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 12 Governor positions and 1 clerk. The Governor Body is made up of the following: 

2 x Parent Governors 

6 x Co-opted Governors

2 x Partnership Governors

1 x LEA Governor

1 x Staff Governor

1 x Head teacher

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 two daughters 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  

Co-opted Governor               

Full Governing Body (Vice Chair)

H&S, Complaints,

HT Performance Management, 

Member of ASC Committee

I quite recently retired from fulltime work as a Civil Engineer, although from time to time I still help out the firm I was employed by. For the last ten years I have been what we call a Lay Minister in the Church of England, so I help in taking services and in our Messy Church. I am also a member of the Chaplaincy team for Bedfordshire Police and Fire Services so provide support to the great officers and staff who work so hard to keep us safe and protected.


As a co-opted 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.

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.

Caren Topley

Partnership Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievement, Standards and Community Committee

 As the Vicar of All Saints Church Southill, I was asked to be a Governor of Southill Lower School and later co-opted to be a governor for the Derwent and Southill Federation. Both schools are warm and welcoming and I love taking assemblies. Southill School uses the church for its big celebrations at Easter, Harvest and Christmas. As a former RE teacher I support and endorse the values that are taught in both schools. These values shape the children’s lives and give them a firm foundation to help them make sensible choices for themselves and others. It is a privilege to serve these schools.

Councillor Rita Drinkwater

Associate Governor 


Full Governing Body

People and Resources Committee

(No voting rights)

Rita was a Councillor for 11 years before retiring.  She represented the ward of Arlesey in Central Bedfordshire. She was the Chairman of the Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny committee, Vice Chairman on a Joint Health committee with Bedford Borough Council and representative on the Central Bedfordshire Council on the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority. She is a member on the Aragon Housing Association Board. Rita takes a keen interest in supporting the local community and has always found the role very rewarding.  As well as being a School Governor at Derwent Lower School, Rita is currently a School Governor at the Academy of Bedfordshire.

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!


Karolina Piera-Harris

Staff Governor

Full Governing Body

Achievements, Standards and Community Committee

I have had the privilege of working for Derwent Primary School for five years and Southill Lower School for two years. During my time at both schools I have gained a vast knowledge and experience of the children, our schools and their needs.

My roles as an assistant head and as a class teacher have included working in EYFS and KS1, and working in the special educational needs and behaviour department.

I hope my knowledge, experience and passion for education will put me in a good stead to ensure that the provision and education across the federation is outstanding allowing every child to reach their full potential. 

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


Minutes of recent meetings can be accessed below

Page Updated: May 2023