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Who We Are

Helen Hanbury 


Responsibilities/Committees: Chair of Governing Body, Deputy Safeguarding Governor, Chair of Resources Committee, sits on Strategy Committee

Helen Hanbury has been a Governor at Lonsdale since 2002 when she had two friends with children as pupils at the school. She has been Chair of Governors since 2007. She graduated as a doctor from Barts Hospital and worked as a GP for several years before stopping to bring up her three children and work part-time for her husband.
Helen can be contacted on email address

Claudia Thiele 


Responsibilities/Committees: Staff Governor and SEN Governor for the school.

A staff governor since 2006, Claudia studied and trained as a special needs teacher in Germany before moving to Britain in 2001. She worked as a German teacher in Potters Bar and joined Lonsdale School in January 2004.  Claudia is an Assitant Headteacher with responsibilties for Assessment and Reporting and the whole school curriculum. She is also the driving force behind Lonsdale’s Eco School work with the “Green Beans” committee. They have achieved great things over the last years! Claudia lives in Stotfold and loves spending time outside school with her family and friends.

‘I love working at the school because every day brings a different challenge.’


Nicolina Cooper 


I have been in local government for almost 17 years and work as a Head of Service for a London

Borough. Having been in local government for some time and worked my way up, I have experience

across most aspects, including procurement, change management, budgets, customer services,

channel shift and transformation.  

Having visited Lonsdale and have 2 young children of my own, I had no hesitation in wanting to be

part of the school.


Kevin Thompson 

Responsibilities/Committees: Resources Committee

After visiting the school in 2012 Kevin decided it was an easy decision to accept the position of Governor. His involvement during our recent transition period to the new site has given him a better appreciation of the challenges of the role and just how rewarding it is to be part of Lonsdale. He has no regrets about accepting the position and is committed to assisting with moving the school forwards. Kevin enjoyed almost 25 years of working as a Market-Maker in UK Smaller Company shares on the London Stock Exchange before embracing an early retirement. Married for 30 years Kevin has two children.


Katie Byrne 

Katie Byrne

Responsibilities/Committees: Strategy Committee

Katie Byrne used to be a student at Lonsdale School. She left in 1999 and went to Star College to study Information Technology for 3 years.  She then moved to a young persons home in West Sussex but moved back up to this part of the country in 2005 and have been a governor ever since.  She lives in her own bungalow in Letchworth and leads an active and independent life.

Kate James 

Kate James

Responsibilities/Committees: Strategy Committee, REP Panel and Parent Governor

Kate qualified as a physiotherapist and worked for 12 years before giving up work to look after her two children, the oldest of whom has cerebral palsy.

She now works part-time for her husband and enjoys volunteering for Riding for the Disabled in Stevenage.

Patrick Hudson 

Patrick Hudson

Responsibilities/Committees: Resources Committee

Patrick Hudson joined Lonsdale as a School Governor in 2014. He and his wife live in Ware and have three grown up children, one of whom has severe learning difficulties and is now living nearby in supported living after having completed special needs school and college.

Patrick, who graduated as an economist, has recently moved on from over 30 years of corporate life in the energy sector and is active in a small consulting business which he co-owns.

Anna Drury 

Anna Drury

Responsibilities/Committees:  Chair of Strategy Committee

Anna has been a Governor at Lonsdale since 2014.  She is a frequent visitor to school through her work as a Youth Connexions Personal Adviser.  Anna has worked with young people and children in a range of settings for as long as she can remember!  She has both personal and professional experience of supporting people with disabilities and learning difficulties. When not discussing issues around transition with Lonsdale pupils, Anna is usually discussing music, film and Lego as an alternative!

David Rowlands 

David Rowlands

Responsibilities/Committees:  Strategy Committee, Residential and Education Provision Panel and Parent Governor

David joined as a parent governor in 2015. He has a teenage daughter at Lonsdale since 2014. Having been through the tribunal process and more recently the Education, Health and Care Plan process, he has personal experience of the challenges faced by parents of special needs children.

Since 2003, he has worked at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage as a Consultant Physician. He has two teenage children and his wife is a GP and Trustee on a residential programme for children with special needs.