About LAE

Our Staff and Governing Body

Our staff

LAE benefits from a highly educated teaching staff with the vast majority having attended the same Russell Group universities that many of our students aspire to study at, including Oxford and Cambridge. More than half of our teachers hold Masters degrees and more than a quarter hold PhDs, meaning that they are well placed not just to deliver challenging A-Level specifications but also to promote deeper and more creative engagement with their chosen academic disciplines.

If you are interested in joining our team, please check our job vacancies page.

If you wish to speak to a particular member of staff or governor, please contact reception

Senior Leadership Team

Lae logo graphicAlexander Crossman, Headteacher 

Educated in state schools in one of the most deprived communities in the West Midlands, Alex graduated with a double first from the University of Oxford and with distinguished higher degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the UCL Institute of Education. Prior to joining LAE, Alex served as a Deputy Head at a sponsored academy in Brixton, the founding Head of one of London’s most successful secondary free schools and the Chief Executive of an education consulting firm based in the Middle East but operating worldwide. Teaching is Alex’s first calling but his second career. Previously, he was a Managing Director with global responsibility for strategy at one of the world’s leading investment banks. 

Lae logo graphicEve Rahman, Deputy Head (Academic)

​Growing up just outside Belfast, Eve attended Methodist College, Belfast before studying International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science, completing a PGCE at the Institute of Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick. Eve worked at St Bonaventure’s School for 15 years, teaching History and Politics and was the Deputy Director of the Sixth Form. Having dedicated her career to teaching disadvantaged students in East London schools, Eve is passionate about LAE’s social mobility agenda.

Lae logo graphicBen Webster, Deputy Head (Pastoral and Co-Curricular)

Ben has worked at LAE since 2013 and has leadership responsibility for safeguarding, behaviour, co-curricular and student wellbeing. He is passionate about student leadership and the importance of holistic education. Prior to LAE, Ben completed his Teach First programme at a secondary school in East London and worked for two years as a Senior Manager for Teach For India in Delhi and Chennai. He completed his National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH) in 2020 and holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Manchester.

Lae logo graphic

Ray Degiorgi, Assistant Head (Research in Learning) 

Raymond Degiorgi joined LAE in 2014 as a teacher of French and Spanish. Before joining LAE, he taught at Calderstones School, Liverpool and completed his PGCE at the faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He has a degree in MFL from Université Paris Diderot, and an MPhil in History from the same university. He spent a year in the University of Seville for his Erasmus exchange and one year in the National University of Colombia to write his dissertation. At LAE, Raymond has been part of the Professional Learning Team and Head of House team for the past four years. He has also lead the MFL department for seven years. As Assistant Head Ray has a particular interest in pedagogy and evidence-based approach in Teaching & Learning. 

Lae logo graphicOliver Savvides, Assistant Head (Futures and Super-curricular)

Oliver joined the London Academy of Excellence in 2015, having read Economics at Royal Holloway and UCL. Throughout his time at LAE, he has enjoyed holding a variety of positions, from Head of House in 2017 to Head of Economics since 2018. Within the Economics department, Oliver has established a robust super-curricular enrichment programme, which has helped students secure a world-class set of university destinations and career outcomes. As Assistant Head, he is looking forward to further expanding the opportunities on offer to LAE’s student body and alumni network.

Lae logo graphicEmma Nelson, Business Director​

Emma started her career in Accounting and Finance and has worked in the Education sector for over 20 years with experience across mainstream funded schools, multi academy trusts and further education. Emma combines the skills and professionalism of a qualified Accountant with a genuine passion for improving the life chances of young people through Education. Having worked at a Senior Leadership Level for over a decade Emma is responsible for all aspects of Finance, HR, Estate & Facilities Management, Catering, IT and Administration at the London Academy of Excellence.

Lead Teachers

Subject Lead Teacher
Biology Jeni May
Chemistry Jack Brown
Economics Oliver Savvides
English Literature Salima Abbasi Freeman              
Geography Russell Chapman
Government & Politics Sarah McPherson
History/History of Art  An Pancaldi 
Mathematics/Further Mathematics Graham Thomson 
Modern Languages Mandy Bolster
Philosophy and Theology Adrian Mihai
Physics Matthew Densham
Psychology Chanelle Clark


Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo):  Amanda Clifton-Jones

Board of Governors

LAE has very experienced Governors who are committed to ensuring its success.

The Board oversees the Headteacher's day-to-day leadership of the school and works with him to plan strategically LAE's future. The governors support and challenge LAE to ensure that it is fulfilling its vision, not only for the sixth formers but also for the wider community. A rich and diverse range of skills, knowledge and interests are represented on the Board of Governors, and this makes it a very effective "critical friend" to the school and the leadership team. All governors can be contacted by emailing governors@lae.ac.uk

There are also the following committees:

  • Compliance
  • Development
  • Education
  • Finance, Audit and Risk
  • Nominations
  • Remuneration
  • Safeguarding

A copy of our Governors' Declarations of Interest can be found here

Tony Little (Chair of Governors)

Tony Little was educated on a scholarship at Eton and at Cambridge University. He trained as a teacher and served as a head of department and as a boarding housemaster. He became headmaster of Chigwell School in 1989 and subsequently of Oakham School and then Eton College over a period of 26 years. In 2015 he became Chief Academic Officer of one of the largest international school groups. He is currently Chair of the Laurus Trust (a multi-academy trust in the Manchester area) and the World Leading Schools Association which connects schools around the world.

Appointed on: 01/09/2020

If you wish to contact the Chair of Governors, please write to:

Mr Tony Little
C/O London Academy of Excellence
Broadway House
322 High Street
E15 1AJ

Richard Cairns (Vice-Chair and Chair of Nominations Committee)

Richard Cairns has been Head Master of Brighton College since 2006. He was previously Usher (Deputy Head) of Magdalen College School, Oxford. He was educated at The Oratory School, Reading, and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where he gained a first in Modern History.  His time at Brighton College has been marked by innovative changes not least to make Mandarin compulsory for all Year 9 pupils and to introduce a Year 7 entry into the college. Brighton College’s A Level results have risen consistently over the last five years and in 2011 was crowned ‘The Sunday Times Independent School of the Year’.

  • Member of the Management, Governance Remuneration and Education committees.

Appointed on: 23/05/2011
Date term of office ends: 23/05/2023

Kate El-Mokadem (Chair of Development Committee)

On graduating from the University of Birmingham, Kate El-Mokadem trained in retail and human resource management with Marks and Spencer. She then worked as a senior manager in Accenture’s change management practice specialising in financial markets. She subsequently became Head of Human Resources for the firm’s outsourcing operations in London and then took on a central policy role. Kate now supports educational charities with a focus on providing access for all regardless of background or means. She also holds a Diploma in Personnel Management and has been a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development for over twenty years.

Appointed on: 24/01/2018
Date term of office ends: 24/01/2025

Nick Fraser (Chair of Compliance Committee)

Nick Fraser has been Deputy Headmaster (Innovation and Development) at Brighton College since 2016. He was previously Deputy Head (Academic) at Magdalen College School, Oxford. He was educated at Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen and at the University of Aberdeen (with spells at the universities of Zürich and Grenoble) and gained a first in French and German. His role at Brighton College encompasses areas such as innovative approaches to learning, teaching and classroom design, and links with schools such as the LAE and Brighton’s international schools.

He is a member of the Education and Compliance Committees.

Appointed on: 02/03/2018
Date term of office ends: 02/03/2025


Ceri Jones (Chair of Safeguarding Committee)

Ceri Jones is Headmaster of Caterham School in Surrey, a co-educational day and boarding school. He was educated at a comprehensive school in Bradford and attended Cambridge University.

Before becoming Headmaster at Caterham Ceri was Second Master (Deputy Head) at Tonbridge School in Kent, having run a boarding house at the school for 6 years. He is an historian by training and specialises in Modern American history and early modern literature and religion.

He has worked in education for over twenty years and in 2013 was seconded from his role at Tonbridge to be Principal of the Marsh Academy in New Romney, Kent. In 2013, in collaboration with The Sutton Trust and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, he set up the University Access Programme, working with the 6 independent schools and 6 non-selective maintained schools across Kent. The essence of the programme is to support bright but disadvantaged students from these academies from year 9 through to year 13 with the goal of these students making successful applications to top ranking universities.

  • Link governor for Safeguarding

Appointed on: 01/09/2015
Date term of office ends: 01/09/2023

Ian Warwick (Chair of Education Committee)

Originally a teacher in inner city London for 20 years, Ian Warwick set up London Gifted & Talented (www.londongt.org) as part of the groundbreaking London Challenge in 2003. Since then LG&T have directly worked with well over 4,000 schools and 11,000 teachers internationally and more than 150,000 educators worldwide have used our free e resources. Ian has published extensively, with dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals, as well as four books on more able education. He has spoken at over 100 national and world conferences.

Appointed on: 01/09/2018
Date term of office ends: 01/09/2025

Paul Westbrook (Chair of Finance Committee)

Paul Westbrook has been Director of Finance and Deputy Head at Brighton College since July 2009. Prior to that he was a Director at KPMG, leading its Corporate Finance Team on the South Coast and real estate mergers and acquisitions in London.  He has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Warwick and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales.

  • Chair of the Finance committee and also sits on the Management, Governance and Remuneration committees

Appointed on: 23/05/2011
Date term of office ends: 23/05/2023

Mark Beard

Mark J Beard joined University College School, Hampstead as Headmaster in September 2013 after seven years at Brighton College as Deputy Headmaster, including a period as Acting Head Master.  After graduating with a First Class degree in Chemistry from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he began his teaching career at King Edward's School, Birmingham (1995-99) and then served as Head of Chemistry at St Paul’s School (1999-2006).  He also obtained a Master’s Degree in Education Management from King’s College London. Mark is married with two young children, resides in North London and enjoys squash, reading and ancient history.

Appointed on: 01/06/2015
Date term of office ends: 01/06/2023

Marcus Cliff-Hodges

Marcus Cliff Hodges is currently Warden of Forest School having previously been Deputy Warden and Head of Boys' School since 2005. Before moving to North East London he was Assistant Head at Latymer Upper School. He has also taught at Bedford School and Gstaad International School. Marcus has degrees in English Literature and Educational Management from Cardiff University and London University respectively.

Appointed on: 22/09/2016
Date term of office ends: 22/09/2024

Joan Deslandes

Joan Deslandes has been Head Teacher of Kingsford Community School since 2001. She has twice been named amongst London’s 1000 most influential people by the Evening Standard. In 2010, she was awarded the SSAT Confucius Institute Excellence Award for her ‘outstanding contribution’ to Chinese learning within the United Kingdom. She currently sits on a number of government forums and together with Richard Cairns established The 100 Group, enabling leading state and independent schools to work together.

  • Member of the Management committee
  • Link governor for staff and Prevent-related issues

Appointed on: 02/04/2012
Date term of office ends: 02/04/2024

Simon Henderson

Simon Henderson is Head Master at Eton College. He took up his post in September 2015 having previously been Head of Bradfield College. Prior to joining Bradfield he was Deputy Head (Academic) at Sherborne School. Simon is a History graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford and has experience as a governor at a range of schools in both the independent and state sectors.

Appointed on: 01/09/2015
Date term of office ends: 01/09/2023

Rachel Lister

Appointed on: 01/09/2017
Date term of office ends: 01/09/2023

Adam Pettitt

Adam Pettitt has been Head Master of Highgate School since 2006. He read French and German at New College, Oxford and began his teaching career at Eton College. He was subsequently Head of German at Oundle School and Head of Modern Languages at Abingdon School. In 1998 he was appointed as Second Master (Deputy Head) at Norwich School. Highgate School leads the Chrysalis Programme which has created partnerships with over twenty maintained schools in Haringey, Camden, Brent and Islington, providing a wide range of support.

Appointed on: 02/04/2012
Date term of office ends: 02/04/2024

Simon Smith

Simon Smith was Project Co-ordinator of London Academy of Excellence from inception to opening. He was educated at Dauntsey’s School in Wiltshire, and read English at King’s College London and took a PGCE at Worcester College, Oxford.  Apart from a stint at Appleby College, Ontario, he spent his career teaching English at Brighton College, latterly becoming Second Master.

  • Simon is the link governor for co-curricular activities at LAE
  • Member of the Finance, Management Governance and Remuneration committees

Appointed on: 23/11/2011
Date term of office ends: 23/05/2023

Dr Martin Stephen

Martin Stephen was High Master of St Paul’s School from 2004 – 2011.  He was previously Head of Manchester Grammar School and the Perse School, Cambridge.  He has also taught at Haileybury and Sedbergh, where he was Second Master.  He read English at Leeds University and did his doctorate at Sheffield University. He is a noted author of historical novels and literary criticism.

  • Link governor for LAE’s more-able programme

Appointed on: 02/04/2012
Date term of office ends: 02/04/2024

Sana Ullah

After leaving university Sana Ullah started a career in Insurance with HSBC Insurance brokers followed by Lockton Companies where he currently works as their Head of Insurance programmes. He is a passionate believer in local businesses being involved in their communities, especially in education.

Sana started the LAE / Lockton summer internship in 2018 and is part of the development committee at LAE. He is married with two sons, lives in Tooting and loves cycling, kickboxing, making electronic music and Liverpool FC.

Appointed on: 01/09/2021

Date term of office ends: 01/09/2025