Freeland CE Primary School

'Great things come from small beginnings: 'Branch out, Fly High'

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Welcome to our school characterised by the Christian Values of Honesty, Forgiveness, Compassion and Love

'Great things come from small beginnings: 'Branch out, Fly High'

Meet the Governors

Freeland School Governing Body 

Toby O'Neil, Chair of Governors, Parent Governor

I became a parent governor shortly after my daughter started at Freeland in autumn 2014. I am currently the Chair of the Performance and Standards subcommittee at the school and Vice-chair of the full governing body.

Shortly before taking up my role as governor, I had finished a four year term as Head of the Mathematics and Statistics Department at the Open University and returned to my substantive post as a Senior Lecturer in Analysis there. I am a pure mathematician and have a particular interest in problems that involve the geometry of fractals (highly irregular objects that have detail at all scales). This background has barely prepared me for dealing with the rapidly changing nature of government education policy and the challenges it presents to those who have to follow and implement it...

Sarah Nickelson, Headteacher

I have been the Head Teacher at Freeland School since April 2016.  I am very proud of our school community and enjoy working with the children, parents, staff, governors and local community to give the children at this school the best start to their education.  

Gemma Peace, Clerk


Caroline Taylor, Director Appointed Governor.
I have been a governor of Freeland Primary School for several years and am chair of the Resources Committee. I have very much enjoyed seeing the school grow and develop over my time here, particularly  the increasing involvement of governors in the school community.
I am an artist and designer, have lived in Freeland for nearly 20 years and am involved in many village groups, including running Freeland Art Club.
I have a husband, 2 sons, a dog and 3 cats!

Matthew Coolin, Vice-Chair of Governors & Director-Appointed Governor

I have lived in the area since 2014 and have two children, the eldest of whom attends the school. I joined the governing body in September 2019 and was elected Vice-Chair in September 2020. I also chair the Performance and Standards Committee, which is concerned with matters of curriculum and assessment at the school. I have worked as a secondary-school English teacher for eleven years and am currently Head of English at Abingdon School, so it's interesting to apply my skills and knowledge to a primary setting, particularly in my role as Science Link Governor! More generally, it's a real pleasure to support the fantastic work of the school alongside such a talented group of people.

Jane Lench, Staff Governor

I have been a teaching assistant at school since 2004 and have experience of working in all of the year groups; I currently work in Year 2.

I moved to Freeland in 1999 and have two grown up daughters, both of whom attended Freeland and Bartholomew Schools.

Alice Harden, Foundation Governor

We have been Freeland residents since 2014 and our family has since grown to include 2 children, one of whom is now old enough to attend Freeland School. We love being part of a village with such an active, welcoming and generous community. I am now serving a second four-year term as governor at Freeland school having joined the board in January 2015.

I enjoy being able to support and challenge the school on many aspects of school life so that it improves for pupils and staff. I love to see and hear first-hand the passion the teachers have to develop the character and raise the achievements of their pupils.

As a foundation governor I share particular responsibilities with Janet Faulkner for the Christian nature of the school; and am link governor for foundation stage. I am also currently the clerk for the performance and standards committee. Our family are part of the church congregation that meets at Hanborough Manor School.

Janet Faulkner, Foundation Governor

Since moving to Freeland in 2015 I have enjoyed becoming involved in the community through the Church, village activities and Freeland School. In my spare time I enjoy reading, walking, music and craft activities and particularly spending time with our children and grandchildren.

My career has been spent teaching in Primary schools; I specialised in Special Needs, with a particular focus on Dyslexia.

As a retired teacher, it is a privilege to use my experience and continue my interest in education as a Foundation Governor with Freeland School.

Nick Dawson, Parent Governor

I became a parent governor in December 2019 a few months after my oldest daughter joined Reception. I have been working in education for some years now and am currently the Deputy Head at Oxford High Preparatory School. I am delighted to be part of the governing body at Freeland and I hope I can contribute to the high standards of the school and be supportive to the dedicated staff. I have three children, the second of whom attends the pre-school and a son who I am sure will follow in their footsteps. 


Business Interests

Charity trustees' and members' names