School Governing Body

Mr Stewart Holness is Chair of Governors and can be contacted at:

Anyone with an interest in the school can become a Governor - there are no special qualifications. If you would like to know more, please contact the School Office.


  • Jane Gascoigne


  • Caroline O’Neill


  • Claire Morrish
  • Sarah Knedel


  • Stewart Holness (Chair)
  • John Beaver
  • Karen Eyre
  • Ruth Balch
  • Catherine Winchcombe (Safeguarding)
  • Jerram Bird


  • Susan Fletcher
  • Helen D’Souza
  • Laura Warner

Stewart Holness (Chair Of Governors)

Co-opted Governor

Stewart is a Co-opted Governor with one child at Combe Down (and three former Combe Down pupils now at Ralph Allen). He is the Chief Executive of a technology company and is  Executive Chairman of three other international technology businesses based out of the UK, as well as being a non-executive Director of a national UK retailer. Stewart sits on the board of Byte Night, a charity which raises money for homeless children in the UK. In an attempt to keep fit and sane, Stewart coaches under 11’s rugby at Oldfield Old Boys.

Jane Gascoigne (Headteacher)


Mrs Gascoigne started her teaching career in 1989 and has been Headteacher at Combe Down CEVC Primary School since January 2018 following almost ten years at St Julian’s Wellow, alongside Camerton (2010) and Shoscombe (2012) Church Schools as part of Church Valley Schools Federation. Prior to this Jane was Deputy Head at St Stephen’s CEVA Primary School in Bath having moved from Cheshire in 2004. Whilst in Cheshire Jane taught in three other schools.

Jane is committed to providing a caring, supportive and exciting learning environment in which children and staff can do as well as they can in all areas.

Mrs Gascoigne has a science background. She enjoys music, singing, gardening and is a committed member of her local church. Jane is married with two children.

Claire Morrish (Vice-chair Of The Governing Body)

Foundation Governor - Link Governor for RE, Humanities and PHSE

Claire joined the governing body in December 2012 as a Foundation Governor, having been a faithful member of the parents Friday School Prayer Group.

Since August 2016 she has been the Children’s Minister at Holy Trinity and St Andrews Community Church.

Claire is married to John and they have 3 sons, all of whom have now moved on to Ralph Allen School. Claire was a secondary school science teacher and also worked as a  lecturer in Science Education at Bath Spa University, where she was part of the PGCE secondary course team. This involves many visits to local secondary schools to support the training of teachers and gives her a working knowledge of many aspects of education and school life.

I have a passion to work as a governor to support all that is fabulous about Combe Down School and shape its future development with a special focus on its Christian Values and Ethos.

Susan Fletcher

Parent Governor - Link Governor for PE and Art, Design & Technology

Susan joined the governing body as a parent governor in September 2016. She has two sons who have now moved on to secondary school.

Susan has worked in communications and community engagement for over 20 years - in health, social care, housing and support organisations. She works closely with a number of local organisations and stakeholders, including our local MP and councillors in her role as Communications Manager for the development of Mulberry Park, the former Foxhill MOD site. Susan is passionate about arts and heritage. She works with organisations including the Arts Council and Bath Festivals to deliver an arts programme for Foxhill and Combe Down. 

In her spare time, Susan can be found running in Rainbow Woods or curled up with a good book!

John Beaver

Co-opted Governor - Link Governor for Computing & E-Safety

John joined the governing body as a Co-opted Governor in February 2018. He moved to Combe Down with his family in 2012 and his daughter is a pupil at the School. John is the IT Director at Bath Spa University having previously served in senior technology roles at the University of Bath and, before moving to the South West, at the BBC in London.

Helen D'Souza

Parent Governor

Helen has been a Parent Governor since 2014.  She has a son at Combe Down Primary School, her daughter has now moved on to secondary school.

Helen is a primary school teacher, a Special Educational Needs Coordinator and a member of the senior leadership team in a Somerset primary school, where she has worked for the last 11 years.  Prior to that, Helen worked abroad teaching in Mexico City and Oman for 5 years. Helen developed a love of rugby in those days and joined the Oman ladies team, travelling to many areas of the Middle East in competitions. These days Helen prefers the more relaxing and gentle past time of raising children.

Laura Warner

Parent Governor - Link Governor for Science

Laura is married to Mark and they have two daughters at Combe Down school.

Laura's background is Human Resources and before having children held Human Resources Leadership roles in a variety of companies. She is a Trustee for a local children's play charity based in Midsomer Norton and a firm believer in the importance of play for children, especially outdoor play.

Sarah Knedel

Foundation Governor - Link Governor for Modern Foreign Languages, Maths and Pupil Leadership Team (formerly School Council)

Sarah joined the governing body in September 2016 as a Foundation Governor and has two children at the school; her elder son has moved on to secondary school. She works at Holy Trinity Church as vicar's PA and has a background in teaching. She taught German and also spent several years teaching English in Berlin.  

She is a keen linguist, and her hobbies include anything outdoors, singing and the occasional park run in an attempt to keep (or rather get!) fit.

Karen Eyre

Co-opted Governor - Link Governor for Literacy & Phonics

Karen moved to Combe Down in 2008 to be near her husband’s family who have lived here for generations. Her youngest son joined the school in year 5 while his older siblings joined Ralph Allen.  Karen worked for the local authority (BANES) since 2009 and was the LA governor and Vice-Chair at a junior school in Surrey prior to moving to Bath. In her spare time, she enjoys walking.

Caroline O'Neill

Staff Governor

Caroline has been teaching for almost 10 years, and most of that time has been as a year 6 teacher.  Before coming to Combe Down Primary School she taught in London but trained here in Bath.  She studied drama before becoming a teacher and still very much enjoys the performing arts, and a bit of a song and a dance!  Caroline loves living in Bath, being a teacher at Combe Down and continuing to develop within her career.

Catherine Winchcombe

Co-opted Governor

Catherine is a serving head in a local independent school. Prior to this, she worked overseas in Jordan holding both Primary and Secondary school posts. Alongside her school roles, she worked with the Syrian and Iraqi refugee community with her husband Simon. Before spending time abroad she was Deputy Head at a Church of England school in Surrey. Catherine has two grown-up daughters, lives locally in Combe Down and is a member of St Andrews Community Church in Foxhill. 

Jerram Bird

Co-opted Governor

Jerram is a Co-opted Governor who lives locally and knows a number of children and parents of the school. He joined the governing team in September 2018 and brings a number of skill sets, not least his strategic thinking and architectural expertise. 

Jerram is a father to one daughter, a husband of a teacher and works full time for an Architectural practice based in Bath. He is a member and regular attendee of Widcombe Baptist Church. In the past, he has served as trustee and employee of two large charities.  

Whenever time allows Jerram enjoys the outdoors by gardening, sailing or climbing. He can also often be found undertaking some sort of practical DIY task at home or church.

Ruth Balch

Co-opted Governor

Ruth has governed in local primary schools since 2012 and was designated a National Leader of Governance in 2016, which enables her to work more widely to develop and share good practice.  Ruth leads Governor Services for Bath and NE Somerset Council and is a Foundation Trustee for the Palladian Academy Trust.  

Ruth was really excited to join the Governing Body of Combe Down Primary School in the summer of 2019 to learn more about this fantastic school and community.  Ruth lives in Bath with her husband and 2 not-so-young-anymore children and keeps herself happiest in her kitchen baking calorific treats for them all.

Former Governors:

Dave Locke - Term Completed July 2018

Karen Coates - Stood Down 31.08.2017

Rev. Paul Kenchington - Stood Down 18.09.2017

Victoria Willis - Resigned 12.02.2017

Richard Bullard - Stood Down December 2017 (Former Headteacher)  

Vanessa Tilbury - Stood Down 31.12.2017

Kirsten Barnes - Stood Down December 2017


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