The Governors of Durham School play a vital role in ensuring we deliver effective leadership and management in keeping with our mission and ethos.
The Chairman of Governors, Mr Ribchester, can be contacted via the Clerk to the Governors by post, at the school or by email at the following address firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Rob Ribchester
Rob is an Old Dunelmian having attended the School (Poole House) from 1992 - 1999. After attaining an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters degree in Business and Finance at Durham University, Rob qualified as a Chartered Accountant in London with BDO Stoy Hayward in 2007. Rob then spent three years in the City with Deloitte within a specialist tax role before moving back to Durham at the beginning of 2010 to become a Partner at Ribchesters, Chartered Accountants in Durham and Newcastle. Ribchesters have numerous clients in the Educational sector and Rob has a wealth of experience in this area. Rob won the award of North East New Accountant of the Year in 2012. Rob holds numerous other professional positions including directorships of two North East Enterprise Agencies. Rob is also the trustee of The Henry Smiths Charity, a trustee of numerous other trusts and charitable organisations and is a member of the Durham Committee of Barnados, the Children's Charity. At the School Rob sits on the International and the Finance and General Purpose Committees and is also a director of Durham School Trading Limited.
Mrs Margaret Coates
Margaret Coates is Head Teacher at Newcastle Prep School, a thriving and oversubscribed school. With a passion for primary education, Margaret has worked within the Independent Sector for over thirty years. She has taught at RGS, Newcastle and set up a new nursery at Durham High School where she was Head of Junior House, as well as having experience of being a resident teacher within a Girls' Boarding School in Bromley. In her spare time (if any) Margaret enjoys music and is a Methodist local preacher. She has one son who was educated at Durham School and was proud to belong to Poole House.
Mr Richard Swart
A former anti-apartheid political journalist in South Africa, Richard settled in Durham in 1988. A parent of former pupils, he is currently Global Sales & Quality Director for the manufacturer Berger Group Europe (stock-listed in Germany as Ringmetall AG), for which in earlier years he established businesses in the UK and China, headed the parent company in Germany, and played key roles in identifying successful group acquisitions in the USA, Turkey, and Italy. Most of his time is spent travelling abroad to the 14 group locations (exporting to over 50 countries) and managing key multinational accounts. Richard is currently Honorary Vice President of the North East England Chamber of Commerce for which he is also a Non Exec Director and also chaired the Chamber’s International Trade Committee from 2008 to 2018. He is also International Relations Director for the South African Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Chair of the Board of North East Worldwide Ltd, which manages the regional Department of International Trade service delivery. Richard has facilitated reciprocal high level trade visits between the North East and South Africa each year since 2012, as well as MOU’s signed between Durban City Council in SA and Newcastle UK as well as between the North East Chamber & Durban Chamber. He does radio work for leading SA radio stations on UK & European issues
Dr Jacquie Robson
Jacquie was born and brought up in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and first came to Durham in 1995 to read for a degree in Chemistry. She stayed on at Durham University to complete her PhD in air-sensitive inorganic synthesis and X-ray crystallography under the supervision of Professor Judith Howard CBE, FRS. After thoroughly enjoying the teaching side of her work, she pursued a career in secondary education and worked at RGS Newcastle as a Chemistry teacher, Assistant Head of Chemistry and netball coach and then took on the role of Head of Chemistry, Assistant Housemistress and netball coach at Barnard Castle School. She returned to the University in 2010 as a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) School Teacher Fellow. Still based in the University Department of Chemistry, Jacquie is now the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the first year undergraduate student mentor. Her scholarly research interests lie in chemistry education pedagogy and student transition into Higher Education, with a special interest in inclusion and widening participation issues. She has worked across the University on curriculum development and student experience projects and sits on the University Senate as a teaching-focused staff representative. She has mentored University staff in teaching and learning and has contributed to staff development programmes. She enjoys most sports, particularly running, netball and football, completing a number of marathons and triathlons as well as playing netball in national leagues, alongside a bit of run leading and some coaching and umpiring. These days, however, her busy work life means she is more of a spectator of many sports instead of an active participant!
Professor Quentin M. Anstee
Prof Quentin M. Anstee is an Old Dunelmian (School, 1986-1991). After school, he trained in medicine at University College London where he was awarded a First Class Honours degree and won First Prize in Medicine in the final MB BS examination. He subsequently undertook specialist training in Hepatology, Gastroenterology & General Medicine at hospitals in North-West London and was awarded an MRC Fellowship to undertake a PhD at Imperial College London. He is currently Professor of Experimental Hepatology at Newcastle University and an Honorary Consultant Hepatologist in the Liver Transplant Unit at the Freeman Hospital, where he oversees the care of patients across a broad-spectrum of acute and chronic liver disease. He leads one of the largest NAFLD clinical services in the U.K. Prof Anstee’s translational research interests extend from the laboratory bench to the bedside with particular focus on the pathogenesis and treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a common cause of cirrhosis that is closely linked to obesity and diabetes. He coordinates a number of major international research programmes that are developing novel diagnostic biomarkers and treatments for liver disease: ‘EPoS’ Elucidating Pathways of Steatohepatitis and ‘LITMUS’ Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis. His research is supported by substantial research grant funding totalling >£50 million from the European Union (FP7, H2020 and IMI2), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). He is President of the Old Dunelmian’s society and, in his spare time, enjoys sailing. His son is educated at Durham School.
Canon Michael Hampel
Michael Hampel was born in the Lake District in 1967 and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon where he was educated at Shakespeare’s school and developed a passion for theatre and music. He read Classics at Durham and trained at Westcott House for ordination. He returned to Durham in 1993 as Assistant Curate of Whitworth with St Paul Spennymoor and then Minor Canon, Precentor and Sacrist of Durham Cathedral. In 2002, he was appointed Senior Tutor and Director of Development of St Chad’s College, Durham. He returned to the cathedral world when he became Precentor of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Suffolk in 2004, Sub-Dean in 2008, and Acting Dean in 2009. In March 2011, he was installed as Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. There, he was involved in the staging of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Service, the Opening Service of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Lady Thatcher’s Funeral Service, the Queen’s 90th birthday service, and the Grenfell Tower Memorial Service, as well as overseeing the daily round of worship, music, and special events there. He wrote the words for the anthem commissioned for the Diamond Jubilee Service – ‘The Call of Wisdom’ – set to music by Will Todd and sung by The Diamond Choir made up of children from every part of the UK, together with the Choristers of St Paul’s and of the Chapel Royal. In 2018, he returned to Durham as Vice-Dean and Precentor of Durham Cathedral where he takes a strategic role in governance and fabric as well leading the team which presents the liturgy and music of Britain’s favourite cathedral.
Mr Simon Dobson
Simon is an Old Dunelmian (1977-1982) in his final year at Durham School he was Head of School and Head of School House. After leaving school, Simon joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he was commissioned into the Parachute Regiment. After leaving the Parachute Regiment Simon ‘went into the city’ where he completed the Scottish Equitable’s Consultant Training programme. On returning to the North East, Simon worked for a Newcastle based IFA and then worked for Arthur Anderson, since subsumed into Deloittes. In 1999 he joined Dickinson Dee’s Private Client Department as an IFA and he has remained there ever since. In his role, he advises wealthy individuals and trustees on financial matters and helps to organise their complex personal affairs in conjunction with mitigating personal taxes where possible. He is also a member of the Personal Finance Society and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. In his spare time, Simon enjoys rowing; in 2011 he was appointed Chair at Tyne Rowing Club. In the role, he oversaw the funding, construction and adoption of Tyne Amateur Rowing Club’s £1m boathouse which was then opened by the Duchess of Northumberland in 2016. This work also included, converting the club from an unincorporated association to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. He now competes in The Tyne Senior Men’s squad and frequently encounters Durham School pupils; he also coaches at rowing events up and down the country.
Mrs Joanne Cowie
Joanne Cowie is a Commercial Property lawyer and a Notary Public. She is a partner at Tilly Bailey & Irvine, a full service law firm which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. It has four regional offices. Joanne is based at the Wynyard Park office which is a specialist commercial office. Joanne has been a lawyer for over twenty years and acts for a diverse range of individual and corporate investor clients on commercial and residential property acquisitions, financing and disposals and for lenders. As a Notary Public, Joanne provides a full range of notarial services for commercial firms engaged in international trade and for individuals involved in matters worldwide, for example, buying and selling property, powers of attorney, estate administration, marriage and divorce, sponsorship of visitors, employment, immigration and emigration and can provide a secure record for almost any transaction, document or event worldwide. A Notary is also a qualified lawyer. Notaries are in fact the third and oldest branch of the legal profession. She was appointed as a Notary Public by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are very few Notaries in the North East of England. Joanne’s oldest son joined Durham School in 2003, leaving in 2010 and her youngest son left Durham School in 2017. Joanne enjoys running, cycling and rowing and is a qualified British Rowing Coach. She has acted as a volunteer rowing coach at Durham School and has coached on school rowing camps and at events for several years. Activities in the last year have included a Tough Mudder event, climbing the Yorkshire Three Peaks and a 12k Total Warrior Army assault course. Challenges for 2017 are in hand.
Miss Maura Regan
Maura is the Architect of Carmel Education Trust, having led the successful transformation of Carmel College from a single outstanding College to the lead school in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). The Trust is recognised as a leading organisation nationally. In her role as NLE, Maura and her Leadership Team have supported schools across the region from all phases, all of which are now showing significant improvements in outcomes for students. Maura has been highly pro-active in supporting NETSP (North Eastern Teaching Schools Partnership) in the delivery of NPQH, NPQSL and NPQML and a National College programme ‘Women into Headship’. A Director for the Church of England Diocese of Carlisle Good Shepherd with Multi Academy Trust. Maura is regularly invited to address National audiences on the benefits and complexities of establishing and leading a Multi-Academy Trust in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and support for the common good. She is passionate about making a difference and believes that ‘ever child should be given every opportunity to succeed’.
Mr Geoff Hodgson
Geoff Hodgson was educated at Durham School and Oxford University, where he read Geography. His early career was spent in Sales and Marketing for multi national companies, including Procter and Gamble, Diageo and Coca-Cola International. He returned to the North East in 1994 to be Sales and Marketing Director of the Newcastle Breweries and Chief Executive of the Federation Brewery. Since 2004 Geoff has started and sold two leisure companies and acted as a non executive director to a number of companies and bodies. He is an active investor in various local companies. In recent history he has served as the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear , been Chairman of the North East Tourist Board and the regions representative for the London Olympics.
Mr Neil Turner
Neil Turner is Director of Howarth Litchfield Partnership (HLP) in Durham. Qualifying as an Architect at Newcastle University in 1991 and has developed HLP Architects into one of the most successful practices in the region. A qualified Project Manager and Client Design Advisor. He is also a member of the North East Design Review panel. Neil has extensive experience in the health, care, education sectors and design of bespoke one off houses. He is passionate about the work he and his practice produces. He has won awards with Civic Trust, Durham Civic Society, RICS awards and RIBA awards this year and is this year's winner of the Telegraph house conversion of the year . He also specialises in the conservation and development of historic buildings and has overseen a number of projects, bringing old structures back to life.
Mr Alasdair MacConachie, OBE, DL
Born in India and educated in Rhodesia, Alasdair followed in his father's military footsteps (he commanded the 5th Ghurkha Rifles in the Burma Campaign) by joining the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment. He later joined Anglo American and DeBeers Mining before moving on to the Ford Motor Company. In 1981 he joined Sherwoods as Director responsible for commercial vehicle operations and assumed control of the company in 1983, since when business turnover has grown from £6m to £45m. Employing some 160 staff it is now one of the largest independent retailers within the GM franchise in the UK (Vauxhall and Chevrolet). In 1992 Alasdair was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for County Durham and in 2002 Vice Lord Lieutenant for County Durham. He received an OBE in January 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Teesside University in 2008. He became High Sheriff of the County Palatine of Durham 2009-2010. He also chairs a variety of other institutions including Darlington College, is president of various boards and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).