Reception: 01235 520173

Admissions: 01235 530593

Executive Assistant to the Headmistress: 01235 546502

Bursary: 01235 520657

Joint Bus Service: 01235 546565

St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

How to find us

Governors' biographies

Kevan Leggett, Chairman of Governors. Kevan is a Chartered Accountant. He spent 15 years advising on mergers and acquisitions, latterly as a partner at Ernst & Young. He then moved into private equity before retiring from full time roles in 2011. He has been a non-executive director of a number of companies, mainly in the services sector. He was until recently the non-executive chairman of a Newbury-based media technology business and is on the board of a global gas services business headquartered in Bristol. Kevan lives outside Newbury and has a daughter and two sons. His daughter spent seven enjoyable years at St Helen and St Katharine. He enjoys playing golf and has an active interest in horse racing. He is a member of the Finance & Systems Committee, the Risk & Compliance Committee, The Foundation Committee and the Education Committee.

Pauline Cakebread. Pauline’s first career in financial, operational and change management was in global multinational companies such as Unilever, GSK and Dun & Bradstreet, where she progressed to senior leadership roles building teams and initiating commercial transformation strategies. She applied the same skills in small independent and venture-backed businesses in a variety of sectors including pharmaceuticals, IT, retail and services, achieving challenging turnaround goals both as Finance and Managing Director. She now runs an independent consulting business.

Giles Crowe. Giles has been in the financial services and wealth management industry for over 35 years working at Coutts, Merrill Lynch and Barclays, and since 2005 as a Managing Director at the US bank Citigroup. In his current position as a Senior Private Banker he and his team advises some of the wealthiest UK resident individuals and their families on all aspects of wealth management.  Giles is no stranger to the local independent schools, having been educated at Radley College and with two daughters who are both alumnae of St Helen’s and an elder son James who attended Abingdon. Giles has been a co-opted trustee on the School Foundation since 2008.

Adrian Dray. Adrian has been a governor since June 2016 and is Chairman of the Finance and Systems Committee. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. After a 25-year career at the global accounting firm KPMG, the last ten as partner, Adrian set up his own Corporate Finance practice, Quercus. Adrian's daughter attended St Helen's and his sons Cokethorpe and Abingdon, so has considerable experience of the local independent school sector from a parents’ perspective. Outside family and work, Adrian is passionate about all sports, particularly team sports, and is still keen to play any and all sports although his body and his wife, Liz, have other ideas! Adrian is also a Life Governor of the RNLI.

Piers Heyworth. Piers was educated at Marlborough College and Christ Church, Oxford where he read English. He taught English in two London senior schools – Latymer Upper School and James Allen's Girls School where he was Head of English. In 1992 he became Headmaster of James Allen's Preparatory School; he moved to The Manor Preparatory School as Headmaster in 2006 and retired in 2017. He also taught drama at The Manor and has written six plays for children. He is married to Sarah and has two children, his daughter being an alumna of St Helen's.

Olivia Rathbone. Having spent the last twenty years working in international development and human rights, Olivia is passionate about girls’ education both globally and nationally. Following an initial career in dance, she pursued a Masters of Law at University of London, specialising in public international law. This led to research, journalism and consultancy work focused on combatting the strategic use of violence against women and girls, such as in armed conflict or as a means of minority religious persecution. She has now come full-circle and is studying a Masters in Acting at East 15 Acting School (University of Essex). She is married to Stephen, who is the Academic Director at Radley College.

Rebecca Kashti. Rebecca is a lawyer and the owner of an education consultancy which works with both individuals and independent schools to establish international schools overseas and initiatives to promote international collaboration. She founded the Education Team at an Oxford law firm before founding her education business. She is an ex-Chairman of The Manor Preparatory School in Abingdon. Rebecca is a Trustee of the Oxford Hospitals Charity and The Bayswater Foundation which provides English language teaching for children in disadvantaged areas around the World.

 

Hazel Knott. Now retired, Hazel has enjoyed a long and successful career in the NHS. With a clinical background in nursing, she was responsible for a large range of community services, both in Oxfordshire and Hampshire. As an Executive Director of Clinical Services, her portfolio included the leadership and strategic management of nurses, health visitors, allied health professionals and specialist services including safeguarding. In her role as governor at St Helen’s, Hazel’s portfolio contains lead responsibility for safeguarding and chairmanship of the Risk and Compliance Committee.

Dave Lea. A chartered chemical engineer and fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers with over 35 years’ experience in the oil industry working in operations, commissioning, project engineering, construction and management, Dave is now a consulting engineer. Having lived in Oxfordshire for nearly 30 years, his two daughters went to St Helen and St Katharine.  As a long standing member of the St Helen’s governing board, including as chair of the Building Development Committee since becoming a governor, Dave has overseen numerous large construction project onsite, working closely with the Head, Bursar, Senior Management and Department heads.

Joanne Loveridge. Joanne studied Law with Law Studies in Europe (French) at Magdalen College Oxford, where she was also a keen rower, taking part in the Oxford/Cambridge boat race four times. She trained as a solicitor with Osborne Clarke LLP and advises clients on a wide range of commercial, privacy and IP/IT matters. Areas of interest include data protection, IT and telecoms, and the protection and exploitation of intellectual property. Joanne lives locally with her husband and three young children.

Jenny Mitchell. Jenny is the Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Thoracic Surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. In this role she is involved in all aspects of the surgical patient’s pathway from referral at MDT to on-going follow-up and surveillance after surgery. Jenny is chair of the Thoracic Surgery Group, a sub group of the UK National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses. She has published and presented on thoracic surgery, extended nursing roles and surveillance after lung cancer surgery. Jenny qualified from Queen Margaret, Edinburgh in 1990 and has over 25 years’ experience in cardiothoracic nursing. She has two children, both now adults, and her daughter is a former pupil at the school.

Stephen Ramkaran. Stephen worked for the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) for thirteen years in a variety of roles revolving around the use of IT in education. This included spells at three different schools and culminated in a role as the IT Architect for the entire organisation. More recently he has worked for Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) in a consulting role endeavouring to ensure an appropriate service from their third party IT service provider. Steve now works as a commercial helicopter pilot but continues to be available for ‘interesting’ educational technology projects!

Jacqualyn Pain. An old girl of the school, Jackie became a teacher after leaving university. Working mainly in London, she taught in both maintained and independent schools, becoming a Head teacher in 2000. In all, she was Head of three very different types of school so has considerable experience in all matters educational. She is an independent school inspector, specialising in compliance and in leadership and management. Jackie retired to Gloucestershire in September 2018.

Frances Smethurst. Frances is a school alumna and formerly a trustee of the SHSK Foundation. After studying classics at University College, Oxford, she spent over 15 years working as a senior policy advisor in the civil service/regulators, primarily on health and care. Frances also holds an Executive MBA from Imperial College, London. Frances was previously a Community Governor of a primary school in South London. She now lives just outside Abingdon, has two children at a local primary school and is currently studying horticulture specialising in therapeutic horticulture, as well as working in HR at Abingdon School. Frances has a particular interest in community and outreach issues.