Leadership Team

David Benson – Principal

David is the founding Principal of Kensington Aldridge Academy. He was appointed in March 2013 and took up his post in September that year. Over the last five years he has led the development, set-up and expansion of KAA to this point.

Prior to this role David worked for ARK schools, one the UK’s leading academy chains, for 8 years. He worked first at Burlington Danes Academy, a turnaround school, and then Ark Academy in Wembley, a start-up which – just like KAA – opened in new buildings with initially just Year 7.

At Burlington Danes, David was part of the leadership team which turned the school around, raising attainment from 35% 5 A*-C at GCSE (inc. EN & MA) in the year he joined to 75% in the year he left. He worked closely with Dame Sally Coates, the Principal at BDA, to deliver this improvement.

In 2009 he was promoted within ARK to be a founding Vice Principal at Ark Academy. Along with Delia Smith OBE, the Principal, David led the planning and set-up of that school: recruiting the staff and students, inducting them, and planning the systems and structures that would underpin the school’s success. The school opened to Year 7 in September 2010 and was judged “outstanding” by Ofsted in its first year. As VP in charge of Assessment & Curriculum and Teaching & Learning, David was instrumental to both the school’s initial success and then to maintaining its high standards as it grew.

The assessment and tracking system David developed at Ark Academy has been recognised as a model of best practice and was implemented across all ARK schools (and in some others outside the network). In his final year at Ark, David took on the role of ARK Network Lead for Assessment alongside his VP responsibilities, undertaking school improvement work in other ARK academies for one to two days each week. David has co-authored a book about the leadership and management of teaching & learning and assessment, ‘Creating Outstanding Classrooms’ (Routledge 2013), and edited a set of case studies which describe the process of opening a new school and leading it to outstanding.

Anna Jordan – Senior Vice Principal – Assessment & Curriculum

Anna is Vice Principal in charge of Assessment and Curriculum. She was also appointed in December 2013 to take up the post from April 2014.

Prior to this role, Anna was Assistant Headteacher at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College (BTHCC), an 11-18 school in South Manchester. Before taking on this role she was Head of Maths at the same school. BTHCC has been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in three consecutive inspections, most recently in 2013. It is a nationally recognised as a centre of excellence and has Teaching School status.

At BTHCC role she was responsible for leadership training and the coordination and development of the middle leaders within the school. Through the school improvement work BTHCC engaged in, Anna designed and delivered leadership and coaching programmes for school leaders across the North West. As a Future Leaders participant she has also supported other schools nationally in developing the quality of their teaching and the structure of their curriculum.

As a Head of Mathematics Anna transformed the department’s GCSE results: improving them from 55% to 81% A*- C over four years. Throughout her career she has been passionate about developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning within Maths. In conjunction with the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Mathematics in Education and Industry she developed new approaches to teaching the subject which have now been shared widely with other schools. She has supported many schools in the development of their Mathematics curriculum and teaching through her work within the SSAT and PiXL networks.

Rob Pavey – Vice Principal – Sixth Form

Rob is Vice Principal and Head of Sixth Form at KAA. He was appointed in November 2015 and took up the post in January 2016.

Rob received a first-class degree in languages from Oxford, before completing seven years in the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. He then left the army to train as a teacher. He has held a number of leadership positions – for example Head of Modern Languages at Lancing College and Head of Sixth Form at Magdalen College School (MCS), Oxford. He has also worked at Dulwich College.

Rob has therefore seen, first hand, how the very top independent schools in the UK operate, and has detailed knowledge of what students need to do to secure top grades at A-Level and progress to Russell Group universities. The Sixth Form he has run at MCS for the last three years has been consistently in the top five schools in the UK for A-Level results.

He has, through his work in the Army and the community projects he is involved in, a wide breadth of experience and the personal qualities that are needed to see that this very distinctive project is a success. At KAA we are building a state sixth form offering excellent education, free at the point of delivery, to students from our wonderful community, irrespective of their backgrounds or family income.

Mark Harris – Vice Principal – Finance

Mark joined KAA in July 2016 as Finance Director responsible for all of the back office functions of the school comprising Administration, Facilities Management, Finance, HR and IT.

Prior to joining KAA, Mark worked at BG Group, a FTSE Top 25 oil and gas company. After training as an accountant, Mark held a number of senior management roles, most recently in global shared services where he had responsibility for the global employee service desk, HR systems and payroll as well as driving through process efficiencies in global accounts payable.

Ryan Bernard – Assistant Principal – Behaviour

Ryan is Assistant Principal in charge of Behaviour for the academy. He joined KAA in August 2014 as Lead Teacher of PE. Since joining the academy he has founded a dynamic PE department, led Pankhurst as Head of House for 2 years, and been Director of Learning for Year 7. He was appointed Assistant Principal in February 2017 and took up the post in June 2017.

In 2015 Ryan completed a Master’s degree in Teaching & Learning from the Institute of Education. Before joining KAA, Ryan was Head of Boys PE at Phoenix Academy, an 11 – 19 school in Shepherds Bush, London. Whilst at Phoenix, Ryan had a number of responsibilities including GCSE programme delivery and Educational Visits Coordinator.

Katy Deacon – Assistant Principal – Tracking & Interventions

Katy is Assistant Principal in charge of Tracking & Interventions. Katy joined KAA in August 2014 as Second in Charge of Science with responsibility for the House System within the academy. In September 2015 she took up the role of Director of Learning for our founder cohort of students. She was appointed Assistant Principal in February 2017 and took up this post in June 2017.

Katy has been a Teacher of Science since 2007. In 2013 she completed a Master’s degree in Education Management at Kings College London. Before joining KAA, Katy worked at Ark Academy and Rosendale College, both rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

Niall Dumigan – Assistant Principal – Inclusion (Interim Role)

Niall has an Interim role of Assistant Principal in charge of Inclusion in response to the fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017. Niall was appointed in July 2017 and took up the role immediately to oversee student support following the fire.

Niall joined KAA in August 2014 as Lead Teacher of Learning Support, he was promoted to SENCO in September 2016. Prior to joining KAA, Niall was the Lead Teacher for Behaviour at John F Kennedy School, a Special Needs Academy in East London. Niall’s extensive history in SEN education and learning support give him a wide range of experience for the responsibilities of Learning Support, SEN and Therapies at KAA.

Toby Fisher – Assistant Principal – Culture & Ethos

Toby is Assistant Principal for Culture and Ethos within the academy. He joined KAA in August 2014 as Lead Teacher of Music. In September 2016 Toby took up the role of Director of Learning for Year 12, assisting in leading our founder sixth formers to an excellent set of results in our first national examinations. He was appointed Assistant Principal in February 2017 and took up the role in June 2017.

Before joining KAA Toby was a Teacher of Music at Coombe Boys School. His previous experience as Duke of Edinburgh Leader at Coombe Boys School, Head of House at KAA, as well as Head of Year at both schools has given him extensive experience of pastoral and extra-curricular leadership.

Laurence Kavanagh – Assistant Principal – Academy Specialisms

Laurence is Assistant Principal in charge of Academy Specialisms. As well as assisting in the daily logistical organisation of the academy day he is responsible for overseeing academy wide participation in Performing & Creative Arts whilst working with our official school partnerships LAMDA and RADA. Laurence also works with supporting students in alternative routes of education which includes KAA’s focus on entrepreneurship and supporting heads of department to develop their curriculum to include such links.

Laurence joined KAA in August 2014 and as Head of Drama he built his department’s assessment model and curriculum plans and oversaw the Drama results of 81% A-C in the Academy’s first AS results. As Head of Angelou House he also secured the house cup with the help of his team of students and staff. In 2015 Laurence was promoted to Director of Learning where he was integral in the development of the Academy’s anti-bullying initiatives and assisted in the development of the academy’s updated behaviour policy. In July 2017 he joined the leadership team as Assistant Principal.

Before joining the academy, Laurence was a Deputy Head of House and Teacher of English & Drama at Chelsea Academy, an 11-18 academy in West London, which was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2012. His work on anti-bullying was credited in the Ofsted report. Prior to this he worked at Stockwell Park High led by Judette Tapper (CBE) which was also rated Outstanding in both 2006 and 2012.

Badsha Malik – Assistant Principal – Safeguarding

Basda Malik was appointed in March 2014 and took up this post in June.

Basda was previously Assistant Director of Learning at Bishop Douglass Science School. He was appointed there when it was under performing and was  part of the leadership team that led the school to become a ‘Most Improved’ schools with the progress achieved by students in the top 10% in the country.

Basda has worked in various roles including Lead Teacher of History, Highly Able Coordinator, Director of Studies and Key Stage 4 Coordinator. His lead in history supported the department in doubling their results, with significant numbers achieving A/A*. As Key Stage 4 Coordinator, Basda played a lead role in developing a framework that supported and challenged heads of years to enable them to be considered “Outstanding”.