Board of Governors

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The Governors at St Hugh's play an important part in the running of the school. Members of the Board of Governors can most easily be contacted via the Clerk to the Governors, Mr Alistair Hamilton, Bursar and Company Secretary of St Hugh's. The Chairman of Governors can be contacted directly by email or by writing c/o St Hugh's.

Below can be found a list of our current Board of Governors:

Mr Paul Daffern, Chair of Governors

Paul Daffern is a qualified accountant and has performed senior Finance Director roles for both European and US companies over the last 30 years. He was worked in both the public sector, as Finance Director for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and the private sector with Autoglass Ltd, Exel plc, PD Ports plc and Infinis Ltd.  Paul became a Governor at St Hugh's in 2005 and was appointed as Chairman of Governors in 2016. He is married to Hilary and has two children, both of whom were pupils at St Hugh's.

Mr Neill Lawson-Smith, Deputy Chair of Governors

Neill Lawson-Smith is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and currently Managing Director of two IT companies specialising in IT support and cyber security. His career has also been focused on consulting and advising a wide number of diverse clients around the world. He is lead IT Consultant to St Paul's Cathedral and Data Protection Officer for the Faringdon Academy of Schools.  Neill is actively involved in developing the school’s IT strategy, and is a member of the Finance & Estates Committee. He is married to Jane and has four children, three of whom were at St Hugh's.

Mrs Lorraine Chitty

Lorraine Chitty is a Consultant for a Solicitors firm with offices in Wiltshire and London. She also sits on the Midland Circuit as a Deputy District Judge and specialises in family law with broad experience across most of these specialised areas. Lorraine is a key member of the Education and Compliance Committee. She is married to Roger and they have two children who were both at St Hugh's.

Mrs Anna Coull

Anna Coull is Senior Partner at White Horse Medical Practice in Faringdon. She was educated at Queen Anne's School, Caversham and studied Medicine at Birmingham. She represented the University at lacrosse and also played in the University orchestra. She then specialised in General Medical Practice before moving to this area in 1990 . She is married to Hamish, a dentist in Witney. Both of her daughters had a happy and successful time at St Hugh's before moving on to Cheltenham College. They are now both studying Medicine at Bristol University, continuing the family tradition.

Mr Sam Cover

Sam Cover is a Chartered Surveyor, working for his family’s property development and investment company. He was born in Oxford and has many fond memories of attending St Hugh’s between 1989 and 1998. Sam and his wife Emma live in Carswell and have two young boys.

Mr Chris Davies, Chair of the Education, Welfare and Compliance Committee

Chris Davies has been the Headmaster of two IAPS prep schools. He ran Abingdon Prep School between 1999 and 2010 and then moved to Edgeborough School, Surrey. He retired to Oxfordshire in September 2017 and is now the Chairman of IAPS. He is an Independent Schools' Inspector and has been on the governing body of independent schools since 2002.  He is married to Jane and has two children.  He is a playing member of MCC and the Chairman of the Eton Fives Association.

Mrs Judy Forrest

Judy Forrest was Headmistress of Chandlings School, Oxfordshire for nine years, and before this was Headmistress of Upton House School, Windsor. Prior to that she was Head of Lower School at The Manor Prep School, Abingdon, Oxon, for twelve years. She is a member of IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools), served on the District Committee and ran the IAPS New Heads' Induction Course. Retired in July 2008, Judy joined the Board at St Hugh's in November of that year and she is now governor of several schools, advises on Pre- Prep education, is an IAPS mentor to new Heads and is an Area Rep for JET (Joint Educational Trust). Her son was a pupil at St Hugh's.

Mrs Virginia Gill, Chair of Finance & Estates Committee

Virginia Gill was born in Oxford and was among the first girls to be educated at St Hugh’s and had a very happy time here from 1979-1984 before moving to St Helen & St Katharine in Abingdon and then to Durham University, where she read Modern Languages and Business Studies. After Durham she trained as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young. After 8 years as an auditor in the Consumer Products sector, she moved to as Commercial Risk Manager. After a few years she decided to retrain as a Modern Languages teacher, doing her PGCE in Sheffield after which she taught at King’s School, Chester; Uppingham School, Rutland and Emanuel School, London. She is currently on maternity leave from teaching at the Junior School of Channing School in Highgate, London. She is married to Alastair and they have a little girl, Henrietta and a baby son, Joshua.

Mr Edward Hayter

Edward Hayter is currently Bursar and Chief Operating Officer at St Edward’s School. St Edward’s is a leading co-educational boarding school for 730 pupils based on a 100 acre site in Oxford. He qualified as a Navigating Officer in the Royal Navy after graduating and saw service worldwide in the surface fleet. In 1996 he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to HRH the Princess Royal and left the Navy in 1998. He went on to hold Corporate Strategy Director roles at BT and Lloyds Bank International, followed by Operating Partner and Managing Director roles in a number of Private Equity Funds.

Mr Graham Varney, Estates & Development Governor

Graham Varney was born in Oxford and attended the City of Oxford High School for Boys before becoming an articled pupil with John Laing Construction. He subsequently qualified as a Member of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors and of the RICS. He is treasurer to Besselsleigh PCC, and is heavily involved with the National Young Enterprise Scheme as a Business Advisor at a number of Oxfordshire schools, particularly at Oxford High School for Girls. Graham was previously a part owner and Director of Benfield & Loxley, an old established Oxford builder. He is married to Alison, a secondary school teacher, and has two grown up children: Oliver who was educated at St Hugh’s, and Martha.

Mr Alex Wildman, Boarding Governor

Alex lives close to the school in Buckland and is married to Tiggy.  They have two children who enjoyed their years at St Hugh’s before going on to Cheltenham College and Winchester. Their daughter is now a primary school teacher and their son is away at university. Alex was educated at Marlborough and Oxford Polytechnic before qualifying as a chartered surveyor, he now runs a commercial property investment company. A keen sportsman, he is active in the local area and is chair of Buckland Parish Council.

The school is well governed and strongly supported by its governing body.

Independent Schools Inspectorate