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The governor’s role is to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the school, by monitoring the activities of the school to ensure that the children receive the best possible education in a safe and stimulating learning environment.

We are fortunate to have so many active and committed governors, many of whom have been connected to the school for many years.  As you can see, the governors come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring a diverse range of talents and experience to the school and we rely on these skills to ensure that the governors fulfil their function.  We are also very fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented staff of teachers and teaching assistants and the governors work in close partnership with the staff.  If you have any questions, queries or comments about the work of the governors please do not hesitate to get in touch.  We very much value feedback from parents about their experience and views of the school.

You are able to make contact with the Governors by contacting the office or the Chair of Governors by email 

Sam Shepherd - Chair of Governors

I have more than 15 years experience of working in the public sector in roles which cover a wide range of corporate services and functions.  This includes corporate planning, grant management, equalities and inclusion, scrutiny, partnership working and liaison with elected representatives, voluntary and community organisations and parish councils.  I began my public sector career by completing a doctorate on evidence based policy making.  I have worked for a Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS, central government agencies and different types of local authorities.

Alongside my formal professional skills, I have had training in psychotherapy and am passionate about emotional and mental wellbeing.  As a Mum of two children; I have an enormous interest in supporting Kingfisher School to continue its holistic and tailored education of our young people.  It is an honour to be part of the Kingfisher School community, where everyone is valued, supported and celebrated.

Cynthia Bartlett - Safeguarding Governor

I am a retired Headteacher of a Secondary School. During my career in teaching I was a governor at three secondary schools and a primary school before taking up the post of a Community Governor at Kingfisher School.

I work as a senior examiner for one of the Examining Boards and have edited GCSE textbooks and other resources for Oxford University Press.

I have always had a particular interest in children with special educational needs and am delighted to be a Governor at Kingfisher School. I live in Abingdon and am a member of Trinity Church.

Matthew Hill - Vice Chair of Governors

I am a Chartered Accountant, with eight years experience. Three of those years have been spent working for an international supplier of technology and resources to the education sector.

With a growing interest and passion for education throughout this time, and seeing the real challenges faced by schools, becoming a school governor was something I felt strongly about.

I joined the Kingfisher Governing Body during the Summer of 2019, and it has been fantastic to be part of a school.  The school continues to improve and go from strength to strength. It is a great privilege to be involved, helping the brilliant teaching and support staff, to make a real difference and contribution to the success of the pupils. 

I grew up in Abingdon and learnt to swim at Kingfisher School, so it is a pleasure to now be serving as a governor. My free time is spent, playing football for my local team, and many sports in between.

Sarah Adair - Governor

I have more than 20 years of experience working in communications and engagement within the NHS. I currently lead a team who work across the NHS in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West providing media relations services, communications including health and immunisation campaigns, public engagement and consultation, digital marketing, and event management. I began my career working within public relations in the private sector.

As a mum of a child who has special education needs, I have a real interest in how we provide an education to all our children. I am new to school governing and learning the ropes, but it is a privilege to be part of the Kingfisher community and I am keen to support the school to deliver its vision and ensuring every pupil is valued and supported to develop their independence.

Rachael Long - Staff Governor

I am Assistant Headteacher of the school and was previously the teacher of Owl Class in the Core Pathway. I have been at Kingfisher since September 2019.  Having spent 25 years teaching in mainstream I made the transition to Special School provision to use my skills to support young learners with an EHCP.

In my spare time I enjoy all kinds of dancing, most recently ballroom.  I have two grown up boys who have flown the nest and pursuing their own careers.

I was keen to take up the role of teacher governor as I understand the value of representing my colleagues on the Governing Body. In this role, I am able to support the other Governors to understand more about our school, the curriculum and how the Pathways work in practice.

Tess Whitehead - Staff Governor

I am mum to 4 children and nanna to 5 beautiful grandsons and I live local to school. I am a TA based in Eagle class and have been at the school for 3 years. I am joint PSHE lead and deliver lessons on Relationships, Sex Education and Zones of Regulations. I am currently training to be an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) to help support emotional well-being. I am passionate about Kingfisher School and helping our learners feel valued and gaining independence to become wonderful adults in the community.

Carol Bousahla - Parent Governor

I am a mum of two wonderful boys and Rhys has attended Kingfisher School since February 2019.

I live locally to the school and joined the Kingfisher Local Governing Body in October 2020, having served on a committee at a local playgroup.  I have worked in the finance service industry for over 25 years.

As a family, we enjoy many different sports, including walking and cycling.  

I wanted to join the Local Governing Body, to be able to support parents in getting their voice heard.  I feel confident that I can bridge the gap between schools and families.

Wasim Mehmood - Parent Governor

I am a father to two very boisterous little girls and my eldest is fortunate enough to be a student at Kingfisher school since September 2022.

I have grown up and lived in Abingdon for the past 25 years and am a financial advisor based in Abingdon town centre. If I’m not spending quality time with my wife and children, you’ll find me playing cricket at Oxford Downs Cricket club in Standlake, where I have been on and off in leadership roles throughout the past 10 years.

The two years that my daughter has been attending Kingfisher school has been transformational, not only for her learning and development but also for my wife and I’s personal life, the support we have received has been incredible.

It is for these reasons why I have joined the talented team of governors and feel so passionately about supporting Kingfisher School. I hope to support fellow parents to have their voices and opinions heard and ultimately support Kingfisher to continue to do the great work they have done for so many years.

Julie Ding - Governor

I have more than 15 years of experience in finance management and customer service areas and became a charted management accountant in 2016. I have been working in various industries and multi-cultural environments, such as water service, international trading, and accounting firm. I am now working in a college as a finance manager. My professional skills involve collating and analysing data, writing workflow, costing, planning and forecasting, etc.   

To become a school governor is always my aspiration. It is not only to make contribution by using my knowledges, but also my previous manager was a school governor, and she encouraged me to apply for it as it makes you feel good and proud.  

I moved to Abingdon 4 years ago, and I look for an opportunity to join local community. I visited Kingfisher school in July. It amazed me as everyone was smiling and worked hard. You can feel people love school and support each other; kids are looked after really well. I would love to become a member of the team and contribute to the school.  

Nicky Phipps - Governor

I have 7 years of working in the education as a Business Manager in mainstream primary and secondary schools in Oxfordshire. My experience within the sector is operational, with responsibility for finance, HR, premises, H&S, IT and catering. I have experience of SEND education working with the Ormerod Centre at Marlborough School. 

I have always lived in and around Abingdon and I am keen to support the school staff in delivering exceptional education to all of its students.

I have two adult sons who are both keen sportsmen, so much of my spare time is spent watching rugby and cricket. I love to be outdoors.