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Senior Staff and Governors

Headteacher Mr Deighan with school badge winners

Who's who at Varndean School?

Senior Leadership Team 

The Senior Leadership Team comprises the following staff:
William Deighan Headteacher
Simon Davies Deputy Headteacher
Jo Meloni Deputy Headteacher
Mark Sorrell Deputy Headteacher
Judith Ford Associate Assistant Headteacher
Jasmine Marshall-Fraser Associate Assistant Headteacher
Andy Roberts Associate Assistant Headteacher
Katie Wood Associate Assistant Headteacher
Hilary Goldsmith Director of Finance and Operations

For a full list of staff and their contact details please see the complete staff list.

Please also see the senior line management structure and areas of responsibility

Governors 

Governing Body 2016/17

Since becoming involved with Varndean, I've found it to be a truly unique school within Brighton - offering our students hugely diverse and exciting learning and extra curricular opportunities, whilst maintaining a sense of community and belonging typically associated with much smaller schools. Our governors are passionate about working in partnership with the headteacher and his team to ensure all our students enjoy their education at Varndean and realise their full potential in their future lives.

Alex Marsh, Chair of Governors

Julian Benkel

Vice Chair of Governors

First Appointed as Community Governor on 5th April 2004, currently Co-opted

Responsible Area - Buildings and PFI Contract, Governor recruitment and development

Appointed by the Governing Body

Oliver Cattermole

Appointed as Co-opted Governor on 6th January 2014

Responsible Area - SEND

Appointed by the Governing Body

 

 

 

Jon Dee

First Appointed as Community Governor on 2nd October 2005 currently a Co-opted Governor

Responsible Areas - School Improvement Strategy, performance, pay and staffing, special educational needs

Appointed by the Governing Body

William Deighan

Nominations Committee Member

Ex Officio Governor since 1st January 2009

Responsible Area - School Operation

Ex Officio

Judith Ford

Elected as Staff Governor on 10th March 2015

Responsible Area - Stakeholder Engagement 

Appointed by staff

 

 

 

Giovanni Franceschi

 

Appointed as Local Authority Governor on 15th September 2014

 

 

Nominated by the Local Authority and appointed by the Governing Body
Di Francombe

Appointed as Co-opted Governor on 21st September 2016

Responsible Area - Safeguarding and Behaviour

Appointed by the Governing Body

 

 

 

 

Alex Marsh

Chair of Governors

Appointed as Co-opted Governor on 25th April 2016

Responsible Area - School Budget

Appointed by the Governing Body

Rob Reed

Appointed as Co-opted Governor on 17th March 2016

Responsible Area - Student Progress Data

Appointed by the Governing Body

Ian Rodgers

Appointed as Co-opted Governor on 1st December 2016

Responsible Area - Health & Safety

Appointed by the Governing Body
Emma Warde-Robinson

Appointed as Parent Governor on 24th March 2017

Responsible Area - Equalities

Elected by the Parent Body

Teresa Dee

Appointed as Clerk to Governors 1st September 2008

Responsible Area - Governance procedure and compliance

To contact Governors please email:

teresadee@varndean.co.uk

 

 

Governors' Personal Statements

Julian Benkel

I have been connected to the school since 1995, having seen three of my children pass through Varndean, and I am currently serving my third term as a Governor. By profession I am a chartered accountant with specific responsibilities for compliance and corporate governance for a national provider and operator of university student accommodation.  I therefore bring experiences as a parent and as businessman to the governing body.

As well as being a keen follower of Brighton and Hove Albion, I have a young family and found enough time to also be the Treasurer of St Andrews’ (Old Church), Hove.

 

Oliver Cattermole

I applied to be a school governor for the opportunity to become more involved in my local community and make a contribution to the life of a school and the education it provides to local children. I hope to be able to bring experience of working in complex environments, dealing with policy, building relationships with stakeholders, and helping organisations make and communicate their decisions. As a parent of two school age children I am interested in how schools can ensure equality of opportunity for all their pupils while supporting them to achieve as much as they can. I am also keen to support the school in its work to prepare pupils for adult life, at a time when fewer resources are available. I enjoy working as part of a team with people of all backgrounds and as a governor it is a privilege to work in an area where there is such potential to make a positive difference to children's experiences and futures.

 

Jon Dee

I have been a governor at the school for almost 10 years now.  Having previously been the vice chair for several years and chair of the resources committee for 6 years, I was thrilled to be elected as the Chair of Governors in 2013. I am a Director within BDO a leading accountancy firm and a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 25 years’ experience in providing assurance and consultancy services across both the public and private sectors. I also have considerable experience in the voluntary sector. I am also a trustee and the Treasurer of a national charity, chairing its Finance and Investment Committees.

Giovanni Franceschi

I have worked for Brighton & Hove Schools since 1998. I have been a deputy head and head of three junior schools during that period. I have been a Local Leader in Education working alongside colleagues in other schools in need of additional support. As a deputy and a head teacher, I have been a governor for the last 16 years and I fully aware of the importance that governors can have on the strategic direction of a school and the ultimate positive impact on pupils’ educational experience.

I continue to enjoy the role and am looking forward to being more involved in the secondary sector as this will give me further insight as to how pupils progress after leaving primary.

 

Alex Marsh

My wife and I both grew up in Brighton and after spending over 10 years in London, have recently returned to Brighton with our two young children to be closer to our families. As part of this move I was keen to get actively involved in our local community and in particular education, which has been a long-standing passion of mine influenced by my own state school experience. I feel very fortunate to have been appointed a co-opted governor of Varndean School in April 2016 - with the aim to work collaboratively with the other members of the Governing Body and the School Senior Leadership Team, towards raising the standards of education for all children, including the most and least able. By profession, I am the Managing Director of a Retail Finance business within Close Brothers Group having trained as a Chartered Accountant, with extensive experience of delivering business transformation, financial performance oversight and improving employee engagement. I also volunteer for a number of initiatives that encourage business links with schools to provide young people with inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities to help achieve their potential.

Ian Rodgers

Having recently retired from a lifetime of commuting, I applied to become a governor as a way of getting more closely involved in my community, and to give something back to that community now that I have time on my hands.  I live close to Varndean, and have done for over 35 years.

For the last ten years of my career I ran a national membership-based organisation.  Amongst other things, this gave me extensive expertise in stakeholder engagement, governance and government & media relations, as well as general management.  I was also a non-executive director of a number of not-for-profit companies, a role very similar to that of a school governor.

While I have no direct experience of the education sector (other than as a father), I am a passionate believer in a well-rounded state education as a means of improving the quality of life for all, and my hope is that, using my past skills, I will be able to assist with the continuing improvement in Varndean’s attainment levels and the quality of the students’ experience.  

Past Governors

The following have served as Governors at Varndean School in the past 12 months.

Jess Morris - Parent Governor elected by parents. Term of office expired on  8th March 2017

Richard Lumley - Co-opted Governor appointed by the Governing Body and stepped down 1st July 2016.

Maggie Barradell - Parent Governor elected by parents and stepped down 31st August 2016.

Varndean School Governing Body Declarations of Interest 2016/17

Name of Governor Name of Business/organisation Nature of business

Nature of interest 

Julian Benkel

UPP Group Ltd & Associated Companies

University Accommodation Management

Group Director, Compliance and Company Secretary

 

St Andrew (Old Church) Hove

Charity

Treasurer

Oliver Cattermole

College of Policing

Professional Body

Employee

Jon Dee

BDO LLP

Accountancy Firm

Employee - Director

 

Hospitality Action

Charity

Trustee

 

Varndean School Development Trust Fund

Charity

Trustee

 

IIA

Professional Body

Member

 

HOSPA

Professional Body

Member

 

ICAEW

Professional Body

Member

 

Varndean School

School

Partner of staff member

William Deighan

Varndean School

School

Headteacher

 

Varndean Trust

Charity

Trustee

 

NUT

Trade union

Member

 

ASCL

Trade union

Member

  Sound City Charity Chair

Judith Ford

Varndean School

School

Employee- teacher

Giovanni Franceschi

Downs Junior School

School

Employee - Headteacher

 

NAHT

Professional Body

Member

 

Downs Junior School

School

Governor

Di Francombe

East Sussex County Council

Local Authority

Employee - Manager

 

Until 1/4/17

 

Meridian Primary School

School

Governor

Alex Marsh Close Brothers Banking Group Employee - Managing Director
  Stagpad Limited Company Director
  Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland Professional Body Member

Jess Morris

Community CAMHS

Local Authority Team

Employee

 

Varndean School

School

Parent of student

Rob Reed

Hove Park School

School

Employee- Headteacher

Until end Spring 2017

  Hove Park School School

Governor

Until end Spring 2017

  Aldridge Education Multi Academy Trust Executive Headteacher
Emma Warde-Robinson Independent Consultant    
  Stannford Infant School School Governor

 

 

Governance Structure

Governance Structure

 

Governor Meeting Attendance During Academic Year 2015/16

 

Governor

Attended

%   Attended

Date stepped down

Maggie Barradell

3

75%

31st August 2016

Julian Benkel

3

75%

N/A

Oliver Cattermole

4

100%

N/A

Jon Dee

3

75%

N/A

William Deighan

4

100%

N/A

Judith Ford

4

100%

N/A

Giovanni Franceschi

3

75%

N/A

Alex Marsh 1 100% N/A

Richard Lumley

0

0%

1st July 2016

Jess Morris

4

80%

N/A

Rob Reed 2 100% N/A

All Governors

30

75%

 

Governing Body Core Meetings 
 

Meeting Dates

School Improvement Focus for Meeting

21st September 2016

Outcomes for Students

1st December 2016

Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

23rd February 2017

Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

18th May 2017

Leadership & Management

Thinking of Becoming a Governor?
 

Categories of Governors

Parent Governors

Parents including carers of pupils are eligible to stand for election as governors. Other parents at the school elect parent governors. If insufficient parents stand for election the governing body may appoint parent governors. There are two positions for elected parent governors at Varndean School.

Staff Governors

William Deighan the Headteacher is a staff governor by virtue of his office. Other staff both teaching and support may become a staff governor as long as they are paid (volunteers do not qualify). The school staff elects one staff governor to the Governing Body.

Local Authority Governors

The Local Authority appoint highly skilled and experienced governors to schools to provide support to schools irrespective of any political affiliation or preference. The Local Authority recommend appointment of one Local Authority to the Governing Body.

Co-opted Governors

The Full Governing Body appoint a number of governors based on the skills and experience that they can bring to support Varndean School.

If you are interested in becoming a Governor at Varndean please contact the Clerk to the Governors at teresadee@varndean.co.uk.

Why become a governor?

  • You care about the education children receive
  • You want to make an important contribution to your local community
  • You enjoy a challenging and rewarding role
  • You are keen to help all children do better at school
  • You want to help strengthen the link between schools and the communities.

What do governors do? 

Governing Body Core Functions

Extract from Governors Handbook January 2015

“The Department of Education has high expectations of governing bodies. They are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. For maintained schools this is reflected in law, which states that the purpose of maintained school governing bodies is to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement for all.

In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of all staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent."

Governors play an important part in overseeing the running of the school in the interests of the community it serves. Individual governors have no power or responsibility. It is only the Full Governing Body, which has legal duties and powers. All governors share in that corporate responsibility.

The day-to-day management of the school is the responsibility of the Headteacher and staff.

Governors govern rather than manage.

They are there to give direction and focus by performing a vital strategic role. Governors work with the Headteacher making decisions about:

  • Standards – ensuring a strategic and systematic approach to promoting high standards of educational achievement.
  • Curriculum – ensuring that the curriculum is balanced and broadly based, and that the National Curriculum is taught.
  • Policies – deciding how, in broad strategic terms the school should be run.
  • Finance – determining how to spend the budget allocated to the school.
  • Staffing – deciding the number of staff, the pay policy and making decisions on staff pay.
  • Appointments – appointing the Headteacher and assisting with the appointment of Deputy Headteachers and other senior staff.
  • Discipline – agreeing procedures for staff and student conduct and discipline. 

Term of office

The usual term of office is four years. However, governors are volunteers who can leave at any time and can similarly be re-appointed or re-elected.

If you are interested in becoming a Governor at Varndean please contact the Clerk to Governors: teresadee@varndean.co.uk 

Minutes of Governors Meetings and Other Useful Information