School Governors

The Role of a School Governor

As volunteers, usually with busy professional and personal lives of their own, Governors are asked to carry a heavy responsibility. How can they sort out the vital from the not-so-vital and focus on what matters most? At the heart of that question lies the relationship between governance and leadership.

Here at WhiteTrees School, we ask that our Governors meet four times a year as a board, as well as carrying out regular school monitoring visits. Each governor is given an area of responsibility that is in line with their personal skill set.

We ask the following from our Governors

The role of the Board of Governors is to fulfil its statutory functions in relation to the school, and to be accountable for ensuring that its decisions support the best interests of the school and its pupils. To do this, it has to:

  • Set the structures for the delegation of management functions;
  • Set the limits for delegation at each level, i.e committee, principal
  • Ensure that there are formal written procedures for handling complaints in relation to the school
  • Respect the role of the Head and work with the Head on all matters affecting the school
  • Ensure that it has all of the information necessary to make sound management decisions and that it seeks additional advice as necessary
  • Share responsibility for setting the agenda for its meetings
  • Adhere to the procedures for the conduct of business as set out in the scheme of management (and the procedures agreed upon for dealing with employment matters)

1) Setting ethos and values.

2) Holding leadership to account.

3) Balancing support and challenge.

4) Distinguishing between help and interference.

5) Taking responsibility for the Head’s wellbeing.

Supporting the Head’s wellbeing

ere at WhiteTrees we are a small SEN school supporting children with emotional and social needs, this can be a very challenging educational environment to work in.

Therefore, support for our Head is vital and this is actually the foremost responsibility of every governing body, not a luxury or afterthought. The Head in turn looks after the staff. Our Head, Laura Bull receives monthly professional supervision to support her in her role.


All Governors are asked to undertake statuary and non-statuary training to support them in their role. With the aid of modern platforms a large amount of the training can be completed online.

Recruiting new Governors

We are always looking to recruit new Governors to our board, and would welcome an informal conversation about what the role involves and what you could bring to the role.

We like to have a cross-section of skills sets on our board, such as people from Education, Finance, Health and Safety, Social care as well as local business people who feel they are able to give time to support our amazing school.

Current Governor Position Available

WhiteTrees School based in Bishop’s Stortford is looking for like-minded individuals to join our governing body who are committed and passionate in supporting young people’s education. We would be pleased to hear from a local teacher, or a recently retired teacher, to take on the specific role of curriculum governor. We would also love to hear from anyone else who feels that they would like to join us as a community governor and have some time to give in supporting a wonderful school.

If you feel you would like to be involved, please contact Christina Wells via email:

Introducing Our Governors


Emma Barr


Emma is the WhiteTrees Group Director of Operations, and along with Simon, our founder, has been involved with SureCare and WhiteTrees since their inception. Emma brings over 25 years of childcare sector knowledge, and is a proven skilled administrator, both have proven of great benefit to the governing of the school.


Ayshea Praide

Ayshea is WhiteTrees Group Director of Children’s Services and has been with us since 2010. She started as one of our home managers and progressed to her current position. Previously Ayshea worked in the specialist education sector and has had many roles over her 30 years in the sector. She is passionate about all things to do with the improvement of child care and education, bringing these along with a wide range of experience and skill sets to her role as a Governor.


Hannah Lynar

Hannah is our well-being & Education Governor. Hannah migrated back to the UK from Australia and joined the White Trees team in January as the Head of Wellbeing and Education. Hannah’s academic achievements and work experience have equipped her with the leadership skills, knowledge and drive for innovation that will enable her success within this role.

Hannah is a qualified teacher with extensive experience and has completed Masters of Special Education. Most recently she held the position of Head of Learning Enhancement at a large independent school in Sydney. Her role gave her a unique oversight of teaching and learning practices at each stage and in every department across the school. She worked closely with her team including teachers, teachers aides and psychologists to ensure that the academic and social and emotional needs of all pupils was met through the personalization of their learning journey.

Navigating the role of educator in today’s world is complex. Hannah believes that it is in her honesty and ability to strive to continually learn and develop that she can be the best role model not only for her children but for all young people in her care. Her hope would be that she is able to set an example to them that encourages them to be authentic, true to themselves and face the world with hearts full of love, compassion and courage.


Christina Wells

Christina has retired from her long and distinguished career in education. She has taught in the UK and China, and her last role was as Director of Education at the University of Kent. Currently, she runs her consultancy business helping underachieving schools and has also worked with WhiteTrees. She always planned to become a school Governor on her retirement and brings excellent leadership, experience and knowledge to our board.


Danielle Thurlow

Danielle qualified as a Chartered Accountant in April 2015 and has worked in accountancy practice for over 13 years, specializing in the Healthcare sector. She started working full-time for the WhiteTrees Group on 1st February 2021 looking after the company’s financial needs covering invoicing, payments, monthly reconciliations, and reporting, budgeting, and forecasts. She has joined the board of governors to assist in the financial running of the school.

In her small amount of spare time, she plays netball and volunteers as the treasurer for both her netball club and the county.


Melissa Mantle

Dr Melissa Mantle has been teaching Physical Education for over 35 years in both secondary schools and at University. She is currently the programme lead for the BA (Hons) Physical education QTS degree at the University of Chichester. Melissa is a subject link tutor for the QTS programmes and has worked as part of a team to ensure outstanding Ofsted rated performances. Melissa enjoys teaching Physical Education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Melissa holds a doctorate and is a member of AfPE and FHEA. Melissa’s main area of interest in research is school based pedagogy and reflective learning practices in post graduate teacher education. Outside of work, Melissa spends time playing Bowls and Stoolball and dog walking.


Lukas Bradon

Governor in charge of reporting on safeguarding.

Richard Woodhall

Richard Woodhall

Curriculum Governor

Richard has over 20 years of experience in education, including pastoral and curriculum-based. Richard has previously worked as Head of Department, Faculty Head, and Assistant Principal roles, overseeing the curriculum at various establishments.