College Directors & Members


Peter Lauener (Chair)

Picture and biography to follow.

Rama Venchard

Rama VenchardRama has always lived in South London (apart from a five year stint in Mauritius), is married and has a daughter.  He has worked in the retail and hospitality sectors for over 20 years in various roles including IT Service Management, Service Improvement and Business Process Change Management.  Since 2005, Rama has worked with various schools and Trusts to facilitate the set-up of Academies, University Technical Colleges and Free Schools.  He has been a Trustee on two Multi Academy Trust Boards.  Rama also runs a business consultancy company.  He enjoys good food and a good laugh.

Dr David Watkins

David WatkinsDavid graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the University of York and was then awarded a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education before embarking on his career as a teacher and, more latterly, a manager in the Further Education College sector.  He rose through the ranks becoming Principal of Hackney College, then Vauxhall College, and then Carshalton College from where he retired in 2011.  Along the way, he achieved a PhD by part-time study from the University of London, wrote a couple of textbooks, and for many years he was the Honorary Treasurer of the Association for College Management.

Amongst other things since his retirement, David has returned to teaching chemistry, he has assisted and supported senior managers in education who are experiencing employment issues, and he has joined the Qualifications Governance Committee of the Royal Society for Public Health.

To the Orchard Hill College Board he brings expertise and experience relating to the post-16 college sector and he also makes particular contributions in the areas of finance, audit and HR.  Above all, David is passionate about directing resources to deliver high quality learning experiences which help students with additional needs to realise their potential and their ambitions.

 Dr Caroline Allen

Caroline AllenCaroline started her professional career as a teacher, working in Hong Kong and in the UK.  She taught English as a Foreign Language/Business English, Special Needs and all ages.  She has been Principal of Orchard Hill College since 1995, and developed the College for students with special needs from a small ‘unit’ to an established specialist College, recognised nationally and internationally for its innovative work, and has been graded as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.  Caroline established Orchard Hill College Academy Trust as a MAT in 2013 and subsequently led the alignment of the MAT and the College to become Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust, being appointed CEO of Both.  She holds Non-Executive roles on the Boards of national funding bodies, FE Corporations and London Councils.


Staynton Brown

Staynton BrownStaynton has held senior roles in the NHS over the past 6 years.  He is currently an associate director at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, with particular remit for equality, human rights, widening access to employment and skills and corporate social responsibility.

Prior to this, he was an assistant director working in the Lambeth Public Health team.

Staynton has previously worked for the probation service, the Learning and Skills Council and for local government in a senior policy role.  He is deputy Chair of the King’s Health Partners Widening Participation committee, and oversees the £500k budget to see the partnership improving social mobility across South East London.

Eamonn Gilbert

Eamonn previously worked for the Learning and Skills Council national funding body.  He is currently the Associate Director for Commissioning at Achieving for Children in Kingston.



Peter Holmes, Chair

John Brown

Dr Caroline Allen

Darren Coghlan




This is a very exciting and pivotal moment in the lives of St Dominic’s, Brantridge and Grafham Grange schools.  Academy conversion under the sponsorship of OHC&AT will help secure their futures and, no doubt, lead to better outcomes for pupils and students, families and carers, staff and all stakeholders.   We are looking forward to a bright future as part of the OHC&AT family.

Ken Cowdery, Chair of Governors

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