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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 Jane Burnett
Clerk Mrs Amy Head
Vice Chair of Governors

Mr Ian Bryan

Ms Hilary Barton

Name Post Appointed Expiry
Mrs Lison Smart Headteacher 05/05/2017 04/05/2021
Mr Simon Thurston Headteacher 05/05/2017 04/05/2021
Ms Hilary Barton Co-opted Governor 23/11/2017 22/11/2021
Mr Ian Bryan Co-opted Governor 17/11/2016 16/11/2020
Rev Martin Harper Foundation Ex-Officio Governor 01/04/2016 31/03/2041
Andrew Button Co-opted Governor 27/09/2018 27/09/2022
Dr Alan Lloyd Smith Foundation Governor 01/04/2016 31/03/2020
Jane Burnett LA Governor 01/04/2016 31/03/2020
Mrs Marie-Claire Erith Foundation Governor 01/04/2015 31/03/2019
Mrs Rhiannon Chillingworth Parent Governor 27/09/2018 27/09/2022
Helen Watts Co-Opted Governor 03/05/2018 03/05/2022
Emma Hogg Staff Governor 27/09/2018 27/09/2022
Deborah Ongley Associate Member 28/09/2017 27/09/2021

Jane Burnett


Jane Burnett MA  :   Chair of Governors

Email: chair@beckleypeasmarshschoolsfederation.co.uk


A geography graduate and a trained teacher/school counsellor from Durham University, Jane spent 25 years working across the country in the teaching profession, culminating in headship.  Jane achieved an MA in Education Leadership in the mid-1980s.   Following headship Jane set up her own education consultancy and worked freelance in schools, specialising in leadership development and school improvement until she chose to semi -retire in 2016 , choosing to continue to work on small projects of interest to her.  She was an accredited performance management consultant, leadership coach and trained as an Ofsted Inspector. Over the years Jane has worked for many different organisations including the DfE, NCSL, LSC and several independent school associations.  Jane currently practices as an Executive Leadership Coach for a number of private clients on a regular basis. Jane has a number of volunteer roles including a school governor in Kent and membership of the Independent Monitoring Board of East Sutton Women’s Prison. In her spare time Jane and her husband farm a small herd of alpacas on the Kent/Sussex border. The reason Jane is a governor is her strong interest in education and her desire to continue to support local schools in offering her skills and experience to help them to flourish.


Ian Bryan


Ian Bryan is a recently appointed Governor, having previously been a Governor at Rye College.  Born in Sussex, he has lived in Peasmarsh for the past four years.  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.

Alan Lloyd-Smith


Alan Lloyd-Smith is a recently appointed Foundation Governor to the school having previously been a Governor at Wittersham Primary School and at Rye College.  Alan was born in Sussex and has lived in Wittersham for over 30 years and has a developed interest in education and community issues.  He has been a General Practitioner in Tenterden for 36 years (retiring from practice in 2014) and he hopes this background may give him some understanding of the needs of rural communities such as Beckley and Peasmarsh. He has three adult children and five grandchildren living locally.  He would like to do his best to ensure that both Beckley and Peasmarsh Schools are successful and happy.

Father Martin Harper


Father Martin was inducted as Rector of Brede and Udimore in July 2008. His initial career was as a Quantity Surveyor and, during this time, he was ordained as a Deacon in 1985 and a Priest in 1986. He qualified and went into teaching from 1995 until 2008.
Martin is a member of the Scout Fellowship and also serves on the Board of the Fellowship of St Nicholas. He has also recently been made a Director of the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust.

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.

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


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.

Marie-Claire Erith - Foundation Governor


Marie-Claire has been a parent at Beckley School for 9 years and currently has a child in year 4.  She is interested in securing the future of both schools and improving their links with the community.  Marie-Claire strongly believes in the value of small rural schools.

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.

Deborah is the Vice Chair of Beckley Parish Council.  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 - Parent Governor

Rhiannon Chillingworth is a newly appointed Parent Governor.  She 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.


Mrs Amy Head - Clerk to the Governors


Amy Head moved to Peasmarsh a year ago with her husband and three sons.  Her two oldest children attend Peasmarsh CE Primary School and her youngest son has just started at Peasmarsh Flying Start Pre-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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