Local Board Testimonials

Represent the school and the Trust in the local community
Lisa Downs, Pound Hill Infant Academy

When my son started in the early years at Pound Hill I wanted to understand the school, how it operated, get to know the teachers and support all the great work that they do.

I'm proud to represent the school and the Trust in the local community. I think it is vital for the school and Trust to understand the community within which their pupils live so that they can provide the best possible education and environment for the pupils. Being a parent and living and working in the community helps me to contribute to the decisions the Local Board makes on behalf of the school. I love it!

I’m a lawyer specialising in data protection and commercial law and live in Pound Hill with my husband and son. It was also important for me to make sure my son was getting the very best education that he could and that I supported that – a role on the Local Board seemed a perfect fit.

I’ve been on the Local Board for almost a year and recently took on the role of Special Educational Needs and Looked After Children link member.

I’ve been getting to understand how the school operates, the daily challenges it faces and seeing how the Local Board can support it and the children.



Lisa Downs
Local Board member
Pound Hill Infant Academy

A champion for children’s learning and achievement

Rose Durban, Robsack Wood Primary Academy, The Baird Primary Academy, Hollington Primary Academy

As a Local Board member, you’re a champion for children’s learning and achievement.

I’m passionate about improving children’s learning and life chances. I’ve spent my whole professional life working on behalf of children. I want our pupils to have the opportunity to shape the future they want. Schools help them do exactly that.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the whole school community, championing the needs of vulnerable learners. It’s important to keep an overview, so I focus on the things that really make a difference for children and those who work with them.

My local knowledge and connections help me to link the schools with the community; I build on others experience and expertise to reach out, engage, involve and make the school accessible.

I feel I’m making a difference by being ambitious, hopeful and positive about the impact our schools have on children’s learning and life chances in Hastings.



Rose Durban

Rose Durban
Local Board member
Robsack Wood Primary Academy, The Baird Primary Academy, Hollington Primary Academy

I’m actively involved in my children’s school journey
Michele Fairhall, Holmbush Primary Academy

When my eldest joined Holmbush, I volunteered in the classroom with reading, became a member of the PTA, and then joined the Local Board when he was in Reception; he is now in year 11!

It has been lovely to be actively involved in their school journey to understand expectations and achievements, and to gain an understanding from the academy perspective, not just as a parent.

The Local Board member role is focused on communication, celebration and achievement. I enjoy seeing the children develop over time and to be able to celebrate with them.

I help to link the community to the academy by spending time on the gate each week, ensuring parents know who the Local Board members are. We also hold and attend events such as summer and Christmas fares.

As Chair of the Local Board I attend Chairs forums termly, weekly achievement assemblies and other events at the Academy.
I took on this role to contribute to the education of children in my community; I feel that it benefits the children’s education when they see an external person excited and keen to see them grow.

I am a married working mum with two children aged 15 and 10. I have managed the accounts and HR of an independent nursery in Hove for the past 10 years.


UoBAT Local Board Member Michele Fairhall

Michele Fairhall
Local Board Chair
Holmbush Primary Academy

An opportunity to ensure everyone receives a great start to their education
Clare Hoggan, Desmond Anderson Primary Academy

We are showing children that their community care about them, that we are invested in their futures and that they are the ones with the power to make things happen.

My eldest daughter had such a wonderful start at Desmond Anderson that when the chance to volunteer for the Local Board came up, I saw it as an opportunity to be part of making sure everyone received the same great start to their education.

I live in our local community and am a parent so hope I’m in touch with issues on the ground. The Local Board is part of the community at the Academy; celebrating success and supporting our wonderful staff, it feels so worthwhile.

I am Mum to two daughters and live in Crawley with them and my husband. I am a Senior Broadcast Engineer. I run a Ranger unit in Crawley (Girlguiding 14-18 year olds) and am also a leader with Rainbows.


Local Board Member Clare Hoggan

Clare Hoggan
Local Board Chair
Desmond Anderson Primary Academy

Give back to the academy
Stephanie Johnson, Silverdale Primary Academy

My child attends Silverdale and has special needs so I wanted to volunteer for the Local Board to give back to the academy. I see it as a way to help others and to learn about contributing to the academy and children’s achievement.

As a new Local Board member, I’ve attended useful training on the safeguarding aspect of my role, which has given me an idea of what to expect. Online training has been really useful too.

I feel privileged to represent the voice of other Silverdale parents.


Stephanie Johnson
Local Board member
Silverdale Primary Academy

Using professional skills for a good cause
Caroline Newton, Lindfield Primary Academy

Being a Local Board member brings my work life and family life together in a way that I didn’t expect. I love being involved with school life and have a year group that I link to. I go into school to observe, support, assist and build relationships; it’s a really fun part of the role.

I have two children at the school so I’m pleased to be involved in decisions that affect their education, but I’m also strongly motivated to make our community school the best it can be. My own school experience was fantastic, and I’d like to see that experience replicated for not only my children but for all children.

The Local Board member role is empowering and worthwhile. I have run my own business development business, so I wanted to put my skills to good use and benefit the school.

I like working at this level and being instrumental in decisions. I feel that I’m using my professional skills for a tangible good cause and that I can be the source of some solutions to challenges the school faces.

I’m involved in vision and strategy for the Local Board and assist the Senior Management Team with their academy improvement plan. I’m able to bring lots of experience to the role and introduce new ideas and tools so I feel really useful!


Local Board Member Caroline Newton

Caroline Newton
Local Board member
Lindfield Primary Academy

Scope to make changes as a Local Board member
Suzie Stanley, LOcal board member churchwood primary academy, silverdale primary academy and west St Leonards primary Academy 

There is plenty of scope to make changes as a Local Board member and make a positive contribution to the education of children in Hastings. I regularly engage with the children in the academy and frequently liaise with the Principals.

I’d describe myself as enthusiastic and motivated. I am a lawyer, life coach and devoted mother to four children. At the moment, my two youngest children are at West St Leonards Primary Academy but I hope they will go to The St Leonards Academy in the future.






Local Board Member Suzie Stanley

Suzie Stanley
Local Board member Churchwood Primary Academy, Silverdale Primary Academy and West St Leonards Primary Academy.

Make a difference to your school and local community
Carly Welch, The Baird Primary Academy

Local Board members help us by using their experience and knowledge of the local community to strengthen the school’s connection with the community and broaden our community impact.

A great Local Board member is approachable and eager to get involved. I really value their dedication, commitment and a knowledge of the local community.

Local Board members can inform decision making and offer critical support to the senior leadership team. The Baird’s Local Board is combined with two similar schools in our Trust – Robsack Wood Primary Academy and Hollington Primary Academy. This provides a greater opportunity for cross-school working and developing high-quality teaching, learning from each other.

Principal of The Baird Primary Carly Welch

Carly Welch
The Baird Primary Academy