Pleased to meet you

We founded SchoolGuru in 2005, as a consultancy offering Hertfordshire parents advice on school admissions and appeals. In August 2008, we relaunched as a website. We recently won a competition run by the Cabinet Office for our pioneering use of data. If you've got any queries, drop us a line at

In the meantime, this is who we are, and what we do...

DataGuru – Catherine Bassindale

Catherine founded SchoolGuru after she moved to St Albans for the legendary schools… and then failed to get any of them. Instead, her four-year-old son was allocated a school in special measures, that she hadn't applied for. "It was every parent’s worst nightmare. But we’d never have applied for the schools that we did, if we’d had access to the right information”, says Catherine. "We went through a year of hell – and wanted to help other parents avoid the same fate. So that's why we set up SchoolGuru.”
Catherine studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University and has worked on-staff as a journalist for the Evening Standard and the Independent. She has two children, Finlay, ten, and Arthur, eight. In her spare time, she wishes she spoke fluent Italian.

Pictured left: Catherine with Arthur and Finlay

DesignGuru – Lindsay Robertson

Lindsay is the graphic designer responsible for the look and feel of SchoolGuru. He trained at the London College of Printing, and has been with SchoolGuru from the start. This may have something to do with the fact that he’s the partner of Catherine Bassindale (see DataGuru, above) and the father of Finlay, nine, and Arthur, seven. Lindsay is proud to be an Essex boy (Chelmsford, born and bred). His interests include gardening, camping, surrealist art, and messing about in rock-pools.

Pictured left: Lindsay with Finlay and Arthur

WebGuru – Martin Wilkie

Martin is a website pro and search engine specialist. After 18 years of service at ADP, a top Soho design studio, he established a web development business, Set for the Net. Clients include BT, Reuters and JPMorgan investment bank. He runs a number of enterprises with business partner Nick Sugden (see ProgrammingGuru, below).
Martin is an expert in search engine optimisation, which he describes as “the technical art of getting your website seen by lots of the right sort of people”. He’s also the proud dad of Harvey, ten (a budding GoogleGuru) and Maisie, eight (who wants to do what her mum does). In his spare time, Martin collects Myott Art Deco ceramics and runs a vast network of antiques and collecting websites. He also likes playing badminton and reading books of an esoteric nature.

Pictured left: Martin with Maisie and Harvey

ProgrammingGuru – Nick Sugden

It’s rumoured that Nick is half-man, half-computer – and frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised. His computer and mathematical capabilities were apparent at school, where he also showed entrepreneurial flair, charging classmates 10p per homework assignment. Later on, Nick set up an internet software development company, Just Say Net, and he has devised mainframe and web solutions for a high-street bank and other well-known businesses. He’s got four children: Lara, James, Lukas and Matthew. As well as looking after the growing Sugden clan with wife Christina, Nick still finds time to dabble in developing pioneering software applications. In his leisure time, he enjoys Dr Who, eating cake and “messing around with mathematical and logical concepts”. Now do you see what we mean about being half-computer?

Pictured left: Nick (gone surfing)

School appeals: