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Hillcross Primary School

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Meet the Governors

Stuart Sinclair
Co-opted Governor ( Chair of Governors)
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  2nd December 2022

Originally from Orkney, I have lived in Merton for over 25 years and have raised our family here with my wife whose professional career is in education. Jack, now 21, is in his final year at Manchester and Lauren 19 is in her first year at Durham having benefited from a local primary school education. These formative years were shaped by excellent schooling opportunities. Passionate about teaching and learning and committed to local education, I served as a Governor and as Chair of Governors while they were at Merton Park School.

My business experience, extending over 35 years in global energy industry supply chain risk management, has equipped me with skills that support high performing teams delivering successful outcomes in a diversity of business operations. I look forward to supporting the Hillcross Primary School community’s vision and values, ensuring all children experience success in all aspects of the curriculum by inspiring them in their learning and ensuring they develop the personal and social skills they need to be successful.

Pauline Cowper
Co-opted Governor 
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  2nd December 2022

I am currently a Councillor for Cannon Hill Ward, having been elected in 2014 and re-elected in May 2018.  I am also a Trustee of the South Wimbledon Community Association where I also serve on the HR committee.

I have previously served as a governor on what used to be Bishopsford Community School, then as a governor at Wimbledon Chase Primary School.

I have lived in Merton since 1957 both in Raynes Park and Wimbledon and have a daughter and four grandchildren all of whom have been/are being educated at local state schools.  I have been very pleased to join Hillcross Primary School as I am aware of its excellent reputation and am keen to contribute and support the governing body in its work.

Jo Thompson
Co-opted Governor (Co-Vice-Chair of Governing Body and Chair of Standards, Teaching & Learning Committee)
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  12th July 2019

I have been a member of the Governing Body since November 2014 when I was elected as a parent governor and then from July 2015 as a co-opted governor when the governing body reconstituted. I have a long-standing relationship with the school since my eldest daughter started in the nursery over ten years ago.  My youngest is currently in year 4.  Plus having grown up locally, I was aware of the school's strong reputation and the high regard it has within the community.

As a secondary school English teacher, I have a strong commitment to education and teaching.  I have worked in local comprehensive schools for over 15 years in a variety of roles and am currently the deputy SENCo in a Merton secondary school. 

I am the chair of the Standards, Teaching and Learning committee and the link governor for literacy within the school.

Michelle Thomason
Co-opted Governor (Co-Vice-Chair of Governing Body and Chair of Personnel Committee)
Appointed by:  The Governing Body

Term of office expiry:  12th July 2019

Michelle is the link governor for safeguarding and Maths as well as the chair of the personnel committee.

She has been a teacher for nearly 20 years in the sixth form sector and held a variety of leadership and management  positions over that time. She now teaches part time whilst studying for a doctorate in education and writing freelance for a number of publications, predominantly in the education sector.

Originally from the north-east, Michelle has lived in London and the local area for over fifteen years and is pleased to have seen how much Hillcross has developed into the popular, thriving school community it is today. A parent of two, both her children have attended Hillcross since nursery.

Paul Wahba

Parent Governor (Chair of Business Committee)
Appointed by:  Parents of the School
Term of office expiry:  27th September 2021

I recently became a Parent Governor in September 2017.

I am a parent of 2 children who attend the school in years 2 and 3.

By being a school governor I want to ensure the school continues to get the support it deserves so that the children can receive the best education and opportunities available to them.

I care about the children's education and social needs at Hillcross and I feel it is very important that it's not only what is being taught but how the children experience learning and development.

I am a practising Architect and work in Parsons Green where I am partner. I have been practising for 20 years and oversee number of multi-million pound projects throughout the UK. As part of my role I am involved in all aspects of the construction process including health and safety. I hope my skill set can provide the support the school needs.

I hope my professional and parental experience will be an asset to the Governing Body and to the school and I look forward to working with the fellow Governor’s. 

Sharon Furlong
Co-opted Governor (Vice-Chair of Standards, Teaching & Learning Committee)
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  19th October 2019

I  joined the Governing body in October 2015 and I am the Early Years Governor and the deputy Safeguarding Governor.  I also serve as the Vice-Chair of the Standards, Teaching and Learning Committee. 

I am a finance professional and I work full-time as a Product Manager in a global Corporate and Investment Bank.  In my role I work closely with legal and risk teams on regular basis. 

I am a qualified chartered accountant with experience in business assurance and auditing.  I have significant recruitment and training experience gained through a two year secondment to the graduate recruitment department of a Big 4 accountancy firm. 

I bring  my genuine interest in education,  my financial background  and my  risk and control awareness  to the Governing Body. I am committed to ensuring that the children educated at Hillcross school continue to be offered the best learning opportunities possible.

Stuart Field
Co-opted Governor
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  29th October 2022

I joined the Governing Body in October 2018 and will sit on the Standards, Teaching and Learning Committee.

Living locally, I believe schools to be a cornerstone of any community. I believe passionately that children deserve the best education regardless of background or family circumstances and that this should be delivered in a safe and nurturing environment.

Having worked in the City for the past 15 years, I hope to use my professional experience to assist the school continue its great work.


Viccie Nelson-Hillhouse
Parent Governor (Vice-Chair of Business Committee)
Appointed by:  Parents of the School
Term of office expiry:  3rd February 2020

I became a Parent Governor in February 2016.  As a parent of 2 children in school, years 5 and 1, I am keen to support the school so that it is a well-respected, high achieving and balanced organisation.  I support the FOH and have volunteered in the school as time permits.  I also volunteer as a Sunday Club leader at Martin Way Methodist Church as well as holding a professional chaperone licence and have chaperoned children in professional performances.

Originally from Australia, I worked as a Physiotherapist in rural areas and Sydney before heading to the UK in 1996.  I worked clinically as a physiotherapist predominantly in older people’s rehabilitation in acute and community settings, as well as developing expertise as a Moving and Handling adviser.  I went on to manage clinical teams before working at a senior manager level within acute and community services organisations in London; moving across into commissioning as Assistant Director of Commissioning at Sutton and Merton PCT.  

Since then I have undertaken a number of project roles within the NHS and Local Authority.  I am currently working with the NHS South West London Health and Care Partnership on programmes to enhance health in care homes and to enhance the quality of end of life care.

I hope that my professional and parental experience will be an asset to the Governing Body.      


Caroline Harold  

Co-opted Governor
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  29th October 2022

I joined the governing body in 2018 as a member of the Personnel Committee.

My grandson is a pupil at the school and I have been impressed by the high level of care and unfailing level of commitment to his well being and that of all the other children in the school.

I am a Barrister and Senior Lawyer presently working within the Civil Service and have worked for a number of Government Departments.  I have extensive  experience in employment and commercial law together with  a keen interest in public and regulatory law, and alongside this I have a good deal of experience in terms of delivery from the operational perspective, specifically of organisation and people-centred change.

I am a strong proponent of life long learning and continuous development and consider the education and development of future generations to be of immense importance and I wish to support the school in its efforts to help every child achieve their full potential.

I have a broad range of skills and experience that enable me to act as a critical friend to the school and I am happy for those skills to be used in any way that may be of assistance either to meet strategic and business planning objectives or to further the educational and pastoral aims of the school.

Tony Williams
Co-opted Governor
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  29th October 2022

It is thanks to my grandson Jude that I am now a Governor at Hillcross School joining in November 2018. Picking Jude up from school has given me the opportunity to view the school from both the inside and the outside. What I have seen in terms of quality of education, an ethos of inclusivity and fun and a caring approach in all matters has given me an appetite to be part of the Hillcross School future journey. I feel privileged that I have been given that opportunity.

In respect of my school experience, I am also a Governor at Dysart School (which specialises in children with autism), have been a Board Trustee for the Radius Trust (managed three schools focussed on special educational needs) and was Deputy Chair of Governors at my children’s primary school (Malden Manor) for six years.

My background and work experience is a mixture of public, private and not for profit sectors. I have worked as the Director of HR Services in the Home Office, a consultant for Insight HR Consultancy (I now run my own consultancy Tony Williams Associates) and the Executive Director of People at the Orbit Group Housing Association. I have also set up Project4Africa which focuses on raising funds to Make a difference to the lives of children (we have built a school and maternity unit in Malawi).

What has always driven me is an interest in people and making a difference to their lives. My key skills focus on coaching and mentoring, strategic planning, transforming organisations and people engagement.

In my Governor’s role at Hillcross I will be a member of the Business Committee and will be the lead for SEN and inclusion

Carina Morris
Staff Governor
Appointed by: The Staff of the School
Term of Office expiry:  19th September 2020

I joined the governing body in September 2016 and am part of the standards, teaching and learning committee. This is my 6th year teaching at Hillcross  after joining the school as a Newly Qualified Teacher in 2012. This year I am teaching in year two as well as holding the role of phase 1 leader and responsibility for school council. I enjoy working alongside the rest of the governing body and sharing my ideas and experiences from a staff perspective. As a teacher at Hillcross, I hope my role as staff governor will allow me to contribute to the development of our school and ensure Hillcross continues to build on its strengths and successes.

Julie Hyam
Associate Member 
Appointed by:  The Governing Body
Term of office expiry:  29th October 2019

I joined the Governing body in 2009, as a parent of 2 children both at the time pupils at Hillcross. Both my children have now moved onto High School.

I have a close affinity with Hillcross and the local community having grown up in the area and attended Hillcross as a child.  I have always taken an active role in the school having previously Chaired the school PTA and still enjoy coming into school to interact with staff and children.

In my professional work life I am a full time Early Careers and Talent Manager for a global mobile satellite company have worked within Human Resources in global companies for over 15 years.

Outside of work I enjoy running a busy Guide and Brownie and Rainbow unit based at the school.

I feel I have been able to bring my HR knowledge and experience in working in large corporate organisations to the Governing Body; this combined with a passion for giving all children the best opportunities possible to experience new things and learn and develop at every opportunity keeps me motivated.

I believe that we have a very active Governing Body, comprising of people with a variety of skills and knowledge that ensures that we can play the role of critical friend to the school.

Please see the document below for full membership details of our current governing body.