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Our governors draw on years of experience and diverse skill sets to raise standards for children in our care. They share our vision of exceptional education for every under fives, and are willing to make the big changes we need to realise this vision. They spend lots of time ‘on the ground’ seeing our work in action, and they hold our team to account. Thanks to our governors’ challenge, guidance and support, we give our children the best possible education.

Hayley Yendell


Gemma Williamson

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Rachel Martin

Rachel worked as an Early Years Professional in a local nursery for over twenty years. When she moved into a finance role in a charity ten years ago, she became a governor so she could continue shaping children’s futures for the better. With her financial experience, she shares sound budgeting advice with the governing board.

“Roots Federation is an exciting venture. It draws on expertise from all three nurseries to create an education that opens doors for children. I look forward to playing my part in Roots’ bright future.”

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Gemma Hall

Gemma has worked in education for over twenty years. Passionate about supporting children with special educational needs, she’s worked as a SENCo, InCo, Inclusion Leader and Deputy Head. Currently a DSPL Manager and SEND Lead, Gemma supports SENCos in Watford, Three Rivers, Bushey and Radlett. She ensures that schools, settings, professionals, services and ISL collaborate and share best practice, so that children of all abilities can access an ambitious curriculum. In her role as governor, she brings unrivalled knowledge and experience of SEND provision.

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Matthew Brown

Matthew joined Oxhey Nursery in 2019 as Chair of Governors. During his tenure, he recruited the current co-headteachers of Roots, and oversaw Oxhey’s transition into the Roots Federation. Matthew is our Oxhey Link Governor and the Safeguarding Governor. In his spare time, he is a scout leader for the 64th Bushey & Oxhey Beaver Scouts.

“As the single parent to a four year old who attended Oxhey Nursery, I feel deeply invested in the long term growth and sustainability of Oxhey Nursery, and Early Years provision in Hertfordshire more broadly.”

Patrick Aikman

Gemma Clooney

Gemma joined the Heath Lane Governing Board in October 2021, and the Roots Federation Governing Board in September 2022.

A brand performance and strategy manager for EE, she uses marketing communications to optimise budgets and deliver short and long term business goals. She became a school governor so she could use her skills to help the Federation achieve its ambitious objectives.

Gemma has experienced Roots’ exceptional education first hand. Her three children attended Heath Lane Nursery, where they all thrived.

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Carole Connelly

Zara Khokhar

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Mark Knowlson

Elica O'Shea

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