Meet the Governors

Kim Archer

I am passionate about all children receiving an education which develops their potential and builds their confidence to achieve their dreams. Growing up locally, I went to St John's Primary School, Friern Barnet and later Copthall County Grammar School for Girls. Somewhat unexpectedly, I joined the Civil Service. This has provided a varied career working in a number of government departments and in a wide range of jobs - from a social security counter to the director of a government agency. Having retired from the Civil Service I now work on developing programmes to help disadvantaged groups find suitable employment.

Mel Adams

Born and educated in South Yorkshire, I was privileged to have parents who valued both education and music, both of which have driven my own career forward. Following school I studied Music at the Birmingham Conservatoire followed by a PGCE at Birmingham University.  I have since taught in nursery, primary and secondary schools, teaching a range of subjects and continuing my own education by obtaining relevant additional qualifications.  Currently I am head teacher at St Mary's Church of England Primary School in Barnet. It has been a great privilege to have been involved in the development of Wren Academy since its inception and I am happy to be serving as an LDBS sponsor governor.

Reverend Stephen Coleman

Born and educated in the North East of England, I read Theology as an undergraduate and graduate at the University of Oxford, before training and practising as a corporate and financing solicitor at Slaughter and May and latterly Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in the City of London. Following ordination, I served my curacy in the parish of St Paul, Winchmore Hill, and I am now Vicar of St Peter, Grange Park in the Enfield Deanery of the Diocese of London. I recently completed an LLM in Canon Law at the University of Cardiff, and retain an active interest in this area.

I have always had a keen interest in education: I spent my gap year before university as assistant housemaster at The Chorister School, Durham, and as a solicitor I was part of a ‘lawyers in schools’ programme, assisting teenagers in North London comprehensive schools develop their awareness of the law. I currently serve as a member of the clergy team and as a co-opted governor of St Paul’s School in Winchmore Hill (where I am safeguarding link governor), and I am also a foundation governor at St Paul’s and All Hallows’ School in Tottenham. I am passionate about the opportunities Church of England schools offer, and I believe strongly in the relationship between such schools and their local churches and also the wider community.

Sylvia Duthie

I grew up in Birkenhead and did my BA in English and Dip Ed at Sheffield University. As a teacher, pastoral head, lecturer, parent and governor, I have a wide range of experience across the full range of educational provision.  I have also been a counsellor since 1981 and have trained many others in counselling skills.  I did my MSc in Continuing Education and Training at City University when I was fifty!  I have for several years represented Central Barnet Deanery Synod on the London Diocesan Board for Schools.  Now I am retired, it is a particular joy to serve as a governor at Wren Academy.

Olivia Ellah

I live in North Finchley and work at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust as a Service Transformation Project Manager. I have worked in the NHS for the past 12 years in various operational roles, and prior to that I was a Facilities and Administrative Manager in Anadrill Schlumberger Nigeria Limited, a large multinational oil servicing company for 13 years. This has enabled me to gain a broad spectrum of skills, and to work with a variety of interesting people. I had my primary and secondary education between Nigeria and Ireland, and my Business Administration degree was obtained from the University of Westminster, London. In my spare time I enjoy reading, art and going to the theatre. We are constantly learning and I believe a child’s experience in school can leave them with strong impressions and a valuable foundation for their future. 

Mary Findlow

I grew up in Hackney, East London and studied for my B.Ed. at Bishop Otter College, Chichester.  My qualifications include an M.A in Educational Management; a Certificate in Counselling Skills and also a Certificate in Personal Development. I am now a retired secondary school teacher having spent all my career in education. Over the years as an Assistant Head, I had responsibility for a variety of whole school priorities. I have experience of serving on two different governing bodies.

For a number of years, I have been an assessor for the Licenced Lay Ministry. I am also an assessor as part of the discernment process for the Ordained Ministry and a consultant for Ministerial Development Reviews.  I am a member of the LDBS as a representative of the Bishop of London.

I have worshipped in Edmonton for over 25 years. In that time, I have been a Churchwarden and I am still a member of the PCC.

My voluntary work also includes being a Trustee and Executive Committee member of two charities, a community organisation for people from the island of Montserrat where I was born and also for the UK branch of the Hillcrest AIDS charity which is based in South Africa. As a Mothers’ Union member, I organise a group which offers informal support to people who come into the chapel at GOSH.

I am married with twins in their late twenties. I enjoy travelling, hill walking, the theatre, reading and films.

Helen Foster

I was educated at my local comprehensive school in South Wales, going on to achieve a degree in English Literature at Cardiff University. On moving to London I began working for the Chairman and Chief Executive of BUPA dealing with their correspondence before becoming a Product Development Manager liaising with all areas of the business including sales, customer service, finance and marketing. After ten years, I left to become a full time mum and my three children have all attended Wren. Two of them are now at university and my youngest is in Year 9.

I am currently also a governor at Millbrook Park Primary School and was previously a governor at St Mary's Primary School, Finchley, serving as Chair of Governors for three years. I also volunteer for English Heritage at Kenwood and am a member of St Mary's CE Church, Finchley.

I believe passionately in providing an excellent standard of education and helping each child reach their full potential. I am proud to be Wren's Parent Governor as I think it is important for parents, children and school to work together to achieve the best outcome for each child.

Fran Hargrove

Living in Muswell Hill and working in Haringey I am deeply passionate about supporting children and families in getting the educational provision they deserve.  Currently a Headteacher of a large primary school also a consultant working on the establishment of Haringey Education Partnership.  School improvement and school expansion are the two themes that are dominant in my career to date. As a teacher, school leader, LA consultant and SIP for an inner-city Local Authority I have worked in and with a wide range of schools, some that needed to rapidly improve and develop and some that needed support to move to and sustain outstanding. I thrive when working with people and building relationships to support and champion outcomes for children.

Karen O’Connor

I am currently the Headteacher of Berkhamsted Pre-Preparatory School in Hertfordshire having joined Berkhamsted Schools Group in 2015. I attended Saint Michael’s Grammar School in Finchley before going to Southampton where I studied English and History, completing my tertiary education with a PGCE. My first teaching role was in a Barnet primary school and I spent 10 years as Deputy Headteacher of a primary school in the London Borough of Camden.

As a Governor of Wren Academy, I am excited about being able to support the work of such a forward thinking school, but most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to support children and young people in my own borough. 

A good education lasts a lifetime, opens up opportunities and provides choices.  The philosophy of developing well-rounded young people, with attention to building positive relationships alongside academic excellence, ensures that Wren provides the very best start in life for every child.

It is an honour to be able to support this philosophy as a Governor.

The Reverend Dr Gregory Platten

Born in Oxford, a clergy son, I grew up in Lincoln, Portsmouth, London, and Norwich, with my secondary schooling first in London and then in Norwich. Having gone to University to read Theology with the firm vocation to become an infantry officer in the army, I left having sensing a strong a call to ordained ministry. This led me to Cuddesdon near Oxford, where I entered formation for the priesthood, and read for a Masters in Theology. This was followed by a Curacy (training parish) in St John’s Wood. After three years, I moved to Oxford, where I served as the Chaplain of Lincoln College, in the University of Oxford, a role which involved overseeing welfare, counselling, organising Chapel worship, and elements of College governance and administration. Whilst at Lincoln, I also undertook postgraduate research in Russian philosophical theology, and I completed a DPhil (PhD) in 2013. In the same year, I felt called to return to parish ministry, and was appointed the Vicar of All Saints’ Church in Whetstone. Alongside the traditional parochial duties, this also includes being a Foundation Governor at All Saints’ Church of England Primary School, Chairing the PCC, financial and fabric administration, fundraising, community outreach, and strategic planning.

Diana Squires

I was educated at La Sainte Union (North London), and then went on to complete a degree in French & Management, followed by a Masters degree in European Business. On completing full-time education, I went on to work for a number of Market Insight consultancies, including KPMG Nunwood and Incite Marketing Planning, where I was an Account Director advising clients such as Danone, Reckitt Benckiser, Vodafone and Samsung on their product and brand strategies.

In the last couple of years, I have tried to get a greater balance between family life and work, and as such, am now running my own freelance consultancy business, where I continue to work with big brands to help them use consumer data and insight to develop their future strategies.

I really enjoy the work that I do, and believe that every child should both enjoy their school life, but go on to do a job that they feel passionate about and get a buzz from. From a parent’s point of view, I am looking to help the school in ensuring that every pupil at Wren achieves their true potential, feels fulfilled, feels self-worth and is valued for who they are as an individual.

Linda Turner

I have lived in Finchley for 38 years and been involved in all aspects of public service in the borough.  I chaired Barnet Community Health Council, Barnet Voluntary Service Council and was a non executive director of Wellhouse NHS Trust.  I campaigned for improvements in maternity services and the founding of the Edgware Birth Centre, becoming a trustee of the National Childbirth Trust and a member on the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  I am on the PCC at All Saints, Friern Barnet and a governor at a primary school.  I work as a consultant in recruitment to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Gavin Smith

I attended secondary schools in Stockport and Poole before completing a degree in Geography at UCL. My teaching career started in Croydon where I worked in a number of schools across the borough.  During that time I held positions as a pastoral leader and Head of Geography.  Before joining Wren as Vice Principal in 2008 I was an Assistant Headteacher at East Barnet School for six years.

I have been at Wren since it first opened, taking a lead in developing the curriculum, assessment and reporting systems.  I have found my positions at Wren both fulfilling and rewarding as I have had the opportunity to play a key role in making the school one of the most successful in the country.  Since becoming the Principal of Wren, GCSE and A Level examination results have continued to improve and the Sixth Form has become oversubscribed.  I am now focused on ensuring that the all through academy develops successfully as well as starting another outstanding new academy in Enfield.

Bejal Patel

I have enjoyed being a teacher at Wren Academy as a member of the Religious Studies department since 2014, and Student Voice Co-ordinator from September 2016. I attended North London Collegiate School in Edgware, completing my BA in Philosophy at UCL in 2012. During this time I pursued my passion of working with young people in mental health care and became involved campaigning for children and young people’s wellbeing with YoungMinds. Thus, a move into education felt a natural progression of this work. I began my career at Wren shortly after gaining my PGCE from the University of Roehampton in 2014. I look forward to my term serving as staff Governor and working with other members of the governing committee in order to support the learning of all Wren students.