Skip to content ↓


Our Governing Body is made up of a group of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who care deeply about Joy Lane Primary School, each offer their time to help the schools Leadership team and staff to continuously seek the optimum environment for our children to thrive, providing them with the best school experience and outcomes at this stage of their learning journey.

Governors are responsible for setting the Vision, Mission and Ethos of the school and to oversee the implementation in the process commonly known as a 'critical' friend.  This translates to supporting the Leadership team in their efforts while providing appropriate strategic challenge to help ensure the best chance success.

The Governors undertake their role using the following mechanisms:

  • Full Governing Body Meetings to consider proposals, initiatives, reports, school data analysis and other feedback from the Leadership team on the progress of our pupils.
  • Two smaller more focused Committee’s meet and report back the Full Governing Body Meetings.
           - Learning and Development - with a focus on children’s progress and attainment, and most importantly wellbeing
           - Resources and Premises - with a focus on the schools financial position, and the schools physical infrastructure (buildings and grounds etc.) and how they can be best utilised and accessed by the schools community.
  • Governor school visits allow governors to meet with the children and staff to better understand the day-to-day life of the school and see first-hand how the decisions approved during governor meetings are impacting on the children's progress.
  • The Chair and Vice Chair of Governors maintain correspondents and meet regularly with the Executive Headteacher and Head of School to stay informed of day-to-day issues and provide a sounding board when required.

Any correspondence to the Governing Body please email:

Please see our key Governor Information for details of: term of office, business interests, responsibilities and attendance.

Meet the Governors

Chris Graves - Chair of Governors

I am chair of governors at Joy Lane School and am privileged to work with a  governing board  that supports the school community to ensure our children receive the very best education.  We have a broad mix of skills and professional backgrounds which ensures we can contribute positively to the challenges being a school governor can bring, 

Having previously worked in the NHS I am now retired.  My association with  our school goes back many years as a parent governor when my four children attended Joy Lane.  Returning to Whitstable after a twelve-year break I took up the Local Authority’s vacancy for a governor on the board.  My grandchildren currently attend the school.   

Sue Lindgren - Co-opted Governor

I have recently joined the school as a governor.  I have worked in finance for a number of years and have over thirty year’s experience working with schools.  I have always enjoyed working with schools and want to share my knowledge and skills within the community.

I find it a privilege to work with such a dedicated and professional team who are all ensuring that Joy Lane provides the best quality education to the children in the school.

Catherine Shearer - Co-opted Governor

I joined the governing body in May 2019 and wanted to share the skills acquired from 25 years spent in the teaching profession. I am currently working at a school in Canterbury, which involves managing the pastoral care of a 3-18 school, in addition to a variety of leadership challenges. Prior to this, I was a residential housemistress, responsible for the academic and pastoral well-being of 50 teenage girls. With a degree in English, my formative teaching years were spent overseas in Turkey, Botswana and Japan, before settling in Canterbury in 2001. I am delighted to have joined Joy Lane Primary School and look forward to becoming involved in such a dynamic and caring learning environment.


Paulette Stubbings  - Co-opted Governor

I'm the Vicar of St Alphege Seasalter and we celebrate our strong links and partnership with parents, families and staff from Joy Lane School. I am always impressed with the dedication and determination of the leadership and staff of the school to support and enable children to grow in wholeness as humans and flourish in their learning, within the highly challenging landscape of education policy and funding. It's a privilege to join in with that work as part of a dedicated and engaged Governing Body.

Annette Kelly

I am a newly appointed Governor at Joy Lane Primary School.
I have recently retired having worked for over 20 years in the education sector, for the last 6 years as Director of Staff and Resources at Spires Academy with responsibility for all the Support Services at the Academy. Prior to that I worked for 15 years as Senior Personnel Consultant for the Schools’ Personnel Service, supporting Headteachers and Governing Bodies with all aspects of HR.
I believe I have skills snd experience will be useful to the school and I look forward to working with the Joy Lane School Community to ensure that all pupils have the best school experience that they possibly can.

Nicki Mattin

I am currently the Principal of a large secondary comprehensive school in Suffolk. This is my second headship and I was previously the Principal of an Academy just outside Canterbury.

I initially trained as a primary school teacher and was fortunate to begin my career in the East End of London. I have been fortunate to work on projects that have had influence locally, nationally and internationally.  This included being the school lead on an EU funded project “Improving the quality of education in Iraq” with the British Council and Iraq government.  I am also a funding Trustee of a charity that seeks to extend partnership working across the education sector for the benefit of all young people.

Marion Steff

I am delighted to have joined Joy Lane as a parent governor in September 2022, with my son attending this primary school. In terms of background, I have been working for more than 20 years in the field of disability, more specifically on human rights and international development. My work focuses specifically on policy and advocacy, making sure the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is implemented and monitored. I graduated from McGill University in Canada with a PhD in Educational Psychology. I am very pleased to be involved in this wonderful primary school! 

Debra Hines - Executive Headteacher & Teacher Governor

I first became a Staff Governor during my first teaching post at Reculver CEP School, twenty years a ago.  I have worked at Joy Lane for over ten years and my main role as Governor is to support and work closely with Governors to Ensure that the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school are clearly defined and ensure that the schools financial resources are allocated effectively. Joy Lane is unique in that besides the Mainstream School, the Governing Body manage a private Nursery, a specialist provision for children on the autistic spectrum and a community swimming pool. I report directly to all Governors on the educational performance of all aspects of the wider school and the internal organisation of which l am routinely challenged. All governors have the joint interest of improving educational opportunities and life chances for all children in a working partnership with parents and carers.

I have been teaching for just over twenty years and have been a Headteacher for fifteen years.  During my career I have had the opportunity to lead classes at every primary phase working at a large three-form primary school and as Head of a small rural primary; my time at Joy Lane has been extremely rewarding as l have seen the school grow from 168 children to over 600 children today.

I sit on the Strategic Board of the East Kent Learning Alliance (EKLA), at Teaching School; I lead the strategic development of continuing professional development and support the specialist leaders of education across East Kent.  I am a representative and  Vice-Chair of the East Kent Association of Headteachers and l am a mentor and facilitator of the Headteacher Induction programme for Kent.  I enjoy working collaboratively with my Colleague Headteachers¹ across Whitstable and Herne Bay (Coastal Alliance Co-Operative Trust). All of the working partnership exist because of and for improving life chances for children and ensuring that our Teachers have adequate training and resources to do so.

It is a privilege to be the Headteacher of Joy Lane Foundation Primary School and l am proud to work alongside such consummate professionals who ensure that Joy Lane children have exciting learning opportunities both in and outside the class to help them make the most of their time at Joy Lane. I am very proud of how every child is a credit to our School and to their parents and carers.


Mark Ashley Jones - Head of School & Associate Governor

I have been part of the Governing Body at Joy Lane Primary School for the last 16 years and my main role as Head of School is to work closely with colleagues and Governors to report on standards at the school. I give regular updates on the progress and attainment of all pupils, including disadvantaged pupils as well as informing Governors of the wonderful experiences the children have at Joy Lane Primary School. We also discuss the areas we need to improve on and have challenging conversations about the operational running of the school with a particular focus on school attendance. This is all done at our Learning and Development Committee meetings and also at our Full Governing Body Meetings six times per year.

More about me!

My teaching career spans nearly 30 years during which time I have been a class teacher in 3 different year groups, phase leader and Science subject leader at a four form entry Junior School in Thanet. I was appointed Deputy Headteacher and class teacher at Joy Lane Primary School in 2008 and then Head of School in 2014. The school is now a three form entry all-through primary school with over 600 children and 120 staff working with children of all ages, abilities and needs.

I am married to a Primary School Executive Headteacher and Senior School Improvement advisor and have three grown up boys whom I am very proud of. We are all rugby fanatics, and my youngest Olly is currently playing for a club in Perth, Western Australia. Tom is training as a primary school teacher and plays rugby for Canterbury RFC and the University and Josh works in London for a large Communications company since graduating from University. 

I completed the Aspiring Senior Leaders’ Programme during the academic year 2008-2009 and passed the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers in 2013. I am currently a coach and mentor for the NPQML and NPQSL leadership programmes, as well as completing sponsor comments for many colleagues during the last 10 years with each participant successfully gaining their leadership qualification. 

Joy Lane Primary School is a nationally recognised Inclusive School with high standards and expectations for the whole school community and I strongly believe that children’s well-being and academic progress is at the heart of everything the team do at school. Working closely with Governors, the leadership team and all staff is a pleasure at Joy Lane and we pride ourselves on working collaboratively to ensure the children are part of a rich and varied educational experience that is primarily fun, inspiring and stimulating.

Mark Ashley Jones

Sarah Baker - Staff Governor

 I have worked at Joy Lane for nearly 7 years initially as a Teaching Assistant, then a Family Liaison Officer and more recently, Safeguarding Officer.

Previous to working in Education I worked for Kent Police for 11 years with a specialism in Child protection and safeguarding. My children have all attended Joy Lane School and flourished. My youngest child has additional needs and has been thoroughly supported from entering the nursery at just 7 months old!


Derek Rennie

I joined the Governing Board of Joy Lane School in January 2023 as a parent governor. I have spent over 20 years of my working career in commercial finance as a contract and budgetary director. During that time, I have developed strong problem-solving skills and possess an eye for detail, which has positively enabled me to contribute to discussions through the lens of a parent governor. This is a wonderful opportunity, and I am delighted to be part of a Board who are committed to educating and furthering the life chances of the young people in our wonderful school. 


National Governance Association website