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Governing Body

Role of governors and the governing body

What is a governing body?

A school's governing body is a legal entity known as a corporate body. It has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members.  The Governing Body is not responsible for the day to day running of the school but works with the senior leadership team to define strategy, manage finances and robustly review pupil progress and safeguarding matters.

What are governors?

Governors are a group of elected or appointed individuals who collectively are the corporate body

Individual governors have no power or right to act on behalf of the governing body.

  • Except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific function to that individual or where regulations specify a function is to be exercised in a particular way.

Individual governors are generally protected from personal liability as a result of the governing body's decisions and actions provided they act honestly, reasonably and in good faith

Delegated functions:

A governing body can delegate any of its statutory functions to the headteacher, a committee of governors or an individual governor.

  • They must be reviewed annually by the governing body
  • Any action taken or decision made as a result must be reported to the governing body

Our Governing Body are:

Summary of Constitution
Position Name
Chair of Governors Hilary Barton
Clerk Mrs Amy Head
Vice Chair of Governors

Mr Ian Bryan

Name Post Appointed Expiry
Mrs Lison Smart Headteacher 18/09/2018 17/09/2022
Mr Simon Thurston Headteacher 18/09/2018 17/09/2022
Ms Hilary Barton Chair of Governor 23/11/2017 22/11/2021
Mr Ian Bryan Co-opted Governor 17/11/2016 16/11/2020
Vacancy Foundation Ex-Officio Governor    
Marian Ham Foundation Governor 11/07/2019 10/07/2023
Andrew Button Co-opted Governor 27/09/2018 26/09/2022
Christine Johnston Parent Governor 16/07/2020 15/07/2024


LA Governor    
Mrs Rhiannon Chillingworth Parent Governor 27/09/2018 26/09/2022
Helen Watts Co-Opted Governor 24/05/2018 23/05/2022
Emma Hogg Staff Governor 27/09/2018 26/09/2022
Deborah Ongley Associate Member 11/07/2019



Hilary Barton


For 16 years, I worked at the Institute of Education project managing the admin team working on NCTL leadership programmes – NPQH for the whole of that time, and then on various other programmes culminating in the redesigned NPQH, NPQSL and NPQML with IOE Leadership CoLab. I worked with many school leaders as both facilitators and participants, and learned how good leadership aligned with quality first teaching can transform the life chances of children. This has fostered a continuing interest in education and I have been glad to be able to use my knowledge as a governor.

I believe strongly in community engagement and think we should all contribute in some way to the area in which we live. I also have a passionate belief in the power of education to improve life chances for children. This combined with my knowledge of education and school leaders, led me to volunteer as a governor 8 years ago as my “payback” to the community that supports me and to be able to use my knowledge and experience in an area that is important to me.



Ian Bryan


Ian Bryan was appointed Governor in 2016, having previously been a Governor at Rye College.  Born in Sussex, he has lived in Peasmarsh since 2012.  A graduate of the Open University and Post Graduate of Birkbeck College, he started his working life in the Education Department of West Sussex County Council before moving to become, for the next 21 years, an Official of the House of Commons as a Member of the Clerk of the House Department.  Leaving to join the UK water sector, he set up and was CEO to both its national training organisation and an awarding body for vocational qualifications. 
Having had the opportunity to travel widely in his career and since retirement, Ian fully understands how a good grounding in education is necessary for children to succeed in life and hopes to contribute to that end for the Beckley and Peasmarsh schools.

Andrew Button

Andrew Button - Co-Opted Governor

Andrew Button Photo(1)

Andrew Button is a qualified Actuary and a member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He has recently semi retired from his role as CEO of an insurance company, after working in the insurance and banking industries for more than 35 years. Andrew has lived locally for 9 years and has 2 adult children and 3 adult step-children. He was previously a parent governor at his childrens’ primary school in Brabourne. Andrew hopes that he can use the skills and knowledge gained over many years to help to support the Federation.

Emma Hogg

picture for website

Emma has been working at Peasmarsh school since April 2010 and has been a teacher for 9 years.  She has experience of teaching year 1-6.  In September 2015, she started her qualification to become the SENCO at Peasmarsh which she finished in August 2016.

Marian Ham

Photo of Marian(1)

Marian has taught in Church Primary Schools for over 40 years, in Surrey, Kent and East Sussex, and was the Head teacher of Sedlescombe CE Primary School for 25 years, until 2016 when she semi-retired.   Marian is passionate about all children enjoying a creative curriculum, through an exciting broad and balanced curriculum, which places importance on outdoor learning, the arts, music and drama.

As a Foundation Governor with the Genesis Federation she is focused on supporting, and further developing, the Christian Life of the Schools, which she believes is very important to the whole school community.  Marian currently teaches music in two Primary Schools, part-time, as well as working with Church Primary Schools as a Diocesan Effectiveness Partner for the Diocese of Chichester.

Deborah Ongley


Deborah has lived in Beckley for 40 years and has two children - both at Beckley School. She also attended the School and has very happy memories.

She runs a small cleaning company based in Beckley.

In November 2018 Deborah stepped down as the Vice Chair of Beckley Parish Council, she served seven and a half years.  Her passion for the village shows in her commitments to various village organisations.

By being involved with Beckley and Peasmarsh schools it would be in her interest to help achieving the best future for our children in these rural communities.

Mrs Rhiannon Chillingworth

CHILLINGWORTH Rhiannon - Photo

Mrs Rhiannon Chillingworth 

Rhiannon Chillingworth has been a teacher for 11 years and is currently Head of English at Rye College.  Rhiannon has a passion for the creative and performing arts and believes they play an integral role in the academic, emotional and social development of a child.  She is also an advocate for reading for pleasure and the promotion of this in schools.


Helen Watts - Co-opted Governor

Helen Watts Photo(1)

Helen Watts - Co-Opted Governor

Helen is a qualified accountant and Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.  She has over 20 years’ experience working in the Public Sector and currently works as part of the East Sussex County Council Finance Team supporting Adult Social Care and Health Services.  Helen lives locally and has three children, all of whom attended local schools.  Two sons are now at university and her daughter is studying for her A Levels in the Sixth Form.

Helen is passionate about school governance, with over 10 years’ experience as a parent governor at both primary and secondary schools locally.  She is looking forward to using her skills and experience to support the progression of the Federation.

In her spare time Helen enjoys reading, running and spending time with family and friends.


Christine Johnston - Parent Governor

Chrissie Johnston photo for School Website (1)

Christine Johnston is a newly-appointed Parent Governor whose two children attend Beckley School.  A former Management Consultant, specialising in Financial Services companies, she had a special interest in using data to help her clients develop strategy. Since 2014, she has been on the Management Committee of the Peasmarsh Flying Start Pre-School, including serving as its Chair for a period.  She continues to be a Trustee of the charity.

As a parent, Chrissie loves to be outside with her children and is passionate about the benefits of outdoor learning. She holds a degree in Experimental Psychology and continues to be fascinated by how children learn.

Amy Head - Clerk to Governors


Amy Head lives in Peasmarsh with her husband and three sons.  Her  children attend Peasmarsh CE Primary School.  Amy is also the Peasmarsh Parish Council Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer and before having her sons she worked as a Civil Servant at the Ministry of Defence for 8 years.  

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