The Bicester School Local Governing Body

The Role of the Governing Body

Governors are able to have a significant impact on how schools are run, which also impacts on staff employment conditions and on pupils’ learning experiences of and outcomes.

Governors have a strategic responsibility for The Bicester School, with three areas of focus:

  • Setting the strategic direction
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the education performance of the school and its pupils
  • Ensuring financial health, probity and value for money.

The Bicester School Local Governing Body is part of the Activate Learning Education Trust. The Trust is a company and an exempt charity. This means that it does not need to be registered with the Charity Commission. It does, however, need to comply with aspects of charity law. The board of Directors/Trustees of the Activate Learning Education Trust are required to establish a ‘Local Governing Body’ in respect of each academy that sits within the trust to provide advice to the Directors/Trustees on the functioning of that academy.

Membership of the Local Governing Body is made up of:

  • the Headteacher of the Academy (ex-officio)
  • a member from the Board of Directors (who will chair the Local Governing Body)
  • three members from the local community
  • two elected parent members
  • one elected staff member.

Although the Local Governing Body has limited delegated powers, it has a vital monitoring role and will effectively be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Trust. The governors of the Local Governing Body will receive a report from the Headteacher at each meeting.

The Local Governing Body sets the strategic direction, policies and objectives for the school and should provide support and challenge to the Headteacher and advice to the Directors on the functioning of the Academy. They will consider items of business such as:

  • The progress and attainment of pupils
  • The quality of teaching
  • The financial management of the Academy
  • The behaviour and safety of pupils.

The Headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the Academy, and for advising on and implementing the Academy’s strategic framework. The Headteacher will formulate aims and objectives, policies and targets for the Local Governing Body to consider adopting.

In meeting these roles, Governors adhere to Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The Bicester School Local Governing Body Board Meetings dates 2016-17

The Local Governing Body will meet at least once a term but may meet more often if necessary. The Board may also establish ‘Task and finish’ groups as and when necessary to focus on particular issues.

  • Wednesday 12 October 2016
  • Wednesday 30 November 2016
  • Wednesday 15 March 2017
  • Wednesday 14 June 2017


The Board of Governors is made up of people from the community who have business, management or education experience, alongside staff and parents.

The Chair of the Governors is: Rob Pearson.

To contact the Clerk to Governors, email

To contact the Chair of the Governors, write to:

Rob Pearson
Chair of Bicester School Local Governing Body
C/o Activate Learning Educational Trust
City of Oxford College
Oxpens Road
Oxford, OX1 1SA

Useful downloads

Our governors

Tony Rushworth – Headteacher

Tony-RushworthTony has extensive experience in secondary education. He qualified as a teacher in 1992 in Avery Hill College, London, and completed an MA at Kings College, London University.

Tony spent the first 10 years of his career in London schools, teaching Economics and Mathematics. In 2013, he was seconded as Interim Headteacher to The Bicester School from The Cooper School, Bicester, where he had been Deputy Headteacher and then Head of School. Tony was appointed Headteacher at the Bicester School in 2014 after a successful Ofsted inspection, where the School was graded ‘Good’ in all categories.

In 2015, the Bicester School received an award from PiXL for being one of the most improved schools in England.

Tony is married and has a daughter. He is a keen Brompton enthusiast (a type of cycling) and enjoys the writing of CS Lewis.

Lee Nicholls

Lee NichollsLee Nicholls has held a number of senior posts in further education and higher education after starting out in education as a teacher of science. He has previously held the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor of Further Education at Thames Valley University and, as Executive Director of Further Education, was responsible for the Reading Campuses when part of the University up until 2010.

From 2010, Lee joined Activate Learning (formerly Oxford and Cherwell Valley College) as an Executive Director and has been responsible for the development of strategic projects and partnerships, curriculum design and in raising standards. Most notably, over the past 3 years, Lee has conceived of and implemented two University Technical Colleges (UTCs) in Reading and South Oxfordshire and a Studio School in Bicester, as a means of raising the profile of high achieving technical education linked to local economies and employment opportunities.

Lee is Chair of the UTC Reading Board of Governors, Chair of UTC Oxfordshire and Chair of an Open College Network accreditation body. Previously, Lee has chaired the Economic Development committee for Reading and was a Governor of the Oxford Spires Academy secondary school in Oxford as it became an academy.

Lee is an alumnus of Henley Business School and throughout his career has gained considerable experience of change in complex multi-sector organisations, and in the delivery of ‘more than the sum of the parts’ through the power of partnership.

SarahMasterson governor

Sarah Masterson

Sarah is a teacher governor at The Bicester School. She has worked at the school since 2004. Sarah is passionate about the role the school plays in the community, providing excellent educational provision.


David Dunne

David DunneDavid has extensive experience in senior management in the public sector. He has worked as a manager for organisations focusing on IT security and data management, HR and health and safety.

David has lived in Bicester for almost thirty years. He has two sons, both of whom were educated in local schools. Now retired, David had a career in the Police Service, followed by a second career in further education. He has been involved in secondary education as a Governor for over 20 years, including 12 years as Chair.

Apart from the general responsibilities of being a governor, David oversees teaching and learning, safeguarding and child protection, and health and safety

David also enjoys reading, music and cooking, as well as volunteering for Age UK Oxfordshire.

Oliver Wright

Oliver was appointed as a parent governor in Spring 2016. He currently has two children at the school and lives in the North Oxfordshire area.

He is currently a senior manager within the public sector and has extensive experience of working in partnership settings and on a variety of boards. Oliver was Chair of Governors at a large primary school for several years, so brings that experience with him.

Oliver has degrees from the University of Southampton and University of Cambridge. He loves sport and has a real passion for road cycling.

Sharron Wittingham

Bicester resident Sharron has been active in the community for 17 years, including as a PTA committee member at Bure Park Primary School,. She joined the governing body of The Bicester School in Spring 2016.

Sharron is a volunteer coach at her local women’s artistic gymnastics group twice a week. Horses are one of her great passions and she is involved with the Bicester Pony Club, a fantastic club for pony mad children.