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Welcome - Chair of Governors

Welcome to Grove Park School by John Hayling, Chair of Governors


On behalf of everybody at Grove Park, I welcome you to our website, where I hope you will get a flavour of what goes on in our fantastic school.

All the adults at the school led by our dynamic Headteacher Julie Campion, firmly believe that each of our students can achieve regardless of their special educational needs.  Our vision is very simple – to unlock and liberate the unique potential of each child.

We have a multi-talented staff team who work in conjunction with a range of therapists supporting the school to help our students. Our pathways curriculum provides relevant and contemporary learning for each of our students, which can be suitably tailored for each child.  We are fortunate to have our own hydrotherapy pool which is available to all the pupils.

I took up the role of Chair in September 2021 and am very ably supported by a talented group of Governors who all work closely together at a strategic level as the critical friend of the school.  The Governing Body works alongside the Headteacher and her staff, supporting and challenging, in a constant search for improvement and development of the whole school.  

The task of the Governing Body is to govern the school through the implementation of three core functions: providing strategic leadership, holding the Headteacher to account and making sure the schools money is well spent. We do this by meeting at least six times a year, in whole or in part, by delegating specific tasks to an individual or groups of Governors who then report back to the Governing Body. You will find the agendas and minutes of meetings on the Governors section of the website.

In line with current policy to see all schools join a multi academy trust, Governors agreed in April 2023 to commence the process to convert to academy status, by seeking to join the Torfield and Saxon Mount Academy Trust (TaSMAT).  Whilst this process has been delayed by planned work to develop our primary site at Church Lane, which will bring the whole school together on one site, we have nonetheless already begun working in partnership with TaSMAT.

My professional life has been spent working in the utilities and IT industry.  After a career spanning 40 years, working in both technical and senior commercial roles, I now devote my time to voluntary work – I am also a governor of Beacon Academy, and an East Sussex County Council scrutiny committee member.  During my career I have managed everything from energy trading to major innovation, engineering, and IT projects, serving on both the board of the Electricity Pool and St. Clements Services. My last job in the power sector was as head of Investment Policy and Low Carbon Development working for UK Power Networks.  I am a graduate Engineer and began my career in transmission construction with National Grid.   

On a more personal note, I am married to Lisa. We moved to Crowborough twenty years ago and have two daughters born here.  Natalie, who was diagnosed with Cri du Chat syndrome and has a SLD, attends the Green Lane site at the school.  I was diagnosed as dyslexic while at school before very little was known about the condition and as such have first-hand experience of managing a learning disability. 

I very much enjoy using my wide experience in industry, my first-hand knowledge of learning disability, together with my more recent school and children’s services governance work for the benefit the school.

If you would like to know more about the role of Governors or would like to discuss any aspect of Grove Park School, please do not hesitate to contact me.


John Hayling, Chair of Governors