Latest news:
“The whole school community feels cohesive, friendly and nurturing”
“The children are so happy and there is such a personal touch. So pleased we chose this school”
“I love the presence of the headteacher each morning and afternoon. Every teacher knows every child”
“Such a range of opportunities for all children – outdoor learning, sport, art, music, academic challenges”
“Brabourne excels in so many areas. The staff, the way the children are taught. The general feel of the school is warm and approachable”
“Every child is an individual. The children reach their potential with such supportive and encouraging teachers”
“I love the community spirit and nurturing ethos. A wonderful school”


Providing strategic leadership and accountability

What is the role of the Governors?

The governing board has a range of duties and powers and a general responsibility for the conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. The three key areas of responsibility are:

  • Setting the school vision and strategy
  • Supporting and challenging the Headteacher – including setting their objectives and ensuring they are met
  • Overseeing the school finance

More specifically governors support the process of setting an improvement plan and then conduct visits and check data to ensure the school is delivering planned improvements. Schools are expected to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and governors also ensure that the school maintains an accurate self-evaluation. This will include challenge based on pupil performance data (both attainment and progress) as well as other educational  evidence the governors obtain. Governors also monitor pupil wellbeing through attendance data, pupil surveys and visits. In a Church of England school such as Brabourne, governors are responsible for ensuring the Christian Distinctiveness of the school is promoted and the ethos and values of the school are maintained.

Governors are responsible for the recruitment and performance management of the Headteacher. They are also involved in the recruitment of other teachers and approve performance related pay decisions based on target setting and appraisals conducted by the Headteacher.

Governors also make sure the budget projections are realistic and that the financial systems are robust. School spending is reviewed in detail and challenged based on bench-marking against other similar schools and against the forecast.

We operate a committee structure with three main sub-committees – teaching & learning, ethics & culture and finance – feeding into the full governing board. Some governors also have individual responsibilities which are listed below.

Governors have no operational, day-to-day responsibility for the school. The Headteacher has responsibility for delivering every aspect of education and support to the pupils. Governors help set the vision, the Headteacher and his staff deliver it.

If you would be interested in joining the Governing Board of Brabourne School, please do contact us via the school office.


Who are the Governors?

Hester Fenwick – Parent Governor (Chair)

I have been a governor since September 2013 and have one child still in the school –  Heidi (year 5) and my oldest two have recently moved on to secondary school. I have a first class Chemistry degree from Cambridge and, on graduating, joined Unilever through their management development scheme. I worked in various roles in supply chain including factory management, forecasting and supply management and new systems design and implementation. My biggest role was as the supply manager for fabrics washing powder and tablets across Europe – co-ordinating factories in seven countries and about fifteen different sales countries and involving project management roll-outs for new product launches. After working for their ice-cream business in the Nordic region for a year, I left to do an MBA at Stockholm School of Economics with the intention of moving into the non-profit sector.

However, I then got diverted into childcare for a few years, as well as moving from Sweden to Switzerland with my husband. We moved back to the UK in 2012 and I’m now self-employed running a holiday cottage, vineyard and smallholding.
I became a governor to support the school. I love the broad, Christian ethos that has stood it well through generations but appreciate the need for it to also meet the challenging standards of modern education and I believe it delivers both. I bring financial and project management skills and am proud to co-ordinate a board of governors who offer such a wide range of skills, experience and enthusiasm for the benefit of the school.

Appointing Body: school parents
Joined Governing Body: 01/09/2013
Reappointed: 31/08/17
Term of office: 31/08/2021
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance; Headteacher performance panel; Marketing; Governor Training and Development; Ethics & Culture
Business Interests: Spouse is Finance Vice President for Unilever UK

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 9/9
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 9/9
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 7/7 (inc 1 EGM)
Committee Meetings attended in 2016/17: 7/7
FGB Meetings attended in 2015/16: 6/6

Roger Shaw – Co-opted Governor (Vice-Chair)

I have a Fellowship of a major international accounting body and also an MBA in Corporate Finance.

I started my finance career working for Unilever, and then Ford Motor Company. I have been Finance Director of manufacturing companies in leisure and engineering industries.

Having now retired, I decided to become a Governor of Brabourne CEP School to help deliver financial management into a vital area of the local community.

Appointing Body: Full Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 20/10/2016
Term of office: 21/10/2020
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance (Chair); Appeals panels (Chair)
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 5/5
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 6/6
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2016/17: 6/6

Lucie Edmed – LA Governor

Since retiring five years ago I have become a grandparent, bringing a new and exciting dimension to my life. I have three young grandchildren whom I look after during the week. The oldest has just joined Brabourne and is eager to go each morning. To me this reflects the care and ethos of the school.

My career led me down a wide variety of paths, all under the education umbrella, but mainly focussing on the quality of teaching and learning which is my passion. After gaining my Certificate of Education at Teacher Training College in 1973, I began my career as reception class teacher at Beaver Green Infants School and held a variety of posts including Special Needs Co-ordinator.

I taught both Y1 and YR at Willesborough County Infant School and was later promoted to Early Years Co-ordinator. My many roles and responsibilities included teacher appraisals, mentoring newly qualified teachers, leading the collaborative development of the Early Years Policy, implementing the School Improvement Plan and both monitoring and reviewing the Early Years curriculum but most importantly being an advocate for the highest possible quality provision. I believe it is paramount that all staff feel valued by identifying their strengths and addressing areas for development, listening to their points of view and acting accordingly. I played an instrumental role as a member of the Senior Management Team and as Teacher Governor.

In 2001 I gained my Performance Threshold Award, a KCC initiative, by demonstrating that I had met the National Standards for Effective Teaching. My class teacher experience enhanced my understanding of the fundamental principles of quality Early Years Education, how to motivate children in their learning and implementing appropriate teaching strategies – all vital if children are to achieve their full potential.

As Early Childhood Education and Course Tutor at Canterbury College I enjoyed cascading my knowledge and understanding of current national and local education developments and initiatives to my students. I found discussing current topics and all aspects of child development in both play and learning both stimulating and thought provoking.

In 2004 I realised my ambition by accepting a post as Early Years Advisory Teacher. I felt it a privilege to be able to visit and support voluntary, private and independent nurseries, schools and pre-schools within the Kent Early Years Development and Childcare Plan. My role was as a ‘critical friend’ helping practitioners to review their own practice and find ways of developing and improving it, particularly in those with needs identified through the Ofsted Inspection process. This I found most inspiring and rewarding.

I look forward to working alongside other members of the Governing Board and supporting the future direction of the school. I feel very strongly that every child has the right to a high quality of care and education from the time they are born.

Appointing Body: Local Authority
Joined Governing Body: March 2019
Term of office: March 2023
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 4/4 (one as observer)
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 2/2

Maggie Smith – Co-opted Governor

I am a mother and grandmother and a recently retired secondary school teacher with a BSc(Hons) and a MA in Educational Studies. I taught science to A-level and was responsible for the pastoral care of all pupils in Years 7-11. I have a strong Christian faith and am a regular attender at St Mary’s the Virgin Smeeth, currently serving on their PCC. I have lived in the Brabourne area for 35 years and am actively involved in many of the village activities.

I will bring my understanding of issues that can affect pupils’ learning and the principles of my faith to the role of governor.

Appointing Body: Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 1/8/2017, became a Co-opted Governor 18/10/18
Term of office: 17/10/22
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning (Chair); Headteacher Performance Panel
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 2/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 3/3

Ruthie Gilbert – Foundation Governor

Ruthie Gilbert was brought up in Kenya and has lived in many different countries. When asked where she is from, Ruthie will simply say, ‘I am a daughter of the King!’ She sees herself as a person who loves life, loves people, loves family and an open home, and is a life long learner which attracted her to be a Foundation Governor of Brabourne with its excellent vision for outstanding education and care of the whole child.

 She is married to Rod Gilbert and together they have been working all over Asia for 40 years. They have five children and twelve grandchildren. 

Ruthie is a qualified teacher and family counselor, writer and inspirational speaker. Together with her husband Rod she established Cornerstone House Family Life Centre in India and the Marriage Masala resources, which are translated into many languages. In 2003 they moved to Sri Lanka, where Rod was the principal of Trinity College in Kandy, and Ruthie was involved in training.

 In 2009 Rod and Ruthie spent two years in Pastoral Care at Bethany Ministries in Hong Kong.

Based now in Kent UK they have a 17th century homestead, KingsMill , with a rich history of love, adventure and mission – giving a home to young asylum seekers, and to families and people from all over the world in need of rest and restored relationships.

Appointing Body: Diocese of Canterbury
Joined Governing Body: 18/10/18
Term of officer: 17/10/22
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics & Culture; Headteacher Performance Panel

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 4/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 2/2

Becks Massie – Parent Governor

I’m the parent of four children aged 19,18,16 and 7 and grandparent to one aged 2, my youngest being at Brabourne school. I studied Valuation and Estate Management at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
Whilst my eldest three children were in primary school, I qualified as an England Hockey coach, teaching in one of our local primary schools and at Ashford Hockey club on a voluntary basis . I have taught hockey for nine years now and also worked as a TA voluntarily.
It is my belief that all children should have access to a variety of sports in schools. Sport contributes greatly to the
well being and general mental health of all children. Having worked with children of varying abilities and behavioural challenges, seeing the positive effect it has on them, I have developed a passion for intervention through outdoor activities.
My faith is paramount to my life and I therefore believe in the Christian values upheld by the school and their benefits to the children.
As a governor I hope to combine my experience as a parent and intimate knowledge gained from working in the school to provide a balanced and supportive role.

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 07/02/2019
Term of office: 06/02/2023
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics & Culture
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 4/4
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 2/2

Sarah Hopker – Parent Governor

I have two children, Amelia who is in year 5, and Ben who is at a local secondary school. Amelia joined Brabourne in year 2, and I quickly became aware of how special the School is. I wanted to contribute to the successful development of the School and so volunteered to become a parent governor.

I have been a teacher for 17 years and my current role is working as a specialist teacher, which is part of the specialist teaching and learning service. In this role I support children and schools in the local area with Special Educational Needs. As a consequence, I have a personal and professional interest in education and felt that I could bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience to my role as parent governor.

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 6/2/2017
Term of office: 5/2/2021
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning; SEND; Safeguarding
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 4/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 5/5 (one as observer)
Committee Meetings attended in 2016/17: 1/1

Sarah Vant – Parent Governor

I became a parent governor in February 2017 and have one child attending the school and one who has recently moved on to secondary school. I have worked for my own company as a freelance consultant since 1998. Although my qualifications are mainly in the IT and Telecommunication field, in practice, assignments tend to be very varied with work in both the public and private sectors. These mainly relate to critical communications for Central government, the Emergency services and industry but have also included projects for new build or refurbishment of facilities, writing various technical reports for Ofcom and Best Value Inspections of local government services. In a voluntary capacity, I also previously served for nine years as Vice-Chair on the Board of Ashford Leisure trust, until late summer 2016.

I was born and grew up in the Ashford area and, having moved away for a few years for university and work, I returned to the Ashford area in 2000, when I moved into our current home in Brabourne Lees. As an attendee of the church in Brabourne and a member of their church management committee, I appreciate the importance of the school’s Christian ethos and the maintenance and strengthening of the links with the local Church community.

As a governor, I have picked up the responsibility for Health, Safety and Maintenance and alongside conducting this role, I hope my experience and practical skills in technology, facilities and the public sector will bring a worthwhile perspective to the wider Governing Body and, in turn, bring some benefit to the school as a whole.

Appointing Body: school parents
Joined Governing Body: 6/2/2017
Term of office: 5/2/2021
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance; Health, Safety & Maintenance
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 3/5
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 4/4
Committee Meetings attended in 2016/17: 1/1

Rev.Chris Denyer Foundation Governor

I am the priest-in-Charge of the Stour Downs Parish, which includes the churches and communities of Brabourne, Mersham, Monks Horton, Sellindge, Smeeth and Stowting. This parish was formed in 2018 and I took up post in September, previously being Curate at High Halden, Bethersden and Woodchurch for three years.

I am a member of the Governing Body by virtue of my office, as this is a Church of England school, yet it is more than representing the local church on the Governing Body- it is about being involved with and supportive of the community I serve. I have a passion for education, having been a primary teacher before being ordained, and it gives me great joy to be a part of ensuring the pupils of this school have the best start in life possible. I would really like to get to know the families of our school community through my involvement with the Governing Body and supporting the school in my ministry.

My first “calling” was to be a teacher, and I taught in the Early Years, Year One, Two and Three at Kingsnorth C of E Primary, as well as part-time cover work across all year groups at Brenzett C of E Primary. I have been an Early Years Manager and a Team Leader, and in this role gained experience of school leadership. My love for stories – telling them and acting them- spills over from my years as a Literacy leader and studying for an MA in Primary Literacy, to writing novels and directing, writing and treading the boards in pantomimes. I guess that stories were at the heart of my love for studying History as part of my first degree at the University of Kent.

I have four children at primary and secondary schools who keep me very busy, and we have enjoyed settling in to the Stour Downs community, and discovering lovely places to walk our Labrador, Lola.

Appointing Body: Ex Officio (parish priest)
Joined Governing Body: 24/09/2018
Term of office: Ongoing
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics & Culture
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 5/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 3/3

Andrew Stapley Headteacher

I have been the Headteacher of Brabourne Primary School since January 2017. I have a BA (Hons) degree in French and Italian and a PGCE in Secondary Modern Foreign Languages. I began my career as a secondary languages teacher at the Norton Knatchbull Grammar School where I worked for 6 years as Head of Italian. I took on the role of Primary Regional Trainer for primary languages, working with local schools to train and prepare them for the primary languages entitlement. This led me to Brabourne School, where I have worked for the last seven years as a Year 5/6 teacher, Assistant Headteacher and now Headteacher.

Appointing Body: Ex officio (previously staff governor)
Joined Governing Body: 24/07/2010 (as staff governor) 1/1/2017 (as Headteacher)
Term of office: Ongoing
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning, Ethics & Culture
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2019/19: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 6/6
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 6/6
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 7/7
Committee Meetings attended in 2016/17: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2015/16: 6/6

Natasha Miller – Staff governor

I have been at Teacher at Brabourne School since 2017 and am also the Subject Lead for Maths. However, my affiliation with the school has gone back many years to when my children (now 18, 16 and 15) were taught here. My teaching journey began slightly later in life when I worked as a Teaching Assistant at the school 9 years ago and went on to complete my BA(Hons) in Primary Education down the part-time route, whilst working and being a mum.

I was very keen to join the Governing Body; not only widen my knowledge of how a school is run, but also to support in any way I can and hopefully give back something to the school and make it the best place it can be for the children.

Appointing Body: School staff
Joined Governing Body: 15/03/2018
Term of office:14/03/2022
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 6/6
Committee Meetings attended in 2018/19: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 3/3 (one as observer)
Committee Meetings attended in 2017/18: 1/1

Kerry Percival-Smith  – Clerk to the Governors

After my 2 children started School I found myself researching the education system, after talking to a friend who worked as clerk I found out this would be the perfect job for me, working with the restraints of a young family and answering my endless questions. I started clerking in 2016 and enjoy the role enormously. I have recently completed a new qualification with the clerk development program and plan to move on to move on to certification. I currently work with lots of different Schools and like the diversity. My work has been accredited through many awarding bodies

Joined Governing Body: 1/9/18

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 6/6

Previous Governors (last two years)

Emma Keating – Parent Governor

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 01/01/2015
End of Term of office: 31/12/2018

FGB Meetings attended in 2018/19: 2/2
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 5/6
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 6/7
FGB Meetings attended in 2015/16: 6/6

Jasmine Stewart – Co-opted Governor

Appointing Body: Full Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 08/10/2015
Stepped down: 15/03/2018
FGB Meetings attended in 2016/17: 7/7
FGB Meetings attended in 2017/18: 3/3