Cotham School Governors
To contact the governors please email SowersbyL@cotham.bristol.sch.uk
Chair of the Personnel & Training and Appeals 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 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 have two sons at Cotham School; One in Year 9 and my youngest in Year 7. 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 and I currently help run a junior football team for the under 14s. 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.
I have been a Parent Governor since January 2016 and have sons in Year 8 and 10, and a 4 year old. I work full time as a chartered accountant, trained with Price Waterhouse, and have held a number of senior finance and board level roles in London, Bristol and Cheltenham mainly across the retail, healthcare and marketing communications sectors. I am currently Finance Director for an electrical contractor company servicing the new house build sector and we are a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer.
Children are amazing, outstanding education and inspiring teaching is critical to support their development and individual success. Cotham is a great school and I would like to see it continue to grow and develop but retain its strong ethos, particularly given the continual changes to the structure of education as a whole. I feel that an effective parent representative should listen, communicate parents’ views in a balanced manner, and have the ability to contribute to and influence debates on decisions about the school.
Schools Co-operative Society Governor
I was a parent governor from 2006 and am now the Schools Co-operative Society (SCS) representative on the Governing body. My daughter, who was at Cotham, has now graduated from the University of Leeds where she read Human Geography. I became a Governor because I hoped that some of the educational work that I‘m involved with professionally might be of assistance to the school. Over the years I have been involved with a variety of government education initiatives including involvement in the deliberations of the Tomlinson Working Group on 14-19 Education Reform. I am a founding Trustee of ASDAN, which is a national educational charity involved in the promotion of PSHE, Citizenship & Work Related Learning, and is also a national awarding body.
Chair of Governor
I am currently the head of Bristol Hospital Education Service, having previously worked as an Assistant Head in a secondary comprehensive and as a member of a local authority behaviour support team, among other teaching and non-teaching posts. I have been a parent governor since 2009.
I have three children, all of whom have been students at Cotham. I believe that schools should provide a wide range of opportunities to help all of their students to grow into resilient and autonomous adults. From my own children's experience I know that Cotham has done this for my children over the past eleven years. I continue to enjoy using my knowledge and experience to support Cotham School’s community in the future.
Non-Teaching Staff Governor
I have worked in the education sector since leaving school, initially starting as a part-time volunteer in a primary school whilst studying ICT at college and then going on to full-time positions as an ICT technician in a secondary school in North Somerset before coming to Cotham as Network Manager in August 2011. I wanted to become a Governor to get a deeper knowledge of how the school works and what processes take place in the background to make the school run. I am on the Finance & General Purposes and Personnel and Training committees.
I have two children at Cotham Cooperative Academy – a daughter in Year 11 and a son in Year 9. After some 35 years as an IT Sales and Marketing Manager, I’m now Operations Director in a small international design business, founded by my wife and based in Cliftonwood, where we have lived for over 20 years.
I became a Parent Governor in December 2016 and for three years prior to that was a Coop Parent Rep and active member of the Cotham Cooperative Forum. As a Governor, I sit on the Learning & Wellbeing Committee, am a member of the Cooperative Working Group, and also help verify students’ Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
My aim is to contribute, in some small way at least, to making a great school (where I often meet incredibly inspiring teachers and students) even better, and to help ensure we create an environment where every student has the same opportunity to maximise their potential, both academically and socially.
Teaching Staff Governor
I am a Staff Governor, and have been working at Cotham since 2001 as Curriculum Team Leader for Science. This is my second term as a Governor. I became a Governor for two reasons: to represent the voice of all those who work in the school, and to contribute to the development of the school at a strategic level. I believe that this is a crucial time in the evolution of our school and that, if we are to continue to provide outstanding education to Bristol’s children, we must be open to new ideas and be willing to nurture new partnerships with interested groups across the city and beyond.
I became a community governor in late 2014 and sit on the Learning and Well-Being Committee and am one of the link governors for Child Protection. I am a 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 also provide training to teachers in primary and secondary school on delivering high quality, age appropriate sex and relationship education as part of the PSHE curriculum. I believe strongly that every child has the right to a well-rounded, inclusive education that not only provides them with the best learning outcomes but also enhances their confidence and self-esteem. I have two children at primary school and live locally.
Chair Finance, Property and General Purposes Committee
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. As Vice Chair as well as Chair of FP and GP 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!
Chair of the Learning and Wellbeing Committee
I have been a Parent Governor since 2011,Chair of Learning & Wellbeing Committee since 2014. I currently have 2 children at Cotham and 1 at Post 16 centre. My particular interest is in the SEN department at Cotham. My personal background is in the Creative Industry and Performing Arts.
I am a former pupil who attended the school between 1980 and 1985. In recent years I have been in involved in Youth Work and was the Projects Manager for the local charity Full Circle and also managed the Docklands Youth Centre in St Pauls. I am also involved as a Director with the Bristol Life Centre a youth mentoring organisation and the Voluntary Sector Rep for the Ashley, Easton & Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Partnership.
As a member of the Governing Body I am keen that all children attending Cotham School have the same positive experience of school life that I did and that the school continues to inspire pupils onwards to greater things as it did for me over 30 years ago.
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 have had a full and varied career in education, from classroom teacher through to school leadership and senior roles in local authorities. I was formerly leader of the Secondary School Improvement Programme in the South West. Currently, I am a retired Education Consultant, but I still retain a good understanding of what makes effective school leadership and the key characteristics of high quality teaching and learning. I am totally committed to improving the life chances of all young people. As I live in the Cotham catchment I wish to contribute my knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the local community. I am a former President and trustee of The Geographical Association and currently serve on its Early Years & Primary Committee. I have wide-ranging interests including photography and drawing, but am a geologist/geographer at heart.
I joined Cotham School as a Community Governor in May 2017 and have two children here; one in Year 8 and one in Yr. 11. I have worked in the public sector in Bristol since 1998 and have extensive experience of developing and delivering a variety of services for children and families, often working closely with schools and education networks. I have a professional background in counselling and mental health and view positive emotional health and wellbeing approaches as key to supporting the development of resilient and successful young people.
Aligned with the values of Cotham School, I believe that all children should have access to outstanding learning opportunities along with the support they need to fulfil their potential. I very much look forward to bringing my skills and expertise to the role of Community Governor, working as part of a wider team to support positive outcomes for children and young people.
Chair of the Audit Committee
All three of my children have attended Cotham. The youngest is currently in year 13. Most of my career has been spent teaching Economics in different universities. I have supervised undergraduate teaching at Faculty level at Bristol University. I currently teach Economics part time there.
I was first elected parent governor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. I am currently the chair of the Audit Committee. I also sit on the Learning and Well-Being Committee and the Governors’ Working Group on the Academy Co-op. I am deeply committed to Cotham developing as a co-operative academy. This will provide the best framework to achieve the highest levels of attainment for all students.
Parent Community Governor
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.