Governing Body

Abingdon School Governor Profiles

Jon GabitassAdrian Burn, Chairman of Governors. OA (1963). Adrian is a Chartered Accountant. His career focus was mergers, acquisitions and corporate reconstructions as a partner in Binder Hamlyn and, later, Arthur Andersen. Adrian has also been a non-executive chairman and director of a number of companies mainly in the services sector. Adrian was the Honorary Treasurer and Trustee of the NSPCC from 1999 to 2008 and is an appointed trustee of the Royal British Legion. He has been a Governor and Chairman of the Finance Committee of a thriving prep school in London. Adrian lives in Putney and is married with three daughters, one son and eight grandchildren. Mr Burn can be contacted at the school or via heads.pa@abingdon.org.uk.

Jon GabitassJon Gabitass, Vice-Chairman. Educated at Plymouth College and St John’s College Oxford. Jon’s teaching career included Clifton College and Abingdon, where he was Head of English and Second Master. Jon was Headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ from 1991-2004. Present activities include appraisal of headmasters, Wolfson Foundation education panel. Jon is a former governor of four preparatory schools and now a governor of Abingdon, St Helen & St Katharine, and the Godolphin & Latymer schools. At Abingdon he is a member of the Education committee. Married to Fiona with two daughters, Jon’s interests include reading and writing; sport (former rugby blue and triallist); art, music, theatre and walking.

Andrew Saunders-DaviesAndrew Saunders-Davies, Vice-Chairman. Chartered Surveyor with an MBA from Henley Management College. Andrew works as a Divisional Chairman for Berkeley Homes, part of The Berkeley Group Holdings plc. He has worked in variety of industries but has spent the last 20 years in property development. Andrew is married with two children and enjoys sailing, skiing, keeping fit, golf and fine wine. Andrew became a governor in 2006 and is a member of the Finance Committee.

Glynne ButtGlynne Butt. After reading Botany at Somerville College, Oxford, Glynne started her teaching career at Downe House. Marriage to an Oxford don brought her to Abingdon where, for many years, she successfully combined part time Biology teaching with advanced  musical studies. She taught at Our Lady’s (and also, briefly, to cover a staff absence, at Abingdon School) and in 1995  became Our Lady’s first lay Head. In retirement she has continued ISI inspections, has chaired the Governors’ Education committee at Cokethorpe School and been Deputy Chair of the Board at Leighton Park. She continues to be involved with the musical life of the Oxford area and is currently Master of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon.

Jane CranstonPenny Chapman. Having read history at Somerville College Oxford, Penny trained as a solicitor and is currently head of the Charities and Education Group at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP. Penny’s particular specialism is advising boards of trustees on governance and constitutional matters; her clients include a number of leading independent public schools and higher education establishments. As a mother of three teenage sons, all educated in Oxford, Penny can be found most weekends cheering loudly on a touchline.

Dr Owen DarbishireDr Owen Darbishire. A Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford and a University Lecturer at the Saïd Business School since 1996. Owen was educated in both the state and independent sectors and was an undergraduate at Oxford from 1984-1987. Following two years teaching, Owen completed his PhD at Cornell University in the United States. At Oxford, Owen has been the director of the undergraduate programmes in Management from 2006-9 and has run a range of other educational courses for undergraduates, graduates and executives. Owen is married with three young boys. He is a governor of Benenden School, Kent, and a former governor of St Catherine’s School, Bramley. At Abingdon he is a member of the Education Committee.

Judy ForrestJudy Forrest. Educated at The Alice Ottley School, Worcester and Homerton College, Cambridge. Judy started teaching disadvantaged children in the east end of London before moving to Dulwich College Prep School, where she became Deputy Head of their Junior Department. She ran a nursery school whilst her own children were small and then taught at Grosvenor Prep School in Nottingham. She moved down to Oxfordshire 25 years ago and taught at The Manor Prep School in Abingdon, where she was Head of Lower School. She then moved to Windsor to become Head of Upton House School before returning to Oxfordshire as Head of Chandlings School. Now retired, she is currently a governor at The Hall School in Hampstead and St Hugh's School, Faringdon. She mentors new Heads for IAPS and works as an area representative for the Royal National Children's Foundation. Judy has a son (who was at Abingdon) and a daughter and has two grandchildren.

Mark LascellesMark Lascelles. The Headmaster of Dauntsey’s School, in Wiltshire, having been appointed in September 2012. Prior to this, he was the Lower Master (Senior Deputy Head) at The King’s School, Canterbury. Mark was educated at The Dragon, Shrewsbury School and Durham University. After completing his degree in Geography, and a PGCE, he returned to Shrewsbury. He taught Geography, was Master-in-Charge of Football, Fives and Cricket and was a boarding housemaster. He is married to Amber and they have three young daughters. Mark has been a governor of three prep schools, Yarlet Hall, The Ryleys and Brambletye. He joins the Abingdon School Education Committee.

Olga SeniorOlga Senior. MSc in Public Service Management and considerable experience of clinical and managerial leadership within the NHS at local, regional and national level. Olga was recently Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at South Central Strategic Health Authority. Her particular area of expertise is governance, and her interest is in organisational development. Olga has been a governor since 2008.

Olga SeniorProfessor Michael Stevens. OA (1968). Mike qualified in medicine at the University of London. After postgraduate training in Oxford, Manchester and Toronto, an MRC fellowship held at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, and 15 years at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, he was appointed to the Chair of Paediatric Oncology at the University of Bristol in 2001. In addition to clinical and academic duties, he has held appointments as an NHS Trust Medical Director and a Director of Research and Development. As Chair of the Medical Education Committee in Bristol, he was responsible for the oversight of the undergraduate medical programme. President of the OA Club 2011-14. He became a Governor in 2014 and is Chair of the Education Committee. He is married with three children.

Matthew Tate. Matthew is a member of The Mercers’ Company, the Premier Livery Company of the City of London. Through this association he was a governor of Holy Trinity and St Silas School in Camden. After leaving Charterhouse School, Matthew studied at the University of Edinburgh and graduated with a BSc in Informatics (Joint Honours in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence). Following graduation he entered the mobile technology industry, and spent a number of years working for BlackBerry in Europe and North America. He is currently Director of Operations at Europe’s leading Machine-to-Machine / Internet of Things service provider based in Berkshire. He lives locally with his wife and three young children. Matthew is a keen sportsman playing golf, football, cricket and tennis regularly.

Damian Tracey. Degree in Physics from Warwick University and MBA from Oxford Brookes. Damian is currently President at Wayne, a business unit of GE Oil & Gas, covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa and has held a number of leadership positions in industrial technology companies, including Pirelli and Smiths. Damian lives in Witney, West Oxfordshire with wife Jane and their three children. His son became an OA in summer 2012 and two daughters are at St Helen & St Katharine's. Interests include squash, 10km charity fun runs and rambling, particularly in Snowdonia.

Ken Welby. OA 1984 and Chairman of the OA Club. Ken graduated from St Andrews in Economics with International Relations, and also spent a year at UCLA on an exchange scholarship. His career has been spent mainly in the financial world, but he has also worked for the Bursary of the Cothill Educational Trust. He is married to Camilla and they have three children. Interests include running, rugby, music and good food.

Tom AylingTom Ayling, Clerk to the Governors. Oxford chemist; trainee patent agent; taught in London then Abingdon School, finishing as Second Master. Three daughters attended Oxford High School. Governor of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon and of Our Lady’s Abingdon. Interests include all sports, music, architecture, film and travel.