I moved to Sussex from London 25 years ago with my young family, leaving behind a career in the art world and returning to study to embark on a second career in primary education. During this time I have also chaired a PTA, been a governor at two other schools and am currently a trustee of two local charities. I have been volunteering regularly at St Mary’s for five years and been a governor there for the last four years, as well as teaching for one term as a temporary last-minute replacement! I am looking forward to getting to know the other Pioneer schools and will be particularly focussing on SEND.
For those of you that don’t know me I live in Hailsham. I am married (to a teacher) and have one son. I am a Civil Servant and work in London. After the joys of commuting, I relax by playing, umpiring and coaching hockey for Hailsham. I also have an allotment, though I am struggling to find enough day light hours to do it justice. I also seem to get roped into a lot of running. I think if someone highlights a good cause, I appear to be easily persuaded! I have now completed the London Marathon and the Brighton and Eastbourne half marathons over the last 12 years. I am supposed to be in training for the London Marathon next April as well! Not to mention the Mince pie run in December that Mr Procter has successfully convinced me to run for the last three years.
I started as a Governor of Chiddingly School nearly 18 years ago when my son was a pupil. (He is now nearly 24!) During that time, I have also served as Chair for approximately 11 years and am now one of the vice-chairs. It is a very rewarding role while at the same time being sometimes quite challenging. As Governor, you are responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the schools, but have to avoid the temptation to get involved in the day to day management of the school. We are responsible with the senior leadership team for the schools/federation’s performance and direction, but have to get the balance right so that we allow the senior leadership team to manage the schools/federation on a day to day basis without interfering. We have to learn to fulfil the “critical friend” role.
I have seen many ups and downs over the 18 years but the most exciting was the move to the Federation and more recently the expansion with St Marys joining. I have been amazed by the progress each school has made over the period it has been in the partnership or federation. The results and the Ofsted judgements have been so good to see. The benefits of schools and professionals working together cannot be underestimated and I think the evidence speaks for itself. There is, of course, still work to be done but I think the foundations have been laid and we have a good team of professionals in the Pioneer Federation who will drive us all forward for the most important aspect, which is of course the children.
Why have I stayed for 18 years? Well, there is no substitute for seeing the excitement on the children’s faces and hearing their chatter as they grow and develop. They are always so willing to share what is important to them. Seeing the schools move forward and develop is so rewarding. I often get into school either on formal visits, to interview for staff or just to look round the classrooms and chat with the staff and children. It just puts the day job into perspective! The Governors normally have their badges on when they are in school so if you see any of us, by all means stop us, introduce yourselves and have a chat.