The Governing Body of the School is best described as the group of non-executive directors who determine and secure those statutory policies which are imposed on them and receive other school management policies via the Headteacher who is the Chief Executive. The Governing Body monitors the implementation of policy via its committees, visiting Governors etc. Governors who act corporately, in good faith and in the light of best advice will never be vulnerable in law: hence, individual governors have no power to act alone.
Any matters relating to a school policy should be directed in the first instance to the Headteacher who will ensure an appropriate member of staff deals with the matter. Student matters should initially be directed to their Class teacher for existing students or to The Admissions Officer, for admissions.
The offices of Chairman and Vice-Chair are the subject of annual election each Autumn Term. The Chair of Governors is Cynthia Trench.
Correspondence to the Chairman or other members of the Governing Body should be addressed to:
Clerk to the Governors, c/o DESS and DESC. The Clerk is not a member of the Governing body.
Clerk to Board of Governors - Janice Sears
Tel: 050 1544580
Please fel free to click on a Governor's name for a synopsis of their personal profile
|Graham Martins||Vice Chairman|
Having spent her formative years in Hong Kong, Cynthia Trench completed her degree at the University of Hong Kong, and was admitted and qualified as a Solicitor in Hong Kong in 1986. Cynthia arrived in Dubai in 1989. Her first Language is English but she also speaks Cantonese and French.
Cynthia specialises in corporate and property law as well as private client. Her expertise is in respect of enabling Clients to be established in the Middle East expeditiously in a cost effective way. Furthermore, she has handled many mergers and acquisitions. In recent years, with the property boom and financial crisis, she has turned the Firm around by not only assisting Clients in restructuring Developers’ contracts or sales and purchases but also in disputes resolutions in property, construction and rental matters.
Cynthia obtained her Licence on 10 February 1996 from the Rulers Office of the Government of Dubai as the first female expatriate licensed Legal Consultant.
Graham Martins is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is the Managing Partner of the United Arab Emirates practice of PKF, a top ten global network of accountants, auditors and business advisers. Graham has been in Dubai with the UAE firm since 1992. Prior to that he was with PKF, London having joined the firm from The City University, London from where he graduated with an honours degree in Economics and Accountancy in 1981.
As Managing Partner with PKF, Graham is directly responsible for the day-to-day operation of the UAE firm and has direct responsibility for the Management Consulting Division and Corporate Finance activities.
Graham is a committee member of the Auditors Group formed under the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is responsible for reviewing the legal, ethical, auditing, accounting and financial reporting frameworks in the UAE and for initiating development and implementation of international standards there for. He is also a member of the Technical Subcommittee.
Sriram Padmanabhan has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2008, and is the Treasurer for both school and college. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant and MBA, bringing strong financial management disciplines to the management of both school and college. Having worked in a number of countries and cultures around the world, he is now employed with a major international bank in UAE, where he is a member of the regional management committee. He is married with two school-going children, and enjoys tennis, running and skiing.
Sophia Panayiotou works as Senior Vice President Human Resources Business Support within the Emirates Group and has been with Emirates since 1993. She is responsible for the recruitment, psychology and employee retention for the Group with current staff strength at 40,000 employees worldwide and over 150 nationalities. She is a graduate of Polytechnic of Central London in Social Science majoring in Psychology. She is married and has 2 children who are at DESC and who both did their primary schooling at DESS. She has been a Board member of DESS since October 2004 and was actively involved in getting Emirates support to raise the funds to build the College as well as being involved in the initial key appointments for the College.
Maggie has been a partner in her family business for over thirty years, she has been a Dubai resident for the past eight years and a highly experienced DESC Community Governor for five years.
Previously Maggie has been Chair of Governors at 11-16yrs, 6th Form Colleges and has served on Parent Associations in both Voluntary-aided and Comprehensive schools in the UK. She was awarded the honour of Dame of St. Gregory in 1992 for her services to schools.
Maggie’s Welsh heritage is something that gives her great pride – she’s married with four children and sixteen grandchildren.
Ian was newly elected as a member of the Board in September 2012. He has been in Dubai since 2006 and has one child at DESC. Working with a major facilities management company Ian brings with him nearly 20 years experience in this area with a specific emphasis on schools, supporting clients in property management, structuring facility service solutions, end user management and utilities supplies. The wellbeing of our students, teachers, staff and our finances can depend on the quality of the buildings in which they learn. Ian makes a welcome addition to our numbers.
Francis Matthew is the Editor-at-Large of Gulf News, where he was the Editor for 10 years till 2006. He has lived in Dubai since 1995, and has worked in the Middle East as a journalist since 1979. He is the author of many articles on the region, and is a regular commentator on Gulf affairs on local and international TV and radio.
After graduating with a BA from Exeter University in Arabic and Islamic History, Francis worked in Beirut and Cairo for several years before coming to Abu Dhabi in 1983 as a journalist, and moving to Dubai in 1985. In 1987 he left for London where he worked as an editor and writer until returning to Dubai in 1995.
Francis is married and has one son, who enjoyed several years at DESS. Francis has followed educational issues in the newspaper for many years, and is well aware of the importance of education for the successful development of the UAE, and the Gulf region.
Mark is a leading figure in the UAE’s business community, having recently completed four years as CEO & Chairman of the British Business Group for Dubai & the Northern Emirates. During his tenure the membership of the Group more than doubled to almost 1,600 and it won the Best British Business Club in the World award by the Telegraph Group, beating Shanghai and France.
Mark was recently appointed Deputy Chairman of the British Community Assistance Fund, which provides invaluable support and assistance to British citizens in distress.
In 2010 he was appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for the International Legal System and he heads the Middle East board for the International Association of Courts’ Administrators. He is also a member of the advisory board of The Hub-UAE.
Mark is also the Registrar of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts with responsibility for administering the DIFC Courts’ office and staff, undertaking various judicial functions and other duties as prescribed in Article 17 of the DIFC Courts Law No. 10 of 2004. He is also Registrar to the Special Tribunal Related to Dubai World.
Previously Mark was head of Sales & Corporate Services for MasterCard Worldwide across South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and before that, was MasterCard’s regional legal counsel for that geography. Before joining MasterCard he worked in the corporate finance team of Man Investments in Switzerland, structuring hedge funds for global distribution. Mark has also worked as a lawyer in law firms in the UK and in Dubai.
Alison Ward moved to Dubai in November 1991 from London with the Trusthouse Forte Hotel Group, after completing their Management Training Programme in London hotels and in Slough. This followed on from her Business Diploma in Switzerland and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Melbourne, Australia.
Moving away from hotels in 1993, Alison worked with the first New Zealand Trade Commissioner in the UAE in the formation of TRADENZ (as it was then known). She worked closely with the Australian Business Group community in this capacity. Alison completed her Masters in Human Resources before joining the Emirates Group in 1997
As a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute ( AHRI), and formally a member of the Dubai Personnel Managers Forum, Alison is able to bring her selection and Human Resources skills to the Board and is well versed with dealing with a wide cultural / nationality base. Through her career with the Emirates Group, Alison has worked with; the Group Recruitment team; has looked after half the Group's overseas offices in an HR capacity and more recently held the post of VP – Human Resources responsible for all Flight Crew, Cabin Crew and Engineering employee base, working closely with the GCAA regulatory body.
Alison has had an association with DESS since Sept 2003 when her first child started there and currently has 2 children at DESS, in grades 4 and 6 and has been supporting the school in the background as a Class Representative for a number of years and assisting the school with discounted tickets for the travelling sports teams, wherever possible.