School Logo

Meet our Governors

Find out more about who is on the board of governors.


Andrew Irvine - Governor

My wife, Clare, and I have lived in the village since 2015, and have two wonderful children who are both in Chalgrove Primary school.  I joined the governing board in January 2018.


I am passionate about education, coming from a teaching family (my father was an English teacher and deputy head at a secondary school in the west of Scotland, and my mother was a physics teacher) and in particular believe that a high standard of primary education is of the utmost importance to ensure a happy and successful future for every single child. 


As for myself, I am an aerospace engineer but in my career have worked in several roles encompassing engineering, project management, contract management, and most recently procurement.  


Chalgrove Primary has seen great improvements over recent years, and it is my sincere hope that I can make a valuable contribution to helping this trend continue. I look forward to working with all of the staff and the Governors to ensure the School continues to offer the highest standards of education, and that the school remains central to the heart of the community.


Ryan McCarthy – Vice Chair








My wife and I have lived in Chalgrove for over 10 years and we feel very much at home in the village.


Our daughter, Niamh joined reception class last September and we have been very pleased with the school and the role that it plays in the local community. I am keen to become more involved with the school and offer whatever support I can. I am an accountant by trade and I am currently a Director at a large multinational food manufacturer where I look after the finances for our snacks manufacturing plants in the Midlands.


I am a STEMNET Ambassador and with some of my colleagues I have been working with schools close to one of our plants in Coventry to make young people aware of the career opportunities in Science, Technology and Maths. This has included mentoring sessions with GCSE and A-Level students and arranging for them visit our plants to see manufacturing in action and the variety of roles available in the Food and Drink industry.


My hobbies include swimming and cycling.


Virginie Higginbotham - Parent Governor






I am an environmental scientist working in water resources for a research centre. I have lived in Chalgrove for nearly 15 years. I have two children at the school, who are currently in Year 6 and Year 1. My eldest daughter, after attending Chalgrove Primary, joined Icknield Community College and is now in Year 8. Both my youngest children really enjoy going to Chalgrove school for both the academic and the social experience of learning.


I want the school to continue to thrive and thus give the pupils the education they currently receive as well as help improve it where required.


As a mother of three and member of the community, I believe it is important to acknowledge and support the quality of the services we hold within the village.


As a school governor, I believe it is important to support the school staff in order to effectively run a school and create a successful and nurturing learning environment. I also believe that part of the role of a parent governor is to represent parents and relay their opinions to the rest of the governing body and the senior management team.



Judith Bennett OBE - Chair of Governors






We moved to Chalgrove in 1980 and I became a Governor at the school in 1993, having been a secondary school governor during my teaching career.


Becoming a governor at Chalgrove coincided with leaving teaching and moving into publishing, and gave me the opportunity to remain involved in education, which had been my professional life for 25 years. It provided the means to continue to make a contribution. It also led me to become a founding member of the Oxfordshire Governors’ Association and of the National Governors’ Association. My time as Chair of the NGA gave me the chance to learn about governing bodies across the country, their shared concerns and their shared fulfilment in the role. Over many years, I have worked as a governor trainer for Oxfordshire and Hackney; I am a Local Leader in Governance, working schools and governing bodies in need of support. In 2015, I was amazed but honoured to be awarded an OBE for Services to Education.


Over the years, I have been involved in the appointment of three Headteachers, and, as Chair, I led the governing body through a successful Ofsted in 2003. I am Vice Chair of the Acer Trust Board.


Being a governor is one of the most challenging but also most worthwhile roles any volunteer can perform. It is an immense privilege to play a part in the education of future generations. I feel a real delight in Chalgrove School and its children. Watching it flourish has been a source of pleasure and pride.


Natasha Watson – Parent Governor







My name is Natasha Watson and I have lived in Chalgrove since February 2016 with my husband, Adam, and my two children, Mason (4) and Nyah (3). Mason is starting in Reception at Chalgrove Primary in September and Nyah will be starting in Nursery at the same time. We live with a two year old black Labrador called Brodie.


I start a new job as Head of English at Abingdon Prep in September. I am really looking forward to my new role and am excited about taking on a new challenge. I was previously Deputy Head of Lower School at The Beacon School in Chesham Bois and have also taught at two state schools. I have been teaching for 16 years and have worked in different school settings throughout my career. I have experience of running teams as well as mentoring two colleagues through their teacher training qualifications.

I am passionate about education and have  relished the opportunity to become involved as a parent governor. I have good knowledge of the educational sector from the inside and am excited about having the opportunity to work with parents and governors from the outside. Alongside this, I am someone who works well as part of a team, has good communication skills and is able to listen to and take on board other people’s opinions and points of view. I wanted to become more involved in the community and believe that becoming a parent governor was a good way for me to do this. I am looking forward to giving something back to the community and believe being more personally involved with the school is the perfect way to do this.


Danny Warner - Parent Governor

I am Danny Warner, my family and I moved to the village about 5 years ago with my extended family being in the village for generations. My wife Emma is a primary school teacher at John Hampden School in Thame and our 2 boys attend Chalgrove Primary George in year 3 and Oliver who has just started the reception class.


My aim as a parent governor is to be able to support the school by making use of the experiences I have built up over the years. I have spent 17 years in IT business development roles working for companies of various different sizes from small local businesses to large multinational companies.


Over the years I have been part of and managed many successful teams. Some of the skills I have built include problem-solving, building strategies and maximising the effective use of existing resources. I am very used to working as part of a team and guiding and supporting people along the way. I have also been responsible for performance management and working with staff to improve productivity and performance in their roles. I ask a lot of questions and am comfortable in challenging the norm looking for new more efficient ways to get things done whilst being mindful of older traditions.


I have seen directly the results of the hard work that has already been put in by the existing Governors, Head Teacher, Teachers, Friends of Chalgrove and parent volunteers and look forward to contributing to the continued success of the school.


Catherine Davies - Parent Governor


As a parent I have been hugely impressed by the hard work and dedication by staff at Chalgrove Primary, and wanted to support the school by taking a more active role in contributing to the school’s strategic direction and educational performance. In doing so I hope to give back to the community my family and I have called home since 2016. My husband and two daughters have thoroughly enjoyed joining the village community since our arrival from London and have made many friends. My dedication to my daughter, who is in Year 1, in addition to also wanting the best for her peers have encouraged me to volunteer as a Governor.


I have supported various schools as a Teacher of Geography and Spanish from Key Stages 3 through to Key Stage 5 and so have a broad understanding of a wide curriculum. My passion for Geography coincides with my love for travelling and I have taught in many countries as well as various counties in the UK. I hope to bring this experience of working within educational structures of varying sizes and backgrounds to my role as parent-governor. This has facilitated my appreciation of the close-knit community that Chalgrove and its’ Primary School demonstrate. I look forward to bringing together the viewpoints of other parents as well as working alongside staff and external agencies in order to further strengthen the school.


David Turner – Community Governor








I have lived in Chalgrove for 40 years. I am a former Chairman of the Chalgrove Primary School Governing body and have been a member of it since 1981. I have been a member of Chalgrove Parish Council since 1981. I have been married to Kathy for fifty one years and our two sons Karl & Jonathan both went to Chalgrove Primary School followed by the Icknield.


A few years ago, as a County Councillor, I visited schools in Oxfordshire with similar catchment areas to each other with some doing very well and others not so well. The schools which were doing very well had enthusiastic and inspirational leaders, coupled to a governing body who were acting as a real, but critical friend and a head teacher who welcomed that critical friend’s support. I believe we have established that formula at Chalgrove Primary School and I look forward to our school going from strength to strength.


Carl Hodgkiss is a Parent Governor


Mrs Sue O'Donnell is a Staff Governor. Sue is a TA in Year 2


Mrs Louise Soper is a Staff Governor. Louise is a Reception class teacher.


Head teacher Ms Sam Gillion 

About Our Governors

The Governing Body is responsible for making sure that the School provides quality education for the children and that Government regulations are applied.  The Head Teacher is responsible for the day-to-day management of the School, but the Governing Body is responsible for setting out the School's aims and policies and, indeed, for appointing the Head Teacher.  It also makes decisions on the School's budget and staffing and ensures that it provides for the needs of all its pupils.

All Governors are appointed to serve a four year term of office.  

On appointment, all Governors attend an introductory training programme provided by the LEA and ongoing training is available throughout their term of office.

The full Governing Body meets at the School at least once each term, as do various Committees to which much of the work is delegated and which have authority to make decisions on behalf of the whole Governing Body.  Committees include those dealing with Staffing, Finance, Curriculum, Buildings Maintenance and Health & Safety and, in addition, there are various panels which meet as needed to deal with specific areas, such as Admissions, Exclusions, Appeals, etc.


Associate Members may be appointed to a specific Committee to provide particular expertise, but are not actually Governors.

It is a Statutory requirement that the Governing Body nominate specific Governors to assume responsibility for monitoring certain areas of School policy, i.e. Literacy, Numeracy, SEN, PSHCE, Child Protection and Diversity/Equality.