Thowheetha Shaah – Chair of Governors
Portfolio – Ethos, Vision, Strategy (Lead)
I am a Consultant Solicitor and specialise in Family Law. I deal with all issues arising from the breakdown of a family relationship, in particular, financial settlements and child related issues. I am also a qualified Mediator and assist couples in finding a resolution which suits them and sits within the legal framework, as well as allowing them and their children to move forward with minimum disruption and expense.
I train trainee & qualified Mediators for National Family Mediation and I do pro bono work by advising at the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau. I have been a Trustee of various charities in the past and President and Treasurer of my local Law Society. I have been a school governor at Dysart since 2010.
Leigh Edser – Principal
I began my career in special needs approximately 20 years ago as a Health Care assistant working with adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. After a couple of years working rather strange shift patterns, I moved onto an LSA role at Dysart School. The school, at this time, was situated on the old site in Ham. It was during this time that my passion for ensuring pupils with SEN have access to a high quality education that enables them to be the best they can be, was ignited.
After working at Dysart for approximately 2 years I started my teacher training course at Kingston University, whilst working part time as a family support worker providing after school and holiday support for several children with SEN. After my training I secured my first teaching post at a Special Needs school in Farnborough, Hampshire before moving back to Dysart in 2005 as a class teacher (by this time Dysart was on its current site). The rest of my career to date has been here at Dysart. During this time I have been honoured to see many children flourish, grow and develop into amazing young adults, whom we are all very proud of. I am extremely thankful to our wonderful families for the support they provide the school and for allowing us to be such a large part of theirs and their children’s lives.
Heini Furrer – Staff (Support) Governor
For many years I had an enjoyable and successful career at a senior level in the IT industry, based variously in Geneva, Paris and London, most recently as IT Process Director at Reuters. However, after my autistic son’s school voiced concerns over the lack of progress he was making, I took the unusual step of taking up a temporary position at Dysart School ostensibly to develop the ICT skills of the students, but in reality to find out more about special needs education. Although I was woefully ill-equipped to fulfil the role, I must have done something right because after a few months I was offered a permanent contract and I jumped at the chance – in that short period I had grown to love working with these wonderful young people!
So for the past 14 years I have been at Dysart School, endeavouring to use technology in the broadest sense of the word to overcome the difficulties that our students face and helping them to reach their full potential. During that time I have taken the opportunity to develop my skills to meet the challenges of the evolving world of education, including my recent completion of a post-graduate course in Assistive Technology.
And my son? He went on to take GCSEs, got a triple distinction at BTEC Level 3 and is just completing an HND. So my advice to other parents is “Aim high, and your kids will rise to the challenge!”
Rosemary Jubraj – Parent Governor
Portfolio – Human Resources & Organisational Development (Lead)
Formerly an intensive care nurse, I have since gained several years’ experience in administration within a variety of settings. My current part-time role in a secondary school involves working closely with the governors. My skills lay in administration and organisation, and my job means that I have a good understanding of the education sector, and governance in particular. I was a trustee of the Friends of Dysart School for three years and continue to support FODS by organising the annual bingo night. I’m married to Barry (aka Bingo Baz) and we live in Kingston. Our son, Alexander, began his journey as a Dysart student in 2010 and continues to benefit enormously from the bespoke education he receives. I am passionate that all students continue to receive an outstanding education and be given the best possible preparation for college and beyond. It is a privilege to serve as a parent governor and support this amazing school that has already given so much to us as a family.
Jackie Van West – Vice Chair of Governors
Portfolio – Health & Safety, Child Protection and Safeguarding (Lead)
I have 19 years’ experience working with children and adults with learning difficulties/disabilities. I began teaching at Orchard Hill College in 2007 and it was here that I carried out my research study to gain my Master of Arts Professional Study in Education, which I completed in 2010.I currently hold the position of Director of Learning Support Services at Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust.
Tony Williams – Governor
I am passionate about making a difference to the lives of children and being a Governor at Dysart has given me the chance to make that difference. I feel privileged and proud that I have been given this opportunity.
In respect of my school experience, I am also a Governor at Hillcross School (encouraged by my eldest grandson who is a pupil there), have been a Board Trustee for the Radius Trust (managing three schools focussed on special educational needs) and was Deputy Chair of Governors at Malden Manor my children’s primary school.
My background and work experience are a mixture of public, private and not for profit sectors. I have worked as the Director of HR Services in the Home Office, a consultant for Insight HR Consultancy and the Executive Director of People at the Orbit Group Housing Association. I now run my own consultancy Tony Williams Associates which focuses on transforming people and organisations. I have also set up Project4Africa which raises funds to Make a difference to the lives of children (we have built a school and maternity unit in Malawi).
What has always driven me is an interest in people and making a difference to their lives. My key skills focus on coaching and mentoring, strategic planning, transforming organisations and people engagement.
In my Governor’s role at Dysart I am the lead for finance and resources.