Elmfield School


Our Governing Body includes representatives from staff and parents, community and Local Authority. 

As well as attending full Governors' Meetings, each Governor also serves on one of our two committees: Finance and Resources (F&R) or Curriculum, Progress and Community (CPC).

All the Governors have a clear understanding of the education of deaf children and are united in their determination to ensure the best possible outcome for every child attending Elmfield School.

If you are interested in joining the Elmfield School Governing Body or have any other queries, please contact Anne Alderman the Clerk to the Governors, with your details at the school address listed on the Contact Us page.

Please find below short bios about our governors:

Babs Day – Head

Babs has been in deaf education for 37 years - since 1980 - firstly as a Teacher of the Deaf and latterly as the Head of Longwill School for Deaf Children in Birmingham until her retirement. Babs trained as an Ofsted Inspector and left Birmingham to start a business in Cornwall. Babs then left retirement to be Headteacher at Elmfield to support the school to secure its future in Bristol and the region.

Dr Hilary Sutherland - Co-opted Governor

Hilary is Deaf and the parent and grandparent of Deaf children. She is an academic, working in research into the development of BSL and bilingualism. Hilary achieved a PhD in Deaf children’s perceptions of sign bilingual education.  She has a tremendous amount of experience in working with deaf children and families. Hilary has given presentations in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. During her leisure time, her hobbies are walking, patchworks, travelling and gardening.


John Waldron - Co-opted Governor

John has spent much of his professional life as an architect working with schools on the design of new buildings. He has a particular interest in the way in which the school environment can contribute to the well-being of pupils and support teaching and learning.

John is closely involved with the proposed co-location of Elmfield, which will provide exciting opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of expertise and resources.

Anne Alderman – Clerk to Governors

Anne has been a Personal Assistant and Teacher.  She is also clerk to another Bristol School and helps out at the Family Centre for Deaf Children.  Her role is to provide professional assistance to the governing body to enable them to carry out their questioning and  supporting role of the school.

Caroline O’Brien - Co-opted Governor

Caroline has brought up three children, two of whom are deaf. Her youngest son attended Elmfield School from 2004 to 2017.  Caroline is a Communication Support Worker employed by Elmfield School.

Sara Hetherington Co-opted Governor

Sara has worked for the Sensory Support Service Early Years Team, for more than 20 years. Sara has a passion for Deaf Equality and British Sign Language in education. Her hope is to make a positive contribution to the school so that it remains highly successful and goes from strength to strength. Sara enjoy most sports, walking, patchwork , local community activities and spending time with her family.

Matt Nichol - Co-opted Governor

Matt is the Safeguarding and Children in Care Governor at Elmfield School. Matt is a social worker; his favourite food is lasagne and he is an avid Star Wars fan!

Suzanne Hetherington - Co-opted Governor

Suzanne has 15 years experience in industry, with a broad range of commercial and communication skills. Currently working in the NHS in Bristol, Suzanne is the mother of two children, aged 6 and 3.

Sally Irlam – Associate Governor

Sally is a speech & language therapist; she has worked with deaf children for over 40 years in every eduction setting and at all ages. Her interests include horses and odd-looking hens.

Derek Pickup - Co-opted Governor

Derek is a former councillor, who had responsibility for Children’s Services, and now works for a young persons charity in Bristol. He is an honorary citizen of Georgia.

Michael Dennington – Associate Governor

Michael has been working in deaf education for 15 years in a number of roles including CSW, science teacher and assistant head. He is passionate about the use of BSL in deaf education.


Alicja Lievaart – Staff Governor

Alicja was born, raised and qualified as a teacher of English in Poland. She started working at Elmfield in 2010 and is a qualified teacher of the deaf. Alicja is passionate about educating deaf children in a bilingual setting.

Deborah Crossan - Parent Governor

Deborah is mum to three children, one of whom is a pupil at Elmfield Primary. She has 20 years experience working within the NHS, the majority of which has been in mental health services. More recently she has moved into the Public Health sector.‚Äč

Governor Attendance



Governors Pecuniary Personal Interests