RAMA VENCHARD : Incoming Chair of Governors


Incoming Chair of Governors

Having worked in the retail, hospitality and banking sectors for over 20 years, Rama has run his own project management consultancy supporting schools and colleges for over 15 years.  He is the Chair of Trustees of an academy trust of 20 primary schools and the Vice Chair of Trustees on a family board of 15 special schools and 7 college centres for young adults with SEND.  He has over 10 years of governance experience and is a member of the NGA’s National Leaders of Governance Advisory Panel and a member of the DfE’s new London Regional Director’s Advisory Board.  His passions are music, food and the company of good friends. Please contact the Chair of Governors here: [email protected]



Jonathan trained as a doctor in Manchester, and after medical and surgical posts, he moved to London in 2000 to work as a Psychiatrist. He has held posts across London in a variety of settings, working with people from all walks of life and of all ages and backgrounds, and has been an NHS Consultant in community adult psychiatry since 2008.. He has experience in treating depressive, psychotic and anxiety conditions and with medical legal work. Jonathan practices in Private Psychiatry in Harley Street and in Mill Hill and although he has limited direct experience working with people with special needs his work as a psychiatrist gives him some understanding of mental health in general and the role that plays in the wellbeing of the students, families and carers and staff alike.
RON BROWN : Governor



Ron is a senior professional and specialist in Adult and Children's Social Care, Health and SEND delivery, who has worked extensively in local government, not for profit organisations and commercial organisations. Originally qualifying as a social worker, followed by an MBA in Corporate Finance, Ron has over 30 years’ experience in the care sector where he has specialised in learning disability and autism. He has a strong track record of performance across a number of very challenging operating environments where he has achieved turnaround by targeting care quality and practice improvement alongside commerciality. He is currently Managing Director of HSN Care Ltd with a view to building the company as a sector-leading care organisation. Ron’s previous roles include Director of Services and Nominated Individual at Norwood, Head of Service (Integrated Learning Disability Service) at the London Borough of Hackney and Principal Consultant (Capita Procurement Solutions) Capita Ltd.



Rabbi Andrew Davis has been teaching Jewish Studies full time in secondary schools since September 2005. He is currently Deputy Headteacher of Yavneh College and the Executive Director of Jewish Life of the Yavneh Schools. He has a BA and MA in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education and is currently studying for his PhD at the UCL Institute of Education. He received his Semicha from Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim and Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg in 2008.  He is also a Pikuach Section 48 Inspector and member of the Reshet Jewish Youth Advisory Board.



Steven is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He spent virtually his entire career working as an investment manager. He spent over 20 years at Liverpool Victoria (LV=) where he ran the investment subsidiary for many years. He was a Director of the Group and was heavily involved in their mergers and acquisition activity. He retired from LV in 2010.He spent about a year consulting before he was hired to set up an investment management company for Tesco’s staff pension fund which had almost 100 people working in it by the time he retired (again) in 2021.He has been Chairman, Treasurer and Warden of Pinner Synagogue and was on the Investment and Burial Committees of the United Synagogue for many years. He was also a member of the Investment Committee of the Alzheimer’s Society for nine years.He is currently an Independent Member of the Investment Committee of St James’s Place and a non-executive director of Edge Future Capital, a venture capital investment management company.
PAUL HODGKINSON : Associate Governor


Associate Governor

Paul started working at Youth Challenge Pupil Referral Unit in 1997 and held numerous positions there. He started as a voluntary mentor before becoming a class teacher and eventually the Teacher in Charge in 2003. During his time as Teacher in Charge, Youth Challenge was twice judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted. Paul became the Manager of the Bolton Pupil Referral Service in 2010 and supervised the federation of all of Bolton’s PRUs. In 2014 he also become the Interim Executive Headteacher of Lever Park School where he worked with the staff team on a Rapid Improvement Plan which eventually resulted in the School being moved out of Special Measure. In 2016 he became the new Executive Principal of the Bolton Impact Trust. In total, Paul’s Schools and Academies have been judged Outstanding by Ofsted on eight separate occasions.
Paul has advised the DfE, Local Authorities and Schools on Leadership, Behaviour Management Strategy, Alternative Provision and Special School funding and Governance. He also recently co-chaired the Foundation for Education Development’s AP/SEND Council. Paul currently sits on three School Trust Boards and is also the Chair of Trustees for a local charity which supports young adults with Special Educational Needs.
HOWARD ZETTER : Chair of Governors


Chair of Governors

Howard practised as a solicitor for more than 40 years prior to his retirement in April 2011. He was a partner in the firm Finers Stephens Innocent, and he specialised in commercial litigation representing numerous ‘household name’ companies. Part of his practise was in the education sector, acting for insurers of many universities around the country. During his career he also spent time as a Managing Partner and as Head of a large Litigation Department. After his retirement he was instrumental in setting up a charity with the object of raising money from the older generation via the donation of their Winter Fuel Allowance in order help disadvantaged youngsters. During this project Howard worked closely with The Prince’s Trust.
LAUREL FREEDMAN : Governor and Safeguarding Lead


Governor and Safeguarding Lead

Laurel trained as primary school teacher over 40 years ago and has had a number of roles and professions both in England and Israel, including teaching adults and pre-school children, and childminding. After qualifying as an EP in 1996, she worked for the London Borough of Enfield for 7 years and then moved to Norwood (Binoh) where she managed the EP team, working predominately within the Jewish community. During this time, she also spent 5 years on a secondment to the Tavistock Centre, working as a part-time course tutor on the Doctorate for Child, Community and Educational Psychology. Since leaving Norwood in 2013, Laurel has worked as an independent EP and is now semi-retired.



Per was born in Sweden and moved with his late wife and his children to the UK in 1985. He was working in the computer industry for 40 years until his retirement in 2012. During the last 10 years of his career he specialized in contract management in the Financial sector. Per has been involved with the Board of Management of his local synagogue for 30 years with various responsibilities including Health & Safety for approximately 3 years. He is also the Deputy National Chairman for a Cultural Society for elderly.
SAMUEL ZIFF : Governor



Samuel started his career at J.P. Morgan Cazenove working in the UK Industrials Corporate Finance team for 4 years. Following that he joined Oldfield Partners where he co-manages the global equity income portfolio and contributes to the overall investment selection. He has helped support a number of causes over the years – notably raising money for Nightingale House and Teenage Cancer Trust as well as mentoring young adults from foster homes.



Kirsten is Headteacher at Wolfson Hillel Primary School and acting CEO of the Jewish Community Academy Trust. Prior to this she was Deputy Head at Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School. In the previous 10 years Kirsten was the London Regional Adviser for the DfE supporting on school improvement, behaviour and attendance and Healthy Schools. Kirsten also ran her own successful education consultancy for 11 years; advising schools across all 33 London boroughs, Kent and Essex. She has two children,her eldest son has atypical ASD and severe dyslexia and is schooled in a designated special provision attached to a mainstream secondary school.



After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1966 Michael spent two years gaining some commercial experience, and then joined a Public Company.  He started as PA to the Managing Director, and over a period of ten years rose to become MD of one of its subsidiaries and was promoted to Group Company Secretary.  He left in 1978 to acquire interests in several other companies and in 1988 he formed a Corporate Finance Boutique specialising in Mergers and Acquisitions. In1994 he merged the Corporate Finance Boutique with a London based accountancy practice and operated from their premises. He subsequently became the sole owner of the business and relocated the company. He is also Chairman and Shareholder of a specialist Property Consultancy Company.
VAL PUMFREY : Governor



Val is an experienced fundraising, education and youth engagement professional with over 20 years in the sector, currently consulting for international and national charities, including Movember, Comic Relief, the National Autistic Society and the Association for Citizenship Teaching. Formerly Head of Youth Engagement and Fundraising at Comic Relief, responsible for schools and youth strategy, including delivery of Comic Relief’s national fundraising campaigns and education programmes. Director and co-owner of education communications agency from 2007-12, working with high- profile clients, including the BBC, government departments and the Globe Theatre. While Head of Publishing at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, developed, produced and launched the National Curriculum and related education resources in schools.
MARK COHEN : Parent Governor


Parent Governor

Mark works as an IT Consultant for a global engineering firm leading a team of 30, advising clients on all aspects of IT and technology in their new building design & construction projects, he has responsibility for all areas of running the business unit including HR, finance, and project delivery.



Formerly worked in the city for 12 years in fund/portfolio management for Life Assurance Companies. She left to start up her own art company and consultancy which she ran for five years until the birth of her third child. As a result of his diagnosis of Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia.  Sarah began to research the educational provision on offer to her and her son and this led to the journey with Ali and the creation of Gesher. Sarah has always been very active and involved in both in her local Jewish community and the wider Jewish community and believes passionately that all children, regardless of any diagnosis should have the right to access a Jewish education and communal activities and events whilst having their SEN needs met.
ALI DURBAN : Governor



Ali has an extensive career in Marketing  and PR spanning 20 years and until recently was Head of Communications at The Southover Partnership – a multi faceted special needs organisation that encompasses four special schools.   Ali has three children, one of whom is dyslexic, dyspraxic, and has auto processing challenges – conventional mainstream primary education was a huge struggle, however this journey led her to co-found Gesher alongside Sarah Sultman.  Ali is a passionate advocate of both early intervention and inclusion.



Michael retired from legal firm HowardKennedyFSI in the West End of London in 2013, where he was a partner specialising in property development. Michael has acted on the acquisition and development of town centres and airport hotels,office blocks,industrial warehouses as well as retail development, and was also heavily  involved in the education sector where he dealt with acquisition and development in both the Further and Higher Educational sectors. Since retirement Michael has joined the board of trustees of First Rung, a charity which provides education to young people,most of whom come from economically deprived backgrounds and have left school with poor qualifications and opportunities. He also assists another charity by sitting on its welfare committee which provides grants to impoverished university students and is a mentor at an academy school.