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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 the best development of children – academically, emotionally and socially. 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 – Co-opted Governor (Chair)

I have been a governor since September 2013, for the most part as a parent governor with three children having gone through the school. Now they’ve moved on to secondary, I’ve been appointed as a co-opted governor. After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge, I joined Unilever on their Management Development scheme, working with them for ten years in various supply chain roles in the UK and abroad.

I left to do an MBA at Stockholm School of Economics with the intention of moving into the not-for-profit sector but 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 in East Brabourne.

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: Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 01/09/2013 (as a parent governor)
Reappointed: 31/08/17 (parent governor) 31/07/2020 (co-opted governor)
Term of office: 30/07/2024
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance; Headteacher performance panel; Marketing; Governor Training and Development; Teaching & Learning, SEND Link governor, 
Business Interests: Governor at Chilham St.Mary’s CEP School, Trust Member at Towers Academy, Spouse is CFO for Unilever Operations Globally, 

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 6/6
Fin Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 6/6
T&L Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 3/3

FGB Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 5/5
Fin Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 5/5
T&L Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 3/3


Lucie Edmed – LA Governor (Vice Chair)

Since retiring eight years ago I have become a Grandparent which has bought a new and exciting dimension to my life. I have three young Grandchildren all of whom attend Brabourne school. They can’t wait to jump out of the car and run into school each morning. To me this reflects the care and ethos of the school, they feel happy and secure. As I both take and collect my Grandchildren from school, I am fortunate enough to see Brabourne from a parents/ Grandparents perspective.

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 continuing to work alongside other members of the Governing board, the wider community of Brabourne school and supporting its future direction. I have welcomed the opportunity of this partnership working, it has been both a positive and rewarding experience and one which I wish to continue.
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: 16/05/2019 Reappointed 18/05/2023
Term of office: 17/05/2027
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning (Chair), Early Years Link Governor, Pay Panel (Chair)
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 6/6
T&L Meeting attended in 2021/22: 3/3

FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 5/5
T&L Meetings attended in 2022/23: 3/3

Emma Watson – Co-opted Governor

I became a governor at Brabourne School after moving into the village with my partner in 2021. I felt a strong desire to offer the benefit of my time and experience as a way of giving back to the lovely community in which I live. I have recently had a daughter and I’m so thankful she is able to grow up in this environment. I’m constantly amazed at the calibre of education offered at Brabourne School and the wonderful approach to the children’s wider wellbeing and future potential.

My professional career has so far been various roles in Finance, most recently as Head of Commercial Finance for a global market research company, helping them achieve their commercial goals. I have studied AAT and ACCA and offer 15 years of finance experience.

Appointing Body: Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 19/05/2022
Term of office: 18/05/2026
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance (Chair), Pay Panel
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 2/2
Fin Meetings attended in 2021/22: 2/2
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 4/5
Fin Meetings attended in 2022/23: 5/5

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, Kings Mill , 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, reappointed for a second term of office 01/07/2022
Term of office: 30/06/2026
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics & Culture; Headteacher Performance Panel

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 4/6
E&C Meeting attended in 2021/22: 1/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 3/5
E&C Meetings attended in 2022/23: 2/2

Becks Massie – Parent Governor

I’m the parent of four children aged 23,22,19 and 10, also grandparent to one aged 5. Both my youngest son and grandson attend 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, now at Brabourne and at Ashford Hockey club on a voluntary basis. I have taught hockey for 13 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, reappointed 06/03/2023
Term of office: 05/03/2027
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics & Culture
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 6/6
E&C Meeting attended in 2021/22: 2/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 4/5
E&C Meetings attended in 2022/23: 2/2

Yolande Roberts – Parent Governor

This will be my first year as a governor at Brabourne School. I am currently Chair of the PTA and have been part of the association for nearly 2 years. Having had four children attend this amazing school (two of them are still at the school), I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the collective effort to enrich school life.

I have a BA (Hons) degree in Modern Foreign Languages (Russian and German) and spent time in Russia studying. After finishing my degree, I qualified as a teacher and taught at a primary school in Ashford before moving to SE Asia with my husband’s work in the military. Having returned to the UK, we moved to Brabourne.

As a teacher, it was so rewarding to see children flourish and achieve things for themselves, particularly when they thought they were unable to. It is evident that Brabourne School strives to create the same environment so that every child feels safe, encouraged and valued. The school values of respect, responsibility, courage and hope are integral to this environment. I believe that the school’s Christian ethos and values play an important part in helping the children develop an appreciation of others and their own sense of worth.

I attend a local church and am involved in teaching Sunday School and am also involved with a local charity providing international aid.

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 05/11/2022
Term of office: 04/11/2026
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning

FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 3/4
T&L Meetings attended in 2022/23: 2/2

Adam Lott – Parent Governor

Adam’s youngest son began Brabourne reception in 2021 and he has been impressed by the variety of support and learning the school provides.  Adam also has two grown up children who are now in their mid-20’s so has experience schooling and supporting his family over a some years.  He was part of the school PTA for 18 months planning and supporting events and fundraising and is now a helper for the PTA as and when.  Adam loves the community feel of this beautiful rural school.

His full time career has been 20 plus years in the NHS working across public health, community services, hospital care, mental health and national improvement teams for NHS England.  Majority of this role has been focussed on health inequalities in the population and equality and inclusion across NHS employment.  Adam spent many years working in schools and supporting young people in youth settings promoting health and wellbeing, providing group work support and 121 support for children and young people.  This has often been working closely with voluntary and charitable sector organisations.  At the same time training health and social care professionals in a range of key topics to enable inclusion and wellbeing to practically support communities most at risk of health issues and those who are less likely to access health and social care services.  He has a research background in health and a Masters Degree in Health and Social Care.  In addition to his role at Brabourne School he is Chair of Board of Trustees for a local charity, Dads Unlimited, supporting families in separation, mental health of men and men experiencing domestic abuse and violence.

Adam began as a Parent Governor at Brabourne in December 2022 and hopes to be able bring his insight from governance and improvement experience as a Governor as well as support inclusion and sense of community and caring for our children, teachers and families at the school.

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 05/11/2022
Term of office: 04/11/2026
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Ethics and Culture
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 3/4
E&C Meetings attended in 2022/23: 0/2

Selina Eyles – Parent Governor

I have two young children, my daughter is in year 3 and my little boy is 3. I love living in Brabourne, and I’m proud to be part of the community. I volunteer with the local Brownie unit, this time has really shown me the importance of inspiring and challenging children to be their best. 

I have a degree in Business and come from a Financial Services background, with numerous years of leadership and operations management experience. These roles have involved managing teams, performance, recruitment, process efficiencies, budgets, quality assurance, customer care and complaints. 

I currently work in the office at another local village primary school. I hope I can bring my work experience to support the school values and continue to build on the success of the school. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and be supported to do so both academically and emotionally.

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 10/12/2020
Term of office: 09/12/2024
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Finance, Pay Panel
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 5/6
Finance Meeting attended in 2021/22: 6/6
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 4/5
Finance Meetings attended in 2022/23: 4/5

Rev.Chris Denyer – Foundation Governor

I am the Vicar 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 the 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 and plays. 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, secondary schools and University, and my wife Sophie is the Mission Enabler for the Ashford Town Parish. Our home is blessed by an elderly Labrador, Lola, and a younger Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rosie.

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

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 5/6
E&C Meeting attended in 2021/22: 3/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 4/5
E&C Meetings attended in 2022/23: 2/2

Andrew Stapley – Headteacher

I have been the Headteacher of Brabourne CEP School since January 2017. I have a BA (Hons) degree in French and Italian and a PGCE in 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 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, Headteacher Performance
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 6/6
T&L Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 3/3
E&C Meetings attended in 2021/2022: 3/3

FGB Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 5/5
T&L Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 3/3
E&C Meetings attended in 2022/2023: 2/2

Katie Vasu Staff governor

I have worked at Brabourne School since 2014 as a 1:1 teaching assistant. This followed my initial role as Clerk to the Governors of the school. I currently work in Jupiter Class, where I hope to continue as class TA. I have a specific interest in pastoral care, SEN and specifically meeting the medical needs of children within school. This follows on from my previous career as a paediatric nurse. I am lucky enough to be part of the teaching of art and PSHE in Jupiter supported by the class teacher. Both my children attended Brabourne School and loved it! I am committed to being part of its continued success as a welcoming, supportive school with high academic standards.

Appointing Body: School staff
Joined Governing Body: 20/04/2021
Term of office: 19/04/2025
Committee(s)/Responsibilities: Teaching & Learning
Business Interests: None

FGB Meetings attended in 2021/22: 5/6
T&L Meeting attended in 2021/22: 2/3
FGB Meetings attended in 2022/23: 5/5
T&L Meetings attended in 2022/23: 3/3

Lena Valentine – Clerk to the Governors 

I originally joined the Brabourne Governing Board  as a parent governor; my son Milius has been at the school since 2019. In 2021, while on the Brabourne board, I trained as a clerk / governance professional with The Education People, while gaining clerking experience with a number of local primary schools. When the Brabourne governing body found itself without a clerk, I made the decision to change my governor role to the role of clerk at Brabourne. I have been the board’s governance professional since December 2022.


Previous Governors (last two years)

Lena Valentine – Parent Governor

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 02/2021
Resigned: 04/11/2022 (became Clerk)

Natasha Hilton – Parent Governor

Appointing Body: School parents
Joined Governing Body: 02/2021

Colin Taylor – Staff Governor

Appointing Body: School staff
Joined Governing Body: 12/20
Resigned:  04/21 (Moved schools)

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

Appointing Body: Full Governing Board
Joined Governing Body: 20/10/2016, reappointed 2020