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Claremont Special

Governor Profiles

Sarah Ball

Role on Governing Body:  Co-opted Governor since October 2019.

Background:  I am married and have two adult children. I enjoy hiking, table tennis, art and poetry.

Education and Employment: I came to Bristol University in 1972 and have stayed in this city, which I love. After University I qualified as a social worker and have worked in Children’s Services, both for the local authority and also for a charity which supported homeless families.  

Particular Interest in Governing BodyI am the Named Governor for Children-in-care and for children benefiting from targeted funding

Relevant experience:  I have spent much of my social work career supporting children with special needs and their families.

Kristy Bowers

Role on Governing Body:  Co-opted Governor since May 2022

Helen Bryer

Role on Governing Body:  Co-opted Governor since September 2021.

Background:  I'm a civil servant at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and have lived and worked overseas including in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Zambia. I am married, with two young children. We recently moved to Bristol and are really enjoying getting outside and exploring the local area.

Education and Employment:  I work in the sexual reproductive health and rights team at the FCDO - I've worked in the FCDO and previously the Department for International Development (DFID) for over a decade. I recently spent two years working for an NGO called Restless Development, which works with young people in Zambia. 

Particular Interest in Governing Body:  As a new governor I am focused on learning as much as I can about the school, the students and teachers and how the Governing Body works. I have a particular interest in safeguarding. 

Relevant experience:  I have experience in shaping policy and strategy as a civil servant, as well as experience of building an effective governing body through my work with NGOs.  I'm looking forward to learning more as I settle into being part of the team at Claremont.                                             


 Mark Dillon 

Role on Governing Body: Co-opted Governor

Background: I have been a qualified and practising solicitor for over twenty years and during that time have worked in the City; in Local and Central Government and in Commerce and Industry. Currently I work in Bristol's Defence Sector. 

Before becoming a solicitor, I worked in sales marketing, public relations. and as a teacher and I like to think that those experiences beyond the law have made me more interested in the generic, problem-solving skills which a legal training can give rather than just the law itself. 

Education and employment: I went to school in Nottingham, University at Cambridge and Leeds and to the College of Law in York

Interests/hobbies: I love the Great Outdoors (cross country and fell running, 'cycling, hiking, climbing); history of all types (but particularly local history), politics and- above all- a good conversation!

Particular interest in Governing Body: Governance and the School's planned Building Programme.

Relevant Experience: Each of my roles over the last 15 years or so has involved a lot of governance work- basically trying to make the organisation work more effectively and make decisions in a coherent, informed and transparent manner.

I am also a Governor at Whitehall Primary School Bristol where I sit on the Finance and Health and Safety Committees.

Joined October 2019

Ellen Hogan

Background: I have been married for over 25 years and have 2 children, the youngest of whom has severe learning difficulties. I came to Bristol as a University student, met my future husband, and never left.

Education and employment: I am a qualified accountant with over twenty years experience in various industries ranging from nuclear manufacturing and asphalt production to my current role in a family owned Bristol wholesale company. I have a degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Bristol.

Particular Interest in Governing Body:

As a relatively new governor I am on a steep learning curve, but my particular interest is definitely finances. 

Relevant experience:

Years of accounting work and also the experience of dealing with Bristol City Council as a parent of a SEN child and what that entails in the home life means that I feel I have a balanced point of view for a school like Claremont. 


I love to cook (and eat!) and like to experiment with different techniques, especially where outdoor cooking is concerned. I am also a passionate needlecrafter and do knitting, crochet, quilting, although my true passions are cross-stitch and Japanese embroidery.

Elizabeth Jahn 

Role on Governing Body: Clerk to the Governors



Charlie McCall

Role on Governing Body: Parent Governor

Background: I am married with two young children (our oldest will be starting school Sept 2020).  I moved to Bristol in 2011 after living and working in London for years.  We love walking, running, and being in the mountains. Family disco time is also important in our house.

Education and Employment: I went to school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  I did both my Physiotherapy and MSc degrees in East London.  I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2001.  I worked in the NHS in large teaching hospitals for 7 years and have worked in private practice since specialising in musculoskeletal physiotherapy.  I have also worked within sport including attending two World University Games with Team GBR and being Chief Physiotherapy Officer for the School Games since 2014.

Particular interest in Governing Body: I am on the Safeguarding & well-being and Learning & Curriculum committees

Relevant experience: Early on in my NHS work I started training as a Paediatric Physiotherapist before switching to MSK.  During this time, I was a visiting Physiotherapist to special schools and community services in south London. I am about to embark on the school journey with my own children so have a keen interest in what is happening within education.

Samantha Paice

Role on Governing Body: Staff Governor since March 2022.




Emma Richards

Role on Governing Body: Head teacher, since September 2018

Background:  I am married with 4 teenage children.  We live in a village near Stroud, Gloucestershire.  I like to spend free time with my family, pets and friends, and getting outdoors when possible, into the Cotswold countryside. 

Education and employment:  I come from Chepstow, and went to Bath for university (Single Honours History degree) and then UWE for my PGCE (Secondary History).  I worked in mainstream Secondary Schools in Bristol and Bath until 1999 when I started working in a SEND school in Stroud.  I have worked within SEND since then, in a range of different settings, with a range of different student needs. 

Particular interest in Governing Body:  I am on all our committees.

Relevant Experience: Teaching experience of 23 years, SEND Education background of 21 years, previous experience as staff governor at a SEND school for 5 years, member of playgroup committee for 2 years, trustee member of local charity for 7 years. 

Graham Symonds

Role on Governing Body: Co-opted Governor since December 2019

Background:  Married, with two sons, and two grand-children. We moved to Bristol in Summer 2019. I enjoy keeping active, particularly outdoors, and being with family and friends.

Education and employment:  I went to school in Reading and to Leeds University.  Throughout my working life I worked for local authorities in a variety of departments and roles. My most recent experience has been in education, children and family teams in local authorities in the south east of England.  I retired from paid work in April 2019.  

Particular interest in Governing BodyI have been Chair of the Governing Body since March 2020. I am on all our committees.

Relevant Experience: Education context; previous parent governor at my children's schools and roles on various management committees; working as part of teams; budget and staffing management.

Joined late 2019

Barry Trahar

Role on Governing Body:  Local Authority Governor, appointed by Bristol City Council

Personal Details:  Australian by birth, now of joint British/Australian nationality.  I have lived in the UK since 1975 and in Bristol since 1978

Background:  Educated in Australia and have a Diploma in Catering & Hotel Management. I am a fellow of the UK’s Institute of Hospitality. I was responsible for the management of the University of Bristol’s catering and residential services (13 departments) until my retirement in 2010.  I am a Magistrate, sitting in both the Criminal and Family Courts.

Interests/hobbies:  Travel, walking, politics, theatre, wine & food, voluntary work.  I am also a Governor at Redland Green School.

Particular interest in Governing Body:  Resources Committee - Finance, staffing and site matters

 Relevant Experience:  As an LEA approved governor, my appointment was by political party (the Labour Party) and so not for any educational experience, but my 28 years at the University gave me a significant understanding of the broad political aspects relating to education.

 My most relevant experience in respect of Claremont relates to financial, budgetary and staff management, as I manage a multi-million-pound budget at the University and had responsibility for approximately 600 staff.

Parent Governor - vacancy 

Co-opted Governor - vacancy