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Meet the Governors

The members of Benenden & Goudhurst Governing Body are:

Sarah Martin - Benenden Chair of Governors
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Sarah Martin - Benenden Chair of Governors
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As a retired teacher who specialised in special needs, I feel that I can make a valuable contribution to the board of governors of Benenden CE Primary School. My last position before retirement was as Head of Dyslexia and Learning Support at Bethany School. Before this I had been an Inclusion Manager at two state primary schools in East Sussex. I was part of the senior management teams and was instrumental in raising standards and performance to get both schools out of ‘special measures’. Apart from teaching, this role required working closely with parents, governors, teachers and outside agencies, along with monitoring Pupil progress and attainment, developing systems using school performance data and contributing to the school’s development plans. I became a governor in February 2017 and live in Hawkhurst with my husband. One of my sons and his family live in Benenden and their two children attend Benenden CE Primary School with one entering Year 6 and the other Year 3 in September. In September 2018 I joined the Joint Committee, working with governors from Goudhurst and Kilndown CEP School to start the federation process, working under a MOU. I am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and supporting the school to go from strength to strength in their new building.
Jo Hinde - Goudhurst Chair of Governors
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Jo Hinde - Goudhurst Chair of Governors
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Jo Hinde was a parent governor from 2013 - 2017 and was subsequently appointed to the board as a Local Authority approved governor in September 2017. Jo's 4 children have all attended the school and they are all now in secondary education. Jo worked for 16 years for a leading professional services firm in IT before having her family. Jo had a brief spell working for the Local Authority as a Governance Officer and now works freelance providing support and training to governing boards. Jo is also a qualified School Business Manager. Jo is particularly interested in fostering a deeper parent partnership culture in the school and whole school wellbeing and mental health awareness as well as working with fellow governors and the school's leadership team to set the vision and strategic direction for the school. Jo is responsible for Leadership & Management, SEND and Early Years as well as responsibility for professional development of the governing board and is part of the Headteacher Performance Management panel.
Leslie Hardwick - Clerk
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Leslie Hardwick - Clerk
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Lesley Hardwick is our independent professional Clerk to Governors. Lesley works for Kent County Council Clerking Service and as well as clerking for us, Lesley clerks for another 8.5 schools across Kent in the primary, secondary and special sectors. Lesley is an experienced clerk and provides coaching and mentoring to new clerks. Lesley's role is to organise meetings, agendas and papers, to provide procedural and legal advice to the board and to record the meetings as a full and accurate picture in a set of minutes.
Lindsay Roberts - Headteacher
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Lindsay Roberts - Headteacher
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I joined Benenden C of E Primary in April 2019 as the new Headteacher. I am also the current Headteacher at Goudhurst & Kilndown Primary School. I left Sheffield University in 1988 completing a B.Ed with Honours. I moved to Kent in 1991 and worked in a number of local primary schools. In February 2016 I became a National Leader of Education and recently I was awarded Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. Currently I sit on the Governing Body of Goudhurst, High Weald Academy and a local independent school.
Peter Goodman
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Peter Goodman
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Pete Goodman joined the school in 2014. Pete joined us from Aylesford Primary School (VIAT) having previously completed his teacher training at Horsmonden Primary School. Prior to qualifying as a teacher, Pete was an officer in the Royal Navy, serving in a variety of military settings; surface ships, the MOD and a NATO oversees secondment. On leaving the Navy, he set up a small business providing Mandarin Chinese learning opportunities in Independent and State schools and developed interactive Mandarin games and Chinese teacher websites. Pete is Assistant Headteacher responsible for Teaching, Learning and Assessment having completed the NPQSL qualification at IOE. He is also subject leader for Maths, Computing with additional responsibility for Online Safety. Pete is passionate about developing and sharing good practice that drives up the quality of teaching and learning, especially using innovative technology. In particular, he is a strong advocate of using social media, including Twitter, webinar, blogs etc to do this. Pete is an Associate Governor.
Christine Smith
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Christine Smith
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I have been teaching longer than I will admit. Before moving to Benenden 6 years ago I taught in 9 schools in South and West London. I graduated from Cambridge in Maths and Education and specialised in leading Maths throughout my career, including a time as a maths support teacher for schools across Bromley. As the Assistant Headteacher at Benenden I focus on leading the school on a daily basis and working with staff to help every child to fulfil their potential.
Marie Donoghue
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Marie Donoghue
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Marie is a Staff Governor and was elected to the board in January 2017. Marie joined the school in September 2008 as a Newly Qualified Teacher and has so far taught in Year 4, Year 5, Year 1 and is currently Class Teacher for Year 2. Marie became the SENCO in 2013 and has gained the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination and a level 4 qualification in Speech and Language Communication Needs. Marie uses her special education knowledge to support other schools in the local area. Marie is also the Assistant Headteacher responsible for Pastural Care and spends her week juggling the three roles and enjoys being involved in all aspects of school life.
Alison Brook
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Alison Brook
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I am one of the Year 2 teachers, and the SENCO. Teaching is a career change for me, as I have, in the past been a climbing instructor, lifeguard, secretary, deputy head of care, Team leader, HR manager, and drug & alcohol worker. (Not in any particular order and not all at the same time!) All of these roles have given me valuable skills and knowledge that I bring to Benenden CEP. I completed my BSc with the Open University, while working and undertook my PGCE with 2 toddlers at home! These two boys are now at Benenden CEP, and I enjoy seeing both sides of school life, both as a Mum and as a teacher. When not at school, I enjoy running, scouting and spending time with my family. I lead worship at church, and play in a barn dance band.
Greg Coleman - School Business Manager
Janet Beattie
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Janet Beattie
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I am now retired but have worked in both the public and private sectors as an economist. I have lived in Benenden for 25 years and been involved with several village organisations including St George's Church. I am one of two Foundation (church) Governors.
Kelli Nolan-Lyons
Lois Dignan - Deputy Joint Chair of Governors
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Lois Dignan - Deputy Joint Chair of Governors
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Lois has been a Governor since 2009 and was previously a Governor at Cranbrook Primary School. She has a son at the school and two daughters in secondary and higher education. Lois worked in the electronic industry globally before moving to England with her family and has recently qualified as a teacher currently working for Tenax Trust. Lois has an interest in languages having helped develop the French teaching programme in Goudhurst and helping develop the Year 6 trip to France. Lois is passionate about ensuring children have a broad and engaging curriculum fit for the global arena. Lois has governor monitoring responsibility for SEND and Early Years and also monitors the children's progress and outcomes.
Peter Brook
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Peter Brook
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I work for Kent County Council in their Communications Department where I am responsible for the website and telephone contact centre. I live locally in Cranbrook. I’ve worked in ICT management for the majority of my career. I have been a governor of Benenden Primary School since April 2017
Rev Hugh Nelson
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Rev Hugh Nelson
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Rev Hugh Nelson is a Foundation Governor by the right of his role of Vicar of St Mary's Church Goudhurst and Christ Church Kilndown. Before being ordained Hugh lived and worked with adults with learning difficulties in a Christian Community in London. Hugh is Vice Chair of the Governing Board and has monitoring responsibility for the Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and Effectiveness of Leadership and Management and is also a member of the Headteacher Performance Management panel.
Simon Cullen
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Simon Cullen
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I joined the governing body of the school in February 2018 and am a parent of two children - one in Year 3 and one in Year 1 who both go to the school. I am Head of History and a deputy housemaster at Benenden Girls' School and I hope to be able to bring some of my experience of teaching and middle management to help take Benenden CE Primary School forwards in meeting all of its goals.
Vanessa Toynbee
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Vanessa Toynbee
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I have been teaching for 34 years, mainly in Key Stage 1. I have 2 grown up children and two badly behaved Jack Russells. I believe passionately in making sure that the Early Years Curriculum is delivered holistically to support, develop and encourage each 'Unique Child' in my care.​
Steph Plewes
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Steph Plewes
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I became a governor of Benenden Primary School in December 2018. I have worked in education for 15 years, in secondary and primary. I was first a secondary school teacher and more recently have been working 1:1 with children. I am currently working at Goudhurst and Kilndown Primary School in year 2. I am very passionate about achieving the best education for children, ensuring they receive a varied and creative curriculum that the children can enjoy, which enhances their learning, along with the importance of supporting children with special educational needs. I have three children at the school and I’m extremely excited at the opportunities they will now have after moving into the new school building.
James Watkins
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James Watkins
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I have worked in a range of state, international and independent schools throughout my teaching career. I am currently Deputy Head at Sutton Valence Preparatory School and hope to bring the benefit of my experience in primary education to the governing body of Benenden Primary School. I have two children in Reception and Year 3 at the school and started work as a governor in February 2019.
Adam Tuson
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Adam Tuson
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Adam Tuson has been a Parent Governor since 2013 and has been re-elected for a second term. Both of Adam's children attend the school and Adam is also involved in Goudhurst Dynamo's football club where he is coach for the Under 9s. Adam set up with his business partner and is Managing Director of a Search Marketing Agency providing expertise in Search Engine Optimisation, Reputation Management and Pay Per Click digital marketing strategies primarily for SMEs. Adam previously worked as a senior marketing professional for several large organisations including Lloyd's Banking Group and Universal Music. Adam has many interests and is looking forward to the time when he can spend some time on them. Adam has monitoring responsibility for the Effectiveness of Leadership and Management, Outcomes for children and Finance and sits on the Pay Panel which has oversight for the pay and reward for staff. Adam has responsibility, with the Chair and Vice-Chair, for setting the strategic direction of the school in collaboration with the Governors and Executive Leaders.