Meet the School Governors
Believe and Achieve
Chair of Governors - Dr Birgit Smith
Vice Chair - Mrs Sue Wood
Clerk to the Governing Body - Ms Judith Austin
Local Authority Governor
I moved to Nutley 10 years ago having taken early retirement from my job as European finance director of a global medical device company. I am married with 4 grandchildren and 2 of them attend the primary school.
This is a very challenging time for all small village schools so I will use my experience to work with the governing body to ensure an exciting future for the school.
Rev Ben Sear
I became the Vicar of Nutlley Church in 2019, although I was a member of both Maresfield and Nutley congregations until 2012. I originally studied biochemistry at university and worked for the Medical Research Council before starting my theological training in London. Prior to our arrival in Nutley, I was based in Patcham (Brighton) for four years during my on-the-job training.
I am married to Claudia and have two daughters. I am very glad to be part of village life in Nutley and to have this opportunity to support the school and develop its links with the church.
I was born and raised in South London but have lived In Nutley for over 30 years. I have a passion for the village, the surrounding area of the Ashdown Forest and those that reside in the local community but my biggest passion is for teaching and learning and the opportunity to provide children with an outstanding education that enables them as individuals to reach their full potential. I consider it a privilege to be part of the Nutley Church of England Governing Body who also share this vision.
I live in East Grinstead and work as a School Improvement Partner in Surrey.
I have been a school leader for many years, first in West Sussex, Surrey and East Sussex. I left the role of Headteacher to work as part of a Hindu Faith Trust and to set up a free school for them in Croydon. Following this I went on to train as an Ofsted inspector and later became a lead inspector. During this time, I also worked as Interim Head at Nutley School for a brief period and my interest and involvement in the school began.
I hope that my experience and skills will prove useful to the Governing Body in its support of the school.
I live in Nutley with my husband, two children and our dog. We truly found a welcoming and amazing village here since 2014. We adore the outdoor lifestyle and the gift of bringing our children up surrounded by the forest. Our children both went to Nutley Preschool and onto Nutley School in Reception class (2015 and 2018). I am committed to our school, village and community which I hope to be reflected in my role as a Parent Governor.
My professional background is in Marketing, Communication and Sales with a proven track record throughout my career and voluntary roles. In my spare time I am passionate about health and fitness, and the life changing benefits it brings to body and mind.
I hope to bring a wide range of skills to the Governing Body and make a difference to our school, the children and families that are all part of Team Nutley.
Dr Birgit Smith
Chair of Governors
After retiring from my post as Head of Department of a very successful Languages and Cultures Department in one of the top ten universities in the country, I moved to Nutley about 18 months ago to be closer to my grandchildren. I have been involved in education at HE level since the 1990’s achieving excellent results. For example, under my leadership, German improved to the 3rd place in the UK national league tables.
Being retired has given me flexibility and the opportunity to be involved in Nutley CE Primary School. I have seen how Nutley is more than a school; it’s a community where everyone plays a vital role.
A governing body sets the school’s aims and objectives, the strategy, targets for achieving and measuring those aims in collaboration with the school. This starts with academic aims – standards of achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics, but it also includes attendance, emotional wellbeing and the general health of the school.
These aims are close to my heart and I would really like to give something back to the community. My professional skill set enables me to simplify complex issues, be an advocate for a particular point of view and reach negotiated solutions. I was recently appointed as Councillor on Maresfield Parish Council.
I would hope to be an asset to the school, dedicating my time to being a proactive and effective school governor.
I joined Nutley CE Primary School a couple of years ago as the Year 5/6 teacher and I am delighted to be the deputy head . I have over ten years’ experience of teaching in small village schools with mixed age classes as well as experience teaching in a large two-form entry primary school in London. I have enjoyed being part of the senior leadership team in my previous village school. My own children have attended a primary school in Uckfield and it has been valuable to acquire a parent’s perspective on primary education. I attended Church of England primary and secondary schools as a child and greatly value the strong moral and spiritual foundation that this experience gave me.
I have not always been a teacher. I have experience in residential property having worked in sales, lettings and property management for estate agencies in central London. Before this, I worked for Reuters Business TV as a media assistant. I have also had experience in theatre, working voluntarily as part of the set design and construction team at a theatre in Reading. I have also sung in a choir to raise money for charity.
I like being a staff governor because I’m interested in children’s education. I would like to offer my experience to help guide the school strategically forward to achieve the very best education for the children as well as the unique nurturing experience that being at a small village Christian school brings.