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.
Vivianne Thompson (Chair of Governors)
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.
Nigel Lowson (Deputy Chair of Governors)
MEd Management, PGCE, BA (Hons)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Learning and Teaching
My first two years of teaching were spent at a wonderful boarding Prep, where I combined a class teaching role with being an assistant house parent and hockey coach. I then moved the state system, where I developed my ability to bring out the best in every child with a diet of high expectations, tailored teaching and a nurturing and safe environment, also leading on behaviour and inclusion. My most recent tenure was a London based school, where I started as Director of Teaching and Learning, and became Senior Head across two Prep schools.
In my role Director of Learning and Teaching at Chatsworth School, I have the privilege of working alongside leaders in our schools to support pedagogy, curriculum and pupil development. It has been very exciting to co-create a new curriculum scaffold that we fell best develops and nurtures our children in readiness for further learning and as they look to their futures. I am committed to research-based innovation alongside tested traditional pedagogy, with a great deal of passion for developing young people and staff alike.
Outside of work, I am a keen equestrian, an improving runner and a country bumpkin who loves nothing more than being outdoors with animals and space to explore.
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.
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.