Portesbery School

Portesbery School - a happy school where every one matters

Governors at Portesbery School

Total number of posts: 12

Co-opted governors - 6
Parent governors - 3
LA governors - 1
Staff governors - 1

There is a vacancy for one Parent Governor.


Chris Hamilton

Chris Hamilton
Chair of Governors
Co-opted Governor

I took early retirement from a senior management role in local government to combine part-time work with volunteering and met a group of Portesbery pupils at their weekly Riding for the Disabled sessions in Chobham. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff and the determination of the children that I joined the school’s Governing Body as a Community Governor.

I have 30 years experience of building development, finance, IT, project management, PR and staffing and worked for 10 years in a local education authority. I draw on all of this as a Governor, particularly in helping the school to stretch its budget and lobby for more funding.  

The children that I first met in a muddy field in Chobham are now all grown up and starting to leave the school as happy, confident teenagers just as the new school begins its own transition. It is a real honour to be chairing the Governing Body at this exciting time.

I maintain close contact with Nathan and, like other Governors, make regular visits to the school so that we have a real understanding of its work, achievements and challenges. We work together to deliver the very best experience and outcome possible for each and every pupil.

If you have a concern that cannot be resolved by the school, or you are interested in joining the Governing Body, please write to me at the school or email me at chairofgovernors@portesbery.surrey.sch.uk 

 Nathan Aspinall

Nathan Aspinall
Staff Governor (Headteacher)

I originally qualified as a mainstream primary teacher, but always had a passion for working with students with special educational needs. I worked at Manor Green School, Maidenhead, for 9 years and moved from class teacher to assistant head, deputy head, and then, ultimately, acting headteacher for a year’s maternity leave cover.

Manor Green School is a generic special school for students aged 2-19, which meets the needs of all students that could not be educated in mainstream school. We supported students with profound and multiple learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties, autism spectrum condition, moderate learning difficulties and physical difficulties. It was the only special school in a small local authority and provided me with a broad range of experience.

I then moved to The Abbey School in Farnham, Surrey, as headteacher. The Abbey School is a secondary school for students with learning and additional needs. I am very pleased to be working at Portesbery School and to return to working with students with more complex needs, a wider age range and seeing students make progress and develop over a significant period.

Ruth Buchan

Ruth Buchan
LA Governor

I have been a governor at Portesbery School since 2008. I was head teacher of a Surrey Special School for ASD pupils for nearly 20 years until I retired in 2006.

Before that I worked in an MLD school, was a teacher in a child guidance unit and taught in a London tutorial class.

I am very interested in the curriculum needs of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder and enjoy linking this with the efforts made at Portesbery to meet the individual special needs of students attending the school.

I chair the Children & Learning Committee and feel governors gain a great deal from understanding the reasons behind good classroom practice.

I am also a co-opted governor at the Walton Leigh/Manor Mead Federation and maintain strong links with the school where I was head teacher.


Susan CarpenterSusan Carpenter
Co-opted Governor 

My experience from over 40 years in education (some 26 in senior management) within Surrey provides me with the background to understand and support the work of the school and to raise questions and challenge when needed.

I sit on the Resources and the Children & Learning Committees and also carry the remit of monitoring Child Protection and Safeguarding within the school.

Having been Chair of the Governing Body for several years I look forward to continuing to work with Matthew and the staff to ensure a bright future for all the pupils.  


Patrick Dawson

Patrick Dawson
Parent Governor

I have been a parent governor at Portesbery since 2006 with my son Callum starting at the school in 2004. Callum has a twin sister who attends Hammond School in Lightwater where we live.

Having achieved a Masters degree in Leisure Management, I have predominantly worked in the golf industry. I was the General Manager at Pine Ridge Golf Centre for three years but am now the manager at Burnham Beeches Golf Club.  In addition to being a dad, I like most sports, film and music.  


Maggie Dean

Maggie Dean
Co-opted Governor

I was a Senior Specialist School Nurse at Portesbery until my retirement in December 2012. I had worked as a School Nurse in three different Special Schools in Surrey over the past 18 years prior to joining Portesbery. I was the manager of a paediatric outpatient unit in a hospital, and I worked as a liaison worker with Social Services.

I am now a volunteer ambassador visiting charities and organisations in Surrey promoting volunteering.

In my spare time I have Play Schemes for Children with Disabilities. I perform and direct Amateur Dramatics. I look forward to being part of the Governing Body and supporting the school in its future endeavours. 


Tracey Haigh

Tracey Haigh
Staff Governor

I have been a teacher at Portesbery since September 2011. I love working here; every day is different and there’s never a dull moment. I have taught both in Primary and Secondary and am Maths Subject Leader for the school.

I am particularly keen to involve our pupils with the community and over the last three years I’ve also organised the school’s participation in the joint camp between Woking Scouts and local special schools; taking some of our pupils away for the weekend to participate in Scouting activities and giving them the chance to mix with other teenagers. This year we also had our first camp with Blackwater Valley Scouts. Both camps are excellent opportunities for our pupils try activities they’ve never done whilst having a fun time away from home and I’m keen to continue and develop this. I’ve also had the opportunity to take part in two residential stays with the FE (Post 16) department, both were fantastic experiences.

Out of school I am mum to two teenage children, am an archery instructor for scouting (having also been a cub scout leader for 6 years), have recently become a Guide Leader and enjoy glass lampworking, craft activities, DIY, camping and walking.

I became a governor to enable me to be involved in ensuring that the school continues to strive to be the very best it can be for all of its pupils. I believe we do a great job but should always aim for even better.


Hudson Holt

Hudson Holt
Co-opted Governor

Hudson's profile will be added soon.


Steve Shirley

Brigadier Steve Shirley
Co-opted Governor

I have had a long and varied career in Army and Defence Logistics, including some HR and training appointments. As Commandant of the Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration, I provide 28,000 course places nationally per year to Army, Navy and Air Force personnel in a multitude of trade areas, from driving to catering and from movement control to petroleum operations.

I have a good working knowledge of Ofsted as they frequently visit one or other of my 7 sites. We have to manage young people all the time in the College, so I also have some experience of duty of care considerations, blended learning and of helping staff and instructors to get the best out of our young talent under training.

I wanted to become a Governor of Portesbery to be a good military neighbour, but also because, when I visited last year, I was so very impressed with the school and the staff's efforts to succeed for its pupils.


Jonathan Spink

Jonathan Spink
Vice Chair of Governors
Parent Governor

I have been a parent governor for seven years. My son George has been at Portesbery since he was six and is now in F.E. 

I retired from the Metropolitan Police as a Detective Inspector five years ago where I undertook a number of roles, here and abroad, including child abuse investigations.

I assist with Riding for the Disabled on the days that Portesbery pupils attend so have the privilege of engaging with a number of pupils and staff outside the school environment on a weekly basis.

I now chair the Resources Committee and sit on the head teachers review panel and head teacher’s pay committee. I also have a remit for looked after children at the school. 


Chris THomas

Chris Thomas
Clerk to the Governors

I am the Clerk to the Governing Body at Portesbery School.  My role is to take notes at Governing Body meetings, and to produce the formal minutes that can be read elsewhere on the website; to draw up agendas for the meetings with the Chairman and the Headteacher, ensuring that topics that they are required by law to discuss are included; and to perform the administrative work of the Governing Body. 

As Clerk, I take no part in the discussions of the Governing Body.  Unlike governors, I am paid for my work. 


Jane Vaughan

Jane Vaughan
Co-opted Governor

I was Director of Education at the National Autistic Society 2009-2014. I joined the NAS with a background of 26 years in education including senior positions across a range of settings and age groups, in both mainstream and special schools and also worked as a school improvement consultant for 5 years.

In 2011, I led the successful NAS bid to open the first Charity-sponsored free school in England for pupils on the autism spectrum and gave evidence to the Government Education Select Committee on behaviour and discipline in schools. I worked with Surrey to develop the four Cullum Centres based at mainstream secondary schools and have worked extensively with parents and people with additional needs to establish peer support groups and set up new provision.  

I retired from the NAS in September 2014 but continue to work as an Education Consultant. I sit on the expert advisory council for the Autism Education Trust (AET) and am an advisory panel member for the National Association of Special Educational Needs. I am a Certified Company Director and strongly believe in the value of good governance.


There is a vacancy for one Parent Governor.