Benefactorum Recordatio Jucundissima Est

Things done well make the best memories

Sir Norton Knatchbull - 1637


April 2024


The Governors have spent much of the past two terms working with the school to plan life after Ofsted. This has involved us in looking afresh at the School Improvement Plan (SIP). We are looking to concentrate on a few things for the rest of this academic year and 2025. These focus on the creativity across the school, first and foremost in the Curriculum, but also across Sixth Form culture, Personal Development, the Quality Assurance process and Staff Wellbeing.

This term we welcomed two new governors to the board, Caroline Drummond, a mathematician working with the TES Institute and Corrina Sewell-Hill, a private client lawyer.  They are both parents in the school and are already bringing their excellent skills to the Education Committee. 

Governors have also continued to look at the development of the site.  With building costs going up, the plans we have are having to be looked at carefully. The areas we are looking to improve are the Science labs and Sixth Form provision.  In the end the Finance Committee and the Governing Board will make decisions based upon best value for the students’ outcomes.

The school have been working hard to develop Equality and Diversity. This has come in the form of several questionnaires, workshops and class sessions on areas such as race and how we treat each other. 

Staff Wellbeing has not been off our agenda for a good while. The Personnel Committee regularly consider this in our meetings. The Governors have recently agreed that the school will be paying for staff membership of the Benenden Health Scheme which gives the staff access to 24/7 GP and Mental Health helplines, physiotherapy, cancer support, as part of the general cover.

Finally, I hope you all have a restful Easter break, enjoy the festive treats and being together as families.

With best wishes

Jane Burnett

Chair of Governors

Governor newsletters:

Governors can be contacted via Lena Seed by email: 

Jane Burnett - Chair of Governors & Chair of Education Committee

Jane Burnett 

Chair of Governors  

Chair of Education Committee  

Link Governor for Leadership and Management

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

As a consultant, Jane  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 - Vice Chair and Safeguarding Link Governor 


Andrew Judd 

Vice 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 fourth year as a Parent Governor at the Norton Knatchbull School. Andrew enjoys working with Jane Burnett as Co-chair for the Full Governing Board and is the lead Governor for Safeguarding. 

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 Behaviour 

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. 

Tom Saville - Chair of Personnel Committee

Tom Saville 

Chair of the Personnel Committee

Link Governor Parental Voice & Behaviour 


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. 

Marianne Highwood - Vice Chair of the Education Committee


Marianne Highwood 

Vice Chair of the Education Committee

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. 

James Dearden - Vice Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee and Health & Safety Governor

James Dearden

Vice Chair Finance & General Purposes Committee

Link Governor for Personal Development and Health & Safety.


James started his career as a governor in 2017 at his daughters’ primary school.  He was motivated by an interest in his 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. 

Philip Sibbald - Old Ashfordian's Foundation Governor 


Philip Sibbald 

Foundation Old Ashfordian Governor

Careers & 6th Form Link 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 

Policies Link 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 Personal Development 


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 Curriculum & CPD

Salena  is a trained secondary school teacher of science and a  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. 

Carol Parsons - Community Governor

Carol Parsons

Community Governor

Link Governor Curriculum & CPD


Carol  was a teacher, advisor and headteacher for twelve years in London before moving to West Sussex providing advice and support to headteachers and governing bodies. After which she moved to Kent where she held several senior posts, the last as Director, Standards & Achievement. She shared responsibility for the strategic development of services for children and young people across the county and also had direct responsibility for securing successful outcomes in relation to the national standards agenda, through the leadership of advisory services to approximately 700 early-years settings and over 500 primary and secondary schools.  

Carol  has undertaken wide-ranging professional development in Europe and the United States, studying education systems, schools of the future and school design; vocational education and the leadership of schools.   

On her retirement Carol was appointed as a Schools Adjudicator working with eight colleagues, in maintained schools across England. Where agreement could not be reached or where formal objections had been made it was their role to mediate between parents, local authorities, academy chains, diocesan authorities, and governing bodies in relation to admissions or school organisation.   

Carol continues to lead a busy life volunteering in support of two Parkinson’s UK social groups. She relaxes by playing regular tennis, taking twice weekly Pilates classes and gardening and enjoys spending time with family and friends and by travelling widely, as often as time permits. 

Caroline Drummond - Community Governor 

Caroline Drummond, Community Governor

Link Governor Super Curriculum 

A Physics and Maths graduate, holding a Master’s in Education & Society, a Postgraduate in Democracy and Values Education and a qualified teacher, Caroline is an educator and a project manager with over 20 years’ experience in education.  Her roles include teaching students of all ages (from primary to university), leading education projects (European Space Agency, British Council) to leading the development and delivery of a preparation course for international students at Study Group. The course is delivered in universities across Europe. It received a special commendation at the 2022 IHE national award for excellence in supporting student success.  

 While Programme Director at the British Council, Caroline collaborated with the Department of/for education in the 4 nations of the UK, resulting in national education policy change in Northern Ireland, towards a better integration of migrant students.   

Caroline has developed and managed projects in diversity and inclusion, e.g. trustee and founding member of an education charity about gender, founder and trainer of the Ambassador Group for ‘Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom’ at Study Group, etc. 

 In March 2020, she co-founded Rye Mutual Aid, a group of local volunteers, in answer to the COVID-19 crisis. Together with other members, she helped to coordinate the effort of 500+ volunteers in Rye and surrounding areas. 

Caroline currently works as education consultant for the TES Institute supporting maths teachers developing their subject knowledge. 

Corrina Sewell-Hill - Community Governor 

Corrina Sewell-Hill

Community Governor

Corrina is a private client lawyer with 10 years’ experience in the legal industry. She is a member of Cilex and an employee of a local solicitor’s firm.

Prior to entering the legal industry, Corrina studied units in Sociology, Psychology, Social work, Safeguarding and Study skills. She has gained practical experience in various settings including the care sector and volunteering roles with the Cub Scouts, the PTA and a nationwide charity - offering confidential support to families with young children within a London borough. 

Having moved to Kent from Essex in 2019, Corrina and her family live in close proximity to The Norton Knatchbull School, where her youngest son attends.  Corrina describes herself as a natural advocate, with an enquiring mind and analytical approach. 

Corrina enjoys reading, keeping fit and exploring the Kentish countryside with her family and dogs. She has recently obtained her First Aid at work cert and is a proud Dementia Friend. 

Alex Evans-Crane - Community Governor

Alex has lived in east Kent for last 40 years, and has lived within the borough of Ashford for the last 5. 

Alex has been a Civil Servant working for the Home Office since 2006, helping to deliver the Governments priorities, working across multiple departments and currently works in London as Chief of Staff to a Senior Director, helping to manage the area from finances and workforce, through to delivery of key outputs. 

During Alex’s career he has developed excellent understanding of communicating and influencing to get the best outcomes, working across Silo’s to help deliver challenging outcomes, and learning how to convert challenges into opportunities. During this time Alex spent 10 years on a Trade Union National Executive Committee, as national Health & Safety lead, engaging with multiple government departments, building an effective network across interests, and undertaking complex HR related union casework. 

Alex is keen to support his local community, giving something back, and helping to support today’s schoolchildren to realise the best future possible. Alex has actively undertaken mentoring over the last few years, including for social mobility programmes to help ensure that access to opportunities is only based upon merit, not social-economic status. 

In his spare time, Alex is a local beekeeper and produces several varieties of Honey from hives around Ashford.  

Vivian Ching - Community Governor - Personnel Committeee

Image previewAs a Senior Lecturer in Business Management at Ravensbourne University London, Vivian is positioned at the nexus of London’s dynamic design ecosystem in delivering modules for undergraduate and postgraduate students in Project Management, Leadership and Work-Based Learning. Her academic journey is marked by a rich tapestry of qualifications, including a PhD in Quality Management; two Masters degrees in Engineering and International Economic Law from the University of Warwick, as well as a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Bath; complemented by a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. 

Beyond academia, Vivian enjoys art, specialising in colourful abstract painting designs which have been showcased in 18 worldwide exhibitions, television, charity events, and even in space, through a historic collaboration with Canon in 2014 - becoming the first Hong Kong artist to exhibit art in space. 

In her career, Dr. Ching has also served in advisory capacities to some of the world's leading corporations in New York City, Canada and Hong Kong, including the world’s largest book publisher, the world’s largest Health & Beauty Retail Chain, and a Global Fortune 500 Telecommunication conglomerate. Her work in transforming professional learning through the arts has benefited organisations such as UBS, Nomura, AIA, Siemens, Perrier-Jouët, and the Hilton Group, evidencing her role as a bridge between artistic creativity and business innovation.

Vivian is the British Council’s Alumni UK Regional Ambassador for North East Asia, a Member of the Court at the University of Bath and a Trustee of Engage (National Association of Gallery Education) and  is currently in the process of co-authoring a book on the application of Artificial Intelligence in Creative Industries slated for publication in 2024.  

Jyoti Patel - Community Governor

With a background in high-hazard manufacturing, Jyoti has successfully overseen waste treatment plants, managed pharmaceutical manufacturing teams, and spearheaded decommissioning projects. Her expertise spans compliance with industry standards, operational improvements, and adeptly navigating change. Jyoti brings a keen eye for financial management, HSE compliance, and a pursuit of operational excellence. 

Although a Chemistry graduate, Jyoti's thirst for knowledge remains unquenchable. Currently enrolled in a Strategic Leadership MSc program at Newcastle University, she complements her academic pursuits with Leadership and Management training from the Chartered Management Institute. Additionally, Jyoti holds certifications in safety, waste management, and leadership. 

Beyond the professional realm, Jyoti finds joy in running, gardening, and managing a modest property portfolio. 

Minutes from meetings are available on request from Lena Seed, Governance & Compliance Professional:


Board of Governors

Governor Diversity 

The Governing Body of the Norton Knatchbull School aspires to represent the community it serves.  We strive to eliminate unconscious bias, and take the impact on the whole community into consideration when we make decisions. We recognise the board is not as diverse as our student body. We actively look for opportunities to  strengthen our board, both through recruitment and development of our knowledge and skills, to better understand and reflect our students.

Scheme of Delegation:

Meeting Attendance 2022-2023

Terms of Reference:


Privacy notice for governors: 

PSC Register:

  •  The school has no reasonable cause to believe any Governor could be deemed as being a Person with Significant Control.