Excellence in education

Allowing every girl to thrive.

Leadership team

Through the Dalton Plan and with the encouragement of our passionate team, a girl’s learning will be enriched and new passions discovered, she will be challenged and if she falls short, she will be supported.

Mrs Pascale Drever
Deputy Head of School

Pascale Drever is an educational leader with over 25 years of experience and has held pastoral positions and executive leadership positions at independent schools.  She has a keen interest in teachers and their development and student wellbeing. 

Prior to her appointment at Ascham, Pascale was the Head of Middle School at Ravenswood School for Girls.

Pascale believes firmly in staff, parents and girls working together for collective benefit, and works very closely with the Year Coordinators and School Psychologists to ensure girls’ wellbeing is nurtured at all times. Together with the Head of School, Pascale works with the School’s student leaders—known as the School Committee—helping the girls develop skills in leadership and communication. She also leads Ascham’s Awards Committee, which ensures that students are recognised for their achievements.

As the Deputy Head of Ascham, she constantly encourages others to exercise their leadership responsibilities and work towards providing them with the necessary resources and support.

Pascale holds an MSc (Education) from Macquarie University, and certification from the University of Witwatersrand including an HDipEd, and a BSc in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Pascale is currently a doctoral candidate at UNSW.

Ms Peta Howley
Head of Junior School

With extensive experience in primary years schooling, including over 20 years’ experience at Ascham in various roles, Peta is known for her student-centered focus and her commitment to creating a dynamic learning environment where engaged and happy students flourish.

Appointed as Head of Junior School in 2023, Peta has previously been a classroom teacher, Coordinator of Learning Enhancement and Deputy Head of the Junior School at Ascham. The breadth of this experience has allowed Peta to develop an astute understanding of how the Dalton principles can be fostered in the Junior School to create both a culture of excellence and a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

Peta is passionate about girls’ education, creating unparalleled opportunities for girls to become grounded and confident individuals who are well equipped to make a positive contribution beyond the school gates. Possessing a keen interest in student wellbeing and leadership, she continues to lead a range of initiatives to promote student wellbeing, agency and voice in the Junior School.

Supporting a dedicated and collaborative team of teachers, Peta ensures that every girl in the Junior School is known, valued and engaged through the delivery of a challenging and innovative curriculum that caters for the needs of each girl. She ensures that the pursuit of personal excellence is celebrated in the Junior School whilst fostering the girls’ sense of fun, friendship and pride in their School.

Peta holds a Master of Education (Leadership & Management), a Bachelor of Primary Education (Honours) and a Graduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education.

Mrs Allysia Heness-Pugh
Head of Boarding

Allysia joined as our Head of Boarding in 2021. Allysia has 16 years’ experience in this field and her vision of boarding is that of authenticity and connectedness. She maintains a strong focus on pastoral care and wellbeing, partnering with parents and the School community to deliver positive residential experiences for young women who live away from home. Allysia believes a successful boarding environment must centre on building meaningful relationships—a place where girls should be nurtured by engaged staff so they may thrive academically, socially and emotionally.

Allysia grew up in the Central West of NSW and has a passionate connection to rural Australia. She believes that boarders from regional areas bring unique qualities to schools in metropolitan areas. As a former boarder, Allysia has special insight into the life of boarding students: she was fortunate enough to experience a dual lifestyle, growing up on an Angora goat stud and also boarding at All Saints College, Bathurst. Allysia says boarding instilled independence, resilience and self-motivation in her and these values equipped her to be resourceful and creative in adulthood.

Allysia is strongly committed to service learning, establishing the first boarding school partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to raise a guide dog puppy in an educational institution.

Governance and leadership

Like many independent schools, Ascham is a not-for-profit company limited by the guarantee of its members.

The Company’s members form the School Council of Governors and it is this body which oversees the direction of Ascham. Those on the Council bring expertise from many different fields and give generously of their time, knowledge and wisdom in support of the School.

The Council works with the Head of School and Senior Leadership Team to determine Ascham’s strategic objectives and key initiatives, monitoring financial performance and risk, and approving key policy changes and the annual budget, which includes major investment decisions related to property, information technology, and long term contracts.

In consultation with the Head of School, the Council’s role is to:

  • establish, evaluate and uphold the mission, vision and philosophy of Ascham
  • develop policies and strategies consistent with these
  • protect and enhance Ascham’s financial viability, making provision for the resources necessary to implement policies and strategies.

The members are people who have a long-term connection with Ascham. Currently there are about 250 members of the Ascham Company. They have been appointed because they have demonstrated and share a continuing interest in, understanding of and dedication to Ascham as an institution. They include former students, parents, governors and senior staff.

Members are appointed by the Council of Governors. The Nominations Committee of Council gathers input widely, including from the Head of School and the Ascham Foundation Board. Members are proposed by the Nominations Committee and approved by the Council. There is no term on the appointment.

The Ascham Company members are not shareholders, in the sense that they are not entitled to share in the revenue or capital of the School. As members and guarantors they would be obliged to make a small contribution if the Company were ever wound up. Members receive the Company’s annual report and attend and vote at general meetings.

The Company’s members, known as Governors, form the Council which oversees the direction of the School. The Council works with the Head of School and the Senior Leadership Team to determine the School’s strategic objectives and key strategic initiatives. The Council monitors financial performance and risk and approves key policy changes and the annual budget, including major investment decisions related to property, information technology, and long term contracts.

The Head of School, Andrew Powell, reports to the Council of Governors and is responsible for all operational decisions related to the day to day management of the School and its staff and students.

The Business Manager and Company Secretary of the School reports to the Head of School and also to the Council.

There are currently 14 Governors who have a variety of skills and experience: five are currently parents at the school, six are former parents, and four are old girls. Seven are women, including the Chair Ms Sophie J Gilder. Our Governors all act in a voluntary capacity.

Each year there are nine regular Council meetings and another two strategy meetings. There are additional formal or informal meetings when required. Items considered at the Council meetings during the year include monthly operational reports from the Head of School and the Business Manager, and reports from senior staff on aspects of the School and its operating environment, including financial and annual reports, policy issues, capital projects and major commitments.

Governors are encouraged to attend School functions, including the annual Mid-Year Forum with parents, arranged by the Ascham Parents’ Association.

The Head of School and the Business Manager/Company Secretary attend all formal Council meetings. Council regularly invites others to attend and keep Council informed broadly on key matters.

The Council expects open and full participation of Governors and School leaders in its discussions. To ensure its recommendations and decisions are evidence-based, debate and transparency are encouraged.

In line with standard corporate practice, the Chair meets regularly with the Head of School, and the Honorary Treasurer meets regularly with the Business Manager and Company Secretary. Governors are always available to assist staff when their expertise of experience is required.

The Council engages an external independent consultant to conduct an annual review of its performance and uses this information to improve its effectiveness.

Chair of the Ascham Council of Governors
Ms Sophie J Gilder
Honorary Treasurer
Mr Harvey Carter
Ordinary Governors
Mr Harvey Carter
Mr Hugh Cooke
Professor Patricia Davidson
Adj Prof. Pat Garcia
Mr Grant Lovett*
Mr David Maloney AM
Dr Deborah Perkins
Ms Karen L Phin
Mrs Nicola J Swift
* Also on the board of Ascham Foundation Limited.
Old Girl Governors
Dr Alex Birrell
Ms Sophie J Gilder*
Mrs Angela K Kent
Mrs Antonia Miles
* Also on the board of Ascham Foundation Limited.

Governors may be appointed by the Council, at the recommendation of the Nominations Committee of the Council, but must stand for election/re-election at the next general meeting of the Company. All Governors must be members of the Company. New Governors must be, or become, a member as part of their appointment.

The aim is to balance the need to keep the Council appropriately skilled, diversified and refreshed, with the need for corporate memory and experience in a long-term institution. Governors must therefore normally be expected to serve for a minimum of nine years, with a maximum of two re-elections possible. All Governors are expected to represent the interests of the whole school. They are not selected to represent specific constituencies.

The constitution requires at least three Governors to be Old Girls. Three Governors a year (including one Old Girl Governor) must stand down but may stand for re-election.

Selection of the Chair of the Ascham Council of Governors is a transparent process involving all current Governors. The process is led by the Chair of the Nominations Committee. It is expected the Chair of Council will hold the role for a minimum of six years.

Working at Ascham

The expertise and commitment of Ascham’s teachers and corporate services staff are just two reasons why Ascham girls flourish during their time at School and beyond.

To ensure we maintain this successful dynamic, we look to attract, develop and retain those who care deeply about girls’ education, and are dedicated to supporting our students in their educational development under the guide of the Dalton Plan.

We post all current employment opportunities on this site and on Seek.

Become part of Ascham

Live and learn in an exciting, vibrant environment that nurtures self-confidence, resilience and participation. Begin the enrolment process now or find out more about our approach.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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ABN: 69 180 683 767

CRICOS: 00380E