Governors


Most questions that you have about the school can be answered by your child’s teacher or by contacting the Head, or any member of the Leadership Team. The Governors, however, are always happy to hear from you if you have a question or comment about the school. Please use the email link below or write to Jo Newton-Smith, Chair of Governors c/o Billingshurst Primary School.

govs@billingshurstprimary.org.uk

Mrs Jo Newton-Smith

Chair of the Governing Body

I became a Governor in 2012, initially as a parent governor when both my children attended the primary school and more recently as Co-opted Governor.

This year I have taken on the role of Chair of Governors when our previous Chair stepped down.

One of my key ambitions is to ensure that the Governing Body is effective and focuses on its purpose which is to:
• Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
• Hold leaders to account for the educational performance of the school
• Oversee the financial performance of the school making sure money is well spent

I enjoy working alongside the whole school community to develop Billingshurst Primary School and I look forward to continuing to work with the governors as we strive to provide an outstanding school for the children in our community.

Mrs Lucy Hanington

I have been a teacher in West Sussex for 14 years and at BPS for 7 years. I became a staff governor in 2015 and I now continue as part of the Governing Body as an Associate Member.

I am enjoying working within a strong team of governors, who have a range of professional backgrounds but all share the same aim - to strive for excellence. I believe this is a very special school with wonderful children and teachers who enjoy learning together.

My priority as a teacher and governor is to ensure that all children enjoy themselves and make good progress during their time at BPS, in order to ensure happy and secure futures. I hope to contribute to achieving this goal through my role as Assistant Headteacher, ensuring that all children experience the very best start to a successful time at school.

Mr Chris Evans

I have been a Parent Governor since 2016 as I wanted to be able to support my children and their school. I am a self-employed Electrician, Scout Leader, climbing instructor and now aspiring paddlesport instructor. My wife Natalie and I are Billingshurst born and bred and my boys refuse to believe that the school was once in three parts. We've seen it come together and grow and I want to help.

I take great pride in being a parent and like most parents I would like what's best for my children and I want to help make sure that they get the best opportunities. As a school governor I have an opportunity for me to use my business, financial, communication and other 'work' skills that don't get a lot of use around the house.

Mr David Lowe

I was appointed LEA governor in 1988 when a Junior School parent and there was a major issue about extending the school to enable closure of the East Street site. It was then a single Governing body for Infants & Juniors. I escaped briefly in 1993 when working in another part of the country, but was reappointed at the time of the creation of separate Governing Bodies, serving on both and as the first Chairman of the Infant School Governors. I have been closely involved in many building projects and the appointment of 5 Headteachers.

I was educated as a Metallurgist but followed a career in manufacturing and general management before setting up my own cost management consultancy in 1995. I have one daughter who moved on from the East Street site via the Weald and is currently teaching History in a large secondary school. My other daughter was also educated at the Weald, qualified in pharmacology and as a vet, lives locally and has two children who both completed their Primary education at BPS.

I always aim to put the interests of the children first; I am very keen on the pursuit of excellence in all things. I see the Governor role as strategic – probing & challenging the Senior Management and exploring better ways to deliver the best possible education for our children (and grandchildren!).

Mrs Yvette Rowe

I am delighted to be in my third year at BPS and I am one of the Co-opted Governors. I have lived in Billingshurst for 20 years and during this time have seen the village and community grow and now that I am in a position where I have spare time, I believe it to be a privilege to be able to support the school as it continues to be the best it can for all its children.

I have a professional background in Business Management and a career that has led to over 25 years of Senior Retail Management and Consultancy experience and I am hoping that my broad range of skills will help benefit the school.

Having young nieces, nephews and godchildren I have a keen interest in education and see this role as a great opportunity to be able to listen, challenge, encourage new ideas and appreciate our teaching and non-teaching staff and also the parents. I have an open and honest down to earth style and feel great pride in strategically shaping the school’s aims and objectives and supporting the school in achieving them.

On a more personal note, I love gardening, property renovation and going to the theatre.

Mrs Abi Smith

I joined the Governing body as a parent governor in 2014 and in 2018 was appointed a co-opted governor. I have three children at the school, in years six, three and one.

I have been a journalist for over 12 years, working in London on various celebrity magazines and publications and now I am enjoying freelance status - which basically means working from home! I have had four celebrity biographies/published over the past three years and have relished talking to students about writing and journalism as a career at a number of different schools in the local area. My favourite published work is of course, ‘Cross Now Please!’

I have lived in Billingshurst for the past 20 years and have enjoyed seeing the village grow into a bustling, lively community. I was Head Girl at the Weald School many years ago and watch with pride at how the school is thriving and the relationship it shares with BPS. As a Governor I have a vested interest in helping ensure the school is the best it can be for all those who attend and I will endeavour to make sure I can, to the best of my ability, continue to see it succeed.

Mr Oliver Eames

I was appointed a parent governor in 2018. My wife and I have lived in Billingshurst since the beginning of 2011 and we have two children.

Having started out doing an Electronic Engineering MEng degree, my career began in Datacommunications. For the last 10 years I have been running an IT company providing Cloud and IT Support services to small and medium enterprises. When I’m not working from the shed at the bottom of the garden, I enjoy playing Badminton and spending time with my children, aka Daddy-Daycare !

I have a great fondness for the village and I am keen for my skillset to make a beneficial contribution to the school."

Mrs Jacquie Wattam

I have recently been appointed as an Associate Member of BPS, following my appointment as Deputy Head Teacher. I have had experience of being a teacher governor at my 2 previous schools.

I qualified as a teacher in 1987, and have always considered it a privilege to have such a fulfilling job.

I have a keen interest in creating opportunities which allow children to develop their skills of independence and creativity, ensuring that when they leave us they go out into the world as confident learners, ready to confront the challenges that they will all face in life.

I have two boys who are currently at Secondary school in Worthing and when I’m not in school, I seem to spend my time ferrying them around to their various sporting events!

I am looking forward to working with such a dedicated and skilful group of people on the continuing journey to create a school that is even better than it already is.

Mrs Sarah Beard

I am a new governor to Billingshurst Primary School this year and I am really looking forward to supporting the school going forward. My husband and I moved out of London three years ago to Billingshurst and we have a young son who we hope will one day attend the school. I am a secondary school history teacher and over my twelve year career so far I have taught in three difference schools in South East London so my wide range of experience and knowledge I hope can be of use to the school.

In 2017 I completed a Masters in Advanced Teaching at Cambridge and am now a specialist subject teacher at a school in Surrey on a part time basis. I’m really looking forward to working with the dedicated team of governors, excellent teachers and fantastic parents of Billingshurst Primary to support the school to go from strength to strength.

Mrs Alison Sutton

Vice-Chair of the Governing Body

I have thirty years' experience as a teacher in both London and West Sussex and have been a school governor now for twenty years in different settings. My interest in governor responsibilities started when my own children first attended nursery School and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences that this role has provided. I am also a professional musician and am privileged to work for West Sussex Music developing opportunities for children across the county to have access to a broad music curriculum and hopefully encourage more young people to enjoy the many benefits of making music.

As previous Chair of the Governing Body I have enjoyed working alongside the whole school community to develop Billingshurst Primary School and I look forward to continuing to work with the governors as we strive to provide an outstanding school for the children in our community.

Mr Ben Websdale

My sole intention of becoming a school governor is to do my bit to help Billingshurst Primary School where I can.

Working in the public sector myself I am acutely aware of the tight budgetary constraints that our schools are also victim of and therefore I would be constantly unafraid to question decisions made on behalf of our children no matter what the issue may be.

I believe my twenty years as a Police Officer would provide me a solid basis of being able to negotiate the best outcome for our children whilst being able to listen and participate as a team to enable the diverse needs are given a voice and listened too with every intention of making our school the centre of excellence we all strive for it to be.

I am no stranger to supporting or defending what is right and can assure each parent that my sole intention of joining the Governing board would be to do what I can to drive forward our school to ensure our children’s benefit is at the centre of any decision I make or am able to influence.

Miss Helen Williamson

As Headteacher I am automatically on the Governing Body. I have worked in education for more than 25 years; as a teacher in schools on the south coast, as Deputy Headteacher in a school in Littlehampton and as Headteacher of BPS since 2010. I have been a governor for over 15 years, in this and my last school.

I feel very privileged to work with such a committed and able Governing Body. They offer the school support and challenge in equal measure as we strive towards our shared vision of making Billingshurst Primary School excellent in the view of the parents, children, staff and whole community, as well as that of Ofsted.

Mrs Rebecca Hatrick

I joined Billingshurst Primary School in 2015 and became a staff governor in 2019.

I am passionate about education and love being part of a team of teachers who believe in providing a creative and inspiring environment in which all children learn and develop .

Ms Sara Longley

I have been a senior leader at the Department for Education since 2003 and previously held senior positions across government. Before becoming a civil servant, I pursued a legal career as a commercial solicitor.

I am passionate about driving educational performance alongside ensuring that no child falls through the gap and want to utilise my education experience to help Billingshurst Primary School (BPS) strive to become the best it can for its pupils, teachers and parents.

I live locally and my son is at college studying his A levels. When my son was at school he was diagnosed with dyslexia and I became a champion of neurodivergence and SEND children – I see this as one of my main priorities at BPS. I will also utilise my skills and experience to support the school with strategic planning, vision, risk and assurance management.

I’m really looking forward to being a co-opted governor and supporting the governance of the school.

Ms Kate Kulka

I am delighted to have been appointed as a new governor to Billingshurst Primary School this year. My husband and I moved to Billingshurst just over a year ago and became parents for the first time in May 2020, so are very keen to develop links with our new local community and serve it in any way we can.

I began my professional life as a Primary School Teacher in Surrey, specialising in developmental literacy, leading Key Stage 1 and as lead mentor for student teachers and NQTs. Whilst teaching, I worked very closely with our governors which gave me an understanding and respect for the role of the governing body, which I hope to put to good use at BPS.

I also worked for Mencap, running leisure groups for young people with a range of disabilities and I now manage learning programmes in museums, galleries and historic houses in London - both roles which I feel have helped me to be a passionate advocate for children’s wellbeing and academic development. I am looking forward to being part of the team at BPS and continuing to strive for excellence for their pupils.

Mrs Stephanie Roberts-Bibby

I am a new addition to the board of governors. I applied for the role as I want to do more to help and support my local community, especially children. It was my desire to make a difference that resulted in me joining the prison service 23 years ago. My adult working life has been in the criminal justice system leading in prisons until my current role at the Youth Justice Board. I currently oversee the operational work that the Youth Justice Board delivers, as well as the running of the organisation as an Arm’s Length Body.

I love being able to have a positive impact on people and helping them grow. I come from a large loving family, I’m married to Jon and we have a daughter – Harriet and have lived in Billingshurst since 2015. I love holidays, food, especially cake, running and knitting.