, outside The Good Schools Guide experts, of course! I know how they tick, and I love using my experience to help parents make the right choice for their child.”

Susan Hamlyn

Susan Hamlyn

Susan Hamlyn created and managed for eight years The Good Schools Guide's team of expert consultants. Prior to that she was senior editor of The Good Schools Guide for twelve years. 

Formerly head of English and drama at a London independent school, Susan taught English to children and adults for more than 40 years in schools, colleges and one-to-one. She has been a GCSE and A level examiner and a school governor. Susan is the writer of numerous books on English at the 11+ level. She has written other books, stories and poems for children, articles for The Spectator, The Economist and The Oldie and was a regular contributor in the national press on educational and other matters.  

Susan has been a Relate relationship counsellor and, though semi-retired, she continues to advise clients on all things educational and family-related. She lives in West London and has two grown-up children and three grandchildren. She has particular interests in girls’ schools and London schools and in the educational provision for children with special needs. She has long campaigned for parents to have more open access to scholarships and bursaries at independent schools. Her principal aim is to help ensure that children enjoy their childhood and their school years. “Happy children learn,” she says. 

Click to see Susan Hamlyn, Director of the Good Schools Guide Education Consultants talk on scholarships and bursaries at the Independent Schools Show.

Nicky Hawkwood

Nicky HawkwoodNicky has been a writer and consultant for the Good Schools Guide since 2007 and has visited many hundreds of schools of various shapes and sizes, all with quirks and characteristics that make each one surprisingly different to the next. Having attended a mix of schools herself - state, independent, co-ed, girls’, boys’ (with mixed sixth form), selective and non - she understands how important it is to feel comfortable at school and was very careful when choosing the right combination to suit her own daughters. ‘I always ask pupils and heads to tell me how their schools are supportive and inclusive, because young people who are happy are likely to get a lot more out of their education,’ she says. Nicky lives in East Anglia but knows schools all over the country, including SEN, selective, single-sex and boarding, and those excelling in music and sport. She has also worked on the school side of admissions and is familiar with scholarship and bursary applications. ‘It’s great to be able to provide parents with the information and insight they need to pinpoint schools that really suit their children and give them a positive experience of education to take with them as they move forward through life.’ 

Kate Hilpern*

Kate HilpernKate is a senior editor and education consultant at The Good Schools Guide, where she has worked for over a decade. During this time, she has visited over 200 state and independent schools across England, including schools that specialise in SEN. Kate is also in charge of our 50+ tutor agency reviews and of online schools, and holds specialist knowledge of these ever growing areas of education. In her consultancy role, Kate is therefore able to advise on mainstream, SEN and online schooling (including for home schoolers), as well as tutoring – right across the country. After gaining a first class degree in communications studies and distinction in an MA in journalism from Goldsmith’s, University of London, she worked as a university lecturer, as well as a broadsheet journalist and editor, specialising in education – which is what brought her to The Guide. ‘I absolutely love visiting schools - really getting under the skin of what makes them tick – and then using that information to help find the right match for individual children within my consultancy role.’ Kate recently relocated from the South East to Worcestershire with her husband and two children, who are both in senior school.

Caroline Hoare

Caroline Hoare

Caroline joined the Good Schools Guide as a writer in 2022. After reading English at York University, she spent several years as a bookseller before training as a solicitor. She worked at City firm Slaughter and May, with a stint in their Hong Kong office, before moving in house to English Heritage and The Girls' Day School Trust. 

Caroline served on GDST's executive team for 15 years as Legal Director, Director of People and Company Secretary.  She advised on most aspects of school life except teaching, including recruiting headteachers and creating a successful talent development programme. She is adamant that excellent pastoral care is fundamental to enabling pupils to thrive academically.  "I love visiting different schools and working out what makes them tick; one size definitely doesn't fit all when it comes to where an individual child will thrive", she says.  

Caroline was subsequently CEO of the Independent Schools' Inspectorate until 2020, when she left to undertake an MA in Children's Literature and develop her consultancy career. She lives in north-east London; her two teenage children were educated in local state primaries then independent secondaries. She chairs a youth arts charity and is also a trustee of a multi-academy trust. 

Sophie Irwin*

Sophie Irwin

Sophie has over 30 years’ experience in education teaching, advising & mentoring students of all ages and their parents as well as to schools and other educational institutions. She continues to teach part-time in a large south London FE college and works with many families both at home and abroad explaining their options and assisting them to choose the right pathways for young people at 16+. 

She has worked for the Good Schools Guide as a reviewer & consultant for a number of years, her work has taken her into a huge number of different establishments and provided her with a remarkable insight into state and independent schools and the factors affecting education provision today. 

Sophie’s expertise has enabled her to work as a Disability Adviser in schools and colleges and as a senior coordinator for voluntary sector helplines. She has also been involved in educational research and training projects in both the voluntary and statutory sectors.  

Mary Langford

Mary Langford

Mary Langford is a US/UK dual national who first moved abroad at the age of two. She attended eight schools on three continents, studying in French, English and Spanish. She attended the College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA) and the University of Texas graduating with a BA in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, and later an MA in International Education at the University of Bath. She has recently started her Doctorate in Education at Bath. She has been a school head, principal, teacher and admissions and communications director at boarding and day schools in England, Switzerland, Greece, France and Spain offering IB, US, English, Spanish and Saudi Arabian curricula. For four years she was Deputy Executive Director of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) where her responsibilities including managing 32 professional committees and ECIS certificate programmes for governors and trustees, senior leaders, and teachers.. She has served on 16 international school accreditations teams under the auspices of the Council of International Schools, the International Baccalaureate Organisation, and two US accrediting agencies, predominantly the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and has visited over 90 international schools in the Far East, Middle East, Southeast Asia, North Africa, Europe, and North, Central and South America. She manages a language consultancy of over 40 supporting over 100 students who are studying their mother tongue languages in over 30 International Baccalaureate Schools worldwide.  She is also a Visiting Lecturer on International Education at a Danish University.

Mary has written, spoken and led workshops and training programmes on international schools, international education, and the impact of international mobility on families and children, and has served as a consultant for The Good Schools Guide International since 2007.

Emma Lee-Potter

Emma Lee-Potter

Emma has worked for The Good Schools Guide since 2000 and has visited hundreds of independent and state schools during that time, interviewing heads, talking to pupils and helping parents to find suitable schools for their children. After studying history and politics at the University of York and gaining a master’s at the University of Manchester, she worked as a staff journalist for national newspapers and magazines for many years. She has worked as a freelance education writer for 20 years, with clients including The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, TES, SecEd and the Department for Education.

Since 2014 she has been the editor of The Week Independent Schools Guide, a biannual education magazine published with The Week, and has also lectured in further education colleges. She has a keen interest in degree apprenticeships and worked with the Learning and Skills Council for several years. Emma has written five books, one of them an interviewing textbook for student and trainee journalists. She lives in Dorset and London and has two children who were educated in both the state and independent sectors. ‘I’m fascinated by all aspects of education,’ she says, ‘from the respective benefits of single sex and co-ed schools to the advantages of taking A levels or the IB.’

Ralph Lucas

Ralph LucasRalph joined The Good Schools Guide in 1995 and became editor in 2000. He has run The Guide since then and, although he still visits a few schools every year to keep his hand in, his main activities are drawing The Good Schools Guide together, education politics (he is an active backbencher in the House of Lords) and data analysis – as a former physicist, and an inveterate programmer, he has undertaken most of the work that underlies the online Guide‘s extensive distillations of schools’ information. Ralph says, “You are most likely to work with me if the questions that you face require data analysis as part of their solution.”

Charlotte Obolensky

Charlotte ObolenskyCharlotte joined the Good Schools Guide as a writer in 2009, having been an avid reader of its candid and trenchant reviews when choosing schools for her own three children. Now her knowledge of schools in south west England in particular means she is well placed to advise parents searching for the right school(s) in that part of the country. Charlotte has a degree in Latin and French from Durham University and though she spent much of her working life in HR, both corporate and consultancy, she has always been fascinated by schools; she was appointed as a governor at her own alma mater Queen Anne’s Caversham at the age of 25. Since then she has also worked in primary schools and now, alongside her work for the Good Schools Guide, she teaches English 1-1 to youngsters who have dropped out of mainstream education because of anxiety or poor mental health. ‘I am truly privileged to see both ends of the educational spectrum in terms of advantage and deprivation’ she says. 

Mary Pegler*

Mary PeglerMary started as a reviewer for The Good Schools Guide in 2012. She has a background as a Speech and Language Therapist, both in the NHS and private sector, with experience working in a special school for dyslexia and as an autism assessor. She has a particular sensitivity to finding the strengths and needs of the individual child. Her work takes her into a range of schools: independent and maintained, mainstream and special; nursery, primary and secondary. Since 2020 she has worked as the Senior Editor for SEN at The Good Schools Guide and is also a governor of the Oxford Hospital School. Mary says, “With three children of my own I understand the pressures on family life and how important finding the right school is. I have also lived through the agony and joy of the competitive entrance tests. Being a Good Schools Guide Education Consultant allows me to help parents at a worrying time with some practical help and reassurance. My advice about schools often involves my specialism of Special Educational Needs.” 

Charlotte Phillips*

Charlotte Phillips

Charlotte Phillips is an Oxford graduate and a former teacher (she was a music specialist at a South West London prep school for a decade), parent and consultant. Before joining The Good Schools Guide as a school reviewer and consultant, specialising in SEN, she wrote about education and family life for The Telegraph, Times and Guardian, among others, and has also contributed original musical compositions to a schools' song book.  

She has first-hand experience of neurodivergence within her immediate family so understands first hand just how challenging - and rewarding - life can be when conventional eduational pathways, expectations and timings don't always work. The only thing that matters, she says, is whether a school is right for a particular child, something that glowing exam results and fabulous facilities won’t necessarily tell you. 

As a veteran of some wonderful moments but some dreadful ones too, she enjoys putting her experience and knowledge at the service of other parents for whom finding the right education is not always straightforward. “Getting the right school for the right child is endlessly satisfying,” she says. 

Catriona Prest

Catriona Prest

Catriona read history at London University and then spent eighteen years in headhunting before joining The Good Schools Guide in 2004. She lives in Kent and her particular area of expertise is schools in the South East corner of England, particularly Kent and East Sussex. She has extensive knowledge of the English boarding school system and has visited many schools around the country. Catriona particularly enjoys working for the The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants and says, “it is hugely satisfying and rewarding when a child is finally settled in a school. I very much enjoy being able to support a family through every stage of the process which often involves a house move or a move across the world.”

Melanie Sanderson

Melanie Sanderson

Since joining The Good Schools Guide in 2013, there is hardly a corner of outer London and the home counties that Melanie has not visited, notepad in hand. She has prolifically reviewed prep, grammar, state and independent day and boarding schools across the area and is well connected with head teachers, registrars and local parents – crucial for an inside scoop (and the occasional last minute interview or entrance exam). A former PR agency director, Melanie relishes putting her consultancy skills to good use to respond to families’ individual briefs, helping them achieve clarity in what can be a bewildering process. ‘As a mum to two school-age sons, I have first hand experience of the perils of independent school admissions at prep, 11+ and 16+ as well as state school applications and the dark art of securing a place at grammar school, and love using this experience and my writers’ insight to help my clients solve their own educational dilemmas’, she says. An advisor since 2014, Melanie has worked with many families tackling international and UK relocations, education planning, troubleshooting and, sometimes, simply providing a calm sounding board. She was appointed managing editor of The Good Schools Guide in 2019. 

Jacqueline Simpson 

Jacqueline Simpson

Good humoured, empathetic, and pragmatic, Jacqueline understands the dilemmas parents face in their search for the right school and relishes identifying schools’ unique qualities and ethos in her reviews. After gaining a degree in English and Drama from the University of Exeter, she specialised in upper years in Kent primary schools as a senior leader.   Educated at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School and then The King’s School, Canterbury, after spending some years in France, she returned with her family to her old stomping ground. She believes there is very little they haven’t experienced in education (from a prestigious traditional London boarding school to Steiner and everything in between). With her experience in the 11+ process, Jacqueline has supported parents in preparation, appeals and exploring alternative options. The boarding school journey is close to her heart, having been a day pupil in a majority boarding school, then later experiencing all flavours of the boarding experience in her family from occasional, weekly and full-on full-time! ‘Boarding isn’t one size fits all and that’s why I love reviewing boarding schools.’  She says.  Jacqueline has taught and co-ordinated home school groups, specialised 1:1 SEN, led holistic educational workshops, and is a freelance writer. ‘The system can be overwhelming – but with a calm, rational, child-centred approach, there is always a good solution. When we relocated back to the UK, it felt as if we’d landed on the moon with the shifting educational landscape. Cue The Good Schools Guide, where I’m now delighted to help parents transform the uncertainty of their child’s education into an exciting reality.’ 

Camilla Smiley

Camilla has been working in and around London schools since 2006 and has been advising parents throughout that time. Having studied Modern History at Oxford, Camilla joined the Teach First scheme and spent three years teaching history in an inner London school, learning on the job. From there Camilla moved into the independent sector and worked at a successful co-ed in west London for six years. Alongside her classroom teaching Camilla was providing tuition and advice to students (and their parents) preparing for entrance to day and boarding schools in London and the south east. In 2015 Camilla left teaching to do this full-time and spent three years developing the consultancy offering of a respected London tuition agency, supporting hundreds of families in the process. She says, "I have always loved getting to know schools and working out what makes them tick; visiting them and talking to students and parents is endlessly fascinating. I enjoy listening to families and working closely with them to find the kind of school environment that will allow their child to thrive. Now that I have two young children of my own I appreciate all the more how hard it is to find the right way through the jungle of options out there - so I feel very lucky to be a part of this process for others."

Janette Wallis

Janette Wallis

Janette has over twenty years' experience with The Good Schools Guide and has reviewed schools the length and breadth of the UK. She was a founder adviser with GSG Education Consultants and has helped hundreds of families find the best schools for their children. 

Before joining The Good Schools Guide, Janette was a journalist writing for The Economist and The Financial Times. She also held the education brief for the British Diplomatic Service Families Association and has been a school governor. Janette attended UC Berkeley, The London School of Economics and Harvard. She has four children of her own who were educated in the UK, the US and South Africa and says she approaches every school search, "as if it were for my own children". 

In addition to advising on UK school choice, Janette guides young people applying to US universities.

The Good Schools Guide International Education Consultants

Rachel Burnett - New York writer & consultant

Rachel has worked in both the state and independent sectors in both the UK and Switzerland for twenty-five years. She was deputy principal of a large secondary school in Walton-on-Thames for ten years and then in 2013, was appointed deputy principal (academic) at Frensham Heights School, Surrey, where she stayed until 2018 when the opportunity arose, through her husband’s work, to relocate to New York. She made that decision in approximately five seconds! Her wide-ranging experience across both sectors has given her an insider’s knowledge of how schools work and a clear understanding of the occasional difference between school rhetoric and the reality. 

Rachel has two stepdaughters in their early 20s. They perhaps didn’t always appreciate a step mum working in education but have since said they wished they had listened to her a bit more! She is enjoying life in New York with her husband Rob and their eight-year-old labradoodle Georgie. She enjoys morning dog walks in Central Park and some part time English language teaching as well as the easy access to all the culture and entertainment that New York City provides.

Jacquie Cotton - SEN writer & consultant

Jacquie helps families make informed decisions and education placements for their children in Singapore. She has a specialist interest in any type of additional or learning needs. She is a qualified and practicing speech—language therapist and her specialist area over the last 20 years has been children with any type of extra need. She has worked in multiple international schools in both admissions and in classrooms, at various locations in Asia for over a decade. She also has three children of her own. Each of her children have needed assistance at some point, so she has personal insight into understanding what it's like navigate schooling and support services. She has also experienced multiple international moves of her own, so is uniquely placed to understand the ‘big picture’ for children and families moving to Singapore. 

Louise Courtenay - Hong Kong writer & consultant 

Louise Courtenay

Louise has worked for the Good Schools Guide International (Hong Kong) since 2021 as writer and consultant. A British national, she was educated and worked in the UK before moving to Singapore and then Hong Kong with her family over a decade ago. Louise has seen her three children through a range of education in the UK and internationally (nursery, Montessori, kindergarten, prep, elementary, senior school) with relocations and overseas boarding thrown into the mix. With one son at university and two children at UK boarding schools, Louise is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience to help families understand and access the full breadth of the educational options on offer. Through her continuous open dialogue with international schools in the territory, she is ideally placed in helping to find best fit schools for children to thrive overseas. 

Sinéad Galvin - Madrid writer & consultant 

Sinéad Galvin

Sinéad Galvin is an experienced education consultant helping families navigate the complex process of finding the right school for their children when moving to a new country. Sinéad holds a Bachelor's degree in history and Hispanic studies, as well as a Master's degree in marketing and business studies, giving her a solid foundation for her work in international education.

With over 17 years of experience living in Madrid, Sinéad has a deep understanding of the city and its schools. She has taught English in Spanish public schools and has gone through the school application process with her own three children, so she understands the challenges that families face in finding the right educational opportunities for their children. Sinéad helps families take control of the school search, selection, and enrolment process. She understands the stress that comes with moving to a new country and strives to remove that stress for her clients. Sinéad works closely with families to understand their specific needs and requirements and uses her extensive knowledge of Madrid's schools to make the perfect match for each child. 

Tammy Machin - South of France writer & consultant

Tammy Machin has been a writer at the Good Schools Guide for over 2 years, initially starting in Vancouver where she was based for 4 years before relocating to Cote D’Azure in 2022.   A Mother of 3 children, 2 safely enrolled at Universities in Canada and 1 currently at an International Boarding School in France having previously attended a mixture of state, prep, and boarding schools both in the UK and Internationally, she understands the importance of identifying the right educational setting; when the best time to move is in relation to school stages and cross curricula, and what to do if it’s the wrong time. Understanding the emotions involved for everyone during the process (having experienced it herself), but most importantly, through her experience as a certified Coach, identifying what parents are looking for when choosing a school. She is excited to be joining the consultancy side to be able to help other families navigate new beginnings and put her hours of school research and ‘chat’ with friends across continents to good use!  

Louise Mamarbachi - Dubai writer & consultant

Louise Mamarbachi

Louise joined the Good Schools Guide in January 2022, as a writer and consultant in the UAE. Living alongside her husband and three children, Dubai has been her home since 2008, giving her first-hand experience of the development of the city and the ever expanding list of schools it has to offer. Louise was previously a communications consultant before becoming a freelance writer during a six year stint of juggling motherhood, where her interest in the Dubai school system began to build rapidly. With an uncanny ability for getting parents to open up about their experiences and her interest for exploring every corner of the school she visits, Louise’s knowledge of schools in Dubai is second-to-none. She says, 'As a mother, I always said I would be 100 per cent committed to finding the right school for my children as I truly believe every school has something different to offer. I really enjoy visiting different schools in Dubai and delving deep to be able to share constructive insight of a school and finding suitable schools for families arriving here from all around the world.’


Jane Mitchell, Barcelona writer & consultant

Jane Mitchell

Jane joined the international team as a writer and consultant in early 2022. Since 2003 she has been based in Barcelona. With 3 teenagers of her own, educated in different types of schools in different countries - private school in Spain, state school in Italy and boarding school in the UK - Jane understands the anxieties parents are under to choose the 'right' school for their child and is well placed to advise parents on international school options in Barcelona. “My children speak 4 languages fluently having been brought up in a bilingual household in a bilingual region of Spain so I understand and empathise with parents making decisions regarding school pathways outside of their home country and language choices.”  

As well as writing for the GSGI Jane is Associate Director of MumAbroad, an online information portal for English-speaking families living in Spain. She interviews guests on all aspects of life abroad including multilingualism and education, chatting with headteachers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and other experts in their field. Prior to living in Spain, Jane taught Film Studies at the American University in Cairo, before obtaining a PhD from SOAS, University of London, on the Role of Women in Egyptian Films. 

Julie Phillipson, South Africa writer & consultant

Julie Phillipson

Julie has a degree in modern languages from Oxford University, a postgraduate CIM marketing qualification and a Cambridge CELTA diploma. She has worked in various sales and marketing jobs over the years, while moving her family around the world with her husband’s career. Now on her fourth overseas posting in South Africa, through her three sons Julie has experienced a Kent village primary school, a traditional English prep school, an international school in Singapore, the UN school in New York, two English boarding schools (one offering the IB diploma, one A levels), and (so far) one university. She is currently supporting her younger boys through GCSEs and a pre-university gap year. 

Carolyn Siauw - Tokyo writer & consultant

Carolyn Siauw

Carolyn joined the Good Schools Guide in 2022 as our writer in Tokyo. Carolyn’s education and training was initially as a lawyer. Work in private practice took her from Singapore to London and then to Tokyo before she stepped back to look after her two children. While her own schooling was entirely in Singapore, her eight year stint on the governing board of an international school in Tokyo as well as her own experience as a parent has shaped and matured Carolyn’s thinking on education, particularly international education.

Having lived in Tokyo since 2005, Carolyn is familiar with the changing landscape of international schools in Tokyo and well-versed (both personally and professionally) in the aspirations and concerns of parents educating their child in Tokyo.  She believes that there is no single “perfect” school but there are many good schooling options that parents can choose from to suit their individual child and family. 

Camilla Tregonning - Zurich writer & consultant 

Camilla Tregonning

Camilla Tregonning is the Zurich writer for The Good Schools Guide International. Before Switzerland she lived in London and New Zealand and has been an expat for over 23 years, so brings excellent experience of that way of life, and can relate to the concerns parents can have when moving. She started her career as a marketing-communications professional and has worked both in the corporate and start-up fields, as well as for non-profits in education, health and fundraising. She has held several pro-bono board positions. She is an excellent communicator and active listener, with an empathetic approach.  

Camilla has a good knowledge of the International Baccalaureate Organisation’s three programs: PYP, MYP and Diploma, having two children who attended an all-through IB school, as well as the different international curricula and pathways on offer in the wider Zurich area. She has an extensive international network and brings a wealth of information to anyone considering a move there. She is passionate about the importance of a good education for all children, and loves helping families to find a good school. 

Sally Walker

Sally Walker

Sally Walker has been the Geneva/Lausanne editor of The Good Schools GuideThe Good Schools Guide International since its birth in 2006.  Before Switzerland, she lived in Asia and the Far East and is a long term expat (over 25 years) so brings exceptional experience of that way of life to The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants. Sally worked on regional and national newspapers as well as a variety of magazines when in the UK. In Asia she worked for Dow Jones and Newsweek and, in the Middle East, for Time Magazine and Forbes.

Sally was a governor at the Geneva English School. She has a thorough knowledge of the International Baccalaureate Organisation’s four programs: PYP, MYP, Diploma and the new IBCC and she has close ties to the IBO, which is based in Geneva. She has provided an advisory service to many expatriates moving to Geneva and so understands the special needs of expatriate children. Sally has two children of her own who are currently studying at Oxford University, having gained the IB Diploma. She is passionate about the importance of a good education for all children. In her spare time, she’s a Cambridge University qualified English as a Foreign Language teacher.

In addition, we have a School Appeals Expert, Experts in University Applications in the USA and Europe and a team of Special Needs Experts. We can also offer a listening ear and expert, non-judgemental advice on any aspect of bringing up children if it is not easy to talk to friends and family.

Call: 0800 368 7694 (UK) +44 203 286 6824 (international)
Email: [email protected]

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