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Meet the Governors

Welcome to our School.


As the Chair of Governors at Springwell School, I am delighted that you would like to know more about our school.


Springwell School is an amazing school where everyone works together to ensure our children achieve to their full potential … and beyond!


Parents and carers are a very important part of that team effort and we need your support and cooperation to make this happen.  We operate an ‘open-door’ policy which encourages parents, carers and family to visit the school at anytime and play an active part in school life.  There are also countless activities and events throughout the year where parents and carers are more than welcome to attend, such as: Sports Day, Carol Concerts, Christmas Plays, Coffee Mornings and Fairs, Parents Evenings and fundraisers.


Our school is not just a place for education, it’s a thriving and welcoming community where a smile is the norm. Children will have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of additional activities such as cookery, trampoline, sports clubs, residentials and performing.  During their time at Springwell School, your child will grow in confidence, develop independence and enjoy learning in a school that goes that extra mile.


The school is blessed to have the most dedicated and passionate Senior Management, Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Support Staff who truly care about every single child within our school and who will exceed expectations to ensure that your child’s time at Springwell is loaded with memories and is an experience that they will thoroughly flourish.


We have an extremely diverse and active Governing Body at Springwell School who work closely with the Headteacher, and all the staff at the school. In broad terms, as a Governing Body we:

· Take a strategic role in the running of Springwell School.

· Act as a critical friend to the School.

Ensure accountability to the school community.


We work in partnership with Headteacher and the school staff, taking an active interest in the direction of travel and the improvement plans for the school, as well as financial monitoring. We do not get involved in the day-to-day operation of the school, as this is the responsibility of the teaching and management staff. It is our vision that Springwell School remains an ‘Outstanding’ provider of education to your children.


There are currently 11 governors at Springwell School who are appointed through various routes. There are parent governors, who are elected by the parents themselves, and co-opted governors who are people from our community that can bring skills to the Governing Body to contribute to the School.


We are always keen to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a governor and of course, if you have and questions or feedback please contact the school office.


Finally, the children at Springwell School enjoy some fantastic facilities which have only been possible thanks to the very kind generosity of donors and local businesses, such as The Variety Club of Great Britain, Hartlepool Round Table, The Little Green Shop in Murray Street and parents.  We would of course be delighted to hear from any other organisations who may be able to support us in continuing to provide 1st class education and facilities in Hartlepool.


Together wE Achieve More !


Paul Thompson

Chair of Springwell School Governing Body


Paul Thompson, Chair of Governors 

I am the Chief Executive of Families First (North East), a regional charity supporting children and young adults with additional needs. I also served as a Local Authority Councillor from May 2010 – Sept 2017, including a spell as the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Services with political responsibility for over £100m per year.

I have extensive experience of education and its governance as a trained secondary school teacher, 10 years as a Governor of Hartlepool 6th Form College including 3 years as Vice-Chair and 2 years as a Local Governing Body member of Catcote Academy. I have worked in partnership with Springwell School for the past 10 years and joined the Governing body in 2015.

I am, and continue to be, the founding Chairman of a large youth theatre company and have run two successful private businesses, specialising in marketing, media, communications and the third sector.


Kathy Douglas, Vice Chair of Governors

I have worked in education for over 30 years, originally as a teacher in secondary schools in the south of England. For the last 17 years I have worked for Durham County Council supporting Looked After Children and more recently as a SEND Advisory Officer. I am passionate about my role as a governor so that Springwell can provide the best possible opportunities for all our children and their families.


Jim Murdoch, Co-opted Governor

I am still a registered Social Worker after a 42-year career in children’s social work in several local authorities and the NHS. I have been a senior manager for Looked After Children, Fostering and Adoption Services and latterly I was the Business manager of Hartlepool Safeguarding Children Board. I have been a member of the PRU Management Committee for several years, including 2 years as Chair. Since retiring I act as an Independent Visitor for 10 children’s homes in the region and undertake complaints investigations against local authorities.



Val Yuill, Co-opted Governor

I worked for many years in social welfare law (Debt, Housing and Mental Health). Once retired I joined a pet therapy charity (Therapy Dogs Nationwide) with my lovely chocolate Labrador, Maisie. Sadly she passed away recently but I loved seeing the impact she had in Springwell School and also in the other schools we visited. She was a gentle soul and the  children benefited from her calm nature but equally her sense of fun. She enjoyed the mile a day with the Springwell children and it was a privilege to walk the school grounds with the children, telling me about their own pets. The sheer joy of being around Maisie was uplifting to witness.

I enjoyed our visits so much and I was so impressed by the ethos of the school and wanted to become a part of it so I became a Co-opted Governor. Visiting regularly with Maisie gave me an insight into the dedication of both the staff and the children from another viewpoint and I think this has helped me in my role as a Governor. I feel very much a part of the school family and feel privileged to be on the Board of Governors.


Caroline Derbyshire, Staff Governor

I am a teacher at Springwell School and have worked here for 16 years. During my time at Springwell I have taught across all age groups and have had the pleasure of teaching children with a wide variety of needs. I am currently the Asia Team leader (autism specific team) and teacher of Shark Class. I also offer advice and assistance town wide to a number of schools with regard to SEND and specifically autism.


Fiona Stobbs, Co-opted Governor


I am Fiona Stobbs and I am Senior Advisor for Inclusive Learning & SEND for Hartlepool Borough Council. I started teaching in 2010 as a Teacher of SEND in a Mainstream Secondary school, where I was part of a team setting up an Additionally Resourced Provision for children with Autism. In 2016, I came to work at a secondary school in Hartlepool as a Senior Leader with responsibility of Inclusion, where I was also the SENDCo.  I am now in a position where I get to work with all schools across Hartlepool, championing Inclusion and developments in SEND.

I have previously been a Governor at Springwell and I am delighted to be back as part of the team.


Kathryn Crowder, Co-opted Governor


I am currently the Principal Educational Psychologist for Hartlepool Borough Council and have supported Springwell School as their link EP for some years.  As a registered Educational Psychologist, I have worked with children across the full age range, as well as their families, schools and fellow professionals, in order to promote all children’s access to learning, as well as their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.   I am also passionate about supporting the wellbeing of children and staff.   Before qualifying as an Educational Psychologist I worked as a Primary school teacher for 15 years, and have been both a teacher and parent governor in the past. 



Rona Pout, Parent Governor


Hello, my name is Rona, I am a parent governor and am a proud mother of twin boys: one of whom is autistic, nonverbal and a pupil of Springwell school.

 Outside motherhood, I work within the NHS as a physiotherapist, and I am currently the clinical lead for the community services within the Middlesbrough locality for both physiotherapists and occupational therapist.

Outside of work I am a long-term volunteer for the Autism Parents Together charity, which serves families within the Teesside area providing families with exclusive events such as soft play, swimming and cinema trips.


Heather Jennett, Staff Governor


With a background of working in banking and the local authority, I joined Springwell School in December 2004 as the School Administrator. Since then my role has evolved and I am now a fully qualified Accounting Technician and School Business Manager.

I cover all of the administration and business management roles of the school thus supporting the Senior Leadership Team and the smooth running of the school.

However, the most rewarding part of my role is seeing the children every day and I am therefore a proud member of the Governing Body. We aim to use our knowledge and experience in a supportive and valuable role thus ensuring the children achieve their potential.



Our Clerk to the LGB is:

Andrew Dunn who can be contacted C/O Extol Trust, Eldon Grove Academy, Hartlepool, TS26 9LY. Tel. 01429 272040.