The Downland Village Schools Federation is currently governed by an Interim Executive Board (IEB).
The Interim Executive Board (IEB) is a group of experienced governors and education professionals who will act as the Governing Body and will take decisions in the best interests of the Federation. The members of the IEB are approved by the Department for Education and have complete independence to lead the Federation, alongside the leadership team.
The main function of the IEB is to secure strong and strategic governance with the skills required to ensure the Federation can respond to the financial pressures facing the schools, as well as considering longer term partnership options. At the heart of this work is a shared ambition to ensure that pupils continue to receive the best possible education that enables them to fulfil their potential.
The Interim Executive Board has a range of responsibilities including:
- Strategic leadership of the Federation
- Providing challenge and support to the Executive Headteacher
- Overseeing the financial performance of the schools
- Monitoring achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safeguarding
- Engaging with the Federation’s key stakeholders including parents/carers, pupils and staff
Members of the IEB visit the schools regularly to monitor provision and to fulfil their legal responsibilities.
The IEB was formed in February 2023. The current membership and link roles are as follows:
Nicola Waters – Chair
Ruth Cumming – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Chris Hawker – Safeguarding and Child Protection
Paul Little – Finance
The IEB can be contacted through Carol Vigor, Clerk to the IEB: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola is a very experienced Chair of Governors, having served on several primary and secondary school boards over a period of 13 years. She currently chairs both a primary and secondary school board and has previous experience of chairing the board of a small, rural primary school. Nicola has an extensive knowledge and understanding of compliance and leadership. She is a Local Leader of Governance and her knowledge and experience have been used widely by the local authority to support other governing boards with a range of tasks. As Chair of the IEB, Nicola will provide both challenge and support to the leadership team to drive school improvement and ensure the highest standard of education for all pupils across the Federation.
Ruth Cumming is the Assistant Diocesan Director for Education: School Effectiveness. Having loved teaching in a range of different schools from KS1 through to KS3 she was pleased to become headteacher of two high performing primary schools. Between her headships she joined West Sussex Local Authority’s School Improvement Team leading on school improvement in over 30 schools; both primary and secondary resulting in all schools being judged as ‘Good’ or better by Ofsted. She enjoyed working with the National College of School Leadership running leadership training courses, including ‘Aspiring Heads’. Ruth has always had a passion for developing effective inspiring leaders and she currently heads up the Diocese school improvement team serving all 155 church schools across Sussex’s three local authorities. The team work with school leaders, staff and governors to ensure the best opportunities and outcomes for children. This is achieved through training and support, built on transparent trusting relationships to enable all to flourish and thrive.
Chris is an experienced governor and chair of both maintained and academy primary schools. He is currently the Chair of Governors of Lavant CE Primary School and recently held the role of Chair at the Downland Village Schools Federation. Chris was appointed as a National Leader of Governance 2015-21 under the original scheme and is a Local Leader of Governance for West Sussex County Council, working with schools where additional governor support and development is required. Chris co-chairs the West Sussex Governors' Association, the representative organisation for all West Sussex governors. He has previously been deployed by the local authority as an additional governor in schools causing concern. He provides support for West Sussex County Council in governor training sessions, including training and support for new chairs of governors.
Sue has considerable expertise in governance and school leadership, having held many roles nationally and locally supporting and developing schools. She was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for outstanding services to education. She began her career as a primary school teacher and has worked in and with primary, secondary and special schools as well as with early years providers. As well as teaching, her roles have included being the CEO of an Academy Trust of fifteen schools, being a Director in the DfE’s Education Funding Agency, being a Lead Inspector for Ofsted, as well as an Education Adviser in a Local Authority leading on headteacher induction, support and performance review. In all of these roles, she has been passionate about delivering in a people focused way and providing appropriate support and challenge to improve outcomes for the children and their communities and has had a particular interest in the issues facing small schools.
Paul is an experienced governor and has previously been a Chair of Governors in a primary school in West Sussex. Paul has also previously been deployed as a member of an IEB in schools causing concern. Paul has a background of 30 years in local government and is a qualified accountant. Paul has spent most of his working life working in finance but has also held a range of senior roles including project and change management. Paul has also previously held roles working closely with schools managing challenging financial issues. Paul’s current role is to provide strategic financial advice and guidance to senior officers at West Sussex. Paul is currently one of the key points of contact for school leaders for financial matters, leads on governor training, advice, and guidance on all aspects of school finance and manages the team that distributes all funding to schools.