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Muswell Hill Primary School

Our Governors

Welcome to the Muswell Hill Primary School Governing Body

As at 1st January 2024 Muswell Hill Primary School has no staff earning more than £100k a year.

In 2019, the Department of Education ran a consultation on their “Financial transparency of local authority maintained schools and academy trusts” document.

The published results can be viewed at the following link:


Muswell Hill Governing Body

Introducing Our Governors

Alexa Charnley. I was a parent governor for four years and am now a co-opted governor. I have one child at the school and another who was at Muswell Hill Primary but who has now moved on to Fortismere. I work for a mental health charity and my background is in fundraising, marketing and partnerships. I am currently Chair of Governors.

Davina Deniszczyc. I’m mum to two boys at Muswell Hill Primary School. I am a GP by background and currently hold a national senior position in a healthcare trading charity. I have worked in health promotion across all age ranges including children and teachers, medical and regulatory governance and I have senior safeguarding experience. I am the Link Governor for Safeguarding supporting the school on all safeguarding issues, health promotion and infection prevention, as well as Children's Personal Development which includes behaviour and our Rights Respecting School status.

Martin Gibbins. I’m now an associate governor. I have been on the governing board since January 2019. I have one child at Muswell Hill School and another who is at Fortismere; I take a keen interest in helping the school operate and run. I am an Architect specialising in school design and my aim as governor is to assist and advise on such aspects as school development projects. I am the Link Governor for Health and Safety/Premises (which involves termly visits to report on both building and user issues).

Sarah Gray. I’m an associate governor. My two children (now young men) went to Muswell Hill Primary; I also work in the office. I have been a governor for a considerable time and before that I was on what is now the PSA and was a class rep too. My former career was in the international section of an Awarding Body. Alexa and I are Link Governors for Governor and Community Cohesion.

Ishah Ijaz.  I am a regulatory lawyer. My role involves ensuring that financial institutions abide by standards and regulations in the UK, as well as passionately supporting firms with dynamic propositions to innovate in the marketplace. I use my experience to not only support MHPS to operate effectively, but also to champion the school to be aspirational, ambitious, and crucially, compassionate. I ardently advocate MHPS’s vision to help every single pupil to achieve his or her potential. I value continued focus on strengthening all pupils’ academic achievement, as well as greater differentiation being available to pupils, which will foster curiosity, ambition, and continue to challenge. I am Link Governor for Equalities - including pupil premium and anti-racism.

David Marshall. I'm honoured to be a governor at Muswell Hill Primary. This is my first governor role and I'm delighted to be part of the school community. I am Head of English at St Christopher's School, London and hold a qualification in CPD Leadership with the Teacher Development Trust. Over the years I have been teaching, I have worked in both primary and secondary education, in the UK and internationally. At Muswell Hill Primary, I am Link Governor for the Curriculum/Higher Learning Potential and High Attainers and also the Phase Link for Years 5 and 6.

Hilary Plant. I am now the LA governor but have previously been a co-opted governor for four years. I am currently Vice Chair, Link Governor for SEND  and Inclusion, and Phase Link Governor for Years 2 to 4. Having two daughters, who hugely benefitted from their start in life at Muswell Hill Primary, motivated me to become a Governor at our school. I recently retired from a 42-year career in the NHS as a nurse, researcher, psychotherapist, and senior manager. I provide understanding of the complexities of public sector work with an open approach to supporting experience of children, parents/carers, and staff.

Dan Salem. I have been a governor for over 9 years and have had a variety of roles from Chair of the Governing Body to Chair of the Resources Committee where we have managed to make substantial improvements to the school from upgrading the playgrounds to the internal decor and fabric of the building, whilst managing the limited budget we are given. I am enjoying the next chapter of our journey to becoming an extraordinary school. I am using my experience to advise on both curriculum and finance issues and am Link Governor for the STEAM initiative and outdoor learning and IT changes.

Julia Simmonds. I am a co-opted governor, and am delighted to be part of the Muswell Hill Primary School community. I used to work as a solicitor, legal academic and trainer, and currently tutor English to primary and secondary school children. I have two children at senior school. 

 Muriel Thompson. I currently have the pleasure of working at MHPS as the class teacher of Violet class and mathematics lead. I am passionate and dedicated to the inclusive, creative ethos of our school and wider community. I have experience in a number of diverse educational settings and roles in which I have undertaken a number of educational research projects. As well as this, I have worked in the international development field prior to teaching. I love travelling, the arts, keeping fit and spending time with family and friends. As a staff governor I offer a unique insight and voice to contribute to the strategic development of the school as well as being the Link Governor for EYFS.

Stuart Webber. I am a co-opted governor. With a background in financial services, I am currently a strategy consultant, mainly working in sustainability and advanced analytics. At MHPS, I now chair the Finance/Resources Committee that has oversight over school finances, budget, premises, and other related areas. Having grown up in the area - now living down the road - I am excited to help the school on the next stage of its journey.

Sara Sheldon.  I have two children at Muswell Hill Primary School. I am an experienced secondary school teacher and leader, and am currently Head of PSHE at a school in North London. I am committed to using my professional experience to complement the work of the governing body, particularly in building partnerships across the community and developing learning, including through the use of technology, to ensure quality learning experiences for all children.  I am Link Governor for the Curriculum with David and also the Link Governor for the PSA and staff wellbeing.  

Mandi, our Headteacher, is also a member of the Governing Body.  

The composition of the Governing Body is outlined in our Instrument of Government which is reviewed annually. It was approved in 2017 and remains unchanged.

Who does what:

  • Alexa Charnley - Chair of Governors, Link Governor for Governor and Community Cohesion
  • Hilary Plant - Vice Chair of Governors, Link Governor for SEND,  Pay Committee and Head Teacher Performance Management Committee, Link Governor for Years 2 to 4
  • Dan Salem - Pay Committee, Head Teacher Performance Management Committee, Link Governor for STEAM, Outdoor Learning and IT changes
  • Martin Gibbins - Health and Safety Link Governor
  • Sarah Gray - Associate Governor, Link Governor for Governor and Community Cohesion
  • Muriel Thompson - Staff Governor, Link Governor for EYFS
  • Davina Deniszczyc - Safeguarding Link Governor, Children's Personal Development Link Governor
  • Ishah Ijaz - Equalities Link Governor including Pupil Premium and Anti-racism
  • Stuart Webber - Chair of the Finance Committee
  • David Marshall - Link Governor for Curriculum/Higher Learning Potential and High Attainers and for Years 5 and 6
  • Sara Sheldon - Link Governor for Curriculum, the PSA and staff well-being
  • Julia Simmonds - Julia has only recently been appointed (May/June 2024) so has not yet been assigned a link governor role.  These roles will be updated in September 2024 so please check the website again then.

What do we do?

The Governing Body provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools. It has three key functions:

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

Governors set the aims and objectives for the school and set the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives. They monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher, they are sometimes referred to as ‘critical friends’.
This means that the Governing Body is involved in:

  • Appointing and performance reviewing the head teacher and senior leaders, including making decisions about pay
  • Managing budgets and deciding how money is spent
  • Engaging with pupils, staff, parents/carers and the school community
  • Sitting on panels and making decisions about things such as pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary matters
  • Addressing a range of education issues within the school including disadvantaged pupils, pupils with special needs, staff workload and teacher recruitment
  • Looking at data and evidence to ask questions and have challenging conversations about the school

Governors must be prepared to adopt the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

All governors sign to confirm that they agree to abide by the Code of Conduct.  

How do we do this?

We have two Governing Body meetings a term and the business of the Curriculum and Standards Committee and the Resources Committee take place in these meetings. There are additional meetings of the Finance and Pay Committees and working parties as and when required but the bulk of the Governing Body business will take place at the full Governing Body meetings.  

Most governors also have 'link governor' roles; this is where a governor takes a particular interest in an area of the school, meeting the teacher(s) responsible for those areas and reporting back to the main Governing Body on progress in these areas in relation to the School Development Plan.

Contacting the Governing Body

If you have any queries or comments do please feel free to contact any member of the Governing Body via the School Office and they will be happy to forward your email or letter; alternatively you can send us an email at:

Governing Body Attendance & Meetings

Governing Body Minutes will be posted here when they are formally approved, generally at the following Governing Body meeting.  

For Governing Body Attendance 2022-23 click here

For Governing Body Attendance 2023 -24 click here

For the September 2023 Governing Body Minutes click here

For the November 2023 Governing Body Minutes click here

Register of interest

It is our statutory duty to produce a register of interest, this includes a declaration, business interest and also a declaration of pecuniary interests. Please click here to see the details.