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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

Patrick is a dedicated professional who holds the esteemed position of Chair of Governors  at the Roots Federation, a UK Three-School Nursery Federation. With a deep rooted passion for education and an extensive background as  an education consultant. Patrick brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their role. They find immense joy in being a governor as it allows them to contribute directly to shaping educational policies, implementing positive changes, and driving excellence in teaching and learning. Collaborating closely with a diverse team of governors, educators, parents, and community, members, Patrick works tirelessly to create nurturing and inclusive learning environments that empower children.

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.

Mark Knowlson

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Carole Connelly


Chloe Reade

Chloe's journey in the world of childcare commenced immediately after her graduation in 2015. Her career began as a children's entertainer in a soft play center, where her unwavering talent for captivating young minds with fun and laughter first emerged. This innate ability to connect with children has been a constant thread throughout her professional life.

Subsequently, Chloe found her calling within the childcare sector when she joined the Muriel Green team as an Early Years Practitioner. Over the years, she demonstrated her versatility and adaptability by working with children of all ages, from infants to the Nursery school. Her approach was marked by a strategic mindset and an astute understanding of child development, qualities that quickly garnered recognition. Chloe was entrusted with a pivotal role within the senior leadership team as the Deputy Day Care Manager. Her passion for enriching the lives of all children continued to shine, but it was her unique expertise in working with children with additional needs that truly set her apart. Chloe played a vital role in supporting staff members across the federation in delivering high-quality provision for children with hearing impairments.

As a testament to her outstanding contributions and longstanding career at Muriel Green, Chloe was recently appointed as the Governor for the Roots Federation. Her dedication to the welfare and education of children, combined with her extensive experience, made her the ideal candidate for this prestigious role. Additionally, her responsibilities included overseeing social media communication across the federation, further enhancing her influence in shaping the educational experiences of countless children.

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James has extensive experience in education, working in Watford schools since 2001. His previous roles include two primary headships in Hertfordshire where he demonstrated a track record of rapid school improvement. He led the academisation of Laurance Haines in November 2016 and set up the Inclusive Multi Academy Trust, which includes a further two schools – Beechfield and Cherry Tree. James is a keen advocate for disadvantaged children and established the Trust in order to ensure children in the most disadvantaged areas of Watford are given the same life chances as their peers throughout Hertfordshire. James has a passion for curriculum development with a family centred, nurturing approach to learning. James currently works as a Hertfordshire Improvement Partner where he is part of a team monitoring and supporting primary schools across Hertfordshire

James Roach

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