Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School

Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School and Nursery

Learning by faith

Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School Life at Sir Robert Hitcham CEVA Primary School



Governing Body Members

The governors are volunteers from all walks of life who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education by supporting the school. The governors work together as a body to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction and that the school delivers a good quality education by holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school. They ensure and oversee the financial procedures of the school, making sure money is well spent.

The constitution of Sir Robert Hitcham CEVAP School allows for 12 governors who each serve a term of four years:

  • two parent governors - elected by parents;
  • one local authority governor - proposed by Suffolk County Council;
  • one staff governor - elected by staff;
  • one headteacher - ex officio; and
  • seven foundation governors.

The foundation bodies entitled to appoint foundation governors are:

  • the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Board of Education (six governors); and
  • the Sir Robert Hitcham School Foundation (one governor).

**The Governing Body can appoint an associate member, who does not have any voting rights.

Governor and Associate Member Details

Governor and Associate Member  Bios

The Revd Susan Bates 

Foundation Governor (Diocese Ex Officio)

After spending far too much time wandering aimlessly around the world, I settled to a career as a solicitor, got married, had children and, rather to everyone’s surprise, not least my own, became a Christian. I was ordained in 2015 and have been in the seven parishes of the Benefice of Debenham and Helmingham since 2017. 

When my daughter started school, I became a governor at her primary school and really enjoyed the role. I was briefly chair of finance, which was long enough to know that it is not a role for me. I was also a governor in Yoxford. I was briefly chair, which also taught me that, although it is a great role and a great privilege, it’s not something to take on whilst also ministering to several parishes! I love laughing around the dinner table with my family and friends, walking the dog, gardening and being in any mountains.

Mie Coker

Foundation Governor (Diocese)

I have two children who attend Robert Hitcham Primary School.

I started my career working with various not-for-profit organisations, project managing campaigns on sexual health education.

I’m passionate about children enjoying their learning journey.

I hope to serve the best way I can and support the Christian vision and ethos of the school.

Naomi Faulds

Parent Governor

I am a parent governor and have three children at Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School. I am a qualified teacher at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, where I teach geography from Key Stage 3 up to A Level. Outside of work I enjoy reading, baking and spending time with my family. I have lived in the area for 10 years and really value being part of a friendly community. 

Vicki Gascoyne-Cecil

Interim Headteacher (Ex Officio)


Claire Gibson

Foundation Governor (Diocese)

I have worked in education for 25 years. I have been a classroom teacher, an Advanced Skills teacher, Head of Department (English) and an Assistant Headteacher in an ‘Outstanding’, all boys 11-18 comprehensive school in east London. 

My family and I moved to Uganda, working for a mission agency called Africa Inland Mission in 2012. For the last five and a half years I have worked as Senior School Principal at Acacia International School in Kampala, setting it up as a Christian international school offering IGCSEs and A-levels. I also led Acacia senior school through three very successful inspections with Cambridge, ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) and MSA (Middle States Association). 

I completed my NPQH in 2018 flying back and forth from Uganda to do that. I have never sat on a school governing body in this country.

I am passionate about excellent education and about faith schools. I have a daughter at Sir Robert Hitcham. My experiences mean that I have had varied expertise that will give me insight, as I undertake the role of school governor.

Sarah Lock

Foundation Governor (Diocese)

My name is Sarah Lock and I have lived in Debenham since 2004.  I am a born and bred Suffolk girl. My entire working life has been spent working in legal firms, here in Suffolk and in Bristol where I spent 12 years working at a large corporate firm.  I now work for Ashtons Legal in their finance team. 

I have two children, a son aged 19 who went to SRH and is now employed as a degree apprentice as a software developer. My daughter is at Debenham High School. 

I have been involved with the Friends of School as the secretary and recognise the importance of this charity to support the school not only in terms of fundraising, but in terms of bringing the school community together and having some fun. 

In my spare time (when is that??) I have my own pony so enjoy horse riding, socialising and being outdoors.

Laura Newark

Headteacher (Ex Officio)


Currently on maternity leave until March 2022

I'm new to Headship.  I've been in post since the start of 2020 and every day has been simply amazing; challenging at times, yes, but so very enjoyable. The school has so much potential and I'm realising something new amazing about it every day. The children are the stars and have so much to give.  It's my privilege to make sure we, as a staff, facilitate the experiences and learning opportunities which allow those children to give as much as they've got. 

My previous positions in leadership of a school have focused on Maths, PE and behaviour.  I've also spent the last year working in three 'Good' church schools and am keen to take the good practice I've seen there and implement it here to really begin to embed that Christian ethos in the school.

Julie Nightingale

Foundation Governor (Diocese)

I have 18 years of teaching experience at schools in Suffolk, including two voluntary aided primary schools, and an independent preparatory school.  Whilst being a class teacher, my specialism was music, which I believe has huge benefits in developing skills across the curriculum and fostering good mental health and well-being to all.  

Since my children have started attending this school, I have enjoyed volunteering in various ways including choir, recorders and supporting in class as a volunteer. My new venture is a Ukulele club!  I am part of a group of parents who pray each week for the school and am keen to see the Christian ethos underpinning everything. 

I have taken a break from teaching to care for my own child who has complex needs and moderate learning difficulties, this has enlightened me to the challenges that children with special needs and disabilities face within education.  

Having moved out from Ipswich, I enjoy walking in the local area, singing in a local choir and playing keyboard and violin at church.  I run the Suffolk Down’s Syndrome Support Group and volunteer for The Bumblebee Children’s Charity.

Stephen Palframan

Foundation Governor (SRH Foundation)

My wife and I moved to the village 34 years ago. All four of our children attended the school, and now our grandchildren have started too. We have twelve grandchildren so we feel we are doing our bit to keep the school numbers up! 

Originally, I trained as a primary and secondary school teacher at Nonnington College of PE in Kent. From there I started a career in leisure as a life guard. Moving up through the management of leisure centres and parks, in a number of local authorities across the country, I became the Director of Leisure in Bury St Edmunds. This required assuming responsibility for sport, parks and gardens, museums, tourism and entertainment. My final position before I retired was as a Corporate Director and Deputy CEO of a district council. I have a masters degree in business administration. 

Since moving to the village, I have served on, and chaired a number of committees and working groups delivering improved services for our community. I have been the chairman of Debenham Parish Council, Debenham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee, The DVHPFT (Leisure Centre), Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School Governors, SRH Friends, and SRH Foundation Trust. 

In terms of achievement, perhaps my three most rewarding challenges have been as chairman and English representative judge of Nations in Bloom, an annual international liveable communities competition; organising the Queen’s visit to Bury St Edmunds and being the main author of the new Debenham Neighbourhood Plan. 

Colin Tapscott

Foundation Governor (Diocese)

Inspiring and equipping people to enable them to do their best is what I do. I run a leadership coaching, training and consultancy company (Everyday Leader) developing people to see themselves as leaders. Prior to this, I was a headteacher for 17 years, leading large primary schools in Suffolk and Hertfordshire. With 30 years’ experience of working in schools, I know the importance of a good values driven education and the life changing impact that can have. It is an honour to serve on the governing body to support the school leadership to achieve that. My current role is to serve on the Resources Committee. I also hope to bring ideas from my experience of working in schools that help the governors to do their role well.


As a church school, we are in a privileged position to help children understand how positive Christian values can help them in learning, life and leading themselves. I hope that my theology degree, my experience of running a children’s faith based charity with my wife, and years of volunteer leadership in churches will help support the school leadership to help children explore those values.


My family and I have lived in Debenham since moving to Suffolk in 2007. My three children are all adults now, so recreation time revolves around walking our three dogs and running to keep fit.

**Alison Woods

Associate Member 

I have lived in Debenham since 1980. My husband was born here and attended the Primary School. Our children attended both village schools, as have our grandchildren.


Whilst our children were school age, I was a member of the ‘Friends of the School’ and the PTA at the High School. I also was involved with summer playschemes held at the old youth club and summer camps held at the Leisure Centre.


I have been involved with education and young people most of my working life, through all ages from pre-school to 18-year olds. I worked for 13 years with young offenders and am currently an Education Welfare Officer. This role involves working with pupils, families and schools to promote good attendance, enabling children to reach their full potential.


In my spare time, I love walking our beautiful countryside and coastline. I enjoy cooking and having dinner with friends and family. I am also an avid reader.


We are fortunate to have a good primary school in the village with dedicated staff and I am looking forward to working with the Governors and school.

 Governors and Associate Member Appointments

Governor / Associate Member Date of Appointment Term of Office Governor Category Appointing Body
The Revd Susan Bates On appointment N/A Ex-Officio Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
Mrs Mie Coker 04/01/2021 4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
Mrs Naomi Faulds 18/04/2020 4 years Parent Elected by Parents
Mrs Vicki Gascoyne-Cecil 05/07/2021 N/A Interim Headteacher Ex-Officio

Mrs Claire Gibson

[Chair of Governors]


4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmunsbury
Mrs Sarah Lock 18/04/2020 4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
Miss Laura Newark On appointment N/A Headteacher Ex Officio
Mrs Julie Nightingale 18/04/2020 4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
Mr Stephen Palframan 18/04/2020 4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
Mr Colin Tapscott 12/10/2020 4 years Foundation Diocese of Ipswich & St Edmundsbury
**Ms Alison Woods 21/01/2021 1 year Associate Member Full Governing Body
Governor Date of Appointment Date of Resignation Governor Category Appointing Body
Mr Liam Page 18/04/2020 23/12/2020 Local Authority Suffolk County Council

 Governor and Associate Member Pecuniary Interests

Governor / Associate Member Interests to Declare
The Revd Susan Bates

Foundation Governor at Debenham High School

Rector for Debenham PCC; Aspall PCC; Kenton PCC; Winston PCC; Pettaugh PCC; Framsden PCC; Helmingham PCC

Trustee of Sir Robert Hitcham Foundation Trust

Trustee of Pettaugh Mission Trust

Trustee of St Edmunds Bury & Ipswich Diocescan Board of Finance 

Mrs Mie Coker

Parent of pupils at school

Mrs Naomi Faulds

Parent of pupils at school

Teacher at local school

Mrs Vicki Gascoyne-Cecil

Governor at Worlingworth Primary School

Mrs Claire Gibson

Parent of pupil at school

Volunteer inspector for Association of Christian International Schools

PhD student at University of Cantebury (Study of CofE Schools)

Mrs Sarah Lock

Employee of Ashtons Legal

Miss Laura Newark None
Mrs Julie Nightingale Parent of pupils at school
Mr Stephen Palframan

Parish Councillor, Debenham Parish Council

Trustee of Sir Robert Hicham Foundation Trust

Grandparent of pupil at school

Mr Colin Tapscott

Director of Everyday Leader

Husband of supply teacher

Director of Lemmings Holidays

Father of youth worker at The Mix

**Ms Alison Woods


Committee Memberships

Governor / Associate Member Committee Memberships
The Revd Susan Bates School Improvement Committee
Mrs Mie Coker To be confirmed
Mrs Naomi Faulds Chair of School Improvement Committee
Mrs Vicki Gascoyne-Cecil
Mrs Claire Gibson Resources Committee; School Improvement Committee
Mrs Sarah Lock Resources Committee
Miss Laura Newark Resources Committee; School Improvement Committee
Mrs Julie Nightingale School Improvement Committee
Mr Stephen Palframan Chair of Resources Committee
Mr Colin Tapscott Resources Committee
**Ms Alison Woods To be confirmed

The Resources Committee is responsible for overseeing the school budget and areas related to the budget (e.g building, maintenance and staff recruitment).  The Chair of the Resources Committee is to be confirmed.

The School Improvement Committee has responsibility for monitoring the school's performance, ensuring that every pupil is supported by the school to reach their full potential.  The Chair of the School Improvement Committee is Mrs Naomi Faulds.

 Attendance Record for Governing Body and Committee Meetings 2020/2021

Governor / Associate Member Full Governing Body Resources Committee

School Improvement


The Revd Susan Bates 3 of 3 N/A 0 of 1
Mrs M Coker 1 of 1
Mrs Naomi Faulds 2 of 3 N/A 1 of 1
Mrs Vicki Gascoyne-Cecil
Mrs Claire Gibson 3 of 3 1 of 1
Mrs Sarah Lock 3 of 3 N/A
Miss Laura Newark 3 of 3 1 of 1
Mrs Julie Nightingale 3 of 3 N/A 1 of 1
Mr Liam Page 1 of 2 N/A
Mr Stephen Palframan 2 of 3 N/A
Mr Colin Tapscott 2 of 2 N/A
**Ms Alison Woods 1 of 1

Governors' Attendance 2019/2020 

If you would like a copy of the public minutes of a meeting, please contact the Chair of Governors, Mrs Claire Gibson, at