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Hill House Lectures: Inspiring Minds ​​​​​​​

Tim Buckle - Team GB Professional Cyclist

Be inspired and join the conversation.

Since the inception of the Hill House Lectures in 2017, we have been honoured to welcome an array of prestigious thinkers and inspirational leaders to the city of Doncaster.

Our vision is to captivate minds, be they pupils, parents or just those with a love of learning. That is why we are delighted to be able to open these talks up to everybody, for free. They are an opportunity to actively engage with experts and learn from their experience.

The talks are FREE but booking is required.

Discover our previous Lecture Series Programmes below!

Lectures for the academic year 2023/2024 have now come to an end. Keep an eye on our social media channels and eventbrite for next year's exciting programme!


Ailsa Anderson, LVO - Journalist and Former Press Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II

Tuesday 26 September 2023, 5.30pm

Ailsa is a vastly experienced journalist and communications professional with a particular expertise in commentating on the British Royal Family and the Church of England. She worked as Communications Officer for the Cabinet until 2001, when she was appointed as Press Secretary to the Queen from 2001 until 2013. In this key role she was involved in significant events such as two Jubilees, the reporting of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother, the wedding of current The Prince and Princess of Wales and subsequent birth of Prince George.

She then moved on to work as Director of Communications for Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ailsa has been particularly prominent of late as an expert commentator during the Coronation of King Charles, continuing her high-profile appearances on media outlets such as ABC News America, NBC, LBC, Sky and GB News.

In this talk, Ailsa will reflect upon her experiences of life as a journalist and press secretary at the heart of Britain’s great institutions, and the lessons she has learnt from being closely involved with some of the country’s iconic individuals and historic moments.

Jo Fairley - Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Green and Black's

Tuesday 10 October 2023, 5.30pm

Jo Fairley began her career as a journalist before at the age of 23 creating the company which would become Green & Black’s, now a £100m a year success.  Jo will talk about how she ploughed all the equity from selling her flat into buying two tons of chocolate, which became Green & Black’s, and about how business really can change the world – something she’s seen with her own eyes.

Green & Black’s was born in a recession. As a result, Jo is well-placed to help and inspire others during difficult times.

 “It made us lean, agile, quick-thinking, creative and conscious of not wasting a single penny in the budget. Those are the very skills that businesses need, moving forward. In addition, we had strong values embedded in our company’s DNA from the word ‘go’ “

Jo believes that despite these financially challenging times, many more individuals are nevertheless opting to support businesses which show they care – about people and planet, as well as profit.

From her experience in business, Jo will cover a range of elements that are relevant to an aspirational and entrepreneurial young audience, plus some of the highs and lows of Green & Black’s; what they got right, and what she thinks every business has to get right. She is passionate about mentorship and why it’s something that young people should look for, on their career journey.

Greg van der Gaast - Infamous Hacker Turned Undercover FBI Operative

Tuesday 28 November 2023, 5.30pm

Engaging, thought provoking, and humorous are words not typically associated with Information Security speakers, but Greg, thanks to his unique personal brand, fascinating anecdotes, and a very different take on the industry is sure to be a fascinating addition to the Hill House Lectures.

An advisor, CISO, author, mentor, and speaker, Greg was once cited as one of the world’s five most notorious hackers and worked undercover for the US FBI and Department of Defense for three years after setting off an international incident by breaking into a nuclear weapons facility.

He’s since become one of the foremost thought leaders on how organisations can protect themselves with unconventional approaches going far beyond just technology to include elements of strategy, leadership, and human potential, and even turning security from a cost to a competitive business advantage.

Able to entertain, captivate, and enlighten, Greg is an experienced speaker to a wide range of audiences from schools to CEOs. Greg has featured in Wired Magazine, CNN, and numerous Tech and Business conferences.

Parm Sandhu - First Asian Female Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police Service

Tuesday 23 January 2024, 5.30pm

Parm will talk about her controversial and inspirational true-life story that details the appalling prejudice faced by the most senior female officer of colour in the London Metropolitan police force. In the enthralling narrative of her book “Black and Blue”, she chronicles her journey from life in 1960s Birmingham as the fourth child of immigrants from the Punjab to the senior ranks of the Met.

Forced into an abusive arranged marriage aged 16, Parm eventually picked up her newborn son and escaped to London. After several years working in the DHSS, she joined the Met as a constable.

In a police career lasting thirty years, she worked in everything from crime prevention to counterterrorism, however, her time on the force was chequered throughout with incidents of racial and gender discrimination, and she eventually found herself facing a spurious charge of gross misconduct.

Parm tells her shocking story and of her quest for justice in her police work and for herself. It is a story that cannot fail to inspire anyone who has experienced prejudice or abuse of any kind.

Dr Laura Waters - Professor of Pharmaceutical Analysis

Tuesday 30 January 2024, 5.30pm

Dr Laura Waters is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Analysis, managing a large research group alongside her work as a scientific communicator in chemistry and pharmaceutical science. Laura co-presented a BBC Two Horizon programme, Hair Care Secrets. She has also appeared in two series of BBC 1 Watchdog: Test House, BBC3 series Kill it, Cut It, Use It and Channel 4's Superscrimpers. She regularly publishes in scholarly journals and leads her group of research scientists. Her expertise covers all areas of pharmaceutical and chemical research from initial drug development through to modification of medicinal formulations.

Laura is an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a former member of Council, currently Treasurer of the Huddersfield section, and a long-term volunteer visitor for the Benevolent Fund. Conveying scientific information to a wider audience is something about which she is passionate as her own scientific career has developed. She is also heavily involved in the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences. As an acknowledgement of her work in the public awareness of science and alternatives to animal testing, Laura was awarded the British Science Association Charles Darwin Award.

Kerry Daynes - Well Known Psychologist and Author of Best-Selling Books such as “The Dark Side Of The Mind” and “What Lies Buried”

Tuesday 5 March 2024, 5.30pm

Kerry is one of the UK’s best-known psychologists and has worked in her field for over twenty years. She spent the first part of her career working in forensic mental health, including for the Prison Service and both NHS and public sector secure psychiatric services. She quickly gained a reputation for her ability to engage with and treat the most complex, challenging and often dangerous patients.

Kerry is instantly recognisable as one of the UK’s best known forensic psychologists.  She appears regularly on TV and is the Sunday Times Best Selling author of The Dark Side of the Mind. Best known for her appearances on Faking It: Tears of Crime, Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories, The Lying Games, Crimes that Fooled Britain, The Making of a Monster, and Killing Mum and Dad.

Bright, funny, opinionated and offering much to a debate, Kerry has been stabbed and terrifyingly stalked. She has even been locked in a cell with a dangerous prisoner for a misogynistic laugh.

We are excited to welcome Kerry back to Hill House School for her second lecture and this is sure to be a popular event!