Welcome to the section of the website where you can find out more about the school’s governors and the work that we do.
The Governing body consists of a group of interested people, some of which are employed by the school and others are volunteers.
Foundation Governor - CHAIR
Mrs Liz Halliwell
I have just joined the Governing Body and start my term September 2019
I decided to become a parent governor following my son Lucas starting at Berkley in September 2019; I also have a daughter Meredith who has been at the school for 3 years. I was a pupil at Berkley and my mum was also a governor many years ago, so I am continuing the family tradition. I wanted to join the Board of Governors in order to get a better understanding of the pressures the school is under and to help shape the future of the school. I am also a member of the FBS and I want to build on the relationship between the parents and the Governors in order to enhance the school community.
Mrs Suzanne Thompson
I became Headteacher of Berkley in September 2019, and I have thoroughly enjoyed building new relationships and partnerships within the parish.
I have experience of small schools and have been on the governing body in my previous role.
Mr Andrew knight
My background is in product development. I own and run two manufacturing companies which make security and storage equipment for retail chains and industrial furniture. my partner is a headteacher and we have two children.
I live in Berkley and am the Parish Council Chair. I joined the Governors to ensure good liaison between the local community and the school.
Local Authority Governor
Mrs Laura Martin
I have recently joined as a Local Authority Governor from July 2023. I moved to the area about a year ago from Kent and was very interested in getting involved and being a part of the local community.
I have two children who have now both reached secondary school age. I am keen to support the school with any challenges they may find and to allow all children to be able to reach their full potential during their time at Berkley.
I have a background in behaviour management within secondary schools, training/ managing of emergency and non-emergency contact center's, managing supermarkets for customer service and now I work within the Energy sector in operations management aiming to reach Net Zero.
Mr Paul James
Having lived in Frome for over 20 years, I first became a parent governor whilst my daughter was a pupil at the school. I have spent most of my working life in the NHS, I have also worked for a local independent school. Married with 2 children, 1 of whom is now at university, my interests include local/family history and most sports.
Berkley School gave my daughter a great start on her educational journey and I am committed to ensuring that each child at the school has the same opportunity. Whilst it is essential that our pupils make good academic progress, it is also important that they leave as well rounded young people ready for the next stage of their education, something I strongly believe our close relationship with St Mary’s Church helps to develop. My commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for all pupils has led to me being the Lead Governor for SEND and safeguarding.
Foundation Governor - Vice Chair
Mr Nigel Sandy
We have lived in Frome for 34years, shortly after a spell living in Holland. We have a son and two daughters with five grandchildren added to the family. My hobby used to be coastal boating, but life now centres around family, friends and travel. Through work I have traveled to some interesting countries, so when a daughter lived in Hong Kong, countries in the Far East and Southern Hemisphere were destinations. I feel privileged to have experienced so many diverse nationalities, cultures and religions.
Originally my career was accountancy in the construction industry. Shortly after moving to Frome I took on the MD role at a waste management company alongside being Chairman of the Industry Trade Association. Two CEO appointments of public companies in the same and parallel industries followed. Finally a part time role as Chairman of a Rotterdam based company involved in maritime waste management.
Since retiring in 2017, I have joined Frome Town Council’s volunteer “litter warriors”! A chance for a good walk and benefit the local environment. Renewed a connection with Bath University by mentoring International MBA students to assist with leadership and career direction. A strong supporter of training in the workplace and so the invite to become a Governor has given me the opportunity to make a contribution to the early stages of education, and, carry on learning.
Clerk to the Governors
Mrs Sian Spoerer
I taught at Oakfield Academy for 30 years before leaving to work for Hot Tomato, a local wholesale company selling jewellery and fashion accessories, in 2017. Having been made redundant due to Covid19, it gave me the perfect opportunity to return to the world of education, as Clerk to the Governors at Berkley First School and Exam Invigilator at Frome College. My eldest daughter spent her Reception year here at Berkley, so it is great to return full circle to this lovely village school.
I have recently joined the governing body at the start of 2022, following my eldest son Benjamin starting at Berkley in September 2021.
I moved to Frome relatively recently in March 2020 (just before the first lockdown), with a desire for both more space (with two growing boys) and a slightly quieter pace of life than a big city and have really enjoyed it so far despite the strange couple of Covid years that we have had.
In my day to day job I work for an accountancy practice as a not for profit specialist, dealing with charities, academies and pension schemes, and when the opportunity arose to join the governing board I was keen to both understand the challenges schools face from a different perspective whilst also hopefully being able to give something back to Berkley School and help where I can, particularly using my experience of academies.
Mrs Jan Hirons
I have lived in Frome now for 30 years. I am married with 2 very grown-up children. I previously worked at Berkley School as a HLTA from 2000-2016. I decided to take some time away from education but found I missed the children and the job. My decision to return to education was sealed when I came to watch my godson in the Berkley nativity in St Mary’s church. So, I put my years of experience to good use and worked at other schools as a SEN TA. Not all children can learn in the same way, and I enjoy finding the right learning journey for the children I work with. I was thrilled to see a SEN job become available at Berkley School. I have now had ELSA training to support children socially, emotionally, and academically. It is a way of supporting a young person’s emotional development and help them cope with life’s challenges.
I was previously a staff governor for 8 years and it was an easy decision to be the elected representative staff member on the board again. My role is to bring a staff perspective to discussions held by the governing body.
Mr Tom Woolman
I became a parent governor at Berkley in September 2023, with two daughters currently at the school. My main background is in poultry farming, having graduating with a degree in Agriculture in 2011. Now I work as a consultant and freelance journalist covering farming topics. In my spare time I enjoy playing music and being at the theatre, either in the audience or on the stage.
I decided to join the governing board in order to play an active role in the education of my own children and others in the community. I am passionate that all children should have the best opportunities to learn and thrive, and the pupil centric model at Berkley is one which I am pleased to be a part of.
I decided to become a governor at the school after my youngest child started at Berkley. Having previously been involved with the committee of my children’s pre-school, I wanted to continue having involvement in their education after they had both started at the school.
I joined the school staff in April 2022 as part-time caretaker and the governing body in March 2023 as a co-opted governor. Being on the board of governors has given me a better understanding of how the school operates and the many challenges it faces. Having been a manager within the aviation industry, and having a background in Health and Safety and Risk Management, I hope that I can help the school with some of those challenges and ensure that the school and all those within it continue to improve and reach their full potential.
Our Governors are responsible for the strategic direction of the school and the Headteacher and the Senior Management Team run the school on a day-to-day basis.
Strategic responsibilities (which are defined in law) include:
- Being accountable for the performance of the school
Planning the future direction of the school
Promoting high standards of educational achievement
Setting targets for pupil achievement
Taking general responsibility for the conduct of the school
Managing the schools budget, including key staffing decisions
Making sure the curriculum is balanced, broadly based and complies with legal requirements
Making sure that the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special educational needs
Drawing up and action plan after inspection by OFSTED (the Office for Standards in Education)
The Governors carry out their role through support, challenge, monitoring and evaluation. they are responsible for overseeing the successful management of all areas of the school and for upholding the general ethos of the school. they meet on a regular basis with the Headteacher and staff.
Governors are elected every 4 years and represent different areas of the school and its community. they bring different skills to the board and therefore it is important for the board to carry out regular skills audits to ensure all areas of expertise required are covered.
Our Governors meet several times a year and are committed to providing an excellent environment for all pupils to enjoy during their time at Berkley school. They also attend local community and collaboration meetings to ensure they keep up to date with any new initiatives and to be able to work collaboratively with other local schools.
To contact Governors:
Contacting the Chair of Governors or a foundation Governor can be done by writing to the Chair of governors c/o the school or by phoning the school office on 01373 887390 or emailing email@example.com
We try to attend most school events and meetings so there should always be an opportunity to speak to us if you want to.
All correspondence or communication will be treated confidentially unless the parent states otherwise.
Governors Short form
Suzanne Thompson – Head 01.09.2019
Paul James – 10.02.2021 – 09.02.2025
Liz Halliwell – 10.02.2021 – 09.02.2025 – Chair
Nigel Sandy – 16.11.2020 – 15.11.2024 – Vice Chair
Jon Newbound 01.01.2022 – 31.12.2025
Phil Gray – 13.10.2020 – 17.08.2023 – resigned
Andrew Knight 19.07.2021-18.07.2025
Laura Martin 12.07.2023 – 11.07.2027
Colin Simmonds 27.01.2020 – 30.11.2022- Vice Chair – resigned
Jo Rydon 01.01.2022 – 30.01.2024 – resigned
Tom Woolman 08.08.2023 – 07.08.2027
Steve MacDonald 22.03.2023 – 21.03.20
Jan Hirons 12.07.2023 – 11.07.2027
Governors Attendance Record 2023-2024
Governors Attendance Record 2022-2023
Governors FBM Attendance Record 2021-2022
Governor Meeting Dates
Governor Meeting Dates 2022-2023
These are available on request. Please email the school firstname.lastname@example.org
Standing Orders 2022-2023
Governors Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct 2022-2023
Governor Visits and Monitoring
Governor School Visits Policy
Governor Structure, Monitoring and Terms of Reference
Governing Board Structure & Terms of Reference 2022-2023
Berkley C of E First School – Strategic Plan 2022-2025
Strategic Plan 2022-2025
Parental Replies to Questionaire July 2018
Questionnaire Feedback from all stakeholders 2017
Parental Replies To Ofsted Questionnaire 2016
Instrument of Governance
Governors are required to declare their Pecuniary interests (Business, Financial and Governance Interests) every year.
Pecuniary Interests for 2023/24
Andrew Knight – Berkley Parish Council, Mendip Parish Forum, RiManufacturing, Ironfire Ltd,
Jon Newbound – MHA Monahans, Dorothy House Trading Ltd, Patisserie May
Laura Martin – Metis Aviatron Ltd, OVO Energy.
Steve MacDonald – By The Byre Holidays Ltd, Berkley First School.
Jan Hirons – Berkley First School.
For each meeting Pecuniary Interests are declared. This is a standard agenda item at the start of the meeting.