The Pioneer Federation About the Governors

Alan Brundle the Chair of Governors can be contacted at

Alan Brundle – Chair

For those of you that don’t know me I live in Hailsham. I am married (to a teacher) and have one son. I am a Civil Servant and work in London. After the joys of commuting, I relax by playing, umpiring and coaching hockey for Hailsham. I also have an allotment, though I am struggling to find enough day light hours to do it justice. I also seem to get roped into a lot of running. I think if someone highlights a good cause, I appear to be easily persuaded! I have now completed the London Marathon and the Brighton and Eastbourne half marathons over the last 12 years. I am supposed to be in training for the London Marathon next April as well! Not to mention the Mince pie run in December that Mr Procter has successfully convinced me to run for the last three years. I started as a Governor of Chiddingly School nearly 18 years ago when my son was a pupil. (He is now nearly 24!) During that time, I have also served as Chair for approximately 11 years and am now one of the vice-chairs. It is a very rewarding role while at the same time being sometimes quite challenging. As Governor, you are responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the schools, but have to avoid the temptation to get involved in the day to day management of the school. We are responsible with the senior leadership team for the schools/federation’s performance and direction, but have to get the balance right so that we allow the senior leadership team to manage the schools/federation on a day to day basis without interfering. We have to learn to fulfil the “critical friend” role. I have seen many ups and downs over the 18 years but the most exciting was the move to the Federation and more recently the expansion with St Marys joining. I have been amazed by the progress each school has made over the period it has been in the partnership or federation. The results and the Ofsted judgements have been so good to see. The benefits of schools and professionals working together cannot be underestimated and I think the evidence speaks for itself. There is, of course, still work to be done but I think the foundations have been laid and we have a good team of professionals in the Pioneer Federation who will drive us all forward for the most important aspect, which is of course the children. Why have I stayed for 18 years? Well, there is no substitute for seeing the excitement on the children’s faces and hearing their chatter as they grow and develop. They are always so willing to share what is important to them. Seeing the schools move forward and develop is so rewarding. I often get into school either on formal visits, to interview for staff or just to look round the classrooms and chat with the staff and children. It just puts the day job into perspective! The Governors normally have their badges on when they are in school so if you see any of us, by all means stop us, introduce yourselves and have a chat.

Juliet Stirrat – Vice Chair

I moved to Sussex from London 25 years ago with my young family, leaving behind a career in the art world and returning to study to embark on a second career in primary education. During this time I have also chaired a PTA, been a governor at two other schools and am currently a trustee of two local charities. I have been volunteering regularly at St Mary’s for five years and been a governor there for the last four years, as well as teaching for one term as a temporary last-minute replacement! I am looking forward to getting to know the other Pioneer schools and will be particularly focussing on SEND.

Mandy Watson

I am very pleased to be the Local Authority Governor at Pioneer, with a particular focus on Safeguarding.  I have spent many years as a teacher and Headteacher in England and in Africa and with five grandchildren now, I have a special interest in education across all phases. I am delighted to see all the marvellous opportunities Pioneer provides for all our children with our new, exciting curriculum. Since 2016 I have worked as a Diocesan Senior Schools Improvement Advisor in Sussex. I was previously an Education Adviser in London for 13 years. I have been a school governor since 2006 in East Sussex and in London. My hobbies are walking, (preferably in the mountains or by the sea) and reading. By the end of July my Fitbit tells me I had walked the equivalent of the length of New Zealand since Christmas!

James Procter

I have worked in Primary Schools in both Lincolnshire and East Sussex and have taught all year groups. I have been a Leading County Teacher, Senior Teacher, Deputy Headteacher, Head of School and now Executive Headteacher.  I love seeing the amazing children in our Federation finding their learning irresistible, particularly where the children actively explore concepts, apply skills, ask questions and are motivated by independent discovery. I enjoy working alongside the great staff team and supportive parents and governors.

My vision and values for ­­The Pioneer Federation: An outstanding federation with a central focus on creative, innovative and engaging teaching that develops a love and interest in learning. My vision is for our children to value learning as a creative endeavour that underpins their aspirations for great futures and to ensure that we are all focused on seeing opportunities and believing that anything is possible. We craft meaningful contexts for learning and tasks that develop key skills for independence, confidence and resilience, which actively engage children. The federation will have outstanding schools where every child is provided with a toolkit for life-long learning through the highest quality teaching.

I am a very active person who enjoys challenges. I run regularly and have fundraised for developments in all the schools I have worked in, taking part in half marathons and more recently, the Brighton marathon. I also enjoy socialising with friends and family, surfing, snowboarding, gardening and am hoping to take up kite surfing in the near future. I have a young family and I enjoy going away on adventures with them!

Jan Meyer

Lindsay Wigens

Lorna Duggleby

Lucy Wicks

Phil Hodgins

I grew up in west London, close to Heathrow Airport. Following spells in the north of England, Bristol and Lincoln I moved to Sussex in 1990. I am married with two grown-up sons and have been an Ordained Minister in the Church of England since 1985. A large part of my working life has been spent in secular employment as a Human Resources professional with my last job being Head of HR at Age Concern England. Since then, I have been the (full-time) Vicar of Chiddingly and East Hoathly for the past 14 years. I have been involved throughout that time, in one way or another, with both the schools here. I am very much looking forward to getting to know St Mary’s better, now they are part of the Pioneer Federation. My particular focus as a governor is the ‘SMSC’ – spiritual, moral, social and cultural – development aspects of school life, also the additional obligations for East Hoathly and St Mary’s as Church Schools.

Rev Julie Sear

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rev Julie Sear and I am the Rector of Hartfield and Coleman’s Hatch. I have been in the post for over  five years. I am married to Trevor and we have two married Sons and several Grandchildren. I have been Governor at St Mary’s School since my arrival. The school has been on a wonderful journey and it has been a privilege to be part of that journey. The Christian ethos of the school is grounded in everything that goes on across the school. As Rector, I was thrilled when the school was presented with outstanding in its SIAMS inspection. Since then, we have been working at a new vision statement and values. Learning with love, strength and faith, following the example of Jesus. The children know these values and each week have times of learning and reflection on a key value. On a Wednesday afternoon, the children walk up to St Mary’s Church for their afternoon Collective Worship. It is a great opportunity for each child to experience being part of a church that has stood here for nearly 800 years. I also encourage the children to participate in the Collective Worship Services in church. It has been such an encouragement watching the children grow in confidence leading the prayers or in drama. Each month we also have Open the Book Team come and open up a bible story for the children. Since being part of the Pioneer Federation, we have seen great progress made across the partnership. We are seeing good and strong foundations laid for the children and for the future of our school. As Governor, my role is to pray for all Staff and children. I sit on the Governing body with a particular responsibility for SIAMS and collective worship. This includes all major festivals. I am often at the school gate or in church on a Wednesday afternoon with the school. If you get the chance to come and join us at 2.45pm on a Wednesday, we would love to see you.

Chris Forsey

We moved to Hailsham 7 years ago, having lived in Guildford for over 10 years after meeting my wife at Uni. I originally studied civil engineering, and construction but unfortunately illness halted that idea, and I soon became involved in IT. I now have my own business delivering IT solutions and supporting other small businesses across Sussex and Surrey. I do however, still enjoy putting my practical learning and skills to use when I can, and with our 2 daughters at Chiddingly, I have helped complete a number of projects for the school and become more involved in and seen the issues and challenges faced by the school. I enjoy the outdoors the most, from walking in the woods, to down on the beach, anything really to do with the countryside and fresh air. This is my first role as a governor and I am looking forward to working with the Pioneer staff across the 3 schools in what is going to be a very challenging role, and just as importantly, being able to provide input and feedback on behalf of the parents in the learning, teaching, and in the vision and ethos delivered across the federation schools to our children. As a governor I have been asked to focus on Health and Safety as well as ICT across the 3 schools and will be working hard to help maintain the high standards already achieved and look at how technology is used across them and where this can be improved both in and out of the classroom.

Hilary Rowberry

Lisa Healy