Ivel Valley


Welcome to our Governing Body

The Governors at Ivel Valley School and College are very proud to take an active part in school life. Our aim is to ensure that the students at Ivel Valley are able to achieve to the best of their ability and have a wonderful experience of the schools.

The Governing Body works with the senior leaders in the strategic development of the School and College.  They support the Headteacher and staff as well as offering constructive challenge ensuring that Ivel Valley School and College achieves the very best it can for all students.

The four core functions of the Governors are:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its students and the performance management of staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
  • Ensuring the voices of stakeholders are heard.

Governance Role

As Governors, a critical part of our role is to ensure we develop and maintain strong links with parents, staff and students. To support this, we can often be found in and around school, attending meetings and experiencing the many different activities that take place in the School and College. We also try to attend as many School and College functions as we are able.

Governor Benefits

The role of Governor is carried out on a voluntary basis. As a Governor, you can:

  • Gain experience in strategic and financial planning.
  • Learn to set aims and objectives to reach your goals.
  • Work within a team and learn how to debate and challenge in a supportive way
  • Discover more about the UK education system.

You don’t need to be an experienced professional – it’s about attitude as well as expertise. The Governing Body needs skilled people to help them run effectively, but hard and soft skills are needed around the table, such as, problem solving or negotiation as much as specific expertise.

If you would like to join our Governing Body, please contact Mark Tripp, Chair of Governing Body at chair@ivelvalley.beds.sch.uk

Governance Monitoring

The Governing Body will monitor in detail areas such as Finance, Personnel, Premises (which includes Health & Safety) and the Curriculum. We also ensure that legally required policies and documents are held and are available for Staff, Students, Governors, Parents and Carers and any visitors to school when and where relevant. 

We receive a report from the Headteacher once a term which keeps us up to date with pupil’s academic achievements, staffing, attendance, special projects, School and College life in general and other legally required reports.  We support and challenge the Headteacher and make crucial decisions about the School and College in our Governing Body meetings.

The Department of Education requires the Governing Body to have a number of statutory policies in place at the school.  The Governing Body regularly ensures that all relevant school policies are kept up to date and in line with the latest local and national guidance. 

A list of all DFE statutory school policies can be found here.

We also ensure that we are aware of what is taking place within the ever changing world of Education and Governance. We do this by attending courses held by the Local Authority and other educational organisations, and by being affiliated to the National Governors Association, The Key for School Leaders, The Key for School Governors and SchoolBus.

Governance Links

Through the Headteacher and Staff, we are kept informed of all aspects of School and College life. Each Governor is linked to a subject and/or School/College development area. We have meetings with staff to discuss how the National Curriculum is being followed and adapted to meet the needs of our students. We meet with the Senior Leadership Team to discuss areas of School/College development for the future. Link Governors provide feedback from these meetings at the Governing Body meetings. 

Link Governors 2023 – 2024

Governance Membership

Our focus is very much the future of the School and the College for the benefit of the students. The Governing Body membership is currently 9 Governors and we aim for our governance membership to grow to 12 Governors. The current Governors are shown below.

Constitution and Membership

Mark Tripp is Chair of Governing Body and he brings a wealth of governance, educational and leadership experience to our Governing Body. If you would like to contact our Chair, please email chair@ivelvalley.beds.sch.uk

 Governance Structure

The Instrument of Government outlines the constitution of the Governing Body. The Local Authority considers whether it complies with the relevant legal requirements.

The Instrument of Government for Ivel Valley School and College Governing Body was ratified by the Local Authority on 21st September 2017 and last reviewed by the Governing Body on 4th July 2022.

The Governing Body reviews the document annually to ensure the constitution of the Governing Body remains relevant and meets the needs of IVS governance.

Governance Committees and Meetings

The Governing Body meets at least three times per an academic year to consider the strategic aspects impacting the School, College and the students. 

The Teaching and Learning Committee meets three times per academic year.  The core functions are to oversee the educational performance of the School and College, including matters relating to pupil progress and achievement, the quality of teaching and learning, teaching staff further development, and the development and delivery of the School and College curriculum offer. The Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee is Francis Evans.

The Resources and Personnel Committee meets four times per academic year. The core functions are to oversee and monitor compliance with statutory obligations under School Governance, DfE, Central Bedfordshire Council and Data Protection. This includes the financial performance (value for money) of the School/College, human resources issues (efficient, effective employment/deployment), premises, health and safety and, general organisation and administration of the School/College including GDPR, data protection and freedom of information. The Resources and Personnel Committee is granted delegated authority to authorise in-year amendments /revisions to the School/College budget plan, virements between budgetary headings, purchases and contracts in line with the scheme of delegation. The Chair of the Resources and Personnel Committee is Thomas Gibby.

The Pay Committee meets once per academic year, in the autumn term, to assist in setting the IVS pay policy, determine staff remuneration and review the targets for performance related pay. The Chair of the Pay Committee is Thomas Gibby.

The Headteacher’s Appraisal Panel meets three times per academic year, in the summer term, autumn term and spring term, to set objectives for the Headteacher, appraise the performance of the Headteacher and assess their performance in the role against the Headteacher Standards and their performance objectives. The Chair of the Headteacher’s Appraisal Panel is Thomas Gibby.

There are four Committees that meet on an ad hoc basis linked to discipline and appeals for both students and staff. At Ivel Valley School and College, these Committees rarely meet but form part of the governance structure.

Governance Terms of Reference

The Governing Body must agree the Terms of Reference for the Governing Body and its Committees annually. The Terms of Reference outlines the tasks and decision-making powers assigned to a Committee. The Governing Body ratified the documents at the meeting on 26th September 2022.

Governance Attendance Register

The Governing Body keeps track of all governors who attend or are absent from Governance meetings. It is important for the development of the Governing Body that governor absence from meetings is kept to a minimum.

Governance Register of Pecuniary Interests

Governors are forbidden from being involved in decision making relating to the purchases by the School/College of goods and services from themselves, their relatives or any organisation in which they or those close to them have significant interest. The Governance Clerk is required to maintain a register of such interests. 

A Declaration of Interests Form is completed annually by all Governors to declare such interests. If interests change, a new form is completed.

At every governance meeting, Governors declare as to whether they have any pecuniary interests related to the agenda items listed for the governance meeting.

The Declarations of Interests Summary (Sept 2023) is due to be ratified by the Governing Body on 25th September 2023. The Register is reviewed at every meeting.

 Governance Contact Details

If you would like to contact a member of our Governing Body, please do so by sending your written correspondence to: Chair of Governing Body, Mark Tripp, Ivel Valley School and College, Ivel Valley School, Hitchmead Road, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 0NL.

Alternatively, you may wish to email:

  • Mark Tripp Chair of Governing Body at chair@ivelvalley.beds.sch.uk
  • Michelle Francis-Joseph, Governance Professional at clerk@ivelvalley.beds.sch.uk

Governance Vacancies

The Governing Body currently has two Co-opted Governor and one Local Authority Governor vacancies. If you would like to obtain further information on how you can support the School/College by joining the Governing Body, please contact the Governance Professional, Michelle Francis-Joseph at clerk@ivelvalley.beds.sch.uk

Schools Financial Benchmarking

You can view Ivel Valley School and College financial data and see how it compares with other schools. Please click on the link below.

Meet Our Governors

Mark Tripp - Parent Governor

Chair of Governors

Mark lives in Biggleswade and works on the railways as a train driver.Ivel Valley is close to his heart as his son currently attends Ivel Valley College and his wife works as a teaching assistant.When he’s not at work Mark also acts as a trustee for a national charity dedicated to working with families with 22q11 deletion syndrome.In his free time, which isn’t very often, Mark can be found hacking his way around the golf course or playing cricket and occasionally pounding the streets of Biggleswade whilst in training for one of his many charity runs.

Richard Sherry - Parent Governor

Vice Chair of Governors

IVS governor since: 12th July 2021

Richard works in quality assurance at a veterinary school based in Hertfordshire and London, having previously worked in international higher education student recruitment. Richard’s son previously attended a satellite class at Ivel Valley School, and the family lives in Shefford. Richard is a keen cook, somewhat-less-keen cyclist and markedly reluctant home DIY-er

Thomas Gibby - Co-Opted Governor

IVS governor since: 13th May 2019

Thomas lives in Biggleswade with his wife and daughter. He is a commercial and data protection solicitor in London, advising businesses and government departments on a range of commercial agreements and major public sector IT outsourcing projects. Thomas is a keen sportsman (football, rugby, tennis, table tennis, cricket) but will try his hand and get involved with any competitive team or individual sports when time permits. He also enjoys hiking and reading.

Joe Creswick


IVS governor since: 1st September 2017; Ex officio appointment

Joe is the Headteacher of Ivel Valley School. He enjoys outdoor pursuits and is an enthusiastic, if slightly unskilled, dinghy sailor.

Clare Neish - Staff Governor

IVS governor since: 24th May 2019; Latest election: 24th May 2023

Clare lives in Biggleswade and works as the HR & Facilities at Ivel Valley School. Clare has been a governor at four Biggleswade schools. Before working at Ivel Valley School Clare worked for a Retail Bank in the branch network and in project management roles. Clare enjoys working in her garden, having days out visiting places of interest (and other people’s gardens) and going to the theatre.

Frances Evans - Co-opted Governor

IVS Governor Since 26th March 2021

Frances studied pharmacology before working in scientific research for two years. She did a postgraduate certificate in education and started her teaching career as a science teacher in a school in Enfield. She moved on to a FE college and taught science and maths courses, before becoming part of the senior leadership team. After leaving full time teaching she worked for an education charity supporting science teachers. She works for an exam board monitoring practical work in schools in A level Biology. She has a passion for science and education and wants to bring those skills to support the work at Ivel Valley school

Pooja Smith - Co-opted Governor

Holli Smith - Co-opted Governor

Holli lives in Bedford and is an experienced teacher. She is a qualified SENDCo, and has held various leadership positions, including Deputy Head Teacher of a primary school. Holli is passionate about SEND, equality and education. In her spare time, she likes to attempt to keep fit by running, going to the gym and swimming. Recently, Holli has found a love for gardening and all things green-fingered!

Millie Brookes - Co-opted Governor

Millie is a swimming teacher in Biggleswade. She has previously worked as a project manager in education, construction and data science. Millie enjoys gardening, trying her hand at small woodworking projects and learning languages. Most recently she achieved a Level 1 in British Sign Language and is now tackling Portuguese.

Devine Education Consultancy Ltd

Clerk to the Governors

Clerk since: 2019

Michelle has worked in the education sector for 21 years. Prior to setting up her own company, Devine Education & Clerking Consultancy (DECC), offering governance and business support to schools and academy trusts, Michelle worked as a School Business Manager, Company Secretary and worked at Senior Leadership Level. Michelle brings a wealth of experience and skillset to the role of Governance Clerk.

Governance Diversity DataThe Governing Body has agreed to opt out of collecting and publishing diversity data for the Governing Body. A further review will be carried out in the Autumn Term 2023.

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