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New Woodlands School

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Our Governors

Our Governing Body is led by a very experienced and well established Chair of governors.


The Governing Body includes:


  • The Headteacher
  • Parent Governors
  • A Staff Governor
  • Co-opted Governors
  • A Governor nominated by Lewisham Council

Parent governors are elected to serve on the governing body by the parents and normally serve for four years.


Our staff governor is elected by the staff of the school and also normally serves for four years.


Co-opted governors are invited onto the governing body, by the other governors, to add areas of expertise and to represent a cross section of the local community.


The governing body is responsible for many important decisions in the running of the school. These include:


  • Appointing the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team
  • Agreeing the aims of the school curriculum and ensuring the national curriculum is implemented
  • Determine how the school’s budget is to be used each year
  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of the whole school community

Pen Portraits of Governors

Astenne Minto

Astenne Minto I am currently a Bi-Borough Business & Performance Manager for Westminster City Council and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with 11+ years of experience working for Local Government. I have spent my professional career working within numerous roles for Local Authorities. These roles focused on leveraging benefits for local people and businesses in regards to employment and contract opportunities, Project Managing regeneration/public realm projects whilst conducting active consultation with residents and service users, report writing and horizon scanning, service improvement programmes and conducting business and performance practices to ensure set goals and objectives are achieved and trends are identified to enable continued service improvement. I am the Apprenticeship Ambassador of the year 2013 (awarded by Lewisham Council and Mayor Sir Steve Bullock), making me a true champion of alternative learning opportunities. I am qualified in Project Management and Career & Development Coaching. I am truly passionate about making a difference for others and have actively been working towards producing the best outcomes for all. I have a 2 year old daughter, who I love to take on excursions, days out and holidays. We enjoy practicing her baby sign language together, with the aim of her being a part of and contributing to a more inclusive world. Additionally, in my spare time I am a roller skater with over 13+ years’ experience.

Devon Elliott

Devon Elliott I am born, raised and educated in south London having attend Greenwich university for all my under and post graduate education. I am married with 2 young boys. I am currently the head of evidence and evaluation for community health services in NHS England and have worked in the NHS for 17 years both clinically in a nursing role for Adults and Children with learning disabilities with challenging behaviour and in various non – clinical roles. I led on safeguarding adults reporting for mental health services in Lambeth for almost a decade, I was the lead analyst for adult mental health in South London and Maudsley (SLaM) across Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark focused on the AMH transformation to move towards more proactive community care. I then held the role of quality improvement lead for SLaM for 2 years and was the lead for CAMHS improvement up to 2017. I think joined NHS England as was part of the team that developed Lord Carters review into community and mental health services. During the COVID 19 pandemic I was part of the national incident coordination centre in NHS England and for the 18 months after the pandemic, I was deployed as the senior programme manager for MSK recovery of services, from orthopaedic services and surgery in hospitals to MSK care in the community and primary care before taking up my current role focusing on personalised care and community services. I have a particular interest in high quality care and improvement and have led on outcomes development in psychosis locally and MSK services nationally over the years. I am also an Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) trained improvement advisor having completed 18 months training in Belfast. In every role, I have been a champion of equality, diversity and inclusion in all roles, particularly race equity and alongside thriving to reduce health inequities, I have supported efforts to focus on the wider determinants of health and better holistic care and support and what matters to people. My hobbies include a real passion for all sports – both watching and playing and in particular, playing basketball, where I have been organising weekly sessions open to all young people but mainly in lewisham and southwark for nearly 15 years where I am also a member of the ladywell hilly fields basketball group, riding my motorcycle on weekend. I also have carer responsibilities for my grandmother.

Alison Coutts R.G.N.; P.C.C.E.A.; PhD

I grew up in Hampshire but came to London to train as a nurse and moved to south-east London shortly after. I have lived here ever since, marrying, and bringing up three children, all now have grown up and left the family home. We keep in touch with each other and often holiday together, in the United Kingdom and Europe. I worship at St Mildred’s Church, Lee and fulfil a number of roles there.

I pursued my nursing career, working in nurse education and currently work at City, University of London. I teach biology to nurses and other health professionals and have a particular interest in career development. I enjoy working in the buzzy environment with students of different backgrounds but all intent on learning to provide the best possible care and to build a career for themselves.

Michelle Fenniche - Chair of Governors

I am an Executive Headteacher within Lewisham Local Authority and have been since September 2016.   As I work within two local Primary Schools in the Local Authority and see the great work that is also carried out in our local SEND Schools, I felt that I should be involved in the fantastic work that is being achieved. 


I have worked in a number of Local Authorities and enjoyed seeing and being part of the different ways of working.  Lewisham is an exciting place for learning and I feel that I am able to support the strategic direction of New Woodlands School, to ensure that the children achieve the best possible outcomes for them as individuals. 


I have had a variety of roles over the years, from teacher through to Headteacher and now Executive Headteacher.  All of which I have thoroughly enjoyed, seeing so many of our young people of today, achieve their dreams is extremely rewarding.


I am married with 3 wonderful children/adults of my own and am now lucky to have grandchildren to enjoy as well.  In my spare time, I spend time with my family and our dogs.

Lisa Hutton - Staff Governor

I have been teaching for 17 years and have a passion for ensuring that every child receives the support and challenge they require to achieve.


After completing a Mathematics degree I have worked in Inner London comprehensive schools with the past 10 years in Lewisham.  I currently teach and coordinate Mathematics at New Woodlands School and am the staff representative on the governing board.


As a governor I enjoy supporting the school in moving forward on its journey to provide every child the best opportunity possible.

Nalan Salih

I am a mother of four and a grandmother of four. One of my sons has complex needs and my grandson has ADHD.

My back ground is in youth work, mental health and learning disabilities 
I’m the chair of Lewisham Parent Carer Forum, Contact and CYP. I work closely with the LA to get better outcomes for parents.

Aida Shoush

I have lived in Lewisham happily now for 35 years. I raised my children here and they attended Lewisham schools.  They have their own homes now but are still part of this community.  


I started my working life at Lewisham Citizen’s Advice Service and 35 years later I still work providing advice and support on welfare benefits and related matters to the local community.  


It is a privilege to continue working with the community as a governor at New Woodlands.  I see our job as ensuring the school continues to provide the best education for our pupils.  It has been great to see how the school works and see the brilliant relationships built with the children and young people forging their futures.

Joanna Gent - Vice Chair

I have always been passionate about learning, education and helping my community.  I have worked in the financial services sector for most of my career and now work as a Governance Manager ensuring compliance with best practice governance frameworks. Born and raised in South East London to parents from the Caribbean I am very familiar with Lewisham and the wider Bromley area. I have a deep understanding and appreciation of educational special needs and I am eager to ensure all children receive the support they need to continually thrive. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family including my two school-aged children. My hobbies include crafting, cooking, gardening and jogging.


I look forward to supporting the school as a governor and doing my utmost to ensure the best educational outcomes for children and young adults.

Siobhan Michael

I was born in Lewisham and having lived and worked here for many years, have a good knowledge of the community. My two sons currently attend a Lewisham primary school.  I have over twenty years of experience in education, as a secondary school teacher and a psychologist, I’m passionate about contributing to positive outcomes for children and young people and interest in supporting children and young people with SEND motivated me to retrain to become a psychologist.

I’m currently a senior educational and child psychologist leading on areas such as traumatic incidents and tribunals and contributing to embedding trauma informed and relational approaches to supporting our children. Autism is an area of special interest, and I am also a member of the autism diagnostic team in Lewisham. I’m keen to involve children, young people, and their families in the work we do with them. My doctoral research was with young people who attended alternative provision with social emotional and mental health needs, to elicit their voices about the facilitators and barriers to positive social and learning outcomes at alternative provision. I learned from them that positive relationships with adults and peers are key as are high levels of belonging and connectedness.  Equity underpins my work and my interest in community psychology is driven by a wish to make psychology accessible to all.

I am outcomes and action focused and I look forward to bringing my passion for continuous improvement to this role. I also look forward to working with others as I have extensive experience of working collaboratively which provides invaluable insights into multiple perspectives. As a psychologist I have experience of being a critical friend to school leaders. I am a lifelong learner and I’m excited for the development that this role will offer.

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