Chair of Governors 

  • Mr John Knightley


  • Mr Barry Jones
  • Mr Vernon Jennings
  • Mrs Angie Luff
  • Mr Martin Fuller
  • Mr Mike Kipling
  • Mr Peter Higgins
  • Mr Vic Gopaul
  • Mrs Angie Luff
  • Mrs Michelle Wright
  • Dr Stephen Fisher
  • Mr Ian Davies
  • Mr Daniel Farnfield
  • Mr Bartholomew Callaghan
  • Ms Donna Petford-Naish
  • Mr Jonathan Copeland
  • Ms Kate Naish
  • Mrs Tracey Kirk

Welcome from the Chair of Governors

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the website of Muntham House School and hope you find all the information and news you need to gain a real understanding and knowledge of our  wonderful community and the pupils and staff who live and work here.

We have a strong Governing Body of seventeen members drawn from the local community and further afield; we are fortunate that all our Governors bring their experiences and expertise from the medical profession, education, business, finance, and public service, to support the successful running of our school and the best possible outcomes for the young people in our care.

Our work is organised through formal and informal meetings and the list below will give you some idea of how we carry out our roles and responsibilities:

  • Full Governing Board meets twice a term
  • Estates Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Care and Welfare Committee
  • Personnel Committee
  • Finance Committee

In addition to these sub committees which also meet twice a term, our Safeguarding Governor meets school leaders and staff every three weeks and we carry out unannounced visits to monitor health and safety issues and residential provision twice a term. Governors work very closely with the school and are often to be found in school helping in many aspects of school life and meeting pupils in lessons or informally at meals and events.

We have had a very busy year dealing with some important appointments and matters concerning the future structure of the school and refurbishing many areas of the school:

  • Opened a new purpose built classroom for KS1 pupils aged 5-8 years.
  • Appointed a new School Bursar who is already further improving our financial controls.
  • Planning a new Therapy Centre to fulfil an ever growing need.
  • Established a Canine Therapy Unit.
  • Created a new 'Farm' facility, for our pupils to learn horticulture. 
  • Appointed a new Estates Manager.
  • Continued our program of maintenance and upgrading the school buildings. 
  • Achieved our best ever Ofsted result of Care, being rated Excellent in all aspects.
  • Planning for the impact of the Coronavirus, so we were able to deal efficiently and effectively with the temporary closure of the school.

These are just a few of the matters we have considered alongside the 'everyday' work which is making sure that all aspects of governance are focused on, our main aims to maintain the Safe, Caring, Happy ethos of the school and to do our utmost to prepare our students for adulthood.

We are all proud of our involvement with Muntham House School; its record of twenty years of good and outstanding Ofsted inspections and sending its pupils out into the world having achieved some remarkable outcomes is testament to the dedication and contribution of all who work and learn here. 

To be a Governor at Muntham House School is a privilege in getting to know so many exceptional young people and to play a small part in their lives and futures.

JKnightley Sig 2

John Knightley - Chair of Governors and Chair of Personnel Committee

After School in Birmingham and University in Leeds I did National Service, being commissioned into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and serving in Hong Kong and Germany.

I worked for 37 years for Sun Alliance Insurance, including 7 years, newly married, in Calcutta. In 1979 I moved into sales and marketing in the City and subsequently into General Management in Horsham.

After retirement I was a consultant for the Chartered Insurance institute, and then chaired a final-salary pension scheme.

After becoming a Governor in 2015 my grandson, now aged 8, was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. I therefore have a very strong personal reason to serve Muntham House School.

Barry Jones – Vice Chair of Governors, Chair of Education Committee and Member of Personnel Committee

I trained as a Physicist and worked in the Electronics Industry in Research and then Defence Electronics.  My final post was as Product Support Director at Racal Radar Defence Systems in Crawley.  Since retiring I was a part time Consultant and served as a Magistrate for 8yrs both in the general and family courts.  I currently volunteer with Crawley Museum, am secretary of the Crawley Scout District and an Independent Person for Crawley Borough Council.  I have been a Governor of Muntham House School since 2015 and serve on the Finance and Education Committees.

Other Interests:

  • Trustee Crawley Methodist Church
  • Trustee Crawley District Scouts 

Vernon Jennings – Chair of Estates and Member of Finance Committee

I have been a Governor at Muntham House School since 1986 and during that time served as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Governors. I am also Chairman of the Estates Committee and a member of the Finance Committee.

My professional life has been running a small surveying practice carrying out both Building and Topographical Surveys for clients including the Home Office.

I am an Associate Member of the RICS and was awarded the British Empire Medal last year for my volunteer work in the community over the last 30 years. 

Angie Luff – Staff Governor, Member of Care & Welfare and Member of Estates Committee

Besides raising a family, I have had a varied career working in the hospitality industry before joining the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust supporting adults to cope with the daily demands such injuries inflict.  I joined Muntham House School 5 years ago working within the Care Team, I gained promotion to Team Leader on Bodiam floor where I have enjoyed the variety this role offers. I am a recent addition to the Governing Board – joining the team in September 2015 as Staff Governor, I serve on the Care and Welfare and Estate Committees. 

Martin Fuller – Member of Estates Committee

I have been a Governor for nearly 10 years. My wife and I were Parent Governors since our son started in the Primary unit of the school. Our son now attends college full time. I live close to the school and am a self-employed Landscape Gardener and adoptive parent.

When I took on the role of Governor my aims were:

  • To support the Governors, Staff and Pupils to assist in the smooth running of the school
  • To promote the school in the local community
  • To assist in good home/school communication and relations

I am always happy to chat to parents or professionals about our experience of Muntham House School or to feedback anything on your behalf in respect of the governance of the school. Please write or email us at the school’s address. (Please note if you have any specific issue relating to your child or ward, please contact FIT or the appropriate Teacher or member of Care Staff). 

Mike Kipling – Chair of Finance Committee

I am recently retired, having spent 40 years working in the Life Insurance Industry. I am a former Council member and Vice-President of the Institute of Actuaries. I currently have a small non-executive role at Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society and am a tribunal panel member at the Financial Reporting Council. I am also an adviser with West Sussex Citizens Advice and a volunteer for the National Trust. In the 1990s, I was a parent governor at Holbrook Primary School in Horsham. 

Peter Higgins – Member of Education Committee

I was for 36 years a teacher of Chemistry in a secondary school. I was also Housemaster of a Boys Boarding House and then of a Girls Boarding House. I also have experience of Safeguarding, DBS disclosures etc. for volunteers working with young people. I have been a Governor at Muntham House School since 2002. 

Vic Gopaul – Teacher Governor and Member of Education Committee

I read Physics with Astrophysics at King's College London before working as an NHS Management Accountant. During this time, I decided to try my hand at teaching so I completed the 2 year PGCE conversion course at Brighton University. My first job was at my placement school Thomas Bennett Community College, there I became KS3 coordinator for maths. I left Thomas Bennett Community College to join Varndean School where i was assessed for and given the title of Lead Professional in Teaching and Learning. I subsequently lead T&L observation and support throughout the school. My teaching experience ranges from KS3 to A-Level maths and physics. Here at Muntham House School I have lead the maths department for 3 years in which time I have delivered two workshops at the Engage National Conference and two INSET's on Engaging our Students and Behaviour Management.

Michelle Wright – Parent / Carer Governor and Member of Care & Welfare Committee

I have worked at Muntham House School for the last 26 years, starting in the Primary Unit as an LSA, then moved onto Play and Development and I am now working with the Family Induction Team supporting parents and carers and being responsible for new admissions. I am also now one of the designated Safeguarding Leads working alongside the Principal. I am responsible for the safety and wellbeing of both students and staff at Muntham House School. Previously I was a Staff Governor at Muntham House School, I am now a Parent Governor representing Parents and Carers.  

Ian Davies - Member of Education Committee

I have previously been a parent governor at Heamoor Primary in Penzance and William Penn in Coolham but unfortunately employment circumstances have meant these have been short lived. My professional career started as the Director of Sport at Chichester University then into secondary school teaching (Science and Chemistry), to professional rugby as firstly a forwards coach and then six years as the Director of Rugby, and then back into teaching. I have taught at Christ’s Hospital since September 2016 becoming a houseparent in September 2018. Thoroughly enjoying the houseparent role and see this as a key learning experience in support my ambition of progression into a SLT position. I married in 2010 and we have three young children, two sons and a daughter, all of whom will be attending William Penn from September 2020.

Always keen to challenge myself and to advance my knowledge hence why I have three separate MSc degrees and a very understanding wife!

Daniel Farnfield - Member of Education Committee

Having caught the teaching bug whilst on my gap year in 2003 teaching at Lords Meade Vocational College in Uganda, the entirety of my professional career to date has been in education. The first four years of my teaching career were spent at The Boswells School in Chelmsford; for three of these years I was the Head of Geography. Since September 2013, I have worked at Christ's Hospital School, both as a member of the Geography department  and Houseparent of one of the boys boarding houses. 

I have been a Governor at Muntham House School since 2019, serving on the Education Committee. 

Bartholomew Callaghan - Member of Care & Welfare Committee

After graduating from the University of Bristol with a first in Classics and prize for best final year undergraduate performance in Latin, I became Head of Classics at Aldro in Godalming. Since then I have worked at Christ’s Hospital, where I teach classics and am Assistant Head of Years 8 & 9. I also have experience from working in a range of healthcare settings. I joined Muntham House School as a Governor in 2019, serving on the Care and Welfare Committee.

Donna Petford-Naish - Member of Personnel Committee

I have been teaching within both the state and private sector for the past 24 years and have held a wide range of positions and responsibilities including Head of Year, Head of Humanities Faculty and Head of Department. I have extensive experience teaching Geography and some Science at key stage 3 through to 5.

I am currently Head of Geography and work within a boarding setting at Christ's Hospital School and have pastoral responsibilities as a house tutor alongside classroom teaching and departmental management. I have a particular interest in learning beyond the classroom setting and have extensive experience with outdoor education including working with pupils to gain Eco-Schools Green Flag award, setting up community garden projects, supporting the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and general outward bounds opportunities.

I have been a Governor at Muntham House School since 2019, serving on the Personnel Committee.

Dr Stephen Fisher - Safeguarding Governor and Chair of Care & Welfare Committee

MBBS MRCGP DRCOG DFFP PG.Cert (adult medical education)

I have been a full time General Practitioner in Horsham for the last 29 years at Park Surgery. I was also Senior Partner until Jan 2017 when I reduced my duties changing to becoming a part-time partner. I was born in Horsham and spent most of my life in Sussex, growing up in Brighton, then attending medical school at Guy’s Hospital London qualifying in 1985. I was school medical officer at Christ’s Hospital School, a large local boarding school, for many years as part of my work as a GP locally. I was a local representative doctor at the local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and a shadow Governor at the local hospital trust (SASH) in 2015-16. I hold a certificate in medical adult education allowing me to become a trainer for many years, training General practitioner registrars to become fully accomplished and accredited GPs and also held the post of Academic Mentor in West Sussex, teaching established GPs to pass the PgCert in medical education. In order to maintain full accreditation as a practising GP I have been regularly appraised and revalidated and this includes up-to-date training in CPR, safeguarding, and the whole GP curriculum. In my own time I spent many years cycling, more recently I have a camper van and go camping

I think helping children to have the best experience in education and reach their own personal potential regardless of their individual personal strengths and weaknesses is challenging and fulfilling. I have been fortunate to have three children who are now at undergraduate or postgraduate level and continue to encourage life-long learning and wellbeing.

Jonathan Copeland - Member of Finance Committee, Member of Personnel and Estates Committee

I spent my working life in two careers;  Marketing at Sun Alliance Insurance Group for 25 years followed by 20 years building and running a Mail Order company in Horsham founded by my wife and I.  I retired fully in 2017 leaving our company in the hands of my son and it continues to expand.

I was a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute by examination and have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Open University but I see my practical experience of managing all aspects of a business as most helpful in my role as a Governor of Muntham House.  I serve on the Finance, Estates and Personnel committees.

In any spare time I enjoy singing and have done so most of my life in a number of choirs; I am a committee member of Christ’s Hospital Choral Society.  I am a keen genealogist, enjoy walking, cycling, swimming and holidaying in Portugal where we have a second home. 

Kate Naish - Member of Care & Welfare Committee

I have spent the last thirty plus years working in the public sector, having worked in the NHS for many years as a public health specialist, as well as in local government in the areas of adult social care, education and children and young people's health and well-being. Additionally, I started my career working in the voluntary sector working for a number of disability charities.

I currently work for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Learning Disability and Autism Programme as the national Health Improvement Programme Lead for Primary Care. I have been a Governor at Muntham House since 2020 and serve on the Care and Welfare Committee. 

Tracey Kirk - Member of Education Committee

I started working at Muntham House School in 1996 as a Classroom Assistant and was especially interested in helping the children to become enthusiastic about reading as, at that time, knowledge was generally only available via books!

For the next twenty-three years I took on various roles including: Pupil Administrator; Annual Review Officer; Partnership Manager - Data and Pupil Outcomes and finally as a Data Analyst. 

During my employment I completed: A Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Students with Specific Learning Difficulties; the Dyslexia Institute Mathematics Programme; a Foundation Degree in eSystems Design and Technology; and an Open University Degree covering Mathematics, Statistics, Relational Databases and Biological Psychology.

All the above reinforced and extended my interest in learning difficulties, especially how underlying issues with the brain’s ability to process information can be a barrier to learning and how these barriers could be overcome.

I took early retirement in March 2020 and joined the Governing Board as a member of the Education Committee.  I wanted to continue to be a part of encouraging children to pursue knowledge in order to enjoy and thrive in society and to be the best that they can.

Governors can be contacted c/o the School Office on 01403 730302 or by email: office@muntham.org.co.uk

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DfE No. 938/7003  Charity No. 1105085 Registered Office: Barns Green, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0NJ