Meet the Governors
At Willowdown, we have a supportive governing body, who strive to work hand in hand with the school to assist in raising standards. They play a key role in developing and supporting the school. In order to do this effectively, they meet regularly to discuss every aspect of school development and improvement; with them they bring a wide range of skills and experience! These are the people who are currently on our board of governors.
Chair of Governors: Mrs Kate Bown
Clerk to Governors: Mrs Helen Roper
My professional background is in nursing & midwifery, having worked in Nottingham & Birmingham, where I did my training.
I’ve worked abroad for 18 years, first in Senegal, West Africa & then, in Pakistan, after Paul & I got married.
When we returned to the UK in 2008, both of our children started at Westover Green primary school & I became a parent governor there the next year. I am still on the governing body at that school & have also been a governor at Northgate School for the last 2 years. Both of the children went on to Chilton Trinity school & now Lydia is in her 3rd year of biology studies at Southampton university, our son Chris is in his second year of A level studies at Strode college in Street.
I do hope that, by joining the governing body, I can support the Head Teacher & all school staff to take the school on even further forward & continue to give the pupils many & varied opportunities to learn & grow as young people.
Ro O’Reilly - Headteacher of Willowdown Primary School
My name is Rosanna O'Reilly and I am the Head teacher of Willowdown Primary. I grew up in North Newton, Studied for my BEd Primary with Art & Music in the Midlands and have taught in Bridgwater since then. My experience spans Reception to Year 6, but the majority of my experience is in Years 1 and 6. I taught at St. Mary's in Bridgwater, Cannington and then had my first Headship at Nether Stowey. I am a keen believer in supporting Social & Emotional Mental Health in my school community. It is my role to ensure every pupil achieves to the very best of his / her ability and has opportunities in all areas of the curriculum which inspire them to feel great about themselves and their abilities. I am incredibly proud to be the leader of Willowdown Primary and I intend to lead it in offering the very best learning experience for all pupils and staff. I live in Bridgwater with my son William who is eight years old. We love to travel, go to the cinema and spend time with family. In my spare time I love to run, draw and do charity work.
Leigh Redman is a life-long Bridgwater resident, now living in Hamp with his wife Tracey. After attending Sydenham School, Leigh worked as a Retained Fire-fighter for over twenty years as well as holding down a fulltime career as a Contracts manager. Following a serious accident he was forced to retire from the fire service and became a local councillor helping and supporting the Bridgwater community.
Leigh has served as a County Councillor for 4 years & chairs the Children and families scrutiny committee, he sits on the corporate parents board and is a volunteer for the in care council, he is a passionate advocate for young people.
He says ‘volunteering as a governor for such a wonderful school is a great opportunity and one I am loving, Willowdown is full of such wonderful children and staff.
Denise Rogers – Staff Governor
I have recently joined Wiilowdown Primary Academy as the Finance & HR Administrator having previously, worked for Birchfield Primary School in Yeovil as the Finance Manager. I started my career at Barclays Bank, Bridgwater in 1987 and moved around Somerset as a Branch Manager, until moving to Bristol in 2005 as a Relationship Support Manager in Corporate Banking. In 2011 I took voluntary redundancy and then made the decision to study School Business Management at the National College gaining my Diploma in Business Management in 2013. I live in a small village on the outskirts of Bridgwater and play an active part in the local community organising village events, fitness classes and fund raising. In my spare time, I enjoy running and participate in the Burnham on Sea Parkrun most weeks. I have previously been a Community Governor at Blackbrook Primary School in Taunton and very much enjoyed being involved with school life. I am looking forward to this new role, as Staff Governor and working with the rest of the Governing Board.
I moved to Somerset from Yorkshire in 1992 to take up a post with SSEN (Avon) in Bristol.
I had previously worked at the Yorkshire Residential School and College for the Deaf in Doncaster as a Tutor, Employment Liaison Officer and Co-ordinator for Pre-Voc. Foundation Programmes – all with Deaf/deaf children and young adults.
With changes in funding for post-16 students, I was seconded to the City of Bristol College (then Brunel) and set up and managed the Centre for Deaf Students.
After structural changes I moved to Elmfield School for Deaf Children in Westbury on Trym for three years. Then a stint at Strode College working with SENSE students and teaching Sign Language and Deaf Awareness.
I then spent three very rewarding years at Elmwood Special School in Bridgwater.
One of my most rewarding roles was as Learning Mentor and tutor at Brymore School, now Brymore Academy for about seven years.
Then finally, onto Mark College working in the 6th form and the boarding houses.for five years.
In 2019 I was fortunate to be able to go over to Bridgwater’s twin town Priverno in Italy and spend ten days teaching in the high school there.
I am learning Italian, I do Family History Research, I love cooking and baking, current affairs and reading.
I am very happy to be able to use the knowledge and skills I have gained in over 40 years in education as a governor, supporting the Head in this excellent school.
My name is Deji King. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK in 2009. I speak English, French and Yoruba, having lived and worked as an Engineer in Nigeria, France and the UK.
My current role is the creation of teams and processes that will operate and maintain an electricity generating power station.
I live in Bridgwater with Toyin my wife and our 2 children who attended nursery at Willowdown. The kids are currently in primary school at Bridgwater College Academy.
As part of the governing body, I look forward to supporting staff in providing excellent education to pupils. I believe that individuals are uniquely gifted and am passionate about helping people develop for the benefit of wider society.
For leisure, I enjoy road cycling, listening to music and reading.
I retired for the third time in 2018 after my last career as a Cyber Security Consultant.
I see myself as a family man and I have lived in or near Bridgwater since 1974. My children went through Somerset schools, and my grandson is now enjoying his time at a Somerset School. My wife had a long teaching career, and my daughter is currently in the profession.
I am a volunteer for Citizens Advice Sedgemoor; my role is as the Research and Campaigns lead, talking to MPs, Local Authorities and sometimes to local businesses and landlords to represent the interests of clients. Among other campaigns, I worked on Literacy as a factor in Deprivation, and Homelessness.
I have a wide range of interests and I hope to publish a book on Somerset history in the next few months.
Education in all its aspects has been central to my working life. I originally trained as a Chemistry teacher and in too many years than I care to mention, I have taught in various parts of the UK as well as abroad. I have also worked as an in-service teacher trainer, an education project manager, an adviser and the executive officer for the Somerset Governors’ Group. Becoming clerk to the governors seemed a natural progression and I have to confess provides me with an interesting view from “the other side” as I'm also a governor in a junior school in another part of the county.