Andrew WhiteleyChair of Governors
Andrew is a retired graduate electrical engineer with a masters degree in business administration. In his early career he worked in engineering research and development before moving into various management roles. He has previously been a director of a UK PLC with over thirty years board level management experience.
Throughout the bulk of his career Andrew has worked in businesses that supplied the education sector in terms of facilities, consultancy, equipment and services mainly in the areas of engineering and science. He has a wide experience of the tertiary, technician and vocational education sectors and has worked extensively in the MENA countries developing education projects.
Prior to his retirement Andrew was director General of the Worlddidac Association, based in Switzerland, an international trade association representing most of the world's education suppliers and consultants. He was also a trustee of the Worlddidac Foundation, a Swiss based charity that funded education projects in developing countries.
Previously Andrew was a co-opted, and then LEA governor, of Herne School serving for seven years until work commitments took him overseas in July 2002. During his time as a governor at Herne he was involved in the recruitment of a Headteacher, two deputy headteachers and several classroom teachers, chairing the staffing subcommittee.
Andrew is married to Liz, a recently retired Speech and Language Therapist who worked locally for many years. They have two daughters who both attended Herne School progressing via university to careers in medical research and teaching.
Cheryl AdamsClerk to the Governors
Kate OwbridgeExecutive Head,
Kate is the Executive Headteacher of Ashdown Primary School. She has BA (hons) QTS from the University of Hull (Bishop Grosseteste College), the NPQH from the Institute of Education, London, and the NPQEL from Leadership Learning South East. Kate was made a Local Leader of Education in 2017 and has worked as a serving Consultant Headteacher for East Sussex County Council, as well as supporting schools across the country in a consultancy role.
She Â has been involved in education for almost her whole life! And she has served on governing bodies since 1998 as both a staff governor and as a head teacher.
She believes that governors are a vital part of a school community and that it is a real privilege at this school to work with such a strong team.
The best interests of the children are at the heart of everything the governors do, and remind them of the reason they stay at school until all hours mid-week!
Kate believes that Ashdown Primary continues to go from strength to strength and the governors are an important part of that development.
Alison has been either a Parent Governor or Co-opted Governor since 2013. She has had various governor roles over the years including, currently, OPAL and Green link governor, and Pupil Voice. She has been a parent volunteer at Whitehill (school & nursery), Herne, the Federation and Ashdown since 2004, being an active member of the PTAs, listening to readers in class, helping with cooking & swimming, being involved with the Walking Bus, running an after-school French Club, working with the Green Team and attending school trips & inter-school sports events - in addition to her governor roles.
She tutors French, German and English. She is self-employed and runs several part-time direct-sales businesses. She has also been a governor in Withyham since 2017 and a Crowborough Town Councillor since 2019. She volunteers at Crowborough's Community Fridge and also at the town's Repair Cafe, 2 environmental & community initiatives of the sustainability group, Green Transition Crowborough.
Alison has 3 children (Bethan, Dan and Lauren, all of whom attend/attended Ashdown/Whitehill/Herne) and lives in Crowborough with her partner, Derek. Her interests include cooking, music, languages, environmental protection, theatre and travel and she is passionate about the future success of Ashdown Primary and the learning opportunities, well-being and life experiences of the children and staff.
Greg is married to Andrea and they have 2 daughters, Katie and Sophie, both of whom attended Ashdown but are now at Beacon Academy. Greg is committed to supporting the ongoing success of Ashdown Primary School and has been a Governor for a number of years now.
Greg is currently the Commercial Director for a company supplying card payment services, and brings a broad range of business and commercial experience to his role as Governor.
Greg has previously chaired the school's Standards & Data Committee for a number of years, but has more recently taken over the vice-chair role for the Governing Body.
Ian is a qualified accountant and has retired from a career in audit and risk management within local government, telecommunications and banking. Ian and his wife, Jill, have lived in Crowborough for nearly 50 years and their three children, having each passed through Whitehill, Herne, Beacon and university, are all happily married with a total of 6 grandchildren. Ian has been a governor at Whitehill, Herne, the Federation and now Ashdown Primary School since 1986. He has chaired the Finance Committees for most of that time and latterly the Leadership and Management Committee. He chaired the Herne Governing Body for two years. Since retiring in 2003 he undertook a 6-year term as governor at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead and was a magistrate sitting at Brighton for 14 years. His other interests include theatre, golf, and gardening. Â
Rodrigo has a daughter at Ashdown Primary School. He has a scientific background, having gained a PhD in Neuroscience at University of Leicester and worked as a researcher in Canada before returning to England to teach Physics and Science in secondary schools. Training through the programme Researchers in Schools, he aimed to increase the attainment of low achieving children, as well as challenging the high achievers.
Currently working as an Applications Scientist for a local business that designs and manufactures equipment for medical research, he continues to share his passion for science with young people in his role as a STEM ambassador. He participates annually in Brain Awareness Week, a global campaign by the Dana Foundation to increase public awareness of brain research.
Rodrigo is excited to become a parent governor and hopes that his background and breadth of experience will enable him to support the governing board in overseeing the continuing success of Ashdown Primary School.
Debbie has been a part of our school community since 2014, when her son joined us in reception. She also has a daughter who attends our school. Debbie is a Year 6 teacher and one of the English Leads; she is also a Key Stage 2 writing moderator, an SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) and has recently completed a National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership.
Debbie's teaching career began with a PGCE in Secondary History from Canterbury Christchurch University in 1999. She then went on to work in marketing before joining Kent County Council as an Education Officer. This role persuaded her that it was time to use her teaching qualification.
Now that her children are growing up, Debbie has returned to full-time teaching and is considering a move into a leadership role. She believes that every child should have access to an education which provides them with rich and rounded experiences that broaden their horizons and prepare them for their lives ahead.
Janet HoggJanet's initial career was science based working for the Wellcome Foundation in the area of tropical medicine. Her passion for science continues to this day. Following a career break to raise her two daughters, Janet gained a PGCE and began her teaching career. She then spent the next 20 years teaching/leading locally, mainly at Whitehill Infant School/Ashdown Primary School before finally retiring in 2020.Janet has lived in Crowborough since 1994 and has been involved in several local groups including being Chair of the Crowborough Fairtrade group. She is a committed Christian and attends All Saints church regularly. In her spare time you can find Janet gardening, baking and spending time with her grandchildren.
Alisa FowlerI have been a Parent Governor at Ashdown Primary since 2021.I live in Crowborough with my husband and two sons, both of whom attend Ashdown. I have a Masters Degree in Law from the London School of Economics and I work full time in Financial Crime prevention department at a global financial institution in London.I am passionate about education and how important it is as a foundation for childrens' future lives. Growing up, due to the nature of my parents' jobs, I have lived around the world and have regularly changed schools - I attended eight in total. Having had a first-hand opportunity to compare different school systems, various curriculums and teaching methods, I appreciate how good education sets a child on the right path that will impact them for the rest of their lives. I want to be part of Ashdown's journey of continuous improvement to ensure my children and all children in our community have the best start in life.
Jan Stuart-MenteathI live in Crowborough with my husband and our dog, we have two daughters one living in Lewes and one in London. We spend much of our time walking the dog in the forest and at the coast.I play quite a lot of golf at Crowborough Beacon Golf Club and also in competitions across the county. My husband spends a lot of time rowing, both at Bewl Water and competitively on the Thames at various regattas.I am now retired after 30 years from work in the Health and Social Care sector.I started my career as a specialist practitioner at Cambridgeshire County Council working with people who had lost their sight, I soon progressed to management of that team and then to management of the county sensory team and physical disability teams.Eventually I decided to move to the Third Sector and worked with RNIB and then SENSE as Director of services. SENSE is a national organisation working with children and people with sensory loss and learning disabilities. After some further years I took a contract with VoiceAbility in London, an organisation that provides advocacy services across the country for people with learning disabilities and mental health and also for people requiring advocacy support to raise issues with the Health sector in the UK.7 years ago we moved to Sussex and I took a contract with an organisation that oversees Health and Social Care in East Sussex.Three years ago I decided to end my career and find time to do so many things that I had always wanted and that includes joining the Governors of Ashdown School in supporting the management of the school. I am looking forward to learning much about the school over the next few years.