The Governors are responsible for the school on behalf of the Members of the Academy Trust.
The Abbey School governors are people from the school’s community who wish to make a positive contribution to children’s education. We are volunteers who attend meetings and work together to further The Abbey School’s development.
Together with the headteacher we set the future direction for The Abbey School and decide how the school’s budget should be spent.
The Governing body makes decisions collectively on matters such as setting strategic direction, school policies, ensuring accountability, the school’s development plan, and monitoring and evaluating school performance.
The Headteacher provides an Induction Programme and an Induction Handbook to all new Governors prior to their first Full Governing Body meeting.
Links to the Governing Body Designations List and Governor Responsibilities – Themes and Subjects for the current academic year are shown below.
If you wish to contact the Governors this should be by letter addressed to the Chair of Governors and sent via the school office.
The Governing Body consists of:
Chair of Governors - Mrs C Clarkstone
I am Chair of governors and long serving member and Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee. I first joined the governing body as a parent governor, when my daughter was attending the Abbey School.
I am now retired, but previously worked for 14 years as a Community Librarian in Faversham and developed a strong understanding of the local community and the factors which influence our pupils. I then moved to working with parents in the newly established children’s centres in Sittingbourne and Faversham, first as a Community Involvement Worker and later as a member of KCC’s Early Help team.
I worked with families across Swale and developed a wide knowledge of the issues which affect learning and development of young people and an understanding of their support needs. Many of our pupils need additional support in order to achieve their potential in education and in life and I take an informed interest in what the school can offer them.
I am proud to be part of a team which has made the Abbey School the local school of choice, established at the heart of the community and providing an excellent education for the young people of Faversham.
Vice Chair of Governors - Mr T Martin
I have lived in Faversham for most of my life, attending local schools, and all my children have attended The Abbey School.
I joined the Governing Body of the Abbey School as a parent governor in January 1999 and am now a community governor. I have been involved with Finance and Premises at the school ever since.
I have had a varied working life which has allowed me to bring experience from the theatre, school premises work and my current job in the Department of Work and Pensions to the school. Prior to joining the governing body here, I was a governor at two local Primary Schools.
I also hold the Certificate in School Business Management from the National College for School Leadership.
Headteacher - Dr R Speller
"I am extremely proud to be the Headteacher of The Abbey School. Prior to commencing this role in September 2018 I had been a Deputy Head for four years. My career in education has been broad and varied, having spent almost a decade working in Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys teaching economics and progressing to become the school's Bursar and Assistant Head. Towards the end of that period I launched the Langton Grammar Stream at Canterbury Academy as a Deputy Head working across both schools.
I have been lucky to benefit from an excellent education myself and also have an enthusiasm for learning which I am keen to share with others. I hold a Doctorate in Education, Masters qualifications and a Bachelor’s degree.
In my life outside of The Abbey I am a Director of Kent SEN Trust and am the Chair of Governors of a school for students with SEN. My passion is improving education and ensuring a broad and balanced education. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts."
Co-Opted Governor - Dr F Rehal
I am a trained health visitor and studied at Kings College Hospital in London and Brighton Polytechnic. I then did further studies at the University of Greenwich and I am now completing my PhD at Canterbury Christchurch University.
I have worked with children and families as a health visitor in London and also with traveller and homeless families.
I gained experience and knowledge of many cultures and lifestyles. I lived in the USA with my husband and two children for three years. I experienced different education, health and political systems and value greatly the public services here in the UK.
I have visited Russia, France and New Zealand to study healthcare and early years systems. Our children have been educated in the State system in Kent and I have been a governor at my son’s school for over fifteen years. I joined the Abbey School at the start of this academic year.
I am vice- chair of the Parochial Parish Council. I have worked as a manager in the NHS and had responsibility for child protection and practice development. I developed the first Sure Start programme in Kent and as director steered it through incorporation as a community mutual children’s centre which was the first of its kind in the UK. I did a presentation on the model at 10 Downing Street. I have been honoured with an MBE for services to children and families.
I am interested in politics and have successfully campaigned to keep the local children’s Centre in Faversham open following a proposal from KCC to close the centre. I am committed to equality and helping children and families achieve their full potential.
Co-Opted Governor - Mrs J Landsberg
My career in education has provided me with extensive opportunities to work with learners and learning organisations. As a teacher, deputy and headteacher I was part of the education of learners in the primary phase. As a local authority employee I worked with schools across the phases as well as strategically leading teams. My own learning was unusual in that I began my first degree at the age of 29 when my children were aged 3, 5 and 7.
I believe that education is pivotal in providing learners with skills and achievements to make choices, but also should promote self belief and confidence. I joined the Governing Body of the Abbey School because I was impressed with the philosophy and ethos of the school and look forward to being part of its further development.
I currently undertake a national role for an organisation that promotes and supports ensuring women's opportunities in education and the workplace are promoted. This group links with a parallel international organisation.
I have four grandsons under the age of 6, so spending time with them keeps me grounded in the many ways that children learn as well as keeping my technology skills up to speed!
Co-Opted Governor - Mrs S Keeling
I moved to Faversham with my husband, David, and two children in 1989, from South London. Both children have attended local schools, Bysingwood Primary School and the Abbey School.
Before deciding to become a full-time mum, in 1984, I worked for Lloyds Bank in their IT Department, monitoring all of the live networks to their branches. Once the children started school I studied with the Open University and in December 1997, graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Social Sciences.
I joined the staff of the Abbey School, initially as a TA in February 2000. In September 2001, I was given the opportunity to train as a teacher under the Graduate Teacher Training Programme in the Humanities Department of the Abbey School. Having gained QTS the following year I was offered a permanent appointment as a Geography Teacher. I progressed to the additional post of a KS3 Year Head, in 2007, a post I held until my retirement from full time teaching in 2015.
I feel the experience I have gained, both from my teaching and pastoral roles will enable me to assist in the continued improvement of standards within the school.
Co-Opted Governor - Mr D Shemoon
Head of Mathematics at Highbury Grove school in London where results were transformed from well below national standards to well above with a provisional progress 8 score of +0.54.
I have a passion for travelling and experiencing other cultures, though this has taken a back seat since having children. This combined with my belief that all children should grow up in a world of opportunity led me to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Childreach International, raising £2000 for the charity. I subsequently organised an expedition to Everest base camp, including flights, accommodation, a trekking company, and a tour of India and Nepal. I recruited 50 university students – together raising over £100,000 for an international children’s charity - and led them to base camp. I am a keen runner and have run 4 marathons for Whizz Kidz raising over £10,000. I have links with a school for orphans in Kangemi slum, Nairobi, where I personally oversaw the construction of a new school building enabling the children to have a better learning environment. I am a keen sports fan and captained my football team while at university.
Co-Opted Governor - Mr K Warnock
I am Finance Director at Apex Lift & Escalators Engineers Ltd. I enjoy playing golf, watching my son play rugby, gardening and walking my dogs.
Until the age of 18, I lived in a small, seaside resort where career choices were limited and young people rarely left the village. Raised in a working class family, I did not pass my 11 plus exams and went to the local secondary modern school. Despite this, I became Head Boy of my school in 1975 and was one of the first pupils in the school to take A levels and go on to higher education. I was greatly inspired by my teachers who encouraged me to work hard and enjoy school life.
I have two sons who currently attend The Abbey School, which was our first choice school.
Co-Opted Governor - Mrs L Brooman
I joined the Governing Body in December 2018, in response to a notice in local press.
My early career was with an international petrochemical company, working in research, commerce and industry. Subsequently, I was employed in senior roles for a number of local charities and was responsible for statutory compliance and best practice in many aspects of their activities.
I moved to Faversham in 2015, having lived and worked in East Kent since 1988. I take an active interest in local affairs and issues and am involved with several local charities and schools on a voluntary basis.
I am convinced that everyone can benefit from education in its widest definition, both in schools and in continuing professional development, and am concerned that all school-leavers should be ready for work, including those going into full-time further education. I am particularly interested in breaking down barriers to learning and in ensuring that encouragement and opportunities for developing skills and experience are available to enhance intellectual achievement.
Co-Opted Governor - Mr N Levitt
I have a background in Finance having been a Senior Investment Dealer in Wealth Management at the Royal Bank of Canada. I am now retired.
I live in Faversham and attended the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and Canterbury College. I have 3 sons and 1 daughter. In my spare time, I enjoy indoor rowing, golf, motor sports, music, cricket and football, reading, travelling and cycling.
Co-Opted Governor - Dr M Baxter
Parent Governor - Mr P Hawkins
Staff Governor - Mrs R Fletcher
In 2007, I became a qualified teacher; I have had experience of working in four different schools, all with their own strengths and areas of development. Throughout this time, I have had different roles including assistant vice principal, head of department and head of year. I have experienced many different aspects of school life, which has given me a wealth of knowledge about how schools run, with all their intricacies.
Since joining The Abbey School, nearly five years ago, I have seen many positive changes and I would relish the opportunity to support the school in its future development. I have held both pastoral and departmental roles as well as being the whole school literacy co-ordinator; I am currently the Head of Social Science. I would like to use the skills I have acquired to work with the governing body in the school’s future development. I am particularly interested in developing the post-16 education in the school. I also enjoy working on school and charity events, for example, last year I organised and supported the Sixth Formers in completing the Christmas Fayre in Faversham town centre
One of my main strengths is problem solving and thinking of new ideas; I really enjoy discussing how to overcome challenges and make change happen. I am a very open and honest person; I am intuitive and can empathise with people. My subjects of Social Science and RE have also taught me the importance of understanding others and listening to them: focusing on staff and student wellbeing would be an important issue for me.
I have lived in Faversham all my life, which gives me an insight into the needs of the town, as well as an understanding of the students, parents, carers and wider community. In my spare time I enjoy reading and home improvements, I also enjoy visiting the Lake District with my husband, to climb mountains, hunt for waterfalls and soak up the fresh air.
Staff Governor - Mrs R Towler
My name is Rebecca Towler, I live in Painter’s Forstal and am married with two children, both of which have just finished university and are now travelling the world. I currently manage the Learning Resource Centre on a Thursday afternoon. My career at the Abbey School first started almost 10 years ago as an exam invigilator. I have since worked as a TA in the English department, covered a TA’s role whilst she was on maternity leave and then returned as general TA.
I have also helped with exam invigilation over the last couple of years until stepping into my current role.
I am also a trustee of the Painter’s Forstal Community Association and their Membership Secretary.