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Governor Profiles

Matthew Hillman – Acting Chair of Governors

Parent Governor

Your children start school so what do you do? You take an interest in their education.

Although I have worked in Education myself for many years it somehow changes when it is your own kids!! Soon after Max and Otto joined Purwell, I agreed to join the Governing Body a role I have now being doing for over 3 years.

During the day, I am a head of an Alternative Provision school, working alongside families in order to best support children’s learning. In the evening, and at weekends, I am a partner and father of two boys. One in Year 5 the other in Year 3. If ever I get any spare time, I enjoy cycling and have recently taken up golf. Yes, my footballing days are well behind me.

Governors at Purwell are truly critical friends. We want to support the school as best we can but are not afraid to challenge if, and when, necessary.

The area I am responsible for this coming year, 2020-21, is Safeguarding.

Richard Cano


I joined Purwell School in 2000 as the Deputy Head and taught year 6 for six years. In 2006, I became the Headteacher and have enjoyed the continuous challenge that the role brings.

Purwell is a wonderful school to work in and I feel very fortunate to be a part of the journey of progress that the team is all working hard to continue.

Gareth Bates

Co-opted governor

I joined the Governing Body in 2018 as a co-opted governor in order to
share my expertise in education and to support the hardworking and
committed people who work at Purwell School.

I gained my PhD in Chemistry in 2008 and trained to be a secondary Science teacher soon after. I have over 10 years’ experience in the classroom as a teacher and 3 years’ experience as a Head of Department.
In 2017 I joined the University of Bedfordshire and am currently a
Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education.

I am a member of the School Improvement Committee and I am the link governor for English and assessment.

Katharine Harle

Co-opted Governor

I joined the Governing Body in summer 2020 as a co-opted governor to get involved in supporting a local school, other than the one my children attend, during such a critical time, because I am passionate about the importance of education in improving social equality.

Following a Law Degree, I am now a partner in a city law firm, juggling working part-time alongside looking after my two children. My aim in being a governor is to apply my legal knowledge and skills to the benefit of Purwell School.

I am a member of the Resources Committee, and I am the subject link governor for Nursey and EYFS.

Heather Haslam

Co-opted Governor

I became part of Purwell’s Governing Body in July 2020.  I wanted to get involved with the school, to both support and contribute to its ongoing improvement and development.

My two eldest children currently attend Purwell School and I have experience of education through my job. I am a teacher in North Herts and have been for over 15 years.

I am hoping my insight and experience in education from both these viewpoints can have a positive effect on my role as a governor of our school.

I am part of the School Improvement committee and the link governor for SEND within the school.

Mark Nash

Parent Governor

Father of three children at Purwell. I was invited into the Governing Body in May 2019. Seeing education as a privilege, I felt a responsibility to be part of the school and community. With its wide range of responsibilities, being a Governor is also a great chance to learn about areas that are unfamiliar to me and, where possible, make a positive change.

I have worked within the cycle industry (logistics, training, mechanics and events) for over ten years now, as a cycle courier and Bikeability Instructor, primarily.

Essentially, combining my passion for cycling and enthusiasm of cycle training and advocacy.

I am the link Governor for PSHE and History and currently working on the school allotment project on the old swimming pool site.

Michelle Sprake

Co-opted governor

I joined the Governing Body in 2018 as a co-opted governor to get involved with my local community, gain a better understanding of the education system ahead of my child starting school and to support the hardworking and committed people who work at Purwell School.

Following a PhD in Physics, I am now a Systems Engineer at a major aerospace company in the area, working on cutting edge Space missions that will enable us to understand more about our Solar System. My aim is to apply my ~12 years’ experience in industry towards continuing to improve the school.

I am Chair of the School Improvement Committee, and I am the subject link governor for Science and Geography.


John Wright

Co-opted Governor

I joined the Governing Body in late 2020 – this is my first time as a school governor and I am looking forward to supporting Mr Cano, his team, and Purwell Primary School.  I have over 20+ years’ experience in the Financial Services Industry – both within Finance and Technology, having worked here in the UK and in the US and Europe.  I have two children, who are both at the later stages of their education.   My aim is to apply my experience and skillset to assist Purwell to continue making improvements.

I am a member of the Resources Committee, and I am the subject link governor for Maths.