Author and pioneer of children’s television, Joy Whitby has agreed to be Patron of the Treehouse Trust.
Joy said: “I am delighted to be Patron of the Treehouse Trust having admired the dedication and the imaginative way Lee and Sharon run their “gang”. The children are learning to think for themselves as well as understand the importance of teamwork. They are living proof of the success of the founders’ teaching methods and are well equipped at the end of their time at the Treehouse to move on to the next stage of their education”.
About Joy Whitby:
Joy is a pioneer of Children’s Television. As Head of Children’s programmes at Yorkshire Television, she produced many innovative programmes including The Book Tower and Under the Same Sky, an international drama exchange sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union. At London Weekend Television she master-minded the iconic series Catweazle, but she is chiefly remembered as the creator of Play School and Jackanory for the BBC.
Joy was a founder member of the Board of Channel 4 and now works as an independent producer through her own company, Grasshopper Productions. Her DVDs are sold through Amazon on her website www.grasshopper.co.uk. Earlier this year she re-published Grasshopper Island, based on her live action film series. She is currently writing and illustrating a box set of Emma and Grandpa, another of her early film series for ITV.
Andrea ran her own business for 30 years and is now a key member of the Treehouse team as School Manager. She is responsible for fundraising for the Trust as well as other areas of management and administration, including a key role in the new Eco Build. She also teaches PE and Dance.
Andrea ran her own business for 30 years and is now a key member of the Treehouse team as School Director She is responsible for fundraising for the Trust as well as other areas of management and administration, including a key role in the new Eco Build. She also teaches PE and Dance.
Deputy Director and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Performing Arts Teacher
Laura trained in musical theatre and has been teaching performing arts in schools for 12+ years. As well as organising and directing The Treehouse School productions she works in an administration based role finding ways to publicise the school's ethos and ways to generate an income for the school.
Director of Learning and Teaching
Lee Ryman, Director of Learning and Teaching and a co-founder of The Treehouse, spent many years in the education system, with roles including headship of a State junior school and a literary consultant to a Local Authority. These experiences, along with working with children in the classroom and visits to a wide range of schools in the UK and abroad, helped Lee to shape and develop an educational philosophy that influences practice at The Treehouse.
Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching
Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching, Sharon Julian, has had a lifelong interest in children and their development. Sharon worked in the state education system for many years, becoming deputy head at a local junior school. Increasingly disillusioned by the top down approach to education, where children were being expected to achieve goals they were not developmentally ready for, she began to look at alternative models. Visits to Sweden and a host of alternative schools, led ultimately to her resignation and involvement in the founding of The Treehouse School.
Interim Treehouse Trust Chair
Charlie taught in a middle school for sixteen years, was a headteacher of a junior school for twenty-eight years, the chairman of a group of twelve collaborating schools and the leader of a Schools Direct training group. He retired in 2017 and now chairs a local charity and is a school governor. He strongly believes in the power of presenting children with choice, opportunity and challenge.
Treehouse Trust- Secretary
Lesley has recently retired from a career in education, teaching young children in Nursery, Primary and specialist units in London and Oxfordshire. For years she worked in the Oxfordshire Early Years Team as an Advisory teacher which entailed supporting settings and schools as well as providing training for the county. Her last post was as a Headteacher of a Foundation Stage School in Oxford. She has always been passionate about early years education and outdoor learning.
Alison has been actively involved in ecological and sustainability issues over many years, including thirteen years as a trustee of a national environmental law charity and service on the management boards of several forward-thinking organisations. She plays an integral role in several local initiatives including the Cholsey Day Centre Trust and the Cholsey Community Library. Alison has been involved the development of the school from the start, and has served as a Trustee since its inception, taking on the Chair’s role in 2014.
Tim’s early career was spent in establishing, developing and leading early stage companies in medical technologies. In 2018, he embarked on a career change and is currently undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Education with a view to teaching secondary geography. For many years, he has also been involved in the charity sector, most recently as a trustee of a charity focusing on developing arts education. Following several years as a Consultant, Tim became a Trustee in 2018, with particular responsibility for IT and data management.
Jane was a senior manager in local government for most of her career, managing a team of planning professionals. Recently, as a professional planner, she ran her own consultancy business and is also responsible for the day-to-day operations at a family law firm. Jane is also a key member of the Wallingford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. For the Treehouse, Jane has responsibility for the Personal Development, Behaviour and Attitudes team. With her planning experience, she also has a key role in the new Eco School project.
Since graduating as a mature student in 2002 from Oxford University, Debbie has worked as a primary school teacher at Fir Tree Junior School, St Nicholas Infant’s School, Zurich International School, Zurich, the British Council, Hong Kong and most recently as a volunteer at The Treehouse School.
Jane Clare has been Deputy Head in a junior school in Reading for many years and previously ran a nursery for children with communication difficulties. Recently retired, she is now interested in how schools can be built around what children really need. Her expertise lies in all aspects of school evaluation and improvement and she has had many years’ experience as designated safeguarding lead.
Jessica is a busy mum to two little girls, but has been interested in education long before becoming a parent. She studied several educational modules as part of her History and Sociology degree for which she graduated with First Class Honours.
She went to a Steiner school herself for a few years and so truly understands the benefits of a child led, outdoor focused and less 'conventional' education from the child's point of view. With a passion for giving children the healthiest start in life, Jessica initially started off in The Treehouse family as a cook but more recently has taken on the role of Safeguarding Trustee.