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Meet our Governors

Summary of Constitution
Position Name
Chair of Governors Hilary Barton
Clerk Position Vacant at present 
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 26/11/2020 25/11/2024
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

Vanessa Tomlinson

LA Governor 26/11/2020 25/11/2024
Paul Redstone Associate Member 26/11/2020 25/11/2024
Mrs Rhiannon Chillingworth Parent Governor 27/09/2018 26/09/2022
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.

Vanessa Tomlinson


Vanessa has spent 30 years working in Primary schools and another 14 years in Teacher Training, retiring at the end of August 2020. Her career has spanned the roles of Class Teacher, Headteacher, Ofsted Inspector and PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) and SDS (Schools Direct Salaried) Tutor and Lecturer and she therefore has a diverse view of how the education system works and evolves. 

Throughout these years Vanessa has been passionate about providing Primary school children with high quality and enjoyable education, to enable them to develop and flourish throughout their time in school and on into their adult life.  

Vanessa moved to Robertsbridge 16 years ago and loves being in, and surrounded by, the beautiful East Sussex countryside. Walking and visiting places of interest with her husband or friends has become a major part of her leisure time, but now, having retired from the commute to London, Vanessa is hoping to extend her pastimes and give time to her passion for education by supporting the Governing Body of The Genesis Federation.

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

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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

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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.

Paul Redstone - Associate Member

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Paul Redstone was appointed Associate Member in December 2020 and has lived in Cripps Corner since 1990. He graduated in Natural Sciences/Physics at Cambridge then worked at Logica, a computer software company. In 1989 he become co-owner of a pharmaceutical services company based in Battle which analysed clinical trials, working for most of the major drug companies.  The company grew to nearly 100 staff then merged with a US company. In 1997 he started a software company based in Bodiam then Tonbridge, which he sold in 2011, since when he has worked as a freelance computer consultant before retiring.

Paul was a governor of Vinehall School for 13 years until 2019, concentrating on financial planning, strategy and key staff appointments. He was educated in the state system and with his mother, wife and two of his children as teachers has a long interest in education!  He believes strongly in the ability of education to give opportunities to all children to achieve their maximum potential, not only academically but in the life skills necessary to become fulfilled in this changing world. He is also involved in a number of local and national charities.

Rhiannon Chillingworth - Parent Governor


Rhiannon serves as a Parent Governor in the federation. 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.

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.

Clerk to Governors - Post Vacant

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