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Governors' Profiles

Profiles for Helmdon School Governors


Kathryn Crawford, Chair (Parent Governor)

I was elected as parent governor in December 2014. I have lived in Helmdon since 2010 and have found the village, with the school as a central figure, to be a warm, welcoming community.

My daughter, Martha, joined Helmdon Primary school in September 2014 and is very settled and happy in her class.

My desire to be part of Helmdon’s Governing Body derives from a genuine interest in school improvement at all levels and a deep rooted belief in the importance of education for all.  My own background is embedded in teaching, having taught in the primary sector for over twenty years.  I have also been Head Teacher of two primary schools, one in West London and most recently, a church school in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

My specialisms within teaching lie with literacy especially the importance of developing reading skills from an early age.  I also have a sound knowledge of teaching to support children with special educational needs and those who are more able. Ensuring an inclusive curriculum for all is therefore important to me.

I hope that some of my skills will be useful to support Mrs Crouch and the staff and governors as they continue to develop what is already a good school into one that can be outstanding in many ways.


Eleanor Shepherd,Vice Chair (Local Authority)

I have been a parent at the school since 2002 when the eldest of my three children started in reception and have seen at first hand the significance of the strong foundation gained at Helmdon in supporting pupils as they move on to secondary school. I am in my second term as a Parent Governor and as the Science subject governor also sit on the Standards and Curriculum sub-committee which closely monitors the quality of teaching and learning at the school. I am enjoying working with Mrs Crouch in order to ensure that the school goes from strength to strength.


Charlie Warman (Parent Governor)

I have been a Governor at Helmdon Primary school since the beginning of 2006 and have been the Chair of the Governing Body for the last 6 years.

I arrived in Brackley with my family in 1997 and my 3 children all attended Helmdon from 1998 -2015, so I have been involved with the school for 17 years.

Before becoming a Governor I was also the Chair and Trustee of “Friends of Helmdon School” for many years and thoroughly enjoyed being involved in all the fund raising activities.

In between all my time spent with Helmdon, I still managed to find time to do some work as the International Finance Director of several American software companies.

Having been involved with Helmdon for 17 years as a parent and Governor I have seen first-hand how the school has maintained its very high standard of education and well-being for the children. I have also been very privileged to have worked alongside past and current Governors who dedicate their spare time to help maintain these very high standards.


Niki Phillips (Local Authority Governor)

I joined the Governing Body of Helmdon Primary School in 1999.  I have been Chair and Vice-Chair of governors.  

My main career was in teaching.  I taught in military schools in Germany and Cyprus, in Magdalen College School, Brackley, and finished my career as Headteacher of Rugby High School for Girls.  After that I was elected County Councillor for Warwickshire.

The educational needs of more able children has been a special interest and I have worked with teachers in Helmdon School who have specific responsibility for this and Special Needs generally.  I am currently governor attached to Reception Year and RE.

It has been good to see the school going from strength to strength over the years I have been a governor and I have every confidence that, under the leadership of our Head, Julie Crouch, the school will continue on its upward path to excellence in all areas.


Helen du Bois (Parent Governor)

I have been a parent Governor at Helmdon since autumn 2012 – I have two young boys both at the school. My family & I moved to Helmdon from Berkshire in August 2011, just in time for my older son to start in the Reception class at Helmdon.

Before my children arrived I was an IT Project Manager for a software consultancy firm then I set up my online retail business during my first maternity leave. I love being part of the village community and I am a keen supporter of Helmdon Primary School. The Headteacher and staff at Helmdon Primary provide a hugely welcoming and supportive environment for all children and the school has a very open, forward thinking approach. As a parent governor I aim to help direct and support the vision and growth of the school, ensuring “all-round” development and outstanding education for each and every child.


Helen Bartlett (Staff Governor)

Before joining the staff at Helmdon, I volunteered at a different school and gained a wonderful insight into the challenges and rewards that primary school development can offer. It very quickly became apparent to me that I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic environment of primary education and was eager to join Helmdon when the opportunity arose.

I have been a Teaching Assistant at Helmdon since 2013 and during this time I have directly contributed to a number of extra-curricular clubs to provide the pupils with an opportunity to experience new and compelling activities. My University degree was in Sports Science and I have also gained enormous satisfaction from years of team sports. This level of engagement inspires me to create a positive environment for our children to develop and gain the social and physical rewards that exercise can deliver.

I am very passionate about being part of the team that continues to deliver sustainable success at Helmdon. Along with the guidance and support of the school governor’s, the staff work extremely hard to create a safe and inspiring environment and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the views and ideas of the teaching team.


Mr Gary Clarke (Parent Governor)

I was elected to the Governing Body at the end of 2015 having applied as a parent with my eldest child now attending and well settled into the school.  My youngest child attends Acorns Pre-school where my wife supports as a committee member. 

I am a very active person and enjoy sports and fitness in a range of ways; you may have witnessed me running around the village at some point.  Supporting community and village events is something I enjoy and feel well able to contribute to. 

Within the Governing role I volunteered to support Mrs Harvey as the link governor for PE and Sport in Helmdon school.  Development in Sport at Helmdon school has progressed well and prioritising of the schools Sports Premium funding has helped to ensure that all children have opportunities to participate in sports at competition level.

I am keen to set up a football team at the school and would welcome volunteers who would be willing to help coach the children on a rotational basis.  (Thus the level of volunteer commitment would not be too onerous).

I also take responsibility for Health and Safety at the school and I am a member of the Governors' Standards and Curriculum Committee which monitor the quality of teaching and learning at the school.

As well as my role as a hands on father of 2, I also work full time as a fire fighter.  I have been able to use this experience to talk to all the children at the school about the importance of English and Maths in my job and hope that this will assist in acting as an incentive for the children to work hard towards success at school.