Gilbert Knight - Chair Steve Holt - Vice Chair Jenny Gridley - Headteacher Ruth Harding - Acting Head Teacher
Rev Shaun Sanders – Co-opted Governor Barry Evanageli - Co-opted Governor Jackie Silverman - Co-opted Governor Stephanie Cammerman – Co-opted Governor
Moira Newton - Co-opted Governor Cllr. Sachin Rajput - LA Governor Margaret Owen - Parent Governor Sameerah Siddiqui - Parent Governor
Rosemarie Charles - Parent Governor Lindsey Kitchener - Staff Governor


Our Governing Body is responsible for ensuring that our School conforms with the legal guidelines laid down by Parliament and the Local Authority (LA).
Their responsibility is for overall policy. The day-to-day business of organising children’s learning and of managing time, space, staff and resources is for the professional team led by the head teacher.
Together with the professionals in school they share responsibility for:

  • The school’s standards
  • Its value for money
  • Its proper management
  • Its fairness in dealing with its staff and pupils
  • Its communication with parents and the public

The governing body must ensure that in delivering its responsibilities, it promotes and safeguards the welfare of children.
The Governors act through a series of committees. Copies of the Minutes of their meetings are available for all to read in the Family Room. Please ask in the school office.

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Gilbert Knight – Chair of Governors

Gilbert  Knight – Chair of GovernorsI am a Retired Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) - I was an Associate in major international firm of surveyors 1981-1995. I specialised in commercial property management for pension funds, UK and international investors. Department of 45 staff financial control of income in excess £40 million 1995 figures, property value approximately £900 million (1995). I co-wrote Health and Safety manual for Chartered Surveyors. I project managed first computerised Estate Terrier for international corporations incorporating plans and photographs with automatic translation of system, values and areas into either the local or HQ language, currency and imperial or metric.

I am married with two daughters the youngest with Angelman’s Syndrome. I fought and won Tribunal case against Barnet 1998-99. I set up Children’s Action Group to assist other parents with SEN and disability matters with the assistance of Barnet Mencap. I was asked to participate in various committees dealing with disabled young people. I was invited to join with others to form Barnet Voluntary Partnership in 2000 to liaise with senior council officers – I am currently Chairman. I have been a member of the Inclusion Strategy Group since 2003, Transition improvement group since 2006, Choice Board 2007-2012, and various working groups on specific topics.

I have been a School Governor at Oakleigh since 1999, Parent Governor for 2 periods then Community Governor. Chair since 2007/8. I am a Member of the Barnet Schools Forum since 2007 and Chairman for the last 7 years.

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Steve Holt - Vice Chair

Governor Role - School Involvement
I have been involved with the school for a number of years, firstly as a parent in which my son Ben attended the school for 5 years before he passed away in 2008. Steve Holt - Vice ChairMy involvement at this time also resulted in joining the team of governors as a parent governor.

Following this term, it was very important to me to continue supporting the school so I was very pleased to be re-elected as a sponsor governor and now a new title of co-opted Governor. In addition to this role I am also a member of the finance committee and Join orange class in their swimming sessions.

I have worked for Unilever ice cream for 15 years as a regional sales manager, Unilever ice cream are more commonly known as Wall’s ice cream. My role within this business is to work with 3rd party agency field sales to sell ice cream to large independent leisure customers such as theme parks and zoo’s across the UK. Main tasks with in this role are operational priorities, budget control, target setting, training, personnel requirements and performance tracking and monitoring. This has given me the experience and opportunity in working with many different types of people with different needs, requirements and challenges.

Interests and Hobbies
My main interests are spending time with my family which include 2 dogs doing all different activities. Amateur dramatics, Football and Rugby are also big passions in my life. I believe passionately in Oakleigh school and working alongside the teaching staff to ensure that every child enjoys their time at Oakleigh school and every child develops to their full potential.

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Jenny Gridley - Head Teacher

Jenny Gridley - Head Teacher GovernorI have been teaching for 35 years. I have taught in Thanet, Nottinghamshire, Australia and Barnet. I have taken a fairly traditional route from class teacher through middle management to deputy and then headteacher and have always worked with children with special needs. I have had three secondments; two for a year and the other for six months to Barnet Local Authority's Inclusion Departments. Also during my time at Oakleigh I got engaged, married and have 2 lovely children who are now in their twenties. I have been deputy head and headteacher at Oakleigh over the last 28 years.

I am currently working part-time with Ruth Harding, who is job-sharing with me. I am passionate about my role as headteacher at Oakleigh. I surround myself with talented staff all who have a shared vision and focus relentlessly on the achievement and well-being of the children in their care whatever their role. I see parents and carers as true partners in the education of their children.

The school’s 'can do' philosophy helps us all to be creative and flexible and a high commitment to training makes sure we all know what is expected of us and how we can attain the highest standards of achievement and care. I am also a governor at Kisharon School where I hold the Vice-chair position.

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Ruth Harding - Acting Head Teacher

Ruth Harding - Acting Head TeacherI graduated from Trent Polytechnic with a B Ed in teaching with special needs in 1988. I started work in a special school in Liverpool and decided on a big move to London in 1994.

I started work at Oakleigh when they had created a specialist unit for children with Autism. During my career at Oakleigh I moved into middle management and worked for a short time with the specialist team at the Local Authority supporting children with Autism. I have been an Assistant Head managing the Acorn Assessment Centre and from September 2015 have been Acting Head. I have been a Governor since December 2013 and sat on the Finance Committee.

Since becoming the Acting Head I have been more involved in Governance of the school sitting on all committee’s and writing the Heads report to Governors for the Full Governing meetings. I am very passionate and dedicated to the outstanding work Oakleigh does for our children and families.

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Rev Shaun Sanders – Co-opted Governor

Rev Shaun Sanders – Co-opted Governor

I am the minister of Manor Drive Methodist Church which is just around the corner from Oakleigh School and has long-standing links with the school. I am also minister of Methodist churches in East Barnet, High Barnet and Hendon – but not on my own! I share it with another minister and many lay people. It is a privilege that my work brings me into contact with so many different interesting people and community groups.

Previously I have been a minister in Milton Keynes, Hackney and Golders Green. I grew up in Cornwall where I saw how my nephew benefitted from the positive impact of a special school. I therefore want to support a similar school in the community where I now live.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, photography and walking.

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Barry Evangeli - Co-opted Governor

Barry Evangeli - Co-opted  GovernorA former Deputy Mayor and Councillor in the London Borough of Barnet, I have been a Governor at various schools since 2007.

In addition, I was a director of an international music company for 9 years and prior to that CEO of a leading music production and publishing company

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Jackie Silverman - Co-opted Governor

Jackie Silverman - Co-opted GovernorI qualified as a social worker in 1977 and started my career at the Royal Free Hospital, with a particular interest always in working with children and families. Following the arrival of my own children, I worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau in New Barnet, lived in Paris for 3 years and then in 1989, joined Barnet Mencap as Family Support worker to research the needs of families with young children and set up projects for them. I stayed with Barnet Mencap for 24 years! In that time, I set up the Open Door project for under 5s and their families and the Family Support service for parents of over 5s too, becoming the manager of the service but always continuing to work with families directly. I was responsible, as part of the senior management team, for recruitment, budgeting, staff appraisal and supervision etc.

Through my work, I got to know Oakleigh School, the staff and the preschool teaching team very well and Open Door Fun Days were held at the school for many years. The staff has always struck me as a fantastic team of experienced, supportive and positive people who have a really holistic way of working with the children and their families. I have worked with many of the families and they never want to leave Oakleigh! I didn’t hesitate when asked to join the Governing Body as I have always enjoyed my visits into school. I have responsibilities as the Safeguarding governor, for monitoring expenditure of the Pupil Premium and I’m on the Finance and Staffing Committee. I hope I bring to the group a real enthusiasm for all that Oakleigh offers, together with my experience over the years.

I am now working for Barnet SENDIASS (formerly Parent Partnership) so am still very involved and committed to the improvement of provision for children in Barnet and to supporting their parents.

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Stephanie Cammerman - Co-opted Governor

Stephanie Cammerman - Co-opted GovernorI have been a Parent Governor since July 2012. I have three children, my son Sam is in year 5 at Oakleigh with PMLD. I have a BA (hons), MA in English from University of Cambridge (1996) and a MBBS Guy's, King's and St Thomas' London (2003). I have practised in clinical hospital medicine for 12 years in Obstetrics and Gynaecology followed by a move into Pathology. I am currently on career break.

I recently took on the position of Chair of Oops Play scheme at Oakleigh and I am a fundraiser for Foulds School.

I have a strong interest in sport, promoting physical wellbeing and public health. I am a swimmer, SCUBA diver and Middlesex league tennis player. I also speak French and Spanish.

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Moira Newton - Co-opted Governor

Moira Newton - Co-opted GovernorI have been a Co opted Governor since June 2016. By profession I am a Physiotherapist, and I retired in December last year. I worked in the Health Service for nearly 45 years. During my working life I was employed at University College Hospital and Barnet General Hospital. In 1981 I began working at Oakleigh School (at that time it was known as Friern Barnet School ) and worked continuously until my retirement. In those years I saw many changes both in education and the Health Service, and I was very privileged to be part of the Oakleigh Family, and to work alongside so many wonderful and dedicated staff. I feel very passionately about enabling all children to fulfil their potential, and feel very strongly that all therapy is a learning opportunity.

My particular interests are Health and Safety and Continuing School Improvement. I have three grown up children and two beautiful grandchildren. In my spare time, I do voluntary work at the North London Hospice, and The Jewish Museum in Camden Town. Since retiring I have been using my Physiotherapy skills in supporting elderly people at a Care Centre.

I love travelling, and have been very fortunate to visit Oakleigh’s partnership School in Zambia. I enjoy cooking and entertaining. I am a keen theatre goer, and sing in a local choir. Because I was such an integral part of Oakleigh School for so many years, I feel that I can be an effective Governor of Oakleigh School.

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Cllr. Sachin Rajput - Local Authority Governor

Cllr. Sachin Rajput - Local Authority GovernorI have been a school governor at various different schools in the London Borough of Barnet since 2001.

I have been a governor at Oakleigh School for over ten years now and am passionate about serving such a unique, valued and specialised school. Aside from my role as a governor I am also a councillor and a lawyer.

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Margaret Owen - Parent Governor

Margaret Owen - Parent GovernorAfter finishing school with O’levels and CSEs as well as a Diploma in Office Studies, my first job was at UCL as a junior secretary in the Building Department. I was the same age as all the students so felt like a student being paid to do a job I really enjoyed. I worked my way up to Office Manger having responsibility of 3 Admin staff. I then took time out to travel around India. It wasn’t long before I was back in work, this time for a Chemical Consultancy Company as a team secretary, working up to PA to the MD, organising social events and conferences going as far afield as Dubai. I was also HR for the Administration Staff. IBM acquired us some time later and moved us to their South Bank office. Having a very uninteresting role in HR, I took voluntary redundancy and started to help out with my husband’s Commercial Construction Company doing the books and admin work.

I wanted a part-time job in a school and ended up working in my old secondary school, doing a full time job and becoming the Exam Officer, being responsible for all exam entries for the whole school, including all students within the Sixth Form Consortium. After three years, I left to get more involved with my husband’s company and had our son Joe who has now become my full time job.

We love travelling and spend a lot of time in our second home in Spain. I became a Parent Governor at Oakleigh in November 2013 and am also on the Premises and Health and Safety Committee and the PSA at Oakleigh. I also do volunteer work helping with Swimming and Library work. I have assisted in Interviewing and been proactive, taking on tasks within the school. I feel I can give constructive comments to Committee meetings being both a parent and an active member of the Oakleigh team.

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Sameerah Siddiqu - Parent Governor

Sameerah Siddiqu - Parent GovernorAfter leaving University with a BA in Economics and Statistics, I joined KPMG in Abu Dhabi as an Intern Auditor but it was clear even then, that I enjoyed interacting with people more than account books and that was the beginning of a wonderful career that spans just a little under 20 years!

I joined Ziff Davis Middle East, one of the largest IT publishing house in the world as an Account Manager and loved learning about the operations of a new industry and managing clients in over 60 countries in the Middle and Near East. After almost 3 years in the IT domain, I joined The Forbes Group in a similar capacity but once again the environment was more business oriented than technology – and I loved learning something new!

An exciting opportunity with Teradata Corporation as their Northern Europe Marketing and Public Relations Manager not only allowed me to learn something new but to use my skills at managing people with multicultural and multi-ethnic backgrounds to work together as a team and achieve set targets in addition to getting our message across to various media channels, publications and blogs in Northern Europe.

I'm currently a full time mum to my daughter Ariana who is at Acorn and I can honestly say, this is the best job ever!

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Rosemarie Charles - Parent Governor

Rosemarie Charles - Parent GovernorI first trained in administration. Shorthand, typing, commerce, office practice, law and book keeping and worked in the office of a Civil and Structural Engineering Company. I married and had three children, which kept me busy for some time, though I did work on a very part time basis in the Youth Service. When I divorced I went back into full time education to retrain since the thought of working in administration did little to excite me. I was interested in Art and Design, so completed a two year foundation course and then moved lock, stock and barrel, kids and goldfish to London in order to gain a degree at Middlesex University.

On graduating, I won a place to exhibit my work at Interstoff in Frankfurt, which was a trade fair for the fashion, interiors and fabric industry. I sold quite a lot of work so came back home and with two friends set up a design studio. We sold original artwork required by the printers and manufacturers of fabrics for the fashion and interiors markets in Europe, USA and Japan. We attended trade fairs in Frankfurt, Paris and Como and made trips to visit our clients throughout Europe twice per season. We had agents in New York, LA and Osaka in Japan. Before long we represented approximately 30 freelance designers in addition to selling our own designs. In between, I was invited to set projects as a visiting lecturer at Camberwell College of Art, Cleveland College of Art and Loughborough. I was offered a part time lecturer position at degree level at Buckinghamshire University which I held in addition to my design practice. We closed the company in 1995 after the earthquake in Kobe, Japan meant we lost 30 percent of our business. I continued teaching and in addition was offered a post as interior designer to a company who owned several leisure companies such as casinos, holiday villages and restaurants. The company owner was in the process of renovating an Art Deco house which I also designed.

My grandson Ben came to live with me in 2003 when his mum was unable to look after him due to illness. I continued in full time employment until the beginning of 2005 but Ben’s deteriorating health meant that it was no longer viable to continue. I did however continue teaching at Buckinghamshire University for two days a week. Ben’s health continued to deteriorate and he was admitted to intensive care, in 2007 I stopped teaching. Sophie came to live with me in 2007 too so I have been fully occupied with their care. My interest in Art and Design and things creative continues. It is often the case that there is some creative process ‘on the go’ often soft furnishing, upholstery or alterations or even decorate cake making. I have been a Parent Governor at Oakleigh since September 2006 and am also on the PSA and Oops Committee.

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Lindsey Kitchener - Staff Governor

Lindsey Kitchener - Staff GovernorI have worked at Oakleigh School since September 2000, coming straight from school.  From the beginning, I felt the magic of Oakleigh and saw how amazing our children are.  I was promoted from a Level 2 LSA to Level 3 LSA when this first started and have recently been promoted to Level 4.  Since being at Oakleigh I have undertaken 2 modern apprenticeships at NVQ Level 2 and 3. 

I have a passion for Health and Safety and undertook my RoSPA NEBOSH Level 2.  I now support my colleagues with advice in this area and am on the Premises and Health and Safety Committee of the Governing Body.

Apart from Oakleigh, my passions include Arts and Crafts and I am a very keen cross-stitcher.

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Updated: 19th December 2016