Meet the Governors

Detailed below is a full breakdown of the HCC governors. All attend Full Governing Body meetings held three times each academic year but their other responsibilities include:

Mr Roger Simmons:

Roger sits on the Resources Committee and is one of two Governors linked to the 6th Form.

Roger has 12 years experience providing business and financial advice in the Early Years Sector, working with schools and pre-schools in respect to charity law, voluntary and community organisation and GDPR compliance. Roger has an MBA in Business and Financial Management that has enabled him to think strategically in respect to the management and sustainability of organisations. Roger has been the Chair and Trustee of a 50 place Early Years pre-school for 15 years and Chair of a local community sports organisation for 3 years, reflecting his commitment to the community.

As a former Head of Property Strategy for a large local organisation, Roger demonstrated the importance of accountability, strong people management skills and compliance with legal requirements when managing conflicting responsibilities. As a volunteer business mentor Roger has demonstrated his ability to identify strengths and turn weaknesses into opportunities.

Mr Brian Hughes:

Community governor

Brian is Chair of the Full Governing Board.  Brian also meets Ms C Findlay regularly to provide support for Safeguarding and sits on the Learning and Development Committee

Brian is currently a Head of Service within ESCC Children’s Services managing Single point of access for the service, Early Help family keywork, Troubled families Programme and strategic planning and development. Brian has been a qualified Social Worker for over 25 years and has experience of managing a range of services including front line social care teams including duty and assessment and fostering and residential services.

Brian holds an MBA in business management and has been trained in Prince 2 project management. Alongside this he has undertaken regular training related to both his professional area of work and as a governor.

Brian, who was also Chair of Governors for two years has a range of skills and experiences he brings to the role of governor including project management, budget planning and oversight, human resource management, strategic planning and development skills as well as a strong understanding of child development work with families at risk of social exclusion.

Mrs Sue Weiner:

LA governor

Sue is Vice Chair of the Full Governing Board, Chair of the Pay Appeals Committee, Chair of the Governors Disciplinary Committee (Exclusions), and also sits on the Resources Committee.

Sue is now retired but spent her career in education. As a teacher she held a variety of middle and senior leadership roles which led to work as a tier 3 manager. Sue was responsible for leading the Adult Education, including link work with the Learning and Skills Council, developing training facilities for schools and leading on change management with schools in challenging situations. Sue was also seconded to the Government for the South East and worked with a variety of local authorities and other organisations developing Local Area Agreements. Sue has a completed an M.Ed, NPQH qualification and completed Prince 2 training. Before retiring Sue set up her own business as an education management consultant.

Since retiring Sue has expanded her experience of governance and was Chair of the Full Governing Board for 6 years. During this time Sue took the school through academisation twice and oversaw a successful Ofsted inspection. Sue’s specific strengths include strategic management and challenge, using data to hold leaders to account, a personal interest and experience in SEND, the management and development of teams including conflict resolution and an active engagement in education developments at both a national and local level. Sue’s experience of governance has enabled her to understand the role and responsibilities of an academy trustee.

Mrs Julie Barker:

Parent Governor

Julie is a member of the Full Governing Board, Chair of the Resources Committee, a member of the Strategy Team, a member of the Pay Committee and a Link Governor to Mrs S Wilkinson (Business Manager).

Julie is Director of Accommodation and Hospitality at the University of Brighton. She is experienced in leading the development and operational management of multi function, multi site operations. Julie has particular skills in community engagement, Prevent, safeguarding and facilities management. She is currently Vice Chair of People 1st Apprenticeship Board which monitors the quality of apprenticeship standards within the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry. In 2018 Julie was awarded the CSC Public Sector Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mrs Debbie Coslett

Chair of Learning and Development

Debbie has worked in education for over 35 years. She has had a varied range of experiences, including being one of the country’s first National Leaders of Education in 2006. Until her retirement in December 2015, Debbie was CEO of a small secondary multi academy trust.

Prior to this, Debbie was a successful Headteacher and Executive Headteacher of a number of schools. As a school leader, her leadership was judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in three successive Ofsted inspections. In December 2012, she was recognised as “Teacher of the Year” by a regional newspaper.

Debbie is now enjoying undertaking consultancy work in education, currently in the role of an External Adviser for East Sussex County Council. Her primary task in this role is to develop new ways of working that maximise the benefits of school-to-school support to raise standards.

Debbie has a strong belief that children should be at the heart of all work in schools and that continuing school improvement is therefore a moral imperative.

Dr Jeremy Leach:

Jeremy is the Principal Policy Advisor to Wealden District Council, specialising in community safety, child and adult protection and the use of insights from the behavioural sciences to improve service delivery. Jeremy represents the District Council on the following relevant committees: East Sussex Local Safeguarding Children Board; the Safer East Sussex Communities Board; the East Sussex Prevent Board; and the East Sussex Security Review Group. Jeremy is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton. He is a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner and prior to his current role managed the Food safety and Health and safety enforcement team for the local District Council.

Mrs Ruth Hillman:

Co Vice Chair

Ruth is Service Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She has worked in children’s mental health for 17 years and is currently the Service Director for the local NHS Trust which covers East Sussex. Ruth has also been a parent representative for a local youth football club and a mentor for young women through a national organisation. Ruth has a Masters in Change Management and has worked with schools and social care in a range of partnership projects over previous years and has a good understanding of the services available in the local area.

Ruth brings many skills to the governing board including budget management, project management, developing and leading successful new business cases, safeguarding, emotional well being understanding, transition skills, managing change understanding of national and local context in relation to the education of young people and the enablers/challenges to accessing education and the ability to engage with a wide range of people and to provide appropriate challenge and support.

Mr Phil Matthews:


In addition to sitting on the Full Governing Board, Phil is a member of the Resources Committee and the Learning and Development Committee. Phil has the been the Principal of Hailsham Community College since 2012. Hailsham Community College Academy Trust changed provision from Secondary & Sixth Form to All-Through in 2019.

Mrs Carol Maxwell:

Staff Governor

In addition to sitting on the Full Governing Board, Carol sits on the Learning and Development Committee and is a Link Governor to Mr L Gander (Learning Culture Lead).

Carol has experience working with local authorities having previously worked within the benefit services. This has provided her with extensive knowledge and understanding of the challenges faced by parents and young people outside of education. In addition, Carol has an interest in mental health having a first class psychology and sociology degree. She successfully set up the college’s peer mentor scheme for students following a pilot research project. Carol is currently undertaking the National Award of Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, masters level and has personal understanding of the challenges faced by young people with learning needs.

Apart from Carol’s extensive knowledge and experience in education as a teacher and SENCo at HCC she has particular skills in curriculum development, school assessment and progress/attainment. She is able to offer challenge and is proficient in prioritising, assessing and mitigating risk. Carol is committed to her role in governance and can demonstrate the personal qualities and skills required of governance.

Mrs Sonia Munro:

Community Governor

In addition to sitting on the Full Governing Board, Sonia is a member of the Learning and Development Committee and is the Safeguarding Governor. Sonia is Link Governor to Ms C Findlay (Vice Principal – Quality of Teaching).

Sonia is a retired Social Worker/Practice Manager who was employed by ESCC Children’s Services. She was an Independent Reviewing Officer (RO), Chair for Child Protection Conferences and Looked After Children Reviews. Sonia was the Practice Manager for the Children Disability Services Duty and Assessment Team, the Short Break Fostering Team and the Locality Family Support Team.

Sonia brings valuable skills to the governing board including an understanding of the importance and value of education to young people and an awareness that well being and mental health underpin learning. In addition to management skills such as risk management, planning and organisational skills, chairing and decision making skills Sonia has significant expertise in safeguarding and understanding the needs of SEND. Sonia also has experience in HR, Change Management, financial management and budget monitoring.

Mrs Liz Newman:

In addition to sitting on the Full Governing Board, Liz sits on the Resources Committee and is a Link Governor to Mrs N Chamberlain (Engagement Lead).

Liz is currently a full time mum although she does have a small business offering holistic treatments. Liz’s previous roles include a registered Pharmacy Accredited Checking Technician, area manager of a number of pharmacies and then Business Development Manager with over 52 Pharmacies to support.

Liz brings many skills to the role of governor. She fully appreciates the need for confidentiality and sensitivity and is prepared to challenge herself and keen to further develop her skills. Liz has excellent experience of working in a large team and enjoys working with the local community. She has specific skills in HR/Recruitment and strategic planning as part of a business development.

Mrs Rebecca Poole

Vice Chair of Learning and Development

Rebecca is the latest Governor to join our team and she sits on the Learning and Development Committee.

Rebecca has worked at HCC since August 2017 and she feels this has put her in a unique position to understand the workings of the school from a teaching and learning, pastoral and management side. Rebecca has been involved in education all her life and has a thorough understanding of the stresses and strains that all teaching and administrative staff are under in an educational organisation. Rebecca is driven by making a difference to young people’s lives and making the workplace efficient, supportive and happy.

Rebecca believes communication is the key to success and with good communication comes a reduction in workload and improved well-being at work.

Rebecca is the Data, Exams and Assessment Manager at HCC and has first-hand knowledge and expertise of data analysis at KS3, KS4 and KS5.

Rebecca’s background is in EFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Teaching and Teacher Training. She has taught in schools, universities, FE colleges both here and abroad. Rebecca’s interest is in ensuring the students at HCC have the best possible opportunity to move forward and make good choices.

Mrs Jo Robinson-Sivyer:

Jo has been a Governor for over 5 years and has 4 children who have or are attending the College over the past 17 years. Jo has run her own businesses for over 25 years in addition to working in a number of roles in Local Authority posts. She is a local Parish Councillor and involves herself in the community in a number of areas. Jo also carries out the annual governor skills audit and ensures governors complete the required training according to the governing board priorities.

Mr John Greenwood

John worked in education for 39 years before retiring. He has a BA degree and PGCE from the University of Durham. John’s work has been in a variety of schools ranging from a small primary to a large special school, having been a Headteacher and Executive Headteacher for the last 25 years, taking two schools from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted categories as well as two schools in special measures to ‘Good.’ John is passionate about children’s learning having a wealth of experience gained from many schools, working as a Local Authority School Adviser, Local Leader of Education (LLE) and he has participated in many county-wide projects.

Outside of education management John has worked for the National Health Service as a Non-Executive Director for eight years and set up a Community Interest Company to benefit the area where he served his most recent school headship. He also holds a Class 1 Truck Drivers Licence having supported a local charity by driving aid to those in need. He has a keen interest in rugby but sadly now only from the touchline!

Comments from Ofsted inspectors whilst John was Executive Head reported that “Under the experienced, reflective and knowledgeable Executive Headteacher, the relatively new Senior Leaders, including the interim head of school, are uniting as a strong team” whilst in another it was judged that “The academy is very well led by the Executive Headteacher and the Head of School”.