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Pen portraits

John Collins (Foundation Governor and Chair) 

It’s been both a privilege and a joy to have served as a Foundation governor for the past 15 years , the last 13 as Chair. Prior to moving to Kent in 2008 I lived and taught in London and following my retirement as a secondary Headteacher I continued as a consultant working with the London Leadership strategy in supporting leadership teams in schools facing challenges.

I’m grateful that by joining the Board at Wittersham I’ve been able to continue to contribute in some way to children’s education. It’s been a ‘breath of fresh air’ to experience life in a rural church primary school after a career in large urban secondary schools. From the very beginning I was made to feel very welcome and quickly experienced the genuine warmth, Christian values and a real sense of community in the school. It really is a wonderful school, staffed by a great team and at its heart the absolute determination for the pupils to enjoy their learning and to achieve their very best. That’s the reason I’m still here after all these years!


Stephen Rogers (Foundation Governor and Vice-chair)

A member of the governing board since February 2020, I currently hold one of the two parent governor positions. Born and bred locally I live in Peasmarsh with my wife Ann and son Luke. An accountant by trade, I have worked in Tenterden for a firm of accountants since 1999. I am keen on all sporting activities in particular golf and football. I have played golf for many years and have been a member of a local artisan club since the age of 14. Since Luke started playing at Wittersham Football Club, I have helped out by refereeing the matches for his teams. From the start of 2023, I have been assistant manager to one of the clubs junior teams.


Jane Burnett (Foundation Governor) 

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

As a consultant Jane has worked for many different organisations including the DfE and the 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 govenor for 20+ years in various schools in Kent and Eat Sussex. She is currently co-Chiar of Governors at Norton KnatchbullSchool in Ashford.

In her ‘spare’ time Jane and her husband farm a small herd of alpacas on the Kent /Sussex border.


Stella Coulson (Staff Governor)

Beginning my journey in education 20 years ago as a Teaching Assistant, I was able to develop my skills and progress forward as an HLTA, Teacher, Head of Year, Head of Phase, Assistant Head, and Inclusion Leader. I have been blessed to work alongside some truly inspirational professionals, families and young people in many schools thus far and simply love what I do. Working as part of the Surrey County Council SEND Team and now as a Kent Inclusive Leader of Education (ILE), I have been fortunate to work with, coach and support many incredible practitioners and further develop their own school’s inclusive provision.

Since beginning my role here at Wittersham in 2021, I have worked hard to further develop staff and parental SEND understanding and confidence thus enabling all learners to truly flourish - both academically, socially and emotionally - inside and outside of the classroom. Through the delivery of whole school staff CPD sessions, lessons observations, one-to-one assessments, Wellbeing Parent Forums and promoting a culture of reflection, honesty, and transparency we, as a team, are able to create classrooms that are fully inclusive. A space where every single learner has plentiful opportunities to access learning and experience success.

I have always worked closely with the Governing Body but since joining them as a Staff Governor in 2023, I have been able to further develop my understanding of whole school strategic management, budgets and school finances. Alongside this, I have been able to gain greater insight into various areas of the school development plan.

During my career, I have been fortunate to have had a plethora of experiences and opportunities in my path yet no one role has developed, challenged, and given me as much joy as my current role as Assistant Head, Inclusion Leader - and now Governor - here at Wittersham.


Kerry Dean (Parent Governor)

Kerry is a parent governor and has been in post since February 2022. She is a photographer working in Fashion as well as her own art practice. 

Kerry's photographs have appeared in many international publications and exhibitions. Kerry moved to Wittersham four years ago with her husband and her son Atticus, who is currently in Smugglers class.

They are currently restoring and renovating their home, which is a dis-used plant nursery and woodland from the 1940’s, where they also run a Forest School, which operates in the school holidays.


Rachel Georgiades (Local Authority Governor) 

Rachel is the Local Authority governor and has been in post since Jan 2021. She owns a pet shop in Tenterden High Street and runs a dog training and behaviour company. Her background is in science research grant management having worked in that area for 12 years. 

She lives in Stone with her husband, dog and cat.


George Hawkins (Ex-Offico Governor/Headteacher)

As the Headteacher and Ex-officio Governor of Wittersham Church of England Primary School since September 2022, I bring a deep passion for rural education. With 15 years of experience in the field, starting as a Teaching Assistant, I am committed to providing unique opportunities for our students.

Outside of school, I enjoy spending quality time with my young family, exploring the beach and the sea. My goal as the Headteacher is to create a nurturing and empowering environment for every member of our school community, preparing them to become compassionate citizens within our rural community and beyond.

Together with our dedicated staff, supportive governors, and engaged parents, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of our students.