Ashburnham Road, Penenden Heath, Maidstone, ME14 2JG

01622 763297

Mrs L Downes

Sandling Primary School

We learn together - We achieve together - We have fun together

Miss Claire Coombes
Governor Type: Staff
Position: Deputy Head Teacher
Term of Office: 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2022
Business Interest: Deputy Head Teacher.

I am currently Deputy Head at the school, with particular responsibility for Assessment. I have been teaching for 20 years and have been at Sandling for 14 yrs; it is a whole school community and I hope my length of service reflects the value I put on working in this school and with all our staff, governors, parents and most importantly pupils. As a member of the governing body I am well placed to ensure that all aspects of the school’s performance with regard to pupil attainment and progress are presented to the governing body in a timely manner, ensuring clarity of presentation and accountability of standards achieved. I am on hand to provide further clarification and explanations as and when they are required. As a member of the governing body the staff governor has a very important part to play alongside all other members of the governing body. I am proud to serve in this role and am looking forward to returning to the governing body.


Mrs Lynda Downes
Governor Type: Staff
Position: Head Teacher
Term of Office: N/A
Position & Committee: Head Teacher. Finance Group.
Business Interests: Head Teacher.

Mrs Deborah Fallis
Governor Type: LA Governor
Term of Office: 25th September 2022
Position & Committee: Vice chair. Training & Development Governor, Sports Funding - PE and Attainment.
Business Interests: None.

I have been a Co-Opted Governor at Sandling Primary School for three years. I am currently Vice Chair. I have experience of human resources management and currently work for an organisation owned by Kent County Council.  I have experience of senior and strategic management. I live in Penenden Heath with my twin boys who are in year 6.  We are a family passionate about sport, outdoor life and summer and winter holidays. I enjoy working with all the school staff to ensure that the Governing Body is effective in its legal responsibilities and that Sandling continues to be a successful school.


Mrs Laura Fernee
Governor Type: Parent
Term of office: 18th November 2020
Position & Committee: Health & Safety
Business Interests: None

I am a parent governor and was elected to serve in December 2019. I grew up in Maidstone and attended local schools. I live in Penenden Heath with my husband and two daughters who are currently in year six and four at Sandling Primary School.

My background is in commercial finance, I am a qualified accountant (FCCA) with twenty years of work experience including most recently sixteen years at a global cosmetics company. This has given me a very broad business experience along with leadership and communication skills that I will bring to the governing body.

Last year we took the decision for me to take a career break to spend more time with our daughters and wider family. The role of parent governor came along at a perfect time for me to become more actively involved with the school and make a contribution back to Sandling. I am looking forward to utilising my skills and experience to support the school whilst at the same time gaining new ones.


Mrs Patricia Jackson
Governor Type: Co-opted
Term of Office: 30th June 2019
Position & Committee: School Business Manager. Finance Group. Health & Safety, and Buildings.
Business Interests: School Business Manager.

In July 2015 I was Co-opted as a Governor, prior to that I was an Associate Governor for a year. I am employed by Sandling Primary School as the School Business Manager, where I’ve worked since 2004.  My role involves looking after the school finances, site, school contracts and personnel. I’ve lived in this area for over 20 years and am married with two children, who are currently at the latter stages of their education. My role in the Governing Body involves my working closely with the Governors with particular responsibility for Finance and Site and I am a member of the Finance Group.  I am very proud of our school and work hard to contribute to our continuous improvement.


Ms Clare Luscombe
Governor Type: Co-opted
Term of Office: 26th June 2020
Position & Committee: Finance Group, Performance Management of Headteacher, Pay Panel and Maths.
Business Interests: None.

I have served as a Co-opted governor since May 2016. I am currently the Financial Director of a large Plant Hire company and have experience of both audit within private practice and commercial finance management. I also have experience in HR matters including disciplinary and grievance procedures. I am a Sandling parent with a daughter, Emma in Year 3. As part of my existing role as Treasurer of FoSS I have been actively involved with the school since my daughter joined in 2013. I believe Sandling is a fantastic school which my daughter is very lucky to attend. Great schools don’t just happen by chance, it takes a great deal of work by many skilled individuals. I want to be a part of that hard work and assist in anyway my existing skill set permits. I am new to school governance but I am looking forward to this interesting and challenging role.

Mrs Wendy Mills

Governor Type: Co-opted
Term of Office: 20th March 2022
Position & Committee:
Business Interests: None.

I have not served on a school governing body before but have over 10 years’ experience of serving at Board level for a residential home for people with learning difficulties and an associated charity.
My background is primarily within the NHS as a Chartered Physiotherapist, working initially with children with special needs and physical disability and later as professional advisor to physiotherapy and therapy services manager for a large NHS Trust. I finished my working life with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). I have lived in Penenden Heath for forty years and have been involved in a number of ways with the local community, including fund raising groups, volunteering in a charity shop and participating in a variety of community activities and events. I am now retired and have a granddaughter who started in reception at Sandling last September. Some of the experiences I hope to bring to the governing body are: - team working both at grass roots and strategic level; working with special needs children and adults, their families, teachers and supporters; and time spent working in a large organisation. The qualities I hope to bring are: - good communication skills; patience, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn; an ability to think logically and laterally; and a sense of humour. As a governor I hope that, as well as contributing to general business of the governing body, I shall be able to take a particular interest in the education, welfare and achievements of children with special needs and disabilities in Sandling School.


Ms Elizabeth Nicholson
Governor Type: Co-opted
Term of Office: 2nd December 2018
Position & Committee: Safeguarding, Child Protection, E-Safety, Educational visits, Pupil Premium, Disadvantaged pupils, Children in Care, Medical Needs, Performance Management of Headteacher, Pay Panel and displays.
Business Interests: Tutor/assessor at Kent Adult Education.  Spouse is a Governor at Sandling.

I was appointed to the governing body at Sandling Primary School as a community governor in 2015 having previously served on the governing body of three other schools as a school staff member. My background is in education. I taught in both the secondary and primary sector for 38 years, the final 14 years as deputy head teacher of two Kent primary schools.   I now work in Adult Education teaching and mentoring trainee teaching assistants. I have lived in Penenden Heath for 18 years with my husband John Viner who also serves on the governing body.  I have two sons and two stepsons who have long since left the family nest.  They are all pursuing professional careers in the UK and abroad and providing me with a constant stream of grandchildren to spoil when they are in my care! As a Sandling Primary School governor, I am able to use my career experience in many ways but my key responsibility is for Safeguarding and am delighted to be able to serve the community as a governor of such an effective and friendly school.


Mrs Claire Ross

Governor Type: Associate Governor


Mr John Stokes
Governor Type: Co-opted

I am a co-opted governor and have served on the governing body of Sandling Primary School for one year. I am part of the Finance Group.
My background is in Central Government. I currently negotiate international agreements for the UK government. I bring numeracy, audit and policy analysis skills and experience to the governing body.

I live in Penenden Heath with my wife and two children, aged 3 and 5. My eldest son is a pupil at the school. I have a keen interest in the development of young people and enjoy the opportunity to play a role in delivering a well-rounded education for the children who attend Sandling Primary School. I also coach the Under 9 age group at the Mote Cricket Club.


Mrs Elaine Tugwell

Governor Type: Parent Governor
Term of Office: 20th March 2022
Position & Committee:
Business Interests: MDMS Lead and Teaching Assistant

I am a parent governor and was appointed to serve on the governing body of Sandling Primary School in January 2018. I live in Maidstone with my husband of 17 years, together we have three children aged nine, twelve and fourteen. Each of my children have enjoyed their time at this lovely school. I have recently gained a teaching assistant qualification which has afforded me a greater insight into the operational functions of a school. Being a governor, I will be able to draw on this knowledge to fulfil my role more effectively. As a governor, I am passionate about families and the school’s wider community. I am excited about this new opportunity and will give my all to ensure that I fulfil all that is expected of me. What an honour to personally contribute to the continued success of Sandling Primary School.

Mr John Viner
Governor Type: Co-opted
Term of Office: 26th January 2020
Position & Committee: Chair. Performance Management of Headteacher, Pay Panel, Leadership, Assessment and Collective Worship.
Business Interests: Self employed Education Professional, Spouse governor at Sandling.

I have been a co-opted governor at Sandling since January 2016. I currently serve as Chair, having considerable experience of school governance and being Chair of another Kent school. I have a background of school leadership, having led five primary schools over a quarter of a century. I currently work as a freelance education adviser, trainer and consultant. I have lived in Penenden Heath for nearly 20 years and am married to Elizabeth Nicholson, who is also a Sandling governor. We have two sons and two stepsons, two of whom are teachers and two of whom live and work abroad. Being a governor of our local school is a great privilege and I hope that my knowledge and experience of education can make a contribution to shaping and sustaining the strategic development of the effective and happy place that is Sandling Primary.