Ampleforth College is committed to excellence in pastoral care, safeguarding, and promoting the welfare of children and young people. We expect our staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
Since 1997, the College has been governed by the St Laurence Education Trust (SLET), a board of independent, lay Governors who are responsible for the financial, educational and strategic management of the school. In October 2018, SLET signed an agreement confirming its full independence from the Ampleforth Abbey Trust and with safeguarding of students as its highest priority.
Governors meet formally every term as a full board and also for sub-committees, and communicate frequently between these meetings. They are regular visitors to the College, meeting staff and students and attending events.
We are committed to ensuring that Governors have the skills and experience to ensure the best strategic leadership and oversight for the College and keep this under constant review.
To learn more about our Governors, please see their biographies below. Mr Edward Sparrow is the Chair of SLET and can be contacted via Rowland Hills, Clerk to the St Laurence Education Trust, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 01439 766000, or in writing to Ampleforth College, York, YO62 4ER.
Edward Sparrow - Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust
Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust
Edward was educated at Ampleforth and Lincoln College, Oxford where he read history. His whole working life has been spent at Ashurst LLP (formerly Ashurst Morris Crisp) an international commercial law firm in the City of London. Until his retirement in April 2018, Edward had been a partner there since 1981, specialising in corporate and banking disputes and financial and professional regulation. He is now a part time consultant to the firm. His other roles include: longstanding Chair of Governors at St Catherine's School, Twickenham, an independent day school for girls from nursery to sixth form; Chair of the City of London Law Society: the local law society for solicitors and firms practising in the City of London and Canary Wharf; a member of the Bank of England's Enforcement Decision Making Committee; the body responsible for decisions in relation to contested disciplinary cases involving firms regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and other arms of the Bank; and a trustee of Care International UK; the UK member of the Care federation which is an international humanitarian charity. Edward has been married to Jay for more than 40 years. They have seven children, including three boys who all went to Ampleforth. His spare time is spent with his grandchildren, travelling or assisting in the garden.
Sarah Sadler - Safeguarding Governor
Sarah joined the College as Safeguarding Governor in 2023.
Robin Burdell - Governor & Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee
Governor & Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee
Mr Robin Burdell was educated at Ampleforth College (1969-1976) and is a retired independent school bursar, now working as a freelance consultant bursar. Previous posts include Head of Finance and Marketing Appointments for RSAcademics Ltd, Director of Finance and Operations for Worth School and Finance Director for Worth Abbey; Business Director and Secretary to the Board of Truro School; Director of Finance and Estates at Nottingham High School; and Head of Finance and Administration and Company Secretary at Stanford Hall Enterprises Ltd. He has served on the Independent School Bursars’ Association (ISBA) Executive Committee, Chairman of the ISBA General Purposes Committee, and on the Board of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Robin Burdell is a qualified Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA) and a Member of Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA).
Meg Baines - Governor
Meg Baines, Cert Ed BA MBA NPQH FRSA, is a retired head teacher who lives with her husband in North Yorkshire. Currently Vice Chair of Governors of a state secondary school and a Diocesan Section 48 Inspector for Middlesbrough, Hexham & Newcastle and Leeds & Bradford Dioceses, she was previously an ISI Section 5 Inspector. Meg was a teacher for 38 years in both state and independent schools across the country. She began her career in 1977 at St Augustine's School, Scarborough, moving to Leeds, Bromley and Crystal Palace where she spent the last 10 years as head of an independent Prep School. Meg has a wide range of teaching experiences and had success as a teacher of PE, RE and History in Walthamstow, Ilford and Bromley. Meg gained an MBA in educational management from Leicester University before becoming deputy head teacher in an all boys school in Ilford. Previously a governor on a number of governing bodies in Sussex and London, Meg was designated safeguarding lead and has recently completed head appraisal training with North Yorkshire County Council. Meg was a member of Independent Schools Association Council for 6 years, representing London South and remains an honorary member. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) since 2005, Meg is keenly interested in educational innovation. She retired from teaching in 2015, but remains a section 48 Inspector and was recommissioned by the Bishop of Middlesbrough in November 2018. Meg is an active member of the parish community, a mother of three grown up children, a doting grandparent and an avid amateur detectorist.
Barbara Matthews - Staff Liaison Governor
Staff Liaison Governor
Barbara Matthews was educated in the United States and moved to the United Kingdom in 1988. Her career has been spent first in law, as international counsel in both the steel and offshore oil and gas industries, working for FT 100 and Fortune 500 companies negotiating contracts throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Secondly, in 2007 Barbara moved into politics as political assistant to the Conservative Group on the City of York Council. From 2010-16 she was a non-executive director for one of the region’s largest NHS mental health providers. Barbara’s daughter was educated through the Ampleforth system, including St Martin’s Nawton, SMA and the College. She has been married to David since 1988 and her interests include politics, literature and equestrian sports.
Richard Tams - Governor
Richard was educated at Ampleforth College (J86) and went on to study Law at Cardiff University. After 27 years working for British Airways in a wide variety of countries in Europe, North America and Asia, he now runs his own business consultancy in the aviation and travel sector, Tailwind Advisory Ltd. Before leaving the airline in 2018, Richard was posted to Beijing as Executive Vice President Greater China for British Airways and Iberia Airlines of Spain and, prior to that, he was Head of Sales & Marketing in the UK, based at BA’s Heathrow Head Office. He has sat on a number of boards including British Airways Holidays, BA Cityflyer and British American Business Inc. He currently sits on the board of the Institute of Travel Management and is a Fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism. He is an accredited professional coach, a freelance travel writer and a regular member of the annual Ampleforth Lourdes Pilgrimage. Richard is also a Trustee of the Ampleforth Society.
Martha Byrne Hill - Governor
Martha Byrne Hill
Martha was educated at Mayfield School before reading law at Downing College, Cambridge. Her years in practice as a solicitor began in London and she lived in both India and Hong Kong doing a variety of contentious and non-contentious work across a number of jurisdictions. She was a Governor of Orwell Park School in Suffolk for ten years, latterly as the Safeguarding Governor. She is currently a Trustee of and Chair of the Nominations Committee for the Ryedale Festival in North Yorkshire, an annual two-week music and performing arts festival. She was also involved in fundraising work for a national charity, Turn2Us. Martha was for many years involved in preparing children and young people for First Holy Communion and Confirmation before moving with her family to North Yorkshire in 2014. Martha’s husband, Damien, is an old-Amplefordian and their three sons and one daughter were all educated at Ampleforth between 2009 and 2019. She has attended the Triduum Retreat at Ampleforth since 1992 and was closely involved in developing and running the extensive Children’s Liturgy Programme during the Retreat. Her particular interests include the Rule of St Benedict, contemporary and classical, particularly Baroque, music and long walks with her spaniels.
Sir Julian Brazier - Governor
Sir Julian Brazier
Former Member of Parliament and Minister. Background in business including the City and management consulting. Continues to hold non-executive positions. Former Territorial Army Officer. His political, military and voluntary public service has involved much contact with young people and he serves on the board of two national youth charities. Former school governor.
Colin Passmore - Governor
Newly retired Chair of City law firm. 10 years’ experience of strategic leadership and corporate governance to meet changing client and market needs. Chaired the firm's Charitable Foundation and Responsible Business team, which led the firm's work to increase diversity and social mobility, the firm's pro bono work and its contribution to access to justice. Former member of the City of London Law Society, Main Committee and leads the Society's work to improve social mobility in the City.
Penelope Walkinshaw - Governor
Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Former High Sheriff. Member Peterborough Keys Academy Trust, Board Member DfE Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area Board, Founder Trustee East Anglian Education Trust, improving social mobility in East Anglia, and Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust. Set up and grew Chelsea Enamels, delivered contemporary Furniture collection for Mallett Antiques. Fundraising experience with many voluntary organisations including: the Fitzwilliam Museum, Addenbrooke's Hospital and East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Martin Vander Weyer - Governor
Martin Vander Weyer
Business Editor and columnist at the Spectator. Contributor to the Daily Telegraph and Literary Review. Author. Academic Visitor to St Antony's College, Oxford. Former Deputy Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee, Royal Northern College of Music and Trustee and member of Finance and Nominations Committees, Opera North. Former Visiting Research Fellow of York University Management School. Trustee of Helmsley Arts Centre.
Michael Clarke - Governor
Michael is a retired Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Community Paediatrician. He has worked in the NHS for 45 years; 35 as a Consultant. Michael has ,primarily, been a clinician but has also had roles in management, training, mentoring, educational supervision and service development.
Nick Van Zeller
Nick Van Zeller
Educated at Ampleforth and The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Fellow of The Royal Institution Chartered Surveyors. A lifetime career at Knight Frank, International Property Consultants, culminating as the partner responsible for their Country Business including sales, purchases, valuations and land management.
Stephanie is immensely proud to be the current Headteacher at St Peter’s Catholic College, Middlesbrough. As a former PE teacher, Stephanie has always had a passion and vocation for teaching and learning; she has worked in some of the most challenging schools within the North East, which has been her calling, ensuring rapid school improvement occurs. Her motivation and ambition is to continue developing the next generation of school leaders and teachers to ensure all pupils receive an outstanding and first rated education.
Jonathan was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, before studying finance and economics at Manchester Business School, receiving a BA, MA, and MBA. He began his career in London in PwC’s Corporate Finance team, where he also qualified as an FCA Chartered Accountant. Then spending five years living in Singapore as the Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of a multi-billion dollar investment fund, where he also sat on the Board of all portfolio companies. He is currently a Partner and Chief Investment Officer at Olympia Capital Partners, an investment and advisory firm, and now lives back in Yorkshire with his wife and young family.
A recently retired HMC Head, Andrew has spent his career in independent education. He has 17 years' experience of Headship in Catholic schools: firstly as Head of Stonyhurst (2006-2016) and more recently as Head of St Benedict's (Ealing) (2016-2023). Andrew is also Chair of Governors of an IAPS Catholic prep school, a Trustee of the Diocese of Plymouth and is a team inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate.