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Meet the Governors

Freeland School Governing Body 

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 seven 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

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.

Lauren Clements, Director Appointed Governor

I grew up in a small village in West Oxfordshire before moving abroad. I have lived in America, Australia & Asia before moving back and settling near Witney. I am a Director-Appointed Governor at Freeland School, having joined the Governing Body in April 2023. 

I have been a teacher since 2014, working across a range of Key Stages and most recently working in Primary Schools in Oxfordshire. I now work as a SENDCO, prioritising the needs of all children and the children on the SEN register. 

Deborah Carpenter, Parent Governor

I am originally from Oxfordshire although I have worked around the UK and abroad with my job. I currently have two sons at Freeland Primary School. When it came time to select a primary school for our eldest, Freeland came out as the unquestionable winner. I value the smaller, nurturing environment, the fact that all staff know all pupils and the clear vision to get the best from everyone.  

I work as a Senior Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes and have been teaching in Higher Education for 15 years. Aside from work, I spend my free time enjoying long walks in beautiful countryside, playing referee to my two energetic sons and planning global adventures (which may or may not happen).

Linda Peach, Parent Governor

I moved to West Oxfordshire in 2006, prior to that I grew up in Headington, Oxford.

I have two children, a son and a daughter who both attend Freeland primary school and have family who live in the village.

I am new to the governing body having become a parent governor in May 2023 and very much look forward to helping the school continue to meet its goals and vision.

I have worked in the NHS as a nurse for 20 years and currently work as a District nurse team leader.  I hope that my leadership experience will enable me to bring many transferable skills to my role as a parent governor.  I have a particular interest in SEND and hope that my personal experience can bring a different perspective.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, playing with my children and enjoying long walks in the beautiful countryside that we are so fortunate to be surrounded by. 

Lucy Brook, Director Appointed Governor

I live in Cirencester and have 3 children, one at University, one at Sixth Form College and one at school. I have worked in education marketing for more than a decade and am really passionate about education for young people and opening doors through learning and opportunity. My other passion is swimming and I have been a volunteer swimming coach since 2019 at a local competitive club where my daughter is also a swimmer.

I am delighted to be able to support Freeland School with its plans for the future and delivery against its goals and to get to know the whole school community. I am particularly interested in supporting the school with its marketing and communication plans within the local community and further afield.

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