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Governors' Information

The Governing Body represents:


  • The Local Authority                      

  • The Parents/Carers

  • The Community

  • The Staff


The Governing Body, Local Authority, Parents/Carers and Community share the responsibility for the school, the building and environment, and the curriculum.


The Headteacher is responsible to the Governing Body for the day-to-day leadership, management and administration of the school and the curriculum. We have a committee of Governors, who are volunteers interested in helping the school to be a full part of the local community and further develop our fantastic provision to support high achievement for all. We have regular meetings every few months to talk about the work of the school and plan future developments.


Meet our Governors


James Benn - Co-opted Governor and Chair of Governors

I have recently relocated to Ripley from ‘down south’ where I worked for many years at a children’s activity centre. Having started a new role as a School Business Manager at William Rhodes Primary School I felt I could offer a useful skill set to the governing board and hopefully contribute positively.  Ripley Nursery school is already fantastic; both of my children attend and absolutely love the school and all the staff, they do an amazing job. My wife grew up in Ripley and attended Ripley Nursery herself so I have a great incentive to serve on the governing body. I also wanted to join the team to contribute to the continued success of the school and to ensure that all the children have the best possible learning experiences at all times.  I believe that the foundations children are building in the early years will set them up for life. The role of early education is a massive responsibility and therefore I strongly believe the staff need as much support as possible from their governors to shoulder the load and to help develop every aspect of school through creative thinking, challenging the status quo and celebrating the successes.

Mrs Cathy Bednal - Headteacher and Governor

I am the Headteacher at Ripley Nursery School and have been in post for 10 years, prior to that I was the Deputy Head for 8 years. I have been an advocate of high quality nursery education for 30 years and moved from a large Nursery School in London to relocate to Derbyshire. I live in the local area with my husband, teenage son and two contrary but lovable dogs.  I am passionate about the outdoors and in my free time you will find me camping, cycling or walking in Derbyshire or in North Wales.  My achievements are completing the 100km London Ride the Night, in aid of women’s cancer charities and managing to keep up with the school team to complete the 5k Mud Run to raise money for our outdoor refurbishment. I am proud of developing the reflective nature of Ripley Nursery School which inspires all of us to view ourselves as lifelong learners and continually improve our offer to all the children of this very special school. 

Mrs Donna Brown - Assistant Headteacher and Staff Governor

I am the Assistant Headteacher and work full time at Ripley Nursery School. I consider my Governing body role to be very important. Through supporting our Headteacher Cathy to create an environment where every child can reach their potential, and also sharing first-hand experience of the teaching and learning taking place in our school with the rest of our governing body. I have lived in Ripley since I was a child, attending the local primary and secondary schools myself, therefore I feel a strong connection to the local community and want to ensure we continue provide an exciting, stimulating environment at Ripley Nursery School where children form the foundations to their education and are encouraged to be enthusiastic learners and investigators. I am also Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) and enjoy working in partnership with parents and outside agencies to provide excellent care and education for our children with additional needs. Outside of nursery I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, walking in the local countryside with my dog, listening to music, reading and skiing.  

Mrs Kerry Hartwell - Co-opted Governor

I have been the Business Manager at Ripley Nursery since January 2020, prior to this role I worked at a secondary school in Chesterfield for 12 years as Assistant Business Manager. My son attended Ripley Nursery School and loved every minute of his time here - he would definitely come back if he was given the chance! My main role in school is to look after the office and administration including finance and HR but I also enjoy getting involved in fundraising projects and organising the Christmas parties too!


Kerry Coxon - Parent Governor and Vice Chair of Governors


Sarah Somerset - Parent Governor

Ripley Nursery School is wonderful.  The staff, facilities, environment are all second to none.  I wanted to give something back as a parent governor.  Whilst recognising how good the school is, it is important to keep questioning.  Be that approaches to learning, how funding is allocated, how training is offered or the facilities that the children have available to them.  My expertise in research help with this critique.  Not only on a day to day basis but also to challenge the school to keep up to date with practice and take on board things currently happening in the education sector.  Something the school does marvellously.  The Early Years of a child's education are critical.  Everything they experience during this early stage will shape the sort of lifetime learner they become.  We have a real opportunity here to make their engagement with education and learning a positive one.  I hope to contribute to this wonderful work in my role as a governor.


Lianne Mills - Parent Governor


Paul Lobley - Co-opted Governor

Paul has lived in Heage since 1979 and is a local Councillor on Ripley Town Council representing Heage and a Councillor on Amber Valley Borough Council representing Heage and Ambergate. He is currently Mayor of Ripley and Deputy Mayor of Amber Valley.

Paul qualified as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant in 1975. After being employed by Councils for the first 16 years of his accountancy career, he joined the Audit Commission and has worked as an external auditor reviewing and assisting almost every local authority, health and public body in the East and West Midlands until he “retired” in 2013 to devote more time to his voluntary work in the local community.

He has been a Heage School Governor, Treasurer of Heage School PTA, Treasurer of Heage and Nether Heage Carnival, a Junior Church Leader, a church youth group leader and an assistant cub leader. He is currently the Treasurer of Heage St Luke’s Church PCC and a Trustee and the Treasurer of Derbyshire Carers Association. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 2021 for over 40 years work with the community in Derbyshire.


Mrs. Dee Hill - Clerk to Governors 

I have spent 40 years working in the education sector, starting as a secondary school history teacher before joining the middle and then senior leadership teams in schools from Portsmouth, through London, to Lincolnshire and ending in Rotherham.  I moved from the chalk face to working in Local Authorities and enjoyed the challenge of working with a number of schools.  Initially, I was an Area Education Officer in Nottinghamshire, working across all aspects of running a school from the curriculum, to HR issues, to Governor Training and support, to the introduction of Local Management of Schools (LMS) and the need to develop financial expertise in Head Teachers and their SLT – fast!  The challenge and the variety were exciting and rewarding.  After a side-step into working for the police force, for Education Welfare and for a Diocesan Education Board, I returned to Derbyshire Local Authority as a senior officer responsible for planning school provision across the County.  My role covered everything from planning and designing new schools, to supporting and developing provision at others, to the toughest of decisions – school closure.  When I retired, I felt that I still had a lot of knowledge and experience to give back and so here I am – the Clerk to Governors in this lovely school and yet another super team of people with whom I enjoy working immensely!


Governor Vacancies

2 Parent governor

Local Authority Governor


Financial Information


Please note that we do not have any employees with a gross annual salary of more than £100,000


Please Click here to view our school's financial data.