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I am an Associate of The Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII) with over 25 years’ experience in the life insurance and pensions industry. Starting my career in Croydon working for AMP I progressed to become the head of their commission team, moving on to head the sales administration team at Scottish Amicable. Upon redundancy I changed paths to work for an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) carrying out research, providing support to the IFAs and managing the office. In 2012 I moved to the hardest career of my life – the full-time care of my daughter when she started school.

My wife and I knew we wanted to be active members of the school community becoming members of the PFA immediately and helping at school events whenever we could. I then took my involvement one step further in 2014 and volunteered to be a parent governor, taking a position on the Finance committee to make best use of my financial background along with taking an interest in e-safety within the school.

In 2016 I became Vice Chair and subsequently in 2018 I have been voted in as Chair.

Apart from spending time with my family, living locally, I love to go to the cinema and theatre and apparently have far too much Star Wars Lego.


I am currently in my second, 4 year term, as a governor. I serve on the Learning and Development committee and am also part of Governance.   Mother to 2 girls, both of which have attended Oaklands Primary Academy.  My eldest is now at Newstead Wood School for Girls.  I work full time for the London Borough of Bromley as a Principal Finance Officer providing finance support to the Care Services division.  Applicable skills include extensive budget and finance experience; including within the Education portfolio. Report and procedure writing skills.  Ability to analyse high level data and information and to interpret findings with particular attention to detail.

Being a governor has been a very rewarding and worthwhile experience and I hope that I have added real value to the Oaklands Community and the school's desire to provide an excellent and enriching education for all our pupils.  In return I have gained a huge amount of knowledge and have had the privilege of spending time with the staff and pupils of this fantastic school.

My hobbies and interests include travel, having visited many and varied countries throughout the world.  Recently taking the children to some wonderful countries in order to experience diverse wildlife and cultures.  I have also just started playing ladies league Hockey again after a 15 year break!  I have also agreed to help coach the Under 12 girls team at our club.  


Sonal Desai, SENd Link

When I was younger, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have always been passionate about making a difference in children's lives and celebrating their successes.  In 2008, I began my career as a teacher in Ontario, Canada, where I was born and raised. I came to London in 2009, with the hope of gaining some insight into education in a different country. Once I arrived, I knew I was going to stay. I supply taught for a year to get to grips with the difference in the education system and then accepted my first permanent position as a teacher in London in 2010.  I acquired Qualified Teacher status in the United Kingdom in June 2012, and since then I have worked as a successful teacher and effective leader in Primary Schools in Lambeth and Croydon. As a primary school teacher, I have held several positions of increasing responsibility culminating in my current position of Inclusion Manager, SENCo and Senior Leader at a primary school in Croydon.  I have been dedicated to providing an inclusive educational experience for all pupils and promoting an inclusive culture within school communities.  I have had the opportunity to lead in developing changes to the way SEN provision has been organised at schools in Lambeth and Croydon to support high levels of achievement for all.

When I’m not working, I enjoy being a mother to my two beautiful daughters and appreciate family time with them and my husband. We love weekends in our household! We try to do as much as we can together, which often includes playing in the garden, swimming, soft plays and dancing. By being apart of the governing board at Oakland’s, I am keen to give back to a community close to home and look forward to working closely with the school community.



I have been a governor at Oaklands for at least twenty eight years; so long in fact that neither I, the school or Bromley Council have a record of when I first became one! I became a governor when my eldest daughter was in year 1 at what was Oakland’s Infants’ School. Her daughter, my granddaughter is now eight.  In that time the school has changed from an infants’ and junior school with a single governing body, an infants’ and junior school with separate governing bodies and then a primary school with a single governing body. We are now a Primary Academy with a single governing body. I am enjoying working with my fourth Head Teacher and in the time I have been here have seen huge changes, driven by the constant external pressures of Government direction and the drive and enthusiasm of the Heads, the staff and not least the wonderful children of Oaklands. Whenever I come into the school I am unfailingly impressed by their confidence, knowledge, politeness and consideration of, and to others.

My background is in building construction, with emphasis on safety and health and I look forward to working with the Head and senior team as well as the contractor to deliver our new school extension as a safe and enjoyable learning experience for the students. I have used my expertise on the building and sites committees, finance,  governance and main governing bodies.

Apart from my grandchildren, my hobbies and interests include golf, which I play as often as weather permits, reading (almost exclusively non-fiction) and pub quizzing. As I approach retirement I hope to be able to find the time to travel more, particularly around Europe. I may even take up my artist’s brushes again.

Steve 09.11.17(1)


I am delighted to be a Governor at Oaklands Primary Academy.  Oaklands is a happy, vibrant, and successful school community with a bright future. I am pleased to be able to contribute to an excellent place for children to develop, to learn and to be fulfilled.  This can only be done in partnership with the parents, the teachers and the pupils; I look forward to working with you all.  I am a retired educationalist with extensive secondary education experience, teaching and managing a Modern Languages department for over 30 years. It is with both humility and passion that I approach the role of Governor as I want to continue to be able to contribute positively to education. I have worked in a community school, a comprehensive, an academy and a grammar school, teaching French and German to 11-18 year olds. I was Head of Modern Languages in a very successful and oversubscribed mixed secondary school in Essex with up to 1500 children on roll.  I set up language courses for the new Sixth Form, managed and led a department of eight staff, ran school trips and set up work experience placements abroad for French A level students. My most recent posting was teaching French in a grammar school in Medway. This post gave me a wonderful opportunity to focus in depth on teaching and learning.  I was interested in exploring the interest I had developed throughout my career in how children learn socially in the classroom as well as outside it.  I undertook research at the school with the support of the Headteacher for an MA in Education - (Effective Learning), which I obtained from the UCL Institute of Education in London. I believe that this professional development and my broad teaching experience will enable me to make a useful contribution to the work of the Governing Body at Oaklands. 

I myself attended a state grammar school in Buckinghamshire and was lucky enough to win a scholarship to Cambridge University at a time when few pupils from state schools were admitted. I believe that everybody should have the opportunity to do their best in the path they choose, and that we have to help and support our young people. I was encouraged by my parents who were both teachers and who believed in me. I believe in our young generation, and I know that we must support them today, so they can become the leaders, the businesswomen and men, the artists and the providers of tomorrow. I love cats, and enjoy music of all kinds, especially the rock stars of my generation (Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and David Bowie), and jazz.  I have family and friends in Bucks, London, Scotland, the Channel Islands, France, Malaysia and Mauritius, and I love travelling and meeting up with them. I enjoy cooking for family and friends.



I have been a governor at Oaklands for four years and I am mum to two children.  I work within the finanace department at Bromley Council as an accountant.



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