Governing Body of Sydenham School

Parent Governor Election – February 2023

We currently have two vacancies for Parent Governors on the Sydenham School Governing Body. Several candidates have put themselves forward for these roles and have submitted statements explaining why they would like to be a Governor and why you should vote for them.


Please read their statements below and then vote using our online ballot, which is available here:


Voting opens at 9am on Monday, 6 February, and will close at 12pm on Friday, 17 February.


In order to be eligible to vote, you must have at least one child in attendance at Sydenham School on the date of the election. Each eligible voter is entitled to place one first preference and one second preference vote. Any additional votes made after this will not be counted.


If you have any questions or would like to request a paper ballot, please contact Emer O’Driscoll (the Returning Officer in this election) at  


Candidate Statements


Louise Ashley:


I have lived in Forest Hill for over ten years and have a daughter in Year 10 at Sydenham School. I am an academic who studies inequalities in education and the labour market as they relate to class, gender and ethnicity, and how these inequalities might be addressed. My particular focus is on social mobility and I am on the advisory boards for several charities/policy bodies in this area, helping to develop their strategies and acting as a ‘critical friend’. I would be delighted to apply this experience to help support the great work already happening at Sydenham School.

Ruth Bourne:


My daughter is in Year 9 at Sydenham and I have a younger son at Forest Hill School. I have worked in in publishing for over twenty years, holding team management roles at both academic and educational publishers. I am now freelance, and one of my clients is teacher training organisation Teach First, giving me an insight into their approach to training teachers and improving outcomes for children.

I have taken on a few volunteering roles before, when I was younger as a children’s holiday support worker, and more recently at my children’s primary school and Forest Hill Library and I would enjoy playing a bigger part in the Sydenham School community.


Shaveti Bryan:


I am a mother of 5 and 3 of my children attended Sydenham School from 2014 until present day. I am a keen advocate for the school as they have been supporting  my children and family over the past few years.  I am currently the General Manger for a Supported Housing organisation as well as a Company Director of my own Semi Independent service.  I understand a great deal what our young people face and how to help them overcome the challenges and achieve their personal goals.  I am experienced in working with young people who have been ex-offenders, living with various mental health conditions, homelessness, grooming, leaving care and gang affiliation to name a few.   In my day to day role, I explore creative ways that will  keep them engaged through positive re-enforcement. As a mother and business owner I know how make strategic decisions by managing budget, managing a team and getting the best out of people.  These are some of the skills that I possess and would like to contribute to Sydenham School as being a parent governor. 


Patrick Cullen:


I believe in non-selective education and schools with links to their local community. I’m passionate about social mobility and giving equal opportunities to children of all abilities and backgrounds.


My daughters are in years 8 and 10. My youngest will also go to Sydenham School. My wife, Noelle and I support the PTA and our local community. I work in the legal sector and have experience working in diverse teams in the UK and overseas.


As a Governor, I want to use my experience in professional services to contribute to the leadership of Sydenham School and make a positive contribution to children’s education and welfare


Annabel Dow:


I’ve lived in Forest Hill for nearly 20 years and am a parent of a girl in year 7. I believe passionately in supporting and promoting our community schools so that they can continue to inspire and educate all children from our community.


I am a company secretary within the financial services industry focusing on board governance and management which entails project management, teamwork, and adhering to regulations and deadlines.  I think that my unique skillset means that I would be an asset to the Board of Governors.


I am also the Treasurer of the Forest Hill School’s Parent Teacher Association. 


Jimoh Giwa:


Honestly, this is my 3rd or 4th time of contesting for the post of Parent’s Governor in Sydenham School. If I am elected, I will add my best to all the users, i.e. Parents, students and all the managemental body.


Maja Hilton:


As someone who faced many obstacles I qualified as Charted Management Accountant when my girls were at the nursery. Now with 7 years of senior management experience, being busy and thriving on a challenge is just who I am. Seniority brings me autonomy in diary setting, so that I can always make time for the school where my 2 girls attend. I believe that every girl at the school should be given every chance to reach her full potential. Finding the most optimal way to do this is an ever present challenge the school has been facing and I’d like to help.


Obi James:


I have served as an active school governor at Stillness Junior School for the last 3.5 years, recently volunteering and facilitating a very well-received workshop for staff on ‘Co-creating an inclusive learning environment’.


Over the last 12 years, I have run a consultancy business that specialises in creating inclusive cultures of shared leadership and empowered relationships where every individual can thrive. I have also recently published a #1 Amazon bestseller book, Let Go Leadership – how inclusive leaders share power to drive high performance.


As a dedicated advocate for diversity, equality and inclusion, I am eager to bring my passion and expertise to the role of Parent Governor at Sydenham School. I will commit to working closely with the parents, school leadership and staff to create opportunities for every student at Sydenham School to maximise their potential.


Alan Lawrence:


I am a Chartered Engineer working for a global real estate company in London, providing professional advice to properties. I have been a London resident since 1988 and local resident since 2003.


I am Black British of Afro-Caribbean decent who parents were part of the Windrush generation.


I would like to nominate myself to the position of Parent Governor to support Sydenham School governing body in its goal of continued educational excellence as a local diverse and inclusive community school in Forest Hill, and as a secondary level provide a potential visible role model and mentor for students of STEM.


Waheed Oseni:


I am currently Senior Lecturer and Course Director in Construction Project Management at the University of West London.


Amy Profitt:


Please consider me for the role of Parent Governor. I am a consultant in Palliative Medicine and outgoing President of the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland. I therefore understand governance structures and can chair meetings. As the daughter of two teachers myself, I understand the challenges of the education system with the constraints of the system and limited resources. I was Medical Director at St Christopher’s Hospice so have a clear understanding of the importance of integrating a community.


Matt Wingate:


I’d like become a Parent Governor to support Sydenham to be the school we all want- where every child is safe, challenged and supported. I’m a new parent at the school, but already see much that I admire, alongside ideas for improvement. Hearing from other parents we share many of these ideas.


I bring experience as a leader in large, child-focused charities for many years; from running refugee schools overseas, to managing organizations under constraints of tight finances and fundraising needs.


I believe I can be a strong advocate for all our views as parents.

Our Governors are representatives of the local community, parents, school staff and the Local Education Authority. They bring a range of interests, knowledge and skills to the school and they all work in a voluntary capacity. They have responsibility for overseeing the strategic framework of the school including setting policies, approving the curriculum and overseeing the school budget.

The Governors support the Headteacher and give feedback, recognising and celebrating achievement, identifying where the school is not achieving as well as it could, and providing support and encouragement when exploring ideas for improvement. The Governing Body works as a team with shared responsibilities - Governors never make decisions on their own, nor do they act as individuals.

The Full Governing Body Minutes are available to view on request. Please contact the Clerk to the Governors via the school to arrange this.​

Current Governing Body of Sydenham School

Governor Biographies