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Governing Body

Welcome to The Mary Bassett Lower School Governors’ page

Here you will find information about the role of the governing body, governance at The Mary Bassett Lower School, how to become a school governor and a list of our current governors.

The Role and Responsibilities of the Governing Body

Governing bodies are the key strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school, helping to set the school’s aims and values.  In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

These functions are reflected in regulations for maintained schools that came into force in September 2013 and in the criteria Ofsted inspectors use to judge the effectiveness of governance in both maintained schools and academies.

More detail about the role of governance can be found in the Governors’ Handbook:

Governing bodies have a vital role to play in improving school and pupil performance and ensuring that resources are used well to give every child the best possible education.  They also make decisions on matters such as performance targets, school policies and the school’s development plan.  They oversee the use of the school’s budget, have responsibility to obtain value for money for that budget and are responsible for the appointment of the Headteacher.  In addition, governors monitor, support and challenge the headteacher and staff on how well these policies and targets are followed through.  They do this by visiting the school, getting to know its strengths and weaknesses, monitoring progress and asking useful questions that foster an ethos of continuous improvement. 
The Governing Body is required to meet once per term, but at The Mary Bassett Lower School we meet more frequently to ensure the work of the Governing Body is effective.

Governance at The Mary Bassett Lower School

The Mary Bassett Lower School’s Full Governing Body (FGB) is currently constituted of 12 members. The FGB operates under the leadership of a chair and vice-chair with the help of a professional clerk.

Governors at The Mary Bassett Lower School come from a range of backgrounds: parents, carers, staff, the local authority and the wider community. We aim to recruit people who have a range of relevant skills and most importantly are committed to acting in the best interests of the children and their learning.

The Governing Body of The Mary Bassett Lower School works as a 'whole team' with support from the Finance & Premises Committee.

How to Become a Governor at The Mary Bassett Lower School

A good school governor is passionate about children’s education, is open to ideas, likes working as a team, is willing to ask questions and can commit to spending the requisite time.  If you are interested in becoming a governor at The Mary Bassett Lower School, please contact our Clerk, Karen Hazell, in the first instance -

How to contact The Mary Bassett Lower School Governors

If you have a concern that touches on the day-to-day life of the school, or an issue that is affecting your child, please talk with their class teacher in the first instance.
Should you wish to contact the Governors you may write to them via the School Office or email

Meet the Governors


Rob Merry

Co-opted Governor     03/03/21-02/03/25

Chair of the Governing Body

Chair of Finance & Premises Committee

Link Governor Roles : Finance & Premises, Maths, Writing, Science

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for over 20 years. I am an actuary by trade and have held a number of senior positions (including With-Profits Actuary and Deputy Chief Actuary). I spent 23 years of my career at Equitable Life in Aylesbury. In 2014, I joined HSBC to create a new global function to assess actuarial model risk in the HSBC companies around the world. My career has involved managing actuarial departments, financial reporting, advising the Board and playing a key role in corporate governance and strategic risk mitigation activity. I am the Deputy Chair of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Life Education and Continuous Professional Development Committee that is responsible for shaping and delivering actuarial technical knowledge for actuaries today and in the future. I have a passion for education and unlocking individual potential.


Janet Woolsey

Co-opted Governor     07/12/22-06/12/26

Chair of Pay Committee

Link Governor Roles : Pay, Headteacher Performance Management, Reading, Safeguarding, Young Carers, Specialist Funding (PPG), Wellbeing

I have been involved with The Mary Basset Lower School continuously since my children were at the school. This was initially on the PTA and later as a governor. (They are now in their 30s!) Professionally, I have also been a Health Visitor in London and Bedfordshire, mostly in Leighton Buzzard for a similar number of years.

I enjoy being a Governor and I hope my historical experience of the school and my professional knowledge in health, child development and the local community continues to make me a useful member of the Governing Body.


Terry Pettitt

Co-opted Governor     03/03/21-02/03/25

Link Governor Roles : Headteacher Performance Management, Pay, GDPR, Communications, Music, Computing, Data Analysis, Technology & Social Media, Training, School Website

Having recently moved to the area I've been really keen to get involved with a local school.  As a previous governor of 6 years, I enjoyed working to improve the outcome of young people, and am passionate about giving the next generations the best possible start in life.  As a director of a small IT consultancy in London, a programmer/designer, former community choir chair and a keen amateur musician, I have a wide range of skills that I think can be assets to The Mary Bassett Lower School.


Lily Crank

Co-opted Governor     20/01/22-19/01/26

Vice-Chair of the Governing Body

Link Governor Roles : Pay, Headteacher Performance Management, History & Geography, Art & Design Technology, Early Years, Safeguarding, Whistleblowing

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for over 10 years and have two children who both attended The Mary Bassett School.  My children, now at middle school, both loved their years at The Mary Bassett School.  I have been a police officer in the Metropolitan Police in London for nearly 20 years and have specialised lately in high risk domestic violence and partnership working.  I currently work part-time in a multi-agency setting, safeguarding vulnerable adults and children and am a trained mediator.  I am pleased to be involved in the school both as a parent and as a governor.


Jo Radford Cutler

Parent Governor     20/04/22-19/04/26

Link Governor Roles : Health & Safety, Writing, Safeguarding, SEND, Specialist Funding (PPG), Communications

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for over ten years and my two children both attend The Mary Bassett School. I work in consulting and spend most of my time supporting central government departments in their skills, learning and leadership needs. I’m delighted to be supporting the leadership of our school and helping to deliver the best for all children and staff.


Sophie Benjamin

Parent Governor     20/04/22-19/04/26

Link Governor Roles : Finance & Premises, Reading, PE, Modern Foreign Languages, Specialist Funding (Sports Premium)

I currently work in leadership in the Financial Services sector, an industry I have worked in since 2006. I am incredibly passionate about each child reaching their own potential and how as a Governing body we can support that.

I have lived in Leighton Buzzard for over 10 years and my two children both attend The Mary Bassett Lower School, where we have been part of the school community since 2019.


Vicki Bather

Staff Governor     01/09/23-31/08/27

Link Governor Roles : Finance & Premises, RE, RSE & PSHE

After joining The Mary Bassett School in September 2022, I have been keen to get involved with supporting the school in a different way.  As a KS2 teacher here I am already invested in the work that goes on and wanting the best outcomes for all of our pupils.  I am looking forward to being able to support the school within my governing role.


Hilary Wheeldon

Headteacher Governor     

Link Governor Roles : Governor Visits






Karen Hazell

Clerk to the Governing Body







Associate Governors

The Governing Body currently has no Associate Governors

Former Governors over the past 12 months

David Baillie

Staff Governor     20/04/22-31/08/23

Link Governor Roles : PE & Sports Premium


Instrument of Government