Please find below details of how our Local Governance Committee is structured, including the names, categories and responsibilities for each Governor.
Mr Justin O'Byrne
Chair of Governors
I am a parent to three children with our eldest currently in Year 2 at Widcombe Infant School and we are hoping for our other two children to attend the school too. Since being a parent at the school, I was struck by the friendliness of both the staff and families who are the school’s community. I am really proud to work on the Local Governance Committee (LGC) of the school. Seeing up close the dedication of the whole team working at the school is impressive and I want to play my part in helping the school to continue to thrive.
I started my professional life as a research scientist at the University of Bath, before moving to the Government’s largest funder of research and innovation. I spent the majority of that time working in international partnerships delivering large scientific infrastructure/instruments. I have been fortunate to be involved in very different projects ranging from work at a lab over 1 km underground at a working mine in Yorkshire, scientific instruments at CERN, to radio telescopes in remote regions of Australia and South Africa. I am currently on secondment to the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology working on a digital research infrastructure for the UK’s science and technology base. My work has brought me into contact with issues around governance, finances, and dealing with lots of different key groups, and I hope to bring this to the LGC.
Mrs Kathleen Thompson
Vice Chair of Governors
On leaving school I trained as a Nursery Nurse before qualifying as a Primary Teacher at College. I have taught in a wide range of Nursery, Infant and Primary Schools in different parts of the country before further developing my interests, experience and expertise in the area of Special Educational Needs. At this point I studied for, and was awarded, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Bristol. Whilst completing this course I was appointed to a Wiltshire Local Authority team which specialised in supporting children who had been identified as having SEND, their parents and teachers in the Primary Phase. Prior to retiring I had been appointed as Team Leader and was responsible for a team of teachers who gave support in over 100 Primary Schools. The role also included responsibility for controlling the budgets both for the Team and the additional support for schools. Since retiring I have been involved with training ‘Returning Teachers’ at Bath Spa University, working as a Tutor for the University of Bath MA programme, delivering courses to Volunteer Helpers in schools for the WEA and engaging in Consultancy work with teachers.
My connection with Widcombe Infant School began when our grandchildren attended the school and I started volunteering for one morning a week. A couple of years later I was invited to join the Governing Body as a Community Governor and am the Governor responsible for SEND, Looked After Children, Safeguarding and Early Years, in addition to acting as Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee. I am delighted to be involved with a school with such a positive ethos and committed staff where all children learn through an appropriate, broad, balanced and stimulating curriculum. This enables them to experience achievement and success as an individual, as part of a group and of a school which motivates them to develop into ‘lifelong learners’.
Miss Alison Watts
Mrs Sophie Turner
Mrs Jo Shanmugalingam
I am a civil servant at the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, responsible for government funding for research and innovation and support for small businesses. I also chair the People and Operations Committee and am the departmental Race Champion. A significant part of my work in government relies on ensuring effective governance in government agencies, so that those organisations can excel in delivering their particular responsibilities.
Originally moving to Bath as a teenager, I went to Ralph Allen myself and now have children at Ralph Allen, Widcombe Juniors and Widcombe Infants. I have seen how all three have benefited from the outstanding and nurturing academic and social foundations provided by the Infant school at the start of their school journey. I am very much looking forward to working with the staff and governors to support the school in its continued success delivering an excellent education to all the children in its care.
I am a parent of two boys, with the eldest currently at Widcombe Junior School and the youngest at Widcombe Infant School.I feel greatly honoured to be appointed as a Governor. The open culture of the school and the dedication of the staff have continued to impress me from my first visit. What is more, the school’s high standards and the range of learning experiences provided for the children to make them into life-long learners are truly praiseworthy.
My area of expertise is in business strategy, planning and transformation, with a background in data analysis, finance and marketing. I am currently at Bath Spa University and have previously led teams across a range of sectors. As a Governor, I hope to be able to use my expertise and experience to help the school’s future development.
I am delighted to have become a Governor at Widcombe Infant School. The school really deserves its excellent reputation and it’s a real privilege to have the chance to work with the Board, Alison Watts and her leadership team in support of the school’s continued development. My day job is as Director of Grants at The Peter Cundill Foundation, a grant making foundation that supports charities improving the lives of children around the world. Before PCF, I was the Founding CEO of PEAS or Promoting Equality in African Schools, a network of non-state secondary schools in Uganda and Zambia. PEAS now educates over 1% of secondary school students in Uganda and the majority of PEAS students are the first in their families to attend secondary school. Before PEAS, I was a secondary school Maths teacher through the Teach First programme in South London. I now sit as a Non-Executive Director of ‘ImpactEd’ – an Edtech non-profit that helps schools collect and analyse data to quickly understand the impact of the programmes they run. My career has been built around a belief that education is the greatest tool we have to change the world for the better.
Mr Jon Tickner
Primarily I’m a strategist and a creative for the media industry. I come up with ideas for content partnerships, develop pitches and consult on marketing and so on, and work on insight projects but I also work as a video producer. Partnerships usually mean content needs to be produced and I also commission cross-platform work, whether video, words or design. I worked in the media publishing industry for 20 years and went freelance at the start of 2021.
Before I began consulting as a freelance, I joined two others and put together an event called Meanwhile… for Coventry City of Culture. The event was around the topic of illustrated Storytelling and we welcomed a great many families to enjoy street art, workshops and lectures across the weekend. For this I put the bid together for Arts Council funding, as well as helping pull the logistical elements together, pitching for partnerships, sorting out licenses and so on.
I have plenty of relations in the education sector, including my partner, a qualified yoga teacher and resilience coach, and a mother-in-law a SEND practitioner. I have a daughter in Year 1 at Widcombe Infant School.
I am the parent of two current, and hopefully one future Widcombe Infant School pupils. We live locally and have a strong personal connection and commitment to the well-being of the school and wider community. I have for the last seventeen years served in the British Army and I am currently the Commanding Officer of a Battalion based in Wiltshire. I have experience of leading diverse teams, planning and strategy, operations, and training. I believe passionately in the importance of an excellent education for all children. It is a privilege to become a Governor and to have the opportunity to support the school’s leadership team in delivering the best possible learning experience for all its pupils, helping them to flourish and achieve their individual potential.