Download Now

0121 625 0398

Board of Trustees

The Council

Trustee Profiles

Name: Sir Robert Dowling
Role: Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Education Committee and Safeguarding Champion

Sir Dowling is a pioneering Head Teacher and Chairman with over 40 years experience in the educational sector. For over 25 years, he has been actively involved in the governance of schools and is currently the Chair of Governors at George Dixon Academy, a Director of Nishkam Schools Trust and the education governor consultant to a new free school with 1,000 primary and secondary pupils. He is renowned for rescuing struggling schools and leading them onto outstanding success and in 2002 received a knighthood for services to special needs education having founded Selly Oak Special School. Until recently, Sir Robert was the Head Teacher for St George’s School, where he served for two years.


Name: Barry Kicks
Role: Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Barry Kicks retired in 2000 from a career in the Gas Industry. He is a Chartered Engineer, and spent his early years in Oxford, before moving to the South Coast. In 1989 he moved to the West Midlands in a senior engineering position, before being appointed by British Gas as General Manager for Birmingham, having responsibility for all Engineering, Servicing, Sales, Gas Showrooms, and Adminstration. After a period as Regional Customer Accounting Manager, he directed several national change projects, before becoming National Metering Manager. After retirement, he worked as a Management Consultant on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Barry has been a Governor for 21 years at Selly Oak Trust School, and for 14 years at George Dixon. Barry moved back to Oxford in 2007, but continues his important association with both schools.


Name: Kishen Hawkins
Role: Council Member and IT Champion

Kishen is the founder and Managing Director of FastFwd Ltd, a digital marketing agency which provides solutions and high-tech initiatives for high profile customers. Prior to establishing FastFwd in 2010, he worked for several years as an executive director for an international insurance services firm, where he led major change programmes. Kishen has a Bachelors degree in Law (LLB) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).


Name: Surinder Dhillon

An experienced specialist in employment law since 1998, Surinder leads the Education Legal Services Team at Irwin Mitchell. Her reputation is established with headteachers, Executive headteachers, school governors and school networks/groups.
In addition to dealing with litigation, Surinder is involved in non contentious work. She supports clients on all aspects of employment law and HR matters in strategy and advice. Surinder has also advised and supported clients in complex whistleblowing complaints to the EFA and the DFE.
She is regularly instructed to deal with difficult management and HR issues where schools are in special measures and or a category.
She lectures extensively at school consortium and clusters and teaching schools, providing training across the school community.
Surinder undertakes advocacy in the Employment Tribunal and also disciplinary hearings involving senior staff.
Surinder is a panel member of the NCTL Teachers Misconduct Panel.
Prior to joining Irwin Mitchell Solicitors Surinder has worked as a Senior Employment Solicitor for Birmingham City Council for 14 years. She has experience of conducting complex and high profile Employment Tribunal Claims at Employment Tribunal and up to Court of Appeal level.