Our Board

Governing Body Arrangements at Duncombe Primary School

On the 19th May 2020, an Interim Executive Board (IEB) officially replaced the governing body of Duncombe Primary School. Dame Kate Dethridge, Interim Regional Schools Commissioner for North-West London and South-Central Region, approved this. Please see the official letter confirming these arrangements. 

The new Interim Executive Board would like to thank the previous governing body for their work and support of the school. 

The purpose of an IEB is to provide interim expertise and high-quality governance to support future improvement in a maintained school, including the promotion of high standards of educational achievement. Therefore, the Interim Executive Board (IEB) will be in place for a period of twelve months.  During this time, the Interim Executive Board (IEB) will fulfil the statutory duties of a governing body and also recruit and create a new governing body. 

The Interim Executive Board (IEB) will follow a circular model of governance. Therefore, each month the Interim Executive Board (IEB) will report on a series of standing items that reflect their statutory duty.  There are no committees.

Standing Agenda items include the following:

  • Improving outcomes
  • Safeguarding  
  • Finance – including budget monitoring and setting
  • Curriculum (including Quality of Education)
  • Human Resources – including staffing, pay and performance, recruitment
  • School policies and impact on quality and standards
  • Health and Safety requirements
  • Self-Evaluation – School Improvement Plan/SEF and impact of actions taken
  • Recruitment and establishment of  an effective new governing body
  • Any other business
  • Confidential Items

The Interim Executive Board comprises of the following:

Judith Fortune: Chair of IEB

Judith has a highly successful track record as a teacher, headteacher and governor. She remains passionate and committed to the ideal that every child has the right to achieve. She has worked in diverse schools, often in challenging circumstances and serving various and complex communities. She has a wealth of experience and success in delivering creative, rigorous and sustainable school improvement with effective management of resources, development of staff, an emphasis on inclusivity and working with the wider community. She has a history of delivering Inset and working on and with governors.

Candy Holder MBE: Head of Pupil Services. Learning and Schools, Islington

Candy has worked in Islington for 42 years, supporting and managing services for vulnerable children. Candy trained and practiced as a primary school teacher before joining the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) Education Welfare Service in 1978, and was based in Islington. By 1990, at the time of transfer to Islington Council following abolition of the ILEA, Candy was managing the Education Welfare Service as Principal Officer, with a strong emphasis on school attendance as a protective factor for children.

Debbie Stevenson: Head of Schools & EY Finance Services, Learning and Schools, Islington

Debbie Stevenson has over 29 years’ experience of working in finance across both the private and public sector and has solid practical experience of financial and management accounting.  Debbie began her career in the public sector in May 2002 working for Cambridge Education @ Islington before transferring to Islington Council in 2013.  Debbie manages a team of 15 including the Free School Meal team; Early Years Finance and School Finance Consultants.  This range of services enables Debbie to have a wealth of experience in supporting all levels of financial demands.

Penny Kenway: Head of Early Years and Childcare, Learning and Schools, Islington

Penny Kenway is a qualified primary teacher, having started her career with the primary age group, later specialising in early years.  Penny has worked for Islington Council since 1997, first as Early Years Training Manager and then from 2000, as Head of the Early Years Foundation Stage and School Improvement Officer, with responsibility for quality, standards and outcomes across the early years sector, including primary schools. Penny works closely with a range of partners within the council and more widely from education, health and the community sector to establish integrated services that meet the needs of families with young children from pregnancy and through the first five years of life.

Helen Ryan, Head Teacher, Duncombe Primary School

Helen qualified as an English teacher (secondary) in 1997 and began her career at Central Foundation Boys’ School in Islington.  Her interest in primary developed in 2002, when she worked for Tower Hamlets LEA implementing Ruth Miskin Phonics in schools across the borough.

Helen moved to primary education in 2013, where she was appointed as deputy head teacher at Ambler Primary School. Leading on literacy, phonics, curriculum and pupil premium she was part of the SLT that moved the school from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding' in May 2017. Helen’s experience in secondary education gives her an in-depth understanding of the standards needed to be achieved at primary. She is passionate about closing the gap between attainment of disadvantaged pupils and non.

Helen is the current Head Teacher at Duncombe Primary School.

Juliet Benis, Head Teacher of Ambler Primary School and Children's Centre

After spending my late teens and early twenties working in a whole range of jobs from the Tate gallery to supporting adults with learning disabilities, I decided it was time to go to university. I graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with a degree in Creative and performing Arts, worked briefly in Theatre in Education and then became the head of Drama and Dance in an Adult Training Centre in Manchester.

I have worked in Islington for 26 years - under 3 different heads and without planning to, I moved through the leadership layers until I became Head Teacher at Ambler.

I have led Ambler from a ‘nice school’ to an ‘outstanding provision’ having high expectations and a sense of rigor and urgency in my approach. I recently completed an executive coaching course with a view to being able to support my staff and other heads in a more meaningful ‘real’ way with a distinct belief that the individual has the answers to their own problems within them and that coaching can help them to explore their situation and solutions so that they can achieve more.

​Mark Taylor, Director of Learning and Schools, Islington

Mark is currently the Director of Learning and Schools within People Services in the London borough of Islington. This is a broad portfolio covering:

  • Early Years and Child Care
  • School Improvement, quality and standards in all phases
  • Special Schools and alternative provision
  • Pupil Services including SEND, Admissions, Safeguarding, and a range of support services
  • Governance
  • Schools Finance and HR

Mark has had specific involvement in two IEBs previously, both of which brought about rapid improvement.

The 2020 inspection of children’s social care services in Islington resulted in an ‘outstanding’ judgement.

As a former primary school teacher, headteacher, governor, performance management advisor and Ofsted inspector, Mark has worked continuously in education in its broadest sense for 35 years.

Interim Executive Board meetings will occur on the following dates:

  • 18th May 2020
  • 15th June 2020
  • 6th July 2020
  • 21st September 2020
  • 12th October 2020
  • 16th November 2020
  • 14th December 2020
  • 18th January 2021
  • 22nd February 2021
  • 22nd March 2021
  • 26th April 2021
  • 31st May 2021

Attendance Records

18/05/20 Y Y Y Y Y Y Apologies Y
15/06/20 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
13/07/20* Y Y Y Apologies Y Y Y Y
21/09/20 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
12/10/20 Y Y Y Y Y Apologies Apologies  
16/11/20 Y Y Y Apologies Y Y Y Y

*postponed from 03/07/20

** cancelled meeting

Board Meeting Minutes