Our Education Governing Body

Our governors come from a range of backgrounds. They’re all experts in their own fields and all 100 percent committed to making St Piers School and College the best possible place for children and young people with epilepsy, autism, and severe learning difficulties. 

Upcoming meeting dates are 11 March 2024, 13 May 2024, 8 July 2024

St Piers Education Governing Body

Profile photograph of Tamsin Jones taken outside in a garden

Chair

Tamsin Jones

Profile photograph of Tamsin Jones taken outside in a garden

Chair

Tamsin Jones

I am a serving Police Officer with the Metropolitan Police Service working across frontline policing and more recently within Learning and Development. Prior to joining the MPS I held a number of senior leadership roles within the education sector both in schools and further education colleges across Surrey, London and Worcestershire.

I had had a wide range of leadership and management experience and has been responsible for leading organisational turnaround, curriculum development, quality improvement, commercial growth and an enhanced learner experience.

My educational background includes a degree from Cardiff University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and an MBA from Warwick University.

I joined the Educational Governing Body in October 2020 and am currently Chair Designate.

Jane Ramsey Chair of Trustees

Chair of Trustees and Ex-officio member of the Governing Body

Jane Ramsey

Jane Ramsey Chair of Trustees

Chair of Trustees and Ex-officio member of the Governing Body

Jane Ramsey

Before joining Young Epilepsy, I was Chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 4 years, joining in November 2012 from University College Hospitals where I was vice chair.  Previously I have chaired and been a non-executive/trustee on the Boards of a wide range of public and not-for-profit organisations including the Council of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, the Department of Health Audit and Risk Committee, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, a London housing association, following years as a senior lawyer in local government.

 

I was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life which advised the Prime Minister on ethical standards in public life from 2016 to 2020. 

 

Following the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism, I was appointed as Senior Advisor on Standards and Ethics to the Labour Party.

 

I have been the Chair of Young Epilepsy’s Board of Trustees since October 2016.

Simone Hopkins Executive Principal

Executive Principal

Simone Hopkins

Simone Hopkins Executive Principal

Executive Principal

Simone Hopkins

Simone Hopkins is the Executive Principal for St Piers School and College

Profile picture of Vivien Hepworth a member of St Piers EGB

General Governor

Vivien Hepworth

Profile picture of Vivien Hepworth a member of St Piers EGB

General Governor

Vivien Hepworth

I’ve been a member of the Education Governing Body for St Piers School and College since 2019. As a general governor my areas of concern are how the School and College are run and, most importantly, whether the children and young people are getting the best-quality education and care.

 

We are now also responsible for the children’s and young people’s residential services. Through this new development, I am learning all the time about the work of this wonderful charity.

 

I’ve had a varied career. I started in journalism and spent eight years as a political correspondent. I then spent 17 years in consultancy, becoming chief executive of communication group Grayling’s public affairs operation (government relations).

 

From 1997 to 2002, I worked at St Piers – now Young Epilepsy – initially as director of marketing and then of marketing and fundraising. During this time I was also a board member of Surrey and Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, latterly as chairman.

 

Having worked for St Piers, I think I have good insight into, and a clear understanding of, the workings of the organisation.

 

I live in Lingfield and sing for the church choir in my spare time. I’m an avid reader of newspapers, a legacy from my time as a journalist. I also spend time working for the Nystagmus Network, a charity for people with that visual impairment, which I founded after our eldest son was born with the condition.

 

I find my current role at Young Epilepsy fulfilling. The charity does amazing work and it’s great to be a part of it.

Tamsin Jones Chair Designate

General Governor

David Pierpoint

Tamsin Jones Chair Designate

General Governor

David Pierpoint

I’ve lived close to St Piers School and College for more than 20 years and have always been aware of, and hugely impressed with, the excellent care and support Young Epilepsy offers to children and young adults with epilepsy and related conditions.

 

In 2018, when I too was diagnosed with epilepsy, the importance of their work became even more apparent to me. Motivated by my diagnosis to become more actively involved in Young Epilepsy and to provide more help and assistance, I applied to become a governor.

 

I’m proud to be the Vice Chair of the Education Governing Body and Chair of the Finance and Resources Sub-Committee, and to be able to help the Young Epilepsy management team and all the teaching staff.

 

Before I retired in 2023, I worked for DHL as Divisional Managing Director with responsibility for managing all their Life Sciences and Healthcare business. This gave me the opportunity to work with some of the largest global pharmaceutical and medical device companies, many of whom supplied the innovative and sometimes life-savings drugs and products that people with epilepsy rely upon.

 

In my spare time I’m a keen cyclist and runner and often enjoy jogging around the St Piers campus, meeting the pupils and staff.

Leigh Staff

College Staff Governor

Leigh Staff

Leigh Staff

College Staff Governor

Leigh Staff

I started working at St Piers College in 2017 as a support worker, while juggling single parent duties for two young children. I have been the college staff governor since 2019 and am presently a personal tutor and college lead for staff wellbeing and assessment.

 

This was something completely new for me but I wanted a change and to be close to home and my children’s schools in East Grinstead.

 

As a member of the leadership team, I passionately support St Piers in its determination to provide the highest-quality education and a safe, caring environment for all its students.

 

Having previously trained as a beauty therapist and hairdresser, and gained experience in a variety of salons, I went on to run my own beauty salon, Aphrodite, for 15 years. I employed several therapists, built strong relationships with clients and developed key business and social skills.

 

During this time, I also worked as a sessional lecturer at Croydon College, teaching beauty therapy, and studied for a Certificate of Education and D32/33 Assessors Awards.

 

After I sold my salon, I worked for community apprenticeship programmes, combining my love of beauty therapy and my passion for supportive educational programmes.

 

I’m motivated by my personal experience of young people with special needs. A cousin with special needs grew up in a time when understanding of,  and education for, those with special needs was very different to how it is now.

 

I also have an 18-year-old nephew with special needs who hopes to attend St Piers College in September 2024.

Profile picture of Amanda Riddle a member of St Piers EGB

General Governor

Amanda Riddle

Profile picture of Amanda Riddle a member of St Piers EGB

General Governor

Amanda Riddle

I joined the St Piers Education Governing Board in March 2021 and, like the other governors, am responsible for ensuring that learners at the School and College get the best possible experience. We work closely with the education team and meet regularly. I am also a member of the Finance and Resources Committee and the governor responsible for staff wellbeing.

 

I spent my career working in communications but retired a few years ago. As well as being a governor at St Piers, I volunteer as a mentor, helping young people into work, and am a tour guide at Marble Hill, an English Heritage property. 

 

One of my favourite things about being a governor is being able to visit the campus and meet students and staff.  I particularly like sitting in on classes to get a better understanding of what happens at St Piers. Events like the Christmas Show are a highlight.

 

I love walking, travel, cinema, theatre and food.  I am learning Spanish and, although I struggle with the grammar, really enjoy it. 

Julia Coop a member of our EGB

General Governor, Trustee and Lead Governor for Safeguarding

Dr Julia Coop

Julia Coop a member of our EGB

General Governor, Trustee and Lead Governor for Safeguarding

Dr Julia Coop

I am a qualified teacher with a long and varied career, including roles as a successful head teacher and lead inspector in primary and residential special education. As a director of an education company, I was responsible for running the Special School Inspection contract and worked closely with Ofsted. Currently, I work as a senior school improvement advisor for two local authorities.

 

Throughout my career, my work has been underpinned by the fundamental principle that all children and young people, whatever their background or challenges, deserve the best education possible.

 

I was appointed as a trustee of Young Epilepsy in February 2015 and have, more recently, become a member of the Education Governing Board. I bring my skills and beliefs to the fore as chair of the Residential Quality Services and Quality and Standards committees. Both committees focus on ensuring children and young people are heard, and they receive the highest quality health and research, support services and specialist education.

 

As a mother and grandmother of five boys, my life is far from boring. I enjoy walking and theatre, and recently joined a gym, discovering that I like pumping weights to music, which certainly impresses my grandsons.

 

My whole career has involved working with children and young people. I am most proud of the services we provide at Young Epilepsy and St Piers and my small part in helping to achieve this.

Lesley Steeds a member of our EGB

Surrey County Council Representative

Lesley Steeds

Lesley Steeds a member of our EGB

Surrey County Council Representative

Lesley Steeds

I’ve been a Surrey County Councillor since 2017. In June of that year, I was appointed as the council’s representative on the Young Epilepsy Trustee Board and Education Governing Body.

 

I started my career in accountancy. I was a founder member of the Women’s Association for Corporate and Certified Accountants, gained a teaching certificate and became a lecturer in Business Studies. I also have a BA in Political Studies and an MA in English Literature.

 

I worked for a family business that was awarded a Royal Warrant to HM Queen Elizabeth II.

 

I also completed a three-year counselling course, am a qualified hypnotherapist and have studied other complementary and alternative therapies.

 

I’ve worked voluntarily in the community for many years, been a governor of two schools in Tandridge and worked at Headway, Uckfield with ABI clients.

 

I’ve been involved in politics for many years and, in 2023, was elected as a district councillor for Lingfield and Crowhurst and Lingfield Parish Council.

Gemma Card

School Staff Governor

Gemma Card

Gemma Card

School Staff Governor

Gemma Card

I started working at St Piers School as a class teacher in March 2021 and from September 2021, and became the Phase Lead for 16 -1 and joined the Education Governing Body as School Staff Governor in October 2021. 

Before joining St Piers, I worked for ten years in a special needs secondary school in inner London and two years in a large inner city comprehensive school.   During this time, I created a special needs sixth form which focused on allowing students to develop life skills along with undertaking vocational courses, enterprise programmes and career development. The vocational education curriculum allowed student progression from 14 -19 learning pathways to be ready to study further beyond their 16-19 education or gain employment through supported internships, apprentices, and traineeships, in connection with other organisations. The school and sixth form were graded Outstanding by Ofsted in February 2019.

I was also part of a London authority Preparing for Adulthood task force developing strategies across the borough to ensure students with special needs were aware of the support, employment and training options available to them beyond their post-19 education.

Karen Lettington School Governor

School Parent Governor

Karen Lettington

Karen Lettington School Governor

School Parent Governor

Karen Lettington

As a parent governor at St Piers, I feel strongly that parents and young people should be able to share their views with the governing body. Parents’ views are needed when major changes are being explored.

I’ve been a teacher for more than 25 years, working as a senior leader in state, private, FE, senior, selective and comprehensive schools.

For the last 10 years, keen to gain first-hand knowledge of SEND provision, I’ve been a class teacher in a special school, qualified as a SENCO from Canterbury University and worked in four mainstream schools (infant, primary and secondary) as the SENCO.

I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice (MA SEND) from Chichester University. I also evaluated the views of a group of schools in West Sussex who had worked with an intensive planning team set up specifically to support children with complex SEND who were struggling in education.

I am a qualified SEND mediator for the EHCP appeal process and have had additional training from a number of organisations, including IPSEA (SEND law courses), In Control (Altogether Better), the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, the Council for Disabled Children and SEN legal solicitors.

I will draw on this wide experience and knowledge to assist the governing body in its decision-making, making sure that the families of children with special educational needs have a voice in their children’s education.

I love spending time outside, mountain walking, biking and enjoying water sports. Last year, my younger son and I brought paddle boards. As my husband and older son already use a double surf kayak, we hope to spend more time together as a family on the water this year.

Sara Miller - EGB

College Parent Governor

Sara Miller

Sara Miller - EGB

College Parent Governor

Sara Miller

I joined the EGB as a College Parent Governor at St Piers in January 2024. I am also a member of the St Piers Residential Service Quality Committee and a member of the Parent/Carer Steering Group. It is my ambition to help other Parents to navigate the processes to achieve the appropriate Special Educational Needs for their young person.

I have recently retired as a Private Secretary to an Overseas Family who I have been with over the last 20 years.

I am a founder member and active participant of a South-West London SEN Group. I have been proactively involved in expanding the group from an initial 12 to the current 700 + members.

I enjoy travelling to Europe & Asia, going to the theatre, and eating out at different restaurants.

I hope to make a positive contribution, in respect of any future changes and developments to the School and College’s curriculum and facilities.
 

Maria Rodrigues, Trustee for Young Epilepsy, May 2024

General Governor

Maria Rodrigues

Maria Rodrigues, Trustee for Young Epilepsy, May 2024

General Governor

Maria Rodrigues

I was appointed as a Trustee and Governor in May 2024. 

 

I am a serving Director of SEND at Academies Enterprise Trust with 57 schools, including 5 special schools. As an ambassador for SEND children over the last 20 years in both mainstream and special settings at school as well as trust leadership levels, I am absolutely passionate about inclusion and safeguarding and fully dedicated to improving children's lives chances.

 

Having worked with a significant number of children in special and mainstream settings with diagnosed epilepsy, I was attracted to Young Epilepsy because of their vision, purpose and values as well as their encompassing work with health, research and education whilst placing children and young people at the centre of everything they do by giving them a voice.

 

I enjoy travelling and reading. In my spare time I knit and crochet and I am now learning embroidery.

Tanya Moran - Young Epilepsy Trustee

General Governor

Tanya Moran

Tanya Moran - Young Epilepsy Trustee

General Governor

Tanya Moran

I was delighted to join Young Epilepsy as a trustee and governor in May 2024. 

 

During my first visit to the St Piers campus, I was impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of staff and students and how well the organisation’s ethos and culture resonated with my personal and professional beliefs. I am enthusiastic about collaborating with the whole Young Epilepsy community and furthering my commitment to providing aspirational education and support while advocating for our young people. 

 

Currently, I serve as Education Director and Principal at Cavendish Education, overseeing the strategic and operational management of multiple special educational needs schools across the country. My diverse background in education includes roles as a teacher, Senior Leader, Governor, and Trustee across both mainstream and specialist schools in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. Over the past 15 years, I have founded, opened, and led new schools, gaining extensive experience in school structures, curriculum development, school improvement, leadership, finance, and HR. I look forward to bringing these skills to the inspirational work of Young Epilepsy and St Piers. 

 

In my spare time, I enjoy playing softball, swimming, and taking country walks with my cavapoo, Rookie. When I’m not active, I love listening to podcasts, watching TV, playing board games, and slowly learning to play the guitar (a work in progress, but I am determined!). 

 

I look forward to contributing to the vital work of Young Epilepsy and St Piers and making a positive impact on the lives of young people with epilepsy. 

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