Meet the Governors

Welcome to the Local Governing Board  
Carole O'Donnell

Chair of Governor and FRP committee

I have had connections with Coaley CofE Academy for over 50 years. I attended the school and all three of my children have also. I have previously run after school clubs and was chair of the PTA years ago.
I am and always have been a regular churchgoer and am a member of the Parochial Church Council at St Bartholomew’s, Lay Chair of Wotton Deanery Synod and Lay Chair of Gloucestershire Diocesan Synod.
I have now retired for working in the nuclear industry for over 21 years. I have experience in governance, processes & procedures, safeguarding and management.
I am also the County Commissioner for Gloucestershire Scouting, overseeing 5000+ young people and 2000+ adult volunteers. Safeguarding, health and safety, communications and training are my focus in this role. Working alongside the school curriculum Scouting helps to provide young people with skills for life.
I am interested in moving Coaley Academy forward and looking at it’s future development whilst still maintaining the family feel and allowing all who are part of our school to flourish and grow.
Carole holds the responsibility of safeguarding and looked after children governor. She is the current chair of governors and sits on the Finance, Resource and Property committee.

Miss Jen Thomas

Head Teacher

My name is Jen Thomas and I became Headteacher of Coaley in January 2024. I love my job; working with children and being a Headteacher is such a privilege. Being able to improve children’s lives and make a difference is what makes my job so special and being a part of the school’s journey is very exciting. In my spare time, I love reading, doing arts and crafts and I can often be found browsing the shelves in Hobbycraft!

Mr Kenneth Hitchings

Ex-officio Governor

I was born and bred in Dursley and have always lived locally. I have spent most of my working life as a photographer working for both newspapers and as a wedding photographer. For many years I owned a photographic studio in Dursley. I now live in Cam and have two grown up children, both married. My daughter lives in Coaley and has two children who both attend Coaley Academy. My other son lives in Nottinghamshire and also has two children.

I am a Diocesan Reader at St. George’s Church, Cam, and have been involved with many local activities. I have been chairman of Dursley Cricket Club, Dursley Operatic and Dramatic Society and founder member and Chairman/Trustee of Kingshill House Arts Centre. I joined Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon twenty years ago and served for ten years as their CEO. I also served as a Director/Trustee of the Relate National Charity.

I am so proud to be a Governor of Coaley Academy. It is an inspiring place to learn with totally dedicated staff and fantastic children. I hope to play a small part in the future growth and success of the school.

Ken is the Vice Chair of the Governing Board, holds the responsibility of Special Educational Needs governor and sits on both the FRP and S&E committees.

Miss Jenny Rose Rance

Staff Governor

I currently teach in Starlings (Years 2 and 3) as well as being the lead teacher for Reading, Science, P.E. and Spanish. I am also the Staff Governor, and the parent of a reception child at Coaley.
I moved to the Costa Del Sol in Spain at the age of 4, during my time there I learnt fluent Spanish and discovered my love of other cultures. I returned to the UK to get my BA In Primary Teacher Education from Oxford Brookes University. Since then I have taught for six years from Early Years to Year 4, I also teach Spanish and P.E. to all of Key Stage 2. Coaley is such a wonderful school which gives the children so many opportunities so when it came to my daughters school place, I knew that it was where I wanted my daughter to begin her education. I enjoy traveling around Europe and curling up on the sofa to read a book or watch a TV Show.

Jenny Rose is a member of the E&S committee.

Mrs Anne Cheshire

Co-Opted Governor

I moved to Gloucestershire from Leeds in 1980 and have subsequently lived in Coaley since 1981. Here we raised our son who attended Coaley school. During his early years I became a registered childminder and also a childminder coordinator for Stroud until 1986 when I returned to work. I also helped run the brownie pack in Coaley for a number of years.
Whilst my son became involved in football I became an avid supporter and ultimately Chairman of Everside youth football. I was also the first Child Protection Officer for Stroud Youth League.
The majority of my working careers has been in finance roles most recently Commercial and Treasury Manager for a local manufacturer and then Finance Manager for a telecommunications company.
I have always supported Coaley school and I am very keen to be involved in the development and progress of the school.

Anne is the Chair for the FRP committee.

Mrs Heather Arnold

Co-Opted Governor

I have been a member of FCIA's Governing Body since 2014 which included the transition to being part of the DGAT family.

I am also a governor at Field Court Infants School which is another DGAT school and I find that I am able to share the skills I learn with both schools.

I have completed a degree in Business Studies with The Open University, combining work with studying. I have also held a number of roles at work ranging from finance, recruitment and onboarding to working as an administrator with the Defence Intellectual Property Rights team.

What do I bring to FCIA? Passion, experience and the ability to ask awkward questions!

Mrs Nicky Oates

Clerk of Governors

Mr Phil Greenow

Parent Governor

Coaley CofE Primary Academy is an extraordinary school. Over the last five months our family has felt truly welcomed, supported, and cared for. Our daughter is always excited when we drop her off, and when we collect her, she's briming with enthusiasm. That is why I am applying for the role of Parent Governor - this is an opportunity to use my passion and experience, to give back and to support our school community in a meaningful way.
I was a primary school teacher for eight years, working in a DGAT school for four of those years. I've taught in KS1 & 2, teaching children from age 5 to 9. So, I am familiar with the system, the curriculum, the expectations, and many of the pressures that the children and staff experience in our school. My hope is that as a parent governor, this perspective will help me to steward wisely, scrutinise closely, and support sensitively.
The primary school I attended was a village school like Coaley. I have such fond memories of the school, my teachers, and the opportunities it afforded me. One of my proudest moments was when, almost eleven years later, I joined the staff team as a behaviour support worker. I eventually went on to become a teaching assistant and it was the headteacher who encouraged me to complete my teacher training. Sadly, since then, budget cuts, governing body decisions and organisational changes led to the closure of the school and the loss of a once vital community hub.
We moved to Cam relatively recently, but I already know that Coaley school holds a special place in the life of the village and the wider community. The school's ethos, values and culture make it a desirable choice. However, with rapidly growing housing developments nearby; a successful, thriving school will obviously be in demand. These growing needs and other continuing pressures will call for strong leadership and good governance - I sincerely hope to be able to play my part in facing the opportunities and the challenges ahead.

Welcome from our governing body. Minutes of the meetings can be obtained via the clerk. 

We have four Local Governing Body (LGB) meetings per year and six committee meetings per year (3 per committee). These are the Ethos and Standards (S&E) committee and the Finance, Resource and Property (FRP) committee. 
For any other information or if you wish to speak to the LGB please contact Nicky Oates Clerk to governors  at: