Governance - Amesbury School
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Amesbury School (Amesbury School Trust Limited) is a registered charitable Trust formed in 1970. The governance of Amesbury (Amesbury School Trust Limited) is in the hands of a governing body consisting of a Chair and at present twelve fellow governors. There is a broad mix of skills and experience but with a strong emphasis on Business, Finance and Education.


Karen Davies

Chair, Board of Governors

Karen joined the Board in 2019. Karen has been Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Charterhouse and was previously Academic & Pastoral Principal at The Royal Ballet School for five years. Karen read English Literature at Girton College, Cambridge before working in banking for a period of time.  She then completed an MBA at Warwick Business School and worked as a management consultant for almost fifteen years, specialising in leadership and managing change in industries as diverse as industrial services and ballroom dancing costume design.  Eventually she saw sense and became a teacher.  She is a passionate believer in co-education and has two grown-up children who were educated at Swanbourne House Prep, Millfield School and Cheltenham College.  Her daughter is now also a teacher and her son a manager in the hospitality industry.

Karen can be contacted via:


Susie Perrett

Deputy Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

Having trained as a Primary school teacher at Durham University, Susie began her career working for Bass PLC undertaking a number of roles from retail operations to brand management. On completing her MBA at Lancaster, with a focus on Leadership and Executive Coaching, she worked for a boutique consultancy delivering change management training for 2 years, before joining the International Business Leaders Forum. From 2006-2017 she worked for Business in the Community, running their Business Action on Homelessness campaign and delivery programme across the country until 2013. Her final years there were spent running their Education work, partnering disadvantaged schools across the country with long term business partners to improve outcomes for the children.

Her two children joined Amesbury in 2016 and Susie joined the Board of Governors with a particular interest in Education and People Development



Chris Bennie

Chair, Building Committee

Chris has been a Governor and Chair of Building Committee since 2004. He has overseen an extensive and transformational programme of refurbishment, new buildings and general improvement of the school estate.  A chartered architect, he was a Principal in a large London-based architectural practice, working across a wide range of projects in both public and private sectors, before retiring from the partnership in 2020, after forty years with the firm. He holds or has held non-executive directorships and trusteeships in property, insurance, tech, pensions and education sectors.

Married to Wendy, their twin sons Charles and Alexander enjoyed their formative years of education at Amesbury before both moved on via academic scholarships to the Royal Grammar School in Guildford. Charles read history at Oxford and Alex read Classics at UCL/Cambridge before both embarked upon law qualifications and careers in the legal profession. Alex was called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 2017.


Jill Tait-Harris

Photo coming soon

Chair, Safeguarding Committee

Biography coming soon



Laura Buchanan

Marketing Committee

Laura joined the Board in 2022 and is currently the Chief Client Officer for Brunswick, a global consulting firm focused on helping business play a role in the world more successfully.  In this role she’s responsible for capturing the voice of the firm’s 1000+ clients and inputting their priorities into the firm.  Laura was previously a journalist at the BBC and pre-corporate life, taught English as a Foreign Language in Italy and to children in London.

She has three children, including a son who was educated at Amesbury and in her ever-decreasing spare time is a passionate supporter of youth projects around the Godalming area.

Laura represents the Board at the Marketing Committee meetings.



Ian Ferguson

Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

Ian is a solicitor who began his legal career in London, and briefly Paris, for the international law firm Clifford Chance.  From there he joined IBM, spending his last 10 years heading IBM’s legal team for the UK and Ireland.  He called time on his IBM career in 2021.  Before life got more serious he was educated locally at Longacre, Duke of Kent and Cranleigh schools, and then attended Cambridge University where he began studying French and Spanish and emerged three years later with a degree in law.


He and his wife Rachel had three sons at Amesbury.  The boys relished life at the school – inside and outside the classroom – and it was a happy time for all the family.  They went on to the RGS Guildford for their secondary education.  The eldest, Harry, is now working at a law firm in London, Jonathan is working as a junior hospital doctor, while the youngest, Edward, is at Bristol University studying engineering.  All have very fond memories of Amesbury.



Rachelle Kirkham

Education Committee

Rachelle joined Wellington College in 2008 as Head of Spanish, having previously taught at Nottingham High School and as a postgraduate lecturer in the French and Hispanic departments at Nottingham University, where she completed her BA, MA and PhD.  She became Head of Initial Teacher Training in 2013, Head of the MFL Faculty in 2015 and Director of Teaching and Learning in 2019.  As a key member of Wellington’s academic leadership team, she is passionate about responsive teaching and providing a holistic education for the young people in her care.  This year she has been busy expanding Wellington’s pastoral support for student by introducing the school’s first assistance dog, Coco.  Rachelle is looking forward to working with the other Governors and getting to know the Amesbury community of teachers, parents and children.



Hugh Sturges

Finance Committee 

Hugh has lived in the Haslemere area for 20 years and has put his three children, Harry, Kate and Lizzie through Amesbury albeit some time ago. Now semi-retired, Hugh’s career, starting with qualification as a chartered accountant at KPMG, has incorporated financial and general management positions in the UK and overseas.

Most of his career has been in the drinks industry, both spirits and fine wine, working for Bacardi, Diageo, Berry Bros & Rudd where he was CEO for 10 years, and most recently Jeroboams where he remains a director. Since stepping down from full time work, Hugh has taken on a governorship at Pond Meadow Academy, a SEND school in Guildford, mentorship at the Drink’s Trust and is a willing helper at Sailability in Frensham.  Married to Sue who has embarked on a late career as a London Blue Badge tour guide, Hugh spends most of his spare time walking the dog (Billie) and trying to find opportunities to get out on the water.


James Welham

Education Committee

James joined the board in 2022 and is the Staff Liaison governor and governor with responsibility for Boarding.  He teaches mathematics at Bedales School where as Head of Faculty he overseas both Mathematics and the schools Digital Game Design BAC.  Since graduating from Durham University in 2000, he has taught at a range of independent boarding schools including Wycliffe College as Housemaster, Harrogate Ladies College as Assistant Head (Boarding), and Twyford Prep School as Head of Mathematics.

Outside of teaching James is a keen artist, enjoying painting and linocut printing.  He has a son and daughter, both of whom are at Bedales, who together with his wife, an Anglican vicar, enjoy all the benefits of living amongst the South Downs.  James is looking forward to getting to know the Amesbury community and sharing his experience of boarding education.



Craig Decker


Advisor to School Digital Committee, Education Committee 

Craig joined the Board in 2023 to continue the school’s commitment to its Digital Committee. The Digital Committee provide focus for the school’s long-term approach to the provision of IT as a subject, an aid to learning and as the backbone to the school’s communication and information systems. Craig moved from Australia to the United Kingdom in 1996 to pursue his career in technology. He currently is consulting to many technology start-up companies in the areas of AI, Human Talent Management, Data Quality, Cyber Security and Unified Communications. Craig previously worked for many years in the Internet technology sector, holding senior roles in Cisco, BroadSoft, Cosine and Ascend.

His son and daughter were both educated at Amesbury and subsequently at Seaford College. His daughter is currently studying an Early Years Teaching Degree at Portsmouth University. His son is currently completing Year 13 at Seaford College. Married to Carol, they enjoy walking their dogs (Barney and Sadie). Craig spends his spare time gardening, playing tennis and golf.


Clerk to the Governors: Sarah Jones, Bursar,


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