“Pupils exhibit substantial moral sensibilities. …. This is because leaders, governors and staff have successfully embedded the school’s values and a strong ethos of high expectations.”
Christian Heidl (Chair of the board, Finance)
Christian is the Chair of the Board of Governors. He joined the Board in 2017 and chaired the Finance Committee until 2022. He has worked in middle-market private equity and private debt for over 25 years. Christian is currently an Operating Partner of a Pan-European private capital fund and Senior Advisor to international asset managers. He has served on numerous boards of private companies in the UK and Germany. Christian has been a business mentor to The Prince’s Trust for over 15 years and also raises funds for St. Elizabeth RC Church in Richmond. He has twin daughters, both were pupils at the Old Vicarage School. One is now at Cheam School, the other daughter left OVS to attend St. Mary’s School Ascot, both in Berkshire.
To contact the Chair of Governors, please write to:
Mr C Heidl, c/o Old Vicarage School, 48 Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6QX
Lucy Barnes (Parent Governor, Safeguarding)
Lucy Barnes became a Governor in 2021. She trained as a lawyer at a magic circle firm in the City and then moved into legal learning and development whilst having a young family of three. Two of her daughters are currently pupils at Old Vicarage School and one will be joining St Mary’s Ascot. Lucy now works for a Guildford law firm doing corporate legal projects, and also sits on the Board of a charity which supports young people going through hard times.
Sarah Brown (Deputy Chair, Health & Safety)
Sarah joined the Board in 2017. She is a qualified solicitor with over 18 years experience in Employment Law. She worked in a law firm for many years before joining BP as an in-house employment lawyer. Sarah recently moved into BP’s HR department and now manages a team dealing with executive pay and benefits. Sarah’s daughter was a pupil at the Old Vicarage School and is now at Surbiton High.
Robert Leigh became a governor in 2021. Having spent 30 years in the property industry he now operates a group of property related businesses, including Featherstone Leigh Estate Agents, Pridenature development and Investment, Holbrook Property Finance and Capital Block Maintenance. His four children have variously attended The Old Vicarage School, Kings House school, Queen Anne’s School Caversham and Reading University.
Suzie Longstaff (Education)
Suzie is the current Headmistress of Putney High School and joined the Board in 2017 as one of the Education Governors. Apart from being the Head of one of our most popular destination schools, Suzie read Economics at Durham, gained her PGCE specialising in Maths at Cambridge and has an MA in Education from Bath. She was an Olympic cox for Team GB’s Women’s VIII at Atlanta 1996. She is the mother of twins who are pupils at Putney High.
Steve Masters (Finance Committee Chair)
Steve Masters became a Governor in 2021. He read Chemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford before qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1991. He has been an audit partner at KPMG since 2001 and has significant experience in the Media, Leisure and Property sectors. His daughter was a pupil at the Old Vicarage School from Reception to Year 6 and is now at Surbiton High School. He also has three sons who, between, them attended King’s House School, Ibstock Place School, Epsom College, King’s College School and Hampton School.
Julian Skingley (Finance)
Julian became a Governor in 2021. He is a chartered accountant and a partner in EY. He has over 25 years’ experience of providing tax advice to the financial services industry and is a member of EY’s Global Tax Executive Committee. His daughter was a pupil at the Old Vicarage School before moving on to Epsom College. His son is also at Epsom College, having previously been at Tower House.
Simon Waldman (Safeguarding)
Simon Waldman became a Governor in 2016. He graduated from Oxford University and is a journalist by profession. He worked for BBC News for more than thirty years, editing most of the main TV news programmes and witnessing at first hand some of the defining events of recent decades. He now runs his own media consultancy business and teaches journalism at a number of universities. He has no daughters; his sons all went to schools in the area: Latymer, Ibstock Place and St Paul’s.
Kavita Patel (Education Committee Chair)
Kavita read Genetics at Liverpool University before going on to the Institute of Education to study for her PGCE. Her experience spans state, independent and grammar schools, with 12 years at The Tiffin Girls’ School as Head of Years 8 to 11, Assistant Head of Sixth Form and UCAS Coordinator. Since joining Surbiton High School in 2012, Kavita has held various leadership roles in the Science Department including Head of Biology and Head of Science, before becoming an Assistant Principal and now Vice Principal – Staff Development.
When she’s not busy teaching Biology, looking after the development of staff, or spending time with her two children, she can often be found perusing antique fairs, knitting toys, growing vegetables or planning her next interior design project.