Introduction and Overview

What do governors do?

Governors are like a Board of Directors and make decisions about how the School is run. They meet at least once a term in School.

The Rampion Federation

Grovelands and Hellingly CP Schools have formed the Rampion Federation, which commenced in September 2021.  This means that while they remain separate schools, each with its own school development plan, budget and Ofsted inspection, they work closely together under a single Federation Leadership Team (FLT). 

There is an Executive Head Teacher (Mr Goulding), with overall strategic and leadership responsibility for both schools, and two Heads of School (Miss Swaine for Grovelands and Mrs McKay for Hellingly), who have operational leadership responsibility for their school as well as participating in the strategic leadership of the federation.[MN1] 

The Rampion Federation has a single Board of Governors and we are responsible for supporting and challenging the FLT in their leadership of the two schools.  In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing boards, the three core strategic functions of the Rampion Board are:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the two schools
  • Holding the Executive Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the schools and their pupils
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the schools and making sure their money is well spent


The Governing Board meets formally every term but the Governors will visit the schools much more often. Our Governors are hard working and committed to making Grovelands and Hellingly the best schools for your children and the community. 

We also have two Committees, a Resources Committee and a Teaching & Learning Committee.  They meet at least three times a year and report to the full Board.

At our full Governing Board meetings, we receive and discuss reports from the Executive Headteacher, the Heads of School and other staff. We monitor the results of internal and external assessments of the children’s progress and measure the impact of policies which we have adopted to help the schools’ work.

Finance is discussed at each meeting and we also have a special meeting each year to agree the schools’ budgets.  We make sure that the schools’ provision complies with current equalities and safeguarding legislation and that the children and staff have a safe and healthy place to work in.

We work as strategic partners with the Grovelands and Hellingly staff to plan the schools’ development whilst maintaining their core vision and ethos, within the framework of the vision for the Rampion Federation.  Each Governor is linked to a key area of the schools’ development, working with key staff members and reporting to the Board.

Who Are School Governors?

Governing Board Information

Meet The Governors

Michael Nix – Chair of Governors

Contact by email:

I spent my career in education, first as a secondary school teacher and then in education administration. I worked for over 20 years for East Sussex County Council, then for the Learning and Skills Council Sussex, and finally for Brighton & Hove City Council. Key areas of responsibility during my career included planning and managing funding, places and capital investment for schools and colleges. I retired in September 2015.

My wife Carolyn and I have lived in Hailsham for over 35 years and our four children attended Grovelands and Hailsham Community College. I became a governor at Hellingly in 2016 and was Co-Chair and then Chair at Hellingly from January 2019. I strongly supported the partnership between Hellingly and Grovelands and the development of the Rampion Federation. I’m confident the federation strengthens both schools and I will continue to support Grovelands and Hellingly in giving all the children the best possible opportunities to shine in all they do.

Paul Gietzen – Co-Vice Chair

Chair of Resources Committee

I have lived in Sussex for most of my life having moved to the area in the 1950’s with my parents when my father, an astronomer, was transferred to Herstmonceux. My wife, Janet, and I have 3 sons and 6 grandchildren and it was picking up 2 of my granddaughters  from Hellingly that introduced me to this lovely school.

Having recently retired as Chairman of the company I founded in the late nineties I was delighted to be accepted as a co opted governor of Hellingly School in 2019.

I have previously been the Chair of Governors at St Andrews Infant School in Eastbourne and am currently the secretary of the Rotary Club of Eastbourne.

I strongly believe in giving back to the community and I am very conscious of the value of a strong governing body to a school.

I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Head, staff, fellow governors, parents and pupils of Hellingly School in their quest to Reach for the Stars.

Jennie Cole – Co-opted Governor

I moved to Hailsham 17 years ago with my husband. We have two daughters both who attended Hellingly School between 2007 – 2017. I was involved in the school PTA and always wanted to support such a wonderful primary school that had given my daughters a great start in their educational journey. I applied to be a Governor in 2017 as I had always hoped to be involved with the school beyond the years of my children attending.

A true passion of mine is to raise aspirations in young people and support their development towards successful future careers. I am a Registered Career Development Professional and work at Hailsham Community College as the Careers Leader. Prior to this I worked as a Volunteer Coordinator and my first career before children was a science teacher in a secondary school. This helps me to have knowledge of the education system which I feel helps me to support Hellingly School in my role as Governor.

Gaynor Newnham – Clerk

I am the clerk for the Rampion Federation, and I have 20 years’ experience of school governance, having previously been a parent governor and a Chair of Governors in Eastbourne. I first became a clerk in 2014 and now clerk for 12 Governing Bodies in Sussex and Brighton.

When I am not clerking, I enjoy spending time with my huge family (I have 7 children and 5 grandchildren) and trying out vegan cake recipes, since my love of baking was impacted by several members of the family opting for a plant based diet – please send any good recipes my way!

Darren Brand – Foundation Governor

I have two children who currently attend Grovelands, who have thrived in the supportive and positive environment provided.

Professionally, I am a registered nurse, currently employed as a Principal Lecturer by the University of Brighton as one of the co-leads for Nursing Sciences. This primarily involves supporting nursing and other healthcare students are they seek to gain registration as registered practitioners. Since qualifying 20 years ago, I have held clinical and managerial roles within the NHS locally.

I have a long-standing interest in education, which has led me to both my current work role and my involvement in school governance. I have supported local primary schools over the past eleven years in various roles, including as vice-chair of governors and committee chair. I joined the Grovelands Board as an associate governor in 2018 and look forward to working with the federation board to support both Grovelands and Hellingly moving forward.

Sarah Nightingale – Parent Governor

I have three children who have attended Hellingly, two of which are currently at the school and my eldest is at Hailsham Community College, with my niece and nephew having attended Grovelands.  

I have worked in schools and education throughout my career and am currently an Academic Mentor for Pupil Premium, SEND, SEMH and intervention pupils within a secondary school in the local area. 

I have a real passion for inclusion in education and sport for all and am involved in many different sports clubs. I am a qualified British Gymnastics Safeguarding and Welfare Officer and British Gymnastics Judge. 

I share the positive vision that Mr Goulding, Mrs McKay and Mrs Swaine and the Senior Leadership Team have for the Rampion Federation and look forward to embedding that further within the wonderful Rampion community. 

Sarah Chaffer – Parent Governor

James Gietzen – Co-opted Governor

Chair of Teaching and Learning Committee

I am delighted to be selected as Parent Governor for Hellingly Primary School in 2017.

My eldest daughter Isobel started at Hellingly in 2014 and Sophia in 2016, both girls have had a wonderful experience and flourished as young people.

I feel very fortunate to send both of my children to Hellingly Primary School, a school which I see enriching students in many different ways.

I am currently Raising Standards Leader and a teacher of Physical Education at Uckfield College. I have been teaching in East Sussex for 18 years and feel I have a broad experience within education, with a solid understanding of data used in assessing pupils’ and current educational challenges schools are facing across the country. This gives me a good basis for supporting and challenging the leadership team in core matters.

Sport plays a massive part in my life, and I am fortunate to play golf at a reasonable level representing East Sussex National and Willingdon in many team events. I have grown up playing rugby for Eastbourne and have many strong links with sporting organisations around the county. My amazing experiences in sport has led me to be passionate that today’s children are aware of the Importance of an active lifestyle and the enjoyment sport has to offer.

I am very aware of how important a strong and supportive governing body can be to a school in the journey to achieve an outstanding education, but, more than anything as a parent I am passionate in my desire to support and achieve the best possible schooling experience for our children at Hellingly Primary School.

Lucy Elder – Co-opted Governor

My name is Lucy Elder. I am a mum of 2 children who are at Grovelands and HCC and I have lived in Hailsham for 8 years. I am a Co-opted Governor for the Rampion Federation and I was Parent Governor for Grovelands CP before that.

I work at a Secondary School as a SEND Learning Assistant. My background is in Theatrical Management, Logistics and fundraising. I have also volunteered for the NHS, NCT and Sunflowers CIC over the last 11 years.

I am the Link Governor for EYFS and I am on the Teaching and Learning committee. I am very honored and proud to be a Governor, serving
the pupils and their families of our two very unique community primary schools.

Sally Barnard – Co-opted Governor

Hi there, my name is Sally Barnard and I am a co-opted governor for the Rampion Federation.

I have worked in education for 13 years, with my current role being Assistant Head Teacher at a local primary school. I am passionate and invested in ensuring all children are challenged to achieve their full potential in a safe, encouraging environment. In addition to my current role in school I am a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) working with local schools in East Sussex to improve the quality of teaching and learning. 

I have 2 children at Grovelands, in Reception and Year 3, and look forward to supporting the Governing Board and Senior Leadership Team to ensure the continue success and improvement of the schools in the federation.

NAME Governor
of Office
stepped down
Governor Responsibilities
Business Interests
Governing Positions Held
Relationships within the school
Michael Nix LA Governor LA 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025       Chair
of Governors
Sally Barnard Co-opted Governor FGB 08/10/2021 – 07/10/2025   Equality
and Diversity
Chair of Governors
children attend Grovelands School
employed as a Teaching Assistant at Grovelands
Jennie Cole Co-opted Governor FGB 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   Safeguarding;
Mental Health and Wellbeing
at Hailsham Community College
Lucy Elder Co-opted Governor FGB 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   Member
of the Teaching and Learning Committee; Information Governance
1 child at Grovelands School
James Gietzen Co-opted Governor FGB 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   Member
of the Teaching and Learning Committee
at Uckfield Community College
of 2 children at Hellingly School
of Paul Gietzen, who is Co-Vice Chair of Governors


Co-opted Governor              
Vacancy Co-opted Governor              
Paul Gietzen Foundation Governor FGB 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   Member
of the Resources Committee
Chair of Governors
of 2 children at Hellingly School
Father of James Gietzen
Darren Brand Foundation Governor FGB 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   SEND Principal
Lecturer at the University of Brighton; former governor at Stone Cross School


children attend Grovelands School
Sarah Chaffer Parent Governor Parents 14/09/2021 – 13/09/2025   Member
of the Resources Committee, Equality and Diversity
Sarah Nightingale Parent Governor Parents 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025   Member
of the Teaching and Learning Committee
Client Services
Manager for
Academic Choice who
provide supply teachers and temporary teaching assistants to schools,
including Hellingly Primary School. In direct contact and responsible for
supplying temporary staff to Hellingly
Jon Goulding Staff – (Executive) Headteacher Governor FGB Ex-Officio          
Heidi Greenwood Staff Governor Staff 13/01/2022 – 12/01/2026          
Gaynor Newnham Clerk FGB Ex-Officio       Clerk to Governors for
the Swale Academies Trust East Sussex Schools, Stone Cross School, Bourne
School, St. John’s Meads, Seaford Head, Downs Infants School (Brighton),
Hamilton Lodge School and College for the Deaf.
Clerk to the IEB at
Groombridge St Thomas School
Governance Clerk at
STEP Academy Trust