Our Governing Body

As the Governing Board we are responsible for providing strong leadership to the school ensuring accountability for our educational and financial performance. Specifically we oversee the strategy, policy, budgeting and staffing and enable our school to run as effectively as possible, working alongside senior leaders and supporting teachers to provide an excellent education to children.

Our Chair is responsible for leading the development of the Governors’ strategic vision for the School, ensuring proper mechanisms are in place for the governors to exercise constructive oversight of academic standards and pastoral matters in addition to making sure the governors fulfil their duty to ensure that the School is fully compliant with the Independent Schools Standards Regulations.


Mark Stennett  (Chairperson)


Mark joined the governing body in 1997 and served as an elected Parent Governor until 2003. He returned to the governing body in 2008 and throughout both periods of office has served on the Finance Committee.

A graduate of Cardiff University and a Chartered Accountant by profession, Mark has spent most of his working life in the financial services industry in the City. He has put his financial and general business skills to very good use at St Michael’s in helping to guide the School’s finances through several major building developments, the need to comply with public benefit requirements, and the challenges posed by economic austerity.

Mark also provides tailored strategic planning support to various charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK.

Mark is married to Gill and has two daughters, both of whom are former pupils to St Michael’s. He enjoys playing tennis, watching football and playing the bass guitar.


Father David Wylie  RN    (Vice-Chair)

Father David has been Vice-Chair of the governing body since November 2018.
He returned to Essex after leaving Southend as a teenager to go to the London School of Economics. For most of the intervening years, he has been a full-time Chaplain with the Royal Navy, mostly serving with the Royal Marines. His time with them included several tours of Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis.

Father David finished full-time chaplaincy in November 2018, although he continues as a reservist; his unit being HMS President in London. His return to parish life has been a very full one and he is enjoying it; his first parishes were in inner-city London in the 1990s where he acted as School Chaplain and governor for the parish, primary and secondary schools.

Father David was delighted to return to parish ministry in such a traditional parish such as St Margaret of Antioch, Leigh on Sea, where there is a daily ministry of services, activities and outreach. St Michael’s is one of four schools in the parish but one with which St Margaret’s has a deep, historical bond and affection. As well as parish life and occasional reservist duties within the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, Father David acts as the National Chaplain for the Royal Marines Association and as County Chaplain to the Royal British Legion.

Jane Attwell

Jane joined the governing body in 2007 and is a former  Chair of Governors from 2015 to 2020.
Jane has strong links with St Michael’s; she joined the School in 1964, aged 4, and left aged 11 having been Head Girl. Her sister also attended the school.  Jane is also an active Vice-President of the St Michael’s School Association.

Jane taught at Westcliff High School for Boys where she was SENDCo and Head of Year 7 and Transition. She also taught English, RE and French in Year 7. Jane is married, has always lived in Leigh and has two grown-up children, two grandchildren and two cocker spaniels. Having left Westcliff High School for Boys, Jane now volunteers at Citizens Advice Bureau and Leigh Library.


Nigel Holdcroft


Nigel joined the governing body in 2019. He is a long-term resident of Leigh and is married with two adult daughters.

Nigel is a solicitor and partner in the Southend firm of Tolhurst Fisher although, after 35 years with the firm, he now works on a part-time basis with responsibility for various management roles including training. Nigel was a Southend Borough Councillor for 14 years and Leader of the Council for 7 years. He has also served on the governing bodies of various schools.

Nigel’s interests include walking, photography and the theatre. He is also a supporter and regular visitor to Gloucester Rugby Club.

Diane Harris

Diane is a qualified HR professional. Having held senior roles in a major bank in the city for many years she now works locally in the Education sector as HR and Business Manager . She brings a wealth of experience to support the school in a wide range of areas.



Stuart Templer Mills

Stuart joined the Governing Body of St Michael’s in 2004 and was Chair of Governors between 2008 and 2010. Stuart is Chairman of the Finance Committee and also sits on the Buildings Committee.

Stuart is an accountant at the Southend based firm of Accountants Alan A Mills & Co. and has been able to use his extensive experience of finance and helping small businesses to assist St Michael’s considerable development over the years.

Stuart is married with two daughters both of whom attended St Michael’s School. He enjoys the occasional game of tennis, has a keen interest in motorsport and particularly enjoys working on his garden.

Eloise Gibbons

Eloise has been a governor since 2019 with previous governor experience at a primary school in Horsham, West Sussex. A former pupil of St. Michael’s, graduating with a BA(Hons) Marketing & German, she spent 15 years in marketing and change management roles in the technology sector before moving to Leigh on Sea to take over as Managing Director of her family retail & distribution business after it was destroyed by fire. After rebuilding the business into a national award-winning success, she sold the business 10 years later and now works as a Change Management Consultant.

As a former pupil and parent she provides practical advice and assistance, especially in marketing, finance, technology and operations.

Julian Barratt

Julian was co-opted onto the governing body in March 2013 and is serving as Chair of the Buildings Sub-Committee. He has provided advice on construction and related issues and has been involved with the major refurbishment projects that have been undertaken at the school to date.

Born and brought up locally, Julian was educated at local schools before going on to Westcliff High School for Boys. His working life was as a Quantity Surveyor and this culminated with him achieving Equity Partner in a Chartered Surveying Practice in 1992 until his retirement from commercial work in 2015.

Julian is married and has two daughters, As well as his contributions to the school governors, Julian is a volunteer at The Jazz Centre UK and enjoys all forms of live and recorded music. He has a keen interest in most sports, with golf being a particular passion.

Fay Evans

Fay was a Pathology Manager at the Wellesley Hospital before becoming an elected councillor at Southend Borough Council 17 years ago. Whilst there, she was The Worshipful The Mayor in 2018. She is a Director at the Belfairs Academy and an active member of the Boyce Hill Golf Club Rotarian.




Sue Bird (Nominated Safeguarding Governor)

Sue was born and raised in Leigh on Sea. She attended St Michael’s School from the age of 3 and went on to Westcliff High School for Girls.
She trained to be a dentist at The Royal Dental Hospital, Leicester Square, London and eventually returned to Leigh, married and brought up her family.

Sue is a former senior partner in a general dental practice in Southend. Outside of work, she is involved with youth work in a local church. She spends time in various fitness improving activities and enjoys travelling. She also loves being in her garden!

Victoria Shaw

Victoria joined the governing body in 2019 and serves on the Health & Safety Committee.

Victoria has strong links with the School; she joined as a pupil in Year 2 when her family relocated to Chalkwell, and left having been Head Girl and winning an academic scholarship to her independent secondary school. She is married to Alex, a local GP, and their two sons now attend St Michael’s School.

Victoria currently works as a Consultant Histopathologist at Basildon Hospital, having completed her medical training in London and the East of England. She undertook her medical degree at UCL and subsequent PhD at the University of Oxford.

Suzanna Minnis


Suzanna joined the governing body in 2020 and serves on the Personnel and Education Committee. She is Head of Girls’ and Boys’ Divisions and Designated Safeguarding Lead at New Hall School, Chelmsford where she has worked for the past 12 years.

Suzanna is a teacher of Art and Photography at GCSE and A’ Level and specialises in digital manipulation and film, fine art and photography. Suzanna has served as a public examination board examiner for Pearson, Edexcel for the past five years.

Suzanna is married to David and has two children. Prior to her career in teaching, Suzanna worked in the film and television industry as a VFX artist.

“As a former pupil, St. Michael's was the obvious choice. Their values and school ethos have remained the same and Sophia has become a confident, caring and hardworking individual. ”

- Eloise Lloyd, Former Parent

“Just wanted to say a big Thank You to all staff and teachers over the last few months. As a full time working Mum I don't know what I would have done without the structure provided each day.”

- Mrs Homer, Parent

“..thriving, secure, ‘family feel’ environment where children are positively nurtured as individuals and able to reach their own potential.”

- Amanda Foy, Parent

“St. Michael's is a wonderful school. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a safe haven for their child to grow, learn to be well rounded individuals with the love of God in their hearts and love for all human beings as well as develop academically putting them in a good position ready for the next level of education.”

- Mrs. Balogun, Former Parent

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