All schools are required to have a governing board and at Shaftesbury Park Primary School the board plays an important role in setting the school’s direction and monitoring performance. The governing board has three core responsibilities:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

There are 5 types of governor at Shaftesbury Park: the headteacher is an automatic a member of the board, one staff governor is elected by the school’s staff, two governors are elected by parents, one governor is appointed by the local authority on the advice of the board and the remaining board members are appointed, or co-opted, by the board. All board members are equal, and are required to act in the interests of the whole school rather than representing any specific group. You can view details of terms of office and attendance.

Shaftesbury Park is lucky to have an active board who play a key role in the school’s continuous improvement. They are always happy to hear from parents and other members of the school community and can be contacted via the chair, James Cousins, through the school office or by emailing

The current governing body are:

Sara Alessandrini (co-opted)

Sara AlessandriniI have been a co-opted governor since March 2020 and more recently have moved to Chair of the Resources Committee.

I was born and brought up in Southwest London but both my parents are of Italian origin. I still live locally and am now a mother to one daughter who is in secondary school. Professionally I am a solicitor and my day job is as a partner in a criminal defence firm in Central London where I have a particular interest in helping young people which, of course, begins with education.

I am committed to supporting Shaftesbury Park primary school to ensure that every child has access to the best education opportunities enabling them to thrive and flourish whilst also maintaining the school’s values and ethos ensuring it’s vital role in the community. I look forward to developing as a team member and being part of this fantastic school.

Emily Cornish (co-opted)

Emily CornishI joined the Shaftesbury Park governing board in 2020 and act as link governor to the enterprise stream.

I am an experienced communications professional, having started my career in the private sector before moving into central government.

I am particularly interested in the school’s marketing and communications strategy, working to promote the unique offer of the school including placing Shaftesbury Park as a leading school in the enterprise space.

James Cousins (co-opted, chair of governors)

James CousinsI have been a governor at the school for over fifteen years, first as local authority appointee and, more recently, as a co-opted member. I have had the immense privilege of being chair since 2015-2016. I live locally and have been incredibly fortunate to send my children to Shaftesbury Park.
Professionally my career started in the City, before moving into the local government and health sectors and then, more recently, consultancy work.
Within the school I’ve has taken a particular interest in the development of its unique curriculum offer and how — now it’s fully embedded — we can continue to develop both children and staff and fulfil the school’s mission of helping our children change their world.

Andrew Dawes (parent governor)

I joined as a parent-governor in 2021. I am a director of an architectural practice and teach architectural design part-time. My interest is in how architecture can contribute to improving the quality of people’s lives. Our practice is currently looking at how we can re-shape our buildings, high streets and communities following the pandemic: converting an empty office building into affordable housing, providing accommodation for the homeless in a church and re-invigorating an inner-city library with new maker spaces.

I lived abroad for many years and speak fluent Dutch and welcome the opportunities that a bi-lingual environment can offer to our children. I joined as a governor to help the school in offering each and every child the greatest opportunity to grow, develop and flourish. I have helped Shaftesbury Park improve child safety, with proposals for car-free streets outside the school leading to the creation of a safe street on Ashbury Road, and hopefully to improvements on Holden Street soon!

I believe that Shaftesbury Park is a kind and compassionate place of learning, with a bi-lingual and enterprise curriculum which develops a great set of skills for our children, setting them in good stead for the future.

Brigitte Eugster (staff)

Brigitte EugsterEver since I was a teenager I’ve been ‘working’ in schools in some way or another whether it was after-school-clubs, summer camps or tutoring. I completed a Masters in Child Psychology in 2017 in Switzerland and started teaching English. Additionally, I worked a swiss summer camps as a horse riding and English teacher. I then completed my teaching degree in 2013 moving to Spain to teach in Madrid. I then moved to England in 2016 as a Year 1 teacher and worked with TeachFirst in which I completed a Master in Educational Leadership from UCL.

I joined the Shaftesbury Park Primary School community in 2018 as the Year 3 bilingual teacher and have now had various roles in the school from researcher, subject leader, mentor and now staff governor! Being a staff governor has given me the opportunity to share on-the-job experiences (especially during the pandemic) and provide a different point of view to the governing board.

I adore working at Shaftesbury Park Primary school as it gives me the rare opportunity to deliver lessons in French whilst still following the National Curriculum. As a Swiss-American who attended bilingual schools, it was a breathe of fresh air finding this school. It truly feels like home. As a governor/teacher/subject leader, I am extremely passionate about the benefits of a bilingual education (so much so that It was part of my research in Educational Leadership).

Philippe Mior (local authority)

Philippe MiorBorn in Belgium, I moved to the UK mid 2016.

I have worked in Banking and now Software consulting for the last 25 years where I gained a great experience in managing projects and budgeting. I strongly believe that education is one of the most important marker of success for a child’s life.

Patrick Montgomery (co-opted)

Patrick MontgomeryI have been a governor at Shaftesbury Park since 2014 and I serve on the Resources as well as the Curriculum and achievement committees.

Both my children attend the school and it has been great to see how Shaftesbury Park has been evolving and how my sons are enjoying their time here. Professionally I am an IT Director for 2 London Authorities and as someone who was born in Ireland, raised in Holland and has lived in various countries and worked in a range of industries throughout my career I am a big believer in the benefits of the bilingual environment that we are developing at Shaftesbury Park and also in the enterprise skills the children develop at the school as both will equip them well in their later lives.

Jon Moore (co-opted)

Jon MooreI am the newest appointed governor at Shaftesbury Park and have chosen to work with the school because of its innovative and rigorous curriculum, as well as the emphasis they place on student voice and inclusive learning practices, all of which can be seen through the outcomes and excellent results of the students.

Having worked in Higher Education for the last 15 years, I am passionate about the transformative power of learning and believe this starts from a young age. Shaftesbury Park allows its students to participate in their own journey by selecting either the enterprise or bi-lingual stream, whilst promoting equity, identity and inclusion throughout the entire school. With a background in marketing and student recruitment, I am keen to help the school raise its profile, so that it can continue to flourish.

I am excited to be a part of this community for many years to come and look forward to working with the other governors, staff and most importantly, the students, on creating the best possible environment for them to succeed.

Vita Shapland-Howes (co-opted, deputy chair of governors)

Vita Shapland-HowesI became a governor at Shaftesbury Park in 2018 as I wanted to give back to the local community by using my skills and experience of being a former languages teacher. When I got to know Shaftesbury Park’s international outlook, it seemed like the perfect fit!

I now work at the Department for Education and I continue to be passionate about improving education for the most disadvantaged pupils.

Pat Taylor (co-opted)

I have been invested in the growth of Shaftesbury Park for around 15 years. First as a Specialist Teacher from the local authority Support Service. Secondly as a parent whose son flourished and achieved in Shaftesbury’s safe and secure environment. And, finally, for the last 10 years, as a governor. As a Specialist (Dyslexia) Teacher I am committed to giving children not only the academic skills, but also the understanding and tools to navigate the emotional aspects of school when you learn differently. The diverse, bilingual and enterprise environment being created at Shaftesbury Park for our children to grow in, is a vision that has my full support.

Moya Wilkie (co-opted)

Moya WilkieI have been a Governor since 2016: first elected as a Parent Governor when my child was in Year 1, and then co-opted after my initial term ended. I am a passionate believer in the importance of quality state education for every child, and as a local resident since 2005 I was pleased to have the opportunity to support Shaftesbury Park. Living in an English-speaking household, I was incredibly excited at the opportunities offered by the bilingual stream, and delighted to chair the Curriculum and Achievement Committee for 2 years.

I currently work in the charity sector but have a background in Higher Education administration and management, and have been able to bring skills in policy development, finance, and HR to the role of Governor. I am responsible for Safeguarding; working with our experienced staff team to keep Shaftesbury Park pupils safe and secure, and hence better able to make the most of their learning opportunities. I have been especially pleased to support the school’s Equalities work, creating an environment that is welcoming, respectful and supportive for all members of the school community.

Nicole Walker (parent governor)

I joined as a parent governor in 2021. I have two daughters currently attending Shaftesbury Park. It has been a pleasure to see how much of an integral role the school has played in my girls’ development, both academic and social. Professionally, I have worked primarily in independent schools and educational non-profits, focusing on enrolment management and marketing and communications.

Having the opportunity to work with various constituencies, and families from all walks of life, prompted me to explore how student and parent experiences are impacted by cultural influences, and validated for me just how important diversity, equity, and inclusion work in and outside of the classroom.

After spending some time at home with my children, I am back to working in independent school admissions, focusing on recruitment. My goal is to collaborate with the school and to use my experience to develop an avenue for parent voices, while continuing to enhance Shaftesbury Park’s mission and support its strategic goals.

Governors who have served in the last year

Anthony Boon (co-opted, retired 16 March 2022)

Anthony BoonI joined in 2012. I spent 13 years on the Continent (university and then work) before coming to London in 2009 so I really concur with any school’s language strategy, and I had heard about this school’s bilingual project. I live in the south of the Borough so my children attended another state primary, it’s important for children (if possible) to walk/cycle to school.
It is satisfying to be part of this team, there are still huge diversity flaws in the workplace, and in these years as a Governor not only have, I have found it rewarding and refreshing but I’m convinced that this is the best way for an(y) Organisation to hit its goals, and execute a long-term strategy. The school’s progressed well, and provides an enticing proposition with enterprise and bilingual sections. But I/we are not complacent, and we continue to work on accountability, and as we represent people from all walks of life, we limit unconscious bias and group think.

I’m a believer in education, fairness and in social mobility. Workwise, my career was plain vanilla Finance until 2015 when I left asset management to become a carer for my mother. I thus joined the gig economy, became a writer, did a stint as stay-at-home dad, worked in a pub, joined a start-up, fundraised, consultancy, and then launched an investment fund.