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2023 - 2024

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Rob Thomas – Chair of Governors

Having grown up in Caerphilly and attended St Helens School I am very proud to have been a governor here for over 20 years.  My 5 Children have all attended the school and are now all thriving in their chosen careers.  I enjoy watching sport - rugby and cricket being my favourite and I am an enthusiastic supporter of my teams.  I am a Project Manager with over 30 years’ experience in the Railway industry. 

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Amy Jenner - Vice chair of Governors

I'm thrilled to hold the role as Foundation Governor for St Helen's School. Being a a past pupil and now have a daughter in St Helen's I have a huge passion for this school, and always have done. It was very important for me to continue the Catholic Education for my daughter, whilst giving her the best education she can and feeling safe and happy within the school and parish environment. 

I work for Welsh Triathlon the National Governing Body for Triathlon in Wales as Workforce officer which means I lead of the coach education programme and volunteer workforce across Wales. Along side this I am the Safeguarding lead and Equality and Diversity lead.for the organisation, and UK Anti Doping Educator. 


My most recent project has seen me be involved in creating a Physical literacy multi-sport course for school teachers to deliver multi-sport sessions in PE time underpinned by Physical Literacy. I hope i am able to use my skill set and experience to help support the Governing body drive the school forward towards the new curriculum. 

Outside of work I am a founding member, Chair and coach of Caerphilly Tri-ers triathlon club which has over 140 members. So when i'm not doing the school run, after school clubs or homework, you'll find me usually in the pool, on my bike or running around the streets of Caerphilly. 

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Sophie Sanchez - Headteacher

I am delighted to be the Headteacher of this wonderful school. St Helen’s is an incredibly unique school with wonderful outdoor provision, high expectations and ample opportunities to develop confidence and teamwork with Christ at the forefront. My vision for education is where children’s well-being and happiness are at the heart of all decision making. As a mother myself, I am passionate about children’s happiness and providing them with opportunities to shine in a variety of arenas.

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Ceri Evans - Local Authority Governor

I am a busy working mum of two lovely boys who attend St Helens, and the head of a primary phase in a Caerphilly school. I am passionate about foundation phase pedagody, inclusion, and the new curriculum for Wales. I have a wide experience and knowledge to share with the school and am delighted to be on the schools governors team to support  the exciting future of St Helens.

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Canon John Kelly - Foundation Governor, Parish Priest

The Catholic School is central to the work and mission of the Parish, and so one of my main responsibilities. As I pointed out to the Archbishop at the 50th Anniversary of the School, Saint Helen is unique among the schools in the Diocese: Whereas most schools were set up by the Diocese as the seed-bed of a new Parish and so predate the parish church, Saint Helen’s School was founded, organised, and formed by the Parishioners, for the education of our children in the faith, to ensure the future of our Parish community.

I recognise being a governor as a duty, and find great help, encouragement, and support from the able and committed team of the Governing Body. With them, I seek to tie the school into the life of the Parish, and bring our children, indeed the whole school, teachers and staff, parents and governors, to grow in the love and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, share in the Communion of his Body and Blood Sunday by Sunday, and so build up the Kingdom of God in Caerphilly and its surrounds.

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Rachel Lucey – Auxiliary Governor

As a Mother of three adult sons who have all attended the School I have been fortunate to personally experience the flourishing of pupils, the assembling of life long friendships and a long list of incredible memories at St Helens .These moments span across various roles I have held as a specialist role in Speech and Language across educational facilities in Caerphilly County Borough for 10 years before returning “home” to St.Helens. It is from these experiences I am proud to contribute as one of the Schools Foundation Governors to enhance the good work of our pupils, church and staff within the Community.

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Anna Davies – foundation governor

My name is Annetta ( Anna ) Davies and I am a Foundation Governor. I have been part of the school community since 1989 when I got my first teaching post in the Infant Department. At the time I felt very privileged to be a part of St. Helen’s School and that sense of privilege has not waivered since.

I became Deputy Headteacher in February 1997 and then Acting Headteacher in 1999. In 2003 I took up a primary school Headship post elsewhere and then returned as a class teacher in 2010, having retired as a Headteacher. I retired as a class teacher in 2018 but still continue to maintain links with a school that I sincerely love. So now I am back (again!) as a supply teacher, helping out when necessary.

For me, St. Helen’s is “home”, a vibrant, Christian , loving community, full of wonderful people. My most fondest memories are of the hundreds of children I have taught and it feels good to say that I enjoy hearing from them and their families even now.
Working at the school also meant that I had strong links with the Parish and for many years I led the First Communion programme.

I also set up the Children’s Liturgy group in the Caerphilly and Senghenydd parishes in the 1990s. In my role I was also involved with the Drama group who led many liturgical celebrations.At the heart of the school community are the children. For me, they are the reason that we are here. We owe them the very best that we can give them in these, their most formative years. As a Governor my vision is to strive to provide this and I feel honoured to have the opportunity to do so and to serve the community with passion and commitment.

Outside of school I have many interests and, most importantly, at the moment I am learning Welsh and enjoy using my new skills when I visit the school.
I have a wonderful family who bring me great joy and three gorgeous grandchildren who have me twisted around their little finger!

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Jo Daniels - Teacher Governor

I am proud and privileged to have been a teacher, and the teacher-governor, at St Helen’s since 2008. Being from ‘down West’, it’s testament to how special the school and it’s community are that the daily journey continues to be completely worth it - even now that my baby boy Edison is sharing my world!

As a passionate teacher and governor, I try to ensure a strong connectivity between the governing body and the teaching & learning at St Helen’s. I believe wholeheartedly in providing the children at St. Helens’s with a fun and happy education both indoors and out which provides them with the best possible  start in life.

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Louise Parry - Parent Governor

As a past pupil, and parent of a child in Reception, I am excited to have been appointed as Parent Governor. I am a secondary school teacher of 23 years and am passionate about making a difference to the lives of all children. During my teaching career I have been involved in both pastoral and academic roles. Currently I am Head of Department for Design & Technology, with my subject specialism being Food. I also held the role of Transition Coordinator for many years, and I thoroughly enjoyed liaising with Cluster Primary Schools.  

On a personal note, I am very much family orientated and value being able to spend my time with them. I consider myself to be creative, with my hobbies including cake decorating and singing. I am extremely lucky to have been a pupil myself at St Helen’s, where I learnt many core values and made close friendships that have withstood time. I relish this opportunity, as Parent Governor, to give something back to the school that provided me many happy years in my formative education.  

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Rachel De Benedictis - Parent Governor

I am proud to be a parent governor at St Helen’s. Both my children currently attend the school which has a wonderful community ethos, therefore I am delighted to offer my support to the governing body. 

I am a civil servant with nearly 20 years experience working in Welsh Government. I am currently working in its Education Directorate, focussing on finance, project management and stakeholder engagement.

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Simon Baralos - Foundation Governor

I'm excited and proud to serve as a foundation governor at St Helen’s. My family and I have been members of the parish since moving to Caerphilly in 2015. My two sons and nieces currently attend the school, and witnessing their positive experiences illustrates what a unique and special community we have here at St Helen’s.  I look forward to supporting the school in my role as a governor, in particular continuing to strengthen and develop the school link with the church community of St Helen’s.

Professionally, I'm a Software Developer, passionate about digital literacy, technology and computer programming. I hope to use my knowledge and experience in any way that supports the school. As my job involves sitting at a screen all day, outside of work I try to fully enjoy our local area, plodding around town with the Caerphilly Runners, playing football and supporting Cardiff City with our family season ticket!

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Smitha CholaKuzhiyi – Foundation Governor

My name is Smitha CholaKuzhiyil mother of two and a registered nurse by profession. I have been in this profession since 2005 in various sectors like education, community and currently in the acute medical ward.
My background of nursing and working with various age groups has made me understand how important school education is in every child to help develop their full potential particularly the Catholic teachings of the church in a Catholic School. Being a mother of two young kids in St.Helens RC School and a parishioner of St. Helens RC Church has inspired me to work with the school staff and the church to upbring the future of many such young children and help mould their bright future.
I am excited about this opportunity to serve as Foundation Governor at St.Helens RC Primary School and contribute to the school's mission of providing a nurturing and academically rigorous environment along with establishing a clear vision for school based on the Catholic teachings of the church.


Jayne Macfarlane - Foundation Governor

I am very proud to have been appointed Foundation Governor of St. Helen’s School.  I have been married for 44 years (to Colin) we have 3 children, all attended St. Helen’s and 3 grandchildren who also attend St. Helen’s.  I was incredibly lucky to have been school clerk (at the school) for 18 years. It was the most incredible privilege to spend my working life with the pupils,  staff and families.  My association with the school began in 1989 (when my first child started in year 1) and I’m delighted to say it continues on (I volunteer in Reception class once a week). 

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