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William Patten Primary School
Stoke Newington Church Street
London N16 0NX

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020 7254 4014

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Welcome to the Governors’ section of the William Patten website.

This section explains what the Governing Body does, and how we work with the School to monitor and guide its efforts to raise the achievement of all the School’s pupils. It also sets out how we use the School’s resources effectively to ensure that we meet the needs of pupils and staff.

The role of governors, drawn from parents, staff and our community, is to be a ‘critical friend’ to the school and each governor plays an active part by sitting on at least one of the two committees as well as the Governing Body itself.  We provide support and encouragement to the school whilst continuing to identify and pursue areas where improvements may be needed.  We are also hugely fortunate to able to witness at first-hand and celebrate, the remarkable achievements of our fantastic pupils and dedicated teaching staff.

In 2021 – 2022 there is a new layout to Governing Body meetings with three meetings in the Autumn term and two in each of the following two terms. The focus of the Governing Body meetings will alternate between Resources and Achievement, with a ‘setting the scene’ meeting taking place in September.

If you wish to contact the governors, please leave a note in the school office, seek us out in the playground or contact us via the office email address.  Your message will be passed on to me.

Carol Lees
Chair of Governors

Karen Law

After gaining my degree, I worked in a large primary school in Liverpool, teaching across KS1. I moved to London and taught in a school in Islington, where I was also the Maths subject leader. I then moved to Hackney and came to William Patten as the Deputy Headteacher a long time ago! My experience in diverse inner city schools has helped me understand the challenges facing many children and their families.
As a Headteacher, every day is different and I am highly motivated through a fundamental belief in the value of a good all-round education and its power to bring about social mobility and enable all children to achieve their full potential. Together with the staff team, I am committed to ensuring that children develop into confident, active and thoughtful young people, who leave William Patten well prepared for education and life beyond primary school. This can only be achieved by ensuring all children have the skills they need for success inside and outside school and the values and attitudes, which contribute to achievement inside and outside school
I feel very privileged to be the Headteacher of William Patten. The school community is quite unique and I know how lucky I am to work with such a committed and enthusiastic staff team, super children and supportive parents and governors.

Sian Davies

Since starting at William Patten in 2003 I have been: KS2 class teacher, subject lead, Assistant Headteacher, Inclusion Manager and Deputy Headteacher. I am fully comitted to every aspect of the school and its diverse, creative, talented and caring community. Having lived in Stoke Newington since 1994 with my son, who attended William Patten and local secondary schools, I am also involved in the local community – and the richness, diversity, creativity and opportunities it brings.

Julian Winship

Julian has worked as a barrister within the criminal justice system, defending and prosecuting cases in London and further afield for more than 20 years.
He was brought up in North London and has lived in Stoke Newington since 1997. He has 2 children, both now at Stoke Newington School, and he has been a governor at William Patten for 7 years, having been appointed as a parent governor and then, since 2012, the Chair of the Governing Body.
‘Everybody who is involved with the school is proud of its broad curriculum, its achievements and the positive learning environment that is at its heart. I feel privileged to have been involved closely with the school and seen the dedication of the children, staff and parents first hand. Our challenge as governors is to keep pushing for improvement, to remain critical friends to the school and, crucially now, to help maintain the school’s hard fought for ethos in a time of budget cuts and uncertainty.’

 

Suzanne Barry

I have been a resident of Hackney for twenty-five years and have a long and happy association with William Patten Primary School. My involvement with the school started as a parent with both my children attending and really enjoying their time at the school. As a staff member I was Achievement Coordinator for nine years with responsibility for raising the attainment of more able pupils through the Education Action Zone funding, in Literacy, Mathematics, Philosophy and Thinking Skills. In 2005 I joined the Governing Body as a Staff Governor and from 2009 I have served as a Community Governor. I am currently a member of the Achievement Committee and the Resources Committee.
Before graduating in Adelaide, Australia with a BEd (Hons) I was a primary school secretary and bursar and then a research assistant for an Australian Federal politician.   After graduating I spent three years teaching in Aberdeen, which included a short stint in a school for children with special needs. From 1995, I taught in London and from 2000 have taught exclusively in the Borough of Hackney, when I began teaching at William Patten. I am currently teaching at Queensbridge Primary School with responsibility for raising the achievement of able and ‘disadvantaged able’ children. I am a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) for the Gifted and Talented with the Future Stars Teaching School Alliance, which is part of the National College for Teaching and Leadership. I have been involved in successful, outstanding OFSTED Inspections.
William Patten is a unique primary school, one with which I am proud to be involved. I am committed to supporting the management and all staff in their endeavours to improve and maintain teaching and learning opportunities for all in this happy, vibrant, inclusive, outstanding school.

Gail Atkinson

I have been a governor at William Patten School for nearly 20 years, starting as a parent governor and then becoming a community governor. During this period I was Chair of Governors for 8 years. I am a member of the Resources Committee, previously known as the Premises Committee, and have seen a lot of changes in the school through my time on the committee – from clearing out the pigeon filled roof space to make the amazing library and art & music spaces to the replacement of the windows in the whole school (which were so rotten that you could poke your finger right through to the outside!). The school is a much nicer place now than in the 80’s!
I have lived in Stoke Newington since 1987 and both of my children attended William Patten School. When I first moved to the area I used to walk past the school and think “that’s the school I want my children to go to” – five years before my first one was born! I knew there was something special about the school and the community here. My eldest son now works as a Teaching Assistant at William Patten so you might say the school is in our bones! I am very grateful for everything that William Patten has taught me about being part of a community, supporting each other and working together to make a vibrant, creative and energetic community.
I work as a teacher, teaching Art and Photography at the local secondary school, so many of our Y7 students come from William Patten and it is good to be able to share an understanding of where they have come from.
I feel privileged to serve as a Governor at William Patten and I look forward to the next 20 years!

Carol Lees

I am an architect who has spent much of my professional career involved with the design and delivery of education buildings. Specifically I have worked with schools in both old and new buildings to ensure they are spending money wisely and getting the best out of their estate. I am also a Board Member of the Lion Education Trust, which is a multi-academy trust of five schools based in Waltham Forest.
I feel education is everybody’s responsibility and should be accessible to all to the best of our ability. This is especially true in these financially constrained times where schools are under increasing pressure to provide outstanding education within limited budgets.
I was thrilled to become a parent governor at William Patten in December 2016. I was keen to get involved to utilise my experiences both in my professional life, but also as a mum to my two young sons. I feel privileged to be working alongside Karen and the William Patten staff and children to help support what I believe to be a truly unique and fantastic school.

Paula Biswas

I have lived in Stoke Newington since the mid 90s and have had a long relationship with William Patten. My youngest daughter recently left to transfer to secondary school and my eldest was a student there from 2000 to 2007. I was co-chair of the PTFA for two years. I have seen many changes in the demographic of the area, the education system and the way that schools are funded. William Patten is at the heart of the community it serves; it has preserved its character and ethos and continues to provide a warm, nurturing environment and bags of school spirit.
As a programme and project manager for a large global IT consultancy (CGI) I believe that I have a lot of relevant skills and experience which will enable me to support and guide the school as it is challenged to maintain and improve standards whilst funding diminishes. In addition as a British Indian I feel that I can offer some perspective on understanding and being sensitive to the needs of the different cultures that make up the school community.
I am delighted to have been selected as a school governor and look forward to deepening my involvement with the school; supporting the wonderful work it does and giving something back to an institution that has given the children and parents of Stoke Newington so much.

Donagh Collins

As a governor at the school, Donagh is passionate about supporting the management team as they face an ever-changing environment, dealing with budget pressures and the realities of air pollution in London. He will support the hardworking teaching staff as they continue to do an excellent job for their pupils. He will also continue to advocate for the children’s access to a rich variety of arts and culture.
Donagh is Chief Executive of a leading Arts Management company, Askonas Holt, which specialises in the field of classical music. A local resident, Donagh Collins has two daughters attending William Patten.

Alex Shepherd

I am a new Parent Governor at William Patten School. I have twins in Year 3 and a third in Year 1. I have lived in London for over twenty five years, Stoke Newington for the last five. There are a number of reasons I was keen to take up this position. The school has had such a positive impact on my children, I would like to both learn more about and contribute to that environment. I am particularly interested to see how the school balances the delivery of specific outcomes with the need to give the children space to be themselves. I am also motivated by the setting of the school in the local community. Our family hugely enjoys Hackney and Stoke Newington; the school is a big part of that community and its welfare has an impact on the whole neighbourhood. In terms of my professional experience I have been working in financial services for over twenty years, I hold undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of London and further professional qualifications. I am passionate about this role and look forward to contributing to William Patten for the sake of the school, the pupils and the wider community.

Helen McNulty

My background in education is wide-ranging; I started my career in further and adult education including prison education and adult literacy and numeracy.  After which I worked in social care and employment support for adults with learning difficulties and provided career counselling for immigrants.  I returned to education working with secondary aged excluded pupils in a pupil referral setting.  I was then fortunate to move into 14-19 education and became the 14-19 co-ordinator for Hackney leading on education partnerships and post 16 education for the borough.  Finally, at Hackney I led the additional needs service, providing the strategic direction for pupils with SEND in the borough, leading all the teams related to SEND and was responsible for the High Needs Block funding for the borough.  After having children, I wanted to work part time and was very happy to move back into school improvement with a focus on SEND which I now do at another local authority, the school improvement service for the local authority.  I am responsible for the Special Schools and for pupils with SEND in the mainstream schools, by providing support and challenge to the schools and undertaking school reviews or facilitating peer to peer support and challenge.  I am passionate about the education of the pupils who have learning profiles that gets us thinking, personalising and differentiating – by getting it right for these pupils we can get it right for all!

I am conscious that we should all be aiming for increased diversity in governance throughout London especially, whilst I am a white woman I am a lesbian and hence my experience as a parent and the experience of my children at school can be different from the majority at times.  I don’t know the statistics, but it may be a true assumption that William Patten has a greater proportion of same sex parents than the average, hence my presence on the governing body could be regarded as representative of this school’s population.  In addition, we lived in Jamaica in my teen years, my father lives there and half my family are black Jamaican and I am very keenly aware of the work we need to do to ensure all people are able to fulfil their potential in life.

I want to contribute to all parents’ ability to feel positive and confident about their child’s experience in the school.

Nandi Simpson

I am a parent of a child in KS2. My professional background is in scientific research and for the past ten years, I have held leadership positions facilitating and enabling the development and implementation of research strategy in the NHS and Higher Education sector. My current role is leading the implementation of a strategy for women and children’s health across two large teaching hospitals, in association with King’s College London. I understand that school governors play a strategic role and would bring expertise in strategy development, as well as experience in analysis and evaluation. In my professional role, I routinely read and contextualise policy documents, and am a confident communicator. I am also adept at navigating challenging conversations including across organisational boundaries, and although I don’t have a finance background, I have overseen the financial planning and performance monitoring of multi-million pound programmes and so, have an understanding of good financial management.

I have held a number of voluntary positions, including as a charity trustee, various roles in our local tenants and residents’ association, and several more ‘boots-on-the-ground’ voluntary roles. I enjoy working with committees to identify and advance objectives and I am keen to get a better understanding of how the school operates and have a role in shaping its future direction. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the strengths of our school and has revealed some of the challenges that we face as a community. I believe the school plays a huge role in supporting the well-being of its children and families, as well as the children’s education, and this seems to me to be an exciting time to be involved as a member of the School Governing body.