Sonia Fenner, Headteacher
I have worked in Hertfordshire schools since 2003, previously completing part of my first-year training placement at Pirton School. I strongly believe that every child has the right to succeed and have always strived to develop opportunities to allow this to happen, in both schools that I am employed by and those I have supported as a Leading Literacy Teacher. I hope to develop my role as Assistant Head at Pirton and as staff governor to have a positive and lasting impact upon the school’s community.
Neil Ireland (Chair of Governors), Local Authority Governor
I taught for 27 years in secondary schools, my final post being part of the leadership team in a Luton School. I left teaching at the end of 2011 and started a small business in web design. I have a deep understanding of education and the needs of pupils, parents/carers and staff. I joined Pirton's Governing Body in October 2013. I enjoy skiing, windsurfing, walking and foreign holidays.
Richard Easterbrook (Vice Chair of Governors), Co-opted Governor
I became a governor of Pirton School in March 2008. I am married with 4 children. All 4 either attend or have attended the school with 2 having moved on and 2 remaining. They are currently (December 2016) in year 2 and reception. We have lived in the village for over 10 years, and as well as serving as a school governor, I have sat on the Parish Council, and served as Chair and Vice Chair of the Village Hall Committee. In addition, I also took the part of the Dame in the local village panto, something which those who attended are still trying to wipe from their memories. Professionally I work as an insurance broker.
Roy Unsworth, Co-opted Governor
I have forty years experience in education following ten years in the military. I worked at Fearnhill School, Letchworth for fourteen years teaching maths and computing, as a pastoral head and then as one of the leadership team. I also worked in the Education 2000 project introducing computers into schools.
I then worked for Northants County Council. First I installed computers in schools and trained management and administrative staff to use them to run budgets and maintain staff and pupil databses. Later I ran the information systems for the education department, including the procurement and systems development overseeing project managers contracted to deliver them.
I have been a governor in four schools, two of which I chaired, and a governor trainer running new governor induction courses in Northamptonshire.
Lorna Sexton, Co-opted Governor
I have lived in Pirton for the past 34 years, with a brief break of four years in The Netherlands, when my husband was posted there. All of my children and now my granddaughter have been taught at Pirton School. I began my working life as a translater/interpreter in advertising, the hotel industry in Gibraltar and the motor trade. I have four children and, when they were old enough for me to return to work, I re-trained as a secondary school teacher, specialising in Modern Foreign Languages and Special Educational Needs and served my last ten years before retirement as the Special Needs Co-ordinator at Hitchin Boys’ School. My family has always taken an active role in the Community and so it gives me great pleasure to be joining the Governing Body of our local school.
Janine Budd, Parent Governor
I have two children, one in Year 4 at Pirton School and the other in Year 7 at The Priory School. I have lived in the village for almost four years and was elected as a parent governor in January 2016. Before having children, I worked in scientific research and publishing, then retrained as a teacher. I currently work as a part-time Teacher and Science Subject Leader at a large primary school in Stevenage. I have enjoyed contributing to my local community through voluntary work for many years, as a tutor of English as an additional language whilst living in the USA and as a Museum Teacher at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin. I am pleased to be using my experience to support Pirton School as a member of the Governing Body.
Bharathi Brown, Parent Governor
I am a parent Governor, married with 1 child who attends Pirton School. After obtaining my Masters in Chemistry, I decided to switch my career to work for the NHS and Department of Health in various operational, performance and project Management roles since 1994. I have also completed my Masters in Public Administration from Warwick Business School in 2015
My roles in the NHS have provided me with wide experience of managing people, change and improving performance.
I love spending time with my family, outdoor activities and cooking.
Alison Sugden, Parent Governor
I am a parent governor. I have 3 children at the school. I have lived in Pirton for nearly 20 years and have grown to love this unique village. After completing my degree I embarked on a career in retailing and then Human Resources. I changed career to become a teacher in 2013 and recently I have been studying for the National SENCo award. I am looking forward to working with the governing body team to ensure that we do everything we can to allow the children at Pirton school to realise their full potential.
Helen Park. Parent Governor
My family moved to Pirton in 2016 and we have all grown to love the prevailing sense of community, which encouraged me to become a Parent Governor in 2017. I’m a secondary qualified English teacher with several years’ Management, Training and Consultancy Experience. I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Assessing pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia) and have commenced my Masters in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. I am currently a full-time mother who does sporadic Consultancy days for Creative Education. My most full-time role was as Deputy Head, then Director of Teaching and Learning Strategies at a Special Needs school in London. I was also an adviser to Hammersmith and Fulham on Dyslexia and their representative at tribunals. I am passionate about getting to know individual pupils’ needs, and raising standards in education through engaging and challenging teaching, learning and environments.
Andrea Perry, Staff Governor
Andrea has newly joined the Governing Body. More information soon.
Governor Roles and responsibilities
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
As part of the governing body team, a governor is expected to:
- Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings which determine:
- the vision and ethos of the school;
- clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school;
- that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
- the school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation;
- the school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies;
- the principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies.
- Hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes:
- agreeing the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan;
- considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance;
- asking challenging questions of school leaders;
- ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits;
- ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies;
- acting as a link governor on a specific issue, making relevant enquiries of the relevant staff, and reporting to the governing body on the progress on the relevant school priority; and
- listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders : pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community, including local employers.
- Ensure the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.
- When required, serve on panels of governors to:
- appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders;
- appraise the headteacher;
- set the headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff;
- hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters;
- hear appeals about pupil exclusions.
- School Improvement: Janine Budd (chair), Lorna Sexton, Alison Sugden, Andrea Perry (staff)
- Finance and Resources: Richard Easterbrook (chair), Neil Ireland, Bharathi Brown
- Premises: Roy Unsworth (chair), Helen Park, 1 Vacancy, Diane Bailey (School Business Manager)
Governing Body Visit Teams
- Effectiveness of leadership and management: Neil Ireland, Richard Easterbrook
- Quality of teaching and learning, and assessment : Alison Sugden, Lorna Sexton
- Personal development, behaviour and welfare : Bharathi Brown, Roy Unsworth
- Outcomes for pupils: Janine Budd, Helen Park
- Special Educational Needs (SEN): Janine Budd
- Safeguarding and Children Looked After: Roy Unsworth
- Health and Safety: Roy Unsworth
- Head Teacher's Appraisers: Richard Easterbrook (VCoG), Neil Ireland (Chair)
- Website compliance: Bharathi Brown