Dorney School

The Little Village School with a Big Heart


Meet our Dorney School Governors


A very warm welcome from the Governors here at Dorney School. The Governing Body has ten members varying from teachers, parents and members of the local community. We work as a team with the Headteacher for the benefit of all the pupils and staff at Dorney School.


We’re all volunteers and have a diverse background, from education, to safety, Law and I.T. We’re here to give the school a strategic direction and to act as ‘a critical friend’ - helping to guide the school to improving the standard of education for all our children.


We don’t get involved in the day-to-day operation of the school but set the criteria by which the school is managed by regularly challenging and questioning to ensure that everyone is working together, and every child has the opportunity, to be enriched, enhanced and excited.


We ensure that local and national government legislation and targets are met, that we spend our school budget wisely, that the safety of everyone is paramount, and that the curriculum is delivered to benefit all children.


Governors take an active role in the school, they are passionate about the school and are here to make sure that every child is given the best education, opportunities and experiences that the school can give.  Governors not only attend meetings, but also school functions, visits to classrooms and they help with school visits.


The decisions the Governors are involved in affect the school, from curriculum decisions, setting the annual budget, appointing staff and safeguarding and approving all the school policies, therefore the children are at the heart of these decisions.


If you are interested in a role with the Governors, and bring a useful skill set, please get in touch through the school office; we’d be happy to hear from you.


Who are we:


Headteacher: Sharifah Lee

Sharifah loves being a mum of four kids (five if you include her husband!) and she loves teaching. She likes to travel to far off places, eat lots of food and read as much as she can. Her whole family supports Manchester City Football Club and they love cricket too.


She has been teaching for many years in primary, secondary and high schools. She has had the opportunity to lead in various roles and has been a staff and community governor for different settings. Teaching is not just a vocation, it is her passion and she is passionate about promoting this worthwhile profession. Sharifah says, “it is a privilege to be a part of this Governing Body as the work we do ensures that all pupils get the education and care they are entitled to.”


Chair of Governors and Leadership and Management Governor: Rachel Cross - Appointed 16th February 2022

With 33 years in primary education, starting as a new teacher in Slough and finishing after 13 years of headship, also in Slough, I have teaching and leadership experience in eight schools including special education and nursery provision and have taught in all primary year groups. As headteacher of a school graded 'outstanding' Slough local authority invited me to lead a school graded ‘requires improvement’ which secured 'good' within 18 months. Six years later, I retired after our second ‘good’ Ofsted and 'good' SIAMS (church schools) inspections. I am also a governor at a Slough nursery school and a local lead for the Teaching School Hub Berkshire delivering training for Early Career Teachers. 

I enjoy my work with Dorney School as I can bring a plethora of experience to the role and aim to secure strong governance to support the school in the future.


SEND Governor: Sinead O'Connor - Elected 6th April 2022

Sinead is a mum to two young daughters and moved to the UK from Ireland in 2008.

Sinead’s career background is in the construction industry with 20 years’ experience in design, engineering, construction delivery, safety, health, environment, sustainability and quality assurance. Her role involves working in multidisciplinary projects and framework teams, collaboratively developing, agreeing and delivering against programme and cost.  She values education highly and is committed in working to keep the standard of education offered at Dorney school to a high level for the benefit of all pupils. She enjoys keeping fit, including running and strength training and following a plant based diet.


Trust Governor: David Gibbons - Appointed 5th October 2023

I am David Gibbons, an English teacher with 15 years experience over five different schools. I began teaching in a Jewish state comprehensive in north west London, then afterwards moved to an international school in Cairo, then to a Catholic boarding school in Lancashire before returning to home territory in the south east where I taught at Merchant Taylors’ School for four years. Since 2019, I have taught at Eton College where I have a few roles besides teaching - Head of Years 12 and 13, second-in-English and deputy house master. I have an undergraduate degree in English, a Masters in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (my favourite period - mainly because those early moderns had a sense of humour), and another Masters in Learning and Teaching where my research was in classroom design, and exploring the relationship between reading literature and emotional development.

As for my personal life, I am a husband to an amazingly talented wife, Alexa, and father to our son, Oisín, who was born in March 2023. We have a boxer dog called Laelaps who wins the award as the most well-behaved member of our family and who sits in on every lesson I teach at Eton. Though she doesn’t know much yet I still hold out hope that one day Laelaps will use her education as a force for good. Suffice it to say, I am an optimist. 


Pupil Premium & Finance Governor: Kuldip Kainth - Appointed 20th November 2019


Staff Governor: Sarah West - Elected 1st September 2020


Thank you for taking the time to find out a little bit about our Governing Body.

Dorney School Governing Board    
Name of GovernorType of  GovernorRoles and ResponsibilityTerm of OfficeCommittees*Declaration of InterestsMeeting Attendance Record  2022-2023
Rachel CrossTrustChair of GB, Chair of Personnel Committee, Health & wellbeing16/2/22 - 15/2/26Personnel    Governor at Lea Nursery  9/9

David Gibbons


 05/10/23 - 04/10/27



None  n/a

Sharifah Jelany-Lee

Ex-Officio - Headteacher

 1/1/18 - AllNone  11/12

Kuldip Kainth


Chair of Resources Committee, Finance & Pupil Premium

16/12/22 - 15/12/26

Curriculum  Resources

None  5/9

Sinead O'Connor


Chair of Curriculum Committee,  SEND

6/4/22 - 5/4/26CurriculumNone  5/6

Annabelle Palmer



7/12/23 - 6/12/27tbc   5/6
Maggie ThomasParent 04/12/23 - 03/12/27tbc   6/6
Sarah WestStaff 01/09/20 - 31/08/24CurriculumNone  6/6

* Governing boards are required to publish on their website a register of interests for each of their board members. These include (but are not limited to) relevant business interests, governance roles in other educational institutions and any material interests arising from relationships between board members or relationships between board members and school staff.

Governors who have left within the last 12 months 

NameRoleAppointed byFromTo
Stephen Baker   Trust governor  Appointed by Trustees  20 November 2019     10 November 2023   
Judith Barnard   Staff governor      Elected by staff             12 May 2022             5 February 2024      
Alex Cobb          Trust governor     Appointed by Trustees  17 May 2023     6 February 2024      
Andrew Murphy  Trust governor     Appointed by Trustees  21 July 2023             6 February 2024   
Darryl Powell      Trust governor     Appointed by Trustees  27 February 2023     8 March 2024