Our Governors come from a range of backgrounds, and bring different areas of expertise to the school. Governors contribute to ensuring high standards of achievement for all children in the school by:
- setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
- overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Governing Body Pen Portraits
Mrs Faith Spinlove (Chair of Governors)
Committees: Resources, Curriculum and Pupil Matters, Pay Committee & Performance Management of Head Teacher
My father was in the armed forces so I spent my formative years living and being educated abroad, mostly in International schools. This has given me a grounded outlook on life and a broad understanding of education.
Both my daughters, Kyra and Eryn, attended Heathlands School, where they gained the best grounding and experience to set them on their future successful pathways.
My professional career in education, teaching in both Suffolk and Essex within the 11-18 age range, has given me experience at all levels of leadership and management, culminating in a Headship at a troubled school. Although my specialism are in science and physical education, I have also been involved in a variety of initiatives at local and county level both leading, mentoring and advising. I set up a programme providing an innovative curriculum for disaffected children which saw them achieve success in their GCSE’s, well above previous expectations.
I have been a county and national player in Netball and represented Colchester in a number of other sports. At one time I chaired the netball league at a time of great change. I have been instrumental in the development of GCSE Physical Education as both Principal Examiner for EDEXCEL and consultant examiner for OCR.
I am happily retired and can enjoy time with my grandson. In addition to staying fit and healthy, I am able to pursue my love of singing and now have time for extended travel where I can combine my increasing knowledge of photography with seeing the world.
I particularly enjoy the experience of being a governor. I was initially elected as a parent governor in 1994, and was subsequently appointed by the Local Authority. I have been privileged to be Chair of Governors since 1996. I am extremely proud to be working with a committed, collaborative team of governors, staff and parents in the continual quest for Heathlands to be ‘the best’
Mr James Saunders (Vice-Chair & Chair of Curriculum & Pupil Matters)
Committees: Curriculum and Pupil Matters, Pay Committee & Performance Management of Head Teacher
I am Vice Chair of the Governing body. I Chair the curriculum, & pay & personnel committees, and am a member of the resources committee.
I have two boys: Theo in year 4 and Heath in reception. I enjoy visiting museums and Aquariums with the boys, building things with Lego and trying to keep up in Minecraft.
My professional background is education. I am currently Vice Principal of a large secondary school in north Essex and director of an Essex teaching school. Much of my work is outward facing and involves working with other schools to effect system wide improvement. I am also part of a national school’s network and run a school improvement cluster of primary schools throughout the tending district; I also peer review schools nationally. After a short career in music and digital design, I trained as a teacher and have experienced most age groups over my career; I love teaching Computing and Photography. I have established many projects to raise aspiration for disadvantaged children, and have supported countless students to gain access to the top universities in the country. I have trained as a Google certified innovator & teacher, and am one of around 1000 innovators globally who have been selected & trained by Google in the last ten years to represent the education arm of the company. I have just been appointed as the new Headteacher of Honywood Community Science School, Coggeshall and will take up the post in April 2018.
Outside of work I am the Chair of trustees and designated safeguarding officer for The Art Ministry: a small charity in south Essex that provides art & craft activities to raise self-esteem & boost confidence for children and adults with learning disabilities, visual impairments and dementia. I have also recently joined the board of a multi academy trust group of primary schools in Essex. I am a keen academic & have published several papers online & through journals; most notably, I am known for my work regarding digital inequality, which has been widely disseminated globally through several networks. I am also a member of the Research Ethics Committee of University College London (UCL), a fellow of the Royal Society for Arts Manufactures and Commerce and a founding member of the Chartered College of Teaching. In between these activities I enjoy writing my blog, which combines my critical observations of education with my love for film. I am currently trying to juggle these commitments to make time to set up a not-for-profit charitable organisation to promote the advancement of education, in particular by seeking to close the attainment gap for disadvantaged children from single parent families; and create lifelong learning opportunities through intergenerational learning for retired males.
Mr Rick Cranfield (Acting Headteacher & Associate)
Committees: Resources and Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I have been a teacher for 17 years, all of which I have had the pleasure of being at Heathlands for. In 1998, as part of my BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education, I completed a teaching practice at Heathlands and was appointed soon after.
I have had a number of different roles across the school during the past 17 years and have been a part of the senior leadership team since 2006. I was appointed to the role of assistant head in 2006 and was appointed deputy head in 2013. I have been heavily involved in the restructuring of our curriculum and developing effective systems for how we assess pupils across the school.
I have been a member of the governing body since 2005 in the role of both staff and associate governor. In this role I have seen how working collaboratively with governors can drive the school forward for the benefit of our children, our staff and our community.
Mrs Samantha Sismey (Chair of Resources Committee & Co-opted)
Committees: Resources, Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I joined the Governing body in February 2016 as an associate governor and was subsequently co-opted in June 2016. I am a parent of Thomas in year 4 and Jessica in year 2.
In my role as Finance Business Partner supporting Adult Social Care at Essex County Council I support senior officers to assist them in managing financial resources by setting, monitoring and forecasting budgets. I also support the budget sustainability programme and undertake project work as required.
I am a fully qualified Chartered Public Finance Accountant and have over 17 years of experience in working with different services within public sector organisations.
Outside work I enjoy aviation, photography and walking; hobbies which allow me to spend time with my family.
Rev Amanda Elmes (Foundation Ex-Officio)
I qualified as a dentist in 1976, and after working in Cheltenham, my husband and I set up the Dental Practice on Mersea Island, in 1981. During that time I worked with the children and young people in the church on Mersea Island. In 1995 I trained to be a forensic dentist, as well, and was involved in the interface between dentistry and the law, undertaking identification and legal cases. My doctorate research was into the date of emergence of the permanent teeth of British children. Theses dates are an aid to identification and give a guide to the health of the children at the turn of the Millennium.
After being a Reader in the Church of England for 12 years I was ordained in 2008. In 2013 I retired from clinical dentistry and applied for my current post, as the Priest in Charge of West Bergholt, Great Horkesley and Langham with Boxted. Because of my post, I am a Foundation Ex-Officio Governor of Heathlands, Voluntary Controlled Church of England School. Whilst I had not had any experience of primary education before this post, I have been able to bring many of the other life-skills which I gained though treating patients and running a business, to the governing body. I thoroughly enjoy being in school, whether it is to lead an act of worship, act in a pastoral capacity or to meet with the Governing Body.
Mrs Joanne Jeffery (Foundation)
Committees: Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I qualified as a teacher of Modern Foreign languages in 1999 and taught in two secondary schools for 15 years, expanding my teaching experience into other subjects from 2006 gave me the opportunity to teach English, Maths, Geography, RE and Citizenship. I used this experience to transfer my skills to primary school and became a supply teacher at Heathlands in 2010 alongside 1:1 tuition and maths in secondary school. The opportunity to teach across EYFS and 4 Key Stages has given me a valuable and in depth comprehension of a child’s journey through education and I think this is very useful in my work as a governor. I now run my own tuition business, supporting children to GCSE level. I enjoy exploring the value of creative arts as an enhancement of individual learning styles as well as researching ways to optimise brain development by creating more cognitive pathways between the left and right brain.
Whilst in post in secondary education I spent three years working as an Assistant Head of Year and a year covering absence as Head of Year 7. In these roles I worked closely with families, outside agencies, subject heads and classroom teachers to ensure that each child’s welfare was of paramount importance. I also led a tutor team of 12 teachers, particularly working with year 6 to 7 transition and motivation for years 8 and 9. This experience gave me further opportunity to follow my passion which is to see both staff and children thrive. This continues to be my passion and it motivates my work as DBE governor.
Over the last 2 years I have worked voluntarily with St Mary’s church and this has enabled me to work on some projects with Heathlands, namely the River of God creative art project, The Year 6 Retreat, and supporting the worship team in the Christmas and Easter services.
I have two children. Caleb has now started Year 7 at St Benedict’s School and Arrielle is in Year 6 at Heathlands. I love creative arts, running, swimming, reading, good food and spas!
Mrs Pat Kinzett (Foundation)
I moved to West Bergholt at the end of 2015 be nearer to my family, after living in the London Borough of Havering for over 40 years. I was welcomed into the family of St Mary’s Church and became PCC Secretary. For over 25 years I worked in Administration in 2 Havering Schools, and my role evolved into Finance Officer and PA to the Headteacher, a job I thoroughly enjoyed. I also served on the School’s Governing Body. When the opportunity arose to join Heathlands Governing Body I was delighted to take this up.
I enjoy spending time with my 2 sons and their families and my 6 grandchildren, ranging from 2 years to 20 years. I also enjoy reading, going to the theatre and travelling.
Miss Sophie Pace (Staff)
Committees: Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I am a teacher at Heathlands in the infant department. Prior to teaching at Heathlands I taught in key stage two at another school based in Colchester. I have a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood studies. After completing my degree I then completed a one year SCITT programme to gain my teaching qualification, with a Maths specialism. As part of the teacher training I was based at Heathlands.
I became a staff governor in September 2016 and I thoroughly enjoy the role and as I am a teacher at the school I have seen the benefits of working collaboratively with staff at the school and the governing body.
Mr Ian Stokes (Parent)
Committees: Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I joined the governing body in October 2017, as a parent governor. I take a keen interest in the effective governance of Heathlands School as I have two children who have recently joined. Charlotte is in year 3, and Zachary has just started in Reception.
My professional background is varied and I have changed career a number of times in the last 20 years. I started my working career working in publishing working as a graphic designer for Lonely Planet Guide books, before re-training to be a quantity surveyor. I professionally qualified as a chartered quantity surveyor in 2007 and subsequently progressed my career working for a large construction company in London where I worked in a number of different construction sectors including education; and on a number of occasions I have worked on the refurbishment and construction of new schools. In 2015 I completed a masters in Construction Law, and recently I began working for a consultancy that specialise in providing expert witness on major international construction disputes.
I have taken this opportunity to become involved as a governor at Heathlands School as I hope it will enable me to add some positive value with the experience that I have. I hope that I can assist the school to continue to be a happy, vibrant and successful place for not only my children, but for all children within the Heathlands School community, and that they van have the chance to thrive and enjoy their school experience.
Mrs Elizabeth Owers (Parent)
Committees: Resources Committee, Pay Committee & Performance Management of Head Teacher
I joined the Governing body in February 2016 as an associate governor and was subsequently elected as parent governor in September 2016. I am a parent of Thomas in year 1 and Jessica who will be joining the school in September 2018.
Within my role as Head of Human Resources for Musto Limited, the World’s leading Sailing apparel brand I have responsibility for HR, Payroll, Health and Safety, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Continuity Planning. I am therefore able to bring a range of skills and experience to the school in relation to Human Resources, Mediation and H&S as I am a Chartered Member of CIPD, ACAS accredited internal workplace mediator and have completed IOSH Managing Safely training.
In previous roles I have advised and supported independent schools and an authority directly with HR matters including safer recruitment and HR casework with child protection related issues.
Outside work, I enjoy running to keep fit and spending time with my family.
Mr Lloyd Presland (Parent)
I joined the Governing Body in 2016 and am parent to Thomas in year 4 and Charlotte in year 2. After gaining a Hons Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering my career has been in the automotive industry for the last 24 years and I am currently an Account Manager for a German Tier One supplier to Ford of Europe.
This role entails constant communication and negotiation between the global engineering and finance teams of both companies and uses many skills which I believe will be of value in my role as governor.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family as well as windsurfing and mountain biking wherever possible.
Miss Emily Farrow (Associate)
I am a teacher at the primary school, currently working within the Infant department. I joined the governing body in September 2016.
I have a first class honours degree in Psychology from Essex and have a great passion for Psychology. After completing my Psychology degree I then completed a one year SCITT programme to gain my teaching qualification, with a SEND specialism. As part of the teacher training I was based at Heathlands Primary School. I love teaching art and English and my passion is to support children who have barriers to their education.
As I work within the school, I have a comprehensive understanding of the staff and pupils and the general day to day life at Heathlands. I really enjoy my role as a governor as it allows me to support the school from a different stand point and strive to make the school as successful as possible.
Mr Harry Stone (Associate)
Committees: Curriculum and Pupil Matters
I have lived in West Bergholt for over forty years and both my sons attended Heathlands School in the 1970s. All my career has been in teaching in a range of secondary schools in the East of England. Having graduated from Hull university I trained as a mathematics teacher at Nottingham university and began teaching at Wymondham College in Norfolk in 1964. When I moved with my family to the Colchester area in 1976 I was Deputy Head at Thomas Lord Audley school before becoming the Head of a secondary school in Ipswich for sixteen years. Before retirement I worked as an Adviser for Suffolk County Council. Since retirement I have been privileged to become involved in a range of village activities from chairing the Care Network to establishing the Youth Group (BYG). I have been a member of the Parish Council for eight years and Vice Chairman for the last three. I love this village and care deeply about its young people.
Mr Rob Turner (Associate)
I joined the Governing body in 2016 as an associate governor after being asked the incumbent team, to support and widen the experience on the already successful governing body. I am a parent of Liam in year 4, and have a 21 year old daughter, who also attended Heathlands too. I have had the pleasure of dealing with the school now for many years, and it felt like an obvious and easy decision to help all the children of the school in any way I could, when the school and staff had given so much care and support to my daughter as she was growing up. These early years are so important to their lives.
In my role as General Manager for Bourne Leisure, we own and operate three main brands - Haven, Warners, and Butlins. I am sure many of you will know and use these in your own leisure time.
My role involves the overall support of hundreds of team on the resort I oversee day to day, as well as all aspects of Health and Safety, Food and Beverage venues, Leisure facilities, as well as budgeting, cash handling, and finance. I look after over 1,200 individual properties and an asset portfolio of around £90mil. My added value to the governing body centres around supporting and helping the school manage the physical environment and finding efficiencies in the budgeting for the school. In a time where costs are constantly challenged and stretched, this should help release pressure on the teaching staff and leaders to be able to better focus on the education of the children.
Outside work I am an avid gaming fan, love everything Star Wars, Swimming, and just enjoy spending time with the family.
Mrs Val Walsom (Associate)
Committees: Resources, Curriculum and Pupil Matters Committee
I have been the School Business Manager at Heathlands for over 25 years. My daughters both attended the school as did I for my final primary school year.
My main responsibility is to produce and manage the school budget, manage the school office as well as HR, safeguarding and Health and Safety
I am proud to have had such a long association with this school and of its achievements over the years.
In my other life I have 3 grandsons who take up a fair amount of my free time, I enjoy walking, Zumba, gentle cycling, eating out, weekends in my very old campervan and knitting!