Skip to content ↓


Email the governors at (this is not a link)

Governing BodyBack to top

Pauline Cole

Child Protection/Safeguarding Governor
LA Governor

Start Date 11/12/2017
End Date 10/12/2021


I have been the Local Authority Governor for five years.  Initially I was the Safeguarding Governor before becoming Chair of Governors in September 2018.
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 an Independent member of an Adoption Panel and two Foster Panels.  I volunteer at Birch Hill Library and am a steward at South Hill Park.  I have four school age grandchildren who keep me on my toes.

Dave Droar

Chair of Governors
Co-Opted Governor

Start Date 19/09/2016
End Date 18/09/2020


I am a parent with two children at the school and have lived in the school catchment for over 11 years. I have been a governor for two years and enjoy being part of a team that supports the school and challenges us to be even better.
I work for Waitrose in business process improvement, with a wide variety of expertise in de-veloping systems. 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!

Graham Ferguson

Maths Governor
Co-Opted Governor

Start Date 20/06/2017
End Date 19/06/2021


I've been a Governor since 2013, initially as a parent governor and now as a co-opted governor. A role that has given me an opportunity to give something back to the school that has been instrumental in shaping my children's outlook to community and learning. I work in the Software industry; at one time developing school administration systems, as well as education software for the classroom.

Simon Hart

Vice Chair & English Governor 
Co-opted Governor

Start Date 13/07/2015
End Date 12/07/2019


I've been a governor at Birch Hill since 2013. For ten years I was the supervisor of Birch Hill Library where I worked hard to bring close ties between the school and the library. I did many assemblies and helped run a book club with many pupils over the years. 
In 2017 I started working for the Royal Horticultural Society but I'm very pleased to maintain my links to the school and to the community in Birch Hill. 

Alastair Lidster

Special Needs Governor
Co-Opted Governor

Start Date 13/07/2015
End Date 12/07/2019


I have been an Educational Psychologist for twenty years and before that I was a teacher and a teaching assistant in Primary education. Both my children went to Birch Hill before moving on to Secondary school. I have been a Governor at Birch Hill for ten years. When I am not working I spend time walking our two dogs and playing for and helping to run a local cricket club.

Debbie Napier

Development Governor
Parent Governor

Start Date 02/07/2018
End Date 01/07/2022


Ian Nelson

Pupil Premium Governor
Parent Governor

Start Date 11/12/2017
End Date 10/12/2021


I have been a parent governor since December 2017 and have lived in Birch Hill for over 15 years. My son is currently in Year 5. I have been a PE teacher for 20 years and I am currently employed as Head of Physical Education at a Secondary School in Wokingham. My reason for becoming a governor relates to a long family association with Birch Hill and the School coupled with my passion for education.  In my spare time I enjoy reading sports books and following Newcastle United. 

Leonard Hughes-White

Deputy Head Teacher (EYFS/KS1) 
Co-opted Governor

Start Date 13/07/2015
End Date 12/09/2019


I have been a Deputy Headteacher since April 2000 and have been a Governor for most of that time. Previous to this I was a Senior Teacher in a large primary school in Sandhurst. I teach in Year 2 and I am a part of the school Leadership Team. I live in Basingstoke with my wife and I have 3 children who are all at university.

Rachael Garnham

Class Teacher
Staff Governor

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


I am in my third year of teaching at Birch Hill Primary School after graduating from the University of Reading with a BA in Primary Education (with English). Currently, I teach in Year 6 but have previously enjoyed two years in year 4. I am passionate about teaching the 'whole child' and equipping them with the independence and skills, not just knowledge, which will enable them to thrive once leaving Birch Hill. 
Outside of school (in the little free time left!) I enjoy singing, swimming, socialising with friends and a good boxset!


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.