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Our Governing Body

Background

The new governing body was formed in June 2021 and succeeded the Interim Education Board (IEB) 2020-21.

The IEB replaced the governing body in May 2020. The purpose of an IEB was to provide interim expertise and high-quality governance to support future improvement of the school, including the promotion of ambitious standards of educational achievement. The IEB lasted twelve months. During that time, the IEB fulfilled the statutory duties of a governing body and also recruited and created the new governing body.


The Role of the Governing Body

The governors work in strategic partnership with the senior leaders of the school, and they have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. The Governing Body is the school’s key strategic decision-making body. It has a collective, legal responsibility for the effective management of the school, acting within a framework established by national legislation and the school’s agreed policies, and ensuring all statutory duties are met.

The governing board provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools. It has three key functions:

  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos, and strategic direction.

Governors are not expected to take detailed decisions about the day-to-day running of the school. That is the responsibility of the headteacher - although the headteacher will discuss most aspects of school life with the governors. The partnership between the headteacher, staff, governors, parents, pupils, and the wider community determines how well the school functions. Governors with the headteacher set the aims and objectives for the school and set the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives. They monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making and function as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher.


The Governors

The governors are volunteers who bring knowledge, skills and different perspectives from their work and life experiences. Many of them have full-time jobs and all have other commitments. They sometimes take time off from their work to visit the school or attend meetings, although most meetings are held in the evening.

Governors must be prepared to adopt the Nolan Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership. 

There are twelve governors, and each was appointed in June 2021.

  • 2 Parent Governors — elected by the parents.
  • 8 Co-opted Governors — appointed by other members of the Governing Body (Co‑opted Governors are made up of members of the local community).
  • 2 Staff Governors, comprising the Head Teacher, and one staff governor elected by the staff.
  • 1 Local Authority (LA) Governor — nominated by Islington Council.

Judith Fortune: Chair of Governors 

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.


Peter Bacon-Darwin: Vice Chair

Peter lives just over the hill in Crouch End. He has spent the last 15 years as a stay at home Dad. His two children, now teenagers, attended a local state school where he was very active in the PSA.  He is also a software engineer, working with a team at Google, where he builds tools to help developers create amazing websites. Peter is the vice-chair of the governing body, and acts as the link governor for information technology.


Gareth Williams

Gareth lives in London. During his career in education he has been a headteacher in two primary schools, a senior adviser for a local authority and head of a teacher training programme at a university.. He is the chair of the curriculum committee for the governing body.


David Carter

David lives in Barnet with his wife, and occasionally one, two or three of their sons. David works in a city law firm (Ashurst LLP) as a corporate lawyer.  He was formerly head of graduate recruitment for the firm. Loves sport and lunch.  


Sophie Bridge

Sophie lives in Islington and has two grown up children who also live in the borough. Sophie is a 30 year veteran of COO roles in financial services firms across Asia and Europe. She is currently the CFO of a litigation financing company and she hopes that her experience in the practical financial management of successful businesses will be useful for Duncombe.


​Paul Tonkinson

Paul lives in Crouch End, and has three grown up children who have come through the state secondary school system in North London. He is a stand up comedian, writer and broadcaster. During the pandemic Paul established links with Duncombe helping with food drop offs, he is passionate about addressing educational/social inequalities compounded by the pandemic and is assisting with the safeguarding of children at Duncombe.  


Richard Watts 

Richard lives close to Duncombe and represented this area on Islington Council for 15 years, including eight as Leader of the Council. He now works for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.  He is the link governor for Health and Safety.


Laila Naana

Laila is the mother of three children, one of them with ASC, and has lived in Islington for six years. Laila has an education degree from Syria, she has three years experience working with UNICEF in a Turkish camp and three years working in a complimentary school. Laila is a parent governor and the link governor for SEND.


Natalie Fiawoo

Natalie Fiawoo is a Producer, Project Manager and Curator of mixed Ghanaian and British heritage. With a focus on telling stories of the African Diaspora, Natalie works mostly in theatre, poetry and heritage with organisations such as Apples and Snakes, Black Cultural Archives, Bloomberg, Camden Roundhouse and The Southbank Centre. She is developing a series of workshops alongside the team at Alleyne& focusing on helping organisations create sustainable, brilliant and inclusive teams. 


Monique Roberts

Monique has been the school business manager at Duncombe primary school since September 2019, she has a 9 year old daughter, lives locally and has worked within local authorities for over 16 years!


Helen Ryan

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.


The Committees

The governing body has two Committees:

  • ABC which focuses on pupil progress, attainment, behaviour, needs and the school curriculum.
  • Resources which deals with finance, staffing, the building, health and safety.

     

Name and Role

Type

Committee

Link

Judith Fortune
Chair of Governors

Co-opted

Resources

Safeguarding
KS2

Pete Bacon Darwin
Vice Chair

Co-opted

ABC
Resources

ICT

Gareth Williams

Co-opted

ABC

Governor training
EYS + KS1

David Carter

Co-opted

Resources

Literacy

Sophie Bridge
Chair of Resources

Co-opted

Resources

Numeracy

Paul Tonkinson

Co-opted

ABC

Safeguarding

Richard Watts

LA

 

Health & Safety

Laila Naana

Parent

ABC

SEND

Natalie Faiwoo

Parent

ABC

 

Monique Roberts

Staff

Resources

 

Helen Ryan

Ex officio

ABC
Resources

 

Vacancy

Co-opted

   

Full Governing Body Meeting Minutes