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Governor Profiles

Barbara Swann, Head Teacher

I have been at Benington School since September 2017, when I was new to headship. Having come from another small village school, and spent about sixteen years in these settings, I felt that I understood what was important and understood the challenges as well as the many positives.

Before this, I worked in a number of commercial settings and much of this in an investment bank in London and this has given me different perspectives in life.
Benington School strives to make a real difference to children’s life chances and it does this in partnership with parents. My initial link with Benington School was as part of their LPPA award. As the school was working towards this award, I teamed up with Mrs Stevens (my predecessor) and delivered sessions to parents to help them support their children. Benington School achieved the LPPA award, and continues to work closely with parents to help children achieve their full potential.

I want to ensure that we are always doing our best for the lovely young people in our care. We will achieve this through working as a team, involving parents, living our values, supporting our community both locally and nationally and developing our links globally. All of this is underpinned by our Christian ethos, while understanding and celebrating the diversity of other faiths and cultures.

Improving our school is always on the agenda, and very recently we had a new outside area built for EYFS. Seeing the effect that this has had on children’s learning and enjoyment reinforces the importance of this.
I have really felt supported by this small and friendly school’s staff, parents, children and governors. There is a real sense of family here.

I feel very proud to be headteacher.

Anja Webb-Ingall, Deputy Headteacher

My name is Anja Tyler. I joined Benington School in 2001 as a Year One/Two teacher. I became a senior teacher and staff governor two years later. I now teach Year Three/Four. I became Deputy Head  in 2013. In 2016 I completed my SENCo qualification. I am now subject lead for computing, RE and SENCo.

I have watched Benington School blossom, from having only 60 children on roll, to having over 100. I am passionate about our school and continuing to drive it forward.

Carolyn Godlee

I became a Foundation Governor in 2019, having previously enjoyed a career in education, latterly as Headteacher of a primary school in North Herts. I currently work as a director of three companies, two being medical and one in hospitality.   I have lived in Benington for 16 years and love the village and the community. 

I have four children, all of whom have now progressed through university to various careers, meaning that I have time to devote to being a governor which is something I’ve always wanted to do.  St Peter’s is a lovely school and I feel privileged to be involved in its future development.

Dennis Preston

I was recently appointed to the Governing Board and am a member of the Resources Committee. Since September 2017 I have also worked as a volunteer teaching assistant at Benington and have got to know the school, staff and pupils really well.

My business background is in financial services and I still run my own consultancy providing services to large organisations and 1-1 coaching for senior executives. I also volunteer at Oxfam bookshop in Hertford where I look after the donations and sales of vinyl records and at Hertford museum where I am also a patron. I support another very special school in the tea gardens of Darjeeling, India and am currently helping to build a strong friendship link between the two schools. Born in Leeds, I have lived in Hertford for over 35 years. I have one son who is a professional journalist and lives in London. We both enjoy football and watch games together whenever we can.

Joanne Jacques

I was nominated in my capacity of Parish Councillor in Benington to represent the PC on the School Governing Board in September 2015. Whilst I am not an official Parent Governor, I am indeed a parent of a daughter who attends the school.
I have a mixed background of expertise. Whilst I have many connections in the village through the PC, I also have over 15 years experience of volunteering in the Children’s sector.

Through my involvement with The Scout Association I have a good understanding of Safeguarding and Risk Assessment and also that of collaborating with a number of Stakeholders at all levels. I currently run my own business from home but prior to that have worked in the Utilities and Scientific Investigation industries. My husband Guy is also involved with the school as a FOBS committee member and we both are actively supporting fundraising activities. In my spare time, (what little I have) I enjoy cooking, particularly baking and catching up with my friends and family.

Lauren Thomas

I have been a parent governor at Benington school since October 2017 and have a special interest in all things curriculum based including the promotion of aspirations and challenge. I am an associate headteacher at a secondary school and try to use my experiences in education to contribute a useful perspective to the governing body. Outside of that I am a local resident in Benington and have two daughters at the school.

We absolutely love Benington and the girls are very lucky to go to such a caring and vibrant school with hugely talented and committed staff.  I spend most of my spare time enjoying family life and keeping the girls entertained. I love cooking, gardening and all things literary – you might spot me reading a book in the sun with my cat if I can find the time!

Louise Beckham

I am honoured to have joined the school as a Foundation Governor in March 2018. Previously, I was a Benington parent, as both my children attended the school, and I’ve also taught French here. I’m a regular member of the congregation at St. Peter’s church, Benington.

I have been a secondary school teacher of German and French for 30 years, and I’m currently Head of German at a Christian Faith School in London. I hope to use this experience to support the children, staff and Governors at the school in all aspects of school life, but especially to support and encourage the school with its Christian ethos.

Peter Kingsnorth

I have lived in Benington since 1990 and have always been involved in aspects of the local community and I regard the school as a key part of the village. I live next door to the school in the house where the head teachers lived from 1872 until the late 1970s, but I’m sure this was not a factor when I was asked to become a governor in 2002!

My career background is primarily in marketing and I have used my experience to help raise the profile of the school and to improve communications with parents and the local community. My business background has also been of use in the administrative and financial aspects of the school. I have some experience with IT and have been the link governor for ICT. I created the school’s first website and still help with the maintenance of the current site.

Sharon Gibson

A Parent Governor since October 2016, I am also Mum to two girls currently in KS1 and KS2 at Benington.

Since taking up the role, I have also become the Safeguarding Link Governor and sit on the Curriculum and Standards Committee. Education and Safeguarding in particular are huge areas to learn about and this role has provided me with opportunities to undertake specialised training and to spend time in school learning and evaluating what goes on.

Outside of this, I work as a Secretary/PA for a local, family-run property development company where I have been for over 15 years and prior to that worked in a similar role within various departments at Marks & Spencer Head Office in London.

I value this opportunity of working alongside a great team and to realise how passionate and hard-working all the staff are, both teaching and non-teaching. Together, we are all playing a vital role in making Benington the best it can be for all of our children.