Robertsbridge Community College

Governing Body

Introduction to governance at the College

Schools are only as good as the people who work in them. Ultimately, school improvement takes place on a teacher-by-teacher or classroom- by-classroom basis, underpinned by strong collaboration. Our goal is for every pupil in the College to be taught by an expert teacher, with strong pedagogical content knowledge and understanding of how children learn, who belongs to a profession that continually builds its collective expertise.

First and foremost, the role of the governors is to support the College leadership team to create the conditions in which teachers can flourish and pupils can succeed. The College should be a learning organisation where professional development and continuous improvement is the norm. This requires a supportive, professional culture; clarity    in the expectations of what great looks like; effective support and mentoring; and sustained leadership commitment. The governors want to support the headteacher to assert their role as a leader of learning, ensuring a positive culture exists within the College and, critically, to have the courage of their conviction when confronted with external pressures or faced with shifting goalposts in an ever-changing educational landscape.

We believe that sustainable and profound school improvement takes time, delivered through small incremental changes at the classroom level. We see school improvement as a continuous journey, not a destination to be reached. All too often, school improvement has been defined by the school’s journey through the Ofsted grading structure. A school is seen to have improved when it moves from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ then finally ‘outstanding’. Our ambition is greater than this – that the College continues to get better, improving on its previous ‘best’. We define the most successful school as one that is the best at getting better.

We see school improvement as a collaborative, collective endeavour, within the College and between schools - collaboration enriches teachers’ learning and spreads expertise so that all children can benefit. We seek to foster a strong sense of place among teachers and leaders at the College so that it is a place where everyone believes in, and acts out, their responsibility to the pupils in the College.

Our key focus areas as governors can best be described as supporting the Headteacher to:

  • Ensure that teachers thrive
  • Empower and develop leaders at all levels in the organisation
  • Engender collaboration and collective responsibility
  • Harness the power of external partnerships and support
  • Ensure equity and excellence

The role of our governors

We see governance at Robertsbridge as being strategic and we do not micro-manage leaders within the organisation. The purpose of governance is to provide confident, strategic leadership and to create robust accountability, oversight, and assurance for educational and financial performance. The board therefore has three strategic core functions: 

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos, and strategic direction
  • holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the organisation/school and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation/school and making sure its money is well spent.

The board has resolved to conduct all its business as a board, and to work collectively without committees. The board will appoint the DfE identified individual delegated governor roles of safeguarding; special educational needs and disability (SEND); careers guidance; finance; and health and safety to report back on their findings, as well as, delegated monitoring pairs to focus and report back, in replacement of a committee, on the school improvement priorities.

The governing board concentrates on matters related to strategy and school improvement, delegating to school leaders those tasks which are operational (for example, drafting policies, making judgements about teaching quality, and recruiting and deploying staff below senior leadership level).

The governing board works collectively as a whole team, meeting an average of six times per year, usually once in each term, without any separate committees. An annual planner and agenda for each meeting includes all the tasks which the board is required to consider. The board may also commission assignments or activities arising from the business of the meeting, which will be recorded in the minutes. Any commissioned working groups will have board drafted agreed terms of reference and will report any findings, actions, or recommended decisions to the board at its next meeting. These reports will in turn inform collective strategic decision making by the board.

Monitoring groups

To ensure its core functions are fulfilled, the board will delegate monitoring responsibilities to monitoring groups, comprised of trios, pairs or, in rare cases, individuals. The board recognises the delegated monitoring groups are replacing committees in terms of challenge, responsibility and accountability when undertaking their monitoring and reporting back to the board.

The board recognises that all decisions are made by the full board and no financial delegated authority is given to monitoring groups. Meetings of the board and delegated groups will be considerate of the well-being of staff and Headteacher by referring to the DfE teacher workload reduction toolkit. 

In each case where a function has been delegated there is an expectation that the delegated monitoring groups will report, by written monitoring reports, any findings, actions or recommended decisions to the board in time for its next meeting to enable informed collective strategic decision making. It is expected that three monitoring visits will be made during the academic year by each monitoring group, unless College circumstances necessitate more. Not all visits necessarily have to take place during the time when students are in College and could be just as effective as a meeting between governors and the lead professional at the end of the day as mutually agreed. Governors will follow DfE and NGA guidance in relation to performing their monitoring roles. This may include the need to consider monitoring virtually.

The board, through its monitoring groups, will focus on high-level strategy outcomes and will therefore gather evidence from a range of sources. Monitoring visits provide the greatest evidence base for the governing board, and outcomes can be divided in three broad categories. These categories provide some basic terms of reference for the monitoring groups, and more information can be found in our Governor Monitoring Policy Statement:

  • Outcomes that relate to the curriculum, teaching and learning
  • Outcomes that relate to the learning environment and student welfare
  • Outcomes that relate to staffing and resources

Governor Monitoring Policy Statement 2021 2022.pdf

Governing Body Constitution 



Term Start

Term End

Local Authority

Kathy Robinson




Karen Marr







Jess Wilks

Co Vice-Chair






Jenny Barrett

Co Vice-Chair






Stephen King




Sophie Stuchbury

19/01/2021 18/01/2025


Lewis Clift




Melanie Powell




Mark Charlesworth




Alexander Church



Ex Officio

Zak Vice








 About Our Governors

Karen MARR (Co-opted)

Term of office: 01/09/13 - 31/08/25
Chair of Governors 
Term of Office: 21/09/2021 - 20/09/2022

Karen is an NGA consultant, and undertakes external reviews of governance for NGA Consultancy, delivers sessions for NGA Training, and facilitates on the NGA Leading Governance development programmes for chairs.

Karen is the owner of a business specialising financial control for SMEs established in 2001. Karen is an accredited weight-loss consultant. Prior to this she was involved in finance with several London hotels. Karen has been a governor for 13 years in both primary and secondary settings.

Karen has chaired a maintained secondary school since 2015 and is a trustee of a secondary academy. Karen also chairs the East Sussex Governor’s Forum and leads on networking. Karen is a National Leader of Governance and works with chairs of governors and governing boards to develop their governance practice.

Karen is a Link Governor for Safeguarding & Finance

Kathy ROBINSON (Local Authority)
Term of Office: 15/12/2019 - 14/12/2023

Kathy worked in Psychiatry and Neurology for 25 years developing investigative techniques to aid diagnosis. She then moved to the Open University where she was involved in the development and implementation of digital technologies to benefit students. Her research during this period focused on the socio-emotional experience of students when all interactions with resources, teachers and other students is remote and mediated by technology. It can be viewed at and

Since retirement she has continued to review research submissions for a range of bodies and journals and as a strong believer in the value of lifelong learning and crossing curricular boundaries she has recently completed an MA in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Kathy is a  passionate advocate for sustainable living, her house is covered in solar tubes, panels or sedum and she has grown a wide selection of fruit and vegetables organically for over 40 years. Kathy cycles or walks, or both, on most days and read widely and avidly.

Kathy shares responsibility for monitoring Teaching and Learning including disadvantaged students Pupil Premium (PP).

Stephen KING (Co-opted)
Term of Office: 25/02/2020 - 24/02/2024

Stephen is an Education and Business Consultant. Prior to this he held a number of senior management positions in Further Educational Colleges and a Local Enterprise Company.

Stephen is a Governor at St Thomas’ Church of England Aided Primary School, Winchelsea, a Non-Executive Director of the Lottery and Retail Board of a local hospice, Treasurer of the Friends of Winchelsea Church and the Enterprise Advisor for Bexhill College.

In his spare time Stephen enjoys swimming, watching rugby and walking his Cocker Spaniel.

Stephen is the governor responsible for the monitoring of Careers, Finance and Health & Safety.

Jess WILKS (Co-opted)
Term of office: 16/06/21 - 15/06/25
Co Vice-Chair
Term of Office: 21/09/2021- 20/09/2022

Jess manages projects within a large multi academy trust based in the south east working closely with schools to ensure compliance, helping with expansion projects and advising on legal process. She is currently project managing the building of a SEND free school within the Trust. Previously, Jess was Regional Governance Officer for Ark Schools in Hastings which involved overseeing all aspects of governance including; compliance, governor recruitment and developing effective governance practices. 

Jess is passionate about education and improving the life chances of all young people and has seen the impact that great teaching can have and strongly believes that governance is the cornerstone to support schools to develop happy, safe and fulfilled children. 

Jess shares responsibility for monitoring Teaching and Learning including disadvantaged students and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

Alexander CHURCH (Parent)
Term of Office: 07/10/2021 - 06/10/2025

Alexander is an information management consultant working with clients across government, private, charity sectors. 

He has lived in Robertsbridge for over 12 years and is involved in local activities including Treasurer for Robertsbridge United Junior Football Club and being part of the local Bridgemen choir. He also helped develop the Salehurst and Robertsbridge Neighbourhood Plan with the Parish Council. 

He became a Parent Governor as he appreciates that a strong and stable school plays a major part in children’s ability to thrive and enjoy their education, and he wanted play a role in helping RCC continue to be such a place. 

Jenny BARRETT (Co-Opted Governor)
Term of Office: 17/11/2017 - 16/11/2021
Term of office: 21/09/21 - 20/09/22

Jenny is a marketing specialist working for the last 30 years predominantly in financial services and fintech.

 Very much village-focused, she has a life-long love of the arts in all its forms and is passionate about making it accessible to local audiences. She has spent time on the committee of the Robertsbridge Arts Partnership, helps to promote the Robertsbridge Jazz Club and is a member of Rococo, the Robertsbridge Community Choir.

In her spare time Jenny is part of Little Roc, an a cappella folk trio who weave close harmony with crystal clear unison to create a sound that is both rich and heartfelt with a touch of bluegrass.

Jenny shares responsibility for monitoring Teaching and Learning including disadvantaged students (Pupil Premium (PP).

Mark CHARLESWORTH (Parent Governor)
Term of Office: 21/04/2020 - 20/04/2024

Mark lives locally with his wife and children. He’s worked in IT for over 25 years and most recently as an IT Risk & Security Manager. He still enjoys computers in his spare time as well as trips to the theatre.

Mark has had previous experience as a Parent Governor at a local primary school. When Mark first visited RCC he was impressed with the community feel of the College, as well as the commitment to the Arts and the breadth of subjects available to students. This made him keen to become a Parent Governor, alongside Jenny Barrett, and use his skills to help with the continued development of this excellent school.

Mark is a Link Governor for Health & Safety and Finance.

Sophie STUCHBURY(Co-opted)
Term of Office: 19/01/2021 - 18/01/2025

Sophie had a 21 year career in nursing including time in management and practice development roles. On leaving her role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist Sophie retrained in Complementary Therapies. She now runs her own small business and works part time as a therapist for The Sara Lee Trust, a local charity offering complementary therapies and counselling to people with life limiting illnesses and their families. Sophie continues to maintain her nursing registration and has been working to support the NHS during the pandemic. She is passionate about learning, development and addressing mental health stigma. 

Sophie lives in Hastings with her family, and her daughter attends the college. She loves being outside specially to exercise, hike and garden; when forced indoors she enjoys reading, music and crafts.  

Sophie is a Link Governor for Safeguarding.

Melanie POWELL (Co-opted)
Term of Office: 19/01/2021 -18/01/2024

Melanie works for the District Council as the Regeneration Officer, working with businesses and community networks developing and delivering projects with a focus on economic, environmental and social prosperity.  Previously as Cultural Development Officer the strategy was around cultural regeneration as a social and economic enabler and the focus on cultural regeneration remains. 

A founder member and Chair of the Board of Trustees on the The Hastings & Rother Arts Education Partnership which networks teachers, artists and cultural organisations bringing them into closer partnerships to deliver quality cultural opportunities for young people in the area. The network established in 2013 and receiving charity status in 2018 seeks to help redress diminishing cultural resources in schools. 

 A Fellow of the RSA enriching society through ideas and action, and part of the RSA evidence champions network working with Arts Council Bridge Organisations to champion the role of evidence and evaluation in improving the quality and impact of  cultural projects.

 Previously Chair of Governors at Salehurst CofE Primary School.

 Melanie is a Link Governor for SEND.

Lewis CLIFT (Co-Opted)
Term of Office: 21/03/22 - 20/03/26

Lewis is an education consultant working with a leading education charity. After a fifteen year teaching career in Devon and South London, progressing from PE teacher to Deputy Head, Lewis moved in to teacher development and school leadership support with Teach First. He currently works across the suite of programmes offered to trainees and school leaders, supporting schools in South London.

Lewis is a keen sportsman and runner. In his spare time he coaches his two sons' cricket teams in the local area, as well as being a keen supported of Cranbrook RFC.

Governor Vacancies

Governor vacancies within the college are listed on this page when they become available. 

Job Description and Eligibility for College Governor

For further details please contact Karen Marr at: or read the article below.

Could you be a school Governor?

Governor Activities

 Website Compliance Audit - June 2020

Contact Our Chair of Governors or Clerk to the Governors

If you would like to know more please contact the Chair, Karen Marr at or the Clerk, Gaynor Leeves at

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