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Meet the Governors

Meet the Governors



Mary Turner  Co-Chair of Governors


My employment career commenced when I started my SRN nurse training at the Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.  Having completed my training I was appointed as a theatre sister specialising in neurosurgery.  I then moved to the Midlands and continued nursing for a short time but as I had four young children I became very aware of the limited facilities to meet the needs of preschool children. So with a colleague we set up a playgroup to offer play and social interaction for local children. This went from strength to strength and I became involved both regionally and nationally with the Preschool Playgroup Association -Alliance as it is known today.  This brought about my career change from nursing individuals to community development working with the whole family and the communities they lived in.

I took up a post with Barnardos the National Children’s charity to develop community services for children, young people and their families in areas of need in Dudley borough  I was seconded to undertake my social work training and gained qualifications in social work, community development and as a social work practice teacher assessing social work students on their practise placements.  I was appointed as a Children’s Services Manager with Barnardos managing a community development project covering Dudley borough and an additional scheme in Ley Hill in Birmingham.

Through my work with Barnardos I was part of a steering group that eventually secured funding to set up Home-Start Dudley; a charity that trains volunteers to support families who have children who are under five years of age. I am still involved with this charity today.  

My involvement with Netherton Park Nursery goes back well before becoming a governor and before the requirement to have a governing board. The Nursery and Barnardos had representation on Dudley borough Under Fives Focus Group. This was an advisory group promoting the need for quality services for early years.  I have worked closely with Netherton Park for many years and in all that time they have carried an excellent reputation for quality provision for early years which has gone from strength to strength due to the dedication of the leadership and staff to continually improve the provision for young families.

Other borough organisations that I have played a role in include CABx, Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, Dudley’s Adoption Panel and currently I am a Trustee on Home-Start Dudley’s Board, Chair DCVS Staffing and Development Sub committee and an appointed governor on Dudley Group NHS Foundation Board representing the voluntary sector.


Sue Cooper  Co-Chair of Governors


I began my career working for the NHS as a statistician for the West Midlands Regional Health Board which covered all five midland counties. I was really fortunate to be involved in all sorts of research projects; some being very technical around drug efficacy whilst others were looking at waiting lists by specialty and rescheduling theatre times to bring down waiting times.

Having been appointed as the statistical adviser to what was then known as the Acute Care Group I was working on how best to organise hospitals across the Birmingham area. It was in this role that I began to understand management and leadership and I decided that I wanted to move on.

Over the years I have held various management  positions  and have gained skills in operational management with responsibility for District Nursing and Health Visiting Teams as well as the Community Specialist Nursing Teams, Governance with responsibility for ensuring high quality GP, Dental, Ophthalmic and pharmacy services, Commissioning dealing with both tendering for new contracts and also monitoring performance against contracts across both hospital, community and primary care provision and of course strategic development writing strategy documents for the future of health services to meet local needs.

I loved my work in the NHS and with the significant reorganisation of 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to take voluntary early retirement having reached the position of Associate Director of Primary Care across the Black Country.

Grasping the opportunity to do something different I volunteered for Dudley Citizens Advice where I became a fully qualified adviser. This experience was grounding but I loved helping people with their problems be they debt, homelessness, employment, domestic abuse etc.  We all need a little help sometimes and for me it was a refreshing change to look into the eyes of another human being rather than writing lots of long documents and attending long meetings. 

After nearly 5 years I decided that I wanted more time to help my daughter with her three children and was lucky enough to be nominated onto the Board as a Trustee thereby retaining my involvement with Citizens Advice. 

Having been a working mum I felt I had missed out a little on things like taking the kids to school and attending school plays but I have to say being a grandparent is fabulous.  I love spending time with, so far, all four with another on the way.

Having been involved with Netherton Park Nursery since 2007 I have seen many changes but I know that we have always delivered the highest quality teaching within school and our children are supported to attain their highest potential.  I am very proud to be a part of Netherton Park and  look forward to our future together.


Emma Smith Vice Chair of Governors


I have been a member of the Governing Body since 2017.  Both my children attended the nursery and thoroughly enjoyed their time there and when the opportunity to join the Board as a Parent Governor came up, I jumped at the chance to support the nursery in any way I could. 

Once my youngest left the nursery to go to primary school, I continued my role with the Governing Body but as the Local Authority Governor. I have an NHS background and have worked in a HR environment, responsible for recruiting and managing staff and more recently working in the field of Governance.

I have learnt a lot during my time at Netherton Park Nursery and hope to continue to support the Governing Body and the staff as much as possible.


Alison Ward Headteacher


I am very proud to be the Headteacher of Netherton park Nursery School.  I was appointed as Headteacher in May 2020 after being the Deputy Headteacher since January 2015.  I have 30 years experience of working with children aged under 5 and their families.  I have previously worked for Dudley as an Early Years Advisor and I am also a Specialist Leader of Education - both of which have enabled me to be able to support the Early Years in local settings and schools within Dudley and across the West Midlands.  In 2019 I sucessfully completed the Natioonal Qualification for Headship.



Teresa Cutler  Co-Opted Governor

I began my teaching career in 1979, working in a wide variety of culturally diverse primary schools in the East and West Midlands.  I took up the Head Teacher post at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Brierley Hill in 1995 and led the school to attain a Good Ofsted judgement.

In 2004 I was recruited to the Dudley Primary School Improvement Team. This was to support schools causing concern through Local Authority Monitoring Visits. I worked closely with the Literacy and Numeracy Consultants in the borough to ensure that standards and pupil progress was continually improving. This role included lesson observations, book trawls/scrutiny staff interviews and governor interviews.

I supported other schools in writing Ofsted action plans, compiling school self-evaluations, providing governor training and self-evaluation action plans, carrying out Head Teacher Appraisals attending exclusion appeals and staff disciplinary hearings, investigating school complaints and initiating safeguarding training across the borough

When I retired from Dudley Local Authority in July 2018, I set up my own company and became an independent School Improvement Consultant. I currently work with a variety of secondary and primary and schools in several authorities, and of course Netherton Park which is a setting that I have had the privilege to support as a school Improvement Consultant for many years and now, more importantly as a Governor.


Elaine Harvey (School Business Manager) Co-Opted Governor


I am one of the co-opted governors at Netherton Park Nursery School and I am also the School Business Manager.

I have been involved in governance for approximately 16 years and have enjoyed all aspects of it.  I started as a parent governor at my daughter’s secondary school and in December 2011 I was appointed to the role of staff governor at this school.  My current role is that of a co-opted governor.

The governance roles in the two schools that I have served at are so very different and yet so very similar as, running through both of them, is the desire to make a difference and to support the school in the education of the children who attend.  The age range of the secondary school was 11-16 year olds and the age range of our children is currently 2-4 year olds (it used to be 0-4 years) so it has provided me with an insight into education from one end of the spectrum to the other!

I hope that my years of experience in administration, facility management, finance and personnel brings a set of skills that can be used effectively and supportively to the governing body, the school, the parent/carers and the children who attend.




Chris Booker Parent Governor


I'm a Parent Governor, who has been a member of the Netherton Park Nursery School Governing Body since 2018. 

I joined the Governing Body as I really wanted to give something back to the Nursery School where my eldest son had such a wonderful experience and my youngest son continues to have a great time.  I'm a member of the resources committee and have an active role on the Governing Body, particularly when it comes to finances and resources. I have also recently become the EYPP Governor, working with Alison to understand the impact of the pupil premium money received by the Nursery School.

In terms of my background, I'm an economist and chartered accountant with almost twenty years experience advising multinational businesses on their international tax affairs. I spent three years living in Australia, returning to the UK to get married and become a dad to my two boys.  I'm a keen runner and you'll often see me heading for a run round Netherton after drop off!



 Clair Whitehouse Parent Governor


 to be completed





Verony Elmer (Deputy Headteacher) Associate Governor


to be completed