Learning Rooms

Gratnells Learning Rooms team

Murray Hudson

Managing Director & Chairman, Gratnells

Murray Hudson joined his father at Gratnells in 2000. He had previously obtained a Degree in Design Engineering and Manufacture at Loughborough University before working as a BBC journalist for 10 years.  He succeeded his father as Managing Director in April 2012. He is currently on both the Executive Council and Management Committee of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the UK trade body that represents school suppliers. He was chairman of the British Educational Furniture Manufacturers Group from 2012-2016. He lives in central Cambridge and when he is not supporting his son Rory on a kart track he is on his bike.

Richard Picking

International Marketing Director, Gratnells

Richard has an extensive background in marketing, having worked around the world with blue chip companies such as Loctite and Ciba Geigy. Most recently he has been running his own digital marketing agency. He joined Gratnells as Marketing Director responsible for UK and International markets. Away from the office Richard is keen on bikes – both the pedal and the motor varieties.

 Dr. Katherine Forsey

Dr Katherine Forsey is one of the UK’s leading outdoor education experts and also works within schools to support creative curriculum development.
As an experienced Project Manager and Programme Co-ordinator, Katherine has a broad experience of delivering progressive educational programmes and managing their expansion. Besides co-ordinating the content and input of all other Gratnells Learning Rooms Panel Experts, Katherine offers her own expertise in outdoor education as part of our forthcoming Learning Rooms modules.

Gratnells Learning Rooms contributors

Professor Peter Barrett, MSc, PhD, DSc, FRICS

Professor of Management in Property and Construction

Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and in 1989 was the first Chartered Building Surveyor to gain a PhD. He has since supervised and supported a wide range of Post Graduate students. To date he has produced over one hundred and seventy single volume publications, refereed papers and reports, and has made over one hundred and ten presentations in around sixteen countries. Professor Barrett has undertaken a wide range of research, typified by a management focus around real world problems using a range of hard and soft research methods. He is currently focusing on the theme of Senses, Brain and Spaces, that is the impact of spaces on people through their senses as holistically interpreted by their brains. This is being pursued via the HEAD project.  Peter’s work is typified by a sustained interest in two main areas; optimising the experience of the built environment and organisation and management in higher education.


Dr. Harriet Sturdy

After a childhood spent dancing and enjoying the company of her large family of 9 adopted siblings and 2 birth siblings, Harriet Sturdy spent a short time at the Royal Academy of Dancing, planning a career in teaching Dance. Following injury, this career was discarded and she went to University to study History, awakening a deep love of academic research.

Three years of an undergraduate degree was followed by an extremely happy time researching for a PhD funded by the Wellcome Trust, in the history of psychiatry, focusing on the early systems of community care
for the mentally ill, both in the UK and around the world. The Wellcome Trust then funded a year of post doctoral research which was to have culminated in a book, but which was cut short following the death of
her father, followed by the severe illness and death of her youngest sister and then her mother, all within two years.

Harriet’s focus and responsibility turned to the School in Cambridge established by her parents. This would have closed if she had not decided to take it on and ensure it was run efficiently and, in honouring her parents, with the same welcoming ethos and family like atmosphere. The School, Sancton Wood, retained its place in Cambridge as a small, caring and academically successful place for children of all abilities and backgrounds to succeed.

After the birth of her son, Samuel, Harriet decided that nursery provision would not only be of great benefit to her but to many parents who were looking for a very small nursery, connected with a school. She opened Baby Unicorns, which still continues today, and is always oversubscribed. Her attention turned next to provision for children for whom Sancton Wood may not offer the most suitable education. Along with her brother Daniel, she opened Holme Court School, in Biggleswade, a school for up to 50 children with dyslexia and related learning difficulties. Children loved their time in the spacious grounds and being with other children who had found school difficult for the same reasons that they had. Specialist teaching and a happy environment made
a real difference to many of these youngsters.

Harriet’s next step was to consider how best children moving from other countries, often with limited English, but very able, academically could be provided for within the local school system. Sanction Wood regularly had enquiries from parents who were moving to Cambridge, sometimes for only a year, and who wanted, above all, a place where their children could fit in, and learn well, as well as continue to learn in their Mother Tongue, for part of the time. With the constant help and support of an amazing Registrar, Mary Greer, Harriet and Dan
opened Cambridge International School in 2006, with under 20 students. This grew rapidly and within 8 years, over 300 students, both local British children and children from all around the world were happily
educated in two idyllic settings,, aided by an outstanding teaching team.

Harriet left CIS after a partial sale to a corporate organisation whose stated intention was to help provide better teaching space for the growing school.

While Harriet is teaching for a few hours a week at a new school set up by parents and staff from Cambridge International School.