Our People

Find out more about our team members

Philip Gibson – Chief Executive Officer

Philip has been involved with Ashby Knight from the outset. Philip holds a number of directorships. His background is in Finance having spent the first twenty years of his working life in banking where he progressed to senior business manager level before leaving in 2005 to pursue other interests.

He also spent eight years on the governing body of a local school during which time he was the Vice Chair of Governors, the Health and Safety Governor and the Finance and Premises Governor. Phil oversees all strategic issues at Ashby Knight.

Rob Cavender – Director of Learning

Rob pursued an English Literature degree at Essex University, graduating in 1988 followed by a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Leeds University.

“I love words and their power to stir our emotions - to make us laugh and cry, to persuade us and enrage us, to scare us and embolden us, to transport us to new worlds and to fan the fan the flames of our imaginations. Words are powerful tools and those who can understand and control language possess a special kind of power in their lives.” (R. Cavender)

Mr Cavender has 30 years’ experience as a teacher of English Language and Literature at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level in secondary schools in Keighley, Bingley, Middlesbrough, Doncaster, Halifax and Mytholmroyd.

Ashfaq Ali – Director of Student Development

Ashfaq Qualified with a BSc Honours degree in Chemistry from the University of Manchester in 1994 and followed up with a P.G.C.E in Secondary Science from The University of Manchester. During the early spell of his teaching career he successfully founded and became the Headteacher of a Supplementary school with the sole aim of providing educational opportunities to disadvantaged children. The project grew to 3 schools and received Media attention in the National Broadsheets and Television media.

Ashfaq became a Headteacher of a Private school and within 2 years quadrupled the 5 G.C.S.E key performance indicator from 15% to 60%

He has also delivered presentation to a European focus group delegation on raising achievement with Supplementary Education. Ashfaq has managed and run his own tuition company as well as working as lead tutor in several Tuition companies before switching into a career in Business.

After a successful career in Business with diverse roles in senior Management to Directorship he has returned full time into the Education sector. His varied skills in Industry and Education are a huge asset when Tutoring as it brings out real life examples of applications of concepts which students study.

Over the course of the last 25 years Ashfaq has successfully tutored pupils for Grammar school Entrance exams and has a passion for teaching both Mathematics and Science to A-Level.

“ I love to teach as it offers me the opportunity to see children grow in confidence. Children learn at their own pace and I believe the difference between an average teacher and a brilliant teacher is the recognition of each childs starting point and potential. Tailoring the teaching to each childs needs and potential is the key to tutoring successfully. Teaching Subjects such as Mathematics and Science which can sometimes be abstract is a challenge. However with my vast experience in Business and Industry I can make these concepts relevant and interesting to all my students”

Andrew Thompson – Director of Operations

Andrew graduated from the University of Leeds with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree in 1988. He is a seasoned manager with an extensive background in business development. He has worked with a wide range of organisations in the legal, recruitment, publishing and education industries.

After an early career in the legal sector, Andrew pursued his interest in business and in particular, in the growth of new enterprises. He has been involved with many organisations in the early stages of development and understands the vital role that good employees play in their success.

Andrew is passionate about the provision of high-quality education, in order to develop a pool of talent for companies; and has worked with Russell Group universities on their MA recruitment and business engagement programmes. He has also assisted several leading colleges in the north of England in the development of their modern apprenticeship schemes. Andrew’s involvement with education has now led him to join the management team at Ashby Knight, where he hopes to nurture the business leaders of the future.

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