Governor Pen Portraits
Mr Byron Preece
My name is Darren Duffy and am Vice-chair of the Governing board here at Gorsemoor Primary School, I have a wealth of experience in Education and School Leadership in the local area. My current professional role is an Assistant Headteacher in a local Secondary School with responsibility for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Attainment and Progress at GCSE and Curriculum and timetabling. I started my career in 2002 at a School in Walsall as a mathematics teacher, then progressed up to head of mathematics and have been involved in Whole-School leadership since 2017. I hope my skill-set and experience in School leadership can bring something valuable to the board here at Gorsemoor. I have two girls currently on roll at Gorsemoor and am fully committed to ensuring not only my girls, but all your children get the best experience possible here at Gorsemoor. I look forward to working closely with the current leadership of the school in my role Vice Chair of Governors.
Mrs Karen Fraser
I am a co-opted Governor with a background in education, particularly science and IT. I have been involved in various roles at school since my children attended; volunteer classroom helper, PTFA member, Governor (initially as a parent) and teaching assistant/librarian/webmaster.
I have always enjoyed being a Governor as it gives a fascinating insight into the way a school is run but is more work than many people realise, with increasing challenges and responsibilities.
I am now retired but continue to be involved in primary science assessment work with NFER. I don’t have much spare time, but when I’m not looking after grandchildren, I enjoy gardening, DIY and crosswords.
Mrs Clare Walton
I am very proud to be the elected staff governor at Gorsemoor. I have been a teacher here since 2017 and during this time, I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching across Key Stage 1 specialising in digital learning across the school. I feel passionately about creating memorable learning experiences for pupils and technology provides many opportunities for this. Alongside my curriculum specialism, last year I joined Gorsemoor’s wellbeing team and obtained the qualification of Mental Health First Aider so that I could effectively support our staff. In my spare time, I love to travel around the UK finding beautiful walks and challenging hikes. In 2018, I completed the National Three Peak Challenge summiting the three highest peaks in the UK in less than 24 hours for charity.
Professionally I have worked in Finance for over twenty years and am qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant. The majority of my career has been spent with my current employer, a global security products manufacturer in the West Midlands. My role as UK Financial Reporting Manager includes responsibility for the company's financial planning and budgetary control which are skills that I bring to the already highly skilled and devoted team of Governors and Staff at Gorsemoor. Outside of work I am first and foremost a devoted Father but I also play the drums and am an avid collector of vinyl records. In earlier years I played tennis representing many of our local club teams and still have a love for the sport but these days you are more likely to see me walking or mountain biking at Cannock Chase.
Dr Matt O’Leary
I am a Professor of Education at Birmingham City University. I have worked in education for over 25 years as a teacher, teacher educator, head of department, educational researcher and director of research in colleges, schools and universities in the UK and abroad. I teach and supervise students at postgraduate level, though most of my time is taken up with research. My main research interests focus on the impact of education policy on teaching and learning and the relationship between the two, especially in the context of professional learning and teacher development. I am well known internationally for my work on classroom observation, which has been instrumental in influencing policy and practice across education sectors. My books include Classroom observation: A guide to the effective observation of teaching and learning (Routledge 2014), Reclaiming lesson observation: supporting excellence in teacher learning (Routledge 2016) and Teaching Excellence in Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and the Teaching Excellence Framework (Emerald 2017).
I have two daughters who are currently at the school, one in Year 5 and the other in Year 3. I believe strongly in the longstanding ethos of Gorsemoor as a school and am committed to supporting it to provide the best possible experience for all its pupils and staff. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and cycling.
I joined the governing board at Gorsemoor in September 2019 when I was elected as a new Parent Governor. I am a proud mum of two children who are thriving at Gorsemoor, one of which who has a diagnosis of Autism. Professionally I have over 12 years experience of supporting people who have Learning Difficulties and Mental Health issues or lived in a Social Care setting. I am passionate about Special Educational Needs and being a voice for vulnerable people, especially children. I fully believe in the values and ethos of Gorsemoor School, I am committed and enthusiastic to be part of the journey of ensuring pupils and staff are the best they can be.