Meet the Team at Academic Families

Fully accredited by AEGIS, the Boarding School Association and British Council trained, we support parents to educate their children internationally.  We are also certified Safer Recruiters so our team and hosts are all recruited in line with safeguarding guidelines.

Scroll down or click on the images below to learn more about us.


Head Office

Find out more about our friendly team.


Guardianship Team

Get to know our local guardianship managers.

Head Office

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    Lorna Clayton MBE
    Managing Director and Founder

    Lorna founded Academic Families in 2012 following her 13 year overseas career in Australia, South America and East Africa. With 30+ years’ experience in business and as a former expat mother, Lorna leads the Academic Families team to deliver our premier personal and professional service. Lorna’s knowledge and expertise ensures that our students receive the best possible advice and support leading to their educational success.

    In addition to recognition by the British Council, AEGIS, Boarding Schools' Association, English UK and Youth Mental Health England, Lorna was awarded an MBE by King Charles for Services to Young People.

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    Louise Brunton
    Head of Business Development & Marketing

    Louise is responsible for introducing our services to families around the world, ensuring we provide the support they need. Louise has spent most of her life living outside the UK in SE Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Working for international travel and relocation companies has developed Louise’s cultural intelligence ensuring her excellent international understanding and relationships.

    Coming to the UK for her own boarding school education and selecting the best boarding schools for her own 3rd culture children has given Louise a wealth of personal and professional experience. She is a great support to our parents – understanding their dilemma of choosing the right education for each child.

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    Rachael Finlayson
    Finance Manager

    Rachael has worked in finance for 20 years across several industry sectors. The experience she has gained along with the broad range of skills developed throughout her career are perfectly aligned to Academic Families.

    Following a four-year career break to raise her three children she joined Academic Families as Finance Manager. Having young kids of her own, Rachael is passionate about ensuring our students receive the best level of guidance and support.

Admissions Team

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    Roni Jennings
    Head of Admissions & Guardianship

    Roni heads our Admissions and Guardianship teams and is our designated Child Protection Officer.

    She has taught overseas for 20+ years in British curriculum international schools, latterly as Deputy Head in Kenya. Her insight into the challenges moving cultures, curriculum and learning styles enables her team to ensure students are well prepared. Roni's British Council training, experience and expertise placing students in closely matched schools ensures their happiness and success and her child-centred focus ensures their safety and wellbeing.

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    Belinda Holley
    International Admissions Manager

    Belinda assists Roni with school placement.

    Belinda has spent the last 23 years working in or with British schools. She was Registrar at Westonbirt School and then at Dean Close School, becoming Head of (school) Partnerships for Etherton Education in 2016 for a further 6 years before joining Academic Families. Belinda is passionate about British Education and the integration of International students into the life of their schools via good English language skills. She encourages students to make the most of their time in the UK by joining in with the extra-curricular and making as many friends as possible whilst at school.

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    Julia Reynolds
    Admissions Assistant

    Julia is part of the Admissions Team for Academic Families assisting with the registration process.

    Julia worked for an international trading company based in London in the Administration Department. She relocated to Yorkshire with the group where she became Office Manager.  After taking a fifteen-year break to raise her three children, she returned to work in junior and senior schools where she had several roles.

Guardianship Team

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    Sophie Clayton
    Guardianship Manager

    Sophie manages our Guardianship support and is responsible for our students’ UK arrangements and safety. Her UK-wide team of Area Managers provide local support. Sophie's British Council training ensures her comprehensive knowledge of the UK education system and visa regulations ensuring our families are professionally supported at all times.

    Sophie has lived in Kenya, Australia and the UK. At school, she swam competitively at national level then taught and coached swimming for 7 years at top schools, clubs and Loughborough University. Her natural teaching skills and easy rapport with our students ensure their education goes beyond the classroom as they develop their independence safely and happily.

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    Janneke Tattersall
    Guardianship Care Manager

    Janneke supports our students in Scotland. With her knowledge and years of experience she ensures all our students' guardianship arrangements are perfectly organised so that they can reach their full potential in a secure and positive environment.

    Janneke is from The Netherlands and has lived in Asia for over 20 years whilst working in the travel industry. She lived with a host family for a year whilst studying in the USA and understands like no other how valuable and life changing a good match between the two can be. Raising her son in Sri Lanka has given her a lot of first-hand experience in the international school system and the British curriculum.

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    Lydia Richards
    Guardianship Care Manager

    Lydia is part of the guardianship team, supporting our students in England. Having experienced education abroad, she has a first-hand understanding how to best support students on their exciting venture.

    Lydia completed her European Studies degree in the Netherlands, before returning to her family home in Spain to teach English as a Foreign Language. She has lots of experience working with students of all ages. She came to the UK to continue her studies in Inclusive Education, and is passionate about supporting accessible, high-quality education for all. Drawing on her own experiences of moving countries, she provides empathetic support for students, encouraging them to thrive during their time here.

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    Sara Harvey
    Guardianship Care Manager

    Sara supports our students in the Midlands and Hosts throughout England & Wales.

    Having hosted international students for 20+ years, Sara fully understands the hosting experience and requirements, making her ideally placed to recruit, support and match our hosts with students. She is also a grandmother with a daughter living in Germany.

    Sara has worked in sales and customer-facing roles across different sectors and is approachable and pragmatic. She is enthusiastic about helping students overcome any challenges and make the most of their British education.

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    Danielle Whitmarsh
    Guardianship Administrator

    Danielle has worked as a PA for 15 years in the finance industry so is extremely diligent, organised and approachable. Danielle enjoys helping students who are coming to UK schools to have the best experience possible and ensure things are as smooth as they can be upon embarking on their new adventure.

    Danielle has taught English in Asia, is well travelled and enjoys learning about new cultures and countries.

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    Becki Gregory
    Guardianship Care Manager

    Becki supports our students in the North of England.

    She has had a career in education for ~20 years and has a vast amount of experience working with children of all ages. She has supported her own children throughout their education giving her a profound and personal understanding of the challenges that can be faced by school children. With a love for the pastoral aspect of education, Becki is always on hand to support and solve problems. She draws on her experience and expertise to ensure that our students are safe, happy and achieving their best.

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    Lisa Guo
    Chinese Language Support

    After a business career in China, Lisa came from Beijing to the UK in 2001. Now married with a school age son, Lisa teaches secondary Chinese. Her first-hand knowledge of both education systems enables her to support our Chinese families to understand everything you need to know about UK education and culture.

    Lisa also ensures our schools understand some of the cultural backgrounds our students come from so everyone learns together!

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    Helen Gunn
    Guardianship Care Manager

    Helen is part of the Guardianship Team and supports our Spanish students.

    As a former Primary School teacher and tutor in her spare time, Helen has worked with students of all ages and understands both the Scottish and English education systems well. She also has experience welcoming young people from around the world as part of her role as an Activity Leader at an English Language School.

    Alongside her experience in schools and education, Helen has also worked in administration roles, providing her with effective organisation skills. Her empathetic nature and past work benefit her as she coordinates with school staff to ensure a smooth experience for our students as they embark on their studies in a new environment.

Travel Team

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    Katty Michie
    Group Travel Manager

    Katty works on the travel team, ensuring the seamless organisation of all our fantastic escorted holiday trips. She loves all things travel and has worked in the industry for over 20 years.

    Katty’s professional background has given her the opportunity for extensive travel, learning about many different cultures and traditions. Through this, she has a first-hand appreciation of all the enriching merits of travel and uses this experience to provide the best trips possible for our students. Katty is originally from Peru but relocated to the UK to raise her family and for her children to enjoy the benefits of a UK education.

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    Ola Brauner
    Travel Administrator

    Ola works in the Travel Team, supporting Katty and organising safe travel for all students.

    Ola graduated from a Polish university with a master's degree in Anthropology Studies and worked in HR and administration for over 20 years. She moved to the UK 10 years ago with her family and to Edinburgh in 2021. She brings great organisational skills to the company after working in the Admin Team for the Army Cadet Force for 5 years, now using those skills to provide seamless transport for students.

Marketing Team

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    Catriona Murphy
    Digital Marketing Manager

    Catriona works in the marketing team and her experiences living abroad and working with children allow her to relate to our community of international students.

    Catriona graduated with a degree in Spanish and Italian from Durham University and studied at the University of Salamanca, and in Florence, during her degree. After graduating, she returned to Italy and taught English at schools in Lombardy. Catriona also volunteers as a Youth Worker at charity-run summer camps in Scotland that welcome children from all over the world and she has received training in Child Protection.

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    Sam Bustos Gonzalez
    Head of Digital Marketing - LATAM

    Sam works as our Head of Marketing for Latin America. After graduating with a Graphic Design degree and working for 7+ years in the industry, he decided to move to the world of Digital Marketing. This has allowed him to have remote work opportunities where he learns more about different countries, cultures and people.

    Sam is originally from Mexico and is fluent in both English and Portuguese, giving him the ability to create content and develop strategies that will appeal to the Latin American market.

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    Maddy Cumming
    Marketing Content Executive

    Maddy is our Marketing Content Executive and is responsible for our blogs, design work and social media.

    Maddy studied Digital Media and Interaction Design at Edinburgh Napier University, after moving from a remote village in the Western Isles. During university, she spent a few months working abroad in New York City so is familiar with the culture shock of a contrasting new environment. Maddy also volunteers with summer youth camps and designs the social media for a number of charities she’s involved with.

Free consultation

Get in touch and we will contact you to discuss your child's needs and explain how we can help you year-round.

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