Meet the Governors

With effect from 1 September 2020, Link Primary School and Link Secondary School operate a joint Local Governing Body.

Julia James, Chair

Julia is Principal of Bedelsford School, which is also part of the OHCAT family.

Sandy Turner, Executive Principal

I have taught in special schools since 1988 having experience in both the maintained and non- maintained sector. I have been a school leader since 2004 and am committed to training and developing staff to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs in order to maximise their potential. I have a particular interest in strategies that enable families to successfully understand and manage autism and other communication barriers as well as strategies to promote positive mental health. I am a keen practitioner researcher and seek to use and discover the most effective approaches for children that will make a long term difference to their life opportunities. I have worked in a voluntary capacity for various different organisations over the years, most recently for the Livability / Prospects charity where I support young people and adults with learning disabilities and communication needs to integrate successfully into their local communities.

Dilma de Araujo    

Dilma de Araujo is a lecturer and researcher in the special educational needs, inclusion and diversity field. She has more than ten years of experience in education. This experience gave her the opportunity to improve her linguistics skills – she speaks five languages. She is SEN adviser in the Church of England School. She holds a degree in Tourism concluded in Lisbon, Portugal. She also holds a foundation degree in Accounting and postgraduate degree in Special Education Needs and Inclusion with a main focus on behaviour, motivation and interaction skills and the impact on the classroom and school environment. She is an academic judge in two international education award companies. In 2019 she was nominated for three awards for her commitment and dedication in the education field.

Jane Gibbs

I am the Chief Operation Officer for Mercer UK.  I’ve spent all of my career, over the last 30 years plus, consulting and working  in the financial services industry with corporate clients.  I live locally and wanted to get involved with a local school now that my own children have grown up.  I have a daughter of 25 and a step daughter who benefited from special education as she has a learning disability.  I am delighted to have been appointed as a governor at The Link since March 2018 and to take on the new portfolio lead focusing on School Life. In my spare time I enjoy running and singing in a rock choir.

Karen Hayward – Staff Governor (Secondary)

Prior to working at The Link Secondary School I worked as legal PA in employment law for more than 25 years.  I wanted to work in my local community, doing something I felt was more meaningful, and have now been at The Link for 3 years.  It’s been very exciting seeing all the changes which have happened since last September and to be closely involved with making the school an even better place for our wonderful students.  Outside of school I have done voluntary work with the elderly, I enjoy Pilates, am a very keen National Trust member, and an obsessive gardener.

Jan Loughborough, Governor

I have worked at Chipstead Pre-school in Surrey for the past 12 years, where I am Deputy to the Supervisor and Secretary to the Parents’ Committee. I am also the Health & Safety Office and a member of the Surrey SEND Forum. I am also a trained Clerk to Governors, employed by the Octavo Partnership, Croydon, as a member of their Ad Hoc Clerking service. I am currently working with the Governing Board of Crosfield and Selhurst Federation of Nursery Schools and Children’s Centres.

My previous background included working for UNISON Trade Union and for LB Croydon Social Services, Family Placements. I have Employment Rights, Health & Safety, Governance, SEND and Safeguarding experience. I am a mum of three and my hobbies include travel, aquafit and walking/rambling.

Lesley Nicolas

After a career in research, I trained as a teacher and spent 25 fulfilling and happy years as a teacher of Chemistry and Head of Department in a Croydon school. Since retiring four years ago I have continued my interest in education by becoming a volunteer at Holly Lodge Educational Centre in Richmond Park. This is a unique small charity in the heart of Richmond Park, offering educational programmes that explore science, nature and history, specialising in activities for young people with special needs. I enjoy leading activities in the Victorian classroom and exploring the nature trail and park with the young children. Every group is different and presents me with new challenges.

As a governor I would be continuing my commitment to helping young people with special needs and utilising my experience of school management to enable the school to progress and develop, as it faces new challenges.

Sameera Saleem (Parent Governor, Secondary)

I was appointed Parent Governor in 2017.  I really wanted to get involved as I feel very strongly that the school is on track to make huge improvements, and I wanted to be part of this change and contribute to the school’s success.

My background is of working in Local Government, in various local authorities, within the Housing and Revenue Departments. I also liaised with local communities in terms of crime, safety and neighbourhood development. I often supported and advised vulnerable tenants and benefit claimants.  I participate in voluntary work, for instance, in a local support group for parents of premature babies. I have also helped at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.  My interests include reading, cinema/ theatre and exercise.

Jenny Sutcliffe 

I joined the Local Governing Body of The Link Secondary School in June 2019 and am delighted to be able to contribute to my local community in this way.  I have spent my career as a civil servant working in central government departments. I currently work in the Department for Transport working on aviation and climate change and I represent the UK on a UN environment committee.  I have a BA(Hons) History from the University of Warwick and an MA in International Relations from the London School of Economics. In my spare time I enjoy running and practising yoga and Pilates.



There is a lovely feeling at school, it is always very positive, warm and welcoming – Parent 


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