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Heron Hill's Governing Body has up to twelve members who serve for a four year term
  • Two elected parent governors
  • One elected staff governor
  • One Local Authority governor
  • Headteacher governor
  • Seven co-opted governors


Heron Hill School Governors sharing in the Year 6 post-SATs ice cream van visit.

The Role of the Governing Body

  • To support the school in meeting its statutory responsibility to provide the best possible education for each individual child.
  • To be fully accountable to the Local Authority, the parents and the wider community for the way in which it carries out its functions as a Governing Body.
  • To act at all times in accordance with the requirements laid down in acts of Parliament, statutory regulations and the school's instrument of government.
  • To maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of the school.
  • To ensure that the school's interests are properly represented at both local and national level wherever and whenever appropriate.  ​

We currently have a vacancy for a co-opted governor.  If you are interested in applying for this vacancy, please use the contact form below.

Patricia Merritt - Headteacher
Areas of special interest within school: As the Headteacher - everything.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil. Declaration made 22.03.2022.

Michelle Wilkinson - Deputy Headteacher
Areas of special interest within school: Mathematics, Raising Attainment, Teaching & Learning,
Key Stage 2 Team Leader, Pastoral Care.
I taught in large schools in Newcastle and Liverpool before coming to Heron Hill. I have taught classes from Year 1 to Year 6 and love to be part of children’s development. We aim to have lots of fun learning!
I also love motorcycling, cooking and spending time in the garden.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil.  Declaration made 22.03.2022

Kathryn Ritchie - Chair of Governors
I have recently retired after 39 years working in education as a primary teacher, Headteacher, Senior Inspector of Schools, Director of Education Services and CEO of Service Children’s Education worldwide.  I have loved every aspect of my career and my driving force has always been to get the best for children in my care.  I am fortunate in that my efforts were recognised, and I was awarded an OBE for making a difference to the outcomes for Service Families’ children. 
Outside of the education world, I enjoy travelling, reading, walking the fells, playing tennis, golf and skiing.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil. Declaration made 11.03.2022.

Sarah Corbett - Elected Staff Governor (July 2022)
Areas of special interest: Year 3 class teacher, Geography Lead, Maths Support Team.
Declaration of Business Interests:

Robert Hibbins - Co-opted Governor, Vice-Chair of Governors
Areas of special interest within school: Finance
My family and I moved to Kendal in 2015 from Norway where I had spent five years working for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. I am now working part-time on several research projects funded by the European Commission and the Research Council of Norway. My 2 children both attended Heron Hill School and I have been a co-opted governor with responsibility for finance since May 2016.
In my spare time I enjoy the great outdoors, cooking, listening to test match special and keeping up on current affairs.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil.  Declaration made 22.03.2022.

John Haley - Parent Governor
Areas of special interest within school: Premises, Environment and Health and Safety​
I have lived in Kendal on the Heron Hill estate since 2011 and was born and brought up in Barrow-in-Furness before living and working in the North East for 12 years. I am a Chartered Surveyor and Partner at a North West property company working primarily in Cumbria and North Lancashire. A graduate of The University of Northumbria at Newcastle, I studied and gained a 2:1 degree in Estate Management. I am an RICS Registered Valuer and advise a number of high street banks, national and local developers, investors, private clients and charities, undertaking commercial valuations, disposals, acquisitions and providing strategic land and property advice.
I am married with 2 girls, both at Heron Hill Primary School and other than raising a young family, I enjoy keeping fit playing a number of sports and am a keen follower of Newcastle United. I can be seen running and walking around the fells of The Lake District and I take on a range of fitness challenges. Committed to assisting charities, I led a team to win an award for ‘Outstanding Innovation’, having raised funds for a charity as part of an investment enterprise competition.​
Declaration of Business Interests: Director of Kendal Futures - a CIC company and regeneration arm of SLDC. Married to Chair of Friends of Heron Hill.  Declaration made 19.04.2022.

Ian Vermeulen - Parent Governor
Area of special interest within school: Staffing
Born and raised in South Africa, I first moved to Kendal in the late 90s where I worked in design and development for an outdoor equipment brand.  It was in Kendal that I met my wife and together we cycled from the UK to South Africa, where we lived for 6 years.  We returned to Kendal with our two young children who then attended Heron Hill Primary.  
​​I have worked in the outdoor industry for much of my life but have also worked as a teacher for several years.  I love the outdoors and have been an active climber and mountain biker for much of my life.  I am currently renovating and extending our house, and under Mrs Cottam’s careful tutelage I am also learning a lot about bees.​
Declaration of Business Interests: ​Nil.  Declaration made 23.03.2022.

Douglas Rathbone - LA Governor
Area of special interest within school: Finance
I live up towards Oxenholme station with my partner, Sally.  Before we moved to Kendal we lived for a bit in Windermere, where Sally grew up.  I was previously in finance amongst other things and Sally was a solicitor.  We enjoy going fell walking, sailing and share a great love of reading. I particularly enjoy cooking as a creative way of relaxing - with the fringe benefits, of course, of eating the results.  I am also an Elder of the United Reformed Church in Windermere, a Kendal Town Councillor for this area (and this year will be Mayor of Kendal) and a District Councillor for Kendal South & Natland.
I joined the Governing Body in 2018 and had previously been Chair of Governors of a school in London when it converted to being an Academy.  My interests were specifically in literacy but obviously sat on all committees in those days.  It is great to be back being able to help with the overall scrutiny and the successful running of this school as a Local Authority Governor.  My background is in finance so hope to be able to work together on that with fellow Governors in what are challenging times nationally.  It is a joy to be able to be back in the thick of things and work together for the success of the school and all the pupils.
Declaration of Business Interests: Kendal Town Councillor and SLDC Councillor.  2021-2022 Mayor of Kendal.  Declaration made 22.03.2022

Natalie Greenwood - Parent Governor
Area of special interest within school: Poverty Proofing, Single Equality Scheme
​I have a background in Early Years and run my own childminding provision from my home in Kendal.  I am outdoor based as much as possible, because of my own love of nature and because being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of wellbeing and all aspects of their development.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil.  Declaration made 22.04.2022.

Edward Vittery - Co-opted Governor
I am married with two young children who both attend Heron Hill School.  I currently work as a manager of a Country House Hotel in the Lake District. This role is very varied and hopefully provides me with a range of experience that I can bring to the governing body.  Though I have no formal background in education I have long been passionate about learning and opportunities for young people and in the past I have volunteered in several groups for children and young people.  In school, I can currently been seen running a weekly session for a group of children in Year 3.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my children and when time allows enjoying a number of different sporting activities. I love the area in which we are lucky to live in and can regularly be seen exploring the countryside on 2 wheels.
Declaration of Business Interests: Nil. Declaration made 12.12.2021