Movers & Shakers, Politics

Movers & Shakers: Robin Gainher, Samantha Williamson and Kate Bowen-Viner

Your weekly guide to who’s new and who’s leaving

Robin Gainher has been appointed as the new headteacher of Knighton House school in Dorset.

Knighton House is a preparatory school for girls from 7 to 13, with a separate pre-prep, The Orchard, for boys and girls between 3 and 7.

Gainher was head of Beeston Hall, an independent school in Norfolk, for seven years. He was also deputy head and director of studies at the co-educational independent Cranleigh school in Surrey.

He will be joined at Knighton by his wife Ali, who will bring her experience in the administrative and pastoral side of preparatory schooling to the team. Her role will be formally announced in summer.

Commenting on his appointment, Gainher said: “I am thrilled to be appointed Knighton’s tenth head and first headmaster since 1999.

“Ali and I instantly loved the school when we first visited, and instinctively knew it was a wonderfully happy place where we felt very much at home.”

Gainher will take over from the current head Sarah Wicks in summer, ahead of the 2017 autumn term.


Samantha Williamson has been appointed principal of Merchants’ academy in Bristol.

The school caters for students aged 4 to 18, and is part of the Merchants’ academy trust alongside Venturers academy, the first state-funded all-through school in Bristol for students with autism.

Williamson, at present principal of Dover Christ Church academy in Kent, will take up her new post from September 1.

In her new role, she plans to work on retaining and attracting staff by encouraging ambition and offering more opportunities for career development.

“Rewarding and inspiring our teachers has an extremely positive and tangible impact on the education of young people.”

She also plans to bring the wider community into the school, and hopes the academy can become a “community hub”.

“The tenacity and resilience of the community, teamed with their strong support of Merchants’ academy, is a winning formula.

“I am passionate about ensuring all young people have high-quality educational experiences, enabling them to develop interests and aspirations that lead to brilliant futures.”


Kate Bowen-Viner is joining the researchers and educationists at the think-and-action tank LKMco.

Bowen-Viner joins from the Department for Education (DfE) where she worked on special free schools in the office of the regional schools commissioner for the south west.

Her key responsibilities at the DfE included regular contact with school providers and local communities, as well as using data to guide decisions.

She began her career in education as a teaching assistant in Liverpool, before moving on to teach key stages 3 to 5 in London and Bristol.

In the new role, she says she is most looking forward to working with a team that is “enthusiastic and genuinely passionate about equality in education and the youth sector”.

“I am looking forward to using evidence and research to make a positive difference for children and young people, and hope to use my experience from inside and outside the classroom to support LKMco’s policy research, analysis and project delivery.”



If you want to let us know of any new faces at the top of your school, local authority or organisation please let us know by emailing

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

One comment

  1. Ed Lott

    I am at a loss to know why you are covering these appointments to private organisations.
    I am reading ‘Schoolsweek’ here, aren’t I?
    Or is this the New Normal?