I am writing to you as the Chairman of the School Governance Committee (SGC) to introduce you to the role of the SGC so that as a parent of a child attending Ayios Nikolaos Primary School (ANPS) you understand what the SGC does on your behalf and how you can best interact with us.
ANPS is run by MoD Schools and as such has slightly different governance arrangements to UK schools. MoD Schools provide much of the governance that would normally be provided by School Governors in the UK, such as hiring staff and setting budgets. An SGC within an MoD School, including the SGC here at ANPS, fulfills a softer governance role in supporting the staff and pupils by enabling parents and the wider service community to contribute to the strategic direction of the school in order to continuously improve the provision of education for our children. We do this by holding meetings at least once a term to discuss the Head Teacher’s termly report, academic performance, school policies, finance and budgets, future plans and any other pertinent issues. SGC members regularly visit the school to see for themselves how the school feels and to study specific aspects of school life.
Crucially, the key element that they provide is an independent perspective for the staff and parents. The SGC also provide an independent body for parents to raise concerns to should they be unhappy with how the school has dealt with an issue.
The SGC draws its members from parents, staff members and specialist advisors; we strongly encourage the involvement of parents in the SGC and school life in general. Experience in education and childcare is covered by the more professional members of the SGC, but the voice and independence of our parents is equally essential on the committee. Membership is naturally fluid as it is fed by the constant assignments in and out of the Station so new members are always needed. If you would like to volunteer to join the SGC, you are very welcome to talk to an existing SGC member or to Sarah Baillie, the Head Teacher about the skills you will bring to the committee. Moreover, please approach any of the SGC if there is anything you wish to raise with us; details of our current SGC members can be found on the school website.
We are very lucky to have such a great school at Ayios Nikolaos Station and it is an integral part of the Station community. As with every other part of the community, it needs our continued engagement and support in order for us to gain the very best from it. The SGC works hard to ensure ANPS continues to deliver, and where possible, improve, on the very high standards that our children benefit from.
Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Clifford, SGC Chair and Station Commander.
Meet the SGC…
Here you can find out about our SGC Members. We are constantly updating so keep visiting to see more of our ‘pen portraits’.
Sarah Clifford holds the triple responsibility of being the Commanding Officer for the Joint Service Signals Unit (Cyprus), the Station Commander of Ayios Nikolaos Station, and the Chair of the Ayios Nikolaos Primary School. Within all of these roles, Sarah is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of safeguarding policy and practices are upheld across all entities within the Station. Working closely with HQ BFC, DCYP, SSAFA, the Be Safe on Island Team, and all of our welfare agencies to ensure this goal is met. As SGC Chair, Sarah’s key responsibility alongside the Head Teacher, Sarah Baillie, and the School Improvement Officer, Cynthia Symon, is to support the school’s performance management. Sarah also takes a keen role in understanding and supporting the mandatory and statutory changes to the curriculum and wider school policies, and the impact that these have on resourcing plans. Sarah is married to Max, a serving officer, and step-mum to Isabella (8). As an early riser, she enjoys yoga, running and cross-fit. Sarah is a fellow of the Forward Institute; a leadership programme set up after the banking crisis to address and improve ethical and moral leadership across UK business sectors.
Steve ‘DeDe’ Watts arrived in Cyprus early August 2020 and assumed the appointments of Unit 2IC of JSSU(Cyp), Station Quartermaster and Deputy Station Commander. He is married to Liz who, after leaving the Army in 1999, has spent many years employed in Early Years and Primary Education and they have one son who is in his third year of a Mathematics and Statistics Degree at the University of Essex. 2020 marks the 34th anniversary of DeDe serving with the regular Army having joined at a mere 16 years old. He has served all over the world in locations that include the Caribbean, South Atlantic and inside the Antarctic Circle, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, throughout the United Kingdom and SE Asia. In his spare time DeDe teaches Clay Target shooting and has a real passion for Nepalese cooking having previously served as an officer with Queen’s Gurkha Signals.
Alex Walker has nearly three decades of experience in the British Army. He is the DIO Estates Facilities Manager for Ayios Nikolaos. Alex has one adult child who is a Primary School Teacher and is father to a 14 and 12 year old both schooled in KRS. He has lived in service communities, in England (Nottingham, Cambridge and London) and Cyprus (Episkopi and Ay Nik). His interests lie in home computing, flight simulation and road cycling. Alex’s deep specialist knowledge lie in STEM, being a Garrison Engineer (Mechanical and Electrical) with over 17 years experience in this field. His career highlight so far was responding to Hurricane Irma disaster relief in both the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands, where he was OC to the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams; being a Royal Engineer, ‘first in, last out’ he spent three months assisting both Governments in restoring essential services and facilities, such as water and power, and was the longest serving member of Operation RUMAN.
Jim Kemp arrived in Cyprus in March 2017 assuming the role of Regimental Sergeant Major. Selected for commission to Officer in 2018, he was fortunate enough to obtain a re-tour at JSSU(Cyp) in the capacity of the Unit Welfare Officer – a role which includes wider community support and station safeguarding responsibilities, as directed by the Commanding Officer. He has a wife Sian, and two boys, Kai (10yrs) and Luke (17yrs), who is poised to undertake further education at University from next year (2021). Jim has been married to Sian for 12 years who splits her time working relentlessly to support the family’s needs, and working for an on-site contractor. Jim’s pastimes include golf, cycling, and general gym training, with a personal favourite being Les Mills Bodypump! Residing out of the Forum he promotes an ‘open door’ policy and very much looks forward to assisting the community.
Lisa Milner is our Deputy Headteacher and has been a part of our school since 2014. Lisa has over 10 years experience working within MOD Schools in Germany and Cyprus. Prior to joining MOD Schools, her experience has included teaching in the UK and also 5 years experience of working within a Local Authority as administrative support for District Inspectors and Education Officers, as well as being a Clerk to the Governing Bodies of several schools. Outside of school, Lisa’s greatest enjoyment comes from reading and the theatre – both great ways to ‘switch off’ when she wants to relax. Paired with a love of travel, these interests have meant that Lisa has had the opportunity for some truly memorable experiences!
Sam Telford is the LSA/Practitioner representative on the SGC. Sam is the SGC English Lead both at this school and at King Richard’s Secondary School. Sam has worked within MOD schools for over 11 years in various roles however, her passion is the Early Years and she is currently in the final year of her degree in Early Years Education. Sam is the FS1 Deputy Leader and an Assessor and IQA for LSA’s and Practitioners undertaking their school-based qualifications. Sam is a mum of two girls, and they have had numerous postings to Cyprus over a 21-year period before finally deciding to settle in Vrysoulles 5 years ago. They now enjoy the best of both worlds: being part of the Ay Nik Community whilst enjoying Cypriot village life. Prior to working in Education, Sam worked within the Travel Industry with the highlight of that career being gaining the title of ‘UK Travel Consultant of the Year.’ This experience still heavily influences Sam’s life as one of her greatest passions (alongside shopping) is travelling the world with her family.
Helen Lakey is the Early Years SGC Member. Helen has an education background and her passion is the Early Years. She is the Early Years Advisor on island and an active part of the ESBA Community having a really good understanding of our local community in which the schools and settings serve. Helen is a mum of two boys and finds it great being in Cyprus with the children as they have a very active lifestyle. They really enjoy their spare time together taking part in lots of activities that the island has on offer. Before having the boys Helen was an international FIFA referee for women’s football and travelled all over the world with her refereeing team. Helen’s most proud moment in football was refereeing in the Women’s FA Cup Final!
Each MoD School has a School Governance Committee (SGC)
The purpose of the SGC is to enable parents and the wider service community to contribute to the strategic direction and governance of the school. The aim of this involvement is to improve the educational provision and outcomes for pupils and families.
Unlike school governing bodies in the UK, MoD Schools Governance Committees do not have responsibility for the school budget nor do they act as the employer of staff.
Nevertheless, the intention is that SGCs should, as far as possible, mirror the role of UK school governing bodies.
Here at Ayios Nikolaos Primary School we strongly encourage the involvement of parents in the SGC and school life in general. Our SGC is comprised of staff members, specialist advisors, and parents. The SGC meets bi-monthly and welcomes any and all input.
Anyone wishing to join the SGC should in the first instance talk with the head teacher. Further information regarding our SGC and what they do can be accessed on this leaflet.