Simon Wathen - Chair of Governors
Simon qualified as a solicitor in the 1970s with one of the City of London law firms and spent a year in New York on secondment as a Foreign Associate with a Wall Street law firm.
He moved on to Barclays Bank in the early 80s on the international side initially (he spent most of the 80s in the USA). He had a wide range of general management roles in the Barclays Bank Group before leaving the Bank after 25 years. He then became an executive director of Age UK Enterprises, the large FCA regulated commercial arm of the national charity, a role he undertook for 7 years.
Simon's connection with the School originally arose because his membership of the Mercers' Company, the City of London's Premier Livery Company, which has a long association with the School. He was Master of the Mercers' Company in 2013/14. He is a member of the Court of the Mercers' Company and chairs the Company's Young People and Education Committee.
He lives in Hammersmith with his wife, Julia. His daughter was at the School.
Tom joined Amlin plc, a global specialty insurer and reinsurer, in 2007 working first in the corporate strategy team before becoming the underwriting and operations manager of the marine and aviation department and subsequently head of business development in London. In 2014, Tom set up Amlin’s Miami office focused on the Latin America reinsurance market. In 2016, and following the acquisition of Amlin plc by Mitsui Sumitomo, Tom became the Chief of Executive of MS Amlin’s Lloyd’s business.
Educated at Winchester and Oxford where he read PPE Tom worked originally as a corporate lawyer at Linklaters. He left law to do an MBA at INSEAD business school following which he moved into the insurance industry. He is a liveryman of the Mercers' company.
Alice Thomson is Associate Editor, columnist and interviewer at The Times. She has been a journalist for over two decades. As a foreign correspondent she covered the revolutions in Eastern Europe, genocide in Rwanda, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and their aftermath.
She has interviewed every British prime minister since Thatcher, athletes, dancers, writers, and numerous spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama twice. In addition to working on the Times and Telegraph she has contributed to numerous other publications around the world, and appears regularly on television and radio. Alice has a deep and abiding interest in education issues, and has written about the twists and turns of policy in this area for twenty years. She has four children at four different schools. She is the author of a best selling book, The Singing Line, about her ancestor who built the telegraph line across the centre of Australia in the 19th century.
Alice lives in London and Devon with a husband, children, several ponies, some chickens, 50,000 bees and a dog.
Susan taught English in secondary and preparatory schools for thirty six years and retired in August 2012 after thirteen years as Head of St Hilary’s, Surrey, (coeducational IAPS Nursery to 11+). After obtaining her London University English degree and her PGCE at Goldsmiths’ College, Susan began her career in secondary education at senior girls’ schools: St Catherine’s, Bramley, followed by Guildford High. Married with two sons , Susan made the move to preparatory schools, initially becoming Deputy Head at Falkner House, then Senior teacher and Head of English at Durston House. She is delighted to continue her involvement with Bute House as she was Deputy Head and Head of English prior to her headship. A trained, experienced inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Susan served as Chair of the IAPS Inspections’ Committee and was Governor of Finton House for seven years. She is also a governor of Notre Dame School. She obtained an MA in children’s literature at Roehampton and is now Chair of the Children’s Books History Society and serves on the committee of IBBY (The International Board for Books for Young People) and IBIS (The Imaginative Book Illustration Society) carrying out research and enjoying reviewing books and writing articles for these organisations. She also keeps busy with her three young grandchildren in Suffolk.
Susan is Vice Chair of the Bute House Governors and chairs the Bute House Education Committee.
Katie is Head of Human Resources and a member of the senior management team at St Paul’s Girls’ School. She previously spent 14 years at Royal Holloway, University of London mostly as Deputy Director of Human Resources. She had a three year break from HR when she was College Secretary and Head of Governance, before returning to HR as Acting Director.
Katie was a governor at the Lady Eleanor Holles school before her appointment at St Paul’s. She spends a lot of her spare time performing in, and sometimes directing, amateur musical theatre productions.
Sneha Kooros is a Justice of the Peace for the Central London Magistrates' Court and a member of the Central Youth Panel. She also sits on appeal cases at several Crown Courts in her capacity as a Magistrate. Prior to having children, Sneha worked in the legal department of an Investment Bank until 2001. She lives in London with her husband, two children and a dog. Her daughter is a former Bute House pupil who left in 2014.
Ann graduated from the University of Loughborough with a joint honours in Mathematics and Education and pursued a career in education which spanned both maintained and independent schools and coeducation as well as girls' schools. She taught in Derby, Manchester, St George’s School, Edinburgh and Guildford High School before becoming Deputy Head and then Headmistress of Burgess Hill School for Girls. Ann also spent time as a research associate at the Edinburgh Centre for Mathematics Education at the University of Edinburgh. As a member of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA), Ann contributed to planning and implementing the Professional Development Programme for the association and was GSA Treasurer 2012-14. Ann is also a governor of Slindon College and an experienced team inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Ann has a son and daughter who are based in London. Now retired, Ann lives in Sussex with her husband and a lively Dalmatian.
Mark spent over 30 years working for investment banks including Kleinwort Benson, Citigroup and Mitsubishi in both the City of London and Tokyo. He was Principal Delegate to the International Securities Markets Association and Chair of the Yen sub-committee.
Since leaving the financial world Mark has turned his hand to voluntary work which include being a Governor at a secondary school in Hanwell and helping at Twickenham stadium during England rugby matches. He also helps to coach his 10-year-old son and others at Richmond Cricket Club.
His daughter was at Bute House from 2012-16 during which time Mark was Chair the House Committee and member of the inaugural Bursary Fund Ball committee.
Mark lives in London with his wife, children and two guinea pigs.
Jonathan is a solicitor with particular expertise in project finance.
He has worked at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP for over 30 years and is the leader of the Project Team for the development of PPP standards in the Rail sector on behalf of the International PPP Centre of Excellence at UN Economic Commission for Europe.
He is also Chief Executive of the Community Wholecare Centres charity, which is a joint venture with the London Diocese to roll out social prescribing programmes across London in partnership with the NHS.
He is married with two daughters, both of whom were at the school.
Polly grew up in Chiswick and has lived in Hammersmith for over thirty years. After attending a state primary school she spent four very happy years as a pupil at Bute House before going on to St. Paul's Girls' School, where she won an Exhibition. She then read History at Oxford University and went on to work as an investment analyst in the City specialising in European equities, before leaving to run a specialist art gallery and dealership in Bloomsbury.
She has a TEFL qualification and has worked as a volunteer teaching English to refugees as well as at a local prep school. She has recently completed a two year course in Counselling and Counselling Skills at Birkbeck College, University of London.
She has three daughters who were all pupils at Bute House and went on to Godolphin and Latymer, Benenden and SPGS, so she has experience of being a parent at both day and boarding schools. Her two brothers both attended Colet Court and St. Paul's Boys' School.
Passionate about the theatre, she was a member of The Bush Theatre Development Committee for a number of years. She is also the longest-serving member of the Patients’ Committee at her local NHS Medical Practice.
Her husband Charlie was Master of The Grocers' Company in 2015/16.
Michelle has been a Consultant Gastroenterologist at Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospitals since 2004. She has specialised in Nutrition Support, intravenous feeding and Home Parenteral nutrition for Short Bowel Syndrome.
Prior to this she trained for several years at King’s College Hospital in Hepatology and liver transplantation. She has been the Clinical Audit Lead in her department for many years overseeing many clinical audits and reviews of clinical outcomes. She has currently taken over as the Clinical Lead for Undergraduate Education where she helps teach and mentor medical students as well as overseeing their educational curriculum.
She was awarded her Medical degree in the University of New South wales, Sydney, Australia where she graduated in 1989. Although born in the UK, she emigrated with her family at the age of 10 to Sydney, Australia and lived there for over 20 years. She still has family and many friends there which luckily means many regular visits to Australia.
She is married to David, also a Consultant Gastroenterologist in London and lives in Chiswick with their three children. Nicholas has been at St. Pauls Boys School and is currently doing his A levels, her eldest daughter Sophie was at Bute House and is now at Lady Eleanor Holles School and her youngest daughter Georgia is currently at Bute House.
Her passions outside of work are the theatre, visiting art galleries, playing tennis and skiing and spending wonderful holidays with her family.
Amanda has been a London magistrate for 15 years and is a chairman in the Central London Magistrates’ Adult and Youth courts. She is also the lead magistrate for the domestic abuse court, sits on Crown court appeals, mentors new JPs and gives workshops on the criminal justice system to London school children.
Amanda spent much of her childhood living in Hong Kong, America and Australia, returning to the UK for secondary school. She studied Natural Sciences, then Law at Trinity College Cambridge and qualified as a solicitor at Allen & Overy.
She is married with four children and lives in Barnes. Both of her daughters were pupils at Bute House and her two sons attended both Colet Court and St Paul’s.
Amanda has sung in the Bach Choir and a quartet group called ‘the High Heels’ for many years. She enjoys running and cycling with her two fox red Labradors and travelling extensively with her family.
Parents are able to make contact with the Chair of Governors by sending a letter for his attention to the school address. The Chair of Governors is then informed and will come and collect the letter.
Mrs Helen Lowe
Mr Thomas Carter
Ms Sandra Frost
Miss Laura Comerford (Academic)
Mrs Claire Fildes (Pastoral)
Miss Marie Bowen
Head of Lower School: Ms Rachael Vaughan
|Reception||Mrs Anne Phillipps|
|Reception Teaching Assistants||
Ms Claire Hanafin
Ms Debbie Lofts
|Year 1||Mr Sammy Behrooz Kafshdooz|
|Year 1 Teaching Assistant||
Ms Gillian Jesson
Miss Laura Comerford
|Year 2 Teaching Assistant||Ms Tania Gordon|
Head of Middle School: Mrs Nieves Garcia
|3G||Mrs Nieves Garcia|
|3K||Miss Mikaela Krenzer|
|3W||Miss Ella Wilson|
|Year 3 Teaching Assistants||
Mrs Rebecca Kateley
Mrs Bernadette Kettle
Mrs Taranjit Lotey
|4H||Mr Patrick Hayes|
|4L||Miss Edie Lobo|
|4R||Miss Hillary Rusholme|
|Year 4 Teaching Assistants||
Ms Ana Ferreira
Mrs Pat Murphy
Head of Upper School: Miss Catherine Smith
|5F||Miss Claire Fildes|
|5M||Mr Alexander Man|
|5T||Miss Winnie Tang|
|Year 5 Teaching Assistant||Miss Okszana Szivak|
|6C||Mr Thomas Carter|
|6R||Mr Alun Roberts|
|6S||Miss Catherine Smith|
|Year 6 Teaching Assistants||
Mrs Karen Feagan
Heads of Department
Director of Music
Head of Philanthropy, Communication and Community Liaison (PCCL)
|Mr Ash Charles|
|Head of English||Mrs Nieves Garcia|
|Head of Learning Enrichment||Ms Anni Green|
|Head of Dance & Drama||Miss Selena Kelly|
|Head of Sport||Mrs Fiona Maguire|
Head of Science
|Mr Alun Roberts|
|Head of RE||Miss Catherine Smith|
|Head of Languages||Miss Rafaela Valle|
Head of Mathematics
|Ms Rachael Vaughan|
|Head of Art & Design||Mr Philip Vessey|
Head of Computing/Digital Learning Leader
|Mr Alexander Man|
|Head of Humanities||Ms Ella Wilson|
|Early Years Foundation Stage Co-ordinator||Mrs Anne Phillipps (Maternity Cover)|
Learning Enrichment Staff
Ms Abby Meyer (Transition & Intervention Teacher - Maternity Cover)
Mrs Louise Mock
Ms Marcelle Price
Miss Julia Walker
Ms Katherine Watson
Additional Teaching Staff
Mrs Rachael Ball (Transition & Intervention Teacher)
Mrs Elisa Barber (French)
Ms Jimena De Pedraza (Librarian)
Mrs Alice Fernandes (Specialist Reading Teacher)
Mrs Tatiana Hernandez (Design & Technology)
Ms Rachel Mulloy (PE Teacher)
Miss Alba Quesada Diaz (Music Teacher)
Miss Emily Steel (PE Teacher)
Mr Pablo Grande (Spanish Assistant Part Time)
Mrs Camilla Prewitt (Media Technician)
Mrs Sara Russell (Art Technician Part Time)
Ms Carmen Segade (French Assistant Part Time)
Mr Mark Skinner (Media Technician - Maternity Cover Part Time)
Mr Hugo Timbrell (Drama Technician)
Mrs Christine Adams (School Administrator/Senior First Aider)
Mrs Emma Albrecht (Receptionist/First Aider)
Dr Michelle Bayes (Administrative Assistant - Maternity Cover)
Mr Terry Calvin (Information Manager)
Mrs Christine Kuiper (Head's PA/Registrar)
Miss Diana Nortey (Administrative Assistant)
Mrs Janette Patterson (HR Manager)
Mr Andrew Pitts (IT Manager)
Ms Jacy Reid (Assistant Registrar)
Mrs Rebecca Simpson (Music Department & Public Benefit (PCCL) Administrator)
Mr Deepak Singh (IT Technician)
Mrs Zielena Sukhu (Finance Manager)
Mr Liam Byrne (Caretaker)
Mr Derrick Elliston (Security Officer/Assistant Caretaker)
Mr Ken Woodison (Senior Caretaker)
Lunch Time Supervisors
Mrs Daniella Ferretti (Lunch Time Supervisor)
Ms Tracy Lynn (Lunch Time Assistant)
Ms Cara Thomas (Lunch Time Supervisor)
Mrs Alexandra Bell (Singing)
Miss Kimberley Boyle (Flute)
Miss Guillermina Chivite (Violin)
Mrs Heidi Cox (Cello)
Mr Ben Eales (Guitar & Rock School)
Mr Greg Hearle (Clarinet)
Mr Alan McAfee (Flute)
Mr Stephen Meakins (Piano)
Mr Al Mobbs (Guitar and Double Bass)
Miss Emilia O'Connor (Singing)
Ms Alice Pinto (Theory & Piano)
Mr Pere Sarrio (Violin - Maternity Cover)
Mr Roderick Skeaping (Violin)
Mr Matthew West (Percussion)
Miss Hazel Woodcock (Piano)
Every girl runs her own best race
The non-competitive academic ethos at Bute House is unique and is something of which we are very proud. It is this, combined with our educational aims, which creates the very special atmosphere here.
At Bute House our aims are:
To identify and foster every child’s abilities and talents, encouraging her to become a self-motivated learner and a confident communicator.
To help each child to do her best, to reach her potential and inspire her to achieve her personal best within a non-competitive academic environment.
To provide a broad and enriched curriculum which encourages a love of learning that goes beyond what is taught.
To maintain a happy, positive atmosphere by encouraging self-discipline,respect and consideration for others and a sense of community.
At Bute House we have a long tradition of forward-looking, child-centred educational philosophy. We believe that children learn best when they feel confident and supported, liked and respected as individuals and when their areas of both talent and challenge are recognised and acknowledged by the adults around them.
Bute House teaches girls aged from 4 to 11 who have a broad range of talents, personalities and abilities. At every stage teaching is organised in mixed ability classes to allow each girl to experience maximum personal success in all areas. Our excellent results and high academic standards are achieved without unnecessary competition and pressure and girls are encouraged to discover and celebrate their natural talents, whether these are academic, sporting, artistic, musical or dramatic.
Non-Competitive Ethos - what does that mean in practice?
In line with our philosophy, we never put girls into a situation where they might feel diminished by failure and so there are no marks*, grades, star charts, form order lists, setting, streaming, exams, academic prize-giving, prefects or honours boards - anything, in fact, which publicly promotes one girl above another.
Every child is encouraged to do her best, to set her own targets with support from her teachers, to acknowledge her own progress and be proud of herself, to recognise her personal strengths and weaknesses and not to compare herself with her classmates. Everyone is treated as an individual, each with areas that challenge her and each with her own talents to be celebrated, whether these are academic, musical, linguistic, artistic, dramatic or sporting. Children are ready to "have a go", to stretch their boundaries, to try new experiences, they are not afraid of failure and are confident in asking their teachers to give them the help they need when they are unsure.
What is the end result?
The most important thing, we believe, is that the girls who leave Bute House are confident, articulate, determined, willing to express their opinions, tolerant and open-minded. They achieve academic success, no matter what their starting point and move on to schools which will suit their personalities and academic skills.
Secondary school Heads often remark upon their willingness to 'have a go’ because they are not afraid to fail and it is often a Bute House girl who is willing to put up her hand in those first weeks at secondary school when everything is rather daunting and often a Bute House girl who encourages others to step up to a challenge.
The girls here are also very kind to each other. There are occasional disputes and upsets, of course, but this philosophy enables them to genuinely value, like and respect each other. It also makes for an extremely happy atmosphere which visitors comment on as soon as they come through the doors - it is, in fact, tangible.
*Girls being prepared for external examinations are of course shown how mark schemes work, undertake various timed tests, are familiar with various styles of examination paper and taught exam technique but always within our philosophy of no undue academic pressure or comparisons with others.
Welcome to the Bute House website. We hope that our film, which you can view below, will give you some idea of all the wonderful things which happen every day at Bute House. It is difficult to capture the energy, enthusiasm and warmth of the girls and staff team at Bute House, mainly because it needs to be witnessed at first hand in order for you to believe it! However, the film should give you some sense of what we do; I think the girls’ happiness shines through, undiminished by the camera.
I have had the privilege of leading this school since 2012 and I truly believe that I have the best job in the world. The team of staff here are extraordinary. It takes time to build a staff team such as this; every member of staff has the girls’ best interests at the centre of all that they do, from making sure the buildings are clean and safe to providing inspirational lessons. The staff here go above and beyond every day - because they want to. I am fortunate enough to lead a school where staff are professional, talented, keen to constantly develop their skills and knowledge and who care deeply about the girls’ hearts and souls, as well as their minds. There is no room for anyone half-hearted at Bute House; everything is done with a passion! And it is the team’s commitment to working together, their ability to always look forwards and their determination to help each girl be the very best that she can be, that is quite unprecedented in my experience.
Our school is unique. Our non-competitive academic ethos ensures every girl is valued for her own self and that she runs her own best race. But what does this actually mean in practice? It means that the girls are taught in mixed ability groups throughout their time at Bute House. And the girls are of mixed ability; girls who enter the school at 4+ are not assessed at all, and our 7+ assessment looks for girls with the most potential, not necessarily those who gain the highest scores. In fact, at 7+, the discussions and investigations the girls participate in on the assessment mornings are the aspects which we find most useful to decide whether a girl will be suited to Bute. We do not label the girls in any way; there are no sets or streams, no ‘scholarship’ groups and no ranking of the girls. Our feedback to pupils is often verbal or by written comment and not graded by ‘A+’ or ‘D’. Consequently, it is hard for the girls to compare themselves to each other. If you want to know where your daughter sits compared to everyone else, Bute will not be the school for you, or your daughter.
Now, on to sport as parents often ask if this is also non-competitive. No! Our girls love their sport and they love to win! We are fortunate to have fantastic facilities on site and a fantastic team in the Sports Department, but we think that much of their success is because of the girls being such excellent team players. They are so used to collaborating in class, rather than being in competition with each other, that they are highly successful working alongside each other on the netball courts.
Our Learning Powers are also central to what makes Bute House so special. You can read about these on the website, but essentially these enable us to teach the girls explicitly about skills such as empathy, perseverance and resilience and to bring these to bear upon their work and play, both in and out of school.
Finally, we take our charitable status very seriously indeed; we have an extensive public benefit programme, which you can read about on the website. We offer up to six means tested bursaries a year at 7+, so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to come to Bute, and we are committed to being a part of the local community, working regularly with many children in local schools.
All of this comes together to create a dynamic, exciting, rounded and rigorous environment in which girls flourish and thrive and, most importantly, have a great deal of fun. We wrap this up in a pastoral blanket of care and support; these children are being educated to work in a world which, in some ways, we cannot imagine yet. But we believe that being secure and safe in their own skins, and having a strong sense of self and their place in the world, will always be required. So we look after that too.
Please do come and visit on one of our Open Mornings and see for yourself. If you want your daughter to grow up with the mantra that she needs to run her own best race, and the belief that she must use her privilege as a woman in the world to make change happen, then Bute House will be the right place for you.
Mrs Helen Lowe