Media Elements


Click on an SMT members name below to read their biography...

Helen Fraser - Chief Executive

Helen Fraser was educated at the Lycee in London, and subsequently at the Collegiate Girls’ School, a girls’ grammar school in Leicester. (She also spent one year in 1963 in a girls’ school in upper New York State.) She got a scholarship to Oxford to read English and graduated with a first in 1970. After university she taught English in Paris for a year and then travelled in India and South East Asia before starting her first job in publishing at Methuen Academic. She started commissioning books in the areas of literary criticism, and sociology and psychology of education. After two years she left to work for a small start-up publisher, Open Books, where she continued to publish in the same areas (one of the titles she signed up, Neville Bennett’s Teaching Styles and Pupil Progress, later became the subject of an Open University programme). In 1977 she moved to William Collins, where she worked for ten years, during which she continued to publish academic titles including Jerome Bruner’s The Developing Child series and Margaret Donaldson’s Children’s Minds. But she also broadened her publishing to include literary fiction and more general non-fiction. In 1987 she moved to William Heinemann as publisher, and stayed with the Reed Elsevier group for ten years, eventually as managing director of Reed Consumer Books. In 1997 she joined Penguin as managing director, and in the last thirteen years has launched the careers of authors as diverse as Zadie Smith, Antony Beevor and Jamie Oliver. She received a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list. 

Helen has two daughters, now in their twenties, who were educated at St Paul’s, and two stepdaughters who were educated at South Hampstead High School. Her six step-grandchildren attend schools ranging from the Dragon, to the Hall (four of them are boys) to the Village School in Hampstead.

Tom Beardmore-Gray - Finance Director

Responsible for both the Finance and ICT departments, Tom has an MA in Modern History from University College, Oxford and spent three years in the Metropolitan Police before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant at Price Waterhouse. After working for Price Waterhouse in both London and Strasbourg, Tom joined Pepsi Cola International in 1991.

In 1994 Tom moved to the De Beers Group where he spent over fifteen years. During his time at De Beers, Tom held a number of positions based in both this country and overseas – these include the roles of Senior Vice President, De Beers Canada, Managing Director De Beers Russia, CFO/COO Forevermark (the Consumer Marketing Division of De Beers) and President and Chief Executive Officer of Archangel Diamond Corporation. 

Tom is very interested in educational issues and is a Governor of Lambrook School, an independent prep school in Berkshire. He comes from a family of educators – his father taught in a prep school and two of his brothers are Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster of prep schools. Tom is married with three children, all of whom are being educated independently. 

Caroline Hoare, BA Solicitor - Director of People

Caroline joined GDST as its sole Legal Adviser and a member of the SMT in 2002. She is now the GDST’s Director of People, responsible for the governance, health and safety, HR and legal teams. She also acts as Company Secretary. Caroline is herself a “GDST girl”, having been educated at Nottingham Girls’ High School GDST, before reading English and Related Literature at the University of York. On graduating, she worked for a few years for Waterstones’ Booksellers, before retraining and working as a solicitor at top City law firm, Slaughter and May, in London and Hong Kong. Prior to joining GDST, Caroline worked as an in-house lawyer for English Heritage, which gave her a fascinating insight into many historic buildings and monuments, such as Stonehenge and Eltham Palace. Caroline has two young children, a girl and a boy. 

Amanda Riddle - Director of Communications

Amanda read Law at Nottingham University and, after spending some time working and travelling in South America, started her career in marketing working for a light engineering company. She then moved into communications and spent over twenty years at two of the UK’s leading public relations consultancies. During that time she worked with a wide range of clients in both the public and private sectors and with organisations ranging from government departments to blue chip companies. She has extensive experience in the areas of corporate communications, issues management, business to business and brand marketing and has worked in sectors as varied as airlines, paper, food and drink, education, facilities management and transport. 

Christine Sillis - Estates Director


Christine Sillis is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Chartered Building Surveyor, with an MBA, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Building Conservation. She has over 25 years’ experience in the construction and property industry and over 20 years’ experience as a senior manager within large organisations in a wide variety of sectors from residential, commercial and leisure, through to secure estates, healthcare, education and historic estates.

Christine has worked with a range of organisations and clients, including Brent People’s Housing Association, the Borough of Broxbourne, HM Prison Service and HMRC.

She also has experience in the education sector as Associate Director of Navigant Consulting, with particular focus on large scale educational projects via the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme. She worked with the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Hackney and Essex County Council on a total of 36 secondary schools and academies and 13 special needs schools.

Before joining the GDST, Christine was Deputy Director & Head of Projects at the Houses of Parliament, where she was responsible for all operation aspects of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate.

Kevin Stannard - Director of Innovation & Learning

Kevin Stannard joined the GDST from CIE (University of Cambridge International Examinations) where he was Director of Education with responsibility for, among other initiatives, the introduction of the Cambridge Pre-U in both state and independent schools.

With colleagues at CIE he was responsible for a number of international education reform projects, including the promotion of bilingual education in Spain and the Netherlands, and the development of a new curriculum for model schools in Egypt. He has been an advisor to the Singapore Ministry of Education in their curriculum reforms. 

Before joining CIE Kevin taught at a number of independent schools including Eton College, where he was Head of Geography. During his time at Eton he wrote a number of geography text books, conducted research on a range of geographical themes and was responsible for UCAS applications.