Information about our Governors

Mr Robert Adam

Parent governor since September 2014

I have a degree in English Literature. I am a solicitor and  a partner in the commercial real estate practice of a large City law firm. All three of my children are currently pupils at SWCHS. I have a particular interest in sport, especially rugby and cricket, and am the captain of a local cricket club.  I sit on the Resources & Staffing committee and am the Link governor for the Agricultural Science Unit


Professor Arthur Burns

Parent governor since June 2011

I am Vice-Dean (Education) Faculty of Arts and Humanities, King’s College London, and a modern British historian with an interest in digital history.  I am also Vice President (Education) of the Royal Historical Society.  In this capacity I respond to Department for Education (DfE) consultations and have worked with the DfE on the reform of the national curriculum, GCSEs and A levels.  I am the Link governor for History and Sixth Form, and conduct mock Oxbridge interviews and personal statement sessions with sixth form students at SWCHS. I am a parent governor, with three children at SWCHS.

Mr Richard Burrett

Parent governor since September 2014

My background (for over 30 years) is in international banking and finance.  I hold a number of Board level roles and was Chair of Governors of Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in Tower Hamlets for over ten years.  I am a Fellow of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and have a real interest in and passion for the challenges of the future.  Education is critical to this, and I am keen to play my part.  I have two step-children at SWCHS. 

Ms Barbara Calland

Chair; community governor since January 2014

I trained as a History teacher and worked in a large comprehensive school in London.  I then went into management consultancy and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers where I was Head of Human Resources.  Since leaving PwC, I have worked for a number of educational charities including CRAC (the organisation for career development in education) and a charity supporting teacher wellbeing in schools. I am currently Programme Manager with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; a charity working with education and business to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.  I previously served as a governor at SWCHS between 1999 - 2005 before returning in 2013.  I have been Chair of the LGB since January 2014.

Mrs Hilary Curtis

Staff governor since November 2016

As a Teacher Governor, I teach mainly Maths but also a small amount of Computing and Business Studies. Following my PPE degree, I worked as a Management Accountant for Courtaulds and ICI before retaining as a teacher with the Open University following the birth of my first child. Both my children have been through the school and are now studying at university. I also work as an Examiner for Pearson Edexcel and mark GCSE and KS2 Maths papers.

I have a particular interest in extra-curricular Music, play in the school Jazz Band and Orchestra and help to organise the annual Spring Music Festival. I am also very interested in promoting staff and student wellbeing. Outside school, I am involved with local music groups and help to run my local Scout Group.

Dr Peter Eddershaw

Community governor since June 2017

A Pharmacologist, working in Pharmaceutical Research and Development for GlaxoSmithKline.  Experience of leading research groups including strategy development, performance management, and disciplinary matters. I previously served as a parent governor at a village primary school.  I am the link governor for the Pupil Premium Group and for the Science department, and have delivered workshops during science week at SWCHS.  I also sit on the LGB’s Standards & Education Committee.  I first joined the governing body in January 2009.

Mr Chris Edwards

Staff governor since September 2014

I graduated from UWIC with a BEd Hons degree.  I have been teaching at SWCHS since 1982 and have been Head of PE/Area Co-Ordinator for the past 25 years. An all round sportsman with a personal passion for rugby and skiing and a professional desire to enable students involved in sport to achieve the highest level possible – I am committed to the continued success of sport and education at SWCHS. I have lived in Saffron Walden for 25 years.  I am married with two daughters, both of whom attended SWCHS.

Professor Joyce Harper

Community governor since September 2015

I am Professor of Human Genetics and Embryology at University College London.  I direct two Masters programmes, head a research group studying early human development and fertility, am Director of Education at the Institute for Women’s Health, Faculty Graduate Tutor, and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  I am CEO of Global Women Connected, a group which provides education on women’s health issues.  I have three children; one at SWCHS and two at R A Butler Junior School.  One of our family passions is sport.  I have been a Parish Councillor for Sewards End, governor at RAB, and help to run two local football teams. 

Mrs Janina Jones

Staff governor since September 2014

Associate member of the Institute of Brewing.  For the past seven years I have worked at Saffron Walden County High School as Senior Science Technician. I am Chair of the school’s Health & Safety committee.  Previously I had worked in various breweries’ for twenty years. I was the first female Head brewer of the modern times and the only female Chairman of the Brewers Guild.  As a brewer I have set up brewpubs in Paris and a complete new brewery for Greene King. I have also developed new beer lines.

Dr James Keeler

Vice-chair; governor representing Saffron Academy Trust Board of Trustees since June 2011

I am currently University Lecturer in Chemistry (University of Cambridge); Senior Tutor and Admissions Tutor of Selwyn College; “Syndic” (i.e. Director) of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (i.e. Cambridge Assessment & OCR).  My areas of experience are: scientific research, scientific and academic publishing, teaching in a higher education (HE) context, curriculum development in HE, university admissions processes (mainly of Russell Group universities), pastoral care in HE context, student finance, secondary education in general terms – especially assessment systems.  I have served as a governor at the school in various roles for almost 20 years - currently I am Vice-Chair of the LGB and Chair of the Standards & Education committee.

Mr Jamie Sparrow

Parent governor since September 2016

Jamie Sparrow

I grew up in Saffron Walden and live in Great Sampford with my wife and  3 children.  My children are the third generation of our family to attend SWCHS. It is with this long history in mind that I am passionate about what SWCHS has to offer the young people of our community. It has always been a fantastic learning facility of the very highest standards, capable of offering a diverse range of academic and non-academic activities, allowing it to deliver opportunity for all which is something I am keen to ensure continues long in to the future. I am actively involved with various sport clubs in and around the town and was Chairman of Saffron Walden Cricket Club from 2003-2009. I am currently Managing Director of a pharmaceutical company.

Mr Stephen Thomas

Parent governor since September 2014

MA in History, St John's College Cambridge. Early career in marketing at Procter & Gamble and advertising at Saatchi & Saatchi. CEO and then Chairman of Conran Design. Consultant to many large corporate organisations on all aspects of brand creation, extension and development. Founder member of the Harvard University sponsored International Corporate Identity Group. Experience in facilitating change through 'Creative Business Ideas' - shaping actions and communications to meet strategic objectives. Link governor for the Vocational and Computing area .

Mr Katie Vanderpere-Brown

Staff governor since November 2016

I joined Saffron Walden County High as a newly qualified teacher in 2009 and have enjoyed worked here ever since. My current role is Director of ICT, Area Co-ordinator for Vocational and Computing and Associate Senior Leader. I have a passion for teaching Computer Science and as a member of the Computing At School organisation, lead developments in teaching the subject which are shared at a local and national level. As a designated Specialist Leader for Education, work locally with other schools to support their development. Prior to my career in teaching, I worked as a commercial manager for a national retailer, as a result I have experience of finance, HR and business. 

Mrs Linda Vincent

Community governor since June 2011

Though my degree is in Modern Germanic Languages, my professional life has mainly been in banking, both in the City and abroad. After a career break I am now Pastoral Support at a local secondary Academy. I have been a governor in a nursery school, in one of our feeder primary schools, and at SWCHS for 10 years, first as a parent governor and  now as a community governor. I am Vice-Chair of the Standards & Education committee and the Link governor for English and the school’s Stretch & Challenge provision.  I have also mentored Year 11 students.