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Member Profiles

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Alice Boon

I am currently employed as the Senior School Performance, Assurance and Standards Officer for Brighter Futures for children (Reading Borough Council)

I advise head teachers and governors across all phases on all matters related to school policy and standards, including changes to curriculum, school policy and regulatory frameworks- I design and lead training for schools and regularly undertake curriculum performance and assurance reviews

I lead Governor Services for Reading schools and provide training for governors on a range of issues

I have experience of serving as a Governor in the primary and special phases and have been a member of the NMB here at Denefield

I have been a primary Headteacher and have extensive leadership and teaching experience in secondary schools, special schools and alternative provision. I led the Behaviour improvement service in Reading for ten years and have special expertise in inclusion and equalities issues including the use of pupil premium and recovery funding

Tom James

After short career as a neuroscientist at London University, I have spent my whole working life in secondary schools. During this time, I have been Head of the Biology Department as well as Head of Pastoral Care. My last 19 years as Sub-warden (sole deputy head) at St Edward's School in Oxford; a co-educational boarding school. Here I was responsible for the day-to-day administration as well as pastoral care of 700+ boys and girls aged 13 - 18 years. My various roles included 15 years as DSL; staff and pupil welfare and discipline. During my time as Sub-Warden, I was also an inspector for Ofsted and then ISI with special responsibility for compliance, health and safety and pastoral care. Since 2015, I have been a governor at Windale Primary School, which is situated on the Blackbird Leys estate; an area of social and economic deprivation and, more recently, I have been appointed vice-chair of governors at my local village primary school in Marsh Baldon. From the start of 2020, I joined the governing body at Oxford Spires Academy and more recently been appointed as a governor-representative on the Oxfordshire Schools Forum.

Catherine Hester

In my professional life I have ten years' experience of working with children in different settings, including influencing national education policy. For the past 25 years I have worked in the charity sector, principally focussing on international development and holding several senior director level positions. I currently work across the charity sector in a consultancy capacity, leveraging my experience of working with complex UK and globally focussed programme teams to support strategic planning, learning, strengthening governance and accountability, organisational development, recruitment, change and programme management.

As a former primary teacher and previous Chair of Governors at a local primary school, I have an excellent grounding in and passion for, building and sustaining the effective governance structures that support excellent educational experiences for all pupils. I was a governor at Purley Primary for six years, including chair for three years. I have two children, both of whom are current students in Denefield School.

Dan Barter

Dan was a Denefield Governor during 2011-2015. His son and nieces have attended the school since 2012. Dan lives locally having settled there towards the end of a 20-year Army career. As an MBA, with PG Cert in Change Management, and senior leader of organisational design and change, Dan has become a Defence Consultant, helping the public sector get the best value from taxpayers' cash. As Denefield Governor, Dan was active on the Finance Committee and at Full Governors' meetings, where he helped hold the collective Governance team to account for decisions and actions and the long-term viability of the Academy. As a keen cyclist and member of Reading Cycling Club, Dan has raised thousands of pounds for MalariaNoMore.

Matt Barber

I live in Purley-on-Thames with my wife Azra; daughter Alice aged 11 (enjoying her first weeks at Denefield School!) and Harry aged 7 who attends Purley Primary School.

I spent the majority of my childhood in East Kent, both of my parents were teachers; my father was the Headteacher of a boarding school.

I joined the Royal Engineers (Army) in 1986 and served for a total of 16 years spending the latter years at the Royal School of Military Engineering teaching the Advanced Engineering course to the next generation of Army Engineers. I then entered into Project Management and have worked in the Nuclear Sector ever since. Progressing from smaller projects I currently have accountability as the budget holder for a nuclear new build in excess of £1.5Bn.

In 2013 we moved to Purley-on-Thames, as we liked the area and its proximity to an 'Outstanding' Infant school for our children. We soon discovered that 'our' school across the road was to be extended-and due to concerns that this may have a negative effect on our daughter's education I offered my assistance to the school's governing body.

As a school governor I have served on the following committee's; New build. (Chair)

Site and Safety (Chair) and Finance and Staffing. I have a proven track record of strategic leadership in the oversight and governance role.

Harvey Smith

Harvey's background is in education, with particular expertise in international education systems, having worked for 40 years in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia advising governments and institutions as well as in management positions. Before this he was a secondary school teacher in Liverpool. He has a PhD from Reading University and has lived in Reading since 1997. Before becoming a Member, Harvey was a Trustee at Denefield School for eight years.