Skip to content ↓

The Hermitage School

Inspiring Everyone to Learn

Meet Our Governors

Jo MacDonald - Chair of Governors

My name is Jo MacDonald, I’m a small business owner based in Woking and have two boys aged three and five. Life prior to children involved living in the UK and Sydney, Australia doing significant travel and working in the world of recruitment, sourcing people for jobs all over the globe.

Already being involved in supporting the Hoe Valley School opening, I was also looking around infant and primary schools around Woking and Knaphill in anticipation of my eldest starting school and what a range of experiences I had.  I was frustrated by different school’s approach to communication with parents and also why there was such variation for such a small local area?  Lynne O’Reilly (previous Chair of Governors) heard about my musings and suggested I join a school to learn how it all works and to be able to support them in their future development and growth. The Hermitage School is in my neighbourhood and had a need, so here I am.

In the time that I’ve been a governor I’ve been delighted to see how the school is evolving, embracing it’s academy status and looking at ways to be a thought leader in how the new national curriculum is delivered. Other highlights have included seeing the Year 6 plan, cook and run a tea afternoon to see if it is a viable business venture and to be a judge at World Book Day with all the fabulous costumes. In every interaction I’ve only ever seen highly engaged pupils who are keen to learn and to show case what they’ve achieved, a real pride in their school. I’m proud to be one of your Governors and excited for what we will achieve in coming terms.


Gill Carter - Vice Chair of Governors

My name is Gill Carter and I am a retired lecturer. I have three children, now adults, and my daughter is in her first year of teaching at a primary school in London. I worked when my children were small and understand the pressures on family life! I worked in Further Education in Coventry and the University of Warwick. I have also worked for National Open College Network, an accreditation agency and worked on designing qualifications for large and small training providers. I then moved to work on a government funded project to encourage students on vocational course into university. I was based at London South Bank University.

 After I retired I decided to follow my passion for education and volunteer as a school governor. I believe that every child should have the best that education can offer and I thoroughly enjoy being part of  The Hermitage Team and watching the school develop in quality and excellence.

My particular interest is in the teaching of English and Literacy and I am impressed with the approach of the school and with the new integrated curriculum. I love the way the children are engaged with their learning and are friendly and confident when I visit the classes. I am also impressed with the work of the Orchard Centre and the caring approach of all the children in the school. As the Governor responsible for overseeing Child Protection and Safeguarding, I liaise with the Deputy Head and have every confidence in the training provided and implementation of policies.

 I take pride in being a Governor of your school and look forward to an interesting and productive year.


Tim Clay

My name is Tim Clay, and I work in the Tax Department of a large catering company based in Reading.  I live in West End, and I have been a governor at Holy Trinity CofE Primary School in West End for the last 12 years, including five as Chair.

I applied to become a governor at The Hermitage School because I wanted an opportunity to broaden my experience as a governor, and take up the challenge of supporting the growth of another school.    I am looking forward to working together with governors, the leadership team and staff at The Hermitage School as it builds on its strong foundations and enables all pupils to achieve their full potential (and have fun doing it!).


Gilly Condon

My name is Gilly Condon and I am currently the Acting Head Teacher at the school. I have worked at the school for over 22 years, starting out as a Teaching Assistant and holding various responsibilities over the years including class teacher, SENCo, Inclusion Leader and Deputy Head Teacher.

It is both a pleasure and a privilege to work in such a wonderful school; the children are extremely well-motivated, parents are very supportive, all the staff are pro-active in ensuring improved outcomes for pupils and the dedicated governing body works tirelessly to ensure that every child and their family have the best experience the school can offer. 


Alice Cooke

My name is Alice Cooke and I am delighted to have joined the Governing Body at The Hermitage School. I am currently living in Woking and working in Walton-on-Thames, where I am the manager of a children’s maths and English tuition centre. I developed my interest in children's education whilst at university, where I studied Sociology. Here, I took a particular focus on social policy surrounding the provision of school education, writing my dissertation on equality within the education system.

My role of managing a children's tuition centre has given me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge of the National Curriculum, as well as the experience in managing the finances of a business, and skills in supporting my staff to reach their full potential in their own roles. I hope that I can now bring these skills to my role within The Hermitage School. I am very passionate about supporting the unique social and academic needs of every child, and I am looking forward to supporting The Hermitage School in doing so for their pupils. Upon visiting the school for the first time, straight away I was thrilled to see how engaged each child was in the classroom, eager to show me their achievements. I am particularly impressed with the school’s commitment to developing a Growth Mindset in the classroom, giving children the confidence to embrace new challenges that come their way and not being afraid to make mistakes, but persevering and learning from them. I hope I can play a role in maintaining this mindset in every classroom in the school.  

I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all and am excited for what we will be able to achieve at The Hermitage School. 


Jonny Cope

My name is Jonny Cope, I live in Knaphill and am a solicitor specialising in commercial property.  I joined the Governing Body at The Hermitage School because I think it is a great way to give something back to the local community and make a real and positive impact on our pupils' education.  When I visited the school for the first time I was really impressed with the confidence and enthusiasm the children I met had for their learning.

I hope to use the skills I have developed through my professional career to help the school continue to advance over the coming year.  I am very excited to be a part of what I’m sure we

will achieve at The Hermitage School.


Charlotte Hill

My name is Charlotte Hill, I have worked as a public servant for the last 21 years and have two children aged seven and two years. My daughter has just started at The Hermitage School. I have dipped in and out helping out at school when I could, feeling that working shifts gave me an excuse. Having decided that I no longer wanted to sit on the side-lines, when the opportunity for becoming a school governor came up, I realised this was the challenge I was waiting for.  


We all want the best for our children, my aim is ensure they are getting what they need and deserve. My interests are particularly in the safety and security of our children. I also have governor responsibility for overseeing The Orchard Centre, which I am really looking forward to. I am excited and proud to be one of your school governors and look forward to the challenges ahead.


Craig Hogan

My name is Craig Hogan. My wife and I have lived in Woking for over 12 years and we have two children, both of whom attend school locally.


I have had a varied career path, starting my working life in construction as a surveyor on a tunnel project in my home country, New Zealand; I now spend my time helping my own clients use technologies properly. My core skills revolve around technology and small business. I have worked within a number of different sectors here in the UK including the not for profit/charity sector. My decision to join the governing body came through wanting to see if I could use my skills and knowledge in different areas within a school.

My personal goal for the school is simply to be the best at what we do, from sports to academics to building a community. I believe we have the people, students and the passion to make it happen; it will be challenging, but I do like a challenge.


Saj Hussain

My name is Saj Hussain, a local sub postmaster who has served residents in the Knaphill and the Hermitage area for over 30 years. In 2012, I was elected as a local councillor. I am passionate about supporting children reach their potential as I believe they are our future. After being approached by Jo MacDonald, I was confident that my position, knowledge and experience within governance could assist The Hermitage School to further develop its resources and enhance the learning opportunities for the children at the school.

By working closely with the Governors, Staff and the Local Authority my aim is to ensure that the strategic direction of the school will enable all the children to excel. I believe that it is a good school and we hope that our six year old grandson will join Year 3 in September. I look forward to meeting you all on my regular visits to the school and building on our achievements together.


Danusia Jolliffe

My name is Danusia Jolliffe and I am delighted to be a Parent Governor here at The Hermitage School. My eldest child has just started at the school and the youngest at The Oaktree School, so I’m excited to be involved in making decisions which will positively affect both of them in their school careers.

My education was focussed on Science with an undergraduate degree from the University of Surrey, and my postgraduate doctorate completed at UMIST. In my professional life, I am an experienced Communications specialist and have worked for Blue Chip companies for the last 10 years. I am currently a Social Media Manager.  When the request was made for new Governors to join, I jumped at the chance to be able to offer my knowledge and expertise in my field to help the school and support my local community as I have lived in Knaphill for nearly 10 years.


Jo McColgan

My name is Jo McColgan. I’m a proud mum of two boys; my eldest is in Year 3 at The Hermitage and the youngest is in Year 1 at The Oaktree. They mean the world to me and therefore their school experience and success is the reason why I have chosen to join the Governing Body. I work for the John Lewis Partnership as a Branch Manager for Waitrose. 

Having been a partner for 15 years I've built a strong skill set including analytical, influencing and coaching skills as well as training in disciplinary and grievance procedures that I am delighted to use to help our school. I'm really looking forward to working with and for you at The Hermitage School.


Governor Attendance Records for previous school year 2016-17.


Governor Meetings attended Out of a possible
Jo MacDonald (Chair) 6 6
Alice Cooke 6 6
Charlotte Hill 4 6
Clare Tharme 5 6
Craig Hogan (appointed 16/06/2017) 0 1
Danusia Joliffe 4 6
Gill Carter 4 6
Gilly Condon (appointed 20/04/2017) 3 3
Jo McColgan (appointed 24/03/2017) 3 4
Kerry Knight (resigned 20/04/2017) 3 3
Richard Khaldi (resigned 16/06/2017) 2 5
Sajid Hussain 2 6
Sarah Russell (resigned 16/06/2017) 5 5

This is updated annually at the end of the academic year.