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Meet the Governors

Freeland School Governing Body 

Matthew Coolin, Director Appointed Governor. 

I have lived in West Oxfordshire since 2014 and have two children, one of whom attends the school. I joined the governing body in September 2019, becoming Vice-Chair and Chair of the Performance and Standards Committee in July 2020 and Chair of Governors in July 2021. I have now handed this role over to Sophie Dawes but remain a Director Appointed governor. I am the governor for the Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) and Whistleblowing, as well as being the link governor for English and Science curriculum areas.  Away from Freeland, I have worked in secondary education since 2008 and am currently Head of English at Abingdon School.

Sophie Dawes, Chair of Governors

I have lived in Oxfordshire for 12 years and joined the governing body in 2020 as a Parent Governor. I became Vice-Chair in 2021 and Chair of Governors in 2022. With 20 years of experience in Education, I am passionate about improving opportunities for young people. I enjoy being a governor because is exciting to hear about the strategic plans for the school and to see those plans come into being. As well as being Chair of Governors, I am Well-being Governor and link governor for Maths and MFL. I also clerk for the Resources Committee.

In my spare time I play hockey, I knit and crochet and, I am a passionate rugby supporter.

Penny McCarthy, Headteacher

I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Freeland School for the last five years and more recently in my role as Headteacher.  Teaching was something that I wanted to do from being a very small child and after qualifying nearly 30 years ago I taught in schools in London before moving to Oxfordshire in 2001.  I taught in Oxford City before coming to Freeland School.  My role is exciting because it is different everyday.  Our dedicated and dynamic team are a pleasure to lead and I look enjoy working with staff, governors and the wider community to continue developing the school over the coming years.

Outside of school, I love spending time with family and friends, open water swimming and walking my sausage dog called Alfie as well as singing in a choir.



Don Nash, Clerk

Mr J Lambert, Staff Governor

I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Freeland School for the last five years and  took on the role of  Deputy Headteacher in September 2022.  I taught in Exeter before coming to Freeland School. My role is exciting because I get to help the school be the best it can be. I love working with the staff and supporting all the children in the school. Outside of school, I love spending time with family and friends, walking my dog called Winnie and watching my favourite football team Tottenham Hotspurs.






Ryan Stewart, Director-Appointed Governor

I have lived in Oxfordshire for the majority of my life, only recently moving to South Buckinghamshire. My family live local to Freeland School and I return regularly to see them.

For the past five years, I have been Head of Pre-Prep at The Beacon School and from September 2022 I will be moving to St Martins Preparatory School in Northwood. It is an all-boys school for ages 3 to 13 years old. 

I am a Director-Appointed Governor and I look forward to being part of the Freeland community.

Faith Hanks, Director-Appointed Governor

I grew up in a small village in West Oxfordshire and moved to Witney almost two years ago, so I have always been connected to the area. I am a new Director-Appointed Governor at Freeland School, having joined the Governing Body in April 2022, and I am incredibly passionate about education and its ability to transform lives.

In my day-to-day role, I am a governance professional for a large group of further education colleges across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey. I closely support our Governing Board and Executive Team, acting as Clerk to our Committees. I have worked in governance for over three years and prior to this I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BA in History and French.

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.

Vicky Mann, Parent Governor

I moved to West Oxfordshire in 2015 and feel very fortunate to raise my family in such a warm and welcoming community.  My two eldest children attend Freeland School and my youngest is due to join the pre-school in the not-too-distant future.

I am new to the Governing Body, having joined as a Parent Governor in October 2021.

I have worked in a range of commercial, not-for-profit and public sector settings, including both primary and secondary education, and look forward to using my experience to contribute toward the growing success of the school and its pupils.

Chris Wood, Parent Governor

Charity trustees' and members' names