Ashmole Primary School Opening 2019

My journey started in 2011, there weren’t, and still aren’t, enough good school places in the area so I campaigned to increase that number.

When I started I never really believed that we could do this, but we have built a fantastic facility and created an amazing school.

Five years ago we had to find parents who would sign a form to say “yes” we will send our child to this imaginary school. I gave forms out to friends and mums, to nurseries and toddler groups and we, the Ashmole team were successful in our free school application.

We all had a part to play in making this dream a reality!

For the first intake of children to the school, parents had to take a huge leap of faith.

When employing Mr Tofallis, he had to take a huge leap of faith that this imagined school would materialise but yet here we are.

There was nothing but a green field to see when parents said they would send their children to our school.

But they took that leap of faith and the applications came in. We were oversubscribed then and continue to be oversubscribed every year.

That leap of faith is the essence of Ashmole, some things money can’t buy!

You cannot buy the enthusiasm, positive atmosphere and ethos that is Ashmole! It is part of everyone who has been involved in the setting up of Ashmole Primary School and now in its day to day running.

From parents to teachers, from the senior leadership team to support staff and from governors and trustees to the local community.

We have all worked our hardest to ensure the best outcomes for children – to provide that outstanding education that children deserve.

Our journey is not complete we are looking forward to the challenges that Key stage 2 will bring to us and the inevitable Ofsted inspection.

One thing I have learnt as a governor and trustee is that there are challenges around every corner and that each year brings new challenges. We will never forget that “excellence is a habit”.

To mark this special occasion we were joined by the Right Honourable Viscount Younger of Leckie who opened the brand-new building and the Right Honourable Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet.

School Tour

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Women’s Activism

Passionate, Committed, Delivering

Passionate

I am passionate about the aims and beliefs of the CWO. The CWO will have been in existence for 100 years in 2019 and it is sad that women still do not have equality in public life. Women make up over 50% of the population but we do not have equal numbers in national or local government, governing bodies or trust boards. I want to help women get equality and for that to happen we need to have more women raising the issues for debate.

The CWO helped me when I needed help and that has given me the drive to help other women. In 2015 I stood as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate in Edmonton, a no-hoper, ultra-safe Labour seat and the London CWO donated funds to my campaign and since then I have tried to heip more women into public life. 

Committed

I am committed to making the CWO a stronger organisation and have worked hard to produce tangible outcomes since I first got involved. My first experience of the CWO was a training session, I knew I wanted to get involved but didn’t know how to go about it and my fist campaigning session was for Julie Iles who is now the CWO National Chairman.

Since being appointed North West London CWO Area Chairman I created a committee of amazing hard working CWO activists. Each member brings their own unique skills and qualities to enrich our team. The key skill that we all have is team work and the ability to work together in unity to achieve the CWO’s outcomes.

I created and edited the CWO London newsletter and worked with colleagues to get the newsletter emailed to London. 

I have campaigned hard with other members of the London CWO to engage with women on the campaign trail and to make campaigning inclusive, social and fun.

In education I have supported women into roles of Chairman of Committees and recommended women onto Boards and Committees.

Delivering

I have delivered:

a) I have delivered cross party campaign training to women candidates standing for election in Bosnia Herzegovina
b) In education I delivered equality and feminism training to school teachers on the social action project in Rwanda
c) I sat on a panel at an Inclusion and Diversity Conference with an audience of members from the Balkans to discuss how diversity informs policy debate. I used my experiences as a woman of ethnic background to inform my speech
d) I was a key note speaker on a Women on Boards panel to present and discuss my experiences on a Multi-Academy Trust Board
e) I created a NW London CWO committee of wonderful hard working activists who work together to achieve the ambitions of the CWO. We have debated, fundraised, campaigned and created a group that achieves successful outcomes for women
f) I have worked with and supported all of the committee, one of the members has gone on to become a Director of Women2Win and most of the committee were candidates in the London elections
g) I organised a fundraising event which raised money for women standing in elections attended by Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, His Excellency Abdulrahman Bilgic, Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey and Rehman Chishti, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Communities 
h) The NW Area committee have donated approximately £1500 to the Greater London CWO committee which will be given to women standing in the next General Election to make a real difference for women into public life
i) I created and chaired a debating event to encourage grassroots level involvement and training for future politicians in a supportive environment
j) I have supported community events such as World’s Buddha Day and Interfaith events with colleagues who promote community engagement.

What do I bring?

In my professional career and in all aspects of my life I would never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.

I lead from the front and provide the expertise and example from experience I have accrued over the years. I want to maintain and energise women’s activities in London. 

I want to encourage further engagement with our supporters to inform about events and training, to encourage their involvement and to encourage them to stand at all levels of public life.

I want to continue the CWO National’s aims to London women. This summer the CWO NW London held a Pankhurst Party commemorating the birthday of Emmeline Pankhurst and her contribution to women 100 years after women got the vote. 

I will share the good work of the CWO and Women2Win and their advice, resources, tools and materials to support more women into public life. I will provide training and development for other women and for the Party.

I work towards creating and providing opportunities for women where I can and support women to get involved in policy debate, training or other areas of the Conservative Party.

I want more women in public life and will work hard for that outcome!


Social Action

I was delighted to take part in the Conservative Party’s social action project, Project Umubano in its 10th anniversary year in Rwanda. The project is making a difference to the everyday lives of the people of Africa.
 
My brief was to teach secondary school mentors English and about their new school curriculum. Teaching teachers was a new challenge for me as my expertise is in school governance and not teaching. I campaigned for increased primary school provision in my local area and was part of the team that created a brand new free school in 2016, Ashmole Primary School.
 
Ashmole Academy Trust, where I am Chairman, very kindly donated nearly ½ a ton of secondary school books to the project which were gratefully received. St Paul’s Church of England School, mums and friends also made very generous donations of books and other resources to Project Umubano. In total I shipped 27 boxes weighing 413 Kg, the equivalent weight of 6 people or 2 gorillas, to Rwanda.
 
I am grateful to those who donated and for encouraging their children to part with their possessions. My son Harry refused to part with his Spiderman mask so I had to sort out all my donations whilst the children were at school! 
 
I spent a considerable time collecting donations and boxing them up so that 27 boxes were loaded and delivered to Parliament. I had some help from my husband for the physical work of lifting and shifting as I just wasn’t up to gorilla carrying! Umubano Primary School were delighted with the donations.
 
My area of activity was education and for four days I taught, along with my classroom buddy Ewan, secondary school mentors English and about their new school curriculum. 

In every class of students there are memorable characters and Ewan’s and my class had its share. There was Bango the class joker, Isabel the chatterbox and Jean Claude who was so serious. There were many memorable moments such as when my class argued with me about how you pronounce “play”. I was definitely right! Ewan, who has a Geography degree, drew a map of Rwanda to help in an exercise which also drew lots of criticism from the class, until he proved he was right using his phone and the internet. I did laugh.

I also cried. What took us to Rwanda was the terrible genocide of 1994 and there were many incredibly moving moments. The week concluded at the Genocide Memorial Centre where Susan, a survivor from the Holocaust, and Edisa, a survivor from the Rwandan genocide, told their stories.

 

Technology

I have had a varied and full career in Technical Engineering and am currently an IT Engineer delivering million pound networking projects for local government authorities. I have procured innovative solutions for Ashmole Primary school and embraced digital communications in my voluntary work for the Conservatives and my campaigning.

I run a Coding Club for Key Stage 1 children to introduce young children to the world of coding, giving them the skills to thrive and survive in the world of tomorrow.

Text from a post I wrote in January 2017:

Computers now play an increasingly important part of the world we live in. Technology is literally everywhere and in the last few years has been advancing at an incredible rate. This means that children interact with technology at a very young age and it will play a core part of their life in the future. Coding Colossus believe that because our children are being introduced to technology at a young age, they should also be introduced to concepts like coding at a young age.

I’m sure we could debate forever what our children should learn when they are growing up, and advanced programming skills would probably not appear high on the list, but there are some core skills that most of us would agree upon. Skills such as discipline, working together, being able to express yourself and being able to communicate. Coding may not directly teach these skills but children will learn them as they start to code and play with technology. By taking up coding children will learn logical thinking, problem solving, to experiment, to learn from failure, they will learn to ask for help, and learn that hard work, patience and persistence does pay off in the end. Coding doesn’t have to be a boring, no fun exercise. It can be great fun regardless of how old you are. Using trial and error children will probably create some unexpected and silly results which they will love, but ultimately achieving what they set out to do keeps them coming back for more.

For example; children who are learning how to create a game, may during it’s creation have characters moving in unexpected directions on the screen, but they’re likely to keep on coming back to fix these bugs as the end result will be a game which they made themselves and can come back to and play as often as they like.

At Coding Colossus we believe that in this modern world having computer skills is now a necessity. Even if our children are not learning how to code then they still need to basic skills to survive and thrive in a technology integrated world. Learning to code helps give our children a better understanding of the rapidly changing technology that affects them every day, and learning to code can help our children develop the skills to play a part in this change.

You are never too young, or too old (parents!), to learn to code. Pre-school children can use a tablet or smart phone. By using graphically based coding tools they can learn ’cause and effect’, which helps give them a head start when they start computing as part of the school curriculum, which helps build the foundations for them to be successful in today’s world. One of the great things about learning to code is that it helps build a child’s problem solving skills. Learning to manipulate code means understanding a problem, working out the steps required to solve a problem, testing, revisiting the steps, and choosing between possible options to arrive at a solution. Coding helps our children learn the skills to problem solve, and developing problem solving skills at an early age can only give our children a head start.

Coding is a language, so teaching our children coding at a young age gives them similar benefits to learning a foreign language. They don’t just learn to work with technology easier, they learn to communicate better. All children need to be computer literate if they want to survive and thrive in the modern world. Coding takes this a step further, giving the child an opportunity to learn better ways to interact with the technology around them. They will learn how to solve problems and gain the skills they need to be successful in later in life. 


Ashmole Academy Trust

Ashmole Academy became a multi-academy trust in 2016 to create a primary school. I have worked hard with Ashmole Academy and the local community to make the primary school concept a reality. I am delighted that Ashmole Primary School opened its doors to 60 Reception aged children in September 2016 following my campaign.

Text from a post I wrote on 12th January 2018:

I visited Ashmole Primary School today for a meeting on the permanent school building and it bought home to me the enormity of what has been achieved by dedicated members of the Ashmole team, my campaigner group and me!
 
Ashmole Primary School’s permanent building is a building site but by the end of this year it will be ready for children to move in. When I started this campaign I never believed that I would be part of the team that founded a brand new school! The road I traveled to get to this point has been full of challenges, of highs and lows but perseverance, determination and a stubborn resolution to have a new school made me carry on. There is one real reward that I have from this campaign and that was the hug from a crying mum on the opening day of the school. Her tears were of happiness, telling me that I had changed her, and her family’s life! I will never forget that moment and as I write this I am moved again.
 
The campaign started in 2012 from my front room. A group of community minded parents and grandparents who lived in an area that didn’t fall into any primary school catchment area decided to campaign for increased primary school provision. We each paid £10 to produce 2000 leaflets to distribute in the area letting residents know of the problem with school places and to gain support.
 
That was the beginning of SWEAT, the South West Enfield Action Team. We worked hard using our website https://wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com/home-2/ to get our message out there. We lobbied the Council, we went to the local press, we met our MP, we spoke to Councillors, we tried everything to raise awareness. I hated the way that Labour Councillors treated our problem as part of their political game, they didn’t care about us, we were a community group that could be exploited. The Labour Cabinet Member for Education called me naive for thinking I could do anything about school places, in a public meeting after I had spoken so that I was unable to respond. Political point scoring! But I did it! Despite what the Labour Cabinet Member for Education thought.
 
I used my influence and position as a school governor at Ashmole Academy to pursue a dream that has resulted in the building site pictured. One of the biggest disappointments for the Ashmole team was when our first free school bid failed! I felt that I had let down all those parents who had become wrapped in my enthusiasm and we can do it attitude … we had failed! I was bitterly disappointed…. it wasn’t a failure, it was a setback! Once we got over the disappointment, the Ashmole team took on board the feedback from the Department for Education and we submitted another, much improved free school bid and we were successful! I was so happy, not for me as my children would not get into the school but for all those parents who could send their children to an outstanding local school.
 
I am delighted that some of my fellow campaigners have gone on to become school governors and trustees.
 
My message is that if you see an injustice and if you feel strongly enough about it, others will feel the same and follow you. You can do anything if you put your mind to it! Ignore the nay sayers!
 
To find out more about Ashmole, SWEAT and myself visit:

Conservative Outreach

I am an executive director of Conservative Friends of Turkey and work with the Friend’s group to outreach to ethnic communities. I have been a Conservative ambassador by delivering training to women candidates abroad and in Summer 2017 represented the Conservative party undertaking charity work in Rwanda. I provided campaign training to candidates standing for election in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Working Mother

I am a working mother of young children and have been in employment since leaving further education with breaks for bringing up young children.

My career has been in technical engineering and I am proud to have had a fulfilling career in an environment that is male dominated. There are many women who work in Information Technology but there are very few women working in the technical aspect and my experience is that I have always been the only woman working among men.

I work hard for my family and lead by example. I want my children to grow up knowing that they must have a career and job and to support their local community.


Chair of Governors

I am Chair of Governors of Ashmole Primary School, a free school that I campaigned and created with the Ashmole team. I was a governor at Ashmole Academy for 13 years and Chair of Governors for 3 years, Ashmole Academy is a non-selective community secondary school rated as outstanding by OFSTED. The Ashmole motto is “Excellence is a habit” and we aim for every child to reach their potential and get the best start in life.


General Election 2015/17

I was privileged to have been selected by Edmonton Conservatives to represent them as their parliamentary candidate in the 2015 & 2017 general elections. I am honoured to have been asked to remain active in the Edmonton Conservative association in the future. I will do my utmost to improve the Edmonton community through campaigning and lobbying for improvements in services and facilities.


About Me

I am a hard working wife and mum with a career in technology. I am on the Conservative Party’s Approved list of Parliamentary Candidates to fight a constituency seat in the next General Election. I was the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary Candidate in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections in Edmonton, North London.

I am Chairman of Ashmole Academy Trust Board and Chairman of Ashmole Primary School. I created and led a parental pressure group which campaigned for a new primary school and which I went on to open after 5 years. 180 children are now receiving an outstanding education and the project has brought a £7.5mn investment in to the local area by the building of a new school along with the creation of new jobs. I have volunteered in my community for over 15 years with successful outcomes.

I am the Conservative Women’s Organisation London Regional Chairman and I actively support women into public life. I hold CWO campaigning activities to introduce women into political life, for example debating and campaigning sessions. I hold fundraising activities attended by Ministers, MPs and Ambassadors to donate funds to women standing for public office.

I created an action group the South West Enfield Action Team (SWEAT) which I chaired to campaign for increased primary school provision. The Local Schools for Local Children campaign brought about change for the local community with intentions to create two new primary schools. These were meant to occur in 2014 and 2015, the reality is that the local authority did not live up to their promises and the only school that has opened is the one I influenced as a governor at Ashmole Academy.

My expertise is in technology and my interest is education. I have been employed since leaving further education and have a full career in Technical Engineering. I have worked at the Bank of England for over 10 years, the Houses of Parliament for 5 years, local government for over 6 years, as well as the private sector. I am currently employed by the Greater London Authority.

I come from an ethnic background and I am second generation immigrant as a result of my parents fleeing the problems in Cyprus in 1960.


Conservative Campaigner

I have always taken a proactive stance on issues that are close to my heart. When I realised that local children could not gain admission to their closest school (when they lived 0.2 miles from the school) I decided to take action. I formed a group of parents supported by the local community to campaign for increased primary school provision. After two years of campaigning and lobbying our campaign group have made a difference with the introduction of a free school providing 60 school places commencing in September 2016. There were many ups and downs in the campaign, not least the Labour local authority playing party politics and disappointing the community that they are meant to represent.