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The Federation OfBurley and Sopley Primary Schools

Governor Members


Maria Speirs

I joined the Burley Governing Body as a parent Governor in 2014 when my 3 children were at the school after moving from London to the Forest. I took over as the Chair of Governors for the Federation in July 2018.

I became a Governor because I wanted to be a part of the school's future. I wanted to learn more about the school and how things worked; to use my skills to implement changes to improve the education and school experience for all our children. I believe that as Governors, we put the children in our schools at the heart of every decision we make.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, I enjoy communicating and working with people. In my career working in hotels, I gained experience in recruitment, budget setting, leadership and team management. I am especially good at making and serving tea and cake, so my varied skills are certainly put to good use!

Kevyn Doolan

I have lived in Burley for over 15 years, and I am very keen to see that key parts of our community such as our lovely school succeed and provide the best start for our children.  I am a "parent governor" as my daughter Cerys started at Burley school in September 2020.

I took this role not just because of my own child being in one of the schools, but since I recently retired following 40 years in industry I wanted to contribute more to our lovely community.  

I hope to bring the experience and expertise in leadership, strategic planning, finance and people management (among other things) that I have gained during my professional career to this role.  I have been told many times that I am often a "challenging" individual as my style is often enquiring why things have to be a certain way, and I hope I can bring this "quality" to supplement the skills and experience of other governors!

Chris Parker

I became a Parent Governor initially at Burley and, following a short gap, I returned as a co-opted Governor to the Federation.

With over twenty years of working in schools with primary aged children, ten of which as a headteacher and four as a deputy head, I wanted to support my local school.

In what, as I know first hand, is an ever changing picture of education, I wanted to bring my experiences of Curriculum knowledge and School Financial Management to help support our schools in ever challenging circumstances.

Sian-Elen Feryhough

I have been involved in education for many years as a teacher, parent, helper at mums and tots, as well as a visitor hearing readers at a Sopley Primary School. Therefore, it seemed a logical step to become a governor and be part of giving children a happy, safe and fulfilling time at the primary school stage of their education.

The role of governor is both challenging and rewarding; in fact a little bit like being a mother! My three children have all completed their primary and secondary education so I have an awareness of the education system as a whole and of how important good governance is to a school.

I have been a governor for nearly seven years and during that time I have had the excitement of seeing Sopley and Burley become a Federation, attended many Hampshire Governor courses and had the opportunity of reading many significant Government documents relating to children. It remains a privilege to serve one's local community as a governor.

Helena McVeigh

I joined the Burley and Sopley Federation governing body in July 2019.  I am chair of the school improvement committee and link governor for the curriculum. I have been a governor in three different schools and was director of a small academy trust prior to moving to Ringwood in March 2018.   

I decided to offer my services as a governor as I feel it is a way in which I can make a contribution to society. I want to help make a difference as I believe passionately in the importance of education. I hope that my over-30 years in education can help me to make a useful contribution as a governor of the federation to help the schools go from strength to strength.

 I have been involved in education as a secondary science teacher, local authority adviser, London Challenge primary adviser, HMI and Ofsted inspector. I am currently director of my own education consultancy and I undertake school reviews and am a lead reviewer for Challenge Partners. I stopped inspecting for Ofsted around two years ago but still try to keep on top of the latest developments so as to be able to help schools. 

Chris Walter

I joined the Federation Governing Body as a parent Governor in 2017 when my 2 children were at Burley Primary school.  I became Chair of the Resources & Finance Committee in 2018 and Vice Chair of the Full Governing Body earlier this year.  

A vacancy for parent governor came up at a time when I was becoming concerned about the funding for small, local, village schools like ours. I become a governor to see if I could make a difference and secure the future for our schools.

I worked for an investment bank for 14 years and since then as a financial consultant. I know my way around spreadsheets and financial data and how to equate the real world to the bottom line. Before finance, I had a brief career in academia. My education has shaped everything I have done and my belief in this drives my approach as a governor.

Jim McVeigh

I joined the governing body in July 2019. I am currently the chair of the safeguarding and compliance committee and link governor for mathematics. I was a governor at a very large infant school in Uxbridge before moving to Ringwood in 2018.

I am very familiar with how schools work. I realise the challenges that teachers and school leaders face, but also the satisfaction they gain from being an integral part of such an important community. I think I have gained the skills that will help our schools to continue to improve and I want to continue to be involved and make a difference to young people’s education and development.

Since my first teaching post in 1972, I have been involved in teaching and education. Most of my experience has been in science and secondary schools and ranges from sixth form teaching to introducing science projects to primary schools. I’ve enjoyed looking after school sports teams, taking small groups on field trips and sharing the excitement of children’s first visits abroad.  I am currently a director in an education consultancy and am often engaged in teacher training or in reviewing schools’ performance. I stopped leading Ofsted inspections in 2018 but I continue to stay abreast of developments in education.

Clarie Bleakley

I joined the governing body in May 2016 when the federation was first formed, originally as a co-opted governor and now as a staff governor. I’ve been part of the team at Sopley Primary school for over six years as a class teacher and am also the SENDCo.

I have been a teacher for over eighteen years and was a staff governor in a previous school in South East London. In that role I enjoyed the opportunity of being a voice for my colleagues and playing a role in developing the links between staff and governors to ensure all children had the best opportunity to learn and left the school equipped with skills for life. 

As the staff governor for the Federation of Burley and Sopley Primary Schools I hope to continue to use my professional experience to support the development of the federation and a good education for all children. My previous roles include being a senior manager of a large inner-city primary school in London, KS2 SAT’s marker for over eight years and the chair of a local pre-school committee. I enjoy working in a team, problem solving and moving learning forward. I believe every child has the right to achieve to their full potential, have any barriers to learning supported and be encouraged to develop confidence and individuals as they journey through primary school.

Peter Egerton

I have lived in Burley for the past 22 years and became a parish councillor in 2019.I was asked if I would like to become a school governor in 2020 and saw it as another way of hopefully helping our community.

My background is in construction and finance and I have run my own company for the past 32 years.I hope to use that experience to help the school move forward in what are very challenging times.