Aspirance Leadership Services was formed by Andrew Trotman and David Richards to combine their distinctive experience in school leadership, coaching and mentoring, recruitment and leadership development.

Andrew Trotman

Andrew graduated with a MA in English at Balliol College, Oxford where he also obtained a PGCE. He began his teaching career at Radley College, before moving to Abingdon School as a housemaster, to the Edinburgh Academy as Deputy Rector and to St Peter’s School, York for nine years as Head Master. In 2011, he retired from St Edward’s School, Oxford where he was Warden for seven years. He led two large schools since then as acting head.

He has a Masters degree in Coaching and Mentoring, which included a research project into the development of head teachers beyond appraisal. He has conducted the appraisals of heads and leadership teams in HMC, IAPS, and Society of Heads schools, and for the CEO of a large charity. He has also coached heads in HMC and IAPS, run training days on coaching and appraisal and, with colleagues from Aspirance, developed bespoke away days for leadership teams.

Andrew has helped governors with head teacher and senior staff recruitment, and with the induction of new chairs of governors and head teachers. He has also supported schools with strategic reviews, parental complaints and staff disciplinary investigations. In addition, he is educational adviser for The Clergy Support Trust, education lead for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and has a private development coaching practice.

David Richards

Graduating with an MA in Engineering Science from Trinity College Oxford, David spent his early career with the Royal Engineers in a range of command and staff appointments. In 1997, he joined Whitehead Mann, a leading UK executive search firm, where he spent 13 years working on senior executive search and management assessment assignments across a wide range of sectors.  These included utilities, consumer financial services, fmcg, technology, manufacturing and business services as well as government bodies and charities.  As a senior partner, he led Whitehead Mann’s public sector and not-for-profit practice, whilst continuing to work for a range of commercial sector clients and chairing the firm’s Quality Committee.

David left Whitehead Mann in early 2010 to work with a network of talented and experienced professionals delivering a range of human capital and talent services to organisations and individuals that prefer the flexible and personalised service that can only be provided by small, client-centric teams.


Ralph Mainard

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Following an early career teaching Religious Studies and Philosophy, Ralph joined Dulwich College in 1993 as Head of the Middle School.  In 2004 was appointed to the newly created post of Deputy Master External with a brief to develop the College’s links with the maintained sector and to create an international presence.  In the maintained sector he led two academy projects from their creation to opening, on the Isle of Sheppey and in the London borough of Lambeth, working closely with executives and governors, and in both cases chairing the governing body.

On the international front Ralph worked closely with a Dulwich management company based in Shanghai, leading to the creation of a Dulwich College International group of seven schools, with plans for further expansion. The group's schools included three international schools in China, two Chinese High Schools, an international school in Seoul, South Korea and an international school in Singapore.  

Ralph left Dulwich College in 2015 and, as Director International for Aspirance Leadership Services, acts as a consultant to UK schools with international operations, and especially to those seeking a move into the international market.

 Adrian Brett

Adrian has worked in education since 1994, following a military career in the Royal Engineers.  After leaving the Army he spent 5 years at Oxford University’s Zoology Department before becoming Bursar at Headington School Oxford.  Since 2005 he has gained further wide experience of independent schools through locum bursar appointments at schools of all sizes, including spells at Sherborne School and Marlborough College, and through appraisals, reviews and consultancy advice at 18 other schools.  He has been a recruitment consultant since 2011, previously with CF Appointments and Gabbitas Education, recruiting for senior executive posts in schools and colleges.  He is a governor of Tudor Hall School and of The King’s School Gloucester.. 

With Aspirance, Adrian now specialises in the recruitment of bursars and directors of finance, as well as in their appraisals and advice on organisational structures.