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Governing Body

David Levin - Chairman of Governors, BEcon, MA, FRSA

David is a former Headmaster of City of London School (1999 – 2014), Headmaster of the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe (1993 – 1999), and Second Master at Cheltenham College (1987 – 1993). He moved from City of London School to become Managing Director (Independent Schools) at United Learning with responsibility for the governance of 12 schools. David was Chairman of Governors at ARK Bentworth whilst the School was brought out of special measures  A former Chairman of HMC (2010-11), David has also has been a Governor at James Allen Girls’ School in London, the National College for School Leaders and the Institute of Education, University of London. David served as adviser to the Minister for Young People and Learning, from 2002 to 2005 in relation to the highly successful ‘London Challenge'. He is a Freeman of the City of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has been a governor at Canford for 20 years. David was appointed as Chairman of the Governing Body of Canford School in December 2016.

Mary Armitage CBE, BSc, MB ChB (Hons), DM, FRCP, FRCPE

A former Canford parent, Mary was Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for 25 years, and as the Trust Medical Director for four before her retirement from hospital practice in 2013. Currently she is the Medical Director to the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, Department of Health, and  the Secondary Care Advisor to two Clinical Commissioning Groups in Hampshire and Devon.  She has previously served as Clinical Vice-President to the Royal College of Physicians of London, on the National Committee on Safety of Medicines and as the Deputy Director of Medical Education at the Department of Health.

Andrew Boggis, MA, PGCE

After reading German and French at New College, Oxford and taking a PGCE at King's College, Cambridge, Andrew taught in Salzburg, at Hitchin Boys' School and Eton College, where he was also Master in College (Housemaster to the King's Scholars). Subsequently he became Warden of Forest School in London. Andrew was Chairman of HMC in 2006 and Master of the Skinners' Company in 2011. He is now Director of HMC Projects in Central & Eastern Europe and the Chairman of the Skinners' Company Education Committee.


Anthony Cottam - Former Chairman of Governors, BSc, FCA

Anthony Cottam is a graduate engineer and a chartered accountant.  He was a partner of KPMG for 22 years and Chairman of its UK South region for over 10, providing audit and advisory services to businesses ranging from local entrepreneurs to global corporations.  Tony has a long association with Canford and is a former parent.  He was Chairman of Governors from December 2011-2016.  His educational experience also includes 13 years as a governor of a local preparatory school.

Barry Coupe BA, Dip Arch, RIBA

An OC, father of an OC, past President of The Old Canfordian Society, and a Canford Governor since 2008, Barry is a Chartered Architect and ran a successful award winning practice based in East Anglia for over 24 years. He is a founder Trustee of East Anglia’s Children Hospices (EACH), a past Chairman and Trustee of Dyslexia Action and Chairman of the committee responsible for organising the centenary celebrations at Buckingham Palace in 2015 for Blind Veterans UK.


Robert Daubeney, BA

Robert is an OC, son of an OC, and one of four brothers educated at Canford in the late 1970s to early 1980s. He graduated in Politics and Economics from Reading University and joined BP as a Graduate Trainee. For the last 21 years Robert has worked as an Oil Broker in the Shipping Industry for Furness Withy Chartering Limited,. He is a trustee of the Furness Withy Pension scheme. 


Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert, KCVO, CB

An OC and former parent, Sir Jeremy de Halpert spent a full career in the Royal Navy as a Warfare officer and navigation specialist, with service in the Falklands War, commanding three ships, and ashore in NATO and USA. He retired in 2002 to take up the post of Executive Chairman of The Corporation of Trinity House, responsible for navigation safety and pilotage around our coast, and the country’s largest endowed maritime charity. He was knighted in 2008 for services to maritime safety and the maritime community.


Reverend Canon Vanessa Herrick, BA, MA, LTCL

The Reverend Canon Vanessa Herrick has been Rector of Wimborne Minster since 2012.  Previously, she served as Director of Ministry and Vocation and Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Ely, responsible for the development and implementation of a broad strategy for mission and ministry. She was formerly Chaplain and Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, and Tutor in Pastoral Theology at Ridley Hall Theological College, Cambridge.


Stephen Ilett, MA (Oxon)

Stephen Ilett was educated at Rossall School, Lancashire, where his father was a housemaster, and at Lincoln College, Oxford University where he read History. He represented the university at both rugby and cricket. He enjoyed eighteen years in the City working at Lloyd’s of London before starting a new career as a schoolmaster. He spent eight years at Caldicott teaching French, coaching games and directing school plays before taking up the headship at Milbourne Lodge, a Prep school with a strong academic tradition in Esher, Surrey. After five years at Milbourne, he became Headmaster of Port Regis in January 2016. Stephen and his wife, Amanda, who is the Head of Marketing at Port Regis, have five children.

Michael Jeffries, Dip Arch, RIBA, FICE, FRSA

Michael Jeffries was appointed as Governor of Canford School on 19th March 2014.  He is fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and spent the majority of his career with WS Atkins Plc where was the Group Chief Executive and then Chairman for ten years.  He is currently chairman of Civica, an IT and software products company and the support services group Mouchel. 


Matthew Keats, MA (Oxon)

An OC and former Head of School, Matt studied Geography at Oxford before converting to law. He joined international law firm Linklaters in 1995 where he was elected a partner in 2005. His expertise lies in the development and financing of Energy projects around the world with a particular focus on the emerging markets. For the past three years has been responsible for overseeing Linklaters’ global recruitment strategy.


John McGibbon, FCA

John is a chartered accountant and a former partner at Grant Thornton advising private and public companies, not for profit organisations and charities   He held senior management positions as a managing partner and a member of the National Management Board with responsibility for client service and information systems. He is currently chairman of Aster Communities, a housing association which provides over 27,000 homes for people across central southern and south west England.

Richard Nicholl, BA, PGCE

Educated at Stowe School, Durham and Oxford Universities, Richard was a Housemaster at Haileybury College where he also taught English and RS, before moving to Dorset where he spent twenty one years as Headmaster of Castle Court Prep School, Corfe Mullen.  A former Canford parent, he has also previously been an ISI school inspector, and a governor of The Godolphin School in Salisbury.


Ben Richards

An Old Canfordian and current parent, Ben has spent much of his working life in the commercial world, running and successfully selling his own stationery business, and in company investments and property. He has been a governor since 2006 and is also currently Chairman of Stroud Prep School. Through his love of golf, he keeps in regular touch with OCs on the school course.

James Stileman

James Stileman was educated at Wellington College and Durham University before taking up a short service commission in the Royal Green Jackets. He worked for 18 years in advertising including the start-up and sale of a top London agency. Since 2005 James has been employed by the Titus Trust, a Christian charity which runs activity holidays for children at independent schools. He spent eight years leading holiday camps for those of prep school age and is now the Trust’s Operations Director.

Annabel Thomas, BA (Oxon)

Annabel is a second generation Old Canfordian.  After reading Modern History at Worcester College, Oxford, she trained at Herbert Smith and qualified into its litigation department.  She is now a partner at Mishcon de Reya, specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration. 

Michael Walshe, BA (Hons)

Michael built a highly successful thirty year career in HR and general management in manufacturing, electronics, computer and engineering, developing a wide range of innovative practices. For ten years he has coached executives in Australia, the Middle East, North America and Europe.   He now runs development programmes in leadership, performance management and presentation skills, in addition to part-ownership of an IT solutions business and involvement in headhunting at a senior level.