The CISC Committee consists of representatives from a broad and diverse range of leading Catholic independent schools. Each representative brings with them a wealth of knowledge and experience to help direct and lead the work of our charity.

Antonia Beary (Chair)

Mayfield School
The Old Palace, High Street, Mayfield,
East Sussex, TN20 6PH

  • Antonia read English at Trinity College, Cambridge where she was President at Fisher House (the Catholic Chaplaincy) and rowed for the University. Loathe to leave, she continued her studies in Cambridge with a PGCE then an MPhil in Catholic Education. After beginning her teaching career at the Leys, Cambridge, she moved to Ampleforth and was there for seven years, latterly becoming the Housemistress of the first girls’ house. After two years as Head of Sixth Form at New Hall, she moved to Mayfield as Pastoral Deputy and Head of Boarding then was appointed as Headmistress at Mayfield in the next year. Committed to the values and challenges of Catholic education, she is a steadfast supporter of single sex education and is also a Governor at St Teresa’s, Effingham.

Michael Connolly (Vice Chair)

Cranmore School
Epsom Road, West Horsley, Leatherhead,
Surrey, KT24 6AT

  • Michael has taught in four HMC schools holding a variety of posts including Head of Physics and Housemaster of a Boarding House. He also had a brief spell working for British Aerospace in Saudi Arabia. He has undertaken further study to obtain degrees in Philosophy, Education and Contemporary Catholic Theology. He joined Barrow Hills School in January 1995 as the first lay Headmaster and in 2006 he became Headmaster of Cranmore School. He is an experienced ISI inspector and has served on various committees including IAPS and a school governing body.

    Michael is married to Shelagh, also a teacher but who now runs the marketing at Cranmore, and they have three adult sons.

Antony Hudson (Treasurer)

St George’s Junior School
Thames Street, Weybridge,
Surrey, KT13 8NL

  • The youngest of 5 brothers, Antony was educated at Donhead & Wimbledon College, before reading History at Jesus College, Cambridge. After studying for the priesthood at the English College, Rome for 2 years, he discerned that his vocation lay in the classroom and has taught in various CISC schools since then, including 6 years as Head of Sixth Form at St Mary’s, Ascot and 3 years running an Upper Sixth Boarding House and as Head of History at Mount St Mary’s College. He became the first lay Head of St George’s Junior School, Weybridge in 2003 and is currently a Governor at Barrow Hills School & Holy Cross School. He is married to Helen, a teacher, whom he met in Lourdes and has 2 sons, Dominic & Jack who are both very musical!

Hilary Blake

Sacred Heart School
Mayfield Lane, Durgates
Wadhurst, East Sussex
  • Hilary studied French and German at Liverpool University and was a late entrant to the teaching profession, obtaining her PGCE following a career in banking. She has worked in both the state and independent sectors, taking up headship of Sacred Heart School in Wadhurst in 2006, during which time she has drawn on the support of the A&B Diocese, CISC and the ISA. She believes firmly in the value of Catholic education and equality of opportunity and aspiration.

    She has three children who were educated in state and independent Catholic schools and now work around the world. Her spare time is taken up with the family dog, reading and being creative in the kitchen!

Sarah Conrad

St Teresa’s Prep School
Beech Avenue, Effingham Hill, Dorking,
Surrey, RH5 6ST

  • Sarah Conrad (BA Hons Dunelm, PGCE, NPQH) graduated with a degree in English, German and Theology from the University of Durham. After completing her PGCE, she began her career in primary education, teaching in a variety of schools including a four year post in the renowned British International School, Tanglin Trust School, in Singapore. On her return to the UK, Sarah worked as Director of Music at St Cedd’s School in Chelmsford before moving to New Hall where she worked for 10 years – 3 years as Deputy Head and Director of Music and 7 years as Headteacher. She has now taken up the Headship at St Teresa’s Preparatory School in Effingham, Surrey. Sarah is passionate about Catholic education and the important part it plays as part of the Church’s mission to “proclaim the Gospel in today’s world” (Pope Francis). She is married with 2 daughters and the whole family are actively involved in their Cathedral Parish of Brentwood. Sarah has a passion for music and liturgy and often runs workshops for the Diocese of Brentwood. In her free time she enjoys reading, dancing, trips to the theatre and scrapbooking.

Michael Kennedy

St Mary’s College
Everest Road, Crosby, Liverpool,
Merseyside, L23 5TW

  • Mike has taught and led in a variety of Catholic schools for the whole of his career to date. He graduated in Macromolecular Chemistry and Industrial Management from Liverpool University and gained his PGCE from Christ’s College (now Liverpool Hope). The first three years of his career were spent at St. Thomas More’s in Stoke-on-Trent before moving on to Stonyhurst to teach Chemistry and Physics, eventually becoming a House Master. In 1994 he gained the post of Head of Science at St. Anselm’s College, Birkenhead and progressed over the next twelve years to Senior Teacher and then Deputy Head. After two years as Head of Oakhill College, Whalley, he was appointed Principal of St. Mary’s College Crosby in 2008 where his four children are pupils. His wife, Catherine, is a solicitor at a large firm in Liverpool.

Stephen Oliver

Our Lady’s Abingdon
Radley Road, Abingdon, 
Oxfordshire, OX14 3PS

  • Stephen was educated at St. Mary’s College, Southampton followed by a degree in Classics at Birmingham University. After completing his PGCE at Queens’ College, Cambridge, he taught for three years at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School in Elstree and then at Uppingham School and the Royal Grammar School, Guildford. After trying his vocation at Downside, he moved to Stonyhurst College where he taught from 1998 to 2008, broken by a year at St Andrews where he completed an Mlitt in Ancient History. At Stonyhurst Stephen worked in the Syntax Playroom before becoming Lower Grammar Playroom Master from 2004 to 2008. Between 2008 and 2012 he was deputy head at St. Benedict’s, Ealing and since then has been Principal at Our Lady’s, Abingdon (OLA).

    Stephen is married to Caroline and they live in Abingdon with their three young children who all attend OLA.

James Murphy O’Connor

Prior Park College
Ralph Allen Drive,
Bath, BA2 5AH

  • James Murphy-O’Connor has been Headmaster of Prior Park College, Bath since 2009. Prior to this he was Founding Head of Sherfield School, Hampshire, after serving several years as a Housemaster at Sherborne School.

    James was born in Windsor and educated at St Benedict’s Ealing, before reading History at Oxford University.

    He is married to Ali and they have four children – Emily and Joseph are at university, while Sophie and Ben attend the College. James has a passion for sport, particularly Irish Rugby (he played rugby for London Irish), and Tottenham Hotspur; he also loves walking, reading (favourite authors include Thomas Hardy and F. Scott Fitzgerald), music and art (particular admirer of Picasso).

Dr John Patterson

St Vincent’s School
Ewe Tree Lane,
Liverpool, L12 9HN