Meet The School Guide Team

Head Girl – Victoria Bond (Chief Executive Officer)

Victoria Bond

Victoria started primary school in the West Midlands in the mid-Seventies and fondly remembers slurping full fat milk through paper straws and ABBA’s Dancing Queen being the most requested single at her first school disco. At secondary school she discovered Depeche Mode, DH Lawrence and the power of a pair of ripped jeans from Chelsea Girl (not necessarily in that order) and was made Deputy Head Girl. Victoria has been thinking up schemes to promote herself to the top spot ever since. After working as a journalist for newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times in London, Victoria moved to Bath with two young children. When faced with her first school application, Victoria found there was a total lack of parent-friendly school information online to help her choose. So the idea for School Guide was born and her Head Girl-ship sealed. Victoria now oversees the day-to-day running of School Guide including data checks, social media and the Blog. These days she drinks coffee (no straw; heat makes paper go soggy) and can regularly be found next to the coffee machine arranging the colour-coded pods according to primary and secondary caffeine levels.

Head of Computer Science – Tom Buckley-Houston (Chief Technology Officer)

Tom grew up in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and loved his time at his tiny rural primary school. Tom and his friends had daily competitions to see who could guess the make and model of tractors passing the school fence. At secondary school, Tom remembers his RE teacher handing out Smarties and, along with testing their religious knowledge, challenged pupils to see who could keep a sugar-coated chocolate in their mouth for the longest. Tom has been building websites since the last millennium and has worked for leading tech companies including Google. Part programmer, part data detective, Tom was the initial coder on School Guide. He searched high and low for usable sources of data and also created our unique star-rating algorithm. Yes, he’s properly clever. Recent tweets from Tom include: ‘Excited to hear about, another open source PaaS based on the Heroku paradigm. It depends on which is the new hotness’ and ‘Setting up ST2 on new machine, I just copied everything in ~/.config/sublime-text-2 from the old box and all prefs and plugins just work.’ In fact, Tom is so fantastically smart that he could probably solve many of the greatest mysteries of the universe if he didn’t get so easily distracted by pictures of cats wearing toast on his PC.

Head Prefect – Dan Bartlett (Programmer)

Bristol boy Dan is the newest member of the team and has been mastering the art of computer programming since secondary school. According to one of Dan’s GCSE teachers (yes, he is actually young enough to have sat GSCEs rather than O-levels) Dan had “an inimitable style of learning.” This refers to Dan’s tendency to go through the year with wildly varying levels of achievement then teach himself the 12-month syllabus in the last seven days. This DIY approach regularly resulted in Dan sailing through his end of year exams – much to the amazement (and, on occasion, disbelief) of the teaching staff. His early independent attitude to education extended to coding. At 15, Dan taught himself Perl, and has since developed in Ruby and PHP, within the frameworks of Rails and Drupal. Dan can be found fixing bugs each day on School Guide as well as having water cooler conversations with Tom about code stability and the merits of refactorisation. Dan is famous in the School Guide staffroom for his extraordinarily delicious homemade lunch boxes. What Dan doesn’t know about Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals isn’t worth knowing. He also can talk you through the merits of sitting on an inflatable ball over a traditional office chair and recently converted the whole team to this new way of sitting. Thanks to Dan the office now looks like a scene from Teletubbies with brightly coloured balls at each desk.

Head of Business Studies – Vicky Whipp (Marketing and Advertising)

Vicky Whipp

Vicky started her school life in Ascot, a town so horsey that the school bus was often held up by thoroughbreds crossing the road. At her all-girls secondary school in Ware, Vicky avoided sport but sprinted through her exams. She also learnt the art of power dressing from a headmistress who only ever wore a magenta suit with A-grade shoulder pads. (It was the 1990s.) Early selling potential emerged in her teens when Miss Whipp set up her first stall selling ice creams (in a cone; and, no, the ice cream wasn’t made by Mr Whippy) at school events. After university, Vicky went on to launch a chain of successful sandwich shops before turning her hand to making her bread and butter from marketing and advertising. She now spends her days helping schools and companies communicate to UK parents as School Guide’s Head of Advertising and in her spare time helps run pre-school inclusivity charity Star4Diversity. Mum of one young son, Vicky is also a keen crafter. Rumour has it she makes all her own Christmas presents. Festive knitted iPad case with shoulder pads, anyone?