The role of the School Governor

Governors provide their time to help the school on a voluntary basis and come from a range of different backgrounds. There are a variety of different roles within the governing board Which involves working with the head teacher and senior leaders to make sure that the pupils at the school receive the best possible education.

Governors are a mixture of elected and appointed individuals. The Governing Board is made up of parent governors, a local authority governor, co-opted Governors, the Headteacher, and staff governors.

The governors’ aim is to work towards a vision that the children at the school will get the best possible education, that they will be happy and safe and enjoy their time at school. They will support the head teacher and the dedicated team of staff, but will also challenge rigorously where necessary to ensure that we deliver our objectives

The governing board has a strategic role and sets policy, whereas the head teacher has an operational role and is responsible for delivery of the policies that are agreed. Governor’s decisions are made following informed discussion, whereas the head teacher uses professional judgement.

Meet our Governors
Below are the members of the governing body for the whole centre, and where relevant, their roles at Grandpont. They can be contacted via the office.
Sarah Dorling - Chair of Governors (co-opted governor; whistleblowing)
I live in New Hinksey and have two young children; both who attended Grandpont Nursery school. I have been teaching for over 20 years, and am a Deputy Headteacher at an Oxford City Primary School. As parent and Chair of governors, I want to support Grandpont Nursery school by sharing some of my experience and expertise to enhance the achievement of all who attend. I am the lead governor for Leadership and management.
First appointed on 1 Sep 2018
Caroline Derby - Vice Chair of Governors (co-opted governor; SEND)
I have lived in New Hinksey for 15 years and my daughter attended Grandpont Nursery School. I come from a family of teachers and now work in educational publishing for Oxford University Press, where I publish resources for schools and children aged 4-11 with a particular focus on spoken language and reading. I am passionate about early years education and am looking forward to supporting the work of Grandpont in any way I can.
First appointed on 1 Sep 2018

Lisa Fern (headteacher)
Lisa is our bubbly headteacher, a highly dedicated and experienced leader, who is passionate about Early Years Education. She is delighted to be leading this wonderful setting and loves working closely with Grandpont families and their children. She finds it a privilege to work with all the young children in our setting, and to nurture in them the skills and attitudes which will help them learn and thrive throughout their lives.
First appointed on 17 Apr 2017
Brad Baines (co-opted governor; safeguarding)
Brad is the local County Councillor for South Oxford and has been a governor at Grandpont Nursery School in Winter 2020. His passion for education derives from his mum’s background as a primary school teacher and his experiences volunteering at an after-school club and nursery as well as a young people’s charity. He currently works in public campaigns.
First appointed on 24 Nov 2020
Phil Doubtfire (co-opted governor; Finance, HR, Health & Safety and GDPR)
Phil has served three year terms as a Governor. He really likes spreadsheets and spends lots of time poring over the Nursery's finances.
First appointed on 1 Sep 2018
Marie Tidball (local authority governor)
I have studied and worked in Oxford since 2002 and have lived in Hinksey Park Ward for four years. I am a City Councillor for our area and I am also Oxford City’s Mental Health Champion. I have been a governor at Grandpont Nursery School since Autumn 2015 and I am Member of the South Oxford Community Association. Last year, I finished my doctorate on the treatment of people with autism in the justice system and I am currently working on a project about disability and the law at the University of Oxford. My mum was the head of a Nursery School in South Yorkshire, when I was growing up - this is why I am passionate about early years education. Outside of work I enjoy swimming, growing things on my allotment and painting - especially face painting!
First appointed on 1 Sep 2015
Neal Tucker (co-opted governor)
I moved to Oxford over 10 years ago and live in the Grandpont area. I am a local general practitioner working in the city centre and provide medical education to GPs and nurses around the country. I have two young children, one in St Ebbes School and one in Grandpont. Outside of work I am a keen cyclist, unashamed science fiction fan and beginner guitarist, although my aspiration to be in a famous rock band is thankfully over.
First appointed on 1 Sep 2018
Yan Wong (co-opted governor; curriculum)
I’m a local dad often seen out and about in Marlborough Road. Grandpont is very much in my heart, as my two daughters, one now in secondary and one still in primary school, benefitted when younger from the fantastic provision in the Family Room, Daycare, and the Nursery School. I have been a governor at Grandpont since 2013, with a focus on Grandpont’s role in the community, and the Family Room in particular. I’m currently chair of the Grandpont Nursery School Association (GNSA), our associated charity. Work-wise, I am a scientist, and have had multiple jobs including university lecturer, popular science writer, and presenter of science on TV and radio. My specialism is biology, focusing on natural history and genetics, and I currently work in this area in one of the Oxford University research institutes.
First appointed on 1 Sep 2013
Associate members
Francesca Tedeschi
I've been living in Oxford for more than 10 years, and moved to Grandpont shortly before my (now) almost 5-year old daughter was borne. She attended Grandpont nursery - that she absolutely loved - and now is in Reception year at St Ebbes. I'm a full-time business professional in the energy sector, where I help investors and other sector stakeholders navigating around the economics, and the implications of policies on their investments. I joined the Board as a governor in 2020 with the objective of offering my contribution and support to the school.
Amy Waterston
I am Amy. I have two children that have both been through Grandpont. I am passionate about Early Years education and the change we can make in young lives. In my spare time I love baking - but I'm not quite ready for Bake Off. 
Further information giving details of the duration of terms as governors, declarations of interests, etc can be found in the files below:

Governing body meetings
Governing body meetings are typically held between 19.00 and 21.00, usually at Grandpont (but have recently been held remotely on Google Meet due to Covid-19). Dates of future meetings and attendance records of previous meetings are downloadable below.


The governing body has a finance and resources committee which is responsible for overseeing the budget of the centre as a whole. Our financial benchmarking webpage on the government financial benchmarking service is here