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Damson Wood Pen Portraits

Chris Boniface - Vice Chair DW LGB

I was appointed as a governor at Damson Wood in 2023. I have always been interested in Education and ensuring that our children get the best start on their journey. I believe the school has a lot to offer the local community and I am very happy to volunteer my time to support the team. This year, I am supporting the school to achieve its SIP aims specifically around Character Building.

I work for one of the UK’s best known broadband providers and have done so for many years, I lead a diverse field team in Central London and have experience across all areas of the operation including people management, recruitment, projects, engagement & growth.

 I was born and raised in Solihull and attended local schools throughout my childhood. I live in Solihull with my Wife who has worked in education for many years and we have 2 grown up children. I enjoy spending time outdoors including long Dog walks and any form of Physical exercise.


Francesca Eley- Damson Wood LGB

I live in Sutton Coldfield with my husband and two young children. I have been a primary school teacher for the past 13 years at schools in both Solihull and Birmingham.

I was appointed to the LGB in October 2023. As I left teaching at the end of 2022, I wanted to maintain strong links with education, building new skills and capabilities to leverage when I return. When I came to see Damson Wood, I instantly knew this was the school I wanted to volunteer my time in. The school has a nurturing environment with an incredible team of staff that work together to give the children a fantastic start to their school life.

Throughout my career, I have taught children in every year group and held many positions in primary schools that will support the LGB, such as DSL, Key Stage 1 and Early Years Lead. I have also been a Trust Lead for EYFS, working across all schools in the Trust to develop their Early Years provision. Through this role, I became an SLE for Early Years and delivered EYFS training for new teachers in Solihull and across the Trust. I progressed to Deputy Head of School in 2018-19 and after having my two children in 2020 and 2021, I decided to take a break from teaching to spend more time at home with them before they begin school.

I enjoy spending most of my time with my two children, finding new things to do each day. They like to explore the outdoors and ride their bikes, as well as learning through play and being creative. In my free time, my hobbies include swimming, meals out, going to the theatre to watch musicals or attending concerts and visiting my friends and family back home in Solihull.

Meena Gabbi- Damson Wood LGB

Meena Gabbi recently (July 2023) been appointed as a governor of Damson Wood infant school by the trustees at Central Schools Trust. Mrs Gabbi is a secondary teacher by profession and started her teaching career in Coventry as an English teacher she progressed in her career to Head of Department, faculty, Assistant Head, Deputy Head, Head of school and more recently as Headteacher in a secondary school in Northamptonshire. She has a range of school improvement and change management experience, working at local and national levels with a range of stakeholders. She is currently an education consultant, a leadership performance and assessor for a national leadership qualification provider. Mrs Gabbi also coaches and support headteachers and senior leadership teams

Mrs Gabbi has been in Education for over 20 years and views this role in education as a huge privilege to make a difference to the lives of young people and their communities. She is committed to ensuring that all the pupils she encounters, have a good quality education and the best start in life. Being a governor is one way in which she remains fully committed to this.

Mrs Gabbi lives in Solihull, with her husband and two children, she enjoys walking with family/friends and yoga in her spare time.

Sarah Begley- Damson Wood LGB

I joined Damson Wood LGB in March 2023. I chose to volunteer to be a parent governor as my son attends Damson Wood and I also went to the school many years ago. I have fond memories of my time there and my son is thoroughly enjoying his journey, having been there since nursery.

I am a parent governor for Health & Safety and Compliance.

In my working life, I am an employment solicitor at a local firm of solicitors in Shirley. I have held this role for over 7 year and have been qualified in employment law for over 15 years.

I advise employers and employees on both contentious and non-contentious aspects of employment law. My day-to-day analytical, communication and pragmatic skills will hopefully be an asset to the trust in delivering their aims. I am also regularly engaged in the firm’s own CSR initiatives.

Outside of my professional life, I am a keen runner and enjoy engaging in community-based activities. As someone who has lived in Damson Wood for most of my life, I am passionate about the area and want to give back in any way I can.