HMC Executive

Officers for the current year are:

Chair: Richard Backhouse - Berkhamsted School

Richard read Economics at Selwyn College, Cambridge. After holiday jobs at factories and warehouses in Swindon, his first permanent job was at Oundle School, where he taught Economics and Business Studies, coached rowing, was a resident tutor in a boarding house, Head of Year 9, and ran a CU. Nine years at Bradfield College followed, and roles as Head of Economics & Politics, Boarding Housemaster, and Director of Pastoral and Extra-curricular Activities. In 2005, he was appointed Principal of Monkton Combe School, where he spent 10 years. In January 2016, he took up the role of Principal of the Berkhamsted Schools Group. He has, at various times, been a trustee of three other charities, governed two academies, is a trustee of a MAT and an independent school. He is married with two adult children. Interests include skiing (fast), golf (badly), gadgets, and, as a Good Schools Guide reviewer put it once, he “... gnashes his teeth weekly in support of Southampton FC”.

Vice Chair: Sally-Anne Huang - St Paul's School

Sally-Anne Huang

Sally-Anne Huang was educated at Bolton School. She read Classics and English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, has an MSc in Educational Leadership and Management and, more recently, also completed a Masters degree in Children’s Literature, which is a personal passion of hers. Sally-Anne is High Master of St Paul’s School, having previously been Headmistress of James Allen’s Girls’ School, and Kent College, Pembury. In this post she was also chair of the Methodist Independent Schools heads’ group for two years. Her previous appointments have included Housemistress at Sevenoaks School, where she taught the International Baccalaureate, and Deputy Head at Roedean. Her professional interests include the importance of cultural diversity within schools and the power of performing arts in pupil experience. Married to Alexis, Sally-Anne has two adult sons and two dogs; her interests include young adult fiction, playing the tenor saxophone and watching rugby.


Chair Elect: Melvyn Roffe - George Watson’s College

Melvyn has been Principal of George Watson’s College in Edinburgh since August 2014.

Melvyn graduated in English from the University of York and trained to be a teacher at the University of Durham. He began his career in Northamptonshire, teaching at Oundle School and enjoying a short and not massively successful political career which culminated in being elected Mayor of Oundle in 1993. He also served very briefly as an election observer for the Council of Europe before moving to Monmouth School as Head of English and being promoted as Director of Studies there in 1997. In 2001 he transferred into the state sector as Headmaster of Old Swinford Hospital in Stourbridge, serving for six years and subsequently moving to Norfolk as Principal of Wymondham College.

Melvyn was a member of the National Executive of the Boarding Schools’ Association (2004-2010) and was Chair of the Association in 2008-09. He has undertaken a number of governance roles in schools, academies and the FE sector. He has served as a Director of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS) and of Connect - the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. He is currently a member of the Council of School Leaders Scotland. Melvyn is a Burgess of the City of Edinburgh and also an Honorary Life Fellow of the College of Optometrists, a distinction awarded in recognition of his service to the profession as a Lay Member of College Council.

Melvyn is married to Catherine Stratford and they have two adult children. Melvyn retains a personal interest in politics as well as cultural pursuits and vintage transport. His articles on educational and related themes are published from time to time in the TES Scotland and elsewhere.

Treasurer: Brendan Wignall – Ellesmere College

Brendan WignallBrendan Wignall has served as the Headmaster of Ellesmere College in Shropshire, a coeducational boarding and day school, since 1996. He grew up in Preston and has a BA in Philosophy from York University and an MA in Philosophy from Leeds University. He has a PGCE from Leicester University. He began his teaching career at Oakham School in 1984. After three years at Oakham and five and a half years at Christ’s Hospital, Brendan was appointed as Head of English at Denstone College in Staffordshire and subsequently added to that responsibility by becoming Registrar. After three and a half years at Denstone he was appointed to Ellesmere. In his time at Ellesmere pupil numbers have grown by 70% and there has been an extensive building and land acquisition programme. Brendan was Chair of the HMC Membership Committee for five years. He is also Chair respectively of North West Academies Trust; CReSTeD, the leading dyslexia accreditation charity for schools; and British International Education Association, a non-profit organisation with a mission to promote the best of British educational practice overseas. He is married to Anne and has two children, both of whom attended Ellesmere. His son works in finance and accounting and his daughter is a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Brendan is a keen Liverpool supporter and attends most home games with his son.

General Secretary/ Membership Secretary: Dr Simon Hyde

Simon joined HMC following nine years as Head of the King’s School in Macclesfield, where he was also a pupil. In that time, he led the Foundation’s 2020 vision, which transformed the split-site diamond school into a fully co-educational school operating from a bespoke new campus in the country’s largest school improvement project.

After reading history at Christ Church, Oxford, Simon completed a doctorate on mid-nineteenth century Prussia at the universities of Oxford and Bonn.

Whilst a postgraduate, he taught for a year part-time at Stowe. His first permanent post was at Loughborough Grammar School, after which he became head of history and humanities at Oakham. Moving to Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School as Deputy Head (Development), he was allowed to dabble in most areas of school life.

Simon has been Chair of Trustees at the Macclesfield Music Centre and involved in a variety of groups supporting the town’s regeneration.

An ISI inspector, Simon has been a member of HMC’s Professional Development Committee as well as Secretary and Chair of the North West Division.

He added: ‘I am hugely looking forward to sustaining and supporting the work of my extraordinary colleagues in HMC. Post-Covid, it has rarely been more important to champion our schools’ contribution to a forward thinking and diverse educational landscape, where pupils come first.’