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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, 01439 766000, or in writing to Ampleforth College, York, YO62 4ER.

Edward Sparrow - Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust

Edward Sparrow
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 Sadler
Safeguarding Governor

Sarah gained a degree in Business Management and History from Leeds University in 2005 and moved to Scotland to complete a PGCE in Education.

Sarah has a distinguished career in education and safeguarding including working for several years in Primary Education where she was lead teacher for several subjects including Sport and Curriculum for Excellence.

In 2011, Sarah moved into higher education, lecturing across education and business portfolios. During this time, Sarah took a special interest in the provision of quality education and safeguarding which led her to her first role as Designated Safeguarding Lead role for a national education organisation. Following this role, Sarah became Head of Safeguarding for a larger education organisation.

In 2023, Sarah became National Designated Safeguarding Lead for Bookmark Reading. Bookmark Reading is a large charity who work with over 150 schools and over 1000 volunteers to ensure all children have access and support to read.

Alongside these roles, Sarah provides safeguarding consultancy to a number of education establishments including a large national multi academy trust.

Sarah believes passionately in the need to safeguard the welfare of all children and spent 7 years as an independent lay member for the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Board, now the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Alongside working, Sarah has sat on a variety of boards including nurseries, schools and businesses and has extensive experience and knowledge throughout the education and charity systems. She has also spoken at a number of conferences on the subject of safeguarding and education. 

Robin Burdell - Governor & Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee

Robin Burdell
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).

Barbara Matthews - Staff Liaison Governor

Barbara Matthews
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 Tams

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

Colin Passmore

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

Penelope Walkinshaw

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 Garthwaite

Stephanie Garthwaite


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 Lewis

Jonathan Lewis


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.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson


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.

Robert Sword

Robert Sword


Educated at the Royal Agricultural College and Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Robert commenced his career in rural property management with Humberts at Badminton, Hatfield Park and Cranborne and subsequently moved to the London office advising landowners in the diversification of their land and buildings. In 1983 he relocated to the north to establish an office in York for Humberts.

In 1993 he joined the Dawnay Estates as the Estates Director for the Yorkshire Estates responsible for overseeing the management of the two Estates and the six family businesses. On retiring in 2020 he continues to provide consultancy advice and Trusteeship to several Estates, Charitable Foundations and the Moorland Association (North York Moors).

A Compass for Life

Full Boarding & Day School for students aged 11 to 18