Meet the Trustees

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

Mr Roger Simmons:

Community Trustee

Roger sits on the Resources Committee and is one of two Trustees linked to the Sixth 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 three 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:

LA Trustee/Chair of Trustees

Brian is currently Chair of the Full Trustees Board.  Brian is also the lead trustee for safeguarding and health and safety within the whole school site.  He meets Ms C Findlay regularly to provide support for Safeguarding and sits on both the Learning and Development Committee and the Resources Committee.

Brian is currently managing an independent fostering agency and is also chair of two fostering approval panels.  Brian has been a qualified Social Worker for almost 30 years and has experience of managing a range of services supporting children and their families.

Brian has an Masters in Business Administration and had experience in managing and supporting complex projects and organisations. Alongside this he has undertaken regular training related to both his professional area of work and as a Trustee within the school.

Brian has a range of skills and experiences that he brings to the role of Trustee 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.

Brian has lived and worked in Hailsham in the past and continues to be a member of the local tennis club.  He is an committed to helping bring the best out in all children and believes strongly in the role of the school supporting children, families and the town as a whole.  Brian is totally committed to giving all children who attend HCC every opportunity to get a great education, feel safe to learn and develop the skills to achieve all they want to be when the leave HCC.

Mrs Sue Weiner:

Community Trustee

Sue is Vice Chair of the Full Trustees Board, Chair of the Pay Appeals Committee, Chair of the Trustees 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 Trustee Board for six 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:

Community Trustee

Resources and Pay Committee Chair

Currently operating as an Independent consultant with a breadth of experience to Board level; underpinned by more than 30 years’ experience in Higher Education and Public Sector across a range of sectors within the Accommodation, Sustainability, Hospitality, Visitor Economy & Facilities Management Industry. Successful strategic and operational leader experienced in change, project and contract management, strategy and partnership development.

Chair of East Sussex visitor economy skills group, None-Executive Director for CUBO (representing commercial services within the Higher Education sector), Ambassador for Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Expert panel member for the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership Trust.  Certified Foodservice Professional.

Double Catey winner, voted Public Sector top 20 Most influential for five consecutive years. Winner of Lifetime Achievement award from CUBO and CSC and member of Women1st Top 100 club.

Mrs Debbie Coslett

Chair of Learning and Development/Community Trustee

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.

Mrs Ruth Hillman:

Co Vice Chair/Community Trustee

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 trustee 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 Trustees 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 Trustee

In addition to sitting on the Full Trustees Board, Carol sits on the Learning and Development Committee and is a Link Trustee 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 Liz Newman:

Parent Trustee

In addition to sitting on the Full Trustees Board, Liz sits on the Resources Committee and is a Link Trustee 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.

Mr John Greenwood

Vice Chair Resources Committee/Community Trustee

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”.

Dr Jeremy Leach


Jeremy is partly retired from a senior position in local government and has lived in Hailsham for over 30 years. He also acts as a consultant advising many organisations from the public and private sectors on how to use insights from the behavioural sciences to improve the customer experience, effectiveness and compliance. He has had two books published and and is a regular presenter at conferences and seminars.

Jeremy holds a degree in Psychology and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, which he gained from the University of Brighton in collaboration with King’s College London. In addition he has studied for and gained post graduate Certificates in Research Methodology and Social Marketing also from the University of Brighton. He is a Fellow of both the Chartered institute of Environmental Health and the Royal Society for Public Health.

Mrs S Divall

Parent Trustee

Stephanie is currently a stay at home mum and assists with the administration of her husband’s Plumbing and Heating Company. Stephanie is a qualified primary school teacher, and prior to having children taught in mainstream and SEMH schools in East Sussex.

Mr John Harrison


John has been Town Clerk for Hailsham Town Council for the last nine years and has over 20 years experience in management roles for both local government and public sector organisations. Prior to this John worked for ESCC Children’s Services, Worcester County Council and the Learning and Skills Council.

John has developed skills and experience and has professional qualifications in Local Council administration, Organisational Management, Quality and Project Management.