Abingdon School Governor Profiles
“Governance of the school is excellent. Governors have a detailed insight into the workings of the school and ensure that all statutory requirements are met.” - ISI Inspection
“Leadership and management are also excellent.” - ISI Inspection
Professor Michael Stevens, Chairman of Governors. OA (1968). Mike qualified in medicine at the University of London and specialised in paediatrics. He worked in the UK and overseas before appointment as Professor of Paediatric Oncology at the University of Bristol. In addition to senior NHS and university responsibilities, he has held professional and academic leadership positions in the UK and Europe. Now retired from clinical practice, he remains academically active in a part time capacity as an Emeritus Professor. He was President of the OA Club 2011-14, became a Governor in 2014 and was appointed Chair in January 2018. He lives between Bristol and Bath and is married with three grown-up children, one of whom lives in Hong Kong where he is a regular visitor. He can be contacted at the school via email@example.com.
Damian Tracey, Vice-Chairman. Damian became a governor in 2012 and is a member of the Finance Committee. He has worked in Private Equity and is currently CEO of a global fall protection safety company – Kee Safety. Prior to this Damian held several senior leadership positions in industrial groups including Wayne Fuelling Systems, Smith’s Group and Pirelli. He has a Physics degree from Warwick University and an MBA from Oxford Brookes Business School. Damian is married to Jane, a teacher at The Manor, and has three children; James (OA), Eliza and Lydia. Damian enjoys walking, jogging and music.
Tom Ayling. Educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, Tom went on to read Chemistry at Christ Church, Oxford. Following work as a trainee patent agent, Tom taught at Emanuel School in London before moving to Abingdon School, finishing as Second Master. He is married with three daughters who attended Oxford High School. Tom is Master of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon and a former governor of Our Lady's Abingdon, serving on the Finance & General Purposes Committee and as Chairman of the Education Committee. Previously Clerk to the Governors at Abingdon School, Tom is now a member of the Education Committee. Interests include all sports (especially tennis), music, architecture, film and travel..
Robbie Barr. After an education at the Dragon, Sedbergh School and Magdalen College, Oxford, Robbie qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He has spent his career working in finance and has had senior positions in companies including Vodafone, Terra Firma, Odeon & UCI Cinemas and Four Seasons Health Care. He is currently a senior adviser to the Canadian pension fund OMERS and a director of Associated British Ports. Robbie has lived in Abingdon for over 20 years. His three children were all educated locally. A keen sportsman, he enjoys tennis, golf and skiing.
Glynne 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 a governor of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon.
Jonathan Carroll. Headmaster of St Piran’s School from 2001 to 2019. Jonathan was previously Deputy Head and Director of Studies at schools in Woking and Pangbourne. He has been Vice-Chairman of IAPS, Chairman of IAPS District 10, sat on IAPS Council, IAPS Education Committee and also the ISEB Board. Jonathan is a governor and Chair of the Education Committee at Bishopsgate School. A geographer by degree, he taught the full range of subjects at primary age in both state and independent schools, as well as a period teaching overseas in Brunei, with Shell. He has also been Head of Geography, Science and History during his career. Jonathan enjoys sport, having played at a reasonable level in several major sports as well as having a social interest in many others.
Penny 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.
Mike Farwell. Mike is a chartered accountant, with a career working for international and regional accounting firms. He has been a partner at James Cowper Kreston since 1995. Mike has substantial expertise in accounting, audit and advisory work, with a specialism in charities and education, advising on risk, governance and financial matters. He is a trustee of several charities, including the mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind, a further education college and an arts charity. An economics graduate of St John’s College Cambridge, Mike has two sons who were both educated at Abingdon. Mike’s off-duty interests include golf, sport, current affairs, walking and travel.
Rob Jardine-Brown. Following a history degree from Bristol University, Rob trained as a solicitor and is currently a partner at Wikborg Rein LLP. Rob's area of practice is in the Shipping and Offshore sectors with a particular emphasis on all types of dispute resolution. Rob is a member of the Mercers' Company, a livery company in the City of London and sits on the Audit Committee. He is married to Francesca and has one child remaining at an independent school with two more who have already left. An ex-rugby player Rob retains a keen interest in sport and when not supporting on the touchline continues to play cricket and golf and has recently taken up cycling.
Mark 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.
Steven Sensecall. Having studied planning as an undergraduate and graduate, Steven joined Kemp & Kemp LLP in 1982, becoming an Equity Partner in 1987. Steven is now Head of Planning (South) and an Equity Partner at Carter Jonas LLP. He leads a team working for a wide variety of public and private sector clients providing planning consultancy services on a national basis. Married with four children in their 20s, Steven has firsthand experience of Abingdon and Abingdon Prep through his two sons. An avid reader, gardener and sportsman Steven played semi-professional football and is now a keen cyclist, skier, tennis player and walker.
Matthew Tate. Matthew is a member of The Mercers’ Company, the Premier Livery Company of the City of London. 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 Chief Commercial Officer at Europe’s leading 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.
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.
Kate Wheeler. Kate qualified as a doctor from King's College London. After working in different specialities including general practice and a year in an African mission hospital she decided to specialise in paediatrics. She has been a consultant in paediatric oncology in Oxford since 1995 and has also held many roles in regional and national management (NHS England) and doctors' education including being the Programme Director for the Oxford School of Paediatrics. Kate is also a medical trustee to two children's charities - Neuroblastoma UK and Sebastian's Action Trust. Kate lives in Newbury and is married to Tom Rossiter a solicitor. They have a daughter and two sons both of whom are OAs. Kate's interests include sport, especially tennis and recently Park Run, in addition to supporting her sons' Great Britain rowing careers. Kate also enjoys music, playing the violin in local orchestras.
Harriet Woollard. Harriet started her career as a graduate trainee with Unilever. She has worked in marketing, communications and corporate strategy related roles in the UK and abroad, on global brands including Dove, Wall’s and Lifebuoy. Passionate advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, with recent focus on developing partnerships between businesses and charities to help drive positive social impact in tandem with sustainable growth for businesses. Abingdon resident, OA parent, sports enthusiast and volunteer at charity SOFEA/FareShare in Didcot.
Clerk to the Governors - Justin Hodges, Director of Finance and Operations, Abingdon School