Meetings - 2021/2022

Full governors meetings are held from 6pm-7.30pm on the following dates.

Monday 20th September 2021

Monday 8th December 2021

Monday 31st January 2022
Monday 21st March 2022
Monday 9th May 2022
Monday 11th July 2022

Attendance At Meetings

Under the Education Act, the Department for Education require all schools to publish details of Governor attendance at Governor meetings on their websites. All Governors have a statutory requirement to attend Full Governing Body meetings. However, there are situations where emergency work and family demands can take precedence.

Our data can be seen here:

Governors Attendance 2021/22

Governors Attendance 2020/21

Governors Attendance 2019/20

Register Of Interests

Please find below our governors Register of Interests:

Name Pecuniary Interests
Federico Baglioni  
Sarah Henderson No relevant interests
Lucy Miles No relevant interests
Adam Nichols No relevant interests
Derin Ovonlen No relevant interests
Duncan Painter No relevant interests
Annabel Roberts  
Julia Sonander No relevant interests
Chris Wood No relevant interests

What is a Governor?

The Governors are a group of people who form part of the leadership of the school. Although not employed or based at the school, Governors play a key role in the monitoring, development and management of the school. Governors get involved in all aspects of school life – such as:

  • Finance
  • Recruitment
  • The curriculum
  • Pastoral matters
  • The school buildings and facilities

Governors receive special training to ensure that they can be effective in their role. Governors are known collectively as “The Governing Body” of the school. There are people representing different groups such as parents, teachers and members of the local community.

There can be between 9 and 21 Governors, at least a third of who must be parents of children at the school at the time they are appointed. There must also be at least 2 staff governors, including the Headteacher. Governors are normally elected or appointed for a period of 4 years, although Governing Bodies can set a shorter term of office for one or more categories of Governor.

What Governors Do?

The purpose of having a Governing Body is:

  • Strategic - to help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement;
  • to support and challenge the school in maintaining focus on school improvement;
  • to be a critical friend to the school, offering the school its support and advice;
  • accountable - to help the school to be responsive to the needs of parents and the community and ensure the school is accountable to the public for what it does;
  • to work with the school on planning, developing and maintaining policies;
  • to exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the Headteacher and staff;
  • not to intervene in the day-to-day management of the school, unless there are weaknesses in the school, when they then have a duty to take action.

Types Of Governor

There are 5 different types of Governor at The Highfield School. However, all Governors have the same role and responsibilities, with the exception of staff Governors who do not participate in certain discussions, particularly related to personnel issues.

The types of Governor that we have at The Highfield School are:

A parent or carer with a child at the school. Once appointed, parent governors will normally complete their term of office even if their child is no longer at the school.

Local Education Authority (LEA)
The Highfield School is a local authority maintained school and Hertfordshire County Council therefore appoints a number of school governors. LEA Governors do not have to be a council staff member or elected council official. The LEA maintains a list of people from the local community with an interest in education who have expressed a willingness to become a Governor, but not for any specific school.

All teachers and non-teaching staff are eligible for election as Staff Governors by fellow members of staff.

Someone invited to join the Governing Body by existing governors. Generally, a member of the local community with specific knowledge and skills – for example, business, financial or legal - that will be very useful to Governors.

Co-operative Trust
The Highfield School is in a Co-operative Trust with Fearnhill School as part of the Letchworth Garden City Educational Partnership. Co-Operative Trust Governors are appointed by the Co-Operative Trust Board to represent the interests of the Trust on the Governing Body of each school participating in the Co-Operative Trust. Their primary aim is to ensure that the Trust's goals and the Co-operative values are taken account of by the Governing Body and the school.

Our Governors

The governing body provides strategic direction and oversight for The Highfield School by holding the headteacher to account for its educational performance, making sure its money is well spent and ensuring the clarity of its vision and ethos.

Some governors are parents and staff at the school; others are appointed by Hertfordshire County Council (LEA), the Letchworth Garden City Educational Partnership (LGCEP) or by the governing body itself from the local community to provide particular skills or experience.

Adam Nichols (Parent Governor 2018-22)
Adam divides his time between the worlds of education and theatre. He is the Founder and CEO of Schole, a chain of schools in Kenya and Uganda, which blend UK education best practice with traditional African approaches. Previously he was CEO of youth leadership charity Changemakers, served as a council member of the General Teaching Council of England and was an advisor to Prime Ministers Brown and Cameron on education and youth policy. Adam is also Artistic Director of OVO, a theatre production company based in St Albans, which runs the city’s Maltings Theatre and Roman Theatre Festival. He was named in the UBS Social Entrepreneurs Index in 2019 and 2020 and as a member of The Stage 100 in 2021. Adam’s daughter is currently studying for her GCSEs in year 10 at The Highfield School.

Vice Chair:
Duncan Painter
(Parent Governor 2018-22)
Duncan has two children who attend The Highfield School. He has worked in corporate organisations throughout his career across legal, commercial and leadership roles. As a governor Duncan is focused on supporting the school as a safe, friendly and successful place for young local people to get the best education to develop their personal abilities and without bias or prejudice.

Federico Baglioni (Community 2021-25)
Federico is currently a paralegal in the dispute resolution and dispute team at Tees Law. He also has experience working in the education law sector.

Sarah Henderson (Parent 2021-25)
Sarah has lived in Letchworth with her family for 20 years. She has three children; one at University, one child in Year 13 at Hitchin Boys School and one child in Year 9 at Highfield. As a governor Sarah wants to ensure all children are given all the opportunities they can at school and that they are treated fairly and with compassion. Sarah has worked in various businesses in Milton Keynes, London and Letchworth and has worked in purchasing for most of her career. Sarah still works part-time and also volunteers as a gardener at a local hospice.

Philip Hobbs (Staff 2021-25)
Philip has been a teacher at The Highfield School since 2018 and has been working in education within Hertfordshire for over 20 years. He brings knowledge of the practical implementation of policies and allows a student facing viewpoint to be included in discussions. He is passionate about the education of young people and has also worked in Scouting in Hertfordshire for over 20 years in his leisure time. He lives in the local area and has one child at The Highfield School and one at a local primary school.  

Derin Ovonlen (Community 2021-25)
There is an adage that says, “it takes a whole village to raise a child”. Derin is quite taken by this proverb as it entrusts a sense of responsibility to every individual member of the community - hence the reason Derin is serving as a governor.  Derin received a legal education and has built a diversified skill set and experience ranging from supplier relationship management, negotiation, contract management, risk management, sustainable procurement, project management, policies, and change management. Derin's aim is to add value, serve, give back, support, help care for the wellbeing and success of the school in raising world class citizens. 

Annabel Roberts (Parent 2021-25)
Annabel is a local primary school teacher who cares deeply about children reading for pleasure, having previously worked for a literacy charity for 4 years. She enjoys the arts and worked in arts funding and senior management of contemporary art organisations for over ten years before training as a teacher. Moving to Letchworth in 2020, Annabel wanted to be involved in the local community; volunteering as a parent governor to share her experience of primary and early years schooling, knowledge of the impacts of reading well on social mobility and interest in the creative subjects. It is important that all students are able to develop to their full potential. Annabel has one child at The Highfield School.

Julia Sonander (Parent 2021-25)
Julia has two children at The Highfield School. The career experience she brings to the role is in the areas of risk, safety and performance management. As a governor, Julia is interested in how the school provides a safe, nurturing environment and how it delivers a curriculum that allows all children to reach their potential. Julia has run, and volunteered on a number of community projects to tackle climate change and is interested in school carbon reduction projects through which students can channel their concerns about climate change.  

Chris Wood (LGCEP 2018-22)
Chris is a qualified accountant and internal auditor, working in an assurance and leadership role in local government. He passionately promotes robust governance, risk management and control as a sound basis for effective service delivery. He lives locally and has one son attending primary school.

The Headteacher, Lucy Miles, also serves on the Governing Body. 

School Policies

The Governors are responsible for maintaining and reviewing the Policy documents that determine how the school runs and operates in many areas. These Policies will generally be written in the first instance by a subject-matter expert within the school. Alternatively, there are sometimes “standard templates” made available by the County Council or DfE that schools can adopt or adapt and adopt. Once written, Policies are reviewed and updated either annually or every 2 years. Policy documents are generally reviewed and updated by a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Governors. The Clerk to the Governing Body will then circulate the updated Policy document to all Governors and it will be ratified at the next Full Governing Body meeting.

Policies cover a wide range of subjects that form part of school life – examples are Health & Safety, Child Protection, Behaviour and Financial Delegation.

Contacting The Governing Body

If you have a general question about the work of the Governing Body, please contact the Chair of Governors:

Name: Adam Nichols

Joining the Governing Body
We are not expecting to appoint any new members to the Governing Body in the 2021-22 academic year, after welcoming a number of new Governors in the last year. However, if you would like to express your interest in becoming a Governor in the future, please contact the Vice Chair of Governors:

Name: Duncan Painter

Clerk to the Governors
If you wish to contact the Clerk to the Governors please email:

Concerns and Complaints
Governors do not get involved in the day-to-day running of the school, and the work carried out by teachers and other staff. If a parent or student has a concern or complaint about the school, then the first and best thing to do is to telephone, meet with, or write to the student’s Tutor. The Tutor will take ownership of the issue and ensure that it is dealt with. If this does not lead to a timely outcome, then the contact sequence below should be followed.

Only if this contact sequence has been followed and exhausted, or if there is a substantive reason for bypassing this process, will the Governing Body become involved.

In this situation, please contact the Vice Chair of Governors:

Name: Duncan Painter