I would like to welcome you and your family to our school. Ducklington Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School is a unique and special place within our community where we nurture children from their first experience of education on their journey to become lifelong learners.
I have been involved with the school for five years and have watched it grow and develop into the wonderful school that it is today. I have been chair of governors since September 2016. With our rapidly changing environment I am confident that we can play our part in preparing our children for their future to be responsible, creative, well-educated adults with a strong Christian ethos.
I would also like to say thank you to ALL our staff for their hard work and input into supporting the pupils in any way they can. It is their continued dedication that makes our school a welcoming and a happy learning environment for the children.
The remit of the Governing Body:
- Setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
We have structured our Committees to reflect this overall remit. These committees report as and when it’s appropriate to the full governing board who meet six times each year.
- Performance and Standards (Chair: Angela Dowley)
- Resources (Chair: Henry Cooke)
- Appraisal (Chair: Neil Brading)
- Pay committee (Chair: Richard Border)
- Staff Dismissal and Complaints committee (Chair: Nicci Boddam-Whetham)
- Staff dismissal appeal committee (Chair: Sarah Varnom)
The governing board is made up of the various stakeholders that the school serves; parents, foundation governors (elected by the church), local authority representatives, staff and members of the local community. Governors work strategically and do not work at an operational level. This means that the head teacher has overall responsibility for the everyday management and organisation of the school.
Each governor takes a lead in a specific area, working with staff to monitor the impact of their work. Here are our areas of responsibility:
Chair of governors/teaching, learning and assessment: Sarah Varnom
Vice-chair/Safeguarding and Whistleblowing: Laura Edwards
Health and Safety/Science: Amanda Dickson
English and mathematics: Richard Border
Computing: Kathryn Keeping
Inclusion/Pupil Premium: Angela Dowley
RE/SMSC: Nicci Boddam-Whetham
SEN/NQTs: Neil Brading
Minutes of our meetings are available to you on this page on the website There is also a link to the National Governance Association website, which includes a wide range of information about national perspectives and initiatives. There is usually a governor or two at school events so do come and introduce yourselves.
If there are any further questions do email at the address below.
Chair of governors
Chair of Governors- Sarah Varnom
My name is Sarah Varnom and I have lived in Ducklington for fourteen years. I have been a governor for five years and became chair of governors a year ago. I am an active member of St Bartholomew’s church in the village.
I am committed to carrying out my role as governor to the best of my ability. I want to ensure that your children benefit from the very opportunities that the school can offer and achieve the very best that they can.
I have worked in education for over 25 years and have a wide range of experience in schools of concern as an executive headteacher. I was Head of Service for Schools and Learning in a local authority for ten years, managing a team of specialist advisers and commissioning support for schools.
Until a year ago, I held the post of Strategic Lead for Education Quality in Oxfordshire. I currently work with maintained schools and settings, free schools, MATs and standalone academies to improve outcomes for children and young people. My work focuses on high quality leadership and outstanding pedagogy. I also work as an Ofsted inspector in the south east of England.
My hobbies include making mosaics, gardening, cooking and the theatre. I have been an active member of Faringdon Dramatic Society for over 20 years and relax by making preserves for “Mrs V’s Chutneys and Preserves”.
Clerk to Governors- Gemma Peace
Co-opted governor- Richard Border
My wife and I retired to Ducklington nearly twelve years ago. We have three children and eight grandchildren and so are still passionately interested in education that gives maximum opportunities and support for all children. I have spent over forty years in education as teacher, headteacher, school’s advisor and inspector and so hope that I can play the role of critical friend to ensure the best possible outcomes for the children of Ducklington.
I wish to support the community that I live in and to that end I have been a Parish Councillor and School Governor for a number of years.
Co-opted governor- Neil Brading
I have lived in Ducklington since 1999. I have spent my career working in education. For 12 years I managed an organisation which provided initial teacher training and prior to that I was a history teacher at a local secondary school. I am currently director of a company which supports initial teacher training. In my spare time I like to travel and learn, follow current affairs and rugby. My wife, Jill, is a former assistant headteacher at a local primary school. We have two, mostly grown-up, children.
Co-opted governor- Doreen Rose
I’m married to Ian and have two grown up daughters. Ian and I moved to Ducklington in 2014. I work for a disability charity. I was a governor of a secondary school for over twenty years before we moved and I hope to be able to bring some of that experience to Ducklington School.
Parent governor- Amanda Dickson
Parent governor- Angela Dowley
Parent governor- Kathryn Keeping
Having 3 children at Ducklington Primary I really appreciate how fortunate we are to have such a fun, exciting, secure and stimulating school at the heart of our village community.
I have 23 years of experience as a secondary school teacher / Head of Department and for 5 years I was secretary of our village pre-school. As a parent governor I am proud to be associated with our primary school. As I only work part-time, I am available for other parents and carers to talk to at drop-off and pick-up times most days. Please do catch me with any comments, questions or suggestions.
Foundation governor- Henry Cooke
I am a Foundation Governor linking Ducklington Church and Ducklington CE School. I am also chair of the resources committee were we oversee funds assigned most importantly for the education of the children as well as maintaining the school buildings and learning environment. I have two children who have attended the school. I enjoy my job as an auctioneer and playing sport with my children.
Foundation governor-Laura Edwards
My name is Laura Edwards and I have been a Foundation Governor since September 2013 and the Vice Chair of Governors since September 2016. I have lived in Ducklington since January 2001. I have two Children, Annabelle, who attended the school and is now at Secondary School and George, who is currently in Year 4. I am the Safeguarding Governor and I am on the Performance and Standards Committee. I have worked as a Local Government Officer in West Oxfordshire for 19 years. As a Foundation Governor and active member of the village church, I am committed to ensuring there is a strong link between the school and the church for the benefit of all of our children.
Foundation governor- Nicci Bodham-Whetham
I have recently moved to Ducklington, from Hertfordshire, and am delighted to be asked to be a Foundation Governor of this thriving school. I am a recently retired HeadTeacher and School Inspector. Originally trained as a secondary teacher, for the last twenty five years I have worked in a school which offered both primary and secondary education to pupils with mild Special Educational Needs. I always enjoyed the times which I spent with the younger children, particularly liking their enthusiasm. Now my time is divided between helping my husband (who is the Rector of Ducklington Church) and playing with our young grandchildren.
Headteacher governor- Sarah Nisbett
I am very proud and privileged to be the Headteacher of this wonderful school and to work with our governors. Together we strive to make the school the very best it can be and to provide a broad and exciting curriculum for the children in our care.
Staff governor- Helen King
I have been teaching for seven years and have been at Ducklington Primary School for two of these. I am proud to ‘fly the flag’ as staff governor, I enjoy learning about the wider aspects of how the school is progressing outside of the classroom and the insight helps me to have a broader view of how a school is run. As staff governor I feel it is very important to ensure that governors know and understand what we are doing in school in order to fulfil improvement plans which make the children’s learning as valuable as it can be during their primary years.
I have recently become a mum for the first time and this seems to be my new and most favourite hobby! Aside from this I enjoy reading (although I tend to fall asleep very quickly!) and walking my friends dogs in big open fields where I can watch them run, explore and attempt to find their ball!
Associate governor- Vicki Stephens
I have been Deputy Head at Ducklington for nearly four years now and teaching for nineteen altogether. I enjoy the variety of my job- no day is ever the same! Ducklington is a very friendly and welcoming school and I’m proud to work with such a hard working team in such a creative, nurturing environment.
Part of my role is working with the link governors who come into school on a regular basis, making sure that they are kept well-informed about what we are doing. I also work alongside the Headteacher to report back at governor meetings.
Associate governor- Sara Church
I work at the School as a Teaching Assistant in year 5 and I represent our Support Staff on the board of Governors, as an associate member. I have had a connection with the school for the last 18 years. Both of my children attended School here during which time I was a member of the then PTA. Once my children had left their Primary education (ten years or so ago) I was fortunate enough to get a job here. And here I still am, loving our School, the children who attend here and the job. I feel very fortunate to have experienced our lovely school from lots of different perspectives: a parents view, a member of the PTA, as a work place and as a Governor too.