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School Governors

Announcement: Peter Aves, Chair of Governors, retires

Announcement: New Chair of Governors, Amer Khalil is appointed


On behalf of Highworth’s Governing Body, may l welcome you to the Highworth website.

In a school where results are as consistently as high as they are at Highworth (last year’s GCSE results were the best ever), the greatest danger to maintaining this is complacency. Not only are the actual exam results outstanding, but all the other aspects of the school support this. The levels of behaviour, support and aspiration to succeed which our students achieve almost as a matter of course are a source of enormous satisfaction to both the Governors and to Paul Danielsen and his team. These “unseen” aspects of Highworth make a significant contribution to our students’ success, but can never be taken for granted.  It is a well known maxim of management that the performance of any individual or group of people left unsupervised or poorly managed will always deteriorate.  Thinking that “all is well” is therefore a recipe for some slippage in results and the excellence that everyone comes to expect from Highworth.

The Governors and the Leadership Team therefore spend much time reviewing every aspect of Highworth, constantly asking if what we are doing is the right approach and if and when things might be done better, or at least differently to achieve even better results.   This doesn’t mean fundamental changes – far from it – but it does involve constantly looking at the details to see if anything might be improved.   

The students' opinions are always important and our Student Governors have an important role to play.   Apart from attending all the meetings of the full Governing Body, they also sit on the sub-committees where their views contribute to all aspects of the school’s Governance.  I also have an informal monthly meeting with them where we discuss any current issues or items relating to “Governance” which students wish to raise.  Moreover, the student governors have access to Paul Danielsen and any of the leadership team to raise any points of concern.

Last year, Paul Danielsen embarked on a complete review of the curriculum across all years to ensure that we are delivering something that not only attracts students and challenges them, but is delivered in a way that also encourages them to aspire to the best possible results.  Parents will know that the Government is changing the content of GCSEs and have separated AS and A2 A-level courses. The whole curriculum review and the proposed Government changes are being led by an assistant headteacher and the Curriculum Development Group includes students, governors and senior staff. With more accurate data, we are now in the second year of a process which predicts student outcomes far more accurately and this allows us to identify those small numbers of students who may need some additional support to achieve the best grade.

Financially, Highworth is in a very comfortable position with a significant sum in reserve at the start of the current school year. Our financial planning allows us to forecast our cash position over a four year period and this allows us to take informed decisions relating to expenditure and future commitments with confidence. Our Auditors – who act for a large number of academies - noted that Highworth’s accounts for last year were among the best they had seen in terms of accuracy and detail.  The efforts of our Finance Manager, Lynn Wilson, played a major part in this achievement.  Whilst we have no immediate financial issues, cuts in Government funding do indicate a significantly reduced surplus in three to four years time and we are constantly reviewing how this can be managed.  Sixth Form funding will come under the most pressure with a cumulative reduction of 20%. This has come about partly as a result of the compulsory age for state education being raised from 16 to 18, and where students do not study A levels, they will attend colleges which have to be funded to a greater degree than at present.  This leaves less funding for 6th forms and A-levels and disadvantages high performing academic schools such as Highworth. We must await the outcome of the General Election to see what if any changes will actually take place, but in the meantime, Governors must take a cautious approach to future financial planning.   In order to maximise our 6th Form funding, it is also vital that we continue to attract the best students in sufficient numbers and this forms part of the consideration in the Curriculum review mentioned above.

Despite the forecast reduction in our surplus, parents will know that we are going ahead with the extension to Gower House to provide a new performance space. The building is programmed to be complete in May/June and will be operational from September 2015.  At the same time we are also looking at minor alterations within the existing main building to provide extra teaching space.  There will be some work to improve site security and access. Over the last three years, we have been successful in obtaining additional grants which have allowed the replacement of almost all the old draughty uninsulated windows and this is reducing our energy costs. The school’s buildings are now in the best condition for many years and will require significantly less cost to maintain over the next few years.

As part of the constant review process referred to above, we look at the range of skills and experience among the Governors.   Last year we recruited Daniel Valentine who is both a Chartered Accountant (and a Parent) and he sits on the Finances/Buildings and Staffing/Management groups.  Daniel has also been appointed as a Member of Highworth Academy Trust to replace Graham Saltmarsh who retired as Vice Chairman in September 2013.  Bill Crisman was appointed Vice Chair and his business management experience has been of value to us. We have recently appointed two further governors to increase the experience and expertise on the governing body still further.Vicki Wise has extensive expertise in business IT systems and this will assist the continuing development of IT across the school particularly in the increasing use of data in forecasting and analysing results.  Simon Robinson has had a long career in the banking sector and is currently a trustee for a successful charity.   His links to the community across the South East will be of value in our desire to make better use of our links outside Highworth to the benefit of both other organisations and out students. Vicki and Simon are both parents of Highworth students and Vicki is a former student herself.

Highworth’s “pursuit of excellence” is fundamental to the work of the Governors.  My own daughter left in June 2005 to go to University and has gone on to have a successful career.  There is no doubt that Highworth played a major part in that success.  I remain passionate about the school, and working to maintain the outstanding results achieved by our exceptional students – it’s the only thing that really matters!   

Who are the School Governors?

  • Parent Governors

  • Staff Governors (including the Headteacher) 

  • Community Governors

  • Student Governors

Following the review of the Governing Body methods of working, below is a summary of the new structure:-

  • Full Governing Body: The Full Governing Body meets six times a year, with additional meetings if required. An agenda is set in advance and a wide range of issues concerning the school are discussed. Reports are always presented from the various sub-committee groups.
  • Community Development Group: Now part of the Leadership Team and  includes Governors and Students
  • Curriculum Development Group:   See above
  • Staffing & Management Group:  Consists of four Senior Governors who meet with the Headteacher and other Senior Managers as necessary to look at all staffing matters and the strategic longer term management of the school
  • Buildings & Finance Group: This group controls and monitors all the school’s financial, building and maintenance issues.  Is is attended by both Governors and Student Governors together with the Facilities and Finance Managers.
  • Student Voice: The Head Girl presents a report to each FGB meeting covering issues discussed by the Student Voice Council
  • Careers:  The Chair and Head Girl meet the Careers Manager on a regular basis. Links to employers will be expanded in the current year.  

What are their Responsibilities?

The governing body is responsible to parents, funders and the community. Its main role is to challenge and support the Headteacher and all staff to raise standards of achievement and excellence.
The Governing Body:- 
  • is accountable for the performance of the school to parents and the wider community
  • plans the school’s future direction
  • appoints the Headteacher and monitors his/her performance
  • makes decisions on the school’s budget and staffing
  • ensures the national curriculum is taught
  • decides how the school can encourage students' spiritual, moral and social development
  • makes sure the school provides for all its students, including those with special needs

The governing body is not responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school which is the responsibility of the Headteacher.

Governors of Highworth Grammar School

Chloe Bailey

Student (Head Girl)

Community Development 

Mr Bill Crisman


Curriculum Development 

Mr Paul Danielsen


Staffing & Management/Curriculum Development/Finance & Buildings

Charlotte Churm

Student Governor

Curriculum Development

Zara Daw Student

Curriculum Development

Alfie Dewdney Student (Head Boy)

Community Development

Mrs Sue Heuch


Community Development/Safeguarding

Faye Hood Student

Finance & Buildings

Mr Amer Khalil

Chair of Governors


Madura Lokesh Student

Finance & Buildings

Mrs Colette O'Sullivan Parent Curriculum Development

Mrs Linda Patterson


Community Development

Mr Simon Robinson


Community Development/Finance & Buildings

Mr Daniel Valentine


Staffing & Management/Finance & Buildings

Mr Martin Vink


Staffing & Management/Finance & Buildings

Mrs Simone Williams-King Co-opted

Staffing & Management

Mrs Vicki Wise


Curriculum Development/Community Development

Representatives from the Senior Leadership Team attend meetings
To contact the Chair of Governors, please email Mrs Tina Brobyn - Clerk to the Governors

Latest News from the Governors

For those of us who know and love Highworth, and have seen our daughters (and sons) thrive and achieve there, it is not really a surprise to see the school awarded 5 stars in a recent rating. It is, however, very satisfying to see Highworth listed as number one of all secondary schools in the Ashford area, above Benenden, Cranbrook, Ashford School and Sutton Valence (numbers 2-5 respectively).

The ratings have been produced by Schools Guide, who have awarded 29,000 schools across the UK with up to 5 stars based on Ofsted reports, exam results and Department of Education performance tables.

We must pay tribute to the staff, managers and all the support staff for their endless hard work in enabling the school to perform so well in all areas of academic and non-academic life. They provide lots of support to the students, a huge variety of extra-curricular activities, and work tirelessly to help students achieve their potential.

We mustn't forget the students, most of whom work hard to achieve their place at Highworth, and then continue to aim high while they are there, responding to the encouragement and support of the staff.

All the Governors would like to congratulate the staff and students on this fantastic achievement, and encourage them to keep going with their varied and numerous activities that make Highworth such an excellent school.

More information on these rankings can be found at


Title Date  
Terms of Reference All.pdf 14th Sep 2016 Download