Please CLICK HERE to view a statement of the governor's business interests.
Introduction to the Governing Body
The dynamic, dedicated and experienced board of governors at St Nicholas School supports the school in a number of ways. It provides strategic leadership and accountability, appoints the Head Teacher and Deputy Headteachers, and ensures the schools performance is continually monitored, evaluated and improved.
It is governors who hold the main responsibility for the school’s finances, and it is governors who work with the headteacher to make the best use of the money we receive. They are also ultimately responsible for important matters such as teaching and learning, safeguarding, health and safety, staffing and premises.
The board comprises governors elected by parents, appointed on the basis of their skills and experience, and appointed by the Local Authority. Together they work hard to support the Head Teacher, staff and pupils with the aim of ensuring that St Nicholas School is the best it can be and provides the highest quality education for our children and young people.
Nigel Wootton – Chair of Governors
Nigel worked for many years in central government to improve vital services to the public. Since retiring, he has been involved with local schools as a governor and as a trustee for a disabled children’s charity. A governor at St Nicholas since 2013, he was elected Chair in February 2017.
Alison Ekins - Vice Chair of Governors
Alison works at Canterbury Christ Church University delivering postgraduate courses in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion. Alison also has an exciting role as Head of the Foundation Learning Department in a large mainstream secondary school in Maidstone, as well as being Director of SEN for a successful Academy Trust. Alison has worked as a teacher and SENCO in both mainstream and special schools, so brings to the governing body, a wealth of knowledge and insight in to school development. All this whilst juggling a full time job and four children!
Vanessa Oakes – Co-opted Governor
Vanessa has always enjoyed a strong link with St Nicholas School since her son started in 2008. She immediately joined the PTFA and is now the current Chair. Vanessa is a Trustee of parent led charity SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project) and sits on a number of smaller committees representing the parents of disabled children.
Heidi Dawson – Parent Governor
Heidi worked in banking for 16 years. She has two children, one of whom attends St Nicholas Special School. She is an active member of the school's PTFA. In the years that have followed since her son's diagnosis, she has assisted with fundraising and highlighting the needs of local charities. In her spare time she enjoys decorating, attending concerts and going to the cinema.
Paul Butler - Co-Opted Governor
Paul has been a teacher at St Nicholas School for 21 years and has considerable experience across all age ranges. Initially working in Post 16, he set up the provision at Canterbury College. After a career break to go travelling he returned to St Nicholas and has undertaken a range of roles and projects including leading the schools research for the national project on Complex Needs in 2010 – 11. Additional to his class teacher duties he also supports Visual Impairment across all age ranges having undertaken 2 years training at the Institute of Education and Birmingham University.
Vicky Balfour - Co-Opted Governor
Vicky has a background in PR and internal communications. She has two children, one of whom attends St Nicholas School. Since her daughter joined St Nicholas School in 2010, she has been actively involved in the school's PTFA Committee. In her role as a Governor, she is Chair of the Learning, Curriculum and Students Committee. Thanks to her children, Vicky has a growing understanding and awareness of special educational needs and their impact on children, families and the school environment.
Emma Wellard - Staff Governor
Emma studied for her GCSE’s and 'A' Levels at Archbishop's School, Canterbury, later achieving a BTEC Higher National Diploma in Social Care at Canterbury College. She left college to begin her career at St Nicholas School in September 1996. During her time at St Nicholas School she has cared for her two children and furthered her learning by completing training to become a HLTA, Lead Practitioner and Integrative Counsellor. Within her current role as Family Support Worker and Integrative Counsellor, she has a very busy!, yet fulfilling timetable.
Sharon Godden – Parent Governor
Sharon has a background in the financial markets. She is a mother of three children the eldest of whom has chronic and life limiting conditions and attends St Nicholas School. She is a parent ambassador for ‘MOVE Europe’ and ‘The Postural Care Steering Group’. She was the parent representative for the DfE research project ‘Developing meaningful pathways to personalised learning for children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities’. The outcome of the project formed part of the Governments Bill on SEN. She also engages in public speaking focusing on the economic and emotional impact on families living with a child with chronic conditions and disabilities. Sharon enjoys running and pilates and is a keen hockey player for Herne Bay Hockey Club.
Julian Todd - Co-Opted Governor
Julian Todd is a Chartered Accountant and holds a degree in Law and Economics from Cambridge University. His last position before retirement in 2010 was managing director of a European aerospace manufacturing company. From 2010 to 2016 he was trustee and treasurer of the Hoffmann Foundation for Autism. Julian’s grandson is a pupil at St Nicholas School.
Jemma Edmunds – Co-Opted Governor
Jemma graduated from the University of Exeter in 2014 with a BSc Psychology with Sport Science degree. Following this, she spent 3 months working within mental health hospitals and at special needs projects in Sri Lanka, where she further developed her interest of Child and Adolescent Mental Health and special educational needs. On her return she began working as a teaching assistant for St Nicholas School where she worked with the college group at Canterbury College which she learnt a great deal from and thoroughly enjoyed. Jemma is currently working as a Clinical Support Worker at an Adolescent Mental health Inpatient Unit for South London and Maudsley NHS trust.
Erika Nurmoso – Co-Opted Governor
Erika is lecturer and researcher in child development at the University of Kent, and is a founding director of the Kent Child Development Unit. In her role as Governor, she is a member of the Learning, Curriculum and Students Committee. She has two dogs, and enjoys long distance walking.
Janet MacGregor – Co-Opted Governor
Janet qualified as a nurse in ophthalmic, general and paediatric disciplines. She gained her BEd at Christ church college then worked in local primary and secondary schools for 10 years specialising in science education. She gained a MA in health psychology and returned to CCCU as lecturer, then senior lecturer and head of child nursing and midwifery before retiring to work in Pakistan as principal of a nursing college in Lahore. She now teaches for U3A Canterbury 2 days a week. She has 6 grandchildren who attend schools in the London area.