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Nicola Scannell is the Chair of the Governing Body. She has been a governor since 2011 when her son was at Cookham Nursery school. After a break she returned to the Governing Body as a co-opted Governor. She was a barrister specialising in human rights for 17 years during which chaired a number of committees and boards of non-governmental bodies.  She is now a designer and project manager of residential developments. She is passionate about the continued survival of outstanding government funded nursery schools to give other children the opportunity to have the best possible start to their education as her children had.


Eddie Neighbour has been a parent governor at Maidenhead Nursery School since September 2018. He has one son, who currently attends the school. He qualified as a teacher in 1996 and is currently the Co-CEO of Pioneer Educational Trust, made up of a Primary, a Middle and a Secondary School in the Slough/Windsor area. He is a very strong advocate of free play based learning in EYFS and thinks it is very important that children are exposed to a wide variety of experiences from an early age.


karen freeland

Karen Freeland has been a Governor at Maidenhead Nursery School, and then the Federation, since 2010 (when her daughter attended MNS), and strongly believes in the importance of learning through play and outstanding early years education provision as a vital foundation for future learning. Her specific governor responsibilities include SEND and maintaining Federation policies. By profession Karen is an editor of biology and other text books, with a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Biomedical Science. She is a volunteer at Maidenhead Nursery School, the Maidenhead Hub Children's Centre and Phoenix Gymnastics Club, where she is also a gymnastics judge.


Gill Cocklin is a recently retired primary school Headteacher who worked for 26 years at the same school within RBWM. She was one of the first Headteacher in the country to lead a successful federation and also led a Children’s Centre based within her school. She became a LA appointed governor in September 2017 specifically requesting to serve on the Nursery Federation governing body. Early Years has always been her passion believing that high quality early education is the right of every child and holds the key to success in later life.

Gill is currently the safeguarding governor for the Nursery Federation of schools.


Claire Leach recently joined the governing body as a parent governor in 2018. After a brief stint as a writer for Chambers Publishing, she went on to work in banking for over 10 years, where she qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor and accountant. She is now a full time mum to 2 toddlers, with her eldest currently at Cookham nursery. She is passionate about safeguarding children, and the importance of the nursery setting where children can learn through play. Claire looks forward to contributing as a parent governor, initially on the Finance Committee.

 hannah boelrijk

Hannah Boelrijk has been a governor since September 2017. Her youngest son attends The Lawns Nursery. Working as a part time Reception teacher at St Ethelberts Catholic Primary School, Hannah has a keen interest in child development and the learning process. She appreciates the importance placed on play-based learning in the early years, where there is a strong emphasis in providing a rich environment for children to develop a love of learning.

 karen drayton

Karen Drayton has a strong commitment to lifelong education in the local community.  After a career in Human Resources she has completed her PGCE and works as a lecturer.  Karen joined the governing body with an emphasis on staffing and development. After seeing what a fantastic experience both her daughters had during their time at nursery and the love for learning this gave them Karen enjoys the ongoing support her role can provide.  Karen is currently Chair of the Staffing Committee.

 Jill o'donovan

Jill O'Donovan joined the governing body as a parent governor in 2014, and now works as the School Business Manager for the Federation and is the staff governor.  She was born in Canada where she trained as a Chartered Accountant, and lived in New Zealand for a time before settling in the UK.  Her three sons do their bit to keep her sharp, and when she is not working in the nurseries or on other projects, she is an avid reader and traveller, preferably together.


Val is the Assistant Headteacher at The Lawns Nursery School. After initially qualifying as a Nursery Nurse in 1982 she went on to become a primary school teacher in 1992 and has been passionate about Early Years education throughout this time. Val has successfully led EYFS teams in a range of schools and also enjoys supporting other settings through her role as an SLE. She is proud to be a part of The Cookham, Maidenhead and The Lawns Federation and of the quality of provision that the team work so hard to achieve.