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Governor Profiles

Any Parents who wish to contact the Chair of Governors (Mrs Janet Dunn) may do so through the clerk to the Governors, Mrs Sue Bonell, via email at bursar@battleabbeyschool.com or by phone on 01424 776813

Mrs Janet Dunn Chair of Governors. A former Head at two independent schools, Janet is now retired and lives in Eastbourne. She has two grown up sons and three grandchildren. Her association with the school goes back quite a way as her younger son was a pupil at Battle Abbey. In March 2017 she completed five years as a Lay Member of the East Sussex Safeguarding of Children Board and she continues to act as an Appropriate Adult for young people held in custody and sits on Referral Order panels. She also chairs School Appeals Panels. Janet is a keen traveller and particularly enjoys challenging trips to remote or less well visited locations.

Dr Guy Baker. Guy was educated at St Paul’s School and St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Much of his early time as a doctor was spent on a leukaemia unit at St Bartholomew’s, before he became a resident medical officer at King Edward VII Hospital in London. Following his marriage, Guy spent six years as a GP in the Australian outback looking after a small farming community and an Aboriginal settlement. He then spent 25 years as the sole GP in Herstmonceux before retiring in 2008. He was the Medical Officer to Eastbourne College and St Andrew’s Prep School for 12 years. Guy has been a Governor since 1999 and advises on medically related issues affecting school communities.

Mrs Fiona Breeze. Fiona has been a Governor of Battle Abbey School since 2013 and chairs the Academic Committee. She was educated at Roedean and has a Classics degree from St Anne’s College, Oxford. After raising four sons, she became a teacher, with fifteen years spent at Benenden, the last ten as a Sixth Form Housemistress. She was a Governor of Brambletye Preparatory School for thirteen years. In retirement, she is involved with refugees and the elderly, reviews the Sections of detained patients and sits on Schools Appeals panels. Alongside family life, Fiona’s interests include international affairs, history and the arts.

Libby Fidock. Libby Fidock joined the Full Court of Governors in January 2018. She was educated at Battle Abbey School (1989 – 94) and has been teaching since 1998. She is currently the Principal of Langley Park Primary Academy in Maidstone and has served as a governor in several schools. Libby lists walking and gardening amongst her hobbies and interests and has been a member of English Heritage for many years. Libby is the Oversight Governore responsible for Special Educational Needs.

Mr Jerry Harrison. Born and educated in County Durham, Jerry moved south to study art at Maidstone College of Art, where he gained an honours degree in Graphic Design. One of the founding creative partners in the original Button Design Group, Jerry made a career move in 1984 to set up and lead One to One, a successful brand design and communications agency, for nearly twenty years. One to One and Button joined forces in 2003, bringing differing design skills, a strong creative team, together with a wealth of new business to the newly merged company. As a director and shareholder of Button, Jerry used his design and marketing experience, to build a different client base from his background within education, sport, technology and the leisure industry, to strengthen the agency’s business. Now, four years on, Jerry Harrison has moved on to set up Summer Creative, a full service Exhibition and Design agency. He still juggles his busy schedule in London with his family life in the Sussex countryside. Married to his designer wife, Pauline, for thirty five years, they have three grown up children who all attended Battle Abbey School. Jerry has used his strength in marketing and communication skills to help the school as a Governor since 2000.

Dr Patrick Hart. Patrick joined the Full Court of Governors in July 2017. He has a PhD from the University of London (Geography) and was a university lecturer for many years before joining the British Council. He has a wealth of experience of working in a wide range of overseas cultural contexts and in senior management positions in HR and business change. He was the British Council Director in Taiwan and Germany before retiring in 2010. He serves on several educational appeals panels, is a qualified Mediator and lists travel, music, photography and international affairs (especially with reference to the Far East) amongst his hobbies and interests. Patrick is a member of the Academic Committee.

Rear Admiral John Kingwell CBE. John joined the Full Court of Governors in November 2017. He is an accomplished senior director within the Royal Navy, has undertaken several challenging roles in strategic and operational environments within the Ministry of Defence and is currently the Deputy Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies. John’s 2 daughters were pupils at Battle Abbey and completed their A Level studies in 2013 and 2017 respectively. He lists sailing and travel amongst his hobbies and interests. John is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Mrs Alison Martin. Alison was a boarder at Battle Abbey School for five years before completing her A level studies at Bromley High School. She has a MBA in Education Management and is currently the Bursar at Warminster School, Wiltshire having spent twenty two years in a variety of school administrative roles. She was elected as Chair of the Independent Schools Bursars’ Association in 2010–12 and was a Director of the Independent Schools Council and member of the Executive Committee of the Boarding Schools Association. Alison has been a Governor since 2012 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Mr Malcolm Melville. Malcolm works in the City of London designing and developing algorithmic trading systems. He was educated at Eltham College, the Judd School and Imperial College and spent some time in engineering before moving into the financial sector. Most of his time is spent working with and advising project teams on the latest technologies in order to gain advantage in the markets. Malcolm served as a governor at Punnetts Town Primary School for a number of years and played a key part in the move to federating the schools at Punnetts Town and Broad Oak. Malcolm’s children attend Battle Abbey. He is an avid pilot, holds a commercial pilot’s license and also enjoys horse riding. Malcolm has been a Governor since 2011 and is Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Mr Ian Mercer. Ian was educated at St Bartholomew’s Grammar School Newbury and at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He retired in March 2013 after 50 years of Government Service consisting of 37 years in the Army as an Engineering and Intelligence specialist followed by 13 years with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was awarded the CBE in 1991. Both of Ian’s daughters were pupils at Battle Abbey. Ian’s wife Vera was a Founding Member of The Friends of Battle Abbey School. Ian has been a Governor since 1993 and was Chairman for 11 years until April 2014. He is a member of The Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Rev George Pitcher. George is a journalist and was an award-winning Industrial Editor of The Observer during the years of the Thatcher government’s privatisation programme. He is a columnist and commentator on a wide range of newspapers and broadcast media and Chair of a London-based consultancy which develops corporate cultures and behaviours. He is also a writer and vicar of the parish of Waldron with Cross In Hand in East Sussex. In the early 1990s he co-founded a communications consultancy which became one of the largest independent PR operations in Europe. For a little over 2 years he was Religion Editor of Telegraph Media, publisher of the Daily Telegraph (where he was a columnist and leader writer) and Sunday Telegraph, and he also served for a year as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Public Affairs, while continuing as a freelance columnist and commentator. He was curate and associate priest at St Bride’s in Fleet Street, London, the “Journalists’ Church”, for 7 years. George has been a Governor since 2011.

Mr Stephen Rumsey. Stephen is a life-long environmental conservationist who grew up in West Africa. He has served on a number of boards of environmental non profit organisations and was Deputy Chairman / Treasurer of Birdlife International. He lives on his farm in East Sussex where he has developed his own nature reserve over the last 30 years. Elsewhere he has been particularly involved with tropical forest projects in Brazil, West Africa and South East Asia. Professionally he was investment manager for the biggest pension fund in the UK before he designed and ran the debt markets business for BZW and set up his own asset management business. Stephen is a graduate of the London School of Economics and has been a Governor of Battle Abbey School since 2013. He is a member of The Finance and General Purposes Committee.