Hazel Jones Chair of Governors
I became a Foundation Governor back in late 2013 just before my first child was born, roped into the role by a neighbour who was a governor at the time! I was working then as Head of Estates and Facilities at a Further Education college in Hampshire, and was asked to get involved, as my skills in property would help the school, as the Christ Church Centre was shortly due to open. I'm a surveyor by qualification, and spent several years working for large development companies building shopping centres and business parks before my role at the college. Working at the college gave me a good insight into how education works and what Ofsted inspections were really like from the teachers perspective.
I currently have one child at NCC, and had a baby at the start of the pandemic last year, which proved an interesting challenge whilst juggling with home schooling like so many of you! I have taken a break from working in surveying whilst my kids are small, and currently run my wedding and celebration cake business from home. I am the governor link for Health and Safety in the school, and have recently taken on the role of Phonics / Literacy link too - I am so passionate about reading and books, and was such a bookworm as a kid, it seemed a natural fit for me to do this - reading and looking at books with our children is so important! In my spare time (what's that?!) I enjoy reading, baking, musical theatre, drinking (lots of) good coffee, playing badminton and attempting to stay upright on my paddle-board - I love being by the sea.
I have learnt so much being a governor and continue to do so - I am certainly not an expert, but I hope I fulfil the 'critical friend' role for the school in supporting our amazing head teachers and staff, whilst having an insight and say in our children's education.
I feel very lucky and privileged to be part of the NCC family. When I first joined as a parent governor, I had absolutely no clue what the role required. But I liked the school and was determined to use any skills I had, to help the school provide quality education for our kids.
My background is a bit unusual. I started off as a commercial pilot but decided to go back to school to do an MBA and ended up in IT. I mainly focus on Quality Assurance in Digital Project Delivery and work with a geographically diverse team.
I felt my combined experience in a range of fields would be valuable as a governor. Instead, I'm the one who has learnt so much about school improvement as well as the challenges schools face in providing quality education to name a few. As link governor for Special Education Needs and/or Disability, Pupil Premium and Website. I'm especially proud of the provision we have in place for our learners - regardless of their ability even though our resources are hugely limited.
Governors hold strategic responsibilities for the development and improvement of the school and ensure a clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. I must say the amazing work our senior leadership team and indeed all the teaching/support staff put into their roles makes it a very satisfying and rewarding thing to do. I'm constantly in awe of their dedication and hope more people would consider joining us.
When I retired almost two years ago I realised that, apart from the first five years of my life, it had all been spent in education.! Firstly it was as a primary and secondary school child, then at University and Teacher Training College and finally teaching for thirty five years at two wonderful church schools, St Michael's in Bracknell and St John's in East Reading. I feel very lucky to have had such a happy career and was especially honoured when I was asked if I would like to become a governor at New Christchurch..
In my first months of retirement I enjoyed being able to visit New Christchurch during the working day, taking some assemblies, attending sports day, parent workshops, productions, services at church and generally getting to know the staff and children. I was very much welcomed and enjoyed the warm family feel of the school. I was looking forward to more of this but sadly the pandemic struck and visits had to be curtailed to online visits and meetings.
I had also enjoyed the freedom of not working full time and had become involved in the life of my local church, volunteering in several different roles. Following on from my love of history I was also enjoying being a guide at Basildon Park, a local National Trust property. During lockdown I have spent a long time in my garden, managing to transform some areas long neglected and have, with some friends, challenged ourselves to cook new and varied recipes and read different genres of books.
When restrictions are eased more I look forward to visiting school, in person, again and meeting the whole school family and hopefully getting to know some of you better.
The pandemic has really reminded us how important schools are for our children. My own children are grown up, but I have four grandchildren at different primary schools. At school children not only learn basic life skills and knowledge, they have their horizons widened and learn how to learn.
I have been a foundation governor since 2017. Governors work with the senior leaders to set the strategic direction. We are sometimes described as critical friends, but we are above all, friends of the school.
Because I believe education is so very important, schools and education have been part of my life for a long time. After leaving university I did post graduate teacher training. For a couple of years I taught in Nigeria and then worked in the charity sector in adult education before training for ordination. I retired to Reading seven years ago, but before that I was a vicar in South East London. This involved being a governor of a C of E Secondary school. I still help out in local churches and act as a trustee for two small local charities.
When not busy with these or my family I like reading novels, country walks, drinking good coffee, looking at beautiful art and campaigning for action on the climate emergency.
I passionately believe that all children should have access to a first-class education in a local school and will do my best to ensure all pupils receive that in a caring, fair, and inclusive manner. I have previously had several years' experience in Governorship at Secondary School level where I served as a Governor, Head of Curriculum, and for several years as Chair of Governors. I moved from Caversham 18 months ago after spending almost 4 years living and working in China. My son William joined Bonsai class in 2021. I ran a cub pack for 9 years in Hungerford and am now involved with Reading 52nd Scouts. Professionally I am a Marketing Director for a high-tech company designing electronic chips.