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Governing Body

Welcome to the Governors' page.  Here are the current members of the Governing body - to contact us or find out more about what we are doing then use the tabs on the top of the screen.

Ed Balch. Parent Governor

Chair of Governors

Term of office ends: 07.11.2025

My wife Anna, myself and our daughter Hazel moved to Hermitage in 2021, having lived in West Berkshire for over 13 years. We were immediately impressed by the school’s quality, ethics, engagement and ambition and I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success of the school and the community. I have a career in Cyber Security and Data Analytics, working locally at Vodafone and experience with Cyber Security, Business Planning, Financial Governance and Business Strategy. 

Andrew Murray.  Co-opted Governor

Vice Chair of Governors, Policy and Assurance Governor.

Term of office ends: 18.06.2026

Having served close to 30 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers, I have background in Construction, Facilities Management and Learning & Development.  I am a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and hold formal qualifications and experience in Strategic Leadership & Management, Health & Safety, Project Management & Teaching.  Having one daughter currently in this great school, I naturally have a personal interest in their education, but now as a Governor, I have a fantastic opportunity to have a more formal interest, where hopefully I will be able to use my skills and experience to add value in assisting the school to achieve its vision.

Penny Willson. Local Authority Governor

Standards & Curriculum Governor

Term of office ends: 13.01.2024

We moved into Hermitage two years ago, both my children have attended Hermitage Primary School. I really admire the sense of community the school instils in its pupils and I want to support the school further.  In my role as governor, I work with the staff and Full Governing Body to ensure that Hermitage Primary School offers a great education to all its pupils. I am particularly interested in curriculum and learning.  I work as a scientist for a global beverage company and I am a qualified secondary school teacher. I have strong communication and management skills developed through my career and training.

Gillian Turner.  Headteacher, Governor

I qualified as a teacher in 1994 in primary education. I have lived in Newbury since 1994 but am very proud of my Northumbrian roots. My main subject is art but I am very passionate about science and nature and reading and above all learning. During my teaching career I have always worked in West Berkshire schools. I have held many different coordinator posts, mainly English and art and had a variety of senior leadership posts and work for the local authority as an advisor and moderator. I have been lucky to have been part of the Hermitage Primary School team since 2012 when I was appointed Deputy Headteacher and taught in upper juniors. In September 2019 I was honoured to be appointed Headteacher after the retirement of our pervious Head. I enjoy getting to know all of our families and the children and creating a strong school community and inspiring children to learn. I am a great believer in offering a variety of opportunities for our children and creating an exciting diverse curriculum. In my spare time ( there isn't much!!) I love being creative, water colour painting , passionate gardener and baker. I have a husband and 2 children and a tortoise!

Lucy Cowan. Deputy Headteacher, Staff Governor 

Term of office ends: 12.9.2026

I have been teaching for over 20 years in both primary and secondary schools. Now in my ninth year at Hermitage Primary School I thought was the right time to join the governing body. As part of the Standards and Curriculum Committee. I will be able to work closely with the other governors to ensure that Hermitage Primary School continues to provide an environment where all children 'shine'.

Kim Luke. Clerk to Governors

Term of office ends: N/A

We moved to Hermitage in October 2015 and both my daughters    now attend Hermitage Primary School. Before becoming the Clerk to the Governing Board I worked at West  Berkshire Council as one of the administrator for the School Improvement Team.

I am enjoying providing a variety of admin support for the Governing Board who are a friendly, diverse team providing strategic support and challenge for the school.

My hobbies include walking and cycling particularly around the village and I also enjoy a wide selection of art and craft activities.

Roger Axten.  Associate Member - Captain (retired) B.E.M.

Health & Safety Governor

Term of office ends: 17.05.2024

I served in the Royal Engineer (R.E.) before commissioning into the Education and Training Services Branch.  I then became a Civil Servant working for the MOD as part of the Training and Development Team at the School of Military Survey, Hermitage.  My role was recruiting young civilians into the R.E. as geographic technicians.  During my service with the MOD, I was also Hermitage village Cub Scout and Scout leader.

My personal qualifications include a diploma in education, interviewing and counselling courses, instructing navigation techniques and a joint services mountain expedition leader.

I initially served as a community Governor at Curridge Primary School before transferring to Hermitage Primary School where my role for both boards was that of Health and Safety Governor.  Currently, I am a member of the Standards and Curriculum Panel.

Personally, my passion is the rural countryside.  Having had the privilege of travelling world wide, primarily with the MOD, I now wish to pass on my experiences to our up and coming generations of children.  I regularly, over the past years, take the Foundation Classes into the local woodlands to educate them on the flora and fauna that abounds right outside their school playing fields in an attempt to get them to appreciate their surroundings.

I also endeavor to support the whole school in as many ways as possible in class, away days or activity weeks.  I have found that these voluntary aspects of my expertise embellish the current curriculum. 

I wish to add that my wife, Vicki, worked in classes with Year 1 and Year 2 for several years.

Melanie Needham. Co-opted Governor

Safeguarding,  Inclusions & SEND Governor

Term of office ends: 14.11.26


I started my career as a professional dancer/performer and ran my own dancing school for many years before moving into the village. I changed my career totally working for automotive manufacturers. My three children have attend/attended Hermitage Primary School and I am proud to now be the Manager of Hermitage Pre School; I have a Level 3 in Childcare and Education and Level 4 in Special Educational Needs. As a Parent Governor, I will try to address issues and decisions from the parent/carers point of view as well as supporting the aims of the school.

Maria Tillett. Co-opted Governor

Finance & Premises Governor

Term of office ends: 08.09.25

My career started in banking and finance working at a senior level and after 25 years I moved into Education, the role of School Business Manager. Initially in a very large secondary school which subsequently converted to an Academy and then a small Primary School, both in West Berkshire. Also for a few months I worked for Hermitage Primary whilst the school was recruiting and needed help and support.

With my experience of working in Education in many schools and  having retired I feel that my knowledge and experience can be of great assistance to Hermitage Primary and I wish to help the Headteacher make the school as successful for the children as it can be. I want to ensure the children of Hermitage have every opportunity they can in a safe caring environment.

I am very family orientated with several grandchildren that I play an active role in their upbringing. My hobbies are golf which I spend the dryer warmer days playing along workouts at the gym and in the winter months I sew and knit.

Steph Day (nee Tinsley). Parent Governor

Pay, Performance and Personnel Governor

Term of office ends: 06.12.2024

Having had both my daughters go through Hermitage Primary School and absolutely thrive, I was delighted to join the Governing team as a way to give something back.

The school has a lovely village and community feel and supporting the Leadership Team and wider staff cohort there is something I am passionate about. My background covers skills, experience and formal qualifications in HR Management, Facilities Management and Events as well as Early Years education.

We are a strong cohesive team of Governors and work well together to ensure the best possible outcomes for the school. I look forward to all we are able to achieve as a team going forwards.

Kathyrn Cronk. Parent Governor

PPG Governor

Term of office ends: 14.11.2026

I have lived in Hermitage since 2007, during this time I have been involved in the community in various ways. Now that my children are older and my son attends Hermitage Primary, I am keen to offer my time and support to our village school.

As a primary school teacher, myself I can offer both a teacher and parents perspective to my role as governor. As a member of the standards and curriculum committee I am keen support the school to deliver a curriculum which is fosters a love of learning for all.

Claire Drake. Parent Governor

Communications & Marketing Governor

Term of office ends: 14.11.2026

My name is Claire Drake and I have four children, three of them have attended Hermitage Primary and my youngest is currently in Year 5.

I have been actively involved in the school over the years, serving on the PTA for seven years and I am now a General Teaching Assistant in Year 6.

I am delighted to be a parent Governor, assisting the governor team and supporting teachers in helping the school run as effectively as possible and continuing to provide excellent education to our children.

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