Senior Leadership Team

Mr G R A Davies


BA (Hons) PGCE M.Ed., Cantab

Originating from Ystradgynlais at the top end of the Swansea Valley, Gareth gained personal experience of an independent school when he boarded at Llandovery College from the age of 11-18.

Following an initial degree in Human Resource Management, he completed his PGCE in Primary Education at Aberystwyth University and a Masters in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at Cambridge University.

He became Headmaster of Gayhurst School in September 2016, having previously been Headmaster of Alleyn Court in Southend-on-Sea for 8 years. He has worked at 5 different independent prep schools during his career. Gareth is a trained ISI team and compliance inspector and an active member of IAPS, currently a trustee of the IAPS charity, iTrust and previously chairing the Finance Committee and sitting on Council.

He is married to Lisa and has three daughters, Nia, Daisy (who both attended Gayhurst) and Ffion and a Sproodle called Humphrey, all of whom keep him busy.

Gareth loves watching and playing sport, enjoying rugby, football, cricket and golf. He enjoys following Swansea City and is an ardent follower of the Ospreys and Welsh rugby.

Mrs V Lakatos


BSc (Hons)

Based in Henley on Thames, Vanessa ran a successful retail business for 18 years. In 2014 she decided to have a change of career and joined The Cost Reduction Company who specialise in helping independent schools to “use less stuff”. After 2 years of working with bursars in schools all over the country she crossed over to the other side and became bursar of Padworth College, Berkshire, a boarding school specialising in international students. Having managed the sale of the College to its new proprietors in October 2018 it was time for a new challenge and Vanessa joined the team at Gayhurst in 2019.

Vanessa has 2 teenage daughters and a dog, all of whom keep her busy and running around. She is a trustee of the Acorn Music Theatre Company and a keen swimmer, including open water swimming.

Mr D Bushnell

Deputy Head

BA (Hons) London

Born in Watford and brought up and educated in Northwood, David has always been very interested in Sport. He represented Middlesex at U16 level cricket and still plays locally now. David coached for Bucks cricket for several years and achieved his Level 3 coaching award in 2015.

Prior to graduating with QTS from London University, David spent 18 months working in IT in London.  He specialised in primary education and spent 5 enjoyable years at Davenies prior to taking up a position as Head of IT at Gayhurst in 2008.

David became Deputy Head of Gayhurst in January 2017.  He is a Governor at his local primary school and has recently joined the board of trustees at a local multi-academy trust. David and his partner Sam have a son Stanley who attends Gayhurst. David  enjoys much of his time away from Gayhurst with his family and pet Labrador, Percy.

Miss M Legg

Assistant Head
Senior School

B. Ed (Hons) Oxon

Born in Oxford, Melissa moved to live and grow up in Saudi Arabia. She was educated within the American Grade school system until she returned to the UK to board full time in the Independent Schools system from the age of 9 until 16.

Melissa initially trained at Henley College to work within a Nursery setting and is a qualified Nursery Nurse. After a gap year working, she studied for a BEd (Hons) RS at Oxford and then went to work within the Independent School sector.

Melissa has worked in 4 different Preparatory schools in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire within the co-educational and single sex settings. Melissa spent 12 years as Head of Middle School at Gayhurst before taking up the position of Assistant Head – Senior School and she is also Head of Religious Studies.

Melissa is delighted to be involved and working on the GHA – the Alumni committee and is often the contact point for ex-pupils when they wish to visit or undertake work experience.

Mrs W Cook

Assistant Head
Senior School

To Follow

To follow…

Mrs H Williams

Assistant Head
Junior School

BA (Hons) Education

Helen completed her primary school education in Buckinghamshire, before relocating with her family to Salisbury, where she attended South Wilts Grammar School For Girls.

Helen knew from an early age that she wished to be a teacher and on leaving school, completed a degree in education at the University of Exeter.

On completion of her university education, Helen returned to Buckinghamshire to take up her first teaching position at Caldicott, a local boarding school for boys. When her daughters were small, Helen taught part time at Dair House, before following her children to Maltman’s Green School, initially for six weeks supply work, before staying for six years.

Ten years ago, interested in working in a co-ed school, Helen joined Gayhurst as a part time Reception teacher. After five years, she moved across the field to Nursery with Mrs Dibble. This year, with her daughters both at university, Helen decided the time was right for a new personal challenge and is excited to take up her new role in Junior School.

Miss M Upton

Director of Admissions
and Marketing


Michelle was born and grew up in Watford and attended Watford Grammar School for Girls.  Her Marketing Diploma was received from The Centre for Marketing Schools (Australia) and undertaken via distance learning.  Arriving in 2013, Gayhurst is the fourth independent school Michelle has marketed.  Having worked in both single sex and co-ed schools, Michelle is an advocate for co-education.  Responsible for directing the Marketing initiative of the school and the admissions processes, Michelle is the first point of contact for most parents.

Michelle is relieved to have successfully survived her daughters’ teenage years and is now a proud Nanna to Harvey and Esme.  Giving her support to Watford FC, Michelle attends every home match at Vicarage Road with her father, brother and nephew.