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Our Trustees

The Governing Body
The Vernon Educational Trust
Danes Hill School
Leatherhead Road
Oxshott, KT22 0JG
Tel: 01372 843716

Mr Hugh Monro, Chair of Governors
(Contactable via the Bursar)


Hugh Monro read Economics and History at Cambridge, winning a Rugby blue. After a year as a ‘captain of industry, making paint tins in Mansfield, Hull and Neath’ he trained as a teacher, starting his career with spells at Haileybury in Hertfordshire and Noble and Greenough in Massachusetts.

His appointment as housemaster and head of history and politics at Loretto in Musselburgh was followed by three successive headships: five years at Worksop College in Nottinghamshire, ten years as head of Clifton College in Bristol, and then five years as head at Wellington College in Berkshire.

In 2007, following two years as an educational consultant and head hunter, Hugh was appointed Head and then Principal of Bristol Cathedral Choir School, the first choir school and only the fourth independent school in the country to become a non fee-charging Academy.

Hugh Monro has been a governor of several independent and maintained schools and chairman of a prep school board of governors as well as leading school inspection teams.

Mr Robert Mansfield, Vice Chair of Governors

mansfieldRobert Mansfield has thirty years experience in the field of healthcare, ten of which have been as CEO of LSE listed companies. He has worked at managing director level and has wide board-level experience in organisations in the UK, Germany and Australia. He was Chairman of the BioIndustry Association in 1999/2000 and currently chairs several companies.

Robert has served as a trustee of three senior independent schools, and has been a Danes Hill governor for the past eight years. He is currently chairman of the governing body’s F&GP (Finance and General Purposes) committee.

Robert is married with two daughters, both of whom attended Danes Hill. Natalie was both head of school at Danes Hill and head girl at Roedean, whilst Stephanie went on to become head girl at Charterhouse.


Dr Heather Patel


Dr Heather Patel was educated locally at Guildford County Grammar School for girls and graduated from Southampton university to pursue a career in General Practice.  She is currently in partnership in Claygate, Surrey. She has had extensive board and chairmanship experience in a variety of healthcare organisations and is on the Board of Governors for Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Heather also sits on the Clinical Strategy Committee for the Princess Alice Hospice, Esher.

Heather is a resident in Stoke D’Abernon and her two daughters were both educated at Danes Hill School. Her interests include hiking, gardening, personal fitness and travel.  


Mr Anthony Lunn

lunnTony was educated at Ealing College Upper School and Kingston University, reading Law. He was called to the Bar in 1986 having passed the Bar Finals and is a member of The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. 

He has pursued a career in the money markets for the last 30 years, specialising in fixed income and is an Associate Director of ICAP Europe Ltd.  He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.  Tony has served on the F&GP Committee since joining the board in 2010.

Tony has lived in Cobham since 2001 with his wife Lynne and their two children, Selina and Shane, who were both educated at Danes Hill.  Tony is a member of the MCC, Sunningdale and Royal Portrush Golf Clubs.

Ian Hunt


Ian joined Gabbitas as Managing Director in January 2012 after beginning his career in education at Millfield School, undertaking many roles including Senior Tutor and Senior Housemaster, where he ran three different houses. In 2004, he was appointed Senior Deputy Headmaster at Wellingborough School, Northamptonshire and in 2008, he moved on to become Warden (Headmaster) of Llandovery College where he successfully raised both pupil numbers and academic performance.

Ian has also been MD of his own sports education company, organising events at all the major indoor arenas in the UK and working with major companies such as Nike, Channel 4 and the NBA. He is also a regular contributor to numerous publications like The Times, The Telegraph and Huffington Post where he offers his views on education.


Tim Jones

Tim Jones

Tim Jones was appointed as a Governor of Danes Hill School and a Trustee of the Vernon Educational Trust on 13 November 2014.

Tim has more than 30 years' experience as a corporate lawyer with Freshfield Bruckhaus Derringer, eventually becoming the London Managing Partner  He has recently left Freshfields to join England Rugby 2015 as their general counsel.

Tim played rugby to a high level, representing Oxford University, London Welsh, Wales B and Barbarians. Tim is married to Finola and has three sons, the youngest, Conor was a    pupil at Danes Hill from 2000 to 2006.

Dr Marc van Grondelle

vanGrondelle_Marc_High resMarc was appointed as a Governor of Danes Hill in 2016. He is the Managing Director and Head of Lincoln International's global Joint Ventures and Partnering practice.  Marc has over 20 years of global experience advising complex JVs, partnerships and minority stakes and has worked previously with KPMG and Shell International. He is a published author, a Royal Dutch/Shell Scholar and is multilingual with a PhD in Arabic, Islam and Middle Eastern Affairs from Utrecht University.

As a past parent of Danes Hill and with his global industry experience, Marc's contribution to the Governing body will be invaluable.


Mrs Alexandra Hutchinson

A HutchinsonAlex Hutchinson has been Head of Woldingham School since September 2016, having been Woldingham’s Deputy Head from January 2015. With over twenty years of academic and pastoral experience, gained at leading girls’ schools, both day and boarding, Alex’s previous roles include Head of Sixth Form at both Wimbledon High School and Central Newcastle High School, and Head of Science at St Mary’s School, Ascot.

Alex was educated at Wisbech Grammar School and gained a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University. During her time at Oxford, she was awarded an Open Exhibition as well as four Hockey Blues and two Cricket Half Blues. She subsequently obtained her PGCE at the University of Bristol and began her teaching career at Clifton College. Alex continues to take an active interest in sport, playing for a local hockey team, and also enjoys walking and cycling.


Adrian Fairbank


Adrian Fairbank joined the Governing Body in 2017 after nineteen years as a parent at Danes Hill.  He was educated at Radley, Queen's College Cambridge and St Thomas' Hospital, later spending a year each at the professorial Departments at Johns Hopkins University and the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia.  He spent 14 years at St George's Hospital in London as a Consultant Surgeon and Lead Clinician at Epsom and was in addition an Honorary Senior lecturer in the Medical School.  During this time he helped commission the Elective Orthopaedic Centre in Epsom, now an NHS Centre of Excellence and co-designed a knee replacement.

He is a founder and Director of Wimbledon Clinics and is Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at his hopsital.  He regularly appraises doctors as part of their revalidation process by the General Medical Council.  He works locally as a knee surgeon seeing patients from the UK and overseas and lectures both in the UK and Australia on the subject.


John McLaren

John McLaren - photographJohn McLaren is Senior Counsel and Chairman at Gulland Padfield – the award-winning management consulting firm to the Banking and Services Sector (it was shortlisted as Management Consultancy of the Year 2017). Based in Amsterdam & London he advises Senior Management on Reputation, Crisis and Corporate Positioning. His clients include industry, retail, media and start-ups.

For 11 years he was Corporate Director of Communications at AkzoNobel, the world’s largest coatings company and a leader in specialty chemicals. He has been responsible for successfully communicating the massive transformation at AkzoNobel, this included €27 billion worth of divestments and acquisitions (notably the purchase of ICI), as well as the complete rebranding of the company and the introduction of a new global identity.

Before joining AkzoNobel, John was Vice-President of Corporate Communications at Royal DSM, where he oversaw the communications around the purchase of Roche Vitamins and a global positioning campaign. Prior to that he has been:  Director of Corporate Communications for News Network, the digital arm of News International, Vice President of World Space Satellite Radio in Washington D.C. (Sirius XM Radio) and in Public Affairs at IDV (now Diageo).

Widely recognized as an authority in promoting international brand image (having worked in London, Brussels, Washington D.C. and Amsterdam), John is renowned in particular for developing effective global communications strategies. He publishes and speaks regularly and is considered one of the most experienced and successful practitioners of business communications. Living now in London, he is a Freeman of the City of London, a Liveryman of the Haberdashers’ Company and Chairman of Knights Academy.  He has an Honours degree in Law from the London School of Economics.

Mark Smith

Mark SmithAfter 20 years at Millfield Senior School teaching economics and coaching sport as well as stints as Housemaster and Head of Year, Mark moved to Caldicott Prep School as Deputy Head for 8 years. He then moved to Northcote Lodge in Wandsworth where he was Headmaster for 3 years before accepting a consultancy post working with international schools in 2018.

Mark is a passionate believer in the importance of extra-curricular activities in school and enjoys drama, music (particularly choral) and sport.  He is a long-standing (and long-suffering) supporter of Everton FC.




Patrons of the Trust

Mr Bob Stewart

stewartBob Stewart was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, and educated in Westmorland and St Bee’s School, Cumberland. Having graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge he taught at the Royal Masonic School, Bushey, from 1952  to 1970, becoming a Housemaster. In 1970 he was appointed Headmaster of Lyndhurst House School, Hampstead, at that time a part of Davies’s Educational Services, an Educational Charity responsible for six independent schools and sixth-form colleges. In 1979 he became Chairman of the Finance Committee and in 1984 Executive Principal of the Charity. During this period he was responsible for the proposal that Danes Hill should be incorporated into the group.

Bob Stewart was Chairman of The IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Finance Committee for eight years, and a member of a number of other IAPS committees, as well as chairing the London District grouping of some 120 schools.

Bob has been the Vice Chair of the Vernon Educational Trust since its metamorphosis from Davies’s, and in addition has been a governor of a number of other independent schools, including Mill Hill, Shrewsbury House and Eagle House. For some years he was a Director of Waterstone’s, and has been a member of Sunningdale Golf Club for over fifty years.

Mr Geoff Toms

geofftomsBorn in Cardiff, South Wales, Geoff started his career with Jardine Mathieson and the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.  He is currently Chairman and Managing Director of the Toms Group of Companies, which specialises in construction, commercial and residential investment property management. Geoff has been a member of the Institute of Directors for over 25 years. Socially, Geoff played Rugby for London Welsh and Esher RFC during which time he was club captain. His sporting interests now include swimming, golf and wind-surfing. Geoff has, as a parent and school governor, been connected with Danes Hill for over 27 years. Prior to his election as Chair of Governors, he was Chair of the Estates Planning Committee, responsible for the physical infrastructure of the school. He is married to Lynne with three step-children, along with Ben and Kathryn who both attended Danes Hill.

Geoff retired as Trustee on 31 August 2015, he was then appointed as Patron on 12 November 2015.