Chair: Bryony Poynor

Vice Chair: Deborah Higgins

I have been a part of The Courtyard Governing Body from the start and I have been delighted to be part of the school’s growth and development. As Vice Chair, I am committed to ensuring we continue to deliver an outstanding education and experience to our students, providing them with the support to fulfil their potential.

I am an economist by training and my career has been in banking, management consultancy and more recently working in the ‘not for profit’ sector with The Prince’s Trust. I live in Highbury and have three children and when not working enjoy walking, reading, film, food and friends.

Deborah Shepherd

As the Headteacher of the Courtyard school, I sit on the Governing Body to inform the members and support them in making decisions which best benefit the pupils.

I am passionate about ensuring that all young people have the opportunities to achieve their potential, particularly those who may find the expectations of modern society a little overwhelming.

I am reminded daily of the strength of young people with additional needs and am in constant admiration of their resilience and determination.

When I do not have my Headteacher hat on, I am a mother to three beautiful children. We love to travel, particularly to Italy and South-East Asia, enjoying the culture, food and sights. I also love to bake, aiming to perfect my lemon drizzle recipe.

Finally I enjoy staying active and challenging myself physically, having completed the London Marathon last year and training to run it again this year.

Jo Honigmann

I am a governor of the Courtyard because I believe the school delivers an excellent and much needed innovative model of education, which provides our students with a springboard to achieve their ambitions. It is inspiring to be a part of this nurturing community.

I hope the Courtyard will continue to build on its strengths, work with more young people and encourage similar models to be established in other settings.

When I am not working as a Charity CEO, I love to go to the cinema, run, take photos, cook, travel and ride rollercoasters with my family – the faster and higher the better!

Anna Kay

My name is Anna Kay and I have been a parent governor at The Courtyard since November 2016.

I wanted to be a governor because I am extremely passionate about all children and young people receiving the best possible education.

I have a BA (hons) English Literature and Business Studies, and an MA Marketing Management. My qualifications led me into a professional career in the areas of marketing and recruitment, where I have gained skills and experience I can transfer to make a positive contribution to the governing board of The Courtyard.

One of my favourite pastimes is to immerse myself in the pages of a great book, and I also enjoying going to the theatre.

Having first-hand experience of the positive impact the school has on the students, I sincerely hope The Courtyard continues providing enriching experiences.

In turn, enabling the students to achieve the best possible outcomes in their education, emotionally, socially and most importantly prepared for the future.

Martin Wroe

Martin Wroe is a writer and occasional broadcaster who has lived in the local area throughout his adult life. For many years he worked on national newspapers but is now freelance, allowing him to keep chickens and volunteer as a vicar. He is also a governor at St Mary Magdalene Academy.

Rev. Simon Grigg

My name is Simon Grigg. I’m Rector of St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, sometimes known as the Actors’ Church.

I grew up in Southampton, and studied drama at the University of Warwick. After a brief career in the theatre, I trained for the priesthood and was ordained in 1990.

I have been a governor of six different schools for a total of a rather frightening 27 years! The Courtyard is my first special school, and it is a fascinating learning curve to find out about the challenges and opportunities of this wonderful school.

I have a passion for education, and helping to ensure that every child receives the very best start in life, so that each young person can maximize their potential.

I was also Chair of the Education Committee of the London Diocesan Board for Schools for 15 years, and am now a Trustee of the LDBS Academies Trust.

Outside of work I enjoy politics, theatre and the gym. I also have a subscription to a Boris bike!

Hayley Scanlon

My name is Hayley Scanlon and I am a governor at the Courtyard School.

I have chosen to be a governor in order to positively influence the quality of children’s education and help to continue to make the Courtyard an excellent place to learn.

I am currently employed as a Facilities Account Manager responsible for mobilising all of my companies new facilities management accounts throughout the UK.

I completed my Scottish Standard grades and Highers in Glasgow and attended the University of Strathclyde where I achieved a 2:1 in Business Management (specialising in marketing). My education was essential in allowing me to forge a successful career in management and I have continued my learning into my adult years where I am now currently studying for my RICS accreditation.

Outside of work, I am a keen cyclist and enjoy spending time with my friends.

I hope that together we can continue to achieve excellent school standards at the Courtyard, help the school to achieve its aims and invest in the learning and development of our children.

Susan Miller-Jones

I am delighted to be a Governor at the Courtyard.

Investment in all children matters to me, which means the work at the Courtyard is of extra special appeal.

I am a human resources professional which, given the ever changing world, is something I have to be tenacious to stay current in my learning and understanding. It has also taught me that the best learning needs to be sought out.

Out of work, I love the theatre, film, travelling and time with my family.

My dream for the Courtyard is that it acts as an exemplar for other schools and is seen as the ‘go to’ place for great ideas.

Patricia East

My academic background is in child and adolescent psychology. My professional experience is in the field of teacher education, specifically, the delivery of BEd and PGCE qualifications, with special reference to multicultural theory and practice in primary and secondary schools. This involved supervising student teachers in Inner London classrooms.

I have convened a government-funded nationwide project on raising the achievement of disadvantaged groups. I have also been a member of the Governing Body of a University.

I have two daughters, one is an advocate with Mind and the other chairs the board of governors of a school for autistic pupils in the West Country. In my spare time, I love gardening, theatre, and travel.

As a new member of the Courtyard Board, I am delighted to be involved in the important work of the School and its future development.

Fiona Matthews

I am delighted to be a governor at the Courtyard school having both a personal and professional interest in young people’s education and well being particularly within special needs education.

As a teacher in the special needs sector myself, I feel very passionate about ensuring a good start in life for all young people. I live in Islington and felt strongly that I wanted to be more involved in education within the borough.

This is my first governor position and I am really enjoying being part of such an active governing body. In my spare time I love to sew, knit, bake and travel with my family.

Jen Gallagher

I was invited to join the Courtyard's board of governors after spending time in the school as their CAMHS clinician. I am a clinical psychologist in Islington Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and I specialise in working with young people with autism spectrum conditions. I have been privileged to be involved in the development of the CAMHS role within the school and to watch the school grow and change.

I am passionate about supporting schools to provide emotional support and education to young people and their families. I am keen for the Courtyard to make best use of their external professionals to support the well-being and knowledge of their staff so that they can provide specialist support to the students and their families in this area and hope to support this in my role as governor. I feel that children must be physically and emotionally well in order to be able to access education and reach their potential.

Outside of work I love to read, dance and cycle. I have a young son and enjoy spending time with my family and cooking. I live and work in North London and try to contribute to my local community and bring kindness and compassion to my neighbours.

Fajri Aitken

I am the Staff Governor and the Lead Maths teacher at The Courtyard.

I have 10 years’ experience in the education and childcare sector and I bring plenty of knowledge and varied experiences which will help me to contribute positively in the role of Courtyard Staff Governor. My passion for working with SEN children started at the age of 16 as a one to one play-worker, which steered me to building a career within this environment and led me to my current role.

I am an individual who is always looking for new challenges to further improve myself and I also believe my personal experience has shaped my character personally and professionally. I grew up in inner city Jakarta, until the age of 12, where I developed my firm morals through traditional Indonesian teaching and communal upbringing. I then moved to England where I had to adapt to a new culture and language, as well as a new education system.

When I don’t wear my flamboyant Mr Aitken teacher persona, I am an active individual who enjoys bike rides with my beloved dog Monty as well as relaxing with a great movie.

St Mary Magdalene Church Gardens
Holloway Road
N7 8LT

Tel: 0203 859 6350

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy