Governance has a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education

At Turner Schools, school governors contribute to the work of the Trust’s Directors through a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

School-level governance:

Executive Working Group

To drive improvement at the Academy an Executive Working Group (EWG) meets every 3 to 4 weeks.

The EWG is chaired by Leslie Farmer a retired Secondary Head and former member of Her Majesty's Inspectorate.  Leslie is joined by two current Secondary Heads,  Tracy Luke, Peter Roberts (Headmaster, The King's School, Canterbury), Trust CEO Jo Saxton and others as appropriate from time to time.

Local Governing Body

At local level the Trust is supported by the Local Governing Body (LGB).

The LGB is made-up from local people who bring relevant expertise in, as well as enthusiasm to support the Trust’s schools. The LGB includes two parents of current pupils.

The LGB meets once per long term, so three times in each academic year.

Mike Buchanan

Chair of Governors

Mike Buchanan, originally a physicist, is the Executive Director of HMC—the English speaking world’s oldest association of Head Teachers— and now represents the leading independent schools in the UK and worldwide. From 2005-2018 Mike was Head of Ashford School, part of the United Learning group, where he oversaw its transformation from a small girls’ school to a thriving all-age, co-educational day/boarding, independent school of over 1,000 children and young people. Mike has experience in secondary education, all-through schools and boarding, and has held a variety of leadership posts in London and elsewhere. He helped to establish two state-funded Academies in London and a Free School in Kent. He is or has been a Governor of several leading independent schools, a trustee of a children’s charity, a Reporting Inspector, a National Leader of Education and a qualified Executive Coach and plays at being a farmer. He was the elected Chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in 2016/17.

Mike’s interests are in school culture and climate, coaching, leadership, inspection, character development, the use of positive psychology in education and the role of independent schools within the worldwide educational landscape. He writes periodically for national newspapers including the TES and speaks on all of the above at conferences and more.

To contact Mike Buchanan, please email:[email protected]

Mike Buchanan - Chair of Governors

John Bushby BA (Hons); FCA

John graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne joining an international firm of Chartered Accountants. After qualifying, he gained several years experience in the firm’s audit and management consulting business before moving into the financial services industy. Here he held a number of management roles which included a period of time working in the United States. John most recently spent 15 years with MasterCard International working in both London and Brussels in a number of leadership roles. The father of Max, a pupil at the Primary Academy, John also has two older children who have now successfully embarked on their own careers. John, his partner Anette and Max have lived in Folkestone since 2011 and he was elected to the role of Parent Governor in 2018.

John Bushby

Professor Callum Firth BSc, PhD

Callum Firth is the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University.  Callum is the Professor of Physical Geography and his main research interests are associated with coastal landscapes, sea level change, and environmental hazards. This has included funded research on coastal evolution, sea level changes, tsunamis and coastal management.

Callum is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with teaching expertise in physical geography, environmental change and environmental hazards. Callum has also developed a number of courses in Geography and Environmental Sciences.

Callum lives in Folkestone.

Callum Firth

Tracy Luke BA (Hons)

Tracy has 35 years experience as a  teacher and leader within schools. She has served at all levels within a range of comprehensive, selective and boarding schools. She has been a Head of Department, Head of Year, Assistant Head, Deputy Head, Principal and Executive Principal.  

In addition Tracy has been a National Leader of Education and an Ofsted Inspector. Tracy has experience as a Governor at an independent school, a Pupil Referral Unit and at a number of secondry schools.

Tracy Luke

Michael Pearce Dip Val Surv MRICS

Michael Pearce has been a school governor since 2004 and was the Chair of Governors of Park Farm Primary School at the time it was merged with the Folkestone Academy to create the All Age Academy, whereupon he joined the Board of Trustees. He is now a member of the Local Governing Body and has a particular interest in the primary phase and safeguarding issues.

Michael is a Chartered Surveyor and works as Head of Litigation & Technical Policy for the Valuation Office Agency.

Michael Pearce

Rosemarie Savva

Governor   Nesrin Rosemarie Savva is a qualified Personal Assistant and a dedicated Multilinguistic Interpreter.   She has served as a Parents Association representative at her child’s previous school and is passionate about supporting every child to reach their full potential.

Secondary Parent Governor Rosemarie Savva

Cerys Walker

Originally from Wales, Cerys graduated from Cardiff University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics followed by a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education in the field of Science at Swansea Metropolitan University in 2010. Subsequently, Cerys joined The Folkestone Academy in July 2010 as a newly qualified teacher. Since then, Cerys has been a valued member of the Science department, whilst also completing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management at Canterbury Christ Church University.

In 2018, Cerys was awarded recognition as a Leading STEM Educator and nominated for an award in Excellence in STEM Education. As a previous Hub Leader for the SHINE on Folkestone project, Cerys feels passionate about enabling students from all backgrounds to reach their full potential. As of September 2018, Cerys will be the Acting Head of Science for Folkestone Academy.

Cerys Walker

Alexia Zimbler BSc, MA (Law), Dip Law

Alexia qualified as a Barrister in 1993 and has been practising full time since 1995. She has worked in Hampshire, London and the South-East and the North-East, moving to Kent in 2011. In the area of Criminal Law she acts for both the defence and prosecution.  She has a particular interest in child safeguarding issues and has been instructed to act in countless family court cases where the Local Authority have been required to investigate.  Due to this background of a specialism dealing with children she has recently become involved in Child and Vulnerable Witness training being rolled out to all Barristers throughout the country.

Alexia became interested in education early in her career when she began teaching advocacy to students and trainee barristers. This led her to becoming an external examiner covering the Bar Professional Training Course, where her role involves her monitoring the quality and content of teaching of the BPTC at numerous providers around the country. In 2016 she was appointed as Co-Ordinating External Examiner by the Bar Standards Board, covering all BPTC providers.  She has previously supported local schools in the North-East to become involved in Mock-Trial Competitions and hopes to do the same in Kent. She has also run lectures at schools for 14-18 year olds to increase awareness of sexual offences and the law, with particular reference to social media. She is an advocate for non-selective/comprehensive education, having come through the system herself, is actively engaged in encouraging students from all backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar.

Alexia Zimbler

LGB agendas

Trust-level governance:

The Trust answers to the Department for Education and is governed in two ways, first by its five Members and secondly, by its board of eight Directors.

The Trust is guided by the Nolan Principles for public service.

It operates according to the Academies Financial Handbook.

Academies Financial Handbook

The Trust Directors are:

James Booth-Clibborn

Gary Cottle

Manjinder Johal

Susan John NLE

Jenny King

Tracy Luke

Carl Lygo (Chair)

Jo Saxton

The Members are:

Christopher Kirker

Jane Mackenzie

Elvis Pellumbi

Dan Perrett

Victor Stock

Our Chief Executive, Dr Jo Saxton, is the Trust Director who is charged with delivering high standards for the pupils in our schools through day-to-day operations.

Turner Schools is based in Kent and its registered address is 4 Westbrook House, 58-60 Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2NQ. For more information about the Trust, our Members, Directors and key documents, visit