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 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.
Having grown up in Essex, I spent my early adulthood living in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, where I trained as a nurse, working there for 19 years in various roles before specialising in anticoagulation and setting up a nurse led Deep Vein Thrombosis clinic. In Kings Lynn I met my husband and we had our two children both adults now, Megan who is married to Scott and lives in Long Stratton and Luke who still lives with us. 15 years ago, I was ordained and following my curacy on the coast in Pakefield just south of Lowestoft, I spent the next 10 years in a group of parishes centred around Long Stratton just south of Norwich in Norfolk.
I have been the Priest in charge of West Bergholt and 5 other neighbouring parishes since November 2021.I love being a Priest, telling others about Jesus and how much he loves them and serving the local communities, and I have been a school governor since my daughter started school 22 years ago, in that time I have been a parent, community and foundation governor and been the chair of governors on two occasions. In my spare time, I like getting creative and enjoy a variety of crafts, I also like getting outdoors for walks, gardening and swimming.
I live in West Bergholt and have had a long involvement with education and schools. I am married with three grown up sons and two grandchildren. My youngest son attended Heathlands when we first moved to West Bergholt in 1988. I became a governor of Heathlands in 2022. I have a strong belief in the importance of the school working with the community whilst providing a safe and fulfilling environment for the children in its care.
I have had a long career in education that began in Brighton, Sussex and before retiring I was headteacher of a Junior School and then a Primary School in Essex. I have a BEd from Sussex University and a MEd from Cambridge University. My MEd was a research degree into Primary School Improvement.
I have keen interest in special educational needs and safeguarding. Shortly after retiring as a headteacher I represented Essex Primary Headteachers on several Serious Case Reviews. I also worked for Essex County Council in a role that linked networks of headteachers in Mid Essex to health; social care and other agencies. I have been an Adoption Panel Independent Member for a neighbouring County Council for the past 15 years. These experiences have helped to ensure that the well-being of children and staff is always at the forefront of my mind when decisions are being made.
Heathlands has a strong record of involvement in art and cultural opportunities and I currently work part-time as a Project Manager for Braintree District Cultural Education Partnership – an organisation that promotes cultural opportunities for children and young people in Braintree District schools and provides teacher development opportunities for staff.
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 Associate Assistant Headteacher at a school in Braintree, but was previously Head of Languages for 10 years. In my own school, I have responsibility for Year 6 transition and so understand the importance of ensuring that this process is as smooth as possible.
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.
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. I enjoy my role as a parent governor because it allows me to support Heathlands and professionally it gives me a greater understanding of life in a primary school.
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 Joseph Fielder (Headteacher & Associate)
Mrs Melanie Cork (Deputy Headteacher & Associate)