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 Safer Recruiters so our team and hosts are all recruited inline with safeguarding guidelines.

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    Lorna Clayton - Managing Director and Founder

    Lorna founded Academic Families in 2012 following her 13 year overseas career in Australia, South America and East Africa. She founded a Kenyan education charity, Assist a Child To School (ACTS) in 1998 funding and placing needy students in education. With 20+ years’ experience in business and as an expat mother, Lorna leads the Academic Families team to deliver our premier personal and professional service. As a British Council trained Agent, Lorna’s knowledge and expertise ensures that our students receive the best possible advice and support leading to their educational success.

    Lorna and her team are recognised by the British Council, AEGIS, Boarding Schools' Association, English UK and Youth Mental Health England for their top-quality service.

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    Roni Jennings - School Placement Consultant, Child Protection Officer

    Roni heads our Placement 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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    Louise Brunton - Business Development Manager

    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. Louise is responsible for introducing our services to families around the world, ensuring we provide the support they need.

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    Sophie Clayton - Guardianship Manager

    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.

    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.

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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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    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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    Janneke Tattersall – Guardianship Care Manager

    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.

    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.

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    Belinda Holley – Guardianship Care Manager

    Belinda supports students in the Southwest of England, and 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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    Anna Chirnside – Guardianship Care Manager

    Anna studied French at Edinburgh Napier University. She spent the third year of her degree studying at a University in the South of France. Since graduating, she has been able to spread her love for languages by becoming an online ESL tutor for international students of all levels. Her passion for exploring new cultures and her understanding of the struggles when learning a new language allow her to ensure that international students make the most of their experience in the UK.

    Anna works in the Guardianship team, managing the UK-wide travel and hosting arrangements for our Spanish students.

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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 understand everything you need to know about UK education and culture.

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

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    Louise Carson - Assistant Digital Manager

    Louise studied Spanish and Italian at the University of Glasgow. As part of her degree, she taught English with the British Council in Italy and took part in an exchange programme working in Uruguay. After graduating she continued to teach in Italy and specialised in IELTS and Cambridge exam preparation. Having lived abroad and learning to adapt to life in a foreign environment, she is able to empathise with our students who come to the UK.

    Louise is on the marketing team and assists with digital and administrative projects.

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    Claire Renaud – Travel
    Co-ordinator

    Claire manages our student transfers and travel arrangements. She also coordinates our Academic Families holiday trips.

    Claire was born in France where she lived until relocating to the UK in 2016.

    She has extensive management and customer support experience and 15 years’ volunteer experience as a Scout Leader.

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    Catriona Murphy – Comms and Marketing Assistant

    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.

    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.

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    Lionel Gauthier – Head of Finance

    Lionel has managed accounts for a variety of businesses and enjoys the international aspect of our business. Although French, Lionel has lived in the UK since childhood but maintains his accent and ties with France. Additionally, he has a strong connection with Japan where he has a holiday home and visits regularly.

    Lionel manages all our finances and so is in contact with our parents and hosts if they have any queries.

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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