Meet the Directors

Kim Archer

I am passionate about all children receiving an education which develops their potential and builds their confidence to achieve their dreams. Growing up locally, I went to St John's Primary School, Friern Barnet and later Copthall County Grammar School for Girls. Somewhat unexpectedly, I joined the Civil Service. This has provided a varied career working in a number of government departments and in a wide range of jobs - from a social security counter to the director of a government agency. Having retired from the Civil Service I now work on developing programmes to help disadvantaged groups find suitable employment.

Richard Backhouse

I have been Principal of Berkhamsted Schools Group since January 2016, after ten years as Principal of an all-through independent school in Bath. I read Economics at Cambridge, expecting to go on to be a journalist, but aimed to teach for a couple of years before doing a PhD – and somehow I never went back to university. I have variously taught Economics, coached rowing to GB junior level, been a Head of Year, Head of Department, boarding Housemaster, and Assistant Head. I have also been a governor and Chair of Education Committee at an academy in Birmingham, a member of my local PCC (while working near Reading), am currently a trustee of two charities, and I blog at athinkinghead.blogspot.co.uk

Craig Huth

I grew up and was educated in Walthamstow, East London, where I developed my interest and passion for Economics. With more perspiration than finesse I graduated from Coventry University with an Economics degree, returning to London to work for a Merchant Bank.  Realising the world of banking did not suit, I moved across London to work in advertising, before building an international fresh food business to £65m revenue, before selling in 2009.

A passion for environmental economics provoked me to help set up a US based Venture Capital fund focused specifically on businesses that have a positive environmental impact.

Before joining my partners at Bean Corporate Finance I took the opportunity to work for a leading international peace keeping charity for 12 months.

Outside of work I enjoy Trekking, Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, Skiing and anything that allows me to explore the great outdoors.   

Chris Kiernan

I started my career as a further education lecturer in 1981 at Waltham Forest College, and then taught at Tottenham College before becoming an education officer at Newham council, in east London.  I was the further education officer between 1989 and 1993, before being promoted to run all education client services.  In 1991 I became deputy director, with responsibility for special educational needs and early years services added to my portfolio.

I was appointed as director of education for the London borough of Waltham Forest in 2004, becoming director of children services there in 2006.  Although I retired in 2011 I have continued to work in the area of education in interim management roles.  I was interim education director for the London borough of Barnet in 2013, and am currently interim director of education for Essex county council.

Married with a grown-up daughter, I have lived in Hackney, east London, since 1993.  My main interest outside work is sport. I play cricket, compete in triathlons as a member of tri London, and watch football, cricket and motor racing when I can.

Peter Nicholls

I have been the Chief Operating Officer of Rugby School since 2018, where I look after the non-teaching functions of Finance, IT, Catering, HR and Estates. Prior to that I did the same role for Berkhamsted School for nine years, and just occasionally enjoyed getting into the classroom to teach a mini-MBA, or help out on Duke of Edinburgh trips and training. I read Economics at Cambridge, before joining Coopers and Lybrand’s management consultancy practice, where I qualified as a chartered accountant.  I spent 20 years in telecoms, mostly at British Telecom in a variety of Finance Director and Commercial Director roles in the UK and overseas, including living in Italy.  I am married with three (nearly) grown up children, and believe in the importance and value of an all-round education. Outside work I love being in the mountains and have a passion for cricket.

Gregory Platten

Born in Oxford, a clergy son, I grew up in Lincoln, Portsmouth, London, and Norwich, with my secondary schooling first in London and then in Norwich. Having gone to University to read Theology with the firm vocation to become an infantry officer in the army, I left having sensing a strong a call to ordained ministry. This led me to Cuddesdon near Oxford, where I entered formation for the priesthood, and read for a Masters in Theology. This was followed by a Curacy (training parish) in St John’s Wood. After three years, I moved to Oxford, where I served as the Chaplain of Lincoln College, in the University of Oxford, a role which involved overseeing welfare, counselling, organising Chapel worship, and elements of College governance and administration. Whilst at Lincoln, I also undertook postgraduate research in Russian philosophical theology, and I completed a DPhil (PhD) in 2013. In the same year, I felt called to return to parish ministry, and was appointed the Vicar of All Saints’ Church in Whetstone. Alongside the traditional parochial duties, this also includes being a Foundation Governor at All Saints’ Church of England Primary School, Chairing the PCC, financial and fabric administration, fundraising, community outreach, and strategic planning.

Jonathan Solomon

I have been a lawyer for over 30 years, specialising in real estate. I work at Clifford Chance where I have been a Partner since 2000 and I currently head up the Global Real Estate Group. I'm very fortunate that throughout my career I have worked on some of London's most iconic property projects which have changed the London skyline. I first became involved with Wren Academy when I was invited to give a talk to the students about careers in law. I was so impressed and inspired by the pupils that when I was offered a chance to become a Director I was delighted to accept. It is a privilege to be working with such a fantastic a school and I hope that my experiences from the business world will help me to make a valuable contribution as a Director.  In my spare time I enjoy cycling, swimming, spending time with my family and walking my dog.

Jeremy Turner

I attended a secondary school in Gloucestershire before completing a music degree at Bristol University and PGCE at Reading. Throughout my teaching career which spans nearly 3 decades I have had the privilege of working in a diverse range of secondary schools in Inner and Outer London and Hertfordshire and over 18 years’ experience of school leadership at a senior level. This has involved me working with all aspects of school governance and Trusts; I have been a Lead Strategic Partner in four teaching and learning partnerships and consortiums, served on the Barnet School Forum and at a regional level on various Educational Management Committees. I have participated in Local Authority Strategic Reviews and have worked at a National Level on the Strategic Board of Partners in Excellence (PiXL) since 2008. Supporting the work of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and the National Leadership College, I have had the opportunity to speak at many conferences and have been involved in developing the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and Senior Leadership Development programmes.

In my previous school where I was the Headteacher for 8 years, Governance in 2011 was rated as Outstanding and, under the re-inspection in 2014, Leadership and Management was rated as Good with Outstanding features and Governance as a ‘real strength of the school’. My work with the Bushey St James Trust, highlighted by Ofsted and the Local Authority, has included a formal review of Governance at Little Reddings Primary School which played a key part of their journey to Good. I work collaboratively across a number of schools in Hertfordshire and also Chair the Management and School Improvement Committees of Chessbrook, the PRU in Watford.

Gavin Smith

I attended secondary schools in Stockport and Poole before completing a degree in Geography at UCL. My teaching career started in Croydon and I worked in contrasting schools in the borough.  During that time, I held positions as a pastoral leader and Head of Geography.  Before joining Wren as Vice Principal in 2008 I was an Assistant Headteacher at East Barnet School for six years.

I have been at Wren since it first opened, taking a lead in developing the curriculum, assessment and reporting systems.  I have found my positions at Wren both fulfilling and rewarding as I have had the opportunity to play a key role in making the school one of the most successful in the country.  Since becoming the Principal of Wren, GCSE and A Level examination results have continued to improve and the Sixth Form become oversubscribed.  I am now focused on ensuring that the all through academy develops successfully as well as starting another outstanding new academy in Enfield.