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The Hermitage School

Inspiring Everyone to Learn

Meet Our Governors

Marian Araga - Chair of Governors

My family and I have lived in Woking for over 20 years. I am married with 3 children. I used to be a software developer before I trained and qualified as a solicitor in 2008. I am a business lawyer  with specialties in IP, IT, Employment and Corporate Commercial.

I come from a family of educators. My paternal grandfather was the head teacher at a primary school in south-west Nigeria.  My mum used to run a school and three of my siblings are teachers. Apart from that, I had a two-year stint in teaching following a PGCE course.

Personally, I am an insatiable learner. I think that learning is one of the joys of life because it gives us the opportunity to broaden our minds and increase our understanding of the world around us.

And so when the opportunity came for me to serve as a community governor of a local school, I could not resist. It gives me immense joy to be a part of the journey of shaping the future of young lives in ensuring the delivery of good quality education and in turn give our young people the best possible foundation for the future. In my view, there are few opportunities as invaluable as this one.

As the Chair, I am fortunate to be serving with a group of passionate and dedicated men and women. Together, we revel in the opportunity to serve as members of the Local Governing Committee of The Hermitage School (and The Oaktree School). It has truly been a pleasure being on this journey with the Headteacher, staff members, the school community and of course the pupils.

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 and son are both primary school teachers. I worked full-time while bringing up my so I do understand the pressures on family life! I worked as a lecturer in English in Further Education in Coventry and at the University of Warwick. I have also worked as a development officer for National Open College Network, an accreditation agency, where I designed qualifications for large and small training providers. I then worked on a government funded project based at London South Bank University to encourage students on vocational courses to progress to 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 and Oaktree Local Governing Council and watching the school develop its quality and excellence.

My particular interest is in the schools’ teaching of English and Literacy and I am impressed with the quality that is delivered to our children. 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 Orchard Centre and the work that is done at both schools by the SENCOs. The caring and inclusive behaviour of all the children in both schools is to be commended.

My particular role as a Governor is to oversee and be responsible for the teaching of English and Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND). I take pride in being a Governor of your schools and look forward to continuing to support the head teachers and their staff in achieving excellence for the children.

Charlotte Hill - Vice Chair of Governors

My name is Charlotte Hill, I have worked as a public servant for the last 26 years and have two school aged children. I had helped out at school when I could, feeling that working shifts gave me an excuse not to commit to more. I became a Governor after deciding 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 had been waiting for. 

It has definitely been a challenge but one that I have enjoyed especially when we see the positive results and happy children. It has been rewarding to see the changes and developments the school has made over the last couple of year and I am very proud of all the hard work of the staff have put in behind the scenes. 

We all want the best for our children, my aim is ensure the children at the Hermitage (and the Oaktree) schools are getting what they need and deserve in a happy and safe environment. My interests are particularly in the safety and security of our children. I am currently the Safeguarding Governor.

 

Robert Clark

My name is Robert Clark and I was delighted to be appointed as the Parent Governor for The Oaktree School in December 2020.  I have lived in the area for over 12 years and I have two children both attending The Oaktree School.

I am a lawyer, with over 15 years' experience working with clients, large and small in the public and private sectors.  I was inspired by the commitment I saw from the staff, children and parents of The Oaktree School and The Hermitage School to make my own contribution by applying to be a Governor.

I strongly believe that parents, staff and governors working together can provide a fun, safe and creative environment for children to thrive.  I have been so impressed by all the hard work by the school team to adapt to recent challenges and I want to help them in their endeavours.      

 

Matt Dawson

I joined the Local Governing Committee in November 2019 as a Community Governor and assist with Health and Safety assessments. I am an ex-pupil of Oaktree and Hermitage Schools (attended 1979-1987), before moving up to Winston Churchill School.  I work in the Legal profession as a Solicitor in Financial Services. Although I lived in London for many years, I moved back to Surrey in 2015 with my wife and young son. I have maintained strong links with the local area over the years and firmly believe that my early schooling provided me with a solid foundation for my future studies and career.

 

 

Dan Donovan

I joined the Local Governing Committee of The Oaktree School in May 2019 and have continued to serve until this day, now sitting as a Community Governor on the joint Oaktree and Hermitage LGC. I’ve lived in Woking for my entire life and was keen to give something back to the community through my time and skillset. 

I work in Human Resources for a major housebuilder, advising on all things employment law. I have been delighted to provide advice where needed to the school and the governing committee and also to assist and sit on interview panels for new staff. I enjoy helping to develop people and it’s been great to see children and staff alike do so in my time in the role. 

It’s been fantastic to see the development of the two schools over the past two and a half years and I’m looking forward to partnering with our new Executive Head to help create and foster the best possible learning environment for your children to thrive in.

Louise Finke

My name is Louise Finke, and I am married with 2 children that currently attend both the Oaktree and Hermitage Schools.  As a family we love to explore and enjoy this wonderful local area that we have called home these past 10 years.

I began my career 20 years ago in the pharmaceutical industry and have worked in many various roles from commercial leads to training and development and marketing.  I am passionate about health and wellbeing and this is reflected in my chosen career and my past times, which include instruction of martial arts to children and adults.

I have observed the school evolve over the years: seeing the move to academy status; changes in leadership; and weathering recent challenges such as the global pandemic.  The values held by the school replicate our own; I want to give something back to the school and my community, helping a school that we are very fond off achieve the best possible environment for our children’s education.

Clare Spires - Executive Headteacher

I am delighted to introduce myself as Executive Headteacher of The Oaktree and The Hermitage Schools.  My role commenced in September 2021. I lived in Woking for 22 years before moving out of the area in 2019. All of my teaching and leadership experience has been gained in Woking Schools with my most recent headship being at Barnsbury Primary School.  I really value the diversity that Woking offers and wish to celebrate this, building greater respect and tolerance of one another, within the community in which we live.  I am passionate about providing the children in our care with the very best education possible, ensuring the schools continue to grow from strength to strength. I want to ensure that each child believes in their own abilities, strives for great things and becomes a well-rounded citizen, one who looks after their environment, each other and treats others the way they wish to be treated.

 

Debbie Kimani

My name is Debbie Kimani and I have been a teacher at The Hermitage School since October 2015. I am the Year 5 team Leader and also the Reading lead. I love working at The Hermitage and want to help to make sure we provide the best education and opportunities that we can for our students. 

I live in the Woking area and have 2 secondary school aged children. I have been teaching for over 20 years both locally and internationally, so feel I have a lot of experience to offer the school. I provide a link between the members of staff and the governors, so that we can all work together to help move the school forward. 

 

 

Mary Martin

My name is Mary Martin, and I am a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Teaching Assistant at The Oaktree School, in addition to being one of its governors.

Following a career at Sony and James Walkers, I have now worked at The Oaktree School for over two decades and seen it grow and evolve. We pride ourselves on creating a safe, happy, and supportive environment for children of all backgrounds and all abilities.

My husband and I have always lived in the area, and our children were lucky enough to attend both The Oaktree and Hermitage schools. 

I have seen first-hand – as a teaching assistant, a governor, and a parent – the high standards both schools hold themselves to and the genuine care every staff member provides.

I am hugely honoured to welcome new children to our school and see the next generation flourish.

Beverley Prentice

I moved to Woking in 1982 and worked for an investment bank until 1987 when we started our family. When our daughters went to secondary school I trained with a charity to read with children in a local infant school. The charity eventually pulled out of Woking and around the same time I was invited to become a governor of The Oaktree School where I have worked since 2004. I am a ‘hands on’ governor who enjoys coming into school to attend events and work with the children.