Meet the team


If you manage a school you will know that the past decade has seen an explosion in legislation affecting schools. With schools subject to formal inspection and monitoring you will also know that meeting these new compliance requirements, combined with all the other things necessary to run a successful school, can be difficult.  Add to this the current economic climate, which poses yet another challenge for schools, and you may want to seek some practical advice, share ideas with someone in a similar position or simply locate a listening ear.

Despite our name it is the school, not the bursar, who is the member of the ISBA.  This means that our dedicated team here is available to provide specialist advice and support to anyone at an ISBA member school - whether it is the bursar, head, governor, catering or maintenance manager or the office clerk. We can also open the door for you to a supportive community of hundreds of bursars who meet online and in person at ISBA regional group meetings, professional development events and at our ever-popular annual conference.

This means that every ISBA event, every post on our daily discussion forum, every phone call, every email and every online webinar will take you straight to someone who understands the issues you face and who can offer you real and practical solutions to help you manage them. If you are not a member of the ISBA, can you afford not to be?

Chief Executive - David Woodgate

The Chief Executive leads a small but highly capable staff team in advocating the work of the ISBA and in promoting best practice in school leadership and management.

The Chief Executive is responsible to the Board of Trustees for the effective running of the Association and is be the ISBA's principal spokesperson and point of contact with the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and other associations as well as with government policy makers within education, the media and the Association's UK and international membership.

Chief Operating Officer - John Murphie

John has been with the ISBA from February 2017.  He is responsible for the head office internal organisation and functions and he is the main point of contact for advice and guidance to schools. 

John spent 31 years in the Royal Navy retiring in 2007.  Since then, he has worked as the Chapter Clerk in Portsmouth Cathedral, managed a Barristers' Chambers in London and been Bursar in two schools before joining ISBA.  

Director of Training and Consultancy - Paul Simpson

Paul leads the organisation of the ISBA's annual conference and professional development programme.  He is responsible for ensuring that members are provided with tailored training and services suitable for bursary management staff at all levels.  

He is also the ISBA's main point of contact for all member schools seeking assistance to fill consultancy and interim/locum roles.

Commercial Director - Barbara Jackson

Barbara is responsible for developing and delivering business opportunities for companies and organisations looking to engage with the ISBA.  

She organises sponsorship opportunities and all other aspects of the trade exhibitions at the ISBA's annual conference and professional development events together with overseeing the event management of these, working closely with the ISBA's professional development team.

Events Manager - Alma McKellar

Alma acts as the main focus for all event co-ordination and deals with all the delegate administrative arrangements for the ISBA's professional development courses and the ISBA conference.  

Alma is happy to answer any queries you might have about the professional development programme and booking.

Professional Development Co-ordinator - Tessa Newton

Tessa works closely with Paul, Barbara and Alma to develop an overarching professional development/education strategy for bursars and support teams.  Tessa assists in advising on the content, design and administration of the programme based on delegate feedback.  She is the key point of contact for all professional development speakers, both pre, during and post event.

Membership Manager - Claire Crow

Claire has had a varied career with 12 years of working in schools on the support staff as Head's PA, Registrar, and also School Secretary.  Prior to this she was a member of the Royal Ballet and on her retirement from being a ballet dancer, was a director of a stationery company in London and then worked for a property management company.  She joined the staff at the ISBA Headquarters in October and is the membership manager as well as being the CEO's PA.

Finance Officer - Jackie Doswell

Jackie started with the ISBA in April 2017. She is responsible for the day to day running of the ISBA's Finance Department. 

Before Jackie came to us, she worked for over 16 years in a large multinational company, her role was a Controller who covered all aspects of the companies Expenses and Benefits.

Administrative Assistant - Lauren

Lauren provides administrative support to the professional development team, and is often the first person you will speak to when you call the office. Lauren has previously worked as an Office Manager in a commercial company.