[Skip to Content]

Outstanding Governors Add to Expertise


At a time when the effectiveness and expertise of school governors in the state sector are being examined, one independent school in Kent has announced the appointment of four new Governors. Sutton Valence School, near Maidstone, has invited four very diverse people to join the already talented and broadly-experienced Governing Body, which was commended as Outstanding in the last ISI inspection.

Said Bruce Grindlay, Headmaster, We are extremely fortunate to be working with committed governors, who voluntarily give up their time to share their not-inconsiderable expertise, help shape the Schools strategy and oversee the running of what is not only a fine educational institution, but also a considerable business. We are able to call upon a range of valuable skills to help inform our decisions and our new governors will add to that capability.

As a member of the United Westminster Schools Foundation, Sutton Valence School already had an association with Westminster Abbey, so was delighted when The Very Reverend Dr John R Hall, Dean of Westminster, agreed to join Sutton Valence. Chairman of governors of Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School, he has been involved in education since 1992, when he was Diocesan Director of Education in Blackburn. From 1998, he was the Church of Englands Chief Education Officer, with overall responsibility for the Churchs strategy, policy and practice in relation to schools. Having been a governor in some ten schools, he has a deep understanding of the education and nurture of children and young people and has written widely and debated publicly on educational matters.

Gillian Swaine is a senior education professional with 35 years experience of teaching and school management in prestigious, private, senior schools. A passionate mathematician, she has an exceptional record and is an experienced academic mentor with an international reputation for guiding pupils to premier university entrance. Not only is she an experienced school governor and a trained and active ISI inspector, but Gillian is also highly-skilled in whole school curriculum development, staff development and appraisal, timetabling and national and international school marketing.

Dr Mike Walker was brought up in Essex, attending Colchester Royal Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He undertook a PhD at Cambridge in Social History, and taught at Dulwich College, Gresham School, and for a long period at Kind Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford Essex, where he was Headteacher from 1999 - 2008. During that time, amongst other accolades, he led the School to two Outstanding inspections, topping the A Level league tables nationally, and achieving Leading Edge Status as A Research Engaged Learning Community.

Mike has also undertaken considerable work at national level with several bodies, shaping education strategy and thinking. He is a Governor of two schools and since 2008 he has been Headmaster of Felsted School, which he has also led to an Outstanding inspection outcome, membership of the Round Square, and grown the School significantly in the last four years. Mike is passionate about young peoples life chances and raising their expectations, as well as holistic education, tackling every aspect of an individuals development.

The School benefited for 16 years from the expertise and diligence of Andrew Hutchinson, as Bursar of the School from 1995 until he retired in 2011. Having graduated from Churchill College, Cambridge with an Engineering degree he took articles with Peat Marwick Mitchell (later KPMG) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He later became a partner in KPMG, spending a further seven years with the firm in Kent, before joining Sutton Valence.

In Dr Walker, Gill Swaine, Andrew Hutchinson and The Very Reverend Dr Hall, we have, said Bryan Baughan, Chairman of Governors, four distinguished figures in their respective fields. They bring a range of talent and expertise to augment an already outstanding Governing Body. Running a school requires not only a deep understanding of education, young people and their development and care, but also encompasses the management and growth of staff, buildings and estate management and astute financial planning.

The Governors are proud of Sutton Valence School and what it achieves for its pupils and I am confident that our skills and vitality will continue to support that community as it moves forward to even greater success.

Published: March 11 2013

[Back To Top]