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Our Governing Body

As the Governing Board, we are responsible for providing strong leadership to the school and 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 all 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 in ensuring the School is fully compliant with the Independent Schools Standards Regulations.


Mark Stennett  (Chair)

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 of St Michael’s. He enjoys playing tennis, watching football and playing the bass guitar.

Nigel Holdcroft  (Vice-Chair)

Nigel joined the governing body in 2019 and has been Vice-Chair since June 2021. 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.

Julian Barrett (Chair of the Buildings Sub-Committee)

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 his 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.

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!

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 Mayor in 2018. She is a Director at the Belfairs Academy and an active member of the Boyce Hill Golf Club Rotarian.





Fraser MacLeod

Fraser joined the governing body in 2021 and serves on the Buildings and Finance Committees.

Fraser graduated from the University of Westminster in Business Management and runs his own accountancy and payroll company, He also has over 10 years of experience in investment banking, financial services, telecommunications and banking. He is currently working for Thomson Reuters to provide cost savings to the organisation and enable a better agile and collaborative workforce.  During his career, he has also delivered cost savings for many organisations including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Balfour Beatty, Deutsche Bank and Lloyds Banking Group.

In his spare time, Fraser enjoys being a Special Constable with Essex Police and has achieved the rank of Inspector leading a team of other volunteer police officers in the Chelmsford & Maldon district.  Until recently, he was also a school governor with Mayflower High School in Billericay where he sat on the Premises and Finance Committees. Fraser decided to step down after relocating to Leigh on Sea with his family.

Suzanna Minnis

Suzanna joined the governing body in 2020 and serves on the Personnel and Education Committees. 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, and 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.

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.

Stuart Templer Mills (Chair of the Finance Committee)

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.

Heather Tetchner (Chair of the Education Committee)

Heather joined the governing body in 2022 and serves on the Personnel Committee as well as Chair of the Education Committee.

Heather has been working with the Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Education since 2017 after working for Essex County Council for 39 years, during which time she was a headteacher for 27 years.  She offers advice and support on both a practical and strategic level. She has led a range of schools rural, town and coastal ranging from a three-class primary school, an infant school, a junior school up to a 14-class primary school.

Heather’s interests are travel, swimming, gardening, dancing, films, the theatre, reading and is a member of the Wickford Rock Choir. She is actively involved in her local church being in the church choir and on the PCC.

Father David Wylie RN

Father David 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 Sierra Leone.

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.

Come and see for yourself

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Visit our school so you can see for yourselves the class sizes, the dedication and commitment of our staff, the range of facilities and resources available to enhance your child’s learning, meet our pupils and confidently make the right decision for your child.

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“Just a note to say thank you to St Michael's for our son's 8 years at the school. He's enjoyed every second of it and has fully embraced all the opportunities the school has to offer. I'm sure his time at the school will stand him in excellent stead for secondary school. As an additional mention, I wanted to let you know how wonderful Mrs Matthews has been for our daughter in Year 4. We've always felt that the teaching has been very good at the school but Mrs Matthews seems to be on a whole other level! Her communication, feedback and encouragement has been excellent. She has clearly spent time really getting to understand the children and our adughter's confidence and ability has come on in leaps and bounds. We cannot thank her enough! ”

- Mrs Levell, Parent

“After a lengthy search in West Oxfordshire at numerous other private schools, I found none of them were a patch on St Michael's. They had huge grounds, impressive sporting and drama facilities, however the special family/nurturing feel we've always loved about St Michael's just wasn't there at all. I decided that if we couldn't find a school which measured up to St Michael's, then there was little point in moving, so we stopped the house move and are remaining where we are.”

- Mrs Falconer, Parent

“During my time at St Michaels, not only did I really enjoy it, I found that I wasn’t scared to move on and I felt prepared and ready for senior school. I now realise just how much the school gave me and at Senior School, I have found topics that I had already covered or had been hinted to in the lessons at St Michael’s. So I really thank the school and feel grateful for the preparation that I had and now use. ”

- Francesca Halling, Former Pupil

“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. ”

- Mrs 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.”

- Mrs 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

“St. Michael's is a well organised school with a long track record of academic excellence. The small classes combined with the warmth and positivity of the staff make it a fantastic place to learn, grow and thrive. I loved my time at the school so for me the choice was simple. ”

- Mrs Grant, Parent and Former Pupil

“St. Michael's has been on our radar for the last few years following on from various positive conversations with different people about the school, your results and the general atmosphere and approach. With our daughter now turning two, we felt it was a good time to start enquiring and visiting the school. We're so glad we did!”

- Prospective Parent