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Governors' Profiles

Profiles for Helmdon School Governors


Kathryn Crawford, Chair (Co-opted Governor)

I was elected as parent governor in December 2014 and then as a co-opted governor in November 2018. 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.


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.


Wendy Tims (Parent Governor)
             I joined the Governing Body at Helmdon in January 2017 when my three boys joined the school in reception, year 3 and year                                       6 after a move closer to the village. I received a warm welcome from the Head, Julie Crouch and found the staff to be an equally

             committed team of excellent practitioners dedicated to fostering a love of learning.

I have worked in secondary education for over 20 years.  My experience has ranged from Head of Faculty to Head of Year and I have also be involved in primary to secondary transition. I currently teach Food Preparation and Nutrition at Magdalen College School, Brackley and am linked to EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) at Helmdon.  As a parent governor I aim to support staff to continue to deliver high standards of teaching and learning to prepare our youngsters for a rewarding and fulfilling path ahead.



Fiona Kirkham (Staff Governor)

                  I moved to the Helmdon in 2015 with my family.  I have 3 children who are all in full time education, and my youngest 2

                 currently attend Helmdon Primary School.  I really enjoy being involved in Helmdon Primary School, especially as it is so central to                            the village community.

                  I have previously worked as Credit Controller in a Factoring Company and volunteered on a pre-school committee, where I was

                  the Secretary, and later the  Treasurer.  When my youngest child started full time education I started working with Helmdon

                  Acorns and at Magdalen College School and I have been working as a Teaching Assistant at Helmdon School since

                  November 2018. I currently work to support children with higher levels of needs in a variety of  year groups.  I  am really enjoying                            finding out about how the school is run and learning about the education system.