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.


Main Committees

Performance and Standards: Russell Leigh(RL), Sarah Varnom, (SV), Richard Border (RB), Kathryn Keeping (KK), Jennifer Pratley (JP), Helen King (HK), Nicci Boddam-Whetham (NBW) and Vicki Stephens (VS)

Chair- Kathryn Keeping

Clerk – Gemma Peace


Resources: Russell Leigh (RL), Doreen Rose (DR), Angela Dowley (AD), Ryan Ball (RBa) and Jo Druce-Harding (JDH)

Chair- Jo Druce-Harding

Clerk – Gemma Peace


Subsidiary Committees

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:


Governor Leads

Chair of Governors: SV
Vice-Chair: DR
Health and Safety: DR
Safeguarding: DR
Mathematics: RB
Inclusion/SEND/Pupil Premium: NBW
Phonics: AD
Reading, SPaG and Writing: RB
Computing KK
Science: SV
The Arts AD
Most Able: JDH
Whistleblowing: DR
Support Staff: SV
Data Protection: RBa


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.

Sarah Varnom

Chair of Governors



Chair of Governors- Sarah Varnom

My name is Sarah Varnom and I have lived in Ducklington for sixteen years. I have been a governor for seven years and chair of governors for three years. 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 30 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 three years 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”.

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.

Vice-Chair & 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- Angela Dowley

I have two children at Ducklington school in years 3 and 6 and have lived in the village for most of my life.  I became a parent governor nearly 3 years ago to help form part of a team that strives to provide the very best education for all children in our school.
Parent governor- Kathryn Keeping

Having 2 children currently at Ducklington Primary and another who has completed her primary education here, I really appreciate how fortunate we are to have such a fun, exciting, secure and stimulating learning environment at the heart of our village community.
I have 26 years of experience as a secondary school teacher / Head  of Department and for five years I was secretary of our village preschool. As a parent governor I am proud to be associated with our school and to play my part in ensuring that we provide a high-quality education and a wide range of opportunities to all of our students.
Parent governor- Ryan Ball

I have recently moved to the area with my wife and 3 children, having spent the last 9 years overseas. I was a secondary school design & technology teacher and head of faculty for 17 years in the U.K., U.A.E. and Asia and now work for the educational charity The D&T Association. I have 2 children at Ducklington and was immediately impressed by the family feel of the school when I looked around. I am proud to be part of the governing team and help the school continue to grow and thrive, giving the best opportunities for the students.


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.

Foundation governor- Jennifer Pratley

Having moved into the village in June 2018, I was very keen to get involved in the community, and so I attended St Bartholemews church and found myself being embraced by opportunity. I have since become a bell ringer, have joined the village WI and was invited to become a governor of Ducklington Primary School. My own experience of teaching, and of being a pastoral leader at Cokethorpe School since 1999, stands me in good stead for understanding how schools strive for excellence and how educational opportunities help develop our youngsters on every level.
I have many interests, not least doing up my cottage and its garden, running the many routes that Ducklington and the surrounding villages have to offer, spending time with my three daughters and four grandchildren, and needlework in all its forms.

Co-opted Governor- Jo Druce-Harding

I recently moved to the village with my husband (and cat and dog too!) and wanted to get more involved in the community. So when I saw the vacancy for the school governor I jumped at the chance! I was just about to start maternity leave before my son was born and was keen to do something like this whilst I was off work.
I am a qualified accountant and work as a Finance Business Partner at a local housing association. Although my school experience is limited at the moment my accounting knowledge will help me serve on the Resources Committee.
Education is such an important part of our lives, and I’m very proud to be a governor of Ducklington school, and do what I can to help support the teachers and pupils.
Headteacher governor- Russell Leigh

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 at Ducklington for four years and I am proud to ‘fly the flag’ as staff governor. I enjoy being part of a team which strives to make the school even more amazing than it is already. As staff governor I feel it is 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 began a new role as SENCO and this is going to make my job even more diverse and rewarding!

Associate governor- Vicki Stephens

I have been Deputy Head at Ducklington for six years now. 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.



Clerk to Governors- Gemma Peace