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Meet the Governors

  • Tam Beer - Headteacher

    Tamsen Beer has worked at Carlton Hill School since 1995, and was appointed as Headteacher in September 2014. She has taught in other schools within the authority, but was keen to return!

    She loves working in a caring, dynamic and creative school where the children are encouraged to develop their confidence and independence. Through a rich and rounded curriculum, she can see that the children are excited by their learning, are allowed to take risks and are encouraged not to give up. She appreciates that the Governing body is sharply focussed on supporting, as well as challenging, the school to be reflective and strategic in its development.

    “I am passionate about our mission statement ‘Fair means that everyone gets what they need, not that everyone gets the same.’ I believe we are an inclusive school who prides itself on its diverse community and who celebrates everyone’s unique contributions."

  • Andy Russell - Vice Chair, Chair of Teaching, Learning and Standards Committee

    Andy Russell was elected to the Board of Governors as a parent governor in 2011 and became the Local Authority Governor in 2017.  He has one child at Carlton Hill. 

    He is chair of the Teaching, Learning and Standards Committee, and is currently the governor with special responsibility for overseeing the Sports Premium.  He is employed as a librarian at the University of Brighton. 

    “Being a parent governor provides a great opportunity to take an active role in the support and development of the school.”

  • Chris McNeill - Chair of Governors

    Chris McNeill has been a Community Governor at Carlton Hill School since she retired from a career in primary education in 2010.  During that career she taught in Australia and was a teacher in Brighton for thirteen years, a deputy headteacher in East Sussex and a headteacher in West Sussex.  Currently she is Chair of the Governing Body and is the governor with responsibility for overseeing Special Educational Needs and Safeguarding.  She was particularly pleased to join the Governing Body at Carlton Hill because of the school’s dedication to ensuring all children are given the opportunity and support they need to succeed. 

    “It is a truly inclusive school that values all children as individuals."

  • Deborah Owen - Associate Governor

    Deborah Owen was a parent governor from 2004 until 2013, when her younger son moved on to secondary school.  She remains with the Board as an Associate Governor.  She is employed at the English as an Additional Language Service in East Sussex, and does freelance work for the British Council as EAL Resources Coordinator.  At Carlton Hill she is a member of the Teaching, Learning and Standards Committee, and an active participant in PTA activities.  

    Deborah says, “I feel so fortunate that my boys had such a great start to life at school at Carlton Hill, and it’s really good to be able to stay involved with such a great team.”

  • Judy Simon - Co-opted Governor

    Judy Simon has lived and worked in the Tarner area for the past thirty years.  She taught at the Royal Spa Nursery School, where she was later Chair of Governors, whilst working as Childcare Coordinator at the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project.  She is currently working for the Early Childhood Project, carrying out group work with families at the Tarner Children’s Centre.


  • Nic Jones - Co-opted Governor

    Nic joined the governing body in 2019 as a co-opted governor. She works in Higher Education, and has expertise in equality, diversity and inclusion. She sits on the Teaching, Learning and Standards Committee, and the Staffing and Pay Committee. 

    Nic says, “I feel really privileged to join the governing body at Carlton Hill. From the first time I walked in, I felt the happy, friendly atmosphere of the school, and am so pleased to be able to play a small part in supporting and maintaining this wonderfully diverse and inclusive environment for children, families and staff.” 

  • Ken Caplan - Co-opted Governor, Chair of Finance and Premises Committee

                                                Ken Caplan was co-opted to the Governing Body of Carlton Hill in March 2017.  He is an experienced Governor having served on the Governing Body of his children’s primary school in Lewes.  He is keen to contribute to the community of Carlton Hill.

    Ken says, “I bring 7 years of experience as a governor in a Lewes school, having served the last 4 of those years as the Chair of the Board of Governors. I am familiar with the wide range of tasks and topics that governors are meant to cover including safeguarding, finance, data analysis, HR issues, etc.  I have two children who are now in secondary school.”

  • Annabel Blakeston - Elected Staff Governor

    Annabel joined the governing body in September 2014 as the elected staff governor.  She has been teaching at Carlton Hill for 9 years after volunteering and supply teaching at the school.  She sits on the Finance and Premises Committee.

    Prior to becoming a teacher, Annabel was involved in corporate learning and development, leading change management programmes in the public and private sectors.  She also has extensive experience of delivering equalities training for public sector organisations. 

  • Kris Pitrova - Co-opted Governor


    Kris has a longstanding association with Carlton Hill, spanning some 20 years, initially as a parent of 3 children who attended nursery to Year 6, then as a volunteer, and for the last decade, as a member of support staff. Previously, she taught English as an additional language and ran speech and language groups for SureStart.

    Kris says: I have always felt proud to belong to this rich and diverse community. Carlton Hill gave my children a great primary experience, and an excellent foundation for their futures - it is a privilege to help ensure that many more families can benefit in this way.

  • Tristam Burden - Co-opted Governor

    Tristram Burden is an award-winning teacher recently returned to England from South Korea, where for ten years he taught English as a second language to children and adults of all ages. He has an MSc in Public Policy from the University of Bath and works in Adult Social Care at East Sussex County Council.

    “Volunteering as a governor at Carlton Hill gives me a valuable opportunity to contribute to improving education in my local area.”


  • Susan Pierce - Co-opted Governor

     Susan is a Children and Families Social Worker in Brighton and has worked for the Local Authority for fourteen years, gaining substantial experience of working alongside Education colleagues in supporting vulnerable children. Prior to this she worked for a homeless charity in London, running a hostel and providing outreach services for adults with complex mental health and substance use issues.

    Both her children are at Carlton Hill, in Years 1 and 4. Susan says ‘I believe in the collective power of community and being a Governor allows me to contribute to a thriving, multi-ethnic and diverse school and to add to the incredible work of the school and its stakeholders.

  • Ruth Parfitt - Parent Governor


    Ruth joined the governing body in January 2021. She lives in Hanover and has three children, two at Carlton Hill and a third who will start in reception in September.

    Ruth has been a journalist for 20 years and has had various voluntary roles within the charity sector. She is currently on the board of trustees for Tarner Community Project, which works with young people and families living in the area.


  • Gino Graziano - Parent Governor

    Gino is our Parent Governor.

The Work of the Governors

What do school governors do?

Governors work with senior leaders in the strategic development of the school and in raising standards of achievement. Duties include setting the school’s vision, aims & objectives, approving the school budget and appointing the headteacher.

Governors must both support and challenge the headteacher, so need to gain an understanding of the school’s overall performance in order to explain its decisions and actions. They do this by attending regular meetings, carrying out school visits and meeting with senior leaders. They also attend training in order to keep up to date with the requirements of their role.  Governors work as a team and make collective decisions.

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please contact the Chair Governors for more information: chrismcneill@carltonhill.brighton-hove.sch.uk



Some functions are delegated to committees.    Carlton Hill has three committees:-

  • Teaching, Learning and Standards - Andy Russell, chair
  • Finance and Premises - Ken Caplan, chair
  • Staffing and Pay - Chris McNeill, chair

Terms of Reference for each committee are reviewed in the autumn term and will be published on this webpage.  Minutes and certain associated papers from the meetings are also available on request, although some papers may be confidential.  Please contact the Clerk to Governors for further information.

Meeting attendance

Meeting minutes and attendance are available on request from Chelle McCann, Senior Clerk to Governors, by emailing michellemccann@carltonhill.brighton-hove.sch.uk

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