Hillside Primary School’s Governing Body is similar to a board of Directors you would find in business.   It has the responsibility for decisions relating to the conduct of the School, its strategic aims and objectives, future planning and the performance of the School.   Members are elected or appointed to serve for a period of four years.

Governors are involved in the following decision-making areas and specific Governor
sub-committees are responsible for the following:

Curriculum Committee                      – deciding what is taught/how it is taught
Personnel & Finance Committee       – staffing, financial management and the School budget
Premises Committee                          – condition of school / Health & Safety

Governors also interview and select the staff at the School. 

Governors are appointed from a number of sources:

  • Parents – Parent Governors are elected by parents every four years.   Parent Governors must have a child in school when appointed.
  • Staff – Representatives are elected by the staff.
  • Co-opted Governors – These are Governors elected by the Governing Body from the local community e.g. businessmen or professional persons.
  • Local Authority – representatives of the Local Authority are appointed to the Governing Body (these are non-elected appointments).
  • Headteacher – Non-elected appointment.

Constitution of the Governing Body:

Chair of Governors:
Mrs Jill Bennett
c/o Hillside Primary School
Field Avenue,
Baddeley Green,

Clerk to the Governors:  Appointed by Chief Education Officer (non voting)

Karen Schonau (Head teacher)

I have been in teaching for over 10 years, having completed a BA Honours in Primary Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. I spent 10 years in an outstanding Staffordshire school before moving to Hillside as Deputy Headteacher. As, now, Headteacher of Hillside Primary School, my aspiration is to create an inspirational, friendly, caring community where everyone enjoys and excels within their learning, and works hard to achieve their best. My staff at Hillside seek to promote a compassionate and fair environment within which all pupils feel valued and enabled to flourish.

I believe that by providing an exciting, stimulating curriculum, delivered by teachers who are dedicated and passionate about learning, will ensure that children are engaged in their learning, and that they develop curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. This sets the foundations for a love of learning which carries on throughout their lives. We want every child at Hillside to be ambitious, to believe in themselves and to strive to make a difference in their own and other’s futures.  The support and challenge of our strong Governing body will help Hillside to achieve it aims, goals and ambitions.

Jill Bennett: Chair of Governors (Co-opted Governor)

I was born in Milton – Haslemere Avenue – and I attended Hillside County Primary School from 1962 to 1969, during which time my Mum worked in the school kitchen!  Anyone as old as me may recall such names as Mr. Harrison, Mrs. Sanderson, Mrs. Digby, Mrs. Brown, Mr. Golding, Mr. Pugh and Mr. Godman!

After completing my A Levels, I went on to Teacher Training College, gaining a B.Ed. Hons degree from Keele University.  I taught at Secondary Level for 35 years, beginning my teaching career at Cardinal Griffin RC High School in Cannock, then moving to Ball Green High School and transferring to Holden Lane High School when the LA closed Ball Green High.  From Holden Lane I moved to Sandon Business and Enterprise College, Meir, becoming Deputy Headteacher in 2004 and retiring from teaching in 2013.  Since retiring I have worked as an NAHT Union Officer in Stoke. I also enjoy long walks on Wetley Moor Common with my two dogs, I am a regular organist at Milton Methodist Church and I also conduct a four part mixed choir which rehearses every week and which performs regular concerts.

I was very pleased to be part of the Governing Body of Hillside, as I have nothing but very happy memories of what was, and clearly still is, a great school serving its community with pride and giving every one of its pupils the best possible opportunities in order to succeed in life.

Derek Gray: Vice Chair (Co-opted Governor)

I was educated in Stoke. In 1954 I went to Bristol University and in 1957 I was awarded a 2:1 BSc Special Degree in Chemistry with Maths & Physics.

I have taught in St Joseph’s College, Bishop Bright High School and from 1979 -1996 I was Headteacher at Holden Lane High School. I retired in 1996 and since then I have been working with Stoke Education Authority as a Union Officer representing NAHT and convener of the LCG, involving all five teacher unions.

I am currently a Governor of Hillside and Our Lady’s Primary Academy, Fenton.
I am a member, since its beginning, of School Forum and a member of Formulas Funding Working Group.

Lisa Wainwright (Staff Governor)

I believe passionately that every young person deserves the best education and opportunities to fulfil their potential so I am delighted to be part of the hardworking and caring team at Hillside Primary School. Along with my role of Deputy Headteacher I also teach in Year 6. I have been part of the Governing Body for over six  years. I have taught in both KS1 and KS2 and am the English and Mathematics lead, two subjects I am passionate about. Ensuring children have skills to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life, their communities and the wider world is important to me. I believe that by providing effective teaching and learning in these subjects I am helping to develop each individual child and equip them with the necessary skills to enter an ever changing world of education and work. My decision to join the governing body was an easy one as I am keen to further develop the school through strategic leadership; ensuring children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum and continuing to follow the wonderful ethos and values that are so well embedded into school life. The governing body is made up of a mix of talented individuals and I feel very privileged to be part of such a well-developed, supportive Governing Body that has a deep-rooted interest in the education of all the children at Hillside and helping them all develop as individuals.

Jenny Rushton (Co-opted governor)

I have been teaching in Stoke-on-Trent for over 10 years and have worked across the Early Years and Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. My role currently is Assistant Head and SENDCo at Hillside Primary School and I am a committee member at the local pre-school, forging links within the local area. I enjoy being on the Governing Body, partaking in key decision making whilst striving to move the school forward from good to outstanding. The Governing Body holds the school to account and ensures that the school runs to the best of its ability, serving the community and most importantly, the children, ensuring that they get the very best education – the education that they deserve.

Sarah Else (Parent Governor)

As a parent of 2 children in the school, I see my role as Parent Governor as a huge opportunity to help ensure that all of our children at Hillside Primary School get off to the best start in life. I have 6 years teaching experience in schools across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire from Early Years to Y6 and feel my experience helps me support and offer an appropriate level of challenge to our SLT at Hillside.  On a more personal note as a parent of 3 young girls much of our spare time is occupied with swimming, choirs, dancing, scouts and fun days out with the family.

Jennifer Craig (Parent Governor)

I’m married with two young children. I’ve been in the role of Parent Governor since my son started in Nursery in 2014. As a teacher myself I am passionate about education and am keen to give our children the best experiences possible within their school life. I have a particular love of English and am link governor for English at Hillside.

Richard Tunnicliffe (Parent Governor)

Philip Such (Co-opted Governor)

I moved into Stoke-on-Trent in 1974 with my wife, Margaret, and have lived less than 200 yards from Hillside ever since.  Both of my children attended Hillside and then went on to Holden Lane High School. Many people will know me from my time as Headteacher at Greenways and my connection with Milton Parish Church.  I was very honoured to be asked to become a Governor at Hillside, having also been a Trustee at another school for over 25 years.  I have assisted the City Music School for over 28 years and Treasurer for 12 years.

I love coming into Hillside and thoroughly enjoy working alongside Hillside staff.  I am a familiar face around school as I volunteer my time to hear readers from Year 2 and Year 6.  I love interacting with the young people and seeing them grow in confidence and ability.  I also lead whole school assemblies and love to involve the children through prayers, readings and through singing.


We currently have vacancies for the following Governors:

  • 1 Parent Governor
  • 1 Co-opted Governor
  • 1 Local Authority Governor

To express an interest please contact the Headteacher.

The term of office for each category of governor is 4 years.


Hillside Governing Body

Chairperson: Mrs J Bennett

Vice Chairperson: Mr D Gray



Personnel/Finance Curriculum Premises/Health & Safety
Karen Schonau
Derek Gray  
Sarah Else – Clerk
Richard Tunnicliffe
Phil Such – Chair
Jenny Rushton – Clerk
Derek Gray
Lisa Wainwright
Jenny Craig
Sarah Else – Chair
Jill Bennett
Phil Such
Richard Tunnicliffe


Karen Schonau
Lisa Wainwright – Clerk
Derek Gray 
Jenny Craig
Jill Bennett – Chair


Link Governors:

Area of Responsibility School Lead Link Governor
English LW Jill Bennett
Maths LW Derek Gray
Science DMc Phil Such
DT DMc Richard Tunnicliffe
Computing KN  Jenny Rushton
History JS tbc
Geography JM Jenny Rushton
PE Curriculum/strategic JA Richard Tunnicliffe
Art JF Jenny Craig
RE JA Jenny Craig
PSHE JR Lisa Wainwright
MFL (French) KN Sarah Else
Careers Education SH tbc
SEND JR Derek Gray
Pupil Premium (Strategic) KS Jill Bennett
Music SH Lisa Wainwright
Safeguarding/ SCR/LAC/CP KS/ JR Jill Bennett
Health & Safety PD Karen Schonau
EYFS JA Sarah Else
HT performance management KS Derek Gray, Jill Bennett,
Phil Such + external