Meet Our Local School Committee

For more information on becoming a parent governor see letter below.  Nomination deadline is 12:00pm on Monday 24th May.


Our Chair of Governors, Deborah Godbold, can be contact via or via the school office on 01707 331508.

Meet the members of our Local School Committee

Deborah Godbold (Chair)

I am a local person, having lived in the town for more than 50 years and in Panshanger for more than 30 years. I have worked as a teacher in London schools and as a Headteacher in Hertfordshire for 20 years. I now work as a school improvement consultant and my passion for education and improving outcomes for children is the thing that has driven me to volunteer as a school governor.

I have two children who both went to school locally.  Outside of work and volunteering, I love to travel and take photographs.


Chris Curtis (Vice Chair/Parent)

My wife and I have lived in Welwyn Garden City for 20 years now and have enjoyed watching our son grow and learn at Springmead since he joined reception class in 2017.

In my day job, I am the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit business providing in hours and out of hours GP services to the 1.4 million residents of North Central London.

I have a keen eye for detail and believe that quality and consistency combined with a strategy for continuous review and improvement are the key to ongoing success and achievement. By taking approach this to my role as a local school committee member, I will be able help the school maintain the momentum of improvements seen since Springmead joined the Spiral Partnership family.

As a family, we enjoy spending our weekends taking trips to the seaside and riding our mountain bikes. I have been a Formula 1 fan for over 40 years and enjoy cult TV and going to the cinema.


Karen Cayford (Headteacher)

I joined Springmead in September 2018 and have overseen a fundamental change in the school since then.  I was born and have lived in Hertfordshire for most of my life and still have children who go to school within the county.  I am privileged to lead such as diverse and interesting school and can see our vision and aims in action every day.

I love the variety that the children and families bring to Springmead and the importance that we place on developing the whole child whilst not taking our focus away from continually striving to raise standards. It is a happy environment to be in for everyone who learns and works here and every day presents a new and exciting challenge.  


Nichola Porter (Staff Governor)

To be published. I was born and have lived in Hertfordshire all my life. I joined the team at Springmead in 2015 as an NQT.  I have been a member of the teaching team for seven years and the leadership team for the past four years.  I have worked across EYFS and KS1 and am the EYFS and KS1 lead. I am hugely committed to the school, the children and the staff and thoroughly enjoy being part of the Springmead community.  Outside of work I enjoy playing tennis and have recently learnt surf. 


Stephen Bensley (Co-opted)

I was born within the sound of Bow Bells many moons ago, but have lived in Panshanger on and off for nearly 40 years. I am currently enjoying a “working retirement”.  I worked in education for 41 years, reaching the heights of Assistant Headteacher at a local secondary school.  I now work as a volunteer for the Stationers’ Company Educational Trust, mentoring students at their school in the London borough of Greenwich.  Recently the Welwyn Garden City Society came calling, and somehow I found myself becoming their Secretary.  I think it is important to keep our very special town true to its Garden City principles.

I became a Governor in January 2019 and want to ensure that local children receive a first-class education.


I am married and have two grown up children who both went to school locally. Our grandson requires childminding for two days of the week, which certainly keeps me young!  We are members of various conservation and heritage bodies and enjoy visiting as many sites as we can throughout the year.  I enjoy watching sport, walking, good food and drink and have travelled widely within Europe.


Deborah Harrison (Co-opted)

I have worked as a teacher, a Children’s Centre Teacher and a Headteacher for the past twenty years having qualified as a teacher in my forties. My passion and area of expertise is Early Years. I retired last year but quickly became unsettled with less to keep me occupied! I wanted to give something back to the community and I was lucky enough to join the school committee in December. I have two children and four grandchildren, the youngest is only 16 months old, we have her twice a week and she certainly keeps me active. I enjoy Pilates and swimming. 


Dirk Werling (Parent)

I am Professor of Molecular Immunology at the Royal Veterinary College and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Thus, whereas I may not have a deep insight into Primary School Teaching, I have a good understanding of what contributes to a successful learning environment.  I have experience in curriculum setting and delivery, and in managing large projects in groups with a diverse background. 

I have two daughters who currently attend Springmead.  I was elected as a parent governor at Springmead in autumn 2016, taking up office in early 2017.  I am a qualified Vet, and enjoy spending my time with animals and in the outdoors with activities such as rock climbing, skiing and cycling.


Laura Downer (Co-opted)

I am married with two children and have lived in Welwyn Garden City all of my life.  My daughter currently attends Springmead and my young son will follow her into the school in a few years’ time.  My husband attended Springmead as a child so the school has been in our lives one way or another for some years!

I became a school Governor in January 2019.  I have worked within Human Resources within both the public and private sector for the past 18 years and currently for the NHS.  I am excited for having the opportunity to support the school in its continual improvement plans and to maintain its high standard of teaching and learning.  In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym, walking and spending time with my young family.


Laura Webster (Co-opted)

I am a married mother of one who has lived in Welwyn Garden City for the last 3 years. I met and married my husband a number of years ago and moved from london to live with him in Stevenage before we moved to WGC. My husband lived in Welwyn Garden City all of his life apart from the few years he lived in Stevenage. Our daughter attends Springmead and is loving her time there. As a family we love to socialise with friends and family, going on outings, doing activities and generally just having fun.

Throughout my working career I have always worked with children and families, starting of as an NNEB trained nursery nurse before working in Social Care as an assistant social worker before becoming a qualified social worker in 2009. I worked for many years in Child Protection and now have a role working with Children and their families in the Court arena. My passion and commitment is always about keeping children safe and doing what I can to help. Due to my safeguarding background I felt I would be able to share my own knowledge and support to the school as a Governor and I look forward to working with the school in the future.


Our Clerk is Lin Walkerdine who works for Spiral Partnership Trust.

Dates of meetings for 2022-23 are:


5 October 2022

23 November 2022

25 January 2023

15 March 2023

10 May 2023

28 June 2023


All meetings begin at 6:00pm and are attended by governors and invited guests only.