Governors and Governance
Alex Conabeare, Co-Chair of Governors, Parent Governor (Health & Safety, eSafety and Equalities). Link Governor for Maths.
Alex grew up in London, attending an independent school centrally which gave him a broad and varied education. He studied Physiology and Pharmacology at university in Bristol before returning to London and developing a career in Marketing and Digital within Financial Services and Professional Services. A father of two, he is proud that his daughter is a founding pupil at the Earl’s Court Free School and believes that the principles set out for the school are very important for the well rounded and confident development of our children. He is an active member of the PTA committee and also supports the school with his professional skills and hobbies wherever possible.
The role of governor for the schools has given him the opportunity to apply his skills in support of the schools' vision and development and he is proud to hold the position. Term of office, three years. Elected April 2015.
Chloe Mawson, Co-Chair of Governors, Parent Governor (SEND, Safeguarding and Attendance)
Chloe has lived in Hammersmith for 12 years. She is a mother of three young children and her middle daughter is a pupil at the West London Free School Primary.
Chloe has worked in parliament for the past 15 years and has held a variety of posts in the House of Lords and the Cabinet Office. Her current position is Clerk of the Journals in the House of Lords where her responsibilities incluse advising Members on parliamentary procedure, running two select committees, managing various offices that support the work of the Chamber of the Lords and representing the House of Lords on projects aimed at enabling better use of technology across both Houses of Parliament.
Chloe is honoured to have been elected as the first WLFSP parent govenor and is looking forward to doing what she can to build on the success of the school's first year. Term of office, three years. Appointed Sep 2016.
Suzie Hobart, Chair of Education Committee. Link Governor for Assessment.
Suzie is one of the founding group behind the West London Free School, and a Trustee of the WLFS Foundation Trust. The experience and passion developed during the founding of the WLFS and extensive experience as a Governor, has led her from a career as a project manager and business process consultant in the IT sector, to working as an independent Project Manager in Education. She specialises in the opening of new schools.
Suzie is the mother of three children. She was educated at an Independent Grammar School and went on to study Engineering at Oxford.
Her passion is to create an academically excellent school for the local community within a socially mixed environment, where staff, parents and children share responsibility for achievement. Term of office, three years. Appointed September 2013.
Jan Weber, Chair of the Finance Committee
Jan has been CFO & Compliance Officer at DIAM International since 1996. He received a BSc in Accounting and Commerce from the University of Southampton and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1980. Previously, he held senior operations and finance positions within Prudential and HSBC. At DIAM International he is a board member and Head of Operations, Finance and Compliance.
Jan is a member of the governing council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a trustee for the Institute’s staff pension scheme. Term of office, three years. Appointed September 2016.
Oliver Knight, Parent Governor
Oli is currently the Headteacher at Greenwich Free School and has a daughter at Earls Court Free School Primary. He joined Greenwich Free School after it was given Requires Improvement by Ofsted and has led it to a Good rating in all areas in 18 months. Oli was previously Vice Principal at Ark Academy in London, part of one of the UK’s leading academy chains, ARK Schools. He joined the academy a year before it opened and, with the Principal and senior team, led the school to its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection in November 2010. The approach to teaching and learning that he implemented at Ark has subsequently been adopted as a best practice model in other ARK network schools and beyond.
Before Ark Academy, Oli was Assistant Headteacher at St. Angela’s Ursuline School in Newham (also judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted). As a History specialist, he holds Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) status which he gained whilst working as a Head of Department in a school in Tower Hamlets. Oli is a graduate of the Future Leaders Head Teacher training programme delivered by the National College. He was elected as a parent governor in May 2016. Term of office, three years.
Emma Madden, Parent Governor
Emma is currently Head of School at Fox Primary School and has a daughter and a son at the West London Free School Primary. She has lived in West London all her life. Emma studied English Literature at Cambridge University, before completing her PGCE and Masters of Teaching at the Institute of Education. She has been the Head of School at Fox Primary, Notting Hill, for 2 years, and Deputy Head for 7 years before that. Fox has been the highest performing primary school nationally for 3 years running and is Ofsted rated Outstanding (2009). In her role, Emma delivers extensive training to qualified teachers around London and works in an advisory capacity to many schools, coordinating school-to-school support. She has particular strengths in use of school data, curriculum design, monitoring teaching and learning and staff development. She has served as Governor and Associate Governor on her own governing body for the past 10 years. Emma was elected as a parent governor in May 2016. Term of office, three years.
Sam Cockerton, Staff Governor
Sam Cockerton grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and moved to London in March 2015. He began his teaching career at a large country school in New Zealand, but soon caught the travel bug and spent some time travelling with his last stop being London. Sam was appointed as a full time PPA teacher West London Free School Primary before becoming Classroom Teacher for Handel Class. When he moved to London, Sam set himself the challenge to become further involved in the ‘behind the scenes’ organisation of the school. When the staff governor role became available, Sam considered that was a perfect opportunity to fulfill this personal goal and give that bit more to the school. He felt that his experience in political campaigns, large-scale charity events and education would allow him to confidently take on the role.
In his spare time Sam likes to meet with friends, travel and he is an avid fan of film. Term of office three years. Elected September 2015.
James Crawford, Link Governor for Core Knowledge
James did the bulk of his growing up in London, with brief stints in Pakistan and Poland. He attended independent schools before moving on to study History at Durham University and International Relations at the London School of Economics. Following this he joined the Civil Service, where he still works, to do a number of policy and project management jobs.
He is a firm believer in the benefits of a classical liberal education accompanied by a broad range of extra-curricular activities, with the combination developing confidence, independence and intellectual curiosity. From his own experience, he also thinks this combination makes going to school more enjoyable. James lives in Hammersmith with his fiancée, a stone’s throw from the Banim Street entrance to the school. Term of office, three years. Appointed January 2016.
Miranda Francis, Music Advisor
Miranda Francis has led music departments in both state and independent schools. Over the past twenty years she has taught students of a wide range of abilities, from beginners at the keyboard to classical performers at the highest level. From 2002-2013 she was Head of Academic Music at the Purcell School - a government-funded music school for pupils aged 8-18 years. She is currently an academic professor at the Royal College of Music, where she leads the aural training programme. In September 2013 Miranda will become Director of Junior Programmes at the Royal College of Music.
The Earl's Court Free School Primary’s local governing body is responsible for the quality of education at the school. The governing body is shared with that of the West London Free School Primary. While the two schools share the same site under the leadership of our Executive Headteacher, Laura Lund, this is the most effective method of providing governance for the two schools. The arrangement will be reviewed in 2017 and eventually, by the time the school moves to Earl's Court, a separate governing body will be created. The combined governing body is led by two Co-Chairs who partner and share the duties of the chair, bringing a combination of their time and skills to benefit the schools.
Governors focus on ensuring the school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction. We hold our headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school, and we oversee the financial performance of the school including ensuring that its budget is well spent.
We have eight governors on the team including parent governors from each of the two schools and a staff governor. We've recruited a governance team to bring the skills and experience that we need to perform the functions described above. As such, we have governors with experience of working in education, finance, the Local Authority and business.
Our governing body will evolve as the school grows. However, in line with both Lord Nash and Sir Michael Wilshaw’s guidance about the size of governing bodies, we intend to keep our team small to ensure it is effective.
Governors exercise their responsibilities and powers in partnership with the headteacher and staff. We do not make day to day decisions on the operational running of the school unless there are weaknesses in the school, when governors then have a duty to investigate and take action. Instead, governors focus on longer-term strategic issues and on checking that the daily operations are taking place in line with the school’s vision, aims and strategic plan.
The Co-Chairs of Governors can be contacted directly at email@example.com
Governors keep parents and staff informed of the work they do via an end of term newsletter.
Parent Governor Forums
We invite current parents and carers of children at the school to join us at a termly parent / governor forum.
Our autumn term forum was held on Tuesday 20th March and we had a full agenda which included presentations from the MAT, from the SLT and answers to your questions.
The governors and senior school leadership were then available to discuss these or any other matters one to one.
The feedback has been very positive from all who attended, which we are keen to replicate in future forums.
Thank you to all the parents and carers who attended the forum, and thank you also for the questions which we received ahead of this.
Future forums will be at 7pm on
- Tue 20th June 2017
Questions can be sent in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
The West London Free School Academy Trust
The WLFS Academy Trust is the legal entity accountable for all schools within the group, currently the West London Free School, the West London Free School Primary and the Earl's Court Free School Primary. As such, the Trust is responsible for operating all schools within the group and holds the Master Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State.
The Trust's directors have specific responsibilities for defined aspects of governance across all the schools in the group, namely, Strategic Management, Curriculum and some co-ordinated administrative functions. They set the ethos and vision for the Trust, hold the title to the land the schools are on, employ the staff and are the contracting party for services that serve more than one school in the group (catering, ICT, etc). The Trust's directors have appointed a Chief Executive Officer, who is the Accounting Officer for the Trust, a Finance Director, and a Chief Operations Officer. HR and Legal services are outsourced to an external provider.
The directors have delegated certain functions for each school to a local governing body. The Chairs of the local governing bodies are also directors of the MAT.
You can see an organogram showing how the Trust relates to the local governing bodies here and read the Terms of Reference, which set out the relationship between the Trust, the local governing bodies and the head teachers, here.