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Governing Body

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

Vice Chair of Governors
Co-opted Governor

Pupil Premium Governor

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


I have been a school governor at Birch Hill since May 2020. I became a governor so I could give back to the community I grew up in by working with other members of the board to ensure the school is run as effectively and efficiently as possible. I am currently the Pupil Premium governor and I have recently been elected Vice Chair of the board.

I work in policy and strategy for a local authority. In my spare time I like to play football, cycle and read.

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

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


My primary reason to become a Governor at Birch Hill School is really wanting to give little back to the school.  In my work in property management, I do have transferable skills that I can put into the school. Birch Hill School has almost always been part of my family.  Not only do my two daughters currently attend the school but my sister and myself too were former pupils of the school.  I have met some of my best friends whilst a pupil at this school many years ago that I am still close with now.  Birch Hill has not only given me a great basis of education, it gave me my good friends too. It would make me extremely happy if I can give a little bit back and be part of a group that helps make this school succeed in future years.

Ben Joseph-Franks

Parent Governor

Start Date 14/11/2022
End Date 13/11/2026



Nigel Penstone

Co-opted Governor

Start Date 09/01/2023
End Date 08/01/2027


I started as a primary teacher in Portsmouth over 30 years ago, I have also taught in Windsor, Crowthorne and most recently Woking. During my teaching career I have also been a Deputy Headteacher. 

 I have also worked for Slough Borough Council as an ICT Advisory Teacher and also worked for London Grid for Learning as a Curriculum Advisor.  

I have lived in Bracknell for nearly 20 years. My wife and I, who is also a teacher, enjoy the theatre and we both have been chaperones at South Hill Park in the past. I look forward to using my experiences to support Birch Hill Primary as a governor. 

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.