Governors

ABOUT OUR GOVERNORS

Our Governors work collaboratively as part of the school Leadership Team to promote and develop the school vision. Their role is strategic and responsibilities include: employing staff, managing resources, ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum, maintaining high standards, working effectively with parents and ensuring that the staff and children have a high quality working environment. Our Governors work very hard for the development of successful learning at Bernards Heath and there are a variety of times during the school year when you can meet them. The school’s Governing Body is made up of 4 Governors elected by parents, the Head Teacher, 1 Governor elected by staff, 1 Governor appointed by Hertfordshire County Council and 7 Governors co-opted by other Governors. Appointments are for four years, although vacancies do occasionally occur at other times.

Click here to see a list of our Governors

A Governor’s time commitment is significant and they have a number of meetings throughout the year. They have six full Governing Body meetings and six committee meetings each year. All Governors belong to one Committee, either:

  • Resources (Personnel, Premises and Finance)
  • Leaders for Learning (Pupils and Curriculum)

Appeals, Exclusions & Behaviour Committee and Grievances Committee: Ad hoc panels

  • Pay panel – Abi Newbigging, Esther Hill, Paul Durant
  • Headteacher’s appraisal panel – Penny Dent, Sarah Pike, Abi Newbigging
  • Complaints panel – Esther Hill, Sarah Pike, Hayley Thomas

Governors are also linked to the School Development Plan and are encouraged to make three visits a year during the teaching day to talk to the children and staff, to informally observe teaching and learning and to learn more about the day to day work of the school.

The Governing Body provide strategic management and act as a ‘critical friend’ supporting the work of the Head Teacher and other staff.
Schools have a budget and the Governing Body is responsible for managing this budget. They  support the Head Teacher in deciding how many and what types of staff to employ, which type of equipment to replace or upgrade and what the priorities are for implementing new strategies and initiatives. The Governors also have a role in monitoring the school’s progress.

The Governors do not get paid for their work at school – it is a voluntary role. People often apply to join the Governing Body because they are keen to make a commitment to their local community.

Anyone can become a Governor, some of our Governors work full-time, some part-time, and others are not in paid employment, but they all share one thing – a commitment to the children at Bernards Heath Infant School today and in the future. We welcome people with skills and expertise in particular fields, but the most important thing is having the time and willingness to work with the school to make it as good as it possibly can be.

Elections are held for new Governors as and when the need arises. Any parent or guardian of a child at our school is eligible to stand for election. You may want to talk to a current Governor if you would like to find out more about joining the Governing Body.

The Governors are pleased to meet with parents. You can contact them by emailing governors@bernardsheath.herts.sch.uk. The Governors also attend our parent teacher consultations, plays, fetes etc. to meet as many parents as they can.

Click here to read our Blog

OUR GOVERNORS

Penny Dent – Chair of Governors

  • First Appointed Parent Governor (1st November 2013) converted to Co-opted Governor (1st November 2017) Current Term ends 19th September 2025
  • Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, Safeguarding, Recruitment, Spencer Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC)

Read more...

I first stood to be a parent governor at Bernards Heath when my eldest daughter had only been in Heath class for about a month. I was so instantly impressed by the school and the community surrounding it that I wanted to give something back. Eight years later, I’m still here and still growing my brain! Over the years I have served on both the Resources and Leaders for Learning committees, been the link governor for SEND, Pupil Premium and Children Looked After and I was also as deputy Chair for four years. After a degree in Electronic Engineering with Computer Science, my working life before children included time working for the Ministry of Defence in roles as varied as writing Freedom of Information Policy and looking after projections of the military capability needed in various deployment scenarios. I also spent time working as a consultant in other central Government departments, managing large technical projects to support the UK’s security and law enforcement capabilities in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics. Since having my first child I have become self-employed and juggle running an online business and being a governor with having three children: my oldest daughter is at secondary school in St Albans, my son is at the Junior school, and my youngest daughter will hopefully join Heath Class in 2022. I’m also a passionate WI member and a tea and crochet addict.

Gemma Cole – Deputy Chair of Governors

  • Parent Governor (18th March 2021) Current terms ends 17th March 2025
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, SEN, English (Writing), Foundation Stage Assessment, Ryder Class Link
  • Attendance: (2020-2021): 2 out of 2 (FGB); 1 out of 1 (LfL)

Read more...

Having previously been a staff governor at a school, I was delighted to be elected as a Parent Governor when my daughter was in Reception as I felt that I would be able to bring my educational experience and background to the Governing Body. I have been a qualified teacher for over 14 years and have taught from nursery/preschool aged children all the way through to students, aged 19. Most of my teaching experience comes from working with primary-aged children with Special Educational Needs and Difficulties (SEND) but I am currently Deputy SENDCo and Specialist Assessor at a boy’s boarding school. This experience will help me to understand my role as the governor for SEND and will hopefully enable me to support the school with providing the best support for pupils with SEND. In addition, I am also the link governor for Foundation Stage Assessment, Governor development, Ryder class and I sit on the Leaders for Learning committee. Outside of my professional life, I am a mum of two, (my daughter is currently at the infant school, but my son is a while off being school age!) and I enjoy baking.

Abi Newbigging

  • Co-Opted Governor (1st September 2015) Current terms ends 30th August 2023
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee (Co-Chair), RE, Computing, History, Geography, Collective Worship, Clarence Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC)

Read more...

Biography coming soon

Paul Durant

  • Appointed Associate Governor (22nd July 2022)
  • Co-opted Governor (1st September 2015)  Current terms ends 30th August 2023
  • Appointed by: Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee (Co-Chair), Financial Procedures/SFVS, Asset Management, IT, Heath Class link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (RC)

Read more...

I am a qualified ACA Accountant having trained with KPMG at the start of my career.  From there I moved into Banking and have worked at a number of Global Investment Banks mainly in “Product Control”, with responsibilities to report the daily Profit and Loss for various trading desks. I now work in Finance Projects covering a range of topics from Regulatory and Tax reporting to system implementations.  My work focuses on implementing new processes/procedures and controls. My eldest child started Heath class in 2014 and shortly after the school were looking for Governors with accounting expertise.  I was excited to take up the opportunity to become a Governor so I could make a difference to the school and its children.

Esther Hill

  • First Appointed Parent Governor (5th February 2018) converted to Co-opted Governor (20th September 2021) Current term ends 19th September 2025
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, Premises, Sports Premium, Health & Safety/Asbestos, Mitchell Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC)

Read more...

Born and raised in Australia, I moved to London in 2001 to ‘see the world’ and get to know my UK family. After meeting my husband, we moved to St Albans in 2007 and have both our son and daughter at Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School. I currently work part-time as a Project Manager/Analyst at a global management consultancy firm in London, specifically working with multinational companies, managing their health and group benefit programs. I have worked at this company for over 10 years and, before becoming a mother, I was a personal assistant there. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and travelling when I can. I was inspired to become a governor shortly after my son started in reception. It’s easy to see the amazing close knit family of staff, children and parents. I believe I can make a useful contribution to the school and its community.

Sarah Pike

  • First Appointed Parent Governor (12th July 2017) converted to Co-opted Governor (20th September 2021)  Current term ends 19th September 2025
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee (Chair), English (Reading), Pupil Premium Grant and Children Looked After, Verulam Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

I worked at Tesco for many years, leading teams across Property and Marketing, in the UK and overseas. My key area of functional expertise is Insight, and my last role at Tesco was as Property Research Director, responsible for developing business strategies in property investment, retail portfolio configuration and multi-channel growth.

I left Tesco in 2015, perfect timing as it gave me the opportunity to focus full-time on my son, who started in Reception at Bernard’s Heath Infant & Nursery school later that year. And I was delighted to become a governor when the opportunity arose. I had long wanted to become a school governor, and was excited about the chance to use my skills to contribute to the future of the school and its children.

I currently work as a freelance consultant specialising in retail location and network planning, when time permits! 

Nasima Rahman

  • Co-opted Governor (1st September 2016) Current terms ends 31st August 2024
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, Maths, Communities, Fundraising and Celebration Days, Alban Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 3 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

Born and raised in St Albans.  All three of my children have been through Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School and Bernards Heath Junior School. I am an Ofsted Registered childminder and have my own before and after school club. I love spending time with my family, movies and reading when I can. I joined the Governing Body in 2016 and have learnt so much.  It truly is amazing to be able to be involved with such a passionate and inspiring school.

 

 

Dan Knight

  • Parent Governor (11th October 2021)  Current term ends 10th October 2025
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, RHE and PSHE, Heartwood Class Link

Read more...

I am a Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Free Hospital and an Honorary Associate Professor at University College London. I specialize in imaging the heart, in particular using cardiac MRI scanning, and treating patients with pulmonary hypertension. This is a rare condition that causes high blood pressure in the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs (the pulmonary arteries). I carry out this work in the National Pulmonary Hypertension service at the Royal Free, one of six nationally commissioned centres in England for the treatment of adults with this diagnosis. My job involves a mixture of clinical and academic work, and my research activity is supported by a British Heart Foundation Fellowship.

Both of my children are at Bernards Heath Infant & Nursery School. My eldest child started in Verulam class in 2020 and his brother started in Heath class in 2021. I was very impressed at an early stage with the school, its staff and the school community as a whole. For these reasons, I was keen to attempt the role of a school governor as an opportunity for me to give something back to the school and contribute to an area outside of my usual work. Through this position, I hope to make a positive and meaningful contribution to the school and its children.

Hayley Thomas

  • Parent Governor (11th October 2021)  Current term ends 10th October 2025
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, Music, D&T, Art and Design, Morpurgo Class Link

Read more...

I am a barrister specialising in personal injury and employment law. I represent clients in a wide range of sectors facing claims for life changing injuries arising from accidents at work, road accidents and public liability, often with an element of suspected fraud, dishonesty or exaggeration. My employment work covers discrimination, unfair and wrongful dismissal, redundancy and whistleblowing. I have worked part time since having my children. I moved to St Albans following the birth of my eldest child and now have two children at the school and one due to start in a few years. I stood to be a parent governor because I will have a child / children at BHINS for the next 6/7 years. I wanted to learn more about the work of the school and contribute to its continued success. With three small children I have almost forgotten what spare time is, but where possible I love trips to the theatre, walking and planning my next holiday.

Mark Jennings

  • Parent Governor (16th May 2022) Current term ends 15th May 2026
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee

Read more...

I am a forensic accountant and I help businesses recover from catastrophic events which interrupt their ability to trade.   I have given evidence in court and in alternative dispute resolution settings as an accounting expert. I’m originally from Birmingham. I moved to London in 2005, then on to St Albans to start our family and our son started in Verulam class in 2021.  I have been really impressed by the school and its ethos – I firmly believe it is giving our children the skills needed for lifelong learning. When the school was looking for a parent governor with finance experience, I jumped at the opportunity to contribute.

Jon Fisher

  • First Appointed Associate Member (21st September 2020)  Staff Governor (19th July 2021)  Current term ends 18th July 2025
  • Elected by Staff
  • Responsibilities: Churchill Class Teacher, Year 1 Lead, Behaviour and Maths Lead

Read more...

I have worked at our school since 2014. I began as a class teacher in year 2 before moving to year 1. Prior to qualifying as a teacher I worked for 12 years in IT for an insurance syndicate in the City of London. Before that I studied Biochemistry and was very close to embarking on a career studying nematode worms. I like to think the worm’s loss was our children’s gain. There are many paths I could have taken, and many destinations I could have arrived at, but I feel very grateful to have found a place as caring, nurturing, and supportive as Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School. Outside school I enjoy spending time with my family and consuming as much motorsport as possible.

Liz Dixon

  • Associate Member (20th September 2021) Current term ends 19th September 2025
  • Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Responsibilities:  Morpurgo Class Teacher, Year 2 Lead, Writing Lead

Read more...

I have worked at Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School since the end of 2014, following some time spent in Year 3 at Bernards Heath Junior School. I began my journey at the infants in Foundation Stage 2, moving to Year 1 before becoming a Year 2 teacher in 2017.  Before qualifying as a teacher, I had a career in publishing. I worked on publications ranging from educational textbooks to research materials for global investment banks.  I feel privileged to work at a school as nurturing as Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery, and to be part of such a committed and supportive staff team.

PREVIOUS GOVERNORS

Vicky Pearlman

  • Stepped down as an Associate Member (22nd July 2022)
  • Stepped down as LA Governor (21st July 2021)  Appointed as an Associate Member (20th September 2021)  Current term ends 19th September 2022
  • Previous Chair of Governors
  • Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

Both of my children (one is now at the Juniors and the other at a local secondary school) thrived at the Infant school and my husband and I felt hugely supported as parents taking our first steps in our children’s education. I put myself forward for election to the governing body to help ensure that every one of our children, parents and staff can make the most of the opportunities our school offers, and to support the school as it continues to grow and develop. I have been Chair of Governors for the past four years and also sit on our Leaders for Learning committee, having previously chaired it. I am a regular visitor to our Resources committee and to as many events in school as I can. In my working life, I am a policy development and social justice specialist, currently leading projects to improve London’s private rented sector for the Mayor of London, at the GLA. Over the past twenty years, I have lead projects at Shelter (access to justice, welfare reform, private renting), Citizens Advice (disability benefits and welfare reform), Catch 22 (children in, and leaving, care) and Carers UK (carers), to develop policy and influence Government and other policy makers to make change happen.

Vicki Blackburn

  • Stepped down (22nd July 2022)
  • Local Authority Governor (18th October 2021)  Current terms ends 17th October 2025
  • Nominated by the Local Authority and Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, Maths, KS1 Assessment, Behaviour, Staff Wellbeing, Mental Health (Staff and Children), Churchill Class Link

Coming Soon...

Biography coming soon

Diane Secker

  • Stepped down (31st December 2021)
  • Co-opted Governor (1st September 2016) Current term ends 31st August 2024
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, English (Writing), SEND, Personnel Recruitment, Staff Wellbeing, Mental Heath (Staff and Children), Heartwood Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC); 2 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

Having worked in Human Resources for almost 20 years, at ITV and at the British Medical Association, I have recently set up my own HR Consultancy business and enjoy helping small businesses with their ‘tricky’ people situations. I use my experience and qualifications in HR and Employment Law to advise on formal procedures, particularly where there is conflict at work, and also enjoy helping employers improve wellbeing at work.   As a much younger me, I wanted to teach. Whilst I changed my mind on a teaching career, I retained my interest in education. I also work, on a voluntary basis, as Enterprise Adviser with Beaumont School to advise on and support their careers education strategy and helping them make links with local business. This aims to broaden the student’s knowledge of the range of opportunities available and ensure that they have the best possible preparation for succeeding in the world of work.   I have two daughters at a local primary school. It has been great to have an insight into another school and gain a better understanding of the education system. I responded to the need for HR skills on the governing board and I enjoy being part of a highly engaged, positive team and learning from governor colleagues and the Senior Leadership Team.

 

Sara Sherafat Scott

  • Stepped down (13th December 2021)
  • Parent Governor (5th February 2018)  Current term ends 4th February 2022
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, GDPR, Equalities, Science, Morpurgo Class Link
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

I am a barrister specialising in all types of Media and Information Law, such as privacy, libel, harassment and data protection. I started working at a specialist media set, 5RB, before moving to work at the Ministry of Justice for 2 years after having my first child. I left in 2011 and joined Matrix Chambers in London which is where I still practice. I acted for the Core Participant Victims in stage 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and am representing the Claimants in their phone hacking claims against NGN and MGN. I have done a number of human rights projects over my career, including a Judicial Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Library Resources Project in Sudan and Commercial Law Training Project in Sudan. I am currently a member of the “lawyers in schools project” that Matrix runs with Parliament Hill School in North London. I was inspired to become a governor as I wanted to give something back to the school which has done so much for my children and the community. My two older children have been at the Infant School and my youngest is currently a pupil. At the time the School was also looking for specialists in data protection which was something with which I could helpfully assist. I like running with friends and spending time with family and friends.

Kate Goldman-Toomey

  • Stepped down (3rd August 2021)
  • Co-opted Governor (1st January 2019) Current term ends 31st December 2022
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

I started my career as the Breakfast Show assistant for Heart FM and Galaxy FM in Birmingham, moving to London to help start up a Venture Capital Firm. After a few years in the City I knew I wanted to work in the Not for Profit Sector and over the last 17 years have held roles at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the NSPCC, Save the Children, Unicef and now Macmillan Cancer Support, including two years as a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine. I recently joined Macmillan as their Director of Corporate Partnerships & Philanthropy with responsibility for securing, retaining and growing partnerships with companies, trusts, foundations and philanthropists. My husband and I have two small children and moved to St Albans five years ago. I was inspired to become a governor because I wanted to support our local community and, as a new mum, better understand our education system.

David Zolynski

  • Stepped down (15th July 2021)
  • Co-opted Governor (1st September 2015)  Current terms ends 31st August 2023
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Attendance (2020-2021): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL)

Read more...

I moved to St Albans 12 years ago after working for Investment Banks in Warsaw, Paris and New York.  I am now in charge of the credit function in Aviva, responsible for all infrastructure investments (e.g. schools, roads, renewable energy) made on behalf of clients. My three children have all gone through Bernards Heath Infant School, although only my youngest remains here.  I became keen to get more involved in school matters following the change in the school’s leadership team in 2015.  I felt the school had a strong foundation and I wanted to help contribute to the fantastic ethos as well as to learn more about our educational system.