Howard Morris - Chair of Governors, Member
Howard is a founding Member of the Trust and has been Chair of Governors since the school opened in 2012. As a chartered surveyor with over 25 years in the property industry, Howard has been responsible for the concept, implementation and delivery of some of the most successful development projects in the UK. His career has ranged from providing major retail and leisure developments during the 1990's, to high profile major mixed use regeneration schemes in more recent years. Howard has held a number of senior posts at director level within a number of companies including Wilson Connolly plc. (now Taylor Wimpey plc.), London Merchant Securities plc, and Muse Developments, the mixed use regeneration subsidiary of Morgan Sindall plc.
In more recent years Howard has acted as property consultant advising private and public sector land owners on major mixed-use developments, that often include education facilities including provision of new Free Schools.
Howard has previously completed the National College for Teaching and Leadership Governance Training Programme. Howard is married with a daughter and lives in Cobham, Surrey with keen interests outside work, including sailing, skiing and cycling.
Michaela Khatib - Governor (Executive Head) & Founder
Having graduated from Homerton College, Cambridge University with a degree in Education and Music, Michaela has gained over twenty-five years teaching and education management experience, primarily in independent and the free school sector. She has a Masters Degree in Leading Innovation and Change in Education (Distinction) from St.Mary’s University.
Michaela’s career included undertaking the role of Director of Music in a leading London prep school and working as a Partnerships and Outreach Education Manager at the world-famous music establishment, The Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS). During her time at YMS she submitted a bid to the Department for Education as part of a small proposer group, aiming to establish a new primary school in Cobham with a key strength in music.
The proposal was approved for opening in Wave 2 of the government Free School programme and in September 2012 Michaela was appointed founding headteacher. Following a second successful bid to open a senior department for the school, she became executive head of the all-through institution in 2014.
Michaela is a member of the advisory council for Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a team of educationalists campaigning to raise standards nationally and is on the headteacher panel for Best Practice Network. She has given public webinars and produced articles on a range of topics in the field of education.
Catherine Beddison - Safeguarding Governor, Chair of Education Subcommittee
Catherine Beddison is Deputy Head (Operations) at Cranleigh Prep School. This involves co-ordinating the logistics of the day to day running of the school, making sure that the children, parents, staff, communications, systems and processes are working as smoothly as possible. As part of the Executive Leadership Team she represents the school on the Strategy and Risk Committee of the Governing Body.
She is also Head of Creative Arts, making sure that Art, Dance, Design, Drama and Music are championed and protected. Her specialist teaching subject is Music and she is part of the outstanding ‘Cranleigh Music 7-18’ department that links the musical education for children throughout the junior and senior schools. An expert in choral singing, Catherine has an impressive proven track record of setting high standards, enthusing children and encouraging them to fully develop their musical skills.
Outside school, Catherine is Head of Strategy within the choral charity ‘Sing for Pleasure’ and helps to facilitate new ideas and strategic developments within a wide range of courses, publications and singing events for adults and children. She also works as a freelance conductor, adjudicator, consultant, lecturer and singer; and has recently presented workshops for ABCD, the MMA and the Music Education Expo. She regularly performs with Cranleigh Prep School Choirs, Cranleigh Choral Society and Harlequin Chamber Choir.
Catherine lives in Cranleigh with her husband and daughter, and enjoys relaxing by playing netball, walking in the countryside and visiting Scotland.
Julia Rangasamy - Founding Member, Risk Governor, Chair of Finance Subcommittee
Since graduating from University College London with a Bsc Econ (Hons) in Economics and Economic History, Julia has spent much of her career working for the Bank of England, including roles in banking regulation and financial risk management. She also spent a period of time working in the Seychelles as Corporate Treasurer for Air Seychelles and more recently was seconded to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards as a committee specialist.
Julia enjoys singing and is a member of The London Oratory School Choral Society.
Rafil Khatib - Founding Member, Company Secretary, ICT Governor
Having graduated from Cambridge University with an MA in Engineering, Rafil's early career was in the oil and gas industry, before he moved into telecommunications and technology, where for the last 25 years he has held a variety of commercial, strategic, procurement, cost management and programme/project management roles. Notable projects include delivering core elements of the Wi-Fi network on the London Underground in time for the 2012 Olympics and establishing a programme to enable the roll-out of Wi-Fi on 1000 trains for 2 rail operators in UK.
His career has spanned a number of blue chip organisations, including BP, BT, Cable & Wireless, Capita, Centrica, Carphone Warehouse, Go-Ahead, TfL and Virgin Media. Rafil also has significant experience of establishing and growing start-up ventures. His current role is as Managing Partner & CPO in Cambridge Management Consulting where his is responsible for the Procurement and Cost Transformation practice.
Rafil lives in Cobham with his wife and two children. He is an accomplished violinist with a passion for classical music.
Miles Unwin - Vice Chair and Admissions & Appeals Governor
Miles and his family live in leafy SW18 and has strong connections with Cobham through his position as a partner with Mundays LLP whose offices lie immediately across the Portsmouth Road from the School and his involvement with various local organisations including Cobham RFC.
Having graduated from Queens University, Belfast in 1975, Miles qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and has spent his working life as a lawyer in public service, commerce and industry and latterly in private practice. He has been with Mundays since 1995. He specialises in property work with an emphasis on commercial real estate, acting for national, international and local clients.
Miles is married with two sons, both of whom were educated at Tiffin School, Kingston and a daughter who is in Year 12 at Putney High School. Outside of work, he participates in as many sports as his body still allows, remaining a keen follower and collector of “popular” music and has recently taken up singing with the Putney Parents Choir.
Richard Parsons - Governor
Having graduated from the University of Birmingham, Richard has worked for a number of consulting firms and is currently an Associate Director at KPMG. Richard has worked on many large scale transformation programmes as well as four years in the Enterprise Performance Management domain focusing on financial planning, budgeting and reporting.
Richard lives with his wife Charlotte and son Rory in Cobham village and can often be found walking their dog Watson or on the golf course with friends.
Tanya Lightbody - HR Governor
Tanya is an experienced global HR leader who grew up in South Africa and has been living in the UK for the past ten years. She has held a number of global and regional HR executive roles ranging in industry from professional services, financial services, family offices and more recently education. She has led teams small and large. Tanya has a particular interest in helping schools achieve their potential through good people practices.
Tanya holds a degree in applied psychology and is passionate about her family and running.
Ian Smith - Governor
Ian Smith has been a teacher of History, Economics and Business Management in the state, independent and international sector for over 20 years. As Vice Principal at Surbiton High School in the UK, he was responsible for pupil care, character development and an entrepreneurial mindset in teaching and learning. Since 2015, Ian has been working at the International School Geneva, the oldest and largest international school globally, teaching the International Baccalaureate and leading entrepreneurship across the Ecolint Foundation. He is an ambassador for the Princess Diana Award, and other socially entrepreneurial organizations such as the WE movement, Wildhearts, Entrepreneurs in Action and Wings of Hope. In 2013, Ian was given the Queen`s Award for the Promotion of Enterprise in UK education. He has an MBA in educational leadership and is a honorary fellow at the Royal Society of Arts.
Ashleigh Saunders - Governor
Ashleigh holds a BA in French and Spanish from the University of Exeter and an MSc in Gender and International Relations from the University of Bristol. Ashleigh’s background is in Higher Education, International Partnerships and International Policy and she has held a variety of roles within UK Universities and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She has lived, studied and worked abroad in a number of countries, including China and Spain, and is a keen linguist - she speaks French, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin.
Rob Andrews - Governor
Rob Andrews is the sole Deputy Head at Danes Hill School, with overall responsibility for the day to day running of the school. He advises and assists the Headmaster and Governing Body in deciding strategy, the direction of school policy and capital investment projects. Having graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Chemistry, Rob has gained over twenty- three years teaching and education management experience in both the independent and state school sectors. As part of the Senior Management Team he represents the school on the Safeguarding, Academic and Finance and General Purposes Committees of the Governing body.
Rob's career included undertaking the role of Head of Science at King's College Junior School in Wimbledon where he was also Head of House and Professional Tutor with responsibility for all teacher training.
Rob lives in Cobham and enjoys relaxing by playing golf, taking his daughters hacking on horses around the Surrey countryside and boating in Northern Ireland.
Helen Hutton-Attenborough - Governor
Having had an early career in accountancy, Helen undertook a PGCE course at St.Mary’s Twickenham and embarked on a move into the education sector. She has acquired a wealth of experience, working within both state and private settings, and has held a number of senior leadership positions, including Director of Studies and Deputy Head. She is currently Head of Preparatory School at a private, all-through school in Cobham, where she is also on the board of governors.
Helen contributes her significant knowledge of teaching and leadership through her membership of the education sub-committee at Cobham Free School as well as serving on the main board.
Robert Staegemann - Parent Governor (Senior Dept)
[Biography to be added shortly]
Nick Cogswell - Parent Governor (Junior Dept)
After growing up locally and attending Tiffin School for Boys in Kingston , Nick graduated from Bristol University with a Bsc (Hons) in Economics and Accounting with German. He spent 16 years in the City in a number of senior cross asset derivative roles within Global Investment Banks, culminating as the Head of Equity Structured Product Sales EMEA for Jefferies LLC.
For the last 3 years Nick has been an Executive Director at Volcap Partners focussing on originating and delivering bespoke alternative investments to institutional investors and has also recently been studying for the Chartered Alternative Investments Analyst (CAIA) qualification.
Nick lives in Cobham with his wife and 3 daughters (two of whom are in the CFS Junior School). Since moving here 10 years ago he has been fortunate enough to have been involved locally with an NSPCC sponsored kids club and enjoys sports - particularly tennis, endurance events, mountain biking and golf.
Janet Poppe - Member
Janet has taught in state, independent and international schools for over 30 years and has experience of every age group from 3-18. She currently lives in Horsley and works locally in the junior department of a specialist arts school. Janet is a Biology graduate from the University of York and has a PGCE, also from York.
In 1999 The Society of Heads, (SOH) invited Janet to join their subcommittee of 'Heads of the Society's Junior Schools'. Janet worked on this committee for 13 years, helping to organise annual conferences and workshops which provide valuable INSET training for Heads of Junior Departments within independent schools throughout the UK.
She is married to a helicopter pilot and has two grown-up children who have both attended independent schools in Guildford. Janet's interests include diving, sailing, skiing, walking and spending time in her garden.
Ian Clifford - Member
Ian is European Engineering director for a Silicon Valley tech company which specialises in the design of silicon chips. He manages a cross Europe team of 80 engineers and scientists. He graduated from Oxford University with an MA in Physics and also holds an MEng degree from Durham.
He has recently been appointed as Chair of the Cobham and Downside Residents association, having served on the committee for 8 years with the Environment portfolio. Ian helped found the Transition Cobham group and was central to starting our Community Garden. He also is on the committee of the Downside and Hatchford community group and Treasurer of Cobham Allotment association.
Ian is a STEM ambassador and is passionate about prompting the teaching of science.
Ian is married and has lived in Downside, Cobham for 22 years. To keep fit, he runs or swims most days. He has travelled to over 120 countries.
Robert Sturges - Member
Having spent his twenties collecting life experiences, languages and degrees in the UK, Europe and Asia, in his early thirties Robert realised it was probably time to knuckle down. 18 years of a career in retail financial services have since elapsed, bringing with them extensive experience of projects in corporate strategy, M&A and business transformation, most recently at Board level to to deliver associated governance, reporting and assurance structures.
Weekends are typically spent shuttling his children about and running errands for his wife; every now and then he will try for a half marathon or triathlon in the vain hope he is still as quick as his younger self.
Stephen Heard - Member
Before retirement, Steve had a career in the world of finance, specialising in asset management within the banking sector, having worked for N M Rothschild, J P Morgan and most recently BNP Paribas.
Steve has a keen interest in sport and has made an important contribution to families in the local community through his involvement with the Cobham Rugby Club. Having been Youth Chairman until 2013, he is now Chair of the Cobham Rugby Club and Cobham Rugby and Sports Association (CSRA). He has helped to build a strong partnership between the CSRA and CFS, which has included a joint venture to develop an international standard, artificial grass pitch for pupils to use during term time.