Senior Management Team

World Ready Bus

  • Headmaster,  Ardingly College, Ben Figgis
  • Director of Operations, Paddy Jackman
  • Deputy Headmaster, James Johnson
  • Assistant Head, Middle School, Nicola Burns
  • Assistant Head, Sixth Form, Georgina Dore
  • Head of Academic Systems, Paul Ryan 
  • Head of Student & Staff Support, Leonie Gurd
  • Director of Admissions, Marketing & Communications, Pamela Bower-Nye
  • HR Manager, Nicola Smart
  • Headmaster, Prep School, Harry Hastings

Ben FiggisHeadmaster - Ben Figgis, MA(Cantab) MEd (Buckingham)

Ben Figgis has been the Headmaster at Ardingly since September 2014.  After graduating in Modern History from Cambridge University in 1990, his early career was spent in advertising and then television news.  At 30 he decided to follow his passion for History, and took up his first teaching job at Abingdon School in Oxfordshire.  After four years he was appointed to run a boarding house, a role he describes as ‘the best and most demanding in education.’  In his time at Abingdon he coached senior rugby, football and tennis teams, as well as directing several plays.  In 2004 Ben moved to Oakham School as the Deputy Head, and became a strong advocate of learning beyond the classroom,

co-education and the IB Diploma as an alternative to A Levels.  Ben and his wife Joanna have three children: George, Clemmie and Rosabel, all of whom are at Ardingly.  His interests include theatre, fly fishing, tennis and road cycling, as well as the literature and history of America and Russia.



Paddy JackmanDirector of Operations - Paddy Jackman, BSc (City)

Following a career in retail in the United States and England, Paddy started his association with the Higher Education sector in 1999 when he was appointed Commercial Services Director of the University of the Arts.  In 2005 he moved to Imperial College London where he led a £175 million capital development plan to transform the experience of the 13,000 students at the College through the development of facilities and services including new halls of residence, sports centres and catering outlets.  Early in 2010 Paddy decided to take a change in direction and was appointed by Ardingly College to be Director of Operations.  He is a Non Executive Director of Essex University Commercial Services Ltd and has other consultancy roles.  He is Chair of the Audit Committee for the ANUK/Unipol Codes of Management for Halls of Residence and is a Trustee of Cass and Claredale Halls of Residence Association Limited.


James JohnsonDeputy Headmaster - James Johnson, BA (London) MPhil (Dublin)

James Johnson joined Ardingly College in 2016 from Tonbridge School where he taught English to all ages, was a boarding Housemaster and coached the 1st XV and 1st VII rugby for a number of years, as well as cricket and athletics.  As an undergraduate he read English Literature at UCL and he then studied for an MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin, before completing his PGCE at Cambridge. His first teaching job was at Cheltenham College.  He is married to Rachel, a psychologist who works for Young Epilepsy, a charity in Lingfield. They have two children, Joseph and Emma. Having worked in both single sex and co-educational schools, and enjoyed both immensely, moving to Ardingly has been a welcome reminder of the ways in which teaching both girls and boys in class enriches all discussion. He also says: "I am delighted to be in a quintessentially British school which is at ease with its international mix of cultures and global outlook."




Georgina DoreAssistant Head (Sixth Form) - Georgina Dore, MA (Oxon) 

Georgina Dore joined Ardingly College in 2013 from Brighton College, where she was Head of Politics, an Assistant Housemistress and Deputy Head of Sixth Form.  As an undergraduate she read History and Politics at Oxford. Her first teaching job was at Uppingham.  Her fiancé, Richard Stafford, is Director of Music at Ardingly College. Having previously worked at A Level-only schools she has enjoyed overseeing the delivery of the International Baccalaureate, and has relished working with the Sixth Form at Ardingly College, particularly in preparing them for university and life beyond the classroom. Away from school her interests include local politics, Byzantine and Eastern European history and horticulture.




Nicola BurnsAssistant Head (Middle School) - Nicola Burns, BSc (Queen’s Belfast)

Nicola Burns joined Ardingly College in 2008 from Tonbridge Grammar School, where she taught Mathematics to all ages and was the Assistant Head of Mathematics.  As an undergraduate she read Mathematics at Queen’s University in Belfast and studied for a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at the University of Brighton.

She is married to Greg, a marketing and sales manager and they have two children, Evie and Georgia.  Nicola has enjoyed many roles within the College, including Assistant Housemistress, Head of Mathematics and more recently she was appointed Assistant Head (Middle School).  "There is a very good reason why I have been at the College so long, that is because it has a constantly evolving and outward-looking desire to improve. The students and staff are a real pleasure to work with and the international diversity is a rare find in such a beautifully set ‘traditional’ British School."


Paul RyanHead of Academic Systems - Paul Ryan, MA (Oxon)

Paul Ryan joined the Mathematics Department of Ardingly College in 2011 and since then he has been responsible for the College timetable and is editor of the Annals.  He previously spent 12 years teaching at Sherborne School, Dorset; there he was an Assistant Housemaster and Deputy Head of Mathematics, as well as being involved in the school Music department, playing and singing in various ensembles, both in school and in the wider local area.  He read Mathematics at Oxford, where he also ran one of the university’s major orchestras.  Following a year at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, where he taught some Music, he took his PGCE at Cambridge.  For more than ten years, Paul has examined A Level for OCR, and IGCSE for Edexcel.  A former president of the O&C Universities Lourdes Hospitalité, he works in Lourdes for a week every summer.  He is married to Sarah, the Deputy Head of Mayfield School, and they have a daughter, Olivia. Having taught in boys’ schools before coming to Ardingly, he finds the cosmopolitan mixed environment a wonderful, stimulating place to be.


Leonie GurdHead of Student and Staff Support - Leonie Gurd, BSc (Exeter)

Leonie Gurd was born and brought up in the New Forest, where walking and sailing from an early age developed into lifelong loves.  She read Chemistry at Exeter University, where she also developed an interest in business management.  She secured a work placement in industrial management in Japan and then gained a place on the Whitbread Graduate Management Training Scheme, working for the company for several years.  With Chemistry her primary interest, she was tempted back into education and, after completing her PGCE at Leicester University, taught sciences to all ages at a maintained co-educational school in Hampshire; she was promoted rapidly to Head of Years 8 and 9 and was involved in research into learning with Hampshire Education research team.  Leonie joined Ardingly College in 2001 as a Chemistry teacher and Assistant Housemistress, and has progressed her career through boarding Housemistress, Senior Mistress to Head of Student and Staff Support. “Life at Ardingly College is a microcosm of the world, with all its excitement, challenges and wonders. I have learnt so much from both staff and students, past and present, and hope I can continue to pass this learning on to others.  I have also scared myself half to death sailing with friends, bought a home in the New Forest and have a dog I love dearly.”


Pamela Bower-NyeDirector of Admissions, Marketing & Communications - Pamela Bower-Nye,

BA (Leeds) DipM  MCIM  FIDM

Pamela's career in Marketing and Innovation spans 25 years in world-leading companies including Pepsico, The Body Shop, Nestlé, Diageo and Mars. She has led local and global teams for household brands such as Smirnoff Vodka, Gordons Gin, Fruit Shoot, Pepsi, Nescafé, Extra and recently at Graze. Her career has taken her and her family overseas to the US and the Netherlands. In 2016, following years of travelling, she decided to change direction, spend more time with her family with a local commute and take on her new role, building Ardingly College's reputation and championing the School. The decision was an easy one as her children, Charlotte, George and Annabelle, attend the school and she loves the College.

When not working or involved in events at Ardingly College, Pamela can be found walking her dogs, or reading a good crime novel. 



Nicola SmartHuman Resources Manager  - Nicola Smart, BA (Leeds); MCIPD

Nicola Smart joined Ardingly College in 2010 to set up and lead the first HR function at the College. She is an experienced HR professional, having held leadership roles at Accenture and BT, as well as running her own HR consultancy business, working with a range of companies to improve their policies, procedures, contractual matters and advising on organisation structural change. Nicola studied Psychology and Sociology at Leeds University and continued at Leeds Business School to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Personnel Management. She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Chartered MCIPD). Nicola is married to Tony, a Marketing and Communications Associate Director at Accenture. They have three children, Rebecca, Kieran, and Lucy, who attends Ardingly Prep School. Nicola believes the success of any school lies in the quality of the teaching and the staff employed.  She says: “Ardingly is a thriving school and we are lucky enough to have over 400 talented and committed people, working either directly with our pupils in the classroom, or  behind the scenes keeping the school functioning effectively in our Grounds, Maintenance, Catering, Domestic and Administration teams. It's my role to help Ardingly attract, recruit and retain top quality talented staff, and to ensure that the College continues to adhere to the very highest standards in its employment practices."


Headmaster, Prep School, Harry Hastings BA (Hons), MEd (Oxon)


Harry Hastings joined Ardingly College Prep School in January 2018. He was previously Head of Brighton College Prep School. He has taught at both boarding and day schools, including the Dragon School in Oxford and Cumnor House.  

Harry is married to Kate, a consultant anaesthetist at Brighton Hospital. They will be moving to Ardingly College with their children, Lizzie (11), Barney (9) and Rex (5). 

Mr Hastings commented: "It is an extremely exciting time to become part of Ardingly College. The school's World Ready initiative is one that sits closely with my educational philosophy and I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."