“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.”

ISI Educational Quality Inspection - June 2019

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 serves on the Launch Group Panel of The Prince’s Trust 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.

Dr Clare Coakes (Health & Safety)

Dr Clare Coakes became a Governor at the end of 2022 and lives with her family in Richmond. Clare is a Clinical Psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with over 25 years of experience in child health. She is currently the lead psychologist for a number of surgical services, with a focus on enhancing the well-being of children, parents and staff and their ability to cope with illness difference and disability. Clare is also a Committee Member of the Paediatric Psychology Network of the British Psychological Society. Clare is a current Year 5 parent and has a son in the Lower Sixth at St. Edwards’ Oxford. Clare is the OVS’ Medical Governor. 

Robert Leigh (Property)

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.

Kavita Patel (Education Committee Chair)

Kavita joined the Board of Governors in 2021.  She 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.

Alison Say (IT)

Ms Alison Say joined the Board of Governors in 2023. Alison is a member of the senior leadership team of IBM UK with 20+ years of experience in technology strategy and sales. As Vice President, IBM Technology Ecosystem in UK and Ireland, Alison is responsible for all revenues from partnerships with system integrators, resellers, ISVs and cloud service providers. During her IBM career, Alison has held a series of senior leadership roles including Chief Digital Officer, and Director, Customer Success. Alison also serves as an UK & Ireland Board Director of IBM Financial Services Ltd. Alison is a Year 5 parent and lives with her daughter and partner in Mortlake.  

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.


Year 5 Spring Concert – Alice in Wonderland

Our Year 5 girls certainly weren’t late…for a very important date this week! ⏰ They delivered two brilliant performances of their Spring Concert, Alice in Wonderland. They sang, spoke, and acted with great exuberance and comic timing in a world without reason and full...

World Book Day

Yesterday our corridors were filled with our favourite book characters as we celebrated World Book Day! 📚 We were fortunate enough to have a visit from bestselling author Maz Evans who also kindly held a mini book signing. Well done to our Year 6 girls who held an...

Year 4 Spring Concert – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Our Year 4 girls showcased their incredible talent in Roald Dahl’s adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Monday and Wednesday evening this week. A twist to the classic fairy-tale, Snow-White escapes captivity, aided by seven ex horse-race jockeys and the...

Year 3 Spring Concert – The Bee Musical

There was a buzz in the air this week when our Year 3 girls delivered two brilliant performances of their Spring Concert, The Bee Musical.  Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious as they sang, danced and acted with such confidence and joy.  Well done girls, you...

Chinese New Year

Our girls celebrated Chinese New Year yesterday. A fun filled day making lanterns & origami rabbits, calligraphy writing & food tasting! They were even treated to a delicious Chinese feast at lunchtime! Gong Hei Fat Choi to our OVS community, wishing...

Christmas Carol Service

Last night our OVS community joined together for our annual Christmas Carol Service at St John the Devine. This really is one of the best evenings of the year, showcasing our talented girls in Years 3 to 6, with every girl in their final year having the opportunity to...

Lower School Nativities

The culmination of the Autumn Term was four great Christmas stories told by our pre-school and Lower School in their own unique ways.  Considering there were a few absences (including Mary!) in the lead up to these performances, the girls really pulled together...

Reindeer Visit

Despite their busy schedule, we were very lucky to have a special visit from Santa’s reindeer today.  All the girls were able to meet them and learn all about life on the North Pole!

Year 2 trip – Science Museum

As part of their topic on Space, our Year 2 girls recently visited the Science Museum! They visited the Space gallery and watched “Our Beautiful Planet 3D” in the IMAX, a fully immersive experience on board the International Space Station. They finished their day with...

Annual Prize Giving at Richmond Theatre

Today we were blessed to be able host our annual Prize Giving at Richmond Theatre for the first time in 3 years – a truly wonderful occasion to celebrate our OVS girls’ incredible achievements over the past 12 months and say farewell to our remarkable Year 6 girls. ...