Find out more about our Governing Board
We are lucky to have such a varied and diverse group of Governors. They bring different experiences to Bracken Edge and as part of our leadership team they offer support and challenge to ensure our school is effective and all of our children get the best deal.
Sue Monypenny (Co-opted Governor)
I have lived locally for over 30 years and love the area for the sense of community and cultural diversity it offers. Not forgetting the green spaces and coffee shops.
I have worked in a range of senior leadership roles in education for the last 20 years, prior to that I taught in Leeds. I hope the knowledge, skills and experiences I have gained enable me to be an effective member of the governing body at Bracken Edge Primary. I worked with Leeds City Council as a Literacy Consultant moving onto a leadership position within the Primary Leadership Team. I then moved on to work for a national organisation as the Regional Adviser for Yorkshire and Humberside, a fascinating role developing early language and reading across schools in 15 very different local authorities.
More recently I have worked with Doncaster Council before moving back to freelance work in September 2018. My work with Doncaster included being an adviser to a group of schools, leading on primary assessment and developing a successful borough wide Reading Strategy to improve primary outcomes. I currently work with the Teaching School Alliance and Doncaster Research School leading on literacy projects.
My passion and expertise lie in developing reading – a critical skill for children to master alongside a love of reading in order to unlock their full potential. As a governor I hope to contribute to improving children’s experiences in making school a happy and safe place in which they can enjoy learning.
Cllr Jane Dowson (Local Authority Governor)
As a local councillor it is my job to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Great opportunities for our children only exist if we have world class education.
I put my name forward to become the LA governor at Bracken Edge and was very happy to be given that role. I wanted to come to this school because of its ethos of inclusivity and of being outward facing toward the community.
Being a governor is a very strategic role where you use evidence to make sure the children receive the best education. I love looking at the progress children make at the school and how they also have improved confidence.
Bracken Edge has a great history, and it is fantastic Gertrude Paul has a wonderful Civic Trust Blue Plaque commemorating her contribution to the school and the local residents. It conveys to me how inclusive the school is making sure every child has the best start.
My vision is that Bracken Edge is a place where children love to come and instils in them a love for learning.
Ben Dalton (Parent Governor)
Hi I'm Ben. My daughter Mila is in year 1 at Bracken Edge. At Leeds Beckett University where I research and teach design, games and creative technology, I have learned to listen to and support my students and colleagues, and to question and reflect on my own assumptions. My duties in my job have included representing the university to international partners, managing funded research projects, and sitting on the ethics and equality committees, among others. I grew up in London and trained in design and experimental physics in Leeds, before studying at MIT university in the USA and completing a PhD in communication design at the Royal College of Art in London.
I first discovered Bracken Edge when I moved to Chapeltown, before I was a parent, one day when I was looking for the blue plaque for Gertrude Maretta Paul. When my daughter was old enough to join reception we were looking for a school with a culture and setting that would suit her inquisitive and friendly nature. Bracken Edge stood out as a lovely school full of great people, with a long and excellent history of making a difference in Chapeltown and in Leeds. I know friends whose parents taught at the school long ago, and others who did projects with the school as artists over the years. It’s a school with a rich history and a long and varied life ahead of it.
There are so many valuable ways to be involved in the school, from class projects, to parent-teacher association activities, to being part of the governing board. For me, the governor role has offered a chance to learn about lots of aspects of the school, and to contribute to the direction of Bracken Edge and ensure accountability. I’ve also learnt a lot about the way education is shaped, both by the passions of those in the school, and by national regulatory bodies and policy.
Your thoughts about Bracken Edge:
I think our school has an excellent and caring culture that we have a duty to protect, sustain and enrich. Our children, and the teachers and support staff they meet every day, bring a rich breadth of skills and voices that make the school such a resilient, joyous and constructive place. They are brilliant at playing, thinking, and caring for one another.
What you believe the school vision to be:
Sustaining space for creativity and empathy are core principles I value most in our school, and I see strength in how we reach out as a school, and community of parents, to mutually support other local schools and wider educational networks.
I take inspiration from the history of our school and the celebrated head Gertrude Paul. As her daughter Heather Paul puts it "My mother believed in equality for all in education and she said in order to make society more equal you had to be deliberate and kind with your strategies and not be afraid of the changes. … her legacy in education is about working beyond the school gate and creating relationships within diverse communities … working in partnership with parents and children to dispel myths around certain communities and support the development of all children to achieve … developing young people and fighting for social justice across a range of issues”.
The hobbies bit of my life seems to mostly be taken up with the joys and exhaustion of parenting and working recently. But I take pleasure in moments of self-care while cooking, reading, cycling around the city, walking in our park, watching weird internet videos on niche subjects, and taking as many long hot baths with an audio book as I can get away with justifying to myself.
Jane Howarth (Clerk)
My name is Jane Howarth and I am employed by Leeds City Council’s Children Services as a Clerk to the Governing Bodies of twelve primary schools in Leeds, including Bracken Edge.
I came to Leeds in 1975 to study at the University of Leeds, gaining a degree in Geography in 1978, and more recently in Music (Jazz studies).
I have lived in Leeds ever since and both my children went to local schools. My daughter even went to Bracken Edge in the 1990s!
I worked for many years for Leeds Music Service and delivered a music project at Bracken Edge!
My job in school is to support the Chair of Governors and Headteacher by arranging full governing body and committee meetings across the year. I draw up the agenda, make sure governors have all the relevant documents, attend and take notes at the meetings, then send completed minutes to all governors.
I love living in Leeds. As I have two big dogs I love to walk in and around the city every day, going further afield at weekends.
Caroline Carr Headteacher
I was born in Leeds and grew up always with the dream of being a teacher. This came true when I qualified as a teacher and started out my career teaching in Leeds. After a while I then lived and worked in Bradford for 10 years as a Deputy Head and then a Headteacher. I returned to Leeds in 2017 to be Headteacher of Greenmount Primary School in Beeston Leeds 11. I loved the magic of Greenmount, the energy, enthusiasm and diversity of the school and community. I love meeting past pupils who tell me what they are doing now and knowing I have been a part of that. I was asked to come over to Bracken Edge in Summer term 2020 and lead in both schools. During this time I fell in love with Bracken Edge and applied for the position when it was advertised and was successfully appointed in March 2021. On June 1st 2021 I left Greenmount and am now at Bracken Edge full time. Bracken Edge really is special with so much potential and I am looking forward to leading it through its next chapter.
As an ex-officio Governor (the role comes with the job) it is my responsibility to give the Governors lots of information about school and to encourage and invite them into school to see for themselves what we are up doing. I am very proud of all of our children and staff and really relish this opportunity to ensure we are providing the very best.
Bracken Edge has so much to offer and we are so lucky to have such a diverse group of pupils and staff with some wonderful facilities. We are developing our woodland space and outside areas with community groups and it is wonderful to see this progress being made. Children only get one chance at an education and it is my job to ensure it is the very best and they reach their potential.
This last year has been challenging with Covid-19 putting the brakes on our usual activity. Under normal circumstances I love shopping, reading and swimming. My special treat is having a spa day when I can relax and have some time to myself.
Emily Nelson-Co-opted Governor
I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales not far from Harrogate, and as a child did drama in Leeds, as well as the occasional (and very appreciated) trip to the theatre here. I live in York, but I have worked at Leeds Museums and Galleries since 2017 as Learning and Access Officer, firstly at Lotherton Hall and then at the Leeds Discovery Centre. Prior to this, I worked in a Community Development role at Scarborough Museums Trust, and on a widening participation schools project at an FE and HE provision in York. I have an MA in Medieval Studies (niche, I know), and am absolutely passionate about history, creative education, and access and inclusion. As part of my job, I work with primary schools across the city through our membership scheme, delivering sessions and loaning museum objects into their classrooms, but also delivering CPD across a variety of topics and working with schools on topic and curriculum planning and resourcing. I also deliver curriculum consultancy to primary schools in Leeds through Leeds Museums and Galleries, and really enjoy curriculum planning. I really believe in the value of embedding local history, and the locality and community, through the curriculum, and there is so much opportunity to do this around Bracken Edge and Chapeltown.
I began working with Bracken Edge on their curriculum last summer, and have continued to do so throughout this academic year, and the pandemic. I have also supported teaching and learning in school through the Leeds Museums membership scheme. I’ve loved working with the staff, and have been blown away by the amazing resources the school has at its fingertips – the woodland, art studio and kiln to name just a few. The diverse nature of the school also creates so many opportunities, and the school really embraces this. I hope to be able to support Bracken Edge to build and implement a bespoke, diverse and locally rooted curriculum that really represents the vision that the school has for its pupils.
In my spare time, I love to read fiction and play tennis. I live with a border collie called Juno (named after the Roman goddess of course) who we rescued from the RSPCA two years ago. I also enjoy walking, cooking, watching films and cookery programmes, and spending time with friends and family, which I have really missed during the last year.
Dom Egan (Parent Governor)
I’m a parent governor with two children (Jasper and Mabli) attending the school. I run my own business from home offering proofreading, transcription and other editorial services as well as being the primary carer, but I’ve worked in a wide range of fields like community arts, retail management and customer service. Originally(ish) from Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, I’ve been living with my family in Leeds since April Fools’ Day 2014.
We chose Bracken Edge as parents because it was our local school with a lovely, happy community feel, because of its excellent location by Potternewton Park, its green spaces within the grounds and other facilities (garden, woodland, chicken coop, kiln for pottery, etc.), and because of the inclusive philosophy that the school stands for. I like to get involved in my community and so I put myself forward for election as parent governor two years ago. It’s hard work at times but I enjoy working to try and secure the best outcomes for all our students.
I like to get involved in the community and being a governor has certainly allowed to learn a huge amount about how schools work and what is expected of teachers and students. I feel that I do something to try and make the lives of our students, teachers and support staff a little easier, and I feel privileged that I can look around the school during visits and watch the children enjoy their learning and see the work they’ve produced on the walls. And when we come in for meetings, there are biscuits!
We’re lucky at Bracken Edge to welcome students and staff from a wide range of backgrounds and identities (socially, religiously, geographically) as it gives us such a rich cultural mix in the school’s daily life. It can present some challenges, especially as the school is determined to include and support the local community as fully as it can, but I’m a firm believer that a diverse and inclusive community is a strong and healthy one. The best way to tackle the difficulties our community faces is to work together and that is what I see the school and the wider community doing every day. The school is also in a beautiful setting beside the park and with its green spaces and I want parents to see how great a school so that they are as excited to send their own children here as we were.
I want every student and everyone who works at Bracken Edge to feel happy and secure during their daily lives and to achieve the best possible outcomes. This means more than students working hard to achieve great results in tests but also students working hard to improve their English-language and other skills, working hard to help others in their community and looking back on their time at Bracken Edge to see how much they’ve learnt and how resilient they have become. The school must be inclusive of all, welcoming members of marginalised and vulnerable groups into the heart of school life. The school will also make the most of the green space it enjoys in order to promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles.
Having a family and being self-employed has robbed me of much of my free time, but I love writing (I keep chipping away at the novel that’s in me somewhere), I love music (having been in a band in Manchester for a few years) and I love going to the cinema (Marvel films being my favourite at the moment). I’m always interested in language, history and ideas about how the world might appear differently, and I like to let my creative side out to smell the roses every now and then.
Julia Shemilt (Chair of Governors-Co-opted)
I worked at Education Leeds and then Leeds City Council for 18 years and prior to that I was a finance officer in a Leeds High School . I lived in Harehills for twenty five years and my daughter went to Bracken Edge. I have since retired and downsized to another area of Leeds. I have been Chair of Governors at Harehills PS for ten years and joined Bracken Edge as Chair in September 2020.
What brought you to Bracken Edge:
I was asked by the local authority to take over as Chair at Bracken Edge which I readily agreed to as I have an attachment to school.
What you like about being a Governor:
I have a lot of knowledge, skills and experience which I want to put to good use especially now that I have time to give. Education has always been my passion and as a governor you get to see schools thrive . I am still learning!
Your thoughts about Bracken Edge:
Bracken Edge, like all schools, is embracing the changes that occur in education and we have a will to succeed. There will always be challenges to face but with the right people in place and good support we can achieve success.
What you believe the school vision to be:
Our school community prides itself on its sense of social responsibility and respect for all our children, parents, staff and volunteers. We aspire to develop happy, secure children in a nurturing, stimulating and creative environment where learning is exciting and challenging. We want our children to enjoy their time in school and develop a love of learning which will carry them through life. We believe all children have skills, interests and talents and it is our responsibility to identify and develop these skills to achieve success.
We value the fact that our children come from varied backgrounds and are of different races and religions and consider this makes us a privileged community. The outdoor environment and situation of the school provides us with a unique environment in order to stimulate creativity and encourage.