Mrs Janet Dunn BD PGCE
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. She is a member of both the School’s Finance and General Purpose Committee and the Academic Committee.
Mrs Fiona Breeze MA
Fiona has been a Governor of Battle Abbey School since 2013 and is a member of the School’s Academic Committee. She was educated at Roedean and has a Classics degree from 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.
Professor David Daniels CBE
Chair of Academic Committee. David joined the Full Court in November 2018. After a career in applied research in industry, David joined the University of Manchester in 2015 as a Visiting Professor supporting research on radar and microwave sensing and was also a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor. David’s research interests are in sensors for security and counter-terrorism and he achieved notable success in support of search operations and the development of radar for landmine detection. David chaired the European Radar Conference in 2016. He is married with two sons and two grandsons, gained his private pilot’s licence in 2012 and flies regularly from Lydd .
Mrs 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 Governor responsible for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Dr Patrick Hart PhD
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.
Mrs Samantha Hookway LLB(Hons)
Sam was a pupil at Battle Abbey from 1981 – 87 before attending Southampton Institute to complete her degree. She joined the Full Court of Governors in March 2019 and has previous experience of being a governor in a local state school. Sam is a solicitor in Hastings and specialises in criminal practice. She lists archery, amateur dramatics and the Womens’ Institute amongst her hobbies and interests.
Rear Admiral John Kingwell CBE
Chair of Finance and General Purposes Committee. 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.
Mrs Alison Martin FMAAT, MBA
Vice Chair. 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 has just retired as the Bursar at Warminster School, Wiltshire having spent 22 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. She is also a member of Executive Body of the the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools.
Mr Ian Mercer CBE, MInstRE
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.
Mr Jonathan Watts MA (Oxon), B.Phil (York).
Jonathan Watts read Modern History at The Queen’s College Oxford and undertook research work in Art History at the University of York. He taught history at leading UK independent schools for nearly 40 years, beginning his career at Manchester Grammar School in the 1970s. He subsequently ran the History Departments at Ashville College Harrogate and Birkenhead School. In 1988 he was appointed Head of History and Politics at Benenden School, where he became the school’s first male housemistress and was the Oxbridge Coordinator and Scholars’ Mentor. He was closely involved in the recruitment of students from Hong Kong and China and continues to serve as a member of the Benenden Hong Kong Trust. For ten years, he was a GCSE and A-Level examiner. Since retirement from Benenden in 2012, he has worked with the New College of the Humanities in London, and has been a consultant and tutor with ARCH Education in Hong Kong and other consultancies. He has been a governor at four different independent schools and enjoys singing with small choirs specialising in early music and travelling in Europe and beyond. Jonathan is the Oversight Governor responsible for Boarding.