Governor profiles

David Packer, Chair of Governors

I’m David Packer, the Chair of Governors, and I am an enthusiastic supporter of Vandyke.  I believe strongly that every young person deserves the very best opportunities in life and that’s what Vandyke sets out to provide.  For me, the best part of being a school governor is the opportunity to see the school at work – the focus on study, the great atmosphere and the friendly students and staff.

I joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor when our daughters were at Vandyke.  I’m now involved in the Personnel, Finance & Resources and Pay Committees and am also linked to the Maths department.  I visit the school frequently and really enjoy these visits which give me the chance to see the school and its students in action.

I’m supported by a fantastic team of governors who share Vandyke’s ambition to become an outstanding school.  We pride ourselves in being a friendly and welcoming group, working together to help the school become even better.  If you’re a Vandyke parent, why not consider joining us?  Just contact the Headteacher, or me, via the school.

Annabel Ashwell

I'm Annabel Ashwell and I have been a Parent Governor at Vandyke since October 2013.  Having had previous experience of being a staff governor at a school in Buckinghamshire, I was very keen to join the governing body at Vandyke when my daughter started in Year 9.  I know how important an effective and proactive governing body can be to the success of a school.  I recently became Chair of the Learning & Achievement Committee and Link Governor for Artsmark and have enjoyed immensely being a member of the Vandyke team.

From 1998 I was Head of Art and Design Technology at a school in Aylesbury and served on the senior leadership team there for 2 years.  I moved to Leighton Buzzard 3 years ago and now love teaching in the middle school sector.  I am passionate about ensuring that young people have the very best quality of teaching and are given every opportunity to succeed and have been so impressed with the opportunities given to the students at Vandyke.

With my background in education and being a parent of two, my interests in being a governor are both professional and personal.  I would encourage all parents to get involved in governance, to see how the school works on a day-to-day basis and behind the scenes!  I am delighted to be able to represent the parents of Vandyke students.

Martin Feinhols

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for 20 years and have two sons.  The younger one has just completed his school education, having left the Sixth Form at Vandyke in September 2014.

I was elected as a Parent Governor in 2010.  The skills which I have gained over the years in commercial management help me to contribute to the working of the school and I sit on the Finance & Resources and Learning & Achievement committees.  I am the Link Governor for Safeguarding and Health & Safety within the school and also the Link Governor with responsibility to regularly review and report on the school site and buildings.

At Vandyke, we are fortunate to have a very skilled and dedicated team of staff and some fantastic facilities and students do extremely well at the school, both academically and in their personal development.  I am proud to be able to help them.

My aim is to support the good work done by the staff and to continue to develop the school in today's ever-changing environment.

Ann Gomersall MBE

I am a retired Probation Officer and have a grown-up family.  I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for more than 40 years and have been a governor of Vandyke for 12 years.  I served 4 years as Chair of Governors and 4 as Vice-Chair.

Because the work of governors in a large upper school is demanding and diverse, much of the work of the governing body is done in small committees reporting to the full governing body.  I sit on the Personnel, Learning & Achievement and Admissions Committees and, perhaps because of my background in the Probation Service, I also find myself involved in discipline matters.  I also act as the Link Governor in guidance, support and pastoral matters.

I have seen the school go from strength-to-strength, with improving exam results without ever compromising its commitment to the ethos of "Everyone Matters".  I am particularly pleased that we achieved Academy Status.

Many governors are linked to particular aspects of either the curriculum or the School Development Plan and my link is to the pastoral care and year groups.  Being retired allows me to spend time during the day in school and it is always a great pleasure to see staff and students in action and to get a real sense of what goes on.  Knowledge of what daily life in school is like helps governors to fulfil our functions and to be a critical friend of the school. I am proud to be a governor of Vandyke. 

Sue Howley MBE

I am a designated National Leader of Governance (NLG), currently Co-Chair at Greenleas School and Chair of Governors at Fairfield Park Lower School, both Ofsted outstanding.  I am an Associate Governor at an RI middle school academy.

I have been a governor since 1990 and have extensive knowledge of all aspects of governance.  I was delighted to be awarded an MBE for voluntary services to education in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

I was an Ofsted Inspector for 12 years.  I am a member of the Schools Forum, the Central Bedfordshire Children’s Safeguarding Board and the Leadership Group for LC2.  I have a background in HR at a senior level with a major retailer.

I am committed to high standards in schools through professional development, challenge and support.  I regularly attend training to ensure my own knowledge is up-to-date in the ever changing education landscape. As an NLG, I provide support to other Chairs of Governors.

I have lived in Linslade since 1976 and know the local area and community very well.

Alison Packer

I joined Vandyke’s governing body as a Community Governor in February 2007, following my retirement from teaching in the primary sector.  For the last 8 years of my career I was Headteacher of a Bedfordshire lower school.

My particular role on the governing body is to link with the Achievement & Inclusion Team and the head of that department, Mr Copley.  I am eager to ensure that every student has the right help and support to allow them to achieve their full potential in all aspects of their learning and development.  I strongly believe that this is a particular strength of Vandyke and the school’s motto "Everyone Matters" is truly the first priority for every member of the staff team.

I have followed with keen interest the development of Vandyke since my daughters attended the school in the 1990s and then through my husband, who has served as a governor since that time.  I am now pleased and privileged to do my part in supporting the school as it continually strives to provide the very best education for each of its students.

Ruth Samet

I have worked at Vandyke in the main Reception Office since joining the school in November 2011 and I was elected as the Support Staff Governor in October 2013.

I really enjoy working within the school and feel that, not only is it a great place to work, but more importantly it is a fantastic place for the students, giving them a wide variety of choice and experiences whilst doing its utmost to prepare them for their varied journeys after leaving Vandyke. Indeed, I have chosen it for both my children and believe that they, like all the other students, will benefit greatly from their time here.

I feel that it is really important to try and give something back in life, which is why I decided to become a school governor.  I think that at times I can give a unique viewpoint on issues as both a member of staff and parent and a member of the wider community.

Ron Turner

I'm Ronald Turner and have served as a School Governor since 1999, first at a lower school and middle school, before joining Vandyke in 2004 initially as a Parent Governor and then as a Co-opted Governor.

I am retired, but during my working life, as a Finance Director of a subsidiary of a major Plc, I was responsible for Finance, Personnel and Property and at each school in which I have been a governor I have tried to bring my experience gathered over many years to their benefit.

Following the establishing of Vandyke as an Academy, I was appointed Responsible Officer to ensure that financial systems are being operated correctly and that financial controls are appropriate.  This position does not allow me to be a member of the Finance & Resources Committee, although I do attend their meetings.

I am Chair of the Personnel Committee and also a member of Admissions, Pay and Discipline Committees.

I am pleased to be part of this school, which is continually striving to improve the education and well-being of its students.