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Forres Primary

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Meet the Governors

Chair of Governors - Richard Ella

(Co-Opted Governor)

I started my career as an officer in the Royal Air Force coordinating global communications and search and rescue operations in various theatres of operation.  When I left the RAF, I took on several commercial IT positions before joining the third sector directing technology for a national charity.  Having worked for over 30 years in industry and the not-for-profit sector I have a wide breadth of experience across many facets of organisational strategy and development, change management, business transformation, Human Resources, compliance and budgets.

I have previously served as a trustee on several boards and undertaken volunteer youth work as part of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.


I have a 15-year-old daughter and my entire family all have senior roles in education.  I am acutely aware of the huge pressure’s schools are under on a day-to-day basis to not only educate our children, but to also equip them with the necessary social and life skills to become well-rounded members of society.   I became a governor to help support and champion this process – to ensure our children are given every opportunity to succeed, but also to support our teachers and school leaders in this difficult process.

Headteacher - Gavin Douglas


In many ways I was always destined for a career in Education, having grown up as the child of a teacher. After leaving school I completed my Batchelor's degree in History at King's College London. Whilst considering my next step I volunteered at a primary school and realised this was where I wanted to make a career.  In 2006 I completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education in London and began my teaching career in a large school in Edmonton. During this time, I developed a passion for teaching and in particular an interest in supporting staff to improve pupil outcomes.


In 2010 I began my first tenure at Forres, when I was appointed as KS2 Leader. It was during this time that I moved up to become Assistant and then Deputy Headteacher.  Whilst at Forres I completed my NPQH and secured my first Headship at a Junior School in Cheshunt in 2016. In 2020 I returned to Forres as Headteacher and am now determined to ensure that every child has the confidence to succeed at Forres.


I am passionate about the school, the community and every stakeholder involved. Outside of school in my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, my wife and two daughters. I enjoy reading and learning about Modern European history, running and martial arts; I am currently working towards my black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Vice Chair of Governors - Lynn Phillips

(Co-Opted Governor)

I am a Hoddesdon resident since birth.  I believe in service to the local community and strive to ‘make a difference’.   In the past, I have held leadership roles with both the Girl Guiding and Scout Associations: over 20 years as leader of 1st Hoddesdon Guide Company and eight years as a Venture Scout Leader with the former Borrell Venture Scout Unit, both at Foxton Road Guide & Scout HQ.  


For the past 15 years, I have been a trustee of The Beaumont Almshouse Charity in Cheshunt and I also volunteer at the Borough’s Lowewood Museum, working both ‘front of house’ and with the museum’s vast collection of artefacts.  I have previous service as a governor at another Hoddesdon primary school some years ago.  Now retired, my working life was spent in local government at both County and Borough level.

Nic Harley

(Co-Opted Governor)

My name is Nic and I live in the local area.  I have recently embarked on a career change.  I have moved out of retail head office environment and I am now enabling and empowering young people with SEN in a local collage.  I am finding this very rewarding.  I decided that I could give up some of my free time to become a Governor at a local primary school.  Forres appealed to me because of its energy and enthusiasm. 


I look forward to help support the school and everyone involved thrive.

Dave Stoten

(Co-Opted Governor)

I recently retired after a 47-year career in the postal service industry having acquired a substantial skill set in a range of retail, operational, commercial, HR, safety, security and transformational change roles. I worked at every level in the organisation and for the last 26 years led teams in senior and directorate positions. 


I was a secondary school governor for around 6 years in early 2000 carrying out roles such as Vice Chair of the Governing Body, Discipline Chair and led the premises sub-group. 


My passion, throughout my career and in my personal life centres on supporting and mentoring others to grow and succeed. As a “returning” governor, I relish the opportunity to help children achieve academic success develop life skills.


I am particularly proud that my wife of 43 years and I have raised two children who mirror the values, enthusiasm, and life positivity that we hold dear.

Sarah Garry

(Parent Governor)

I have been Executive Officer of the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) since May 2020 in the role of Company Secretary and responsible for the day-to-day management of all its activities, including the delivery of the annual strategy.  I am also a Trustee of the World Congress of Soil Science 2022 and have spent 15 years working with membership and trade associations, most recently as Project Director at Build UK.


I have a keen interest in skills and training and have played a leading role in how the construction industry responded to the issue of competence following the Grenfell Towers tragedy.  I have represented construction to government and key stakeholders and developed new industry qualifications as a member of the Department for Education’s On Site Construction T Level Panel, sat on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card Management Committee and was a member of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Construction Skills Group. 


I applied to be a school Governor as I wanted to give something back to my son’s school. I hope to use my experience to provide strategic support to the school and identify actions which will continually improve the school experience for our children.

Abigayle Fisher

(Parent Governor)


I have more than 20 years’ experience in journalism and communications specialising in employee engagement and strategy. My husband and I founded our own local company Insight MCL seven years ago, offering video content, event production and communications services to businesses and organisations of all sizes. I am co-director and as well as general business skills, I have extensive experience in building and delivering communication strategies, and client, event and project management.


We have two daughters at Forres and have very much enjoyed being part of the school community. I became a governor in 2020 because I am interested in the strategic direction of the school and am keen for it to grow and develop. Forres is a wonderful school, but I believe there is a lot of potential to be even better, and I hope to be able to contribute to that journey.

James Alao-Babson

(Parent Governor)

My professional background is in learning disabilities.  I have worked extensively with people with learning disabilities in various settings. I am a learning disability nurse working as a care coordinator for people with mental health issues & people with learning disabilities in the community.


Before my university degree in learning disability nursing, I managed homes for people with autism spectrum disorder, people with chronic epilepsy and I also managed homes for Royal National Institute for the Blind. I was on the governing board for two local schools in Greenwich Council before my family moved to Hoddesdon in 2019.


I am a member of Chartered Management Institute (MCMI) and I am happily married with 4 children.

Paul Jennings

(Parent Governor)

I have been working in construction for more than 20 years and currently hold a Director level role for a large main contractor. I hold a professional qualification in Quantity Surveying and my expertise lay within Commercial & contract management as well as heading up a team of 50+ employees holding learning and development as a key part of my teams culture.


I have a keen interest in a wide range of sports particularly Football, Tennis and Golf. I enjoy spending weekends with the family and friends and very much look forward to working alongside the team at Forres in developing the school and the children’s needs.


My reason for becoming a parent governor was out of interest in my child and school friends learning experience as well as offering the school use of my services and experiences gained within a professional environment.

Tess Payne

(Staff Governor)

After having a successful career in the Media industry, I gave up working in London once my first child arrived. After having a couple of years as a stay-at-home mum, I launched my own local business franchise and put all my efforts into developing that. What started as a hobby soon turned into a successful business which I won several awards for, including a Love Hoddesdon Business Award.


When the Covid crisis hit, and we were all forced to home school, I found that I had a love and passion for helping and supporting children to learn. I made the decision to enrol with a university and I worked hard to achieve several qualifications including my Higher-Level Teaching Assistant qualification and I am proud to be putting it to good use by working at Forres. I am proud to be a Forres Primary School parent, employee and governor

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