Governors

Riverston School is part of the Chatsworth Schools Group which operates with its own Board of Directors.

The key responsibility of the Governors is to ensure that Riverston School has a clear sense of purpose and direction. They are responsible for creating an ethos of high expectation and will monitor, evaluate, support and challenge the School, the Headmaster and the Senior Leadership Team – but won’t manage or interfere with the day to day operation of the school. The Governors will ask and be able to answer, four key questions:

  • How well are we are doing?
  • How do we know?
  • Is it good enough?
  • What else do we need to do?

Chatsworth Schools is conscious that they must follow the Department of Education’s Governance Handbook of February 2017, with their six key features that decide all effective governance:

Together with the Chatsworth management team, the Governors offer support to fulfil these roles. Through regular visits to schools Governors assist in compliance across policies and procedures.

Governors assist in the appraisals of Heads, retain an objectivity in cases of complaint or performance and generally provide critical friendship to the Management Team.

The CEO (Proprietor) is Anita Gleave: office@chatsworthschools.com

The Chairman of Governors’ is Gordon Milne: gmilne@chatsworthschools.com 

 Company Number:  09540576  –  Registered Office: Great Tew Estate, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 4AH.

Gordon Milne (Chair of Governors)

B.Ed (Hons), Cert.Ed., MCollP, FRSA

I have worked in independent schools for the last 38 years and have taught History, English, PE and almost every other subject on the Primary curriculum at some point. I became a Head at the relatively young age of 32 and spent the next 27 years leading four schools in Hampshire, Yorkshire (x2), and latterly in London. At one time my three children were in my school and my wife was a teacher. I have experience of single sex and co-educational education in proprietorial, group and charitable trust owned schools. I have been a school governor for more than ten years and am currently Chair of Governors of a 3-11 years’ co-ed prep school. I mentor and appraise Head teachers, conduct inspections and advise on best practice in safeguarding and governance. Sport is a passion, and I play (the oldies!) and officiate county badminton for Yorkshire, where I have been Chairman of the County Association for more than ten years. I also sit on the Disciplinary Committee of Badminton England and I am currently the Independent Chair of a major competition review.

Nigel Lowson (Deputy Chair of Governors)

MEd Management, PGCE, BA (Hons)
After Oakham School I went to Durham University to study Geography and then on to Bath to complete my PGCE. Six years teaching at Christ College Brecon were followed by six years at Sherborne School and then the same time as Head of Department at Tonbridge School. Then I enjoyed 18 years as Deputy Head at RGS Worcester where I was in charge of pastoral care and the co-curricular programme. I was also an examiner for Geography GCSE and A levels as well as being an ISI inspector. Why teaching and why pastoral care? Simple – my love of people, my deep curiosity in human behaviour, my desire to help people to become more balanced, more content and more fulfilled. I suppose I’m a little nosey as well! After retiring early I moved with my wife to Devon in 2014 and seem to have been almost as busy as ever! My field is emotional well-being, I work with individuals, families as well as corporates. As a long time meditator I know its value. I began teaching it many years ago to pupils, staff and even parents! I now teach individuals and groups face-to-face and online how to be mindful and how to relax and resist stress. In addition, I’ve led evening classes as well as day and weekend retreats. Since retiring from teaching I also offer help to people who wish to sleep better, to be more mindful in their communication, to be less negative, and to bring mindfulness into their businesses. I’m also keen to support business owners who are looking for ways to enhance their employees well-being and emotional resilience. This help is given in person (via talks, workshops or 1-2-1), online or via books and online courses. But whatever the platform, the advice is always practical, appropriate, easy to follow, and supported by modern science. Also whether it be the spoken or written word I try to ensure the language used is always accessible and free from jargon! I’ve just published my latest books on how to reduce exam and revision stress; what is meditation; and how gardening is a metaphor for life.

Graeme Delaney

BA (Hons), PGCE (Mod. Langs. and Sport), Sprachdiplom

I fell into teaching almost by default, because the British government thought I was a Stasi spy, having worked as an interpreter and translator for the East German government in the 1970s. Once in teaching, I was lucky to work at some exceptional schools and with many amazing pupils. I have worked almost entirely in the independent sector, at single-sex and co-ed boarding and day schools. Apart from French and German, I have taught Spanish, Dutch, Sport and Drama to all ages at Secondary level. I have edited and written several plays for the European Theatre Company, and set up a theatre group performing plays in several languages. I have also edited language course books. I have been involved in running boarding houses and organising the international dimension in several schools. For 9 years I was Chair of MEP UK, encouraging Sixth Formers to be involved in all matters European. Since early retirement in 2012, I have been involved in international education and school inspections. I also work with Cambridge, writing educational papers and German exams, and am a member of QPEC. Outside of education, I still play sport (cricket), love travelling (a house in France helps), and get to the theatre whenever I can.

Vivianne Thompson

BA (Hons) QTS (Early Years Specialism) MHFA (Mental Health First Aider)

I have class taught all ages from 2 to 8 in independent schools around the UK, managed and opened school based early years and nursery departments; most recently completing seven years as Headmistress for The Minors Nursery School for the Alpha Plus Group. I am well experienced within the EYFS and a passionate advocate for value of a solid foundation in the crucial younger years. I gained my BA Hons QTS in Education from Surrey University and enjoy the arts, theatre and baking as well as spending time with my family.

Professor Michael Lewis, MBE 

MBA(Ed) DMS FRSM FABE FCIM MInstM 

I have 40+yrs experience specifically in private (for-profit) education, special educational needs, Higher Education, entrepreneurship, social enterprise and international educational development most recently as proprietor and principal of Riverston School in south east London and Beech Hall School in Macclesfield. 

I have an MBA (Ed) degree from London South Bank University (LSBU); am a long-standing Chartered Marketer with an enhanced DBS disclosure. A Visiting Professor at IEDE Madrid and Leeds Metropolitan University from 2010-2017 I was Visiting Professor at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University where I contributed to educational and social enterprise and had numerous development/research papers published by the university’s research journal – ‘Interconnections– as well as being guest editor.  In July 2017 Prof. Iain Martin, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University invited me to accept a transfer as Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education for a further two years. I was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s 2020 Birthday Honours List for services to education and social entrepreneurship.  

Married with two children, four glorious grandchildren, plus BERTIE our wonderful golden retriever dog – and am a passionate Welsh rugby supporter!!

Michael Abrahams

I have enjoyed a long and highly successful career in independent education. After 25 years of Headship in 5 very different schools, I became an Educational Consultant in 2010. Since then I have worked for TES Prime and RSAcademics recruiting heads and over the last 10 years has completed 90 leadership recruitment processes. I also advise schools on recruitment processes, mentoring and appraisal, inspection compliance and marketing.

I am married to Berony, the former managing director of Swarco UK. We have three children and a very noisy Patterdale Terrier. A Welshman from the land of dragons by birth, I was brought up in Chester but now live near Kirkby Stephen in East Cumbria. I love nothing better than walking the fells and I have completed a number of long-distance walks.

NICK REES

BA (Hons), PGCE, MA Ed & RSA Dip (SpLD)

I have lived and was educated in the UK, Singapore and West Germany. I obtained my first degree and PGCE both at Portsmouth. I started teaching in the early 1980s at a junior school in Bath moving after two years to an independent prep school. In 1987, having taught for a brief period in a British Forces school in Germany I returned to the UK and started teaching at Fairley House School where my interest in SpLD developed.

In 2005 I was appointed Head of Abingdon House School, a new school for pupils with SpLD aged 4-13 in London. I retired (very early!!!) from headship in July 2013 and have since worked as an independent educational consultant with roles such as being part of DLB Leadership Associates Ltd, specialists in Leadership Development & Change Management and as an Associate Consultant to TES Prime.

Sophie Feek

I currently live in sunny old Brackley, having recently moved out of London to start my family. Born and raised as a Worcestershire girl, being back in the sticks suits me fine! I spent 6 years in London, where I trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating in 2016. I met my husband in my first West End production, and then went on to perform in several more, my most recent being ‘Les Misérables’ at the Queen’s Theatre, which was also my eldest son’s professional debut – all be it in my tummy!

I was honoured to be asked to join the Chatsworth team, as I feel access to a well-rounded education that expands beyond the boundaries of the core subjects, is integral to a child’s development.

I spend most of my days surrounded by my two under two little boys, my grown-up boy, and my crazy fur baby, Eevee the Sprocker Spaniel (yes like the Pokémon)! Chatsworth is just an extension of my big crazy family, and what a family to be a part of.

Jane Emerson

M.Sc. Dip. Dyslexia. Speech and Language Therapist. Literacy and Numeracy Specialist.

I qualified as a Speech and Language therapist in 1977 and completed my Masters at City University, London, with further qualifications in 1983 at the Hornsby Centre and Dyslexia Institute. I have always taught children individually or in small groups in my career. I have spent time travelling widely, living and working overseas (in New Zealand as a Speech and Language Therapist, and in Peru, teaching English as a second language). I set up Emerson House in West London, with the late Dorian Yeo (sold to WLG Learning Partnership in 2016), which is a specialist centre for children with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia, working closely with the research work on Dyscalculia, with Emeritus Professor Brian Butterworth and with Professor Diana Laurillard on digital interventions for Dyscalculia. I have also lectured widely, and ran teacher-training courses on assessing and working with dyscalculics within the Primary sector. With Patricia Babtie, I published The Dyscalculia Assessment in 2010. I was a governor at Fairley House School for 8 years, and am currently a member of the Learnus Council, a new think-tank about how Understanding Learning links with current knowledge in the field of Neuroscience. Currently, I am an Independent SEND Advisor and Dynamic Assessor to schools and centres.

Angela Hobbs

MSc Responsible Business, DipHE Management.

My company, Wilkinson Hall supports entrepreneurship, ensuring innovators build successful, sustainable businesses. Entrepreneurs add economic value, enable diversity and create vibrant communities, bringing global benefits in healthcare, education, travel and communication. Gender inequality is a waste of talent, bright ideas need to thrive on a level platform.  The challenge for women to continually push through barriers that should no longer exist has to be resolved. We support female entrepreneurs, through coaching, workshops and bespoke programmes. Travel inspires me from horse-riding in Mongolia to running workshops in Oman, Dubai and Melbourne.