Governor Profiles

Howard Morris - Chair of Governors

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.

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.

Ashleigh Saunders - Careers 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.

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.

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.

Lauren Richardson - Governor

Lauren is a multi-disciplined operations leader with over 20 years’ experience in translating business strategies into execution plans. She has held a number of global roles in companies such as NTT, Microsoft, Nando’s and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Lauren’s expertise focuses on driving operational excellence and influencing a service orientated, value outcome culture through performance management, operational change management, communication and portfolio management. She is passionate about being involved in the community and served 12 years in a police service combating violent crime and crimes against woman and children.

Lauren holds a degree in Law and loves to travel and immerse herself in new cultures. She loves walking and cycling in the UK countryside and spending time with her husband and 3 children.

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.

Robert Staegemann - Parent Governor (Senior Dept)

Robert is an experienced business owner and entrepreneur, having lead teams of individuals in building and successfully running a number of businesses, including restaurant groups, and now runs a property development company. Robert brings a strong focus on finances, excellent interpersonal relationships across all levels, compliance and communication.

Robert lives in Cobham and is a parent of three daughters at the school. For several years he was Chairman of the Friends of CFS during which he and the team raised tens of thousands of pounds that have directly benefited CFS pupils and improved the school community and facilities.

Dr Christopher Banks CBE - Governor

Chris Banks has spent a long and successful career in business, primarily food and drink, working for companies like Mars, Allied Domecq, Grand Met and Coca-Cola, which he left to set up his own company. He currently works with a number of small and medium-sized businesses.

Chris has extensive experience in education. He was a founding member and then Chair of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). He served as a member of the Council and Deputy Pro-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, leaving to become Chair of the Quality Assurance Agency, with responsibility for overseeing the quality of UK Higher Education. He was a founding Governor and subsequently Chair of the Birmingham University School.

Chris is driven by a determination to enable more young people and adults to experience outstanding education and training, equipping them for success in the world of work and helping them become fully engaged citizens. Chris lives in Cobham and in his spare time enjoys playing the guitar and is active in his local Church.

Paul Bedford - Governor

Paul is a Senior Manager at the Bank of England. He has extensive experience of financial regulation and has scrutinised the risk governance arrangements of multiple large financial organisations.

He grew up in Worcestershire and obtained economics degrees from the University of Exeter and University College London before joining the Bank of England in 2001. Paul lived and worked in New Zealand between 2007 and 2009 before returning to the UK, and now lives locally in Cobham. His son attends the CFS Junior School.