Being a Governor at Nelson Primary School

The Board of Governors

– The governing body has overall responsibility for the successful running of the school BUT the head teacher is responsible for making this happen.
– The governing body uses its member’s skills, knowledge and experience to support and challenge the head teacher and senior staff as they all work together for school improvement.

What skills will I need

– Most governors don’t have specific skills or knowledge about school management – they are usually people with an interest in the education of children and young people
– Skills and knowledge from bringing up a family or helping out in a local group
– Skills from your working life

What do school governors do?

The role of the governing body is to help schools provide the best possible education for their pupils by:

– Setting strategic direction. This includes setting the aims and objectives, setting policies and targets and reviewing progress
– Monitoring and evaluating progress towards priorities and targets
– Acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the headteacher and staff-offering support and constructive advice
– Being accountable to all stakeholders for the school’s performance and for the decisions they make

The role of the Board of Governors

The role of the governing body is to help schools provide the best possible education for their pupils by:

– Setting strategic direction. This includes setting the aims and objectives, setting policies and targets and reviewing progress
– Monitoring and evaluating progress towards priorities and targets
– Acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the headteacher and staff-offering support and constructive advice
– Being accountable to all stakeholders for the school’s performance and for the decisions they make

How much time will being a governor take?

– Attend 2 full governing body meetings a term (6 per year)
– Attend Committee meetings – no more than 2 additional meetings per term
– Allow time to read papers prior to meetings
– Participate in governing body visits into the school during the day – one per term
– Attend governor training
– Attend, by invite, school performances and other events

Meet the Nelson Governors

Jawad Khan (Chair) MAT Governor Term of Office: 22.03.2022- 20.03.2026

Jawad has been a governor at Nelson for many years. He was appointed as Chair of Governors in September 2018. He has also worked as a Sub Post Master for number of local post offices. Jawad have been working as a Director of Studies for an Alternative Provider College since 2002, the college is Ofsted accredited and annually reviewed by QAA.

Jawad wanted to volunteer as a parent governor because he recognised the importance of education and its effects on the successful development of children. As all of his children have studied at Nelson Primary, he has seen the quality of education they have received, and the effect this has had on their development.

Through seeing the excellent efforts of the staff at the school to maximise the quality of the school experience for our children, he feels as a parent that he owes a debt to the school and its staff. For this reason he has volunteered his time and skills as a parent governor.

Jawad can be contacted via the school office on 


Fiona Cullen (Head Teacher) Member Term of Office: 28.01.2018 – ongoing

Fiona has been associated with Nelson Primary School since April 1998 when she was the special Needs Co-ordinator. She went on to become Assistant Head Teacher leading on Inclusion followed by becoming the deputy Head Teacher in 2006. Fiona has been the substantive Head Teacher of Nelson Primary School since January 2011 and acting Head Teacher for 12 months before that.

School Improvement is Fiona’s primary role in the school. She led the school out of the Ofsted “Special Measures” and “Notice to Improve” categories and firmly believes that the school will move towards outstanding in the next few years. The results across the school are showing an upward trend. The fact that the school needs to be good enough for her own three children is her benchmark for the successes.

Fiona is particularly interested in music and was delighted at the school’s achievements in this field; the Artsmark Gold and the Platinum Sing-Up status are a great source of pride. In her spare time Fiona enjoys singing in a choir.


Jo Cull

MAT Governor

Term of Office: 22.03.2022- 20.03.2026

Jo has been a teacher at Nelson Primary since 2002. She has taught classes in years four, five and six. She started at the school as the music co-ordinator and then became the phase leader for years five and six. In 2007 she qualified as an advanced skills teacher in music, where she not only worked at Nelson, but supported teachers throughout the borough in the teaching of music. In 2011 she became an assistant head teacher at Nelson, with responsibility for years five and six and the arts. In 2014 she became the deputy head teacher.

She currently runs the senior choir and the maths challengers club.  Music is also her hobby and as well as attending concerts, she enjoys performing with 2 choirs and playing the violin in an orchestra.


Elliot Smith (Vice Chair)

MAT Governor


Term of Office: 24.11.21 – 23.11.25

Eliot grew up in South East London and studied Computer Science at the University of Reading. Eliot now lives in East London and wanted to volunteer to give back to the local community. He has a strong interest in education, particularly around increasing STEM participation.

In his professional life, Eliot works as a management consultant specialising in technology strategy. Outside of work, Eliot is an Army Reservist and also a keen runner.


Nicole Abbott 

MAT Governor

Term of Office: 22.03.2022- 20.03.2026

Nicole Abbott became a Community Governor in 2017 and she is a member of the Curriculum Committee. Nicole went to school in Newham and enjoyed being part of the debate club and the football team. Now she is a solicitor and wanted to become a school governor to contribute to her local community.

Nicole enjoys doing yoga and watching West Ham play in her spare time.


Gurjeet Kaur

Staff Governor

Term of Office: 8.10.19 –  7.10.23

Gurjeet has worked in primary schools since 2010 and at Nelson since 2012.  She has always had a keen interest working with SEN children gaining over 10 years 1-1 experience.

Gurjeet has been a member of the governors for 3 years and has always been involved in after school and breakfast clubs at Nelson.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with friends and family.


Kuburat Tijani

Parent Governor

Term of Office: 13.10.21-  12.10.25

Kuburat is a parent to three learners here at Nelson in years 1,2, and 3. She became Parent Governor as she holds a strong belief in giving children and young people opportunities to enable and empower them to discover their full potential through education and extra curriculum activities.

Her background is in Social Policy, and she has worked with both statutory and voluntary organisations as a Children’s Rights and Participation Officer for over twenty years. She worked primarily for and with Looked After Children and Care Leavers ensuring their rights and duty of care was upheld.

She currently works in a College as a Student Liaison Officer, where she is also a Safeguarding Officer. 

Harish Patel

Parent Governor

Term of Office: 22.06.22 – 21.06.26

Harish grew up in Newham and attended Nelson. He went on to studied at Newham sixth form in business and finance. His various position in the retail industry has provided him with over 20 years of experience at senior and managerial level. He has an extensive skill set from generating new business, people management/human resources, finance & profitability, knowledge on health and safety legislation, and operations to name a few.

In his role he also establishes and set clear vision and communication to his team to ensure the vision is delivered/achieved. This is an aspect of strategic leadership which he understands that governors undertake in their role of supporting and challenging the school community.

He has also a representative for his constituents in business. Within this role, his been able to influence the business on policy changes and support my constituents in meetings. He has helped change the store/ brand uniform policy and also provided direction on the structure/ implementation of bonus schemes. As such, he understand the importance of training on a personal and corporate level to ensure the smooth and often difficult processes of change.

Ted Sparrowhawk

MAT Governor

Term of Office: 9.3.22 – 8.3.26



Sam Arshad

MAT Governor

Term of Office: 22.06.22 – 21.06.26

Sam joined the Multi-Trust Academy (MAT) Governor team in the summer of 2022 with the hope of bringing new energy and to support the leadership team. She wants to contribute to the continued improvement and development of individuals; to ensure that all individual’s school experience is as inclusive, diverse, and developmentally challenging as it can possibly be.  

Sam graduated with a BA Hons in Media and Communication and Sociology from Goldsmiths University of London, having then spent a number of years teaching English abroad and entered the financial services industry on her return to the UK. She has worked within the corporate world of banking, wealth management as well as environmental and sustainability industries. Sam believes sustainability is important for our future and is passionate about protecting our children, the environment and helping communities thrive. She enjoys giving back to the community by participating on the Board of International Youth Federation, a social innovation non-profit NGO.  

Diversity and Inclusion is important to her; she has led the development of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, USA, in her corporate role. She was a mentor for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) education initiatives, and The Princes Trust a programme for vulnerable young people, for several years. 

Sam gets her energy from creating empowered teams and delivering value. She strives to make a difference in her work and life. She focuses on developing a supportive team culture with a focus on wellbeing and mental health. 

‘It is important to me to support Multi-Trust Academy (MAT) in the governor role as I can bring a complete external perspective having not been involved or linked to the school. Having worked in learning and development I believe that all individuals learn differently, and it is important to support the learning of individuals so that they have equal opportunities in their education to be the best they can from a young age.’ 

Tammy Nugent

Parent Governor

16.05.23 – 15.05.27

Rhianna Silk

Parent Governor 

16.05.23 – 15.05.27


Julian Rea

MAT Governor

13.11.22 – 22.11.26