Daniel Childs

Daniel Childs

Headteacher ex officio
Stewart Speake

Stewart Speake

Name: Stewart Speake

Occupation: Firefighter

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2007

Which Governor committee/stream/ partnerships do you sit on for Ryarsh primary school? Health & Safety and Premises, Effectiveness of Leadership and Management

Why are you a Governor? As a resident of Ryarsh, I think it is important to support village life in whatever way possible. The school and the pub is a vital element in this.

Stewart works in the fire service and is currently stationed in London. Before he joined the fire service, he worked at a college with young adults with troubled backgrounds taking them to do outdoor pursuits. 

Stewart is a keen skier and loves the outdoors. He has completed the 3 peaks challenge and Coast to Coast cycle ride raising money for the Heart of Kent Hospice with other local people. He is hoping to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats next year.

He is married to Ali and has two children who attended Ryarsh Primary School. They have moved on to MGS and Invicta Grammar Schools having benefitted from an excellent primary education at Ryarsh Primary School.

Niall Gardener

Niall Gardener

Parent Governor

Occupation: Accountant

How long have you been a governor: since 2017

Why are you a governor: The school is an integral part of the village and as a resident with two young children I was keen to be involved in supporting the school to deliver its vision and contribute to the outstanding education it provides.


Niall studied Pharmacology at Bristol University before training as an accountant in London, where he worked for a number of years before moving to Ryarsh. He currently works for a large construction company within their FP&A team at their head office in Kent.


Niall enjoys most sports although this enjoyment now comes more from spectating than participating as the years creep on. He also enjoys travelling having spent time working in Australia and travelling through much of Africa, South America and Australasia. He is actively involved in a small charity that funds a school in a remote village in Sierra Leone.


Niall is married to Caroline with two children one of whom attends Ryarsh, with the other due to start in the not too distant future.

Steven Hughes

Steven Hughes

Name: Steven Hughes

Occupation: Head of Buying Retail

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2011

Which Governor committee/stream/ partnerships do you sit on for Ryarsh Primary School? SEN Governor, HT Assessment, Outcomes.

Why are you a Governor? The school is a massive part of the village and as a resident with one child at the school and another who has now left having benefitted from the school, I feel it is important to give something back.

Steve has been in the retail supermarket business for 30 years and currently works for one of the big four Supermarkets at their head office.

Steve moved to Kent 20 years ago having originally been from Essex!

Steve enjoys all sports and played in the front row within the national rugby and London league for a Kent side before old age caught up with him and he hung up his boots. He is now a keen spectator at rugby and football matches. Steve is currently contemplating whether to join two other village residents on a cycling challenge to follow up their last challenge two years ago when they completed the Coast to Coast cycle ride.

He is married to Erin and has two children, one of whom attends Ryarsh Primary School. The other has moved on to Invicta Grammar School for Girls having benefitted from an excellent primary education at Ryarsh Primary School.



John Macnab

John Macnab

Occupation: Management Consultant

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2012

Any other Governor experience: John was previously a governor at another local primary school as a  parent governor

Which Governor committee/stream/ partnerships do you sit on for Ryarsh primary school? Parent Governor, monitoring

Why are you a Governor? :

John is a governor at the school as he believes he can actively contribute to sustaining, and hopefully helping to further improve, the high reputation and achievements of the school.

John was originally from Sussex but moved to Wales then London and Oxford to complete his education after A Levels. He holds a Degree in Engineering, a Masters in Non Linear Mathematics and a Doctorate in Theoretical Physics.

John began his career in defence and has subsequently worked in both public and private sectors in many countries before settling in Kent in 1999 when he met his wife. He currently splits his time between completing the building his house (still), freelance consultancy work and his family.

Jon Naylor

Jon Naylor

Occupation: Consultant

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2006

Why are you a Governor? As a resident of Ryarsh for over 18 years, I think it is important to support village life in whatever way possible. The school is a vital element in this.

Jon qualified as an economist before plying his trade in the cut-throat world of consumer electronics. In recent times, he has taken to advising some of the UK’s largest retailers on how to maximise the benefit gained by better deploying their resources, whether human or capital.

Jon is a keen skier and an avid fan of Norwich City. He has two dogs and four cats and currently has a hen house for sale following an attack from a local fox.

He is married to Debbie and has two daughters who attend Invicta Grammar school having benefitted from an excellent primary education at Ryarsh Primary School. 

Stop Press:

The Hen House is now sold


Carmel Sutton

Carmel Sutton

Co-opted Governor

Occupation: Teacher

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2001

Which Governor committee/stream/ partnerships do you sit on for Ryarsh primary school? Vice-Chair, Pay Committee, Appeals Committee.

Why are you a Governor? : I have been a governor since my oldest child was in year R, mainly becuase I wanted to contribute to the wonderful school community and be part of making the school as outstanding as possible. Over the years, we have achieved this and it has been a very rewarding experience to be a part of.

Carmel is married to Graham, is a qualified secondary school teacher and has been teaching for 25 years in both grammar and private schools. Both of her children attended Ryarsh and loved their time at the school and have now moved on to university in Exeter and Winchester. Carmel has previously been the chair of Governors and is currently the vice chair. She is a keen sportsperson, plays hockey twice a week and loves to be outdoors or enjoying a pub lunch or afternoon tea.

Estelle Hudson

Estelle Hudson

Parent Governor

Occupation: Deputy Director of a children’s hospice

How long have you been governor? Since May 2019

Why are you a governor?

“Being a parent governor is a great opportunity to actively support the school and to offer a parent’s perspective. It’s fascinating to learn more about the work that goes on behind making Ryarsh Primary such a success, and a privilege to be part of it.”

About me

I have a degree in geography from the University of Reading and a postgraduate qualification in housing. My career roles have been in social housing, community development, community safety, and local strategic partnerships.

Born in Wales, I moved to Kent as a child and grew up locally, now living in nearby Addington with my husband John and daughter who attends Ryarsh Primary School. We also have a mischievous rescue cat.

In my spare time I enjoy family days out, pub walks and meeting friends. I have recently rediscovered a love of cycling, enjoying bike rides with my husband and daughter.

Steve Hill

Steve Hill

Occupation: Technical Director, retired

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2003

Why are you a Governor? I have been involved in scouting all my life and have also always tried to improved the lives of young people through educational visits when working, football club treasurer, school visits, etc. I attended Ryarsh school AGM’s and was the only non committee person at the last one in 2002 and was ask to join the committee  as a parent governor. I had a son and daughter at the school. I had management, financial and DIY skills that I thought would benefit the school in the changing role of the head teacher.

Steve is a retired technical director with two sons and two daughters in their 20’s and 30’s. He has a degree in electrical engineering and is a Fellow of the Institude of Engineering and Technology. He took early retirement in 2003 (aged 52) and is an active DIYer. He has assisted on almost all residental school trips since becoming a governor and can often be seen around the school assisting with maintenance and planning as well as supervising improvements in the school premises.

Rachel Rowland

Rachel Rowland

Chair of Governors

How long have you been a Governor at Ryarsh? Since 2002

Any other Governor experience: I have worked informally with several governing bodies in local schools advising them on how to structure their monitoring to maximise their effectiveness.

I am the chair of the governing body, a post which I have held since 2007. I meet with the Head Teacher on a regular basis so that I am always up to date with what is going on in school, and so we can share ideas.

Why are you a governor?

The school is a big part of the local community and it is important to me to play a role in that community. It is a real contrast to my work in an office, and I feel like I am making a difference to the children’s education. I am proud to take part in staff interviews which is always an interesting task, and the children are just really good fun to be around! The role of a governor has changed enormously since I started, we have a high degree of accountability and responsibility, but luckily we have a great team of governors who share in our vision.

About me

I am married to James and we have two children who were lucky enough to attend Ryarsh Primary School, and have both now graduated from university. We have lived in the village for over 20 years, and love the community spirit here – I can often be found supporting the Duke of Wellington on a Friday!  I work in Canary Wharf for a financial services company, specialising in client asset protection, leaving home at a time when most sensible people still have a couple more hours in bed. I studied French and German at university and have since learned Italian too. I love to watch cricket, preferably when the sun is shining, and I have also recently started dressmaking again when I have some spare time. I have recently done a couple of 25km charity walks, so can often be spotted out pounding the pavements – when it’s not raining of course!

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett


Joined Ryarsh as a part-time teaching assistant in January 2019, currently working within Reception

Personal Development stream

Sarah turned thirty-three this year and decided to pivot her career in a new direction after working within the retail sector for sixteen years.  This year Sarah successfully completed her level two teaching assistant qualification and joined Ryarsh as a part-time teaching assistant.  Becoming the school’s staff governor will allow her to continue her journey into the world of education (constantly expanding her knowledge) whilst, continuing to use the people, management and finance skills she has developed throughout her previous employment.  Sarah is a proud member of the Ryarsh school team and feels privileged to begin her new career within such a great community.

Whilst working for the UK’s number one supermarket Sarah held many roles including: Personnel Manager, Express Store Manager, Regional Change Coach and Duty Manager.  Sarah enjoyed her career within retail however, now with a young family jumped at the opportunity of redundancy and a fresh start.

Sarah is married to Rob; a retail store manager and has two girls: Addison four years old and Evie who is one.  Sarah has a business degree that she proudly achieved part-time with the Open University.  Sarah loves googling houses and holidays, partaking in the second as often as possible.  Sarah likes to run and keep fit, something her girls help her with.  Sarah is a keen amateur baker and cook, partaking in both when time allows.