Local Advisory Council

Meet our Local Advisory Council

Local Advisory Council

The St Bees School, Local Advisory Council

St Bees School is managed by the Board of Directors for St Bees School Management Company Ltd. This is overseen by the parent company, Full Circle Education. 

The Board of Directors has established a Local Advisory Council to act on their behalf, providing both local and educational specific knowledge and to liaise with and oversee the SLT of the school.  They meet on a termly basis to discuss all key matters relating to the school and support the Headmaster and his team in ensuring the school is compliant with all boarding and ISI standards, with a particular focus on safeguarding, health and safety, safe recruitment, and boarding provision. 

More regular meetings will happen between certain members of the Council and senior leaders in the school, notably with the Nominated Safeguarding Lead.  All meetings are minuted and minutes are passed on to the Board of Directors. 

Contact with the Local Advisory Council can be made through the Chair, Mr Mark George at mark.george@stbeesschool.co.uk

Mark George

Local Advisory Council Chairman

Mark recently retired from a career in financial services. He lives in St Bees and his family have been involved with the school for over 70 years. His wife and children were all pupils. 

Following the school’s closure in 2015, Mark joined the Trustee Board in early 2016 and was instrumental in developing the relationship with Full Circle that led to the school reopening in September 2018. 

Passionate about protecting Edmund Grindal’s legacy of educating children in West Cumbria, Mark recognised the strength of the global proposition of Full Circle and the potential to create something unique and enduring in equipping children who study at the school for the modern, global world. 

Mark chairs the Local Advisory Council, and the St Bees charitable trust. 

He is an avid fell walker and aims in retirement to get better at golf and to take up cycling again.

Laurence Gribble

Laurence Gribble

Assistant Head, Board Member and Deputy Director of Full Circle Education

A graduate of Chinese Studies at Cambridge University and Peking University, Laurence has spent many years studying and working in China.

Laurence spent time working in tourism and travel before focusing on educational study trips. He has further experience in curriculum development, operations and school management.

Laurence is Full Circle Education’s Deputy Director and oversees the group’s UK operations.

As a St Bees School alumnus, Laurence is now back at his old school in the role of Assistant Head, working to forge a truly global school with strong links between China and the UK.

Laurence is a big football fan and a keen cyclist. He cycled 17,298km from London to Hong Kong in 2014-15 and recently cycled from Hong Kong to Cambodia, where the charity school he co-founded is located.

Roger Sinnett

Director of Education of Full Circle Education


A graduate of universities in London and Cambridge, Roger has been a Principal or Director of Education of international schools for the past 20 years. He also co-founded Full Circle Education based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Based in China between 2006 and 2019, Roger played a major role in setting up five international schools, and nine kindergartens/training schools. In catering for the needs of Chinese students who aspire to an international education, he pioneered a new concept in ‘Fusion’ education, where international and local Chinese curricula are integrated.

Roger believes passionately in developing children’s character in parallel with their academic attainment, and is leading curriculum initiatives designed to enhance their EQ – with strong emphasis on teamwork, leadership, independence, confidence, personal organisation, critical thinking, research skills and creativity.

As Director of Education for the entire St Bees group, Roger is building upon his previous two years of Headmaster at St Bees UK, to further develop and create a West meets East fusion profile. In helping to lead the founding of St Bees schools in China, and preparing students for the international world of tomorrow – he will remain a close contact and support to St Bees UK throughout the year.

Mike Graham

Mike was a businessman for 30 years and alongside his wife Maggie they ran a Catering Equipment company until the business was sold in 2017.

Mike was a Conservative Councillor for 10 years and Group Leader for 8 of those years.

He unsuccessfully stood for Parliament in 2001.

He worked with the Elected Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie as his Political Adviser from 2015 to 2020.

Since December 2020 Mike holds the role of Chief of Staff to Copeland’s Conservative MP Trudy Harrison.

Mike is keen to help build the Full Circle global vision of educating children in St Bees, and providing opportunities for students to study in West Cumbria and also enhance the strong, positive links with China and enjoying the enormous benefits of shared learning.

Mike is a keen gardener and also has interests in political studies, history and economics.

Anne Guest

Nominated Senior Safeguarding Lead

Anne recently retired after teaching for almost thirty years in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. As a language graduate, she initially taught German and French, but a job in Tanzania and the experience of learning a pinch of Kiswahili opened things up a bit.

Most of her career was spent teaching English and Humanities in London, Bristol, Birmingham, a small village in Worcestershire and latterly Shanghai, where, sadly, her language learning skills turned out to be not as good as she thought they were.

The St Bees – Chinese partnership drew Anne to the school and it’s her view that the blended curriculum is highly advantageous in terms of personal and academic growth, cultural understanding, and job prospects. She feels strongly that the future for St Bees’ students, both here and in China, looks very bright with this string to their bow.

Anne has always enjoyed the outdoors and the beautiful hills and valleys around Wasdale are a great place to do this. She likes cycling, hillwalking, and running with her dogs, who, despite their advanced age, always run faster than she does.

Rob Miller


Rob is a former pupil of St Bees School (93-00) and a member of the Trustee Board involved in the initial development of the relationship with Full Circle. Rob is a graduate of Estates Management from Northumbria University and Property Surveying through The College of Estate Management.

A native of Cumbria but moved to Newcastle for his studies, the North East became Rob’s home for nearly 16 years where he enjoyed a diverse career in surveying, property development and regeneration, Head of Estates for the Public Transport Authority and finally Director of Estates within the FE and HE sectors.

More recently Rob relocated back to Cumbria with his wife and is currently Head of Business Case Capability at Sellafield Ltd responsible for the successful delivery of major proposal development and delivery through to HMG and Treasury.

Rob is passionate about the success and sustainability of St Bees School and the development of a strong and valuable offer that provides young people with the right tools and life skills to create opportunities in their lives.

Rob enjoys spending time with his wife, his young son and Ted the dog. He enjoys travelling, shooting and watching (sadly too old to play) rugby.

Jonathon Rushton


Jonathon is a former pupil of St. Bees School (1982-1988) and was part of the group which contested the closure of St Bees School in 2015.  

A Cumbrian born and bred he graduated from Middlesex University in law and went on to be called to the Bar in 1997.  He remained in London, a practicing barrister, specialising in the areas of chancery and property law.  During his period in practice he has represented the interests of Local Education Authorities, schools and parents at Tribunal during which time he has developed a reputation for his no-nonsense advice.

Like many Old St Behgians Jonathon is eager to see that the St Bees story moves from success to success and in doing so provides a quality education to its students. 

After some 15 years in London Jonathon now lives in a very rural part of Worcestershire with his three children and a border terrier.  He likes nothing more than to follow the progress of Worcester Warriors RFC in the Premiership, ski and take part in historic motorsport when time allows.  

Vanessa Johnstone

Head of Mathematics, St Bees School

A graduate of Engineering and Industrial Management at the University of Liverpool, Vanessa spent the first decade of her working career as an Engineering Manager in the nuclear sector.

In 2010 she gained a PGCE in secondary Maths to follow her real passion in teaching.

 After a number of years working in local secondary schools, Vanessa came to St Bees to be part of the re-opening of the school in 2018.  She teaches IGCSE and A level Maths, and A level Further Maths.  She also coaches our students in Volleyball after having played to regional level in her younger years.

 Vanessa will play a key role in the LAC representing the interests of the ‘shop floor’ staff and providing vital information to the LAC on the reality of how the school functions at ground level.

Two of her children are past St Bees students and she is keen to see the school continue to develop and expand and to help secure its long-term future.

 Vanessa lives in Whitehaven with her husband, three dogs, a cat and lots of tropical fish.  All of their four children have now flown the nest and are either working or studying at university.  Therefore most of her limited spare time is spent trying to catch up with them all and enjoying her new found peace.

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