Independent day & boarding school for boys and girls aged 2 to 18


We pride ourselves on a very close working relationship between governors and senior staff across the school. Governors meet termly with the Head Master and Strategic Management Group and regularly throughout the year with members of the Senior Management Team.

Chairman: Christoph Lees MD FRCOG

The Chairman may be contacted at the following address:
c/o Ryde School, Queen’s Road, Ryde. Isle of Wight. PO33 3BE
Tel: 01983 562229

Clerk to the Governors: Samantha Webb [email protected]


Christoph was at Ryde School from 1975 to 1984 then Guy's Hospital Medical School, University of London qualifying in 1990. After training in London he established a specialist fetal medicine unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in 2001, where he was a consultant for 12 years before moving to London where he is Professor of Obstetrics at Imperial College London, Head of Fetal Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Visiting Professor at KU Leuven Belgium. He has held senior roles in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists overseeing both subspecialist accreditation and basic ultrasound training  and was  a Trustee of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2015-2023.

He has been a governor of Ryde School since 2013 leading the Strategic Committee, from 2016 serving as Vice Chair, from 2018 as Chair.

Christoph lives with his wife Paula and two sons in London and on the Island. He is a keen old car enthusiast, enjoys ski-ing and sails from Yarmouth and Seaview.

Michele was appointed to the Board in June, 2010. She moved to the Island, aged 10, and attended the Convent; Ryde School where her brother Patrick attended, being boys only, She studied medicine at UCH and Middlesex Medical School, qualifying in 1994, where she also obtained a degree in Neuroscience.

Michele has worked as a doctor for 20 years, the first ten in hospital medicine and the last 11 years in general practice on the Isle of Wight. She is a partner at Tower House Surgery and leads in areas of business and finance, QOF, osteoporosis, CCG and locality working. She is involved in training junior doctors at the practice. In addition she has been a CCG clinical lead for Dementia and frail elderly for several years and chairs several groups. She has been involved in developing a dementia pathway which has been recognised nationally and in a dementia friendly initiative to make the Island dementia friendly; this was started from a pilot in Ryde, where her practice is regarded as a safe haven. She has recently been approached and asked to be Wessex Academic Health Science Network clinical lead in dementia, which she has undertaken during the last nine months. She is the clinical chair of the Isle of Wight CCG, President of the Osteoporosis Society on the Island and a trustee at Age UK.

Michele and her partner Andreas, also an Island GP, have two sons who attend Ryde School. Michele’s other interests include politics, antiques and dog walking.

Ian is the grandson of the School's founder and was appointed to the Board as Hereditary Governor in November 2023. He was educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  

Ian has extensive experience in finance and risk management following a career in international banking. He held a number of senior risk positions including Head of Credit between 2014 and 2022 at a UK-regulated bank specialising in emerging market foreign exchange and payments. In this role he worked closely with UK charities and donors, assisting them with the delivery of their overseas aid objectives. He has a strong interest in international development and was responsible for organising and implementing large institution-building projects in the financial sector overseas. He has enjoyed passing on his experience gained as a practitioner and has regularly delivered training on finance, risk and strategy topics. He has travelled extensively abroad, particularly in Africa.

Ian lives in south west London. He is married and has a son and a daughter. He enjoys a wide range of sports including cycling, cricket, golf, tennis and hill walking.


As Chief People Officer at the University of Portsmouth Fiona is responsible for leading the delivery of our People Strategy 2030 which supports our underlying principle of educating and transforming lives, while driving a culture of excellence where all our people can achieve great things. As a member of the University Executive Board Fiona makes a significant contribution to the strategic direction of the University together with leading a large HR Function with a portfolio including Pay and Reward, EDI, People and Organisational Development, People Operations and Business Partnering.

Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth in 2022, Fiona was the Director of Human Resources at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.  Fiona has also worked in strategic and operational HR leadership roles both in the UK and overseas at Transport for London, the City of London Corporation, Surrey County Council, Pearson plc, WWF-UK and Unilever UK and Ireland.

Fiona holds a BA (Hons) in Education and a PGCE (Further Education) from the University of Greenwich and went on to study for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management at the University of Westminster. 

Fiona has a strong connection to the Isle of Wight through her love of sailing and had the opportunity to move to the Island when she joined the University of Portsmouth.  She is a founding member of the University Senior Women's Leadership Network, a Trustee for the RSPCA Isle of Wight Branch and an active member of the local community in Ventnor.


Chantal-Aimée became a Governor in November 2014. She grew up between the United States, Germany and England and attended the International School in Hamburg, Germany and Roedean School in Brighton. Chantal studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1986 and at Cambridge University, England (1987-1991). At Cambridge, Chantal-Aimée attended New Hall, now known as Murray Edwards College, and studied history and law. She was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1989.

In 1992 she was called to the Bar of England and Wales and became a King's Counsel in 2008. She practices from Atkin Chambers in Gray’s Inn, London where she is currently Head of Chambers. Much of her work involves advising and representing clients in major infrastructure projects, here and overseas. She also sits as an arbitrator resolving commercial disputes. Chantal was made a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2010 and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She is Co-Editor in Chief of the International Construction Law Review, a joint Editor of the Building Law Reports and a contributing Editor of Hudson's Building and Engineering Contracts. Chantal was Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales in 2016. 


Giles attended Ryde School from 1972 to 1984, and then completed a BA in Engineering Science at Wadham College, Oxford, also representing his college in a number of sports.

Giles started work at Plessey Radar on the Isle of Wight in 1987 as a systems engineer, moving to managing projects in the 1990s including programmes in South America, the Middle East and South East Asia. His role transitioned to Siemens before he joined British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) in 1998 and relocated to Hampshire. In 2006 he was seconded to the Ministry of Defence as project manager for one of the two pathfinder programmes under the Defence Acquisition Change Programme.

Giles has held various roles at BAE Systems, in both UK and International programmes, most recently for Australia and Canada, and he now works as Head of Business Development and Strategy for BAE Systems in the Maritime sector. In 2015 Giles completed a PGDip in International Marketing.

Giles lives in Hampshire with his wife Jill and they have two grown up children. Giles is still keen on sport and in his spare time attempts to play cricket and golf.


Dawn Haig-Thomas grew up in west London and attended Drayton Manor High School where she gained 10 GCSEs and A Levels in History, Latin and English Literature. She then studied at Manchester University, graduating in 1996 with a BA (Hons) 2:1 in Politics and Modern History. Thereafter Dawn studied International Business at Manchester Business School.

In 1997, Dawn joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as part of their graduate training programme in the business consulting division. During her time with Accenture, Dawn focused on business strategy and process with numerous clients across the UK and Europe including Shell, Sainsbury’s, Thomas Cook and American Express. Dawn started to pursue her interest in international development in 2004, transferring into Accenture’s non-profit division. She moved to Gujarat (India) and worked with the Self-Employed Women’s Association and the World Bank on the start-up of a business that enabled remote rural producers to trade internationally using the Internet. In 2006, Dawn moved to the global trade association for mobile phone operators (GSMA) as director of the non-profit division focused on driving uptake of mobile communications to improve the lives of people living on less than $1 per day. Under Dawn’s tenure, multi-million dollar grants were won from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, USAID and UKAID, and she launched programmes with then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and head of the UNHCR António Guterres. 

After having three children, Dawn and her husband relocated to the Isle of Wight to restore a Jacobean manor house and enjoy life by the sea. Dawn is a keen traveller and runner, having completed three and a half marathons. She is also a qualified yoga teacher. In 2023 Dawn became the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight.


Marjon attended Upper Chine from 1980 to 1984.  Her mother and sister also attended the school as did other family members. After school she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at King's College in London and then Law, qualifying as a solicitor at a City law firm.  She also has an MBA from London Business School and an LLM in International Law from Edinburgh University.  She now works as a commercial lawyer with an interest in intellectual property, technology, governance and risk management.  She has worked in large publishing (Hachette UK) and consumer goods (Unilever plc) businesses as well as charities (Oxfam and the British Council) and more recently in other parts of the creative industries, advising on all types of legal issues. 

She lives with her husband in London and Scotland and enjoys gardening, hill walking, music and learning languages


Caroline joined the Governors in June 2018. She is delighted to continue her long association with the School, as she is the third generation in her family to become a governor; following in the footsteps of her Grandfather Douglas Timms who, amongst other things, was part of the committee to form the first school fete, and her Father John Timms, who was also a pupil at the School and Chairman of the Old Rydeians’ Association. Caroline was previously a Governor at Bishop Lovett School and enjoyed her responsibilities supporting the school to raise standards and quality of education, to ensure pupils achieved their educational potential.

Caroline was born on the Isle of Wight and educated at St Therese Presentation Convent where she was Head Girl; while her brother Ian attended Ryde School and was Head Boy. From 1984 to 1986 she attended Ryde School in the sixth form. Her husband Mark and two children, Imogen and Dominic, previously Head Boy, are also Old Rydeians. Caroline, her husband and son have served on the Old Rydeians’ Association Committee and have enjoyed organising social events to continue their contact with peers. After leaving school, Caroline spent time in South Africa living and working in Roedean School, a girls’ boarding school in Johannesburg, after which she returned to the UK to train as a Registered General Nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London. She returned to the Island in 1990 to get married and worked for nine years as an intensive care nurse. In 1999 she became an NHS School Nurse as part of the 0-19 team. She enjoys her varied role as a public health nurse, including safeguarding and supporting the health and wellbeing of young people. Educating is very much part of her day job as she is a mentor to student nurses and new staff, in particular teaching Personal Social Health Education.

In her spare time Caroline appreciates music and drama and is very involved in the Isle of Wight Music and Drama Festival where she is a steward and performer still. She enjoys singing, was part of the school choir and has sung with Voices of the Wight alongside her children. She loves spending time with friends and family and, when she has the opportunity, travelling.


Joanna attended Upper Chine from April 1980 to July 1989, following on from her three sisters and sister-in-law. Afterwards she gained a Diploma in Waterbased Leisure Studies from The College of Maritime Studies, Warsash. She then worked as a Duty Manager in the Leisure Industry in a variety of indoor and outdoor sports centres and pools and a marina in Portsmouth Harbour. When she married her husband, who was a member of the Armed Forces, she took work wherever he was posted in the UK and in the Far East including Police Human Resources, Pension Review and a Military Education Centre. She has 3 school aged children and lives in the New Forest and works in the Exams Office at a local school. Joanna enjoys playing and watching many sports, in particular swimming. She enjoys travelling and has spent time in Nepal helping in an earthquake-hit village and school.


Much of Philip's career has been spent as a business consultant and specialist recruitment adviser for several national organisations covering much of the UK. He was previously involved with the international renowned Dale Carnegie training and development organisation, supporting leadership training and business management.  More recently Philip has spent the last 12 years working in the Estate Agent Industry, currently working for Spence Willard and overseeing their New Homes & Developments operation.  

Philip went to Bembridge School from 1972 to 1981 and his two sons both attended Ryde School.

Peter Hamilton was appointed to the Board in January 2020. He was educated at King Edward VI School in Southampton and Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with an MA in Modern Foreign Languages, First Class.

From April 2002 until August 2018 he was Headmaster of the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Elstree, one of the most successful day schools in the UK for pupils aged between 5 and 18, prior to which he was Head Master of King Edward VI School, Southampton.

He was Chairman of the HMC Academic Policy Committee for 6 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of the UK independent sector. He has also examined at all levels in French and German. He started his teaching career at Radley College and moved to Westminster School where he became Head of Modern Languages and a Housemaster. More recently was appointed Director General of Misk Schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

He has inspected over 30 schools at home and abroad for ISI and has governed a number of maintained primary and independent prep and secondary schools throughout his career. He speaks fluent French and German with intermediate Arabic and Russian.

He lives in Wootton Bridge and is married with two daughters. Other interests include horse riding, hill walking, sailing, skiing, comparative literature and foreign cinema.
 Alex Tate joined St John’s Leatherhead as The Head in September 2023.
He was educated at Pangbourne College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford where he studied Modern History. On leaving university he spent 11 years working in the shipping industry, both in the UK and overseas, with placements in New York, Taiwan and Hong Kong. His final position was General Manager for the business in China based in Shanghai.
In 2006, Alex decided to fulfil a long-held desire to become a teacher, and returned to Oxford University to study for his PGCE. In 2007 he joined the History Department at Dulwich College and in 2009 was appointed Head of Politics. In 2011 he moved to Abingdon School to run a day and boarding house, before becoming Deputy Head at St John's School, Leatherhead in January 2014. Since 2017 Alex has been Head of Bedford Modern School, an HMC co-educational school for pupils aged 7-18.
Outside the classroom Alex is a keen sportsman and has coached rugby, hockey and cricket. He has also travelled widely in the Arctic, having wintered in North-East Greenland and most recently participated in a race to the Magnetic North Pole.
He particularly enjoys cycling, reading and spending time with his family.