Our Bursar and Clerk to the Governors is Mr Simon Hughes. Please email Mr Hughes for any matters relating to the Governing Body of the School in the first instance.

Chairman: Edward McCabe, MA, MBA

Governor since 2007

Edward McCabe was educated by the De la Salle Brothers at West Park Grammar School.  He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford and obtained a Masters of Business Administration from Henley Management College.

Edward’s early career was in banking.  He was Chief Executive & Chairman of Hartwell plc : a company with motor retail, investment property and retail finance interests.  Additionally he was Chairman of a software development company, an e-learning business and an early stage high technology investment fund.  He now runs Seven Spires Investments Ltd which is a fund investing in high technology companies.

Tom Ayling, MA

Governor since 2007

Tom Ayling was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, and read chemistry at Christ Church, Oxford. He first worked as a patent agent before turning to teaching at Emanuel School in London. Thirty five years ago he moved to Abingdon School where he has been Head of Science, Senior Tutor (which involved being in charge of university admissions) and Second Master.

His interests include all sports (and especially tennis), music, the theatre and travel.  He is married with three grown-up daughters.


Adrian Colbrook , BSc, PhD

Governor since 2010

Adrian Colbrook read Computing and Electronics at Durham University and obtained a PhD in Computer Science from Surrey University.  He then spent two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computer Science Laboratory.  During his academic career Adrian published over thirty research papers on high-performance computing.

Adrian joined BAE Systems Detica in 1992 and was made a Director in 1997. BAE Systems Detica delivers information intelligence solutions to government and commercial customers to strengthen security and resilience. Adrian is the Business Development Director and is focused is on security to combat the most sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Adrian is married to Andrea and they have two daughters. They live in Bayworth.

John Cunliffe, MA

Governor since 2007

John Cunliffe was educated at Ampleforth and then University College Oxford where he read both Law and Classics. He qualified as a solicitor in 1972 and has been a partner at Franklins Solicitors in Abingdon since 1978. He is now the Senior Partner. He has practiced law in many different areas during his career and in the last 20 years has tended to concentrate on commercial property work, acting for a wide range of clients. 

Andrea Freeman, BEd

Governor since 2010

Andrea is the Principal of Oxford Media & Business School.  After studying Education at university Andrea has spent her entire career in Education and Training, specialising in Communication and Presentation Skills including Personal and Career Development.  In addition to teaching, she has worked for numerous examination boards as an Examiner and Principal Moderator as well as writing various articles for business magazines.  Andrea has also co-authored a students’ text book on Word Processing.

She is a qualified Myers Briggs consultant delivering the MBTI programme to all her students and an NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier. She has three daughters.

David Heavens

Governor since 2007

David Heavens was educated at Our Lady’s Convent Junior School and Abingdon School, and became articled to Ernest Nicholson, Town Clerk of Abingdon in 1951. He spent 45 years in local government, retiring as Chief Executive of the Vale of White Horse District council.  He did two years of National Service commissioned in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and served in Sierra Leone in the Royal West African frontier force before independence.  He served in the Territorial Army for 12 years, retiring at the rank of Major.

Rev James McGrath STB, MA

Governor since 2010

Father Jamie is the Parish Priest of Our Lady and St Edmund Abingdon. He was educated at Montfort College, Romsey, Hampshire, and studied Philosophy and Theology at the Missionary Institute, London, obtaining a degree from Louvain University, Belgium.

Ordained in 1982 his early priesthood was spent in Malawi, in central Africa, before joining Portsmouth Diocese in 2000. In 2013 Fr Jamie was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Education by Bishop Egan of Portsmouth Diocese.

Tony Prosser BSc, MSc, MBA, FI Fire E


Governor since 2011

Tony Prosser attended Pontllanfraith Grammar School in South Wales. He Read Biochemistry and Environmental Science at University College Cardiff. He holds a Masters in Management from University of Central Lancashire and a Masters of Business Administration from Oxford Brookes University. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

He has spent nearly 30 years with the UK fire and Rescue Service and has held director posts in the West Midlands Fire Service and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service. He is a Visiting Lecturer at Wolverhampton University and a freelance journalist in his spare time.


Sister Penny Roker MA (Cantab)

Governor since 2014


Sister Penny Roker worked as a teacher for 22 years and was on the Staff of Our Lady's Convent Junior School from 1995-2000 as Head of History and Senior Mistress. Sister Penny wrote the history of the school entitled Children of Mercy, published in the millennium year. Since leaving Abingdon in 2000 she has worked as a prison chaplain, counsellor, spiritual director, retreat director and writer. Sister Penny is currently employed as a school counsellor by a Catholic Comprehensive school in South East London. She lives in Community in Eltham with three other Sisters. Their Convent is the Formation House for the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy.



Helen Ronaldson

Governor since 2010

Helen Ronaldson was educated at Our Lady’s Convent School, Abingdon and Combe Bank School, Sevenoaks, Kent.

Helen was born in Abingdon and spent time in an Army environment both in the UK & Germany.  She is now retired, but remains active in local duties and Charities: she is a Governor and Past Master of Christ’s Hospital, Abingdon, President of the Abingdon Inner Wheel, and Chair of Abingdon Monday Club for mentally & physically handicapped adults.

She is married to Chris with two daughters and a stepdaughter and stepson, and three grandchildren.

Mrs Jane Shillaker MA, LLM, CTA

Governor since 2010

Jane grew up in Maidenhead, Berkshire and has lived in Oxfordshire for much of her adult life. Her secondary education was at the Brigidine Convent Windsor and the Abbey School Reading. Her first degree was in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford (Jesus College). In 2004 she gained a postgraduate diploma in Law and in 2006 her LLM from the University of Birmingham.

She has worked for HMRC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and accountancy firms in Berkshire and Worcestershire. She currently uses her taxation experience as outreach manager for the charity TaxAid and as a lay member of the Finance and Tax Tribunals, First Tier Tribunal (Tax).

Jane Iives in Watlington with her husband; they have three children. She was previously a governor, and chair of governors, at Checkendon C of E School.

Maggie Shinkwin, MA, NPQH

Governor since 2007

Educated by the Notre Dame Sisters – and drawn to the ethos of Religious Order education ever since - Maggie taught Classics at Downside, Ratcliffe and Princethorpe before becoming Deputy Head at Our Lady’s Abingdon.  From here she took up Headship at Holy Cross, Buckinghamshire, is a Diocesan Inspector and a Governor at another school.

Maggie has three children. She loves all sport, especially tennis, and is embarrassingly passionate about politics. 

Ian Yorston, MA

Governor since 2008

Ian Yorston is Director of Digital Strategy at Radley College, where he has previously also held the positions of Head of Science, Head of Physics and Head of Careers. He is an ISI Inspector and an advisor to the Independent Schools Council.

Prior to Radley he spent 10 years in the Royal Air Force, including three as an Electronic Warfare Officer. This involved a lot of computers and a number of wars, and spending a great deal of time working alongside Americans!

You can find out more about him on his blog, The Unreasonable Man.


Peter B Williams, MA

Governor since 2017

Educated at Tain Royal Academy and The University of St. Andrews. Taught in Scotland and at The European Schools in Culham and in Luxembourg. Lectured in Economics at The University of Edinburgh, also in Copenhagen DK. and Auckland N.Z. Experienced in Teacher Training, International Education Exchange Programmes and The International Tracing and Messaging Service of The British Red Cross. Former Honorary Treasurer of Oxfordshire Lawn Tennis Association and of Abingdon Passion Play. Married with three children. Keen interest in sport and regular golfer. 


Dr Leslie Ann Bergmeier PhD, CBiol, MRSB, FHEA

Governor since 2017

Lesley was born in Abingdon and was educated at both St Edmunds and Our Lady’s Abingdon. She has spent all her career working in the field of Mucosal Immunology; first at Guy’s Dental School (now part of King’s College London) and more recently at the Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, where she holds the title of Reader in Oral Immunology. Lesley has published extensively and was awarded the Draper’s prize for excellence in teaching in 2012. She has considerable experience teaching at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels and in supervising of PhD and MSc research students. Lesley has been programme lead for the MSc in Experimental Oral Pathology since 2009. She served on the Self-assessment team for the Institute of Dentistry Athena SWAN Bronze award application (Granted 2013, renewed in 2016) and was responsible for the Institute Newsletter.

Lesley is married to Bob and has two step-daughters. She is a keen Choral singer and is a member of the Buckingham Choral Society. 



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