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The Governors at Grand Avenue Primary and Nursery School are all volunteers who give up their time because they care about our school. They work closely with the leadership team and help decide how the money we receive would be best spent in order to realise the goals and ambitions of the school. The Governing Body consists of Parents, Staff, Co-opted Governors and a Local Authority Governor who bring a wide range of skills and expertise from areas such as civil service, communications, banking and of course education and parenting. Much of the work of the Governing Body is conducted via the Committees who specifically focus on Resources and Finance and the Curriculum and Community.

pupils at work

How to contact the Governors

The Clerk to the Governing Body is Lucy Richards and she can be contacted via email at or via the school office. If you would like to contact any of the Governors about a particular issue, please email the Clerk, who will forward your correspondence on to the appropriate Governor. Please be assured that this contact would be treated in confidence.


How to become a Governor

Are you interested in being a school Governor?

There are five categories of governor:

- Parent governors are elected by the school parent population. Parents (including carers) of registered pupils at the school are eligible to stand for election as parent governors and can nominate themselves for this role.
- Staff governors are elected from all people who work at the school. The Head Teacher is automatic, any other staff member is by staff vote
- Local Authority governors are nominated by the Local Authority but are appointed by the Governing Body
- Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are individuals who have been identified to have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance of the school
- Associate members are current staff but this position can also be held by those with specialist knowledge or experience deemed by the Governing Body to be needed generally or in respect of specific projects. They are nominated and approved by the Governing Body but their term of office can vary and they do not have full voting rights

All governors are appointed according to the skills required within the Governing Body and their term of office is normally four years (apart from Associate Members which can be a shorter period of time). A skills audit is undertaken annually.

Please click on the link here to see the dates of forthcoming Governors Meetings

Previous Governing Body Meeting Minutes:

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 5th Jun 2020

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 3rd Jul 2020

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 21st Sep 2020

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 9th Nov 2020

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 1st Mar 2021

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 22nd Mar 2021

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 20th Sep 2021

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 8th Nov 2021

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 24th Jan 2022

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 7th Mar 2022

Governing Body Meeting Minutes - 9th May 2022

The current governors are:

Chair Jenny Gresson
  • Co-opted Governor
Vice Chair Cath Tanner Co-opted Governor
  Natasha Dempsey Co-opted Governor
  Michele Harris Co-opted Governor
  Archika Kumar Co-opted Governor
  Richard Newman Co-opted Governor
  Hannah Newell Co-opted Governor
  Alexis Orlovac Co-opted Governor
  Margaret Barrington Ex- Officio
  Angela Dumpleton Staff Governor
  Vachna Patel Staff Governor
  Tim Cullen Local Authority Governor
  David Magee Parent Governor
  Mandeep Rai Parent Governor
  Anna McKenna Associate
  Shona Pitcher Associate
  Soomin Ryu Associate
  Julie Thomas Associate

Register of Business Interests

Record of Attendance

Annual Statement for the Governing Body

Governors Code of Conduct

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governor profiles

Jenny Gresson

Chair of Full Governing Board, member of Curriculum and Community Committee, member of Headteacher Performance Management Panel, Governor link for Early Years, Pupil Premium Grant, Looked after Children and English; and joint Safeguarding Link governor.

My entire career was spent in education. I was Headteacher of three primary schools in Nottinghamshire and I have taught children in all the primary age groups from 3 - 11, in both special and mainstream schools. During this period, I was the Headteacher representative on the Area Child Protection Group.

Since retiring and moving to Surrey I have retained my interest in and passion for primary education. I chose to become a governor at Grand Avenue Primary School and Nursery because three of my five grandchildren have attended there, the eldest having recently transferred to secondary education.

I believe that my knowledge of primary education and interest in wider educational issues enables me to complement the existing range of skills within the governing body. I also believe that my experience of working in socially deprived areas in a different local authority brings another dimension to our work as governors. I really enjoy visiting the school, talking to the children and meeting members of staff.

I have always been impressed by the exemplary learning behaviour of the children at Grand Avenue. I also recognise and commend the professionalism and commitment of the staff team.

My personal interests include reading, history, music, theatre and dance. I really welcome the change in focus on delivering a broader curriculum to all children. I believe music, drama and dance contribute to children’s personal development and well-being and also have a long-term impact on positive learning in other areas of the curriculum.

I am pleased to be a member of such a hardworking and committed team of governors at Grand Avenue.

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Cath Tanner

Cath Tanner is currently joint Vice Chair of the Governing Body. She has been a governor for 13 years, first as a parent governor and more recently as a Co-opted governor. She has one daughter, Sophie, who attended Grand Avenue from Reception to Year 6 and is currently in Year 13 at senior school.

Cath works part-time as a midwife at Kingston Hospital. She became a Governor when Sophie was in Reception. "I became a Governor because I wanted to part of school life and help make a positive difference to the life of the children in the school. Over the years I have seen many major changes but the one constant has been the enthusiasm and commitment of all the staff, making sure the children are happy in the classroom, having fun as they learn".

Cath is also Special Education Needs Governor, which means she meets regularly with Mrs White, the school SENCO, to discuss SEN provision in the school, see the provision for herself attend Steering Group meetings and represent SEN needs in governing body meetings and committee meetings. Cath is also a member of the Curriculum Group which meets twice a term.

"Being a school governor is really challenging but it is equally stimulating and interesting. it's great being part of a small team who make important decisions about the school but who also work equally hard to make sure that we keep the needs of the children at the centre of those decisions".

Michelle Harris

Member of Full Governing Board and Curriculum and Community Committee.

I am delighted and privileged to be a Governor at Grand Avenue. I am a retired Social Worker with 40+ years' experience of working in Children's Services. I retired in March 2019. I am passionate about children and families and improving children's outcomes and life chances. I am a trustee of a small voluntary organisation which supports families to get their children ready to start school.

I live locally, have two stepchildren and two grandchildren, one who is at university and younger one at primary school. I am looking forward to working with everyone.

Archika Kumar

Member of Full Governing Board and the Resources and Finance Committee

I am a trained architect working in a London local authority regenerating Council estates, building social housing and good quality living environments.

I believe every child has innate abilities and talents which should be encouraged, nurtured and supported to enable them to fulfil their full potential. I am passionate about ensuring every child has equitable opportunity to learn and grow happily.

I look forward to bringing my skills and experience but above all my passion to the Governing Body, working with them in supporting school’s Senior Leaderships Team to enable every child to become the best version of themselves.

Richard Newman

Member of Full Governing Board, the Resources and Finance Committee and the Pay Review Committee.

I have a long association with Grand Avenue Primary and Nursery School - both of my children went there and my granddaughter is now a pupil.

I am a retired Financial Services senior manager with experience in project management, working in partnership, operational management, Human Resources and people management. I am a committed team player and am motivated by the development of people.

Family values and a positive outlook are important to me and since retirement I have sought to support the local community, charities and the RFU. I enjoy sports and encourage fairness and participation.

Natasha Dempsey

Natasha Dempsey

Member of Full Governing Board and Curriculum and Community Committee.

Governor link for Languages and Wellbeing.

I’m thrilled to have recently joined the Board of Governors and feel honoured to be part of the team!

I currently have two children attending the school and, in the time, since joining, their experience - as well as my own - has been fantastic. As a parent, I felt it important to be involved within the school’s governance and play a part in ensuring the best interests of all children, staff and parents/carers are being met.

I have worked in a variety of roles: Supporting nationwide projects to promote foreign language learning; in the Early Years sector as a nursery school manager; and in the last 10 years, as a Massage Therapist running my own successful business. I hope to use the skills I have developed over the years to support Grand Avenue’s ethos and vision, so that all children continue to enjoy a brilliant education and nurturing environment that will set them up for life.

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great friends

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Mrs Margaret Barrington

Head Teacher and a member of the Resources & Finance Committee.

Angela Dumpleton

Member of Full Governing Board and Curriculum and Community Committee.

I am the Ladybird Class teacher, having worked at the school for twelve years across different year groups. My background is in English Language and Literature so there is never a shortage of books in my classroom! I began my teaching career in Inner London, working in some challenging situations, before taking a break to have my own children.

It is a privilege to work with such a dynamic team here at Grand Avenue and I fully support our ethos of creating a stimulating and supportive environment in which all children can learn and thrive. Being a Governor gives me a further insight into the workings of our school and just how much is involved in successfully maintaining its vision. I am proud to be part of the school community, working in partnership with children, parents, staff and governors.


nursery children

Tim Cullen

Member of Full Governing Board and Resources and Finance Committee

Joint Co-Chair (co-opted governor) Term of office September 2019 to September 2022.
Together with Cath I am co-chair of the Board of Governors, and sit on the Resource & Finance Committee. I have lead responsibility for behaviour, PE & the sports grant. I am also the link governor to year 3.

My family have lived in Berrylands for 16 years, I have a son in year 3 at the school, and a daughter at Tolworth Girls School. I am a senior Civil Servant, having spent most of my career focusing on economic policy.


Julie Thomas

Julie Thomas

Member of Full Governing Board and the Resources and Finance Committee

Subject focus - Science
Governor Year group link - Year 1

I am excited to join Grand Avenue School as a governor. I firmly believe that a passion for learning starts from the ground up from our very early experiences at school. I have been fortunate to have benefitted from great teaching and mentoring, which is something that I would like to pass on.

I have worked in financial services throughout my career and for the last 30 years as a fund manager in asset management.

I live in Wandsworth and have three adult sons and a young granddaughter. I enjoy music and have been a keen runner.

David Magee

Member of Full Governing Board and the Resources and Finance Committee

My daughter is in reception and I am one of the (new) parent governors.

I am a Senior Civil Servant at the Cabinet Office and have spent my career working to improve public services. I am currently Director of a programme which aims to transform government security. I have experience in setting strategy, leading delivery and keeping teams focussed on a vision.

I am privileged to be a governor and to support Mrs Barrington and her team in continuing to make Grand Avenue the best it can be.

Mandeep Rai

Member of Full Governing Board and Curriculum and Community Committee.

I am delighted to have been elected Parent Governor. I currently have two children attending the school, both transitioning from different educational settings to Grand Avenue with ease. This is testament to the positive and inclusive environment at the school.

I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic state primary education with teachers that supported me to excel beyond the constraints of the national curriculum. It is now my turn to give something back to the pupils and school community with an aim to ensure that all children have the same chance of a stellar education.

As a young carer, my early years were challenging. In those days discussion around mental health was pretty much non-existent. We have come a long way since then and I am keen to get involved in any initiatives that would support the school in advocating pupil wellbeing alongside educational progress. During my professional career I was a champion for mental health awareness.

For the past 16 years I held various senior roles in Wealth and Investment Management before leaving to establish a business in the same field. I feel that financial literacy is a key area that is lacking in the current education system and this is something I would like to address if given the chance.

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in class and peer mediators

Associate Members

Anna McKenna

Associate Member and member of the Curriculum and Community Committee.

Deputy Head Teacher, leading on Assessment and curriculum and leads Middle leadership team.

Shona Pitcher

Associate Member and member of the Resources and Finance Committee

Deputy Head Teacher and Inclusion Manager, SENCO and Designated Teacher for Child Protection and Looked After Children.

Soomin Ryu

Associate Member and member of the Curriculum and Community Committee.

I am excited to be part of the Board of Governors of Grand Avenue School. Growing up and working across different cultures and countries, learning has been an important part of my life, and I look forward to paying it forward to my local community.

I have worked in strategy across management consultancy and financial services. My responsibilities have included advising senior management on strategy and shaping its delivery through people and project management. Outside of work, I have experience in advising the board of a youth-oriented charitable organisation and delivering life skills programmes to pupils of all ages at Barclays.

I am part of the Curriculum & Community Committee, with a focus on EAL.

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ICT lessons


pupils at work

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