Cherry Garden School41 Bellenden Road, London, SE15 5BB

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Our Governors

The governors provide a strategic role in moving the school forward. They are involved in the life of the school and act as a 'critical friend' in all aspects of the school's performance.

Their vision is to provide excellence in all that we do to achieve the best outcome for the children.

The governing body meets once a term at the school; additional meetings are occasionally held where important matters need to be considered promptly. Approved minutes of governing body meetings, excluding any confidential items, are available upon request at the school. Each governor is a member of one of the two committee groups: Curriculum, Progress & Community; or Resources (which includes finance, premises & staffing). The committees meet each term.

Governors are allocated to a class and a subject area. They visit the school by individual arrangement with the relevant staff to see their class in action and to meet with the subject leader.

The governing body is a member of the Southwark Governors' Association, which meets termly at the Southwark Council offices, and the National Governors' Association ( Both are excellent sources of information.

Governors can receive free training as part of their induction and, subsequently, on a range of topics through the school's contract with Southwark School Governor Support and Development Services (, which also provides clerking for our full governors' meetings.

We are always interested to hear from prospective governors.

The Chair of Governors or any individual governor can be contacted via the school, either by email at, or by telephone on 020 7237 4050.

Mr Roy Mincoff Co-opted Governor
Dr Margaret Morton Chair & Link Safeguarding Governor
Ms Teresa Neary Head Teacher
Mr Apo Cagrici Co-opted Governor
Mrs Olanike Akintaro Parent Governor
Mr Benjamin Washington   Clerk to the Governors
Rachel Jones Co-opted Governor
Laura Dixon Parent Governor
Suzanne EduParent Governor
Laura HutchinsonGovernor
 Samantha HemmingsParent Governor
 Ewan GrahamCo-opted Governor
 Laura DixonParent Governor
 Felicia Hughes  Governor

Teresa Neary          

Head Teacher

I have been Head Teacher at Cherry Garden School for approximately thirteen years. I completed my initial teacher training at Birmingham University I have taught in special schools for twenty-seven years. While working as a full-time teacher I completed a part-time Masters degree in ‘Early Years Education’ at the Froebel Institute in Roehampton College.

As a head teacher I value the importance of working collaboratively with my colleagues in mainstream education and was chair of the Bermondsey collaborative of schools for two years. I have also been a member of the Heads executive and the schools forum representing special schools in Southwark. I am currently the vice chair of the Special School Head Teachers group.

I trained as a ‘School Improvement Partner’ to support other special schools in 2008.  I have also supported some mainstream schools and worked with the local authority to review special needs in one mainstream provision on a more formal basis. I have recently completed my training and assessment to become an OFSTED Inspector with SERCO and plan to carry out some inspections in other special schools while maintaining my headship position at Cherry Garden.

My three main hobbies are scuba diving, kung fu and singing in a choir. They certainly all keep me on my toes and are a great way to switch off from the multi-tasking role of a Head Teacher. I continue to thrive on the diversity of every day at Cherry Garden working with such a great staff team and inspiring children.

Olanike Akintaro

Olanike Akintaro 

Parent Governor

My primary reason for being a governor at Cherry Garden is to give back quality time and make a positive contribution to the school. 

My first degree is in special education and I have a masters degree in public administration from an overseas university. 

I have enjoyed working alongside other governors and have learnt a lot.

Rachel Jones

Co-opted Governor

I am a co-opted governor at the school.

I am the Financial Controller of Pivot Sport and have nearly a decade of experience in the Financial Services industry.

Prior to joining Pivot Sport, I was Head of Finance for Optitune Plc, a technology company based in Singapore, Finland and the UK. Before joining Optitune, Iqualified as a chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) within its Advisory business. I spent five years based in PwC London, where I worked across the Business Recovery, Transaction Services and Consulting teams, and a year in PwC Singapore where I worked in the M&A practice.

I hold an MA (Oxon) in Modern History from the University of Oxford and am an ACA-qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. I have travelled extensively and lived in India, South Africa and most recently Singapore, from where I returned permanently to the UK in March 2015. I enjoy running and skiing, and am a PADI-certified scuba diver.


Dr Margaret Morton

Chair & Link Safeguarding Governor

I am a community governor at the school.
My background: I am retired but previously worked in Southwark for just over twenty years as a community paediatrician specialising in childhood disability. I feel that my work has given me an understanding of the challenges that the children at Cherry Garden School can face and of the services that they might require. I was involved in neuro-developmental follow-up studies locally and nationally and this has been very helpful when looking at the school’s reports on pupil progress.
With four grandchildren living in Southwark and fast approaching school age, I have a personal interest in primary education here and a lot of useful hands-on experience!

Apo Cagirici            

Co-opted Governor

It was a pleasure and a privilege to become a governor at Cherry Garden when I was invited to join the governing body as a Community Governor in February 2010. It has been a very enjoyable experience and a learning curve for me since then. I am currently a member of the Curriculum, Family and Community Committee.

Although my academic background is in engineering, I have pursued a different career and spent most of my working life in the public sector. I joined the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) in 1987 and then transferred to Southwark Council in 1990 when ILEA was abolished. I worked as an Education Welfare Officer for about twelve years in Southwark. I am currently the Schools' Safeguarding Coordinator in the Council’s Children's & Adults' Services, working closely with all the schools in Southwark. I hope that my background and experience in education has enabled me to contribute to the efforts of the whole school community to make Cherry Garden an excellent school for the children and their families. 


Parent Governor


I am a parent Governor, my son (9) is in Crocodile class and I have a daughter who is 6.  I love films, art and cats. We have two cats, a tortoiseshell and a ginger tabby called Tesla.  He is named after a great scientist because my other passion is Neuroscience.  I have been studying psychology and then Neuroscience at Goldsmiths in New Cross.  I learnt a lot about Neuro developmental Disorders and I am currently involved in a Research Study looking at Developmental Dyspraxia in adults.   Cherry Garden supports learning for those with SEN and I hope I can provide support for that process wherever I can and also learn a bit about how they achieve such a high quality of teaching and sense of community. 




Suzanne Edu

Parent Governor

I have a keen interest in supporting children and adults with learning disabilities and have experience of working in healthcare, the community and educational setting.

I am currently studying to become a learning disability nurse.

For leisure I enjoy cooking, watching movies and dressmaking. My daughter is in Blue class.



 Alexander Cartwright

Co-opted Governor

 I am a co-opted governor at the school.        


I am a UK qualified solicitor, specialising in media, technology and commercial contracts. 

I hold a first class degree in Law from the Durham University.

I enjoy travel (having also lived and worked in the Netherlands and Russia), music.



 Ewan Graham

Co-Opted Governor


 I am a co-opted governor at the school and an Associate Director at Hawkins\Brown Architects; I was involved in the design and delivery of the new school building on Bellenden Road and was delighted to be asked if I would consider becoming a co-opted governor. I live in Peckham Rye and cycle passed Cherry Garden almost every day and take real pride in my association with the school. I’m interested in building bridges in the local community and helping to ensure the pupils at Cherry Garden can make the very most of their new building. When not in the studio you will most likely find me outdoors, cycling, running or training for a variety of charity challenges. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of play,  frequent physical exercise and independent exploration for learning.





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