Benefactorum Recordatio Jucundissima Est

Things done well make the best memories

Sir Norton Knatchbull - 1637


Message from the Governors, April 2023

​​As we reach the end of term, it is worth pondering what governors have been doing since the last newsletter at Christmas.   

​We have continued to meet both as the full board and in committees and have spent time looking at staff wellbeing and further ways that we can continue to offer an excellent work environment for all staff. 

​We have also been in receipt of student questionnaires regarding diversity and have noted the excellent work the school continues to do around the theme of ‘how we treat each other’.    

​The Education Committee has focused on the Curriculum Review taking place across all subjects and governors have now started working with individual SLT to monitor progress with curriculum handbooks.  Alongside this the committee has also been considering the results from year 11 and 13 exams and noting the plans to enable all students to achieve their very best in the summer exams.  

​We welcomed two new parent governors on the Education Committee this term, Charlotte Burke & Salena Hirons, both of whom have been able to get up and running very quickly because of previous/current school experience.  

​The Finance Committee continues to keep close tabs on the money and best value expenditure and have reviewed plans to start upgrading both Science labs and toilet blocks by the end of the academic year.  

​After four years of service Will Trafford has stepped down as teaching staff governor. We would like to thank him very much for all his time and commitment and, in particular, for some very insightful questioning in meetings.  Marianne Highwood has agreed to continue for a second term, for which we are really grateful as Marianne brings tremendous experience in Higher Education. Following a closely fought election we welcome Beth Rowlands as the new staff governor.  We also welcome James Dearden who was appointed Community Governor.  They bring different skills and experiences and we look forward to working with them both.  

​The Governors School Lunch project has continued, and four sessions have now taken place across year 7-8 and 11-13. Governors have really valued the time spent with students and have gained valuable insight into their views on school life.  The project has also helped with the aim of raising Governors’ profile within the school and has given students the opportunity, in some cases for the first time, to interact directly with Governors. We look forward to meeting with years 9 & 10 next term.​ 

Jane Burnett & Andrew Judd, Co-Chairs of Governors. 

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Governors can be contacted via Lena Seed by email: 

Jane Burnett - Co-Chair & Chair of Education Committee

Jane Burnett 

Co-Chair of Governors  

Chair of Education Committee  

Link Governor for Curriculum Development

A  geography graduate and  a trained teacher Jane spent 25 years in the teaching profession, culminating in headship. Following headship she set up her own education consultancy specialising in leadership development and school improvement.  

As a consultant Jane has worked for many different organisations including the DfE and the LSC. She is an accredited performance management consultant, executive leadership coach, and  following training as an OfSTED Inspector carried out many secondary inspections. Jane worked closely with many groups in the SE to develop regional and local school improvement. She has led many reviews of governance for Kent, East Sussex and Medway. 

Jane is now retired and spends time in several volunteer roles. She has been a governor for 20 years  in various schools in Kent and East Sussex. 

In her ‘spare’ time Jane and her husband farm a small herd of alpacas on the Kent /Sussex border 

Andrew Judd - Co-Chair and Safeguarding Link Governor 


Andrew Judd 

Co-Chair of Governors  

Safeguarding Link Governor  


Andrew Judd is a retired Kent Police Inspector. He spent most of his thirty years’ service in the Ashford area and worked mainly in the field of Neighbourhood Policing and Community Safety liaising with other local statutory partners on a regular basis. He remains with Kent Police as civilian employee and manages Neighbourhood Watch and Police Volunteers in East Kent. 

Andrew is now in his third year as a Parent Governor at the Norton Knatchbull School and is the lead Governor for Safeguarding. 

He is looking forward to working with Jane Burnett as co-chair for the Full Governing Board in the 2022-3 school year.  

A former Scout and Venture Scout Leader, Andrew is a keen model maker and war gamer as well as an avid reader of military history. 

Johnny Holland - Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee

Johnny Holland  

Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee 

Link Governor for GDPR 

Link Governor for Behaviour & Attendance

Johnny Holland has lived in Kent since the last century and became a community governor in 2015, serving on the Finance and General Purposes Committee ever since.   

Now semi-retired, he qualified as a chartered accountant and then as a chartered loss adjuster, working in London and throughout the world.  His experience has been in business, most specifically in the insurance world, and his hobbies include tennis, swimming, history and foreign languages. 

His interest in the school is focused on the administrative and operational needs of the school in delivering quality education daily throughout the year. 

Winston Michael - Chair of Personnel Committee


Winston Michael  

Chair of Personnel Committee 

Link Governor for Behaviour & Attendance

A retired businessman with 38 years management experience, and 45 years experience in designing and building business operating solutions through the use of technology. He is a Liveryman and Freeman of the City of London, and a Rotarian. At school, Winston was an accomplished sportsman, student and prefect.   

On obtaining O’ levels, Winston joined Lloyds of London finance department, becoming the youngest person to reach management in Lloyds 200 year history before making a career change to computing in 1963 eventually setting up a company in the City of London in 1972 to provide bespoke turnkey computer solutions to give access to computing to those that could not afford one.  

Winston was a pioneer in computer solutions and worked in Director roles across various IT companies ultimately delivering the first Grid computing solution in Europe for which he received an award.

In 2008 he retired, and having successfully fought inappropriate development where he lived, became an Ashford Borough Councilor and subsequently Mayor of Ashford in 2017, and he remains a Councillor today. Volunteering all his life for community service, he became a school Governor in 2013, and is now a Governor of three schools. His passion for helping young people to succeed saw him found the Kent Challenger Games in 2017, this takes place every two years and is aimed at young people that do not normally participate in outdoor activities due to personal circumstances. The Games see around 800 children from 55 schools participating and has proved to be a huge success with both schools and those that take part. His passion to reveal to young people their true inner strengths and adopt a respectful can do attitude will never cease as he sees the future lays with them. 

Daisy Butler-Gallie - Vice Chair of Education Committee 

Daisy Butler-Gallie  

Vice Chair of Education Committee

Link Governor for 6th form 


A history and politics graduate from the University of Oxford, Daisy began her career in management consulting. She was involved in large scale change management projects for public and private bodies including government departments, charities and corporates. She went on to work for a leading UK specialist operations consultancy, focused on operational improvement of public sector bodies in health and social care.  

Currently, Daisy works as the Head of UK Strategic Operations for a mental health telemedicine company, leading on defining operational strategy and implementing operational structures.  

Outside of work, Daisy is passionate about furthering social mobility as well as being a keen sports and theatre fan.  

Dhan Limbu - Community Governor


Dhan Limbu

Link Governor for Equality & Diversity 


Having served in the British Armed Forces for 20 years and achieved the rank of the Warrant Officer and Dhan retired from the Armed Forces in August 2003 and went onto work as a Security Supervisor and Manger with G4s followed by Self Employed as Director of the Gurkhas Enterprises Limited from 2004-2013 and the Director of Gurkhas Cooperative Limited.   

Dhan has been heavily involving in Community work particularly with Nepali Community, Ashford Borough Council, Ex Servicemen and Women including their families, BAME Community and gained huge connections and respects.  

Dhan represents the Sagarmatha Gurkha Nepalese Community on the board and is passionate about equal participations and opportunities.   

Outside governance Dhan enjoys Adventurous activities, travelling, playing Sports, meeting and learning about new people and  their countries and cultures. 

Marianne Highwood - SEND Link Governor 

Marianne Highwood 

Link Governor for SEND & Pupil Premium 



A student of politics (she was awarded her PhD from the University of Rochester, NY) Marianne is well into her second career in higher education.  Currently she is the Academic Lead – Postgraduate Taught in the Graduate College at Canterbury Christ Church University.  Before taking on this new development role at the University, she was the Section Director for Postgraduate and Professional Education in Christ Church Business School.  She is a passionate advocate of work-based learning, and while in the Business School she developed, managed and delivered two management degree apprenticeship programmes (CMDA and SLMDA/SLA).  Marianne worked closely with local employers and key stakeholders across the university to capitalise on the opportunity for organisations to both upskill existing staff and recruit new staff through degree apprenticeships.  In her new role as Lead for postgraduate taught courses in the Graduate College at the university, she uses her skills in innovation, creativity and collaborative working to support course teams to enhance further the student experience among postgraduates. 

Prior to returning to higher education, Marianne ran her own market research consultancy where she advised organisations on new product and service development, customer insight and staff engagement. 

Michael-John Knatchbull - Foundation Governor 

Michael-John Knatchbull  

Foundation Governor  

Link Governor for Creative Arts


After working for ABC Television in Australia in the 1970s Michael-John returned to the UK to work in film and tv production until his retirement from that world  in 2002. He was a founder director of Invicta Sound in 1984 which was the first commercial radio station in Kent  Since retiring from active involvement in film/tv production he has been involved in small internet start up ventures and a management buyout in the insurance industry.  

He has also been running the Hatch Park estate near Ashford for the last twenty years, a family owned farming and property business.  

He has been an active participant in the running of a tv/film charity and a couple of long running family charities with broad awardee interests.  

His more recent interests have been focused on nature conservation and regenerative agriculture. Michael-John has been a foundation governor since 2000. 

Natalie Pearce - Health & Safety Link Governor


Natalie Pearce 

Link Governor for Health & Safety

& Link Governor for Staff Wellbeing  and ECT

As an environmental health graduate and business administration post-graduate, Natalie has 21 years’ experience working in local government for various councils in Sussex, Somerset and Kent.  

She spent 11 years as an enforcement officer and the last 10 years managing frontline services including health & safety, food hygiene, licencing and homelessness.  

In her current local government role, Natalie has fostered a positive safety culture in line with the organisational values and behaviours by working with Managers to identify their perceived organisational risks and projects requiring specialist safety input.  

She led her teams during periods of change and uncertainty including during the Covid-19 pandemic, office moves, agile working, new IT systems and re-organisations.  

Natalie leads on health & safety and wellbeing aspects as part of her governorship role. Natalie has enthusiasm for these areas and draws on her knowledge and experience to support the school in maintaining standards.  

She is a member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) (Chartered status 2021). Natalie is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) (Chartered status 2019) and has been an Advisor to their Membership and the Profession Advisory Group since 2020. 

Tom Saville - Community Governor 


Tom Saville 

Link Governor Parental Voice


A law graduate, subsequently called to the Bar and admitted onto the Roll of Solicitors, Tom spent 20+ years working in London for blue chip firms in the software industry in the legal, tax and finance sectors. His main function was to create and maintain relationships with third parties, drafting business cases, managing budgets, revenue generation and contract negotiation. Tom currently works for Bloomberg Finance within their contract negotiations team. 
Tom has been a governor since June 2019, initially as a parent governor sitting on the finance committee but has since been appointed as  Community Governor and moved over to both Education and Personnel committees. 
In his spare time, Tom has been an RFU qualified rugby coach at Ashford Rugby Club since 2014. 

Philip Sibbald - Old Ashfordian's Foundation Governor 

Philip Sibbald 

Foundation Old Ashfordian Governor



Phil was a pupil of the Norton Knatchbull Grammar School from 1988 – 1993.  Since leaving the school in 1993, he  have been a member of the Old Ashfordians Association.   

Phil brings the knowledge and experience of a Senior Business Analyst of 10.5 years with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, and 9 years’ experience serving on the Board of Education for the Canterbury Diocese and served for 2 years as a Governor of the Kennington Academy.  

The school’s moto is “Benefactorum Recordatio Jucundissima Est” (Loosely translated as: "Things done well make the best memories" I didn’t study Latin at school).  This certainly sums up my time at the school and with the OAA. 

 Beth Rowlands - Teaching Staff Governor 

Beth Rowlands

Staff Governor 



Beth has worked at NKS since September 2019 and has been the Subject Lead for Art since September 2020. Her knowledge and experience of NKS is lifelong, with both family and friends having attended the school.    

Beth is deeply passionate about continuing to support the Creative Arts subjects in the school, ensuring that they are well promoted and invested in, to secure their future legacy within both curriculum and extra-curricular enrichment. She understands on a personal level how the arts can play such a pivotal role in boosting confidence (and attainment) of those students whose social mobility may be limited due to economic inequality.

As one of the deep-dive subjects in last year’s Ofsted visit, Beth wishes to further explore, share and develop best practice in preparation for future inspections and is also looking forward to working towards embedding long term strategies that secure successful futures for all the students and reaffirm the school’s ethos and culture to being one that is progressive in all aspects.

Elizabeth Seccombe - Support Staff Governor

Elizabeth Seccombe 

Staff Governor 

Policies Link Governor & 

 Member of Wellbeing Committee

Liz has been a staff Governor since 2020. She joined the Norton Knatchbull in 2011. Her role at school is both the exams and admissions officer. 

Liz came into education in 1991 working for Christ Church of England High School.  Prior to this she worked as a building society manager, assistant Head of Management Services at Aldington Prison and at Charter Consolidated working with stock and shares. 

Liz enjoys various activities outside of school which include Zumba and Pilates classes and loves going to both the cinema and the theatre.  

Family time is very important to Liz, she is mum of two daughters and have two wonderful grandsons. 

Charlotte Burke - Parent Governor

Charlotte Burke 

Parent Governor 

Link Governor for the Hub, Equality & Diversity 


Charlotte has 10 years experience as a parent governor at a local primary school, providing support and challenge to the hardworking and talented staff team there. During that time, she was actively involved in 2 Ofsted inspections, headteacher recruitment panels, supporting curriculum development and pupil progress, and as the nominated Training & Development Governor.

Charlotte and her family have lived in a village outside Ashford for more than 10 years.

In her working life, she spent over 20 years in the cultural sector managing festivals and events and as an arts consultant and project manager, and now works with corporates and philanthropists as a grant maker in the wider charity sector. 

 Salena Hirons - Parent Governor 


Salena Hirons

Parent Governor

Link Governor Teaching, Learning & Assessment 

Salena  is a trained secondary school teacher of science and a deputy headteacher with extensive leadership experience. As an outstanding practitioner with 20 years of experience in secondary education, Salena, taught in a variety of settings across the South-East, working in many outstanding schools. During her time as a senior leader, she has worked across many aspects, most recently, leading on the quality of education, curriculum design and reporting/assessment. 

Salena's expertise enables her to both challenge and support the school, the aim being to improve the experience and education that the students at NKS receive through which doors are opened and social mobility created.        

Salena holds the opportunities that education provide very dear and believes that that students deserve and are entitled to the best education that the school can provide. 

James Dearden - Community Governor 


James Dearden

Community Governor


James started his career as a governor in 2017 at his daughters’ primary school; He was motivated by an interest in my daughters’ education and a desire to contribute to the school. Since then, he has found the experience enormously rewarding. “I enjoy using my professional skills to support the school and ensure that it has a long-term vision which meets the needs of the children, staff, and the local community.”  

​James’ professional career of over 20 years has been as a technology consultant working with large organisations to deliver business and technology change; This involves project management, financial control, stakeholder management and the definition of technology and corporate strategy. On a more practical level this means reviewing data, making decisions, resolving conflict, and communicating complex issues in a clear and concise manner on a daily basis. 

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