Chair of Governors Retires After 4 Years

Current Chair, and Old Girl, Beverley Bell will retire from the post on 12 July, with Old Crosbeian Philip Marshall taking over.

Beverley has written the below letter to all members of the Merchant Taylors’ community:

Dear Colleagues, Parents, Alumni,

I hope you all enjoyed the half term break and had some time to relax and enjoy the glorious weather.

I am writing to inform you the time is now right for me to retire as a Governor and Chair of Governors at Merchant Taylors’ School.

Balancing the complex demands of my professional life with the demanding requirements of being Chair of Governors has become increasingly challenging. Having celebrated my 60th birthday at the end of last year and just completed a four-year term as Chair of Governors, it is the right time to pass the baton to the new Chair. Good Boards always refresh their Chair and members regularly and Merchant Taylors’ is no exception to this.

I am delighted to inform you the new Chair of Governors will be Philip Marshall QC and he will be assisted by the new Vice-Chair, Anna Gervasoni. Philip and Anna are not only current members of the Board but, by happy coincidence, are also both past Presidents and now our governor representatives from the Old Boys’ Association and Old Girls’ Association respectively.

Philip attended the Boys’ School between 1978 and 1985 before going on to study law at Liverpool University. He became a barrister in 1989. For the past thirty years he has lived and worked in central London, where he is joint head of his chambers, having been appointed as Queens Counsel in 2012. He was President of the Old Boys’ Association in 2016/2017, and became a governor in September 2019.

Anna attended the Girls’ School between 1986 and 1993. After practising as an Occupational Therapist specialising in severe and enduring mental health, Anna took over the family business, completing an MBA. Now specialising in management training and operations, Anna has re-launched a number of flagship venues within hospitality and has recently been persuaded to move to the coast to continue that work with Bourne Leisure. Anna was President of the Old Girls’ Association from 2017 to 2019 and became a governor in 2016.

My tenure will come to an end on 12 July 2020, coinciding with the four-year anniversary of my appointment as Chair and the end of the academic year. I move on in the knowledge the school is in safe hands with a very competent Board of Governors and very talented Executive team at the helm.

When I walked into MTGS with my knees knocking together on my first school day in September 1971 wearing the compulsory hat and an oversized blazer, never did I think in my wildest dreams that one day I would have the personal and professional privilege of leading the governance of the Merchant Taylors’ family of schools 45 years later. Quite simply, I have been honoured to undertake this role and I want to express my thanks to our Heads and Director of Finance and Operations and their respective teams for their unstinting support for me.

It has been wonderful to see and hear about the development of so many gifted children and watch our pupils blossom into highly able, balanced young women and men contributing so much to society in so many ways as a result of their Merchant Taylors’ education.

To my colleagues across the school, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for your exceptional work in making our school so special. In particular, I am in awe of your dedication and commitment beyond the classroom, where you always go the extra mile to provide a broad and holistic range of co-curricular opportunities to children at Merchant Taylors’, whether it is through the arts, music, sport, CCF or any other manner of inspiring pursuits. These aspects truly set our school apart from our competitors and none of it would be possible without your dedication and skill. So please may I thank each and every one of you for all you have done – and all you will still do.

Our children are the lifeblood of our school; our very reason to exist and prosper for 400 years. To our parents, I know you are not only our education partners or our customers, you are also invariably our friends and kin within the Merchant Taylors’ family. Thank you for entrusting the incredible staff at Merchant Taylors’ with the development and wellbeing of your loved ones. Joining Merchant Taylors’ brings a lifelong connection; the future of the school is extremely bright and I hope your family will remain a part of Merchant Taylors’ for decades to come.

Last but by no means least, I would like to thank Merchant Taylors’ alumni, friends and all other supporters of the school for your invaluable support throughout my tenure. I know you will all continue to support the Chair and Board of Governors working in conjunction with the Heads, in the coming months and years. Joining Merchant Taylors’ brings a lifelong connection and you are all living proof of how powerful and special that is. I look forward to seeing many of you in the future as the alumni network continues to go from strength to strength.

I will continue to follow the school’s fortunes through the many relationships I have built during my time here and I wish each of you every great success in the future.

With my very best wishes,
Beverley Bell, CBE