The Pioneer Federation About the Governors

Alan Brundle the Chair of Governors can be contacted at

TheClerk to the Governors can be contacted at

Alan Brundle – Chair

For those of you that do not 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. Not to mention the Mince pie run in December that Mr Procter has successfully convinced me to run for the last few years. I mistakenly thought I would get a mince pie at each water stop……apparently, they expect you to finish before they give you a mince pie!! I started as a Governor of Chiddingly School about 20 years ago when my son was a pupil. (He is now nearly 26!) During that time, I have served as Chair at Chiddingly for approximately 11 years, Vice Chair of the Federation and now Chair. It is an extremely rewarding role while at the same time being sometimes quite challenging. As a 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 years but the most exciting was the move to the Federation. 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 and areas where we can improve, 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 around for so long? 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 try to get into school either on formal visits for meetings and interviews or more informally 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, then by all means stop us, introduce yourselves and have a chat.

Juliet Stirrat – Vice Chair

I moved to Sussex from London 27 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 7 years and been a governor there for the last 6 years, as well as teaching for one term as a temporary last-minute replacement! Since 2018 I have been the governor responsible for SEND.


Lindsay Wigens – Vice Chair

I moved back to Sussex before my children were born and settled in East Hoathly. I work in a local secondary school as Careers and Alternative Provision Coordinator. I was a Governor at Blackboys CofE School when my children were there and when I was asked to become a Foundation Governor at East Hoathly I jumped at the opportunity. Being involved when East Hoathly first joined with Chiddingly and subsequently with St Mary’s has been an interesting journey, watching each school thrive under a united leadership whilst retaining their individuality.

Mandy Watson

I am very pleased to be the Local Authority Governor at Pioneer, with a particular focus on English and EYFS. 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 the marvellous opportunities Pioneer provides for all our children with our new, exciting curriculum. Since 2016 I have worked as the Diocesan Senior Schools’ Improvement Advisor in Sussex. I was previously a Senior 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.

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

I am very pleased to be a governor for the Pioneer federation. My background is education, having spent many years as a teacher in London, Somerset and East Sussex and as a headteacher in East Sussex. Since leaving headship I have worked as a school improvement partner for East Sussex and as a diocesan school effectiveness partner for the Diocese of Chichester. Although I am now semi-retired I still have a special interest in education and am also a governor at two other schools. I have two grown up daughters, one trained to be a teacher and the other is a lecturer and research scientist at a London university. I love to travel and explore new places around the world and thoroughly enjoy doing some of those adventures in our campervan. My hobbies are walking, yoga, gardening and skiing.

Lorna Duggleby

I come from an education background, having worked in a very wide variety of secondary and all-through schools for over 35 years, the last 22 of which were in various leadership roles, including Executive Head. I enjoy horse-riding, reading, music and Chess as well as house renovation and interior design.

Lucy Wicks

I have enjoyed being a parent governor for Pioneer Federation since 2019. I moved to East Sussex in 2019 and have two children currently at St Mary’s and one at secondary school. I have previously worked in victim support for Kent Police, managed a small Harley Street clinic for transgendered people and have also worked in local government. My main area of focus as a governor is Humanities, I thoroughly enjoy working with the other governors, teachers and pupils to ensure the very best outcome for the children. My hobbies include reading, running and walks in the local countryside with my family and two dogs.

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 2004 I have been the (full-time) Vicar of Chiddingly and East Hoathly. I have been involved throughout that time, in one way or another, with both the schools here. 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. I aim to keep the whole school (federation) community in my prayers and be available as necessary to respond to issues that may arise.

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

My interest as a Governor, and now a specialist associate Governor for the Pioneer federation schools , started when I supported St Mary the Virgin School, as a member of the community for thirty years and as a parent of a child who attended St Marys. As a previous teacher my passion for teaching spanned over fifty years across all school sectors: primary, secondary and further education where I was Vice Principal responsible for Curriculum development, staff development and training and student affairs . I have also worked as a science advisory teacher and in teacher training.  post I was a senior leader in a local primary school teaching science to all age groups and responsible for school developments including Investors in People, Eco-Schools and Royal Society Partnership links with local Business and Industry. I run a small Environmental Centre in Hartfield working with local schools and the RSPB. I am also a member of our local church congregation. I am keen to develop links and partnerships between the school and the local community which will enhance and extend the pupils’ learning experiences.

Lisa Healy

Paul Holt

I grew up in Brighton and moved to Hellingly in 2017. Ever since moving here I have wanted to continue to see improvement in our rural schools. As an Assistant Headteacher at a local Secondary school, I am aware of the power of education in improving young people’s life opportunities. I studied Humanities and Critical Studies at the University of Brighton and then completed an MA in Education (Classical Studies) at Sussex University. I have recently completed my National Professional Qualification in Headship and enjoy my role as Specialist Leader of Education for the South East in helping schools improve. My interests are in the Classical worlds of The Greeks and Romans and I get to enjoy this daily as I teach Latin at GCSE level in a state comprehensive secondary school. In my role as an Associate Governor, I hope to be able to provide my expertise in Education and School Improvement alongside my desire to see the young people in our communities thrive.