Lady Rachel Cooper OBE PhD (Chair)
Rachel Cooper grew up in the Midlands; she loved Art at school and went on to gain a first class honours degree in Graphic Design.
Now Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at the University of Lancaster, Rachel is Chair of Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and undertakes research in design.
She is a non-executive director of Connected Places Catapult and has undertaken several advisory roles to a number of universities, companies and Government departments.
She became a governor of Manchester High School for Girls in 2002 and succeeded Elizabeth Spence as Chair in December 2019.
To contact Lady Cooper, or one of our governors, please contact the Clerk to the Governors on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, Lady Cooper can be contacted via the School's postal address.
Dr Amar Ahmed
DCH, DRCOG, DFFP, MRCGP
Born and raised in Manchester, Dr Ahmed attended William Hulmes Grammar School then Guys and St Thomas’ Medical School. He returned to the North West and worked in various South Manchester hospitals training to be a GP. He has been a partner at Wilmslow Health Centre since 2000.
Dr Ahmed joined the governing body in 2013 and sits on the Academic Development Committee.
Andrew Bland BA, FCA, FABRP (Deputy Chair)
An alumnus of Manchester Grammar School, Andrew obtained a degree in Accounting and Finance and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1986 at a small local firm. He moved to the Corporate Recovery and Insolvency department at Ernst & Young's Manchester office. In 1999, he successfully completed the Joint Insolvency Examinations and became a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner thereafter.
Following this, Andrew went into industry, concentrating on companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market, initially at a vehicle telematics company and latterly at a market leading personal insolvency business where he became the Group Operations and Finance Director. In 2004, Andrew returned to public practice and acquired a significant interest in a local accountancy practice and at the same time establishing an Insolvency Practice. In 2016, he acquired a further local accounting practice to build on the existing portfolio.
Andrew has acted as a finance trustee for a Manchester and London based charity established to assist people with learning disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Andrew is Deputy Chair of the MHSG governing body.
A former MHSG student (class of 1985), Kate joined the Governing body formally in December 2018 and is Chair of the Estates Committee.
An Architect by training, Kate heads Creative Heritage Consultants Ltd, a multi-disciplinary practice that provides advisory services to those with responsibilities for historic buildings, based in Buxton. She gained particular experience in delivering a number of major projects as the Director of Heritage Works Building Preservation Trust, including the nationally significant regeneration of Murrays’ Mills in Ancoats, Manchester. She is a Trustee of the Architectural Heritage Fund, and a member of the register of Support Services for the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
BSc MSc MA
Merlyn has been a member of the governing body since 2015 and is now Honorary Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. She has a Mathematics degree from Manchester University, an MBA from the London Business School and an MA from the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Her executive career was spent with the Bank of England, where she was appointed the first female Chief Cashier in 1999. In 2004 she gave up her executive career to pursue a broader range of interests, holding many non-executive directorships with large companies.
Joy joined JMW LLP in 2010, in the role of Senior Partner, to assist with the continuing development of the firm. Her particular areas of expertise are Management and Business Development. Joy previously presided over the impressive growth of Pannone LLP as Managing Partner and Senior Partner.
During the nine years that Joy has spent at JMW, the revenue has increased from £10m to an expected £45m in 2019/20, and people from 170 to 550.
In 2019 she set up a JMW office in London. She has been integral to the growth of the business into one of Manchester’s top full service law firms, through high-level recruitment and innovative business models.
Professional recognition of Joy's work includes:
- Recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award (Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For Awards)
- Declared to be one of the 10 most innovative lawyers in the UK by the Financial Times
- One of the UK's Top 100 Lawyers according to The Lawyer magazine
- Recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MPF Awards
- Governor of Manchester Grammar School
- Non-executive Director and Shareholder of I-COM (I-COM International Ltd), a company providing web and search engine optimisation services;
- Senator of Manchester Junior Chamber of Commerce
- Winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award at Manchester Legal Awards 2017
- A Decade of Excellence in Business at the Women in Business Awards 2018
- Services to Law at the English Women’s Awards 2018
Professor Fiona Smyth
BSc, PhD, FRGS
Fiona is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of Manchester. She was born in Dublin and moved around the UK extensively during her childhood before settling in Manchester. She studied Geography at the University of Bristol and then went on to teach at an independent college in central London She gained her PhD at the University of Manchester in 1995 and began working for the University in the same year.
In 2008, she became the first female Head of Geography at the University and, in 2014, became Vice Dean for Teaching, Learning and Students in the Faculty of Humanities where she oversees issues related to teaching, learning and students across the Schools of Social Sciences (including Law), Arts, Languages & Cultures, Environment, Education & Development and the Alliance Manchester Business School. Since 2017, she has been Deputy Dean of the Faculty alongside her Vice Dean role.
Fiona joined the MHSG governing body in 2019 and is Chair of the Academic Development Committee.
Tamsin grew up in Reigate, Surrey and attended Eothen School for Girls which is now Caterham School. She then went on to attend the University of Westminster to study for a BSc in Psychological Science.
Tamsin first moved to Manchester in 1996 to complete a Masters in Organisational Psychology which led to a career in organisational transformation. She worked as an operational improvement consultant for 23 years before moving into industry. Tamsin has a daughter at Manchester High School for Girls and joined the governing body in 2021.
MBBCh (Hons), CMgr MCMI, MBA, FRCS (Tr & Ortho)
Naveed is a Consultant Surgeon in Complex Spine Surgery at the Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences based at Salford Royal Hospital. He completed his medical qualifications at the University of Wales, Cardiff before going on to complete his specialist training here in the North West as well as overseas in Australia. He has been awarded the status of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and is currently the Governance Lead for Complex Spine Surgery as well as the Consent Lead for Salford Care Organisation.
In addition to healthcare, Naveed has a masters in leadership and management as well as chartered manager status awarded by the Chartered Management Institute. He has completed an MBA in 2021 at the Alliance Manchester Business School and studied Value-Based delivery models at Harvard Business School. He is a Trustee for national hate crime charity, Stop Hate UK. He also works as a medicolegal expert and as an organisation consultant specialising in healthcare.
Naveed joined as a governor for MHSG in 2021 and sits on the Marketing and Development Committee, and the Finance Committee.
Professor Carol Baxter
Carol Baxter grew up in Jamaica where she learned the huge importance of education and its potential for changing an individual’s life.
She came to the UK after leaving school and has since had a long and varied career in the NHS, the Not for Profit and the academic sectors where she was a practising nurse and midwife, a teaching and research professor and a senior manager. Her most recent role was as Principal Research Fellow in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London where she currently holds an Honorary Professorship. She has subsequently held a number of executive and non-executive directorships across these sectors. Recent non directorship roles include:Trustee - Centre for Ageing Better; Trustee - Employer’s Network on Equality and Inclusion; Non-Executive Director - Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust. Non-Executive Director - Arawack Walton Housing Association.
She retired from full time work in 2014 and now provides independent consultancy, supporting organisations to become more inclusive.
Vicky was born and raised in Greater Manchester and later Glossop, Derbyshire and attended Manchester High School for Girls from 1981 to 1989. She was a student on a part bursary during her time at the school and she has been passionate supporter of the Bursary campaign in recent years and up to the present day. During her final year at Manchester High she was a member of the Head Girl team (one of four deputies).
On leaving MHSG, she attended Queens College, Cambridge University where she graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Latin). From Cambridge, she fulfilled her vocation to join the Police Service, becoming a Detective in the Metropolitan Police, London (1993-2001).
Following her relocation to Manchester for family reasons, she embarked upon a new career in Public Relations and Communications, becoming the Press Officer at Manchester City Football club, of which she is a lifelong fan. She has continued her career path at the Club over the past 16 years, becoming Director of Communications and, following the expansion and creation of a number of sister football clubs around the world, now holds the position of Chief Communications Officer of City Football Group. She is responsible for all communications - External, Internal, Commercial, Media and Public Affairs - for the global organisation which now includes six football clubs in North and South America, Europe and Australasia. She is also a member of the organisation's Executive Leadership Team
BEd Hons, NPQ for Headship
Jo has been a primary teacher for 32 years of which 20 of these have been in senior leadership. Jo has been successful in leading several primary schools and is passionate about developing future leaders too. She is an experienced facilitator or staff at all levels.
Jo is a Specialist Leader in Education and has successfully mentored and coached leaders in other contexts within the North West.
She has been a Governor at other schools including 9 years at Crompton House CE High school in Shaw.
As an educator Jo is passionate about providing all pupils with a wide range of opportunities and developing to further their aspirations for the future.
After leaving MHSG in 1998, Laura went on to achieve a first class degree in Business from Kings College London.
After graduating, she joined Accenture and worked as a Management Consultant for several years in the UK and Canada. She then took her career into Industry where she was a Global Head of HR in several global companies, her specialisms included Talent Management and Strategic Workforce Planning, a career that took her around the world.
In 2016, Laura decided to pursue a passion to positively impact the mental wellbeing of children in the UK and launched myHappymind.org; an innovative curriculum for primary schools to help them build resilient, balanced and happy minds.
She remains hugely grateful for her bursary place at MHSG and for all that the school has done for her. She became a Governor in 2017 and is proud to serve on the Academic Development and Personnel committees.
Giles Burton BSc, C.Eng, F.I.Struc.E, F.Cons.E., F.C.S.
Giles joined the MHSG governing body in 2019 and is a member of the Estates Committee.
After graduating from UMIST with a degree in Civil and Structural Engineering in 1976 he entered into private practice in Manchester with Shepherd Gilmour. After opening and running a branch office in Staffs he returned to Manchester when the Senior Partner wanted to retire. Having overseen the SG Group for a number of years, he has acted as consultant since 2016.
With a background in designing all types of structure, specialising in historic buildings and expert witness work, Giles has had a long association with MHSG having designed the Music wing in the early 80’s through to the recent Sixth Form Centre.
Hayley joined the MHSG governing body in December 2019. She was a pupil at MHSG between 1988 and 1995.
From MHSG, Hayley attended Leeds University where she graduated with a BA(Hons) degree in International Studies. She then went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Law and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. In 2000, Hayley joined Berg Legal as a trainee solicitor and on qualification she became a commercial litigator. Hayley is now a partner at Pinsent Masons where she specialises in pensions litigation. Her work ranges from defending complex and high value professional negligence claims, dealing with regulatory disputes involving the Pensions Regulator and handling multiple Pensions Ombudsman complaints.
Hayley is co-chair of the North West Association of Pension Lawyers and is a member of the national Pensions Litigation Committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers.
In her role as governor, she sits on the Estates and Finance committee.
BDS, FRSA, DL
Wakkas Khan is a humanitarian, philanthropist and dental surgeon, specialising in young people, interfaith and charity. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and the University of Manchester. His professional career has covered the fields of healthcare, international diplomacy, education and community cohesion, and he has acted as an advisor for various government departments. Wakkas is currently the Chair of both The Prince's Trust Mosaic North West - charitable mentoring initiative founded and supported by HRH Prince of Wales - and the Trustee Diversity Panel, and a trustee of Oxfam GB. In 2017 in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena Bombing, he founded Young Interfaith - a national grassroots initiative that seeks to bring together young people of all faiths and non to inspire them to collective social action. Prior to this he sat on senior-level boards and committees at the General Dental Council and the University of Manchester, and was a governor at both The Christie Hospital and St Chrysostom's Primary School.
Earlier in his career Wakkas worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Engaging With The Islamic World Group, and was a member of the Faith Advisory Panel of Experts to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, as well as the government's Preventing Extremism Together Taskforce. Wakkas qualified in dentistry in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2019 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.