Welcome to our Governors’ section.
Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.
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.
A Governor’s role is to support and challenge the senior staff to continue to improve the school. It is largely a thinking and questioning role and Governors are not there to manage the school or do the jobs of school staff. Governors fulfil their role by regularly attending Governing Body meetings, providing strategic guidance and by asking probing and challenging questions of leaders within the school. They also undertake visits, serve on relevant committees and oversee the Headteacher’s performance management.
Governing Body Pen Portraits
Mrs Carlene Thompson (Chair of Governors)
I was first elected on to the Governing body in December 2020 as a Parent governor. I have subsequently been appointed into a co-opted position in June 2022, and made Chair of Governors in September 2022.
I have lived in Colchester since studying Biological Sciences at the University of Essex and have settled here with my husband Phil and our two sons. My personal collaboration with the school began ahead of our eldest starting in 2018, as he (along with his younger brother) required additional support to settle in to school on account of additional needs. I have always been impressed by the dedication the Heathlands team have shown to my boys and I am keen to ensure that inclusion and opportunities for all children continues to be high up in the schools list of priorities.
Being a parent to children with additional needs makes you acutely aware of the necessity to be the parent they need you to be. I have become adept at liaising with a myriad of medical professionals and Local Authority representatives. I have taken a number of parenting courses, including the IPSEA Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Law course so that I have all the knowledge available to me to best advocate for my children, and it is these skills in advocacy that I bring to the role. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn and thrive.
I have extensive experience in Project Management within Medical Education, and Health and Social Care for adults with learning difficulties and mental health conditions. This has given me valuable skills in communication, budget and resource management.
In my spare time, I am a self-taught sewist with a keen interest in learning dressmaking skills and I enjoy seeing live music when I can.
Mrs Elizabeth Owers (Co-Vice Chair of Governors - Co-opted)
I joined the Governing body in February 2016 as an associate governor and have subsequently served as a parent and co-opted governor.
I have 20 years of HR and leadership experience and I bring a range of skills and experience to the school in relation to HR, Mediation and H&S as I am a Chartered Fellow of CIPD, ACAS accredited internal workplace mediator, MHFA England Mental Health First Aider 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, volunteering regularly as a run leader for the Running Colchester community.
Pip Gallop (Co-Vice Chair of Governors - Local Authority)
I joined the governing body in September 2021 after we moved to West Bergholt three years ago to live near my family which includes my two Grandsons who both attend Heathlands.
Most of my career has been in Education spent working at an Infant School in Colchester. Much of this time I also mentored both trainee and new teachers in Essex and Suffolk and since retiring I have been a Training Manager and PGCE tutor at Colchester Teacher Training Consortium. This has enabled me to keep abreast of recent research and how this is implemented in the classroom.
I believe that teaching is the best job in the world and see it as a privilege to “teach fledglings to fly” and to open doors of opportunity which create learning experiences that last a lifetime. One of the joys of teaching is that no two days are alike and no two children are the same. I am a great advocate of Pupil Voice and that we should find in every child a platform from which to shine.
I love spending time with my family and friends both here and in my home town of Bristol. I am an enthusiastic gardener but not always a successful one - however I have just acquired an allotment in West Bergholt so hopefully I will soon be more productive!
Mrs Catherine Streatfield (Co-opted)
Liz Dixon (Diocese)
I have lived with my husband in West Bergholt since 1994, and my son grew up in the village and attended Heathlands between 2004 – 2010. I have been an active member of St Mary’s Church here in West Bergholt since my son was baptised there in 1999. My working life has been spent in public administration, first in the Health Service and then in Local Government, and finally as the church administrator at St Mary’s. I retired from the role of church administrator in 2019 so that I could concentrate on training to become a Lay Minister (LLM) in the Church of England and, following three years of training, I was licensed in June 2022. My role as an LLM is varied and includes helping to lead the Messy Church and Café Church services at St Mary’s, preaching sermons and being part of the ‘Open the Book’ team which comes into the school to act out Bible stories.
I was born and brought up in Southampton but moved to Colchester in the 1980s and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now! West Bergholt is a great community in which to live, and the school is such an important part of that community. I enjoyed being part of the school when my son was there, including helping at PTA events, and I welcome the chance to contribute again to the life of the school in a new role.
I feel that the link between the church and the school is very important, and I am committed to building on that link so that St Mary’s Church can support the school in practical ways and also with prayer. When I’m not involved in church activities, I enjoy walking and visiting National Trust places, meeting friends and watching films.
Mrs Shelley Cumbers (Parent)
I was appointed as a parent governor at Heathlands in November 2019.
As a West Bergholt resident and parent of two young boys, who both attend Heathlands, I am eager to help support the work and vision of the school and the vital role it plays in the local community.
I am an experienced solicitor working in Colchester for a highly regarded and long-established law firm. My role involves providing expert and specialist advice and guidance to a wide range of clients in respect of Divorce and Family Law matters. Prior to this, I have worked as a solicitor both in Colchester and in London. The skills I have gained in my personal and professional life will, I hope, enable me to make a positive contribution to the governance of the school and to support the hardworking and excellent teachers and staff we have at Heathlands.
Outside of work, I enjoy keeping fit including HIIT training and running, as well as spending quality time with family and friends. I am also Fixtures Secretary for the Bergholt Heath Youth Football Club managing the league fixtures and cup competitions, and can be found on the touchline most weekends, come rain or shine.
Dale Connelly (Parent)
My wife and I are raising two daughters who attend Heathlands C of E. As a parent, I get the opportunity to experience the school through conversations with our daughters at the dinner table, being at the school gate, and in parent consultations with teachers. As a Parent Governor, I'm committed to taking my experience as a parent and the opportunities I get as governor to identify and celebrate the school's successes and ask the questions that prompt the school to think and improve the child, staff and parent learning experience. We reside in Mile End in a family home where we gather to enjoy restorative and inspirational conversations. Alongside being a husband and father, I am part of NHS England, improving patient's health & wellbeing as a coach and student child counsellor.
Naomi Steward (Parent)
I have two girls at the school and have lived in the village since 2012. I joined the governing body in October 2022 as a parent governor.
As a secondary school teacher, I have taught in a range of schools across Essex. I am currently Head of Languages at a school in Braintree and have been in post for almost 10 years.
My professional background means that I understand the framework within which schools have to operate, but also recognise that all children require a different approach in order to get the most out of their school experience. It also makes me realise the importance of a successful transition from primary to secondary school.
I think it’s essential that schools work with the local community and that children are given lots of culturally enriching opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.
Miss Emily Farrow (Associate)
I am a teacher at the primary school; Lead for Curriculum, Assessment and Standards. I joined the governing body in September 2016 and have been on both committees. 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 and allow all children to flourish and enjoy learning. To explore this further, I completed the National Award for SEN Coordination in 20-21. 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 Tom Hassard (Staff)
Mr Joseph Fielder (Headteacher & Associate)
Committees: Resources and Curriculum and Pupil Matters
Mrs Melanie Cork (Deputy Headteacher & Associate)
Committees: Resources and Curriculum and Pupil Matters