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 – Diane Secker, Esther Hill, Paul Durant
  • Headteacher’s appraisal panel – Vicky Pearlman, Penny Dent, Diane Secker
  • Complaints panel – Esther Hill, Sarah Pike, Diane Secker, Kate Goldman-Toomey

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 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


Vicky Pearlman – Chair of Governors

  • Local Authority Governor (March 2020 – March 2024)
  • Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, safeguarding
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL); (2018-2019): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 6 out of 6 (LfL)


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.

Penny Dent – Deputy Chair

  • Parent Governor (October 2013 – September 2017) Co-opted Governor (September 2017 – August 2021) Co-opted Member
  • Appointed by the Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, PPG, CLA
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (RC); (2018/19): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 3 out of 5 (RC)


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. Six years later, I’m still here and still growing my brain! 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 now spend my time online running social media accounts for clients and also writing on subjects as wide ranging as road safety and children’s toy reviews. I juggle working life and being a governor with having three children: my oldest daughter is at the Junior school, my son is in his final year at the Infant school and my youngest daughter will soon turn one. I’m also a passionate WI member and a tea addict.

Abi Newbigging

  • Co-Opted Governor (August 2019 – August 2023)
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee (Co-Chair), Premises, Health & Safety
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC); (2018/19): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (RC)


Biography coming soon

Paul Durant

  • Co-opted Governor (September 2015 – August 2019) (September 2019 – August 2023)
  • Appointed by: Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee (Co-Chair), Financial Procedures, Asset Management, Maths, PTA link
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC); (2018/2019): 3 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (RC)


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

  • Parent Governor (February 2018 – February 2022)
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, Premises, Sports Premium, Health & Safety
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC); (2018/2019): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC)


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.

Diane Secker

  • Co-opted Governor (September 2020 – August 2024)
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Resources Committee, English, SEND, HR Support, Well being
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (RC); (2018/2019): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 5 (RC)


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.


Sarah Pike

  • Parent Governor (July 2017 – July 2021)
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee (Co-Chair), English, Pupil Premium and Children Looked After
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL); (2018/19): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 6 out of 6 (LfL)


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 be elected as a parent 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!

Kate Goldman-Toomey

  • Co-opted Governor (January 2019 – December 2022)
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 3 out of 3 (FGB); 2 out of 2 (LfL); (2018/2019): 3 out of 3 (FGB); 4 out of 6 (LfL)


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.

Nasima Rahman

  • Co-opted Governor (September 2020 – August 2024)
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, Maths and SEN
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 2 out of 5 (LfL); (2018/2019): 3 out of 5 (FGB); 4 out of 6 (LfL)


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.



Sara Sherafat Scott

  • Parent Governor (February 2018 – February 2022)
  • Appointed by Parent Election
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning Committee, Data Protection and GDPR, Equalities and Science
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL); (2018/2019): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 3 out of 6 (LfL)


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.

David Zolynski

  • Co-opted Governor (August 2015 – August 2019, August 2019 – 2023)
  • Appointed by Governing Body
  • Responsibilities: Leaders for Learning (Co-Chair), Internet Safety and KS1
  • Attendance (2019-2020): 4 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 5 (LfL); (2018/2019): 5 out of 5 (FGB); 5 out of 6 (LfL)


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.