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Cotham School

Cotham School Governors

To contact the governors please email


Dora Alderson

Governor Appointed by Members - Term of office 18 December 2021 to 17 December 2025

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 Member Appointed 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. 


Emma Smith

Co-opted Governor - Term of office 26 November 2020 to 25 November 2024

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.



Isabel Tobias

Governor Appointed by Members - Term of office 12 December 2020 to 11 December 2024

Chair of Personnel and Training Committee

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.



Jack Barber

Co-opted Governor - Term of office  8 December 2022 to 7 December 2026

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.


Jo Butler





Lucy Hunt

Governor Appointed by Members - Term of office 14 December 2021 to 13 December 2025

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.


Peter Huckle

Governor Appointed by Members - Term of office 6 May 2021 to 5 May 2025

Chair of Learning and Wellbeing Committee and Co-Vice Chair of Governors

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.


Rebecca Reid

Parent Governor - Term of office 30 January 2020 to 30 January 2024

Chair of Finance, Premises and General Purposes Committee, Co-Vice Chair of Governors

I’m a Parent Governor, joining Cotham Governors in 2020, bringing a background of working in project management and business improvement in the public sector. I have a son at Cotham, who is just about to start his GCSE courses and I feel very privileged to be able to support Cotham in continuing to give our children the opportunities to thrive at school and become active members of our wider community



Parent Governor - Term of office 30 January 2020 to 30 January 2024

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.




Sandra Fryer

Co-opted Governor - Term of office 4 October 2021 to 3 October 2025

Chair of Governors





Ian Spencer

Co-opted Governor - Term of office 21 March 2022 to 20 March 2026

My background is in the private sector where I have significant experience in Project management and positively influencing stakeholders. I’m seen as a strategic expert who excels’ at analysing business ideas from a financial perspective and providing business insights and decision support to create value. A collaborative communicator continually focused on building relationships. I have two teenage children of my own and believe passionately in children having the opportunities that enable them to fulfil their potential.


Sophie Hamilton

Parent Governor - Term of office 23 March 2022 to 22 March 2026

I grew up just outside Bristol and have lived locally since attending Bristol University. I have a daughter at Cotham in Year 10. I know my daughter and her friends are very proud of being at Cotham. I hope as a Parent Governor to support the school in accessing opportunities and creating facilities for all pupils, equal to those of their peers at neighbouring state and private schools. I am a Senior Associate solicitor with over 20 years’ experience, specialising in Claimant Injury claims litigation, so have a particular interest in Health & Safety legislation. I also sit on my firm’s Race Equality panel.


Jared Rufus

Co-opted Governor - Term of office 8 December 2022 to 7 December 2026

I started working Cotham in 2021 as a science technician, but before that I was a software developer in the financial sector. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today with out the caring teachers and tutors I had growing up. Since arriving at Cotham I've seen how much everybody cares about the students, and I want to be support and encourage the student focused education that I've seen in every aspect of life at the school since starting here.


Graham Nutbrown

Co-opted Governor -Term of office 24 October 2022 to 23 October 2026

My two sons attended Cotham and were happily involved with musical performances at the time. My background is as an English teacher in comprehensive schools and as a lecturer in the University of Bath, where I was Director of Studies for the BA. (Hons) Education with Psychology programme. I have a PhD in Philosophy of Education. I am especially interested in teaching and learning and in personnel and training issues. I have previously been a governor at two other Bristol secondary schools, so I know that governors have a significant role to play in monitoring fairness and the quality of education for all students.


Ruth Thomas 

Parent Governor - Term of office 27 February 2024 to 26 February 2028 

I have recently become a Parent Governor (2024) and have a daughter in Year 7. I have worked as a senior manager for the NHS locally for over twenty years, most recently leading multi-agency partnership working across the NHS, Local Authority and Voluntary and Community sectors, working to improve population health and address health inequalities. I have an interest in how we best ensure good mental health and wellbeing of our staff and pupils, and in how the school culture supports children to develop into happy, well-adjusted adults. I hope my skills and experience can contribute to the school being the best it can be against a backdrop of increasing challenge and complexity.





Jenny Campion-Smith

Parent Governor - Term of office 29 February 2024 to 28 February 2028

I have recently been appointed as a parent governor.  I am married with two football mad boys with my eldest recently starting Cotham.  I am a qualified chartered accountant and qualified project manager with the majority of my career being undertaken in a major UK Bank.  I am passionate about children’s education and the opportunity  it provides and understand the important of not just delivering the curriculum but creating the right environment and community in which to learn.  In my spare time you can find me at the side of various football pitches across Bristol, usually with some wool and a crochet hook!