Senior School SMT

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.’ During 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 have been educated at Ardingly. Ben’s interests include theatre, fly fishing, tennis and road cycling, as well as the literature and history of America and Russia.

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. She read Mathematics at Queen’s University in Belfast, studied for a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at the University of Brighton and more recently completed her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at University of Sussex. 

Nicola has enjoyed many roles within the College. She joined as a teacher of maths, became second in department, had a year as an assistant Housemistress, was appointed as the head of the Maths department, then moved into Senior Management with five years as Head of Middle School leading to her current role as Senior Deputy Head.

“There is a very good reason why I have been at the College so long, and 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.”

Marco joined Ardingly College as a teacher of Chemistry in 2015, having previously taught at the London Oratory School. His Master’s in Chemistry and PGCE were both read at Imperial College London. His previous roles at Ardingly College have included: Assistant Housemaster; Head of Department; and Head of Academic Systems. He is also a Chemistry examiner and spends his free time volunteering, practicing British Sign Language, or out with the DofE groups.

Having spent 13 years living overseas, she joined Ardingly in September 2014 as a Chemistry teacher and was appointed Director of Activities in 2015 and Head of Boarding in 2018.  Her previous experience includes being a Housemistress at Queen Anne’s, Caversham, Head of Department at Tormead School and teaching at the British School of Houston. She has a BSc in Biotechnology and another passion is Jazzercise – her classes can often be heard around the College campus!

Dan Davies joined Ardingly in 2003, having worked in PR for a hospice charity and then in marketing for the NSPCC in their London Head Office.  Becoming the Head of Business in 2005, he introduced A Level Economics and developed a new department in the Thomas Beard building, introducing the popular ‘Take a Risk’ enterprise programme at the same time.  In 2006 he became Assistant Housemaster of Crosse and then, in 2012, took on the role of ICT Development Coordinator.  Dan was brought up in Wales and he loves being outside in his free time, especially walking and gardening.  He studied at Aberystwyth, a favoured university for students from across Wales, and enjoyed its remote location and beauty.  Having completed a PGCE in Brighton, Dan began his career at Ardingly and is keen to highlight the interest in change and development amongst all staff, regardless of their length of service.  His work in developing the use of ICT led him to be involved extensively with staff training and this informs his current work, in which he aims to build a self-sustaining culture of professional development.  In 2017, Dan joined the Senior Management Team as Head of Staff Development (Teaching).  He says: “I hope to tap into the enthusiasm and passion for teaching among the staff and work with others across the College to continually improve the quality of what we do.”  He continues to teach both Business and Economics, and is a tutor in Crosse House.

Leonie Gurd was born and brought up in the New Forest area of Hampshire, 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 where she was promoted rapidly to Head of Years 8 and 9 and was involved in research into learning with the Hampshire Education research team.  Leonie joined Ardingly College in 2001 as a Chemistry teacher and Assistant Housemistress, and her subsequent roles have included boarding Housemistress, Senior Mistress, and her current position as Head of Student and Staff Support. Leonie describes life at Ardingly College as ‘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.’  In her spare time, Leonie enjoys sailing with friends, and has a home in the New Forest where she loves walking with her dog.

Jon joined Ardingly’s history department in 2019, going on to be Assistant Head of Academic Systems and EPQ coordinator before taking up his current role. Previously, he completed a BA, MSt in Historical Research, and DPhil at Oxford University, focusing on 16th century propaganda, and worked as a strategy consultant and then stipendiary lecturer at Pembroke College, Oxford, before beginning a career in teaching at Whitgift School. Outside of work, he enjoys running, good bookshops, and watching football.

Karen Maurice-Jones read Economics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, before embarking upon a career in the Law, working initially in Corporate Finance at a big City law firm and then for different Development Finance Institutions in relation to various Economic Development projects.  After having daughter number five, Karen decided to pursue a career option that would require less travelling but make good use of her academic background and joined Ardingly in 2013 as an Economics teacher.  While at Ardingly she has been Head of Department and Assistant Head of Sixth Form, and has been involved in a wide variety of activities including Rowing, Debating, Law Soc and Economics Reading Group as well as having led trips to Brussels, Morocco and Mostar.  Karen enjoys the mix of academic and pastoral work in her current role and particularly appreciates working with students from a wide range of different countries.  She says being a teacher is much more enjoyable than being a lawyer! 


Nino Mancino joined Ardingly as Head of Science and Technology in September 2019. He graduated from Imperial College with a Masters and a PhD in Chemistry, the latter involving research into the luminescent properties of lanthanide compounds. Nino’s first teaching post was at Barnard Castle School, in the northeast, during which he completed a PGCE. He then worked at Brighton College for several years, in which he served as Head of Chemistry. Teaching is Nino’s third career – his first was in medical research, followed by a three-year stint in publishing, working as an editor for Nature journals. Outside of work, Nino enjoys DIY, travelling, rock climbing, and spending time with his wife, daughter and four cats.

Jade Rowley-Terry joined Ardingly in 2011 as Head of Prep School Science, having previously worked in the state sector as a Chemistry teacher and Head of KS3 Sciences. As well as running the Prep School Science department, she has been a boarding assistant in our Lower Sixth boarding house and runs our Lower School team building activities. When not teaching, she is busy with her three children, who also attend the College.

Ben has been at Ardingly College since 2011 having previously worked in the state sector. He has been managing the pastoral aspects of Year 7 and 8 for the last 5 years and also works as the assistant Safeguarding Lead. He has a wealth of experience in supporting KS3 pupils and still manages to have time to teach History. When not teaching, he loves to watch his beloved Stoke City crush their opponents on the football pitch.