Chair of Governors
I have been a Governor at St Mary’s for 5 years. Additionally I chair the “Standards” Committee which focuses on ensuring high pupil attainment and achievement and the school curriculum.
I live in Marnhull with my wife, Claire, a GP in Gillingham, and have three children at St Mary’s. Originally from Hertfordshire, I am a graduate of the Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall. I spent 17 years as an Infantry Officer in the Army serving in Northern Ireland, Georgia, Cyprus and Afghanistan retiring as Major in 2010.
I am a qualified primary school teacher, although not teaching at the moment. I spend my time looking after my children and working locally, most recently as a decorator! Much of my spare time is spent running the thriving youth cricket in the village though I have also been spotted in the village “panto”.
My name is Sharon Betts and as a practising Catholic I am passionate to provide vision, leadership and strategic direction to sustain, nourish and develop the learners of a school within a distinctive Catholic ethos. I have many years of experience working in Catholic schools, starting in Sheffield and then to Dorset in 1995. I am originally from Paisley in Scotland but have been living in Dorset for 24 years, following a very happy two year spell in Sheffield. I am married and have two children – my son is 21 and having completed his degree in London is now moving to Kent to start his career. My daughter is 17 and attends 6th Form at St Edward’s in Poole. I love singing and performing in Questa Voce, the choir in which I have been a member for the last 7 years.
My passion for teaching has been life-long. I gain tremendous fulfilment from establishing relationships based on nurture, mutual trust and respect with the children, and from seeing those pupils learn, blossom and grow. My philosophy for education is making a difference. In order to ensure children learn and make progress, I believe it is crucial that they all have the opportunity to access an innovative, dynamic and challenging curriculum where the needs of each child are met.
Headteacher & SENDCO
Rev’d Deacon Dr Michael Turnbull
After a teaching career covering Chemistry, Maths, I.C.T. and R.E., I became the R.C. Chaplain at HMP Guys Marsh in 2006 and was subsequently ordained as a permanent deacon, serving the parish of Gillingham and Marnhull. I now work full-time in the Prison Chaplaincy.
With my wife Barbara and eldest son, I moved to Gillingham in 1980, after a period teaching in the Caribbean. After some time working as a Chemist, the family travelled again, to work in South America. Now with three boys, the family returned to Gillingham in 1991. All my sons, in their own time, have attended St Mary’s, Marnhull.
I am currently in my second period as a Foundation Governor at the school, having responsibility for Safeguarding, and for the RE curriculum. It is a great pleasure to meet the students.
I have recently joined the Governing body at St. Mary’s and my professional background is in private sector marketing and growth. (Although a Pirate or Astronaut where my first choices at 8 years old)
Both our Daughters have attended St. Mary’s since 2010 and 2012, it has been a delight for my wife and I to see them develop and grow individually with the obvious care, support and guidance they have received from all members of the St. Mary’s team.
I hope to bring a commitment and focus to the school to help develop and continue the momentum towards a successful and enjoyable future for all the Children, Parents and Staff.
I come from a family where working in education is a central feature – my Father and Mother, my wife and three of our four children, a daughter-in-law, three brothers and two sisters-in-law. I spent 31 years as Head of two Catholic schools, a Middle School in Sussex and a very large Primary School in SE London after which we retired to live in Dorset.
Two of my grand-daughters attend St Mary’s and, in December 2014, I was invited by the Diocese to become a Foundation Governor. I have very much enjoyed finding out about and helping with the problems and pleasures of a small rural school.
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