Our Governing Body
We are here to help guide our school, to make strategic decisions about how teaching is organised and provide the resources needed to achieve this for the school. This involves getting the right staff, looking after the budget and supporting communication with our parents and the community. We set policies and review overall school performance in order to oversee what the school does. Governor visits are a big part of this; spending time at school is an invaluable part of our work.
Contacts with the governing body should be made either through the school office or by email to the Clerk to Governors at email@example.com
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Paul Manthorpe (Chair of Governors & DSEN governor)
"My family and I moved to Sibford Ferris in 1989 when my wife started work at the Friends’ School. We have since lived in Banbury, Wroxton, Shutford and have now retired to Alkerton.
Both of my children, Emma and Tom, attended Sibford Gower Endowed Primary School and I believe that this was the sound foundations on which they were able to build their further education to degree level and their careers in Teaching and Engineering. When my grandchildren started to attend the same school I was hopeful that this would be a further opportunity to reforge links and I was fortunate enough to be appointed as a Governor.
I initially qualified as both a teacher of children with Special Educational Needs and as a teacher of English, and worked for 5 years in retail as a general assistant and then as a manager.
I then worked at Banbury College and School of Art for 10 years as a Lecturer in Special Needs, teaching both Post-16 and Adults with a variety of additional needs. I then qualified as a Teacher of the Deaf and worked for the centralised service for Deaf students under its various name changes for 25 years. I was involved in the education of Deaf people in a variety of settings from initial diagnosis (working with the pupils and their families in their homes), through nurseries, Primary, Secondary schools and local colleges. I have additional qualifications and experience of using British Sign Language as the main means of communication as well as working with aural pupils in their local schools.
During my time as a Teacher of the Deaf I worked alongside mainstream staff, and so have experience of many settings supporting pupils and students 1:1 as well as whole group teaching. This experience has given me a broad knowledge of the various curricula as well as an opportunity to see many different styles of teaching and learning first hand as well as advising and training other teachers and support staff.
I am delighted to be working alongside such a dedicated team of professionals as we have supporting the children in our school.
Fred Inns (Foundation Governor)
"I am the longest serving governor of the school - for over 40 years, and was chairman for 11 of those years. I am married to Pauline, who also takes an active interest in village life and have four sons, who all passed through the school, and 4 grandchildren. I have been a trustee of the local Town Estate Charity for 44 years, and also Secretary and Treasurer of the local Cricket Club for 39 years! I have never moved out of the village and enjoy entertaining the school children when they come and visit my WW2 Bomb Shelter at the bottom of my garden."
Sue Cook (Director appointed governor)
Sue Cook was for many years a broadcaster and current affairs journalist on TV and radio, widely known for hosting BBC radio 4 programmes such as You and Yours and Making History and BBC TV shows such as Crimewatch, the annual Children in Need Appeal, Nationwide, Daytime Live, Having a Baby and Holiday. For Channel 4 she presented several series of Collectors Lot, The Chelsea Flower Show and The Hampton Court Flower Show. She now hosts events with authors at literary festivals around the UK and is herself a published novelist.
Sue is a mother of two and a proud grandmother. She lives in Sibford Ferris.
Alex Greenhalgh (Parent Governor - Health & Safety & Safeguarding governor)
I have lived in Tadmarton since 2010 and have three children, Heidi, Esme and Ava, two of whom still attend the school.
I have 17 years of experience in education as a secondary school teacher. I taught at The Ridgeway School in Swindon for 10 years and have been teaching at Wheatley Park School, Oxford for 7 years. During my time in teaching, I have taken on leadership and management positions firstly as Head of Department and Head of Year. From 2009 I have been a part of a successful senior leadership team, firstly as Director of Sixth Form and then from 2013 as Assistant Head (Head of Inclusion). In my current position I have responsibility as Designated Safeguarding lead, SENCO and lead on primary school transition. I have recently completed Masters level study at Oxford Brookes University, achieving a Post-Graduate Certificate in Special Education and a National SENCO award.
I am keen to use my school leadership experience and skills to play a role in the strategic direction of the school for the benefit of all the children's educational experience at Sibford Gower school.
Revd. Neil Bowler
After studying for a degree in Law at University and qualifying as a solicitor, I worked for almost 10 years as a senior legal adviser in the South Yorkshire Magistrates' Courts, which included writing and delivering national and local training material for magistrates and judges. It was almost 18 years ago now, volunteering as a Youth leader in the Church of England, I discerned a sense of being called by God to become a priest. I went to train for the priesthood at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield. During my two years there I also studied for a degree in Theology at Leeds University and went on placements in Leicester and Romania. My curacy was in Doncaster before I moved to be the Rector of Whiston, in Rotherham. During my time at Whiston I was asked to be one of the Bishop’s educational advisors on national advisory panels and was also the Area Dean for Rotherham at a time of significant change. I then was asked if I would become the Vicar of Ranmoor in Sheffield, a very large church. During my time in Sheffield I was appointed as the Bishop’s advisor in spirituality and was asked if I would become an honorary Canon of Sheffield cathedral. In all of my roles I’ve seen the importance of supporting and being alongside local schools and have been a school governor of the schools in each of the parishes where I have been the incumbent. Over my ministry this has included being a school governor of two large secondary schools and three primary schools. In my last position in Rotherham, I also worked as an Advanced learning support worker in a primary school for four years. I became the Rector of the Wykeham Benefice, which includes the Sibfords and Burdrop, in January 2021.
Jane O'Sullivan (Headteacher)
Since qualifying as a teacher over 30 years ago, I have worked in a wide range of settings, from the inner city- I spent the first seven years of my teaching career working at a large junior and infant school in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham – to small rural primary schools, including my current role as headteacher of our delightful school here in Sibford Gower.
During my career, as well as fulfilling a number of leadership roles, I have been a Lead Teacher for Early Years Foundation Stage and a Lead Teacher for Assessment.
Before obtaining my Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and, more recently, my National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), I studied Art & Design at Winchester School of Art and then took a degree in Politics & Philosophy at the University of Reading.
I feel very strongly that teaching is both an honourable and important profession and it is one that I feel proud to be part of. It is a privilege to be the headteacher of our school and to work with the talented and committed adults, school staff and governors, who work so hard to give our wonderful children the educational start that they deserve."
Rachel Blake (Assistant headteacher & staff governor)
After graduating from University in Southampton in 1997 with a Bachelor of Education in English, I started my teaching career in Banbury in a large Primary school teaching children aged 5 - 7 years. After 5 years I made the move to became Deputy Head teacher of a local small village school. During this time I taught children from foundation stage to year 4 over the 12 years in post. In 2013 I joined the team at Sibford Gower and have since embraced the role of Assistant Head and Early Years manager. I am privileged to be part of such a positive, nurturing and forward thinking team which has children's learning and well-being at its core. It is a pleasure to see our little Acorns grow into mighty Oaks and know that we have set the foundations for our children to be successful.