Risley Avenue Primary School provides an excellent education and a fantastic range of ex-curricula activities to all its pupils. The school is a focal point for the diverse local community and is supported by an active and engaged Governing body. There is an excellent working relationship between the governors, parents and staff who all share an ambitious vision for the school and are committed to achieving it. For all of us the children are our greatest assets and we all share the view that the education of our children should enrich the lives of our pupils not just academically but in all respects. We strive to meet the needs of all our children so that when they leave Risley they can look forward with confidence to develop themselves and others as they advance to the next stage of their lives.
Message from The Chair, Robert Benson
Mr. Robert Benson, Chair of Governing Body, Co-opted Community Governor
I was appointed as a Community Governor in 2012 and am now a Co-opted governor. I was elected Vice Chair in 2015 and Chair in 2017. I also sit on the Finance and Personnel committee.
After graduating in engineering, I worked in banking for many years before setting up an online financial data business. Although only one of my three children is still of school age I continue to have a keen interest in education and am committed to helping Risley continue to improve the opportunities for all its pupils.
Mr. Roland Hall, Vice Chair
I work as the Editorial Director of the Entertainment department in a busy publishing house in central London. The fundamental skills of my job are based on literacy and numeracy, and I have worked in the publishing industry for more than 20 years. I was self-employed for a number of years and I worked and lived in the United States and France as well.
Outside of work, I love reading and try to instil a love of it in both of my children. Also, I believe in the benefits of physical exercise: I really like cycling and I have studied (and now teach) a martial art for 15 years. I am a big football fan too.
My household is multi-cultural – my wife came to England from France – and my children are exposed to French language and culture on a daily basis.
I love the lively atmosphere at RAPS and I want to help the staff give the pupils here the best teaching - and opportunities - they possibly can.
Ms. Marion Makonnen, Parent Governor
I am a parent governor of two boys, one whom is still a student at Risley Avenue School. I have been a governor here since 2010 and have fully enjoyed my years of Governorship - learning alongside my children. Four years ago after completing a Community leadership programme with Living Under One Sun (LUOS), I set up a food growing project in the school garden where every pupil between years 1-6 have the opportunity to grow and harvest vegetables. This year they were able to hold harvest day using their own produce. Watching the children plant seeds, water them, watch these seeds grow through the different seasons then seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they reap the fruits of their labour is truly a wonderful thing to behold – a true lesson about life!
I run my own business and practice out of a local Medical Centre as a Holistic Health Consultant specialising in Medical Herbalism for which I hold a BSc Hons. and am also a NLP Master Practitioner. I work alongside other local and national organisations to deliver health programmes to the wider community and am part of a community growing group in Tottenham Hale. I run health and nutrition workshops in schools and the wide community and also deliver lectures on Black history and culture including Rastafari, African Caribbean storytelling and drumming. The female cultural drumming and dance group which is run by myself and my husband has supported many initiatives including anti-gun and knife events in the local community as well as performing at events such as ‘International Human Rights Day’ held by the Commonwealth Secretariat in St James Palace. I am also regularly requested to do Jamaican Stories at the Jamaica High Commission for school children during their end of year Jamaica Christmas programmes. In 2011 I was honoured by Haringey’s Mayors Office as an ‘Unsung Hero’ for services to the community.
Mr. Conrad Plentie, Co-opted Governor
I have been a governor for over 20 years at Risley; in previous roles as Chair and Vice Chair. I have been involved in many of the significant changes at the school over the years including the amalgamation of both schools in 1999.
I work as an Instructor Operator for TfL training Train Operators. Within the organisation I am also a Volunteer Trauma Support Worker providing emotional support for members of staff who have experienced traumatic episodes. I have a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology, and I am currently training for a Diploma in Counselling.
I am also working on a project making a documentary about the generation of people from the Caribbean who came to England in the 50’s and 60’s.
I enjoy travelling and speak a little Spanish. I use to play a little classical guitar and piano and I am a member of a wine club and enjoy full bodied reds. I relax by cooking and dancing salsa twice a week.
Mrs. Linda Sarr, Headteacher
My name is Mrs Linda Sarr and I am currently the Headteacher of Risley Avenue Primary School. I previously worked as Executive Headteacher of St Ann’s Primary School in South Tottenham and St Michael’s Primary School in Wood Green.
I live in Wood Green with my husband and two sons who both attend Haringey Schools. My hobbies include cooking, swimming, travelling and walking.
I’m absolutely passionate about improving the life chances of our young people in Haringey. As a youngster, growing up in a Nottinghamshire mining town, I encountered many barriers to moving forward with my own learning and personal development. I strive to ensure that all pupils in my care reach their full potential through exposure to exciting and engaging opportunities, brought about through good and outstanding teaching and learning.
Mr. Costi Karayannis, Co-opted Representative
I have been a Governor at Risley Avenue since June 2012 and sit on various committees including facilities and finance.
I live in Haringey with my wife and three small children. When not with Risley, I work as a General Manager of a major Training organisation that is the largest provider of vocational and technical apprenticeships in the UK and Middle East. My skills and experience focus on dealing with a range of operational and strategic issues in both commercial and educational environments.
It is a pleasure to sit on the Risley governing body; the school is a real success story and we take pride in both supporting and challenging the school to help it improve further.
Ms. Ann Waters, Co-opted Governor
I have lived in Haringey for more than 30 years, I brought up my family here and my two grown up children still live in Haringey. I helped manage a community centre for many years and have been a labour councillor in Wood Green since 2010.
I have always believed that a good start in a good primary school is the best start to life.
During my spare time I like to spend time with my grandchildren and work on my allotment.
Ms. Luul Hamza, Parent Governor
I have been a parent at Risley for the past 9 years and have been a Governor for 3 years. I am on the community, health and safety and premises committees. I am part of the FFR (Friends and
Family of Risley) and am about to start volunteering to read with the children weekly.
Ms. Manal Chatila, Parent Governor
I have been a parent governor at Risley for the past year and have enjoyed getting to know the school, teachers and parents. I am involved with the FFR (Friends and
Family of Risley) and have been offering voluntary help at the school for the past 3 years. I work as a crèche worker in the Risley House and on the weekends, I teach at an Arabic school.
Ms. Anne Stennett, Local Authority Governor
I was born in Stroud Green and have lived in Haringey most of my life.
I attended Haringey schools as have two of my children.
My first job was in the voluntary sector, but I later re-qualified and am now a Partner in a North London Law Practice.
In 2010, I was elected on to Haringey Council for White Hart Lane Ward. I’m involved in local charities and am very proud to be a Governor at Risley Primary school.
Ms. Swinder Singh, Associate Governor
Shortly after my two sons started attending Risley in 2012, I became very aware of wanting to have more input into their daily lives here. I started doing some of the training courses that were on offer to Risley parents and then started volunteering as a Creche Worker and SMSA.
I continued with my studies and am now working full time with children with special needs. The school has been fantastic at supporting me through my training.
I became a parent governor in 2013 and have recently been promoted to Staff Governor. I am also on the health and safety and premises committee. Being a Governor has taught me a lot about the way schools are run and how the education system works. I feel being a Governor is a very important role. It’s interesting getting to know the school and learning the way things work. I also really enjoy having contact with other parents and am always happy to listen and give advice where needed.
It’s been an honour to be so involved with the school and I’m really proud of the things I’ve achieved since being a parent here.
When I’m not at school, I enjoy socialising with friends and keeping fit.
Mr. Jamie Cross, Co-opted Community Governor
'I grew up in London attending local authority schools in Islington, Hackney and Camden before moving to Bristol to study for a degree in Mathematics. I was then elected into a two-year term as a leader of my students' union - representing all 23,000 Bristol University students to the University and government on issues relating to equal access to education. During my term I served as a trustee and company director of the charity, and a trustee of the University.
I now currently work at the Local Government Association which acts as the collective voice of local government.
In my spare time I am a keen runner and during the summer I volunteer for an LGBT+ Leadership summer camp in the USA. I am thrilled to have been asked to join the Board of Governors and am excited to get involved in this great school!'
Ms. Julie Sawyer, Parent Governor
My name is Julie Sawyerr and I am currently working at Morrisons, Wood Green as a community campaign manager.I have two children who both attend Risley Avenue Primary School.
I live with my husband and children in Tottenham and I have been a Parent Governor since 2016 which my little girl encouraged me to do.
I am very passionate about supporting local community, school, hospital, homeless and many more.
I love this new role of Parent Governor and also I have just been given a new role in Haringey as school form Governor which sounds very interesting and am looking forward to it.
My hobbies are cooking, meeting new people and spending time with my family.
Ms. Priya Veerasami, Parent Governor
My name is Priya Veerasami and I have been a Parent Governor at Risley Primary Avenue School since 2016. I have been a Secretary for the Friends & Family of Risley (FFR) since I became a member.
I have enjoyed the involvement in school life and enjoy supporting and being engaged in fundraising for the school. I also enjoy working with other parents, teachers and staff to further improve the school.
I am a Careers Adviser working at the Job Centre where I work with the public, my skills and knowledge enable me to work with other parents in promoting Risley and making it a successful and bright school.
Ms. Sophie Bartholomew, Staff Governor
My name is Sophie Bartholomew and I am the staff governor for Risley Avenue Primary School. I am a year 1 class teacher, and phase leader, and have now worked at the school since 2015. As a student I completed my final placement at Risley and I quickly fell in love with the vibrancy of the school’s atmosphere and the passion of both the children and staff alike.
I was born in Greater London and lived in Pinner, Middlesex as a child. I now own a houseboat which is moored on the River Lea; and live between there and my partner’s flat in Bounds Green. I enjoy the laid-back, slow-pace of life on the river and it often acts as a much needed retreat at the end of a busy week!
When I am not at school I enjoy being outdoors. My hobbies include camping, canoeing and going for long walks. I enjoy leading outdoors, nature-based, lessons in our beautiful school garden and last year I took a ‘Forest School’ course. This is an area of education that I am particularly passionate about and I hope to further develop Risley’s profile as a ‘Forest School’ over the coming years
Ms. Sandra Salazar D'eca
I have a young son who attends the school and I joined the Governing Body in early 2018 as a parent governor. I am active in the school and the local community, as a community engagement horticulturist. At Risley I am known as the 'flower lady' by the children!
My journey into horticulture began when I became a new mum and wanted to introduce a healthy and balanced life style to my family. My passion for all things Nature grew as I explored this symbiotic relationship and connection between Nature, the Environment and Life.
I went on to development my skills in this field, working with some amazing and successful organisations before starting my own organisation, where I continue to promote Nature as a learning and educational tool. I wish to one day play a part in making outdoor learning as part of the National Curriculum.
I have a degree in Interior Design and I have worked in the creative industry for over 15 years, mainly commercial, retail and tv/music.
In my spare time I like to explore the countryside, gardening, listening to music and spending quality time with my family!
Mr. Mervin Armoogum Associate Governor
Ms. Sandra Young Associate Governor
Ms. Sheila Lloyd Associate Governor
Ms. Corinne David Clerk