Cotham School Governors
To contact the governors please email SowersbyL@cotham.bristol.sch.uk
I have 3 children and when I joined the board of governors in 2020 the eldest was in Year 10 while the youngest was in line to begin in Year 7. My professional background is in non-profit management, with strong links to education. I currently work for the British Council which is concerned with creating international opportunities in education and culture, having worked for them both abroad and in the UK. I’m a strong believer in the benefits to young people of understanding different cultures, and in being open to new challenges and experiences in education outside the formal curriculum.
Chair of Governors from 2012 to 2014. I am a retired education consultant who worked for Bristol LA for five years before joining the Governing Body at Cotham in 2001. I am a qualified public sector accountant with a long-standing interest in the funding of schools and I am a governor member representing Academies of Bristol Schools Forum, the body which agrees the local funding formula for schools and Academies. I am a member of the Academies, Colleges and Universities Panel of CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) for whom I wrote Effective Governance and Financial Management in Academies in 2011. I am Chair of Bristol Labour Party and a member of its education policy group. I am active in over 60s’ cricket in Somerset and I am a referee assessor for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in the South West.
Chair of Personnel and Training Committee
I have been a governor since the early 1990s, when I was a Parent governor and member of the COMPAS parent support group for music, drama and dance. I am now a Community governor and, as former Chair of the Personnel & Training Committee, I have contributed to the strategic decisions of the Governing Body on Human Resources issues. I have many years’ experience of teaching geography and politics at secondary level here in Bristol and have a keen interest in current issues of teaching and learning, which I bring to the Learning and Wellbeing Committee. I am concerned to support the school in developing pathways to success for all students, whatever their abilities and interests.
I am a single parent of two children at the Post 16 Centre and another still at primary school. I live locally and am a Chartered Certified Accountant, so my background is in audit and accountancy, financial reporting, budgeting, cashflow and people management. I have worked as a Senior Manager for a bank for fifteen years but I have also been a school bursar and a management accountant. In all of my jobs I have always been involved with charity fundraising by organising large social events. In my spare time I sing in a choir, which I set up ten years ago, write scripts and act on stage.
Fatima Mohamed Ali
I am a recently retired headteacher living in the Redland area, and thus I am very aware of the school’s strong profile and the positive impact it has on so many young people’s lives. I am privileged to now be a part of the governing body that oversees and supports Cotham’s Principal and her staff to this end.
As a teacher of many years, I bring extensive professional experience of working with young people and understanding their developmental, academic and mental health needs. As a recent head I also bring a deep understanding of the pressures on teachers and headteachers and commitment to providing the best possible educational experience to students; active experience of the scrutiny and compliance needed in all areas of education, and of HR processes in making appointments and managing staff at all levels. I bring experience of strategic planning and management and of implementing change, and overseeing seeing many new capital projects.
I started at Cotham in 2016 as a science teacher, and have quickly got involved with every aspect of school life, running clubs, trips, been Head of House and worked to help keep this school a fun and enjoyable place for staff and students alike. To keep this going and hopefully help more I was elected as one of three staff governors.
I am not afraid to speak my mind and want to help ensure the best outcomes for all staff and students.
I love this school and want to help its development in any way I can. A colleague here said to me ‘as soon as you understand why a decision has been made, it makes it easy to support’ and I believe I can make this happen.
I have worked at a number of schools across the country and have never been in a school that is as student focused as this one.
Co-Chair of the Learning & Wellbeing Committee
I have two sons at Cotham School. I joined Cotham as a Parent Governor in November 2018. I am a solicitor working in Child Care law dealing with children in need, child protection and children in care for North Somerset Council.
Chair of Finance, Premises and General Purposes Committee
I have two sons at Cotham School; One in Year 13 and my youngest in Year 11. I joined Cotham as a Parent Governor in March 2016. I am a chartered surveyor and work in the areas of project and risk management and financial control within the construction Industry. I am community focussed and have in the past worked within the management committee of a primary school after school club.. I believe that all children should be given the best opportunities and support possible to reach their potential and that their experience at school should be challenging, interesting, rewarding but fun.
Co-Vice Chair of Governors, Chair of the Appointments & Standards Committee
and Co-Chair of the Learning & Wellbeing Committee
I have been a governor at Cotham since late 2014. I am a Gender and Social Development Consultant, working predominantly in Africa, supporting programmes addressing the rights of girls and women, increasing girls’ empowerment through education, life skills and sexual and reproductive health as well as various aspects of child protection. I have 2 children one of whom is currently at Cotham.
Co-Vice Chair of Governors
I joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in 2018 and am Link Governor for Health and Safety. I am a project manager and producer with a wealth of experience specialising in education projects, creative workshops, conferences and large-scale performance events. I have worked for a wide range of arts organisations, festivals and educational establishments and have played an integral role in launching, coordinating and developing arts programmes locally, nationally and internationally. My experience encompasses all aspects of arts project management from fundraising, developing ideas, recruitment, PR and marketing, budgeting and financial planning to evaluation and review. I am currently the Engagement Director at Bristol Old Vic and leading on their learning, heritage and community strands.
Local Authority Governor
I am a Bristolian with over 42 years experience of teaching in the city. I had the good fortune to work with young people from 4-18, having been a Senior School Deputy Head and ending my career as the Head of a large local Infant and Junior School. As a senior leader, and as the governor of a local primary school, I have experienced governance from both sides of the table. I am passionate about education and committed to the benefits of lifelong learning, and engage in regular training with Bristol’s Governor Development Service. Following my father, who was proud to play in Cotham School teams alongside Arthur Milton in the 1940s, I also have a great passion for sport. I had a long career officiating in the world of professional rugby union, working in the Premiership, in Europe and at International matches and am now coaching elite Assistant Referees. I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in helping to shape an exciting future for Cotham School and hope to provide significant service and support to the school community.
Pippa Gibbs Joubert
I have recently joined Cotham’s governing body as a parent governor. A few years ago I was Chair of Governors at one of Cotham’s feeder primary schools and found that experience worthwhile as well as challenging. Seeing my daughters grow up and benefit from their education at Cotham has inspired me to look again at what I could contribute to the school. My background is as a consultant in the IT industry, defining and developing complex systems for banks, utilities and retailers in many different countries and cultures. It is good now to be working back in Bristol, as a CIO in government, with the opportunity to put my skills in project management, governance, finance and strategy to more local use.
Chair of Governors
I joined Cotham Governors when my children came to the sixth form, some ten years ago, and as a family, we were hugely impressed with the school and I felt I wanted to contribute my skills and expertise to the Governing body. I bring to the school my planning, regeneration and economic development experience, built on years of public service as a planning director and more recently as a consultant to local authorities. As Chair of the Finance, Property and General Purposes Committee I have led the negotiations around the BSF Project and continue to have an overview of the property needs of our growing school and the future plans for Stoke Lodge Playing Fields. I also contributed to the work Governors undertook in becoming an Academy, ensuring our governance, financial and property arrangements were sound. I am pleased to be part of the continuing success of our school, not least of all to support the very sound financial management systems we have in place to underpin our school business and to provide the critical friend role to the school. With changing funding regimes ahead this is not always an easy task!