School Governance Committee

Dear Parent,

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.

Warm regards,

Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Clifford, SGC Chair and Station Commander.


SGC list of members March 2019


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.

Dean Boughen has nearly three decades of experience in the British Army. He is OC Sp Sqn, Station Quartermaster and Vice Chair of the SGC. Dean has two adult children and is a step-father to a 13 and 10 year old and has lived in diverse military communities all over England, in Germany, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. Prior to joining up Dean played professional football and continued to play all around the world whilst serving. Once his playing days were over he began to coach and has coached small children, young boys, female teams and all the way up to the Army Men’s Senior Team. How to get the best out of people, of all ages, as individuals and as a team, whilst enjoying themselves, learning and laughing underpinned all his coaching. Dean admits he’s no teacher but he does have numerous military instructional qualifications and worked with University students in Exeter for two years. He also worked in the hospitals in Birmingham where he helped look after every combat injured soldier hurt in Afghanistan and Iraq, and unfortunately there were hundreds. Dean was awarded an MBE for his service in Birmingham.

Andy Bedward is the SGC Safeguarding Lead and is also the Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) within JSSU and has been a member of the SGC since September 2016. Andy has 2 children at Ayios Nikolaos Primary School. Andy enjoys football, skiing and reading and is particularly keen on nurturing a love of reading for children in school. He has previously been a governor with Bulford St Leonards Primary within their leadership committee. He really enjoys the SGC role and being part of the school. He is a regular visitor both professionally and as a member of the SGC.

Helen Warren is a community representative on the SGC and also the SGC Creative Curriculum Lead. Helen has a passion for creative arts and holds a degree in Costume Interpretation from the London collage of Art. She has previously worked as a costume designer in theatre and TV, which she loved. Helen currently works at the HIVE as information support Officer whilst accompanying her husband here in Cyprus. Helen plays an active part of the Ay Nik Community and is involved in various other committees such as the theatre group, Military Wives Choir and CAMEO coffee morning. She has a really good understanding of the local community needs in which the school and Early Years setting serves. Helen has two girls who attend the school, they love the setting and have really progressed since starting. They love the life Cyprus has to offer them as a family and take every opportunity to explore the island.

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 my greatest passions (alongside shopping) is travelling the world with her family.

Olly Lema is a Parent Representative on the SGC and a member of both the mathematics curriculum and finance sub-committees. He is a Sergeant in the RAF, currently serving as the Operations Training SNCO within E-Section. Olly has 3 children at the school and has also previously volunteered at the school, assisting with guided reading.
Olly enjoys football, tennis, paddle boarding and days out with my family exploring Cyprus.

Cynthia Symon has been School Improvement Partner of Ayios Nikolaos School since September 2017 but worked closely with the school for a number of years before that as a School Improvement Consultant. She works across all MOD Primary and Secondary Schools in Cyprus. As School Improvement Partner, she offers support and challenge to the SLT and works in close partnership with school leaders on whole school priorities and school self -evaluation. She leads on the MOD Schools Olevi teaching and learning programmes, providing continued professional development in relation to: coaching; teaching and learning; leadership and management and training others to be Olevi facilitators. When Cynthia is not working she enjoys going on long walks, cycling, cooking, reading and playing with her grandchildren. She loves working with the team at Ayios Nikolaos!

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!

Simon Featherstone is the I.T. and Science SGC Member lead. He doesn’t have a background in education, however as a parent Simon is very keen to contribute to the school and help in any way to maintain and improve the excellent standards here at Ayios Nikolaos primary. Simon’s working specialisation is within ICT and communications and he draws on this experience working in his SGC capacity. Simon is a father of two boys and finds it great being in Cyprus for the children to have an active lifestyle and make the most of the opportunities that come with life in the usually sunny Mediterranean. Simon and his family enjoy SCUBA diving in their spare time together and take part in lots of the activities the island has to offer.

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.