Welcome From the Chair of Governors

I am proud to chair the local governing body for Ashfield School, and have been a governor here since 2018. Ashfield is an ambitious and exciting school which equips our young people with an enriching education to prepare them for the world today, build their confidence and to help them make a positive impact. Our school represents the contemporary face of Ashfield and our local community. We value curiosity, tolerance, compassion and hard work – principles which our staff and students demonstrate every day.

Mr Maher and his team have achieved remarkable successes in recent years and the local governing body works closely with the school’s senior leadership to make sure our students get the very best quality of education regardless of their background or their means. We are proud of the school’s focus and successes on behaviour, respect and in supporting and encouraging students with particular educational needs.

As an academy, we also recognise our responsibilities as employers and seek to improve the working environment and support all our teaching and support staff. The facilities at the school are second to none and we are proud of our record as governors in ensuring the learning environment is continually improving for the benefit of staff and students at the school.

As governors we implement robust scrutiny and challenge to build on the school’s successes and ensure we learn from challenges. We work with the academy trust to give clear direction for the development of the school and to provide a strong framework of local accountability. The governing body is made up of people with a range of experience and expertise in business, public service and local community organisations as well as staff governors who represent the teaching and support staff of the school. As a governing body, we are proud to serve the school and to represent the interests of students and their families.

Alex Pope

Chair of Governors

Governor Pen Portraits

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Alex Pope

Alex has been a co-opted governor at Ashfield School since 2019 and has been the Chair of Governors since May 2022. He has lived locally for over ten years and has two children in a local feeder primary school. Alex is a Chartered Engineer with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Sheffield and an MBA from Manchester Business school. He works for a large multi-national engineering consultancy, leading a diverse team of Midlands-based engineers and technicians in the highways and transportation sector. With graduate experience working in the rail engineering (permanent way) sector, Alex’s current projects are highway-based and include a leading role in the design team who delivered the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme. As co-opted governor, Alex brings best practice and lessons from the contemporary professional services sector, as well as direct experience of people management including development, training, reward and recruitment.

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Shaun Pollard

Shaun has been a Governor at Ashfield School since 2008 and has previously served as a Governor at 2 local Primary Schools since 1997 until recently. He is a registered Social Worker with over 30 years experience in frontline and Management Children’s Safeguarding. He has also been a Foster Carer since 1999. Concerned about the education of Children in Care Shaun began tutoring his foster children after work and after several years decided to become formally qualified as a Teacher PGCE, QTLS. In 2013 he started a provision for Children in Care which has grown to become Pollyteach (now part of the Portland Charity Group). He is currently Assistant Principal at Portland College, Director and Designated Safeguarding Officer for Pollyteach and continues to teach STEM subjects (especially physics and astronomy). He is currently the Safeguarding Governor at Ashfield School.

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Robert Gonouya

Robert has lived in Sutton in Ashfield for the past 6 years and brings substantive experience at both strategic and operational levels, mainly in the third sector. With over 15 years of combined project management experience, overseeing community-based interventions relating to youth skills development, social inclusion, increased youth labour participation, volunteering, health and wellbeing, Robert is passionate about ensuring that Ashfield school and its governance excel, benefiting in part from contributions drawn from his professional background.

Also, Robert brings notable evaluation and impact management experience and critical analysis skills to the team. In both his previous governorship experience at West Park Academy and current role at Ashfield school, Robert’s efforts in leadership roles, such as being link governor on Pupil Premium Spending /Impact and Science, have been informed by his research and teaching backgrounds. He holds a BSc (Hons) International Studies, MSc NGO & Development Management and is PhD candidate in Management (University of Leicester’s Business School), where his research is focused on social prescribing and young people’s transitions into employment.

Robert currently works as a consultant for social impact consultancy company, which operates in the UK, USA and international development arena, supporting clients to improve both individual and organisational performance, by effectively planning for, measuring, evaluating and sustainably growing the impact of their work. He is also a Trustee of Arena Community, a charity working across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, supporting people with challenging lives, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, the homeless, isolated and families who are not food secure.

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Stefan Guy

Stefan is a former Ashfield School pupil, having completed GCSEs and A-levels here, and now has two daughters attending the school.   He is a chartered accountant by training, and in addition to leading commercial finance teams has had experience of leadership of strategy, marketing, operations, debt and transformation teams.   He has spent the last 15 years working for a leading energy supplier, with previous sector experience across financial services, telecommunications and retail.

He hopes that his commercial, strategic and operational experiences in running large businesses will be help to the school in his role as governor.  He firmly believes that a high quality education is critical in improving the opportunities of the young people of Ashfield and hopes to play a role helping the school continuing to improve standards and educational outcomes.

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William Hutchings

Will is a former Ashfield School pupil, having attended from 1997-2002, He is very well known to be proud of having being in Hargreaves house!

Will currently works at a School on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border currently as a cover supervisor but also, teaching a number of lessons in business studies and computing. He is also a Duke of Edinburgh award verifier.

Will’s background is in business management, in particular hospitality management having run his own pubs/bars over the years, from village pubs to town and city centre sites. A very hard but rewarding career.

Just before the pandemic hit, Will decided it was time to try something new – perfect timing some would say!

Recently Will has undertaken the designated safeguarding lead for schools and colleges training with the NSPCC and has just become a qualified Youth Mental Health First Aider with MHFA England.

At his first governors meeting at Ashfield School, Will was pleased to be appointed the link governor for Vocational studies and is looking forward very much to being ‘Back at Ashfield’.

Nicola Middleton

Nicola Middleton

Nicola has been a Parent Governor at Ashfield school since 2021. Her governing experience comes from 9 years as a Governor at Mapplewells Primary & Nursery School; as a ‘Parent Governor’ for 7 years and ‘Chair of Governors’ for 2 years.
Nicola lives locally and has 2 children attending Ashfield School.
Nicola has been a Civil Servant for 21 years, and her current role is a Senior Project Manager.

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James Pearce

James joined Ashfield’s governing body in 2021. In 2019 James successfully completed the Rolls-Royce Project Management higher apprenticeship. After 6 years at Rolls-Royce, in 2023 James moved into Management Consulting – predominantly in the IT Portfolio Management and Change Delivery space.

With recent education experience, James sought an opportunity to contribute in Education – focusing on the importance of early careers pathways. James is aligned as the link governor for Employability and Post-16 in addition to supporting the governing body with aspects of strategic direction; continuous improvement and overseeing Ashfield’s drive to sustaining an environment that enables students to be at their best.

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Holly Pickering

Holly is a newly co-opted governor joining our governing body this academic year. Her background comes with a degree in History and a Post Graduate qualification.

Her career is a diverse mix of project management and running events, covering areas such as performing to a business management plan and meeting sales targets through to direct facing customer sales.

She has worked in the education sector since 2011, managing projects for a local authority in areas of newly qualified teachers and outdoor education, to more recently marketing and growing a sustainable academy.

Holly has an interest in a school holding civic responsibility, being part of a community and in turn the community’s impact on developing and growing responsible students.

She brings experience of curriculum development and analysing data to ensure it is robust and transparent.

Holly lives locally with her family of two children. She has a keen interest to ensure that the vision and ethos of Ashfield School does deliver high standards for all leaners.

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Linda Maguire

Linda has been a Modern Foreign Languages Teacher at Ashfield School for 14 years and enjoys the opportunity to shape decisions about the school as part of the governing body. For the last 5 years, she has been an Achievement Leader and is now enjoying her role as Head of Post 16.

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Kerry Barnes

Kerry has been the Children in Care Welfare Officer at Ashfield school for the last 8 years, she was clerk to the governors for a 2 year period before becoming a staff governor at Ashfield in 2022. Kerry has previous experience of being a member of a governing body as a parent and community governor both at primary and secondary stages. Kerry is also the school linked governor for LGBTQ+ and Anti-Bullying.