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Our Governing Body comprises 11 governors, made up of Foundation Governors (who have a duty to preserve and develop the religious character of the school), parents, staff and the Local Education Authority. Our current governing body is comprised as follows:

Foundation Governors – Fr John Caster ( Chair of Governors) , Mrs S. Barter, Mr B. Johnson, Mr P. Bithell, Mr M. Beneventi and Mrs C. Hunter

Parent Governors – Mrs J. Williams-Pears, Mrs L. Beaty

Staff Governors – John Waterman

Local Authority Governor – Mr M. Thompson 

Mrs Duncombe also sits on the Full Governing Body as Head Teacher. 

Biographies and details of our current governors can be found below:


Fr. John Caster 

Governor Type – Ex-Officio Foundation 
Date of Appointment – 01.09.12 (FGB) 
Term of Office – Ex-Officio
Committee Membership – Chair of Governors, Teaching and Learning, SIAMS

Biography: Many of you will know me through my role as Vicar of S Barnabas' parish, and I hope you will feel free to discuss my role as Chair.  As Chair, I have the responsibility to work with our Governors and school leaders to develop strategy and policy which will continue to build over the progress in recent years.  I come into this position with over fifteen years combined governance experience, and I have chaired a school in London from 'Good' to Outstanding'.  As you will know, our school is a priority to me, and I will do everything I can to ensure that every one of our children receives the best education possible, grounded in the values which are so important to our whole school community.

Responsibilities – Religious Education, SEN, Safeguarding and Strategy & Governance. 
Business Interests – None
Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None

Mr. M. Thompson 

Governor Type – Local Authority 
Date of Appointment – 23.11.20
Term of Office – 4 years
Committee Membership – Finance and Resources, Teaching and Learning. 
Responsibilities – Training Governor, Teaching and Learning Chair 

Biography – Mike has nearly 40 years’ experience in the world of education, initially as a secondary MFL teacher and then as an Education Officer with KCC.  In the early 2000s, he was the District Schools Officer in Tunbridge Wells and then Local Education Officer in Cranbrook and Paddock Wood.  He still teaches occasionally.  He has four adult children and two grandsons.  He is still passionate about education and languages and likes to spend time in the Czech Republic.  

Business Interests – None

 Mr. M. Beneventi

Governor Type – Foundation 

Date of Appointment – 28.2.21
Term of Office – 4 years
Committee Membership – Finance and Resources Chair, Governance Safeguarding Lead, Vice-chair of Governors

Biography – I have lived locally for 25 plus years. I am married with three boys, all of whom have attended various local schools. My youngest son had a very happy and fruitful 7 years at St Barnabas which prepared him successfully for an onward education path at Skinners Boys Grammar.

Prior to my current governance role at the school, I was a Parent Governor.

In my current role as a governor on the Board I aim is to bring fresh impetus to the school with a view to supporting its continuous improvement and successes.

Principle accountabilities as Finance and Resources Chair are to ensure effective governance in support of leadership team and staff to maximise outcomes at all levels, be they academic or pastoral.

In my Governance of Safeguarding role, my accountability is to ensure that an effective safeguarding strategy is in place, regularly reviewed, to protect everybody at the school.

I am a qualified City of London Guide, and fulfil a role on the City of London Guides and Lecturers Association. I also enjoy participating on the Management Committee of Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC, with responsibility for the Mini Section covering squads across six - year groups, in addition to coaching in the Junior Section (Year 7 boys upwards) of the club.

Business Interests – I have 35 years’ business experience in Sales, Marketing and General Management at Executive level, for a U.S. technology organisation, Pitney Bowes, and latterly an international HR Consultancy, Talogy, part of the PSI Group. Previous experience also includes membership of the Advisory Board for a UK based organisation, called Parcel Kiosk, as well as the management team of a business consultancy, The Leadership Gallery.

Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None

Mr. P. Bithell

Governor Type – Foundation 
Date of Appointment – 10.5.2023
Term of Office – 4 years
Committee Membership – Teaching and Learning                            Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 

Peter Bithell is a musician.  He studied at the Royal Academy of Music & in Italy. Since 1987 he has been a professor of piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London.  He has played concerts & taught in N. & S America,  China & Europe.

In his spare time he reads a lot & messes about in his garden.

Mrs. S. Barter 

Governor Type – Foundation 
Date of Appointment – 13.8.2023
Term of Office – 4 years

Business Interests – Teacher at St Barnabas
Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 

Mr. B. Johnson

Governor Type – Foundation/ PCC 
Date of Appointment – 01.06.2022
Term of Office – 4 years
Committee Membership – Premises
Responsibilities – Premises
Business Interests – None
Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 

Biography –  

I believe that dedication to a school’s core values is at the heart of service as a school governor.  Like my father before me and my son after, I attended S Barnabas’ School and believe in the mission it has pursued since its foundation.  As a churchwarden at our parish church, I represent the interests of our foundation in its support of the education of our local children.

I have extensive experience in the automotive industry and am actively involved in the professional racing Mini circuit across the UK and Europe.

Mr. J. Waterman

Governor Type – Staff  
Date of Appointment – July 2020
Term of Office – 4 years
Committee Membership – Teaching and Learning
Business Interests – None                                                                          Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 


I have lived in Tunbridge Wells all of my life and have been the site caretaker at St Barnabas’ CE Primary School since 2005, having previously worked at another local primary school in a number of different roles. I also manage the school crossing and have recently been awarded a recognition of 25 years service as School Crossing Patrol Officer.

I have seen the growth and success of the school in the time that I have worked here and I have been proud to play a part in that journey. I have served on the school PTFA since joining St Barnabas; holding the roles of both volunteer and treasurer and taking an active role in all fund-raising events and campaigns. The opportunity to serve as a staff member of the Governing Body is a different challenge for me and I am looking forward to supporting the school in this new role.

Out of school my interests include organising and running DJ music events for local primary schools and also for private events and functions. I have been a staffer and moderator supporting players engaging in online computer games.

I am a committed Christian and an active member of a local Pentecostal church.

Being part of a Church of England Primary school is important to me.

Mrs. J. Williams-Pears 

Governor Type – Parent
Date of Appointment – February 2023 
Term of Office – 4 Years
Committee Membership – Finance and Resources
Business Interests – None                                                                          Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 

With a background of 15 years in operating theatres and as the current Chief Operations Officer of a Healthcare company, I understand the importance of quality care and education. I am committed to bringing this perspective to the role of Parent Governor, advocating for the best interests of our students and the school.

As a parent of a child at St. Barnabas, I have a personal stake in ensuring that our school provides the highest quality education. I am dedicated to working collaboratively with the school's staff, parents, and the wider community to ensure that every student has the opportunity to thrive, learn, and grow to their full potential.

Beyond my professional and governance roles, my interests include being with my family, reading, cooking, and socialising.

Mrs. C.  Hunter  

Governor Type – Foundation Governor
Date of Appointment – October 2023
Term of Office – 4 years                                                                                    Committee Membership – Teaching and Learning
Business Interests – None                                                                          Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None 

Mrs. M. Duncombe 

Governor Type – Headteacher
Date of Appointment – 2015
Term of Office – Ex-Officio
Committee Membership – All
Business Interests – None                                                                          Governance Roles at Other Institutions – None