Aston Rowant Church of England Primary School

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Aston Rowant Church of England Primary School

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Introducing our Governors


At Aston Rowant, we have a committed board of governors with a wealth of expertise, who work tirelessly to support and challenge the school to fulfil the vision. The attachments below contain information about the work of our Board and how it is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.  


Who’s who on the Board of Governors


Dr. Steve Taylor (Chair of Governors)

I'm married with three daughters, a dog and I live in Aston Rowant.  I have a PhD in organic chemistry and have worked in research, manufacturing and latterly, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) within the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. From 2003 up until retirement in 2015, I was as director and head of global internal audit for EHS.  The changes in my career path have required that I study for additional appropriate professional qualifications along the way. I don’t know where the spark came from that initiated my interest and ability to learn, but what I do know, is that I had a very happy and rewarding start in life at a rural primary school not unlike Aston Rowant.  Retirement has given the time for me to follow my many and varied hobbies so often neglected due to work commitments. In addition, when the post of school governor became available, has provided the opportunity to pursue my lifelong interest in learning and hopefully put something back into a system that has provided me with so much.  


Alan Melady (Vice Chair of Governors)

A father of two children at Aston Rowant school who has lived in the parish since 2013. Born and raised in Birmingham, as an adult I have lived in Leicester, Solihull, multiple parts of London, New York, Hoboken (New Jersey), back to London and then up to this lovely part of England. My professional career has mainly been at British Airways where I worked in commercial and strategic roles. I have an MBA and currently work as Head of Strategy at Hertz, the global car rental company. I am a strong believer in the central role that education plays in the country and the school plays in our parish. I am determined to ensure a sustainable future for the school and its continual improvement for pupils and staff. I am excited and energised by this opportunity to utilise my skills and experience to benefit others.


Helen France

As Head Teacher, I am an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors. I studied business at university and my first career was as a Regional HR Manager working in retail. Whilst I took a career break to have my family I did some HR consultancy work, headed the youth and family ministry in my local church, was Chair of Governors at a local church school, ran parenting courses for the local authority and completed a Diploma in Biblical Theology. When my youngest child started school I completed my PGCE, with my first teaching practice at Aston Rowant School! My business background, church work, 17 years as a governor and my work with children and families gives me a broad range of skills which I delighted to bring to the role of Head Teacher and member of the Governing Body.


Tom Sowerby

I have lived in Aston Rowant since 2009 and been a Governor at Aston Rowant since 2013. My day job is Principal at Bisham Abbey Sailing School as well as running first aid and health and safety training. In my free time I enjoy sailing, horseball (no, you won't have heard of it!) and cycling.  I first joined the governing body to take a more active role in the school community as a neighbour.  I enjoy helping support and drive the school forwards. Seeing the positive impact on the children as they progress through their primary education is very rewarding. It's also a real pleasure to work with such a dedicated and committed group of staff and fellow governors.


Sam Goose

I have spent my whole working life in public service including 10 years in the Royal Navy and almost five now working for the NHS. I have a great interest in ensuring that services provided to taxpayers are effective and value for money, and would love to take the opportunity to use this experience in the education sector. I’m currently the Practice Manager at a GP Practice in Maidenhead. Similarly, to the school, it is a small organisation with a sizeable budget which requires careful management to ensure that money is spent effectively and limited resources are used to their best effect. My job also involves significant interaction with shareholders in the wider healthcare community, which I am sure has similarities with the way the school works with its shareholders such as the Thame Partnership, OFSTED and the County Council. I can bring this experience to the Board of Governors to assist with understanding the challenges facing a small, rural primary school and provide strategic thought and decision making on the direction and vision of the school. With two children at the school, I have a heavily vested interest in seeing the school go from strength to strength and enjoy working with the current team of Governors to help make this happen.


Alexi Olsen

I am the teacher in Hedgehog Class (Reception) on a Monday, Tuesday and alternate Wednesday afternoons as well as being the lead teacher for Mathematics along with Art and Design. I am also the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.


Gill Tyler

I have worked in primary education, both as a teacher and headteacher for over 25 years, so when my husband and I retired to Watlington last year, I wanted to use my experience to support a local school. On visiting Aston Rowant School, I was excited to see that it was very similar in size to the school that I had previously led, with mixed classes for Years 1/2, 3/4, 5/6. This experience enables me to fully understand the wonderful opportunities that such a small school offers, as well as being realistic about the logistical challenges posed.


The fact that Aston Rowant School is a Church of England school is very important to me. I have always worked in church schools, believing the secure foundations of learning laid within the context of the Christian ethos ensures the very best start for a child. I am enjoying working alongside fellow governors in my role as a diocesan foundation governor.


Zoe Batt

I am a co-opted governor on the board for Aston Rowant and I attended Aston Rowant as a pupil between 1994 and 2001. After buying my first home in Chinnor, I was keen to give back to the local community and support the school that gave me such a great start in my education. I studied Product Design at university and now work for Ella’s Kitchen. I suspect some of you may have used their pouches and snacks when weaning your children. I develop their snacks range, working in the marketing team. With my background in marketing, the board have asked me to head up the communications pillar of our strategy. As part of this I would love to get some feedback from you all so I can see where it would be best to focus our plans over the next few years.


You can contact us to discuss any aspect of governance at any time though the school office or by email to: We look forward to hearing from you.

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