Derwent Primary School

Derwent Lower School

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Welcome to the Governors Page

I am Andrew Jackson and I am the Chair of Governors of the Derwent and Southill Federation. 

The role of a federation governor is a voluntary position to oversee the work of the school and the headteacher, through a supportive, productive and challenging relationship.

We are formed from the local community; and consist of parents, local community members, school staff, representatives of the LEA and the Headteacher. We work together to make a positive contribution to your child’s education here at Derwent Primary School.

If you need to get in touch, you can reach me via email - or alternatively, you can contact Mr Robin Welsford (Vice Chair of Governors) at 

What is the role of the Governing Body?

The Governing Body plays an essential part in raising school standards. Ofsted (the
governments monitoring body for schools) notes that the most effective schools demonstrate excellent leadership and management and that includes the governing body.

The role of our governing body is a strategic one. We operate and make decisions as a group, no one governor has the power to make decisions. We have three important roles to play: -

  • Setting the strategic direction— we are involved in setting the aims and objectives for the school and the policies and procedures needed to achieve them.
  • Ensuring accountability—we monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making against its objectives. We also monitor the budget.
  • Acting as a critical friend—we provide support and challenge to the head teacher and teaching staff.


How do we do this?

We currently hold six full governors’ meeting per year (two per term) which every governor attends. We also have a sub committee which meets during the year:

Achievement, standards and community- covering all aspects of learning, teaching, the curriculum and emotional wellbeing as well as our links with parents and the wider community.

From September 2023 due to the expansion of the schools an additional Finance and Resources committee will be established.

We are very fortunate that we have governors who bring a wealth of expertise including building and site management and school leadership for example, from their own backgrounds

Governors’ meetings include a variety of the following

  • Safeguarding as standard
  • Updates from the head teacher on all aspects of the school from pupil performance through to budget management
  • Briefings / updates from the subject leaders on their particular curriculum area
  • The opportunity to challenge and ask questions about the running of the school
  • The chance to thank staff and congratulate them on successes
  • Discussion of particular problems / issues arising in the school and how they can be resolved efficiently and effectively
  • Debate about how best to spend particular parts of the school budget
  • Approval of the school policies and procedures.


Minutes from the Derwent Primary School governor meetings are available upon request from the school office and recent full governing body meeting minutes are available to access at the foot of this page. 

School Visits

Governors monitor the school across the year. We may talk to staff and pupils, look at pupils’ work and visit a number of classes and lessons. This allows us to check how well the school is doing towards achieving the priorities in the school improvement plan. In the past our monitoring has included the PE syllabus, Reading and Literacy and pupils’ views on their lessons and time in school.

We all enjoy visiting the school and finding out from the children what they are learning, what they are finding difficult and the progress they feel they are making.

How many governors are there at Derwent Primary School?

There are 11 Governor positions and 1 clerk. The Governor Body is made up of the following: 

2 x Parent Governors 

6 x Co-opted Governors

1 x Partnership Governor 

1 x LA Governor

Staff Governor 


1 x Executive Headteacher

The Governors, their positions of responsibility and declarations of interest are in the documents below: 

Governors Code of Conduct

Andrew Jackson

Chair of Governors

Co-opted Governor


Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

HT Performance Management

I am a senior teacher with a specialism in astrophysics at Hitchin Girls' School with two decades of experience within the Education sector. My career has spanned multiple roles from that of a classroom teacher through to subject and pastoral leadership. I have authored educational materials that are in use across the country and was credited a national TES award for writing the "outstanding educational resource of the year" in 2011.


I have one daughter at Derwent and I am committed to helping both Derwent Primary and Southill Lower Schools prosper and continue to improve. I look forward to playing an active part in this journey.

Robin Welsford               

Vice Chair of Governors  

LA Governor               

Full Governing Body (Vice Chair)

H&S, Complaints,

HT Performance Management, 

Member of ASC Committee

I am a semi-retired Civil Engineer, working one or two days a week for a large mutli-national consultancy. I am also what we call a Lay Minister in the Church of England, and in that role, as well as helping in taking services and in our Messy Church, I am also a member of the Bedfordshire Fire and Police Services Chaplaincy team, so provide support to the great officers and staff who work so hard to keep us safe and protected.

As a Local Authority nominated Governor I am keen to bring my experience from work and life to support both Derwent and Southill Schools in maintaining the brilliant work they do, but also challenge them always look for ways to provide an even better education for all children in both schools, because I believe every child deserves the very best. As a result of my experience in the Civil Engineering sector I am the member of the Governing Body who has particular oversight of Health and Safety matters. I am also currently the Vice Chair of the Governing Body.

Samantha Barlow

Executive Headteacher


Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

Sarah Tuckwell

Partnership Governor

Full Governing Body

HT Performance Management


Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

Having served 34 years as an RAF Regular and latterly as a full-time RAF Reserve in the role Services Community Support Officer at RAF Henlow, I joined the governing body in September 2014 as a Co-Opted  Governor to provide a link between the school and the Service community.


Both of my children, Abigail and Katie, attended Derwent Primary School. Both have gone on to achieve 2:1 degrees in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation and Animal Management respectively. I feel their achievements have been underpinned by the educational foundations laid whilst at Derwent.


I am keen to see Derwent and Southill Schools support parents, both Service and civilian, and meet the demands of today's society by ensuring the wraparound care and holiday provision is accessible and affordable.

Naomi Izzard

Co-opted Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievement, Standards and Community Committee

First and foremost, I am a parent of three children at Southill Lower School. I also work part time as a Podiatrist privately and I have also worked for the NHS for six years.  I am also a Sunday school teacher which I really enjoy!  Prior to being a Derwent and Southill Federation governor, I was a governor from July 2018 to April 2019 for Southill's previous federation.  I have completed training to help me be a more effective governor!  I love this role and my passion is to make sure that every  child has the best opportunity provided for them to develop and achieve their goals.

Neil Parsons

Co-opted Governor


Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

2023 will be my eighteenth year as a secondary school teacher, most of which has been spent in inner London schools. Now, I am into my sixth year as a member of a school’s leadership team; an assistant Headteacher in charge of academic achievement at The Priory School in Hitchin. I have held many responsibilities ranging from Head of Sixth, strategic lead for Teaching and Learning, improving provision for vulnerable learners, quality assurance of school staff and Raising Standards Leader. I passionately believe that every student deserves the very best education and I hope to apply my experience in these roles to ensuring the quality of education and life experiences across the federation is the very best it can be, to foster a lifetime love of learning. At home, I have three daughters, the eldest of which is in Year 1 at Derwent Primary School, and whilst I would love to list my hobbies and interests I spend a huge portion of my life chasing them about!


Tenille Rimmer

Co-opted Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

I have been working as Deputy Headteacher across both Derwent and Southill schools since September 2020 (apart from a 9 month maternity leave gap to have my son).  I am responsible for Teaching and Learning, the curriculum and mentoring new staff and trainee teachers. 

My previous role was as the English subject lead in a middle school for 15 years and therefore most of my experience lies in Upper Key Stage 2. 

I am excited to have our first set of year 5 pupils at Derwent, who will lead onto our first year 6, and am looking forward to supporting our pupils and parents with my knowledge of these year groups.  I also look forward to being able to do this at Southill in the future. 

As an SLE, I spend time visiting many schools to support their English departments.  These are skills I have brought to our federation to help us to continue to move forward.

When I am not in school, I am busy with my two young children and energetic puppy.


Naomi Kerley

Parent Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

I am Mum to 4 young children, who keep me very busy! I previously worked in a care home for elderly residents, some with dementia. I have always had an interest in SEN, and look forward to playing a part in helping with that area of both schools. I am undertaking training in this, to help me to gain a better understanding of all that is involved. I strongly feel that all pupils, regardless of ability or circumstance should be given all the tools they need to achieve their best.

Rachel Pearce

Co-opted Governor


Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee


As a past pupil of Southill School I have many fond memories of my time there and am passionate about its future and continued success. Both my sons have attended the school with my youngest still at Southill. I currently work as a rural estate and property manager, and also work with various new and emerging groups to grow and enhance their immediate community and living place. As a co-opted governor I hope to assist the governing body and the federation to grow and continue the varied and high standard of education across both schools.

Samantha Evardson

Parent Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

I am primarily a mum of two young children, my oldest is in his second year at Derwent. He is enjoying his time and thriving at school. I am also a military wife and enjoy an active life as part of the Henlow Camp community.

I am a qualified secondary school teacher, working in a school in Lincolnshire before we moved to Henlow. I planned and ran a number of trips, including to Berlin, with various age groups. I now work as a supply teacher whilst I focus on being a mum.

Every child only has one chance at education, and as a governor, I want to work with Derwent and Southill schools to ensure our children can have the best education possible. Education should be a home school partnership and being a governor is part of that.

Jon Purchase

Co-opted Governor

 Finance and Resources Committee


Amanda Baxter

Clerk of Governors


At the end of 2023 we moved from London to Bedfordshire and being keen to join the community, clerking to the Board of Governors seems a great way to give back. I hope to get an insight into the school system too as my son has just started in reception at Southill. I balance the school responsibilities with my own business as a consultant after 15 years working for others in the hospitality and drinks industry. If free time ever becomes available I will always pick up a book, something I hope to encourage my child - and all children - to embrace! I am also training in British Sign Language to improve inclusivity within whatever I do.
Chloe Bell
Co-opted governor
Ellen Williams
Staff governor


Minutes of recent meetings can be accessed below

Page Updated: May 2023