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Governing Body

Pauline Cole

LA Governor
Child Protection/Safeguarding Governor

Start Date 30/11/2020
End Date 27/11/2024


I have been the Local Authority Governor for seven years I am the Safeguarding Governor.
I am a retired teacher and spent the last fifteen years of my teaching career in a service supporting the education of children in care.
I am Vice Chair of Bracknell and Bath  Foster Panels and am an independent member of Action for Children foster panel.  I volunteer at Birch Hill Library and at South Hill Park.  I have four school age grandchildren who keep me on my toes

Dave Droar

Chair of Governors
Co-Opted Governor

Head – Performance Management

Start Date 19/09/2020
End Date 18/09/2024


I am a parent with one child at the school and another who has gone right through and is now in secondary school. I have been a governor for five years and enjoy being part of a team that supports the school and challenges us to be even better. For me governors is a great opportunity to develop both the school and the volunteers who give their time. 

I have worked for Waitrose head office for 11 years in a variety of change and improvement roles; I am also a chartered accountant. 

Michael Dillon

Head Teacher

Start Date 01/09/2015
End Date – ongoing 


I began my teaching career in Haringey, North London and then worked in Richmond upon Thames, before moving to Bracknell Forest in 2015.  It is a privilege to be the Headteacher at Birch Hill, a school with an enthusiastic staff and a committed community.  I live in Farnborough with my wife and two children. When I have any spare time I enjoy listening to music, training for the odd triathlon and long distance swimming event!

Jane Newman

Co-opted Governor

Start Date 11/10/2021
End Date 10/10/2025


I have been in education for more than 30 years. I began my career as a Newly Qualified Teacher at Birch Hill. Both my children attended the school and, as a family we have precious memories of our time at the school.

I have been a Head Teacher in three schools and still love being part of the education profession. This will be my first year as governor at Birch Hill, although I have been a governor in other schools for 20 years. I hope that I can support the school in a positive and collaborative manner and give back what Birch Hill gave me as a teacher all those years ago.

I now have four grandchildren ranging from 8 months to three years of age. I love spending time with all of them and during recent times have started writing a book for them. In my spare time I am part of a singing group and love dancing.

Joey Gurney

Co-opted Governor

Pupil Premium Governor

Start Date 04/05/2020
End Date 03/05/2024



Ruth Newling- Ward

Co-opted Governor

Early Years/Foundation Stage Governor

Start Date 09/03/2020
End Date 08/03/2024


I have been in education for sixteen years.  I have been a class teacher, Early Years Leader and leader of a range of different subjects.  I have taught in a range of different schools, here in England as well as having a career teaching internationally in several different countries. I am currently the SENDCO for a large primary school and have an educational interest in the teaching of children with additional needs. This is my second year as a Governor for Birch Hill Primary.  ON a personal level, I am a mum to two young children and have a husband who is also a school teacher.  We love family adventures and travelling the world together as a family.

Stephen Weeks

Vice Chair of Governors
Co-Opted Governor

Development Governor
Special Needs Responsibility 

Start Date 09/03/2020
End Date 08/03/2024


I joined the Birch Hill Governing Board in March 2020, I have been a governor for over 10 years at other Bracknell Forest Schools.  I'm excited to utilise my skillset to help further improve the performance of the school and governing board.  As the Development governor I provide a link between the governors and the Local Authority for training needs and feedback as well as helping to shape the induction process for prospective new governors. I also provide a link between the governors and the school SENco

I have 2 children in secondary education, I am currently involved with ecommerce sales having previously run my own printing business and worked for over 20 years at Syngenta.  In my spare time I like mountain biking, walking and spending quality time outdoors with my children.

Lee Clark

Co-opted Governor

Start Date 01/12/2020
End Date 30/11/2024



Colin Neale

Parent Governor

Start Date 01/12/2020
End Date 30/11/2024


I am a parent with one child in Birch Hill School and another who has been all the way through and is now in secondary school.  I am in my first year of being a parent governor and it has been a very rewarding experience being able to give time back to the school which has been brilliant for my children. 

At work I am a business development manager within the software and financial services industry, at home we love family trips to the seaside and being active.

Rachael Garnham

Class Teacher
Staff Governor

Start Date 02/01/2019
End Date 01/01/2023


I am in my sixth year of teaching, all of which have been at Birch Hill Primary School. I am currently a Year 4 class teacher and Phase Leader of Year 3 and 4. I have the privilege of leading Science across the school, which includes supporting teachers to integrate our fantastic resource of the Edible Playground into the curriculum, and oversee the foundation subjects of History, Geography, Computing and French alongside colleagues. 

I am passionate about teaching the "whole child"; creating experiences that inspire and motivate pupils to want to learn; and equipping children with the independence and skills to enable them to thrive and achieve their aspirations after leaving us.

Outside of school, I enjoy trying out new recipes for dinner with friends, being tortured by my personal trainer and watching an embarrassing amount of reality TV!


What We Do

Governors do not manage a school on a day-to-day basis but carry out an essential role in overseeing the strategic development of the school. Governors may lend support in a variety of ways but all their responsibilities lead back to the core task of steering the school in its development and improvement. There are three central pillars supporting this endeavour.

  • Strategic management. We help set aims and objectives. In addition we allocate and control Birch Hill’s budget for staff, equipment and buildings.
  • We are critical friends. We help Headteacher Michael Dillon in taking decisions. We ensure that these decisions are achieving the required results.
  • We make executive decisions such as appointing senior staff and ensuring accountability.

Being a critical friend underpins school governorship. We can be defined as a trusted person who ask challenging questions, provides information to be examined from another perspective, and offers critiques of a person’s work. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working towards. They can also be an advocate for the success of that work.

Governing bodies are established by law as corporate bodies, responsibility for actions and decisions lies with the whole governing body and not with individual members.

Why We Do It

Being a school governor is the most important voluntary role in education. The reasons why we do it vary but five stand out.

  • We value the feeling of helping children and a local school achieve its potential.
  • It is a chance to work alongside a wide range of people with diverse and enriching experiences.
  • We gain insight into the education system
  • We are fortunate to live in a community that provides a safe and secure environment for our families and we want to give something back.
  • It is a fantastic opportunity to develop a range of transferable skills.

How We Do It

The Birch Hill Primary School Governing Body meet approximately every month as a Full Governing Body.  We do not have sub committees, but hold various short-term focused working groups.

The term of office for a governor is four years, which allows Governors sufficient time to see plans through from initial discussion to implementation. Of course, some Governors remain for much longer and this has often been the case at Birch Hill.

Where We Do It

A substantial time commitment is involved but nearly all preparatory reading can be done at home. Meetings are generally held monthly, on a Monday night between 6:30-8:00pm at the school. Governors are encouraged to, and regularly do, visit the school during the day.

Minutes of Meetings

Agendas, Minutes and associated papers of Governing Body (GB) meetings are, with the exception of confidential (Part 2) items, public documents.  Please contact the Clerk to the Local Governing Body, Jane Hodgson at for further information or copies.

Becoming a governor

New governors are usually 'co-opted' by the existing governors voting them onto the board, and parent governors can also be elected onto the board by parents.

We are always interested in hearing from anyone from any section of the community who would like to join the governors. Right now we are particularly seeking someone with skills or background in human resources. Please just email using the address above to get in touch to find out more.

Attendance Register and Business Interests

Please see below for a copy of the attendance register and business interests.