As Governors, we have a number of responsibilities including ensuring that, 1) the school is a safe place for children to learn, 2) the teaching is of the highest standard, and 3) the school is financially secure.  We take these very seriously but we would not be governors if we did not also believe in the value of the school’s powerful approach to learning.  We wholeheartedly endorse the school’s ethos that gives children agency and co-ownership of their learning and puts curiosity and invention at the heart of this process. We fully subscribe to the school’s vision that, “to create is to understand and to understand is to learn” and support the staff in delivering on this vision.

Rick Gillingham

Hi, my name is Rick,  I am Chair of the Governors.  I also sit on the Learning and Achievement, and Finance subcommittees. I have been a Local Authority appointed Governor  at Bealings since 2018.  I have three grown up children and from that perspective am able to appreciate the value of the philosophy at Bealings when compared to other approaches. Now retired  my background is in Finance having worked in banking for 30 years. 

Helen Clarkson-Fieldsend

I have lived in the village for several years and love hearing the squeals of joy that emanate from the playground. Learning by creating means that the children have incredible confidence, are eager to participate, constantly challenge themselves, empathise with others, and develop skills that will last their whole lifetimes. After spending 28 years in marketing and advertising for global pharmaceutical clients working in New York, London and Milan, I settled in Suffolk and now spend my time doing what I can for the community.

In addition to serving as the Deputy Chairperson of Home-Start in Suffolk and working on a local church development project for the past 7 years, I became a Bealings School Governor in 2022 and am a member of the Learning and Achievement subcommittee. It is a privilege to serve a school where curiosity is cultivated in such a creative, innovative, collaborative and respectful manner. 

John Harrod


Cat Heygate

I’m Cat and I’m a co-opted Governor at Bealings. I also help run the school kitchen and am a mum of two. My daughter joined Bealings in Year 2 so we have experience of a different kind of primary education with uniforms, rows and teaching to tests. Having never looked back, our appreciation of the Bealings approach is heartfelt and ripples out in our children’s genuine enthusiasm for this way of learning.

Being a governor gives me a meaningful insight into the working life of the school and a chance to support the leadership and participate in strategic discussions.

Before moving back to Suffolk I worked in Co-edition Rights for a publishing company and loved rock climbing. 

Rebecca Leek

I am very lucky to be the interim Headteacher at the moment at Bealings. This means I am also part of the governing body. I have been working in schools for over two decades and I am really lucky to have had lots of different experiences – I have seen lots of schools! I have also worked as a musician and storyteller. In fact, I went to music school for a couple of years before university. I am very interested in permaculture which, although it is something lots of people connect with agriculture, is something that I think we can learn from in education. Its main principles are ‘Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share’ and there is a lot about permaculture that is aligned with the ethos at Bealings. Permaculturists watch and observe, take time to see what needs changing, we try and work in harmony with nature, and we really value diversity. My favourite education theorist is probably Froebel who saw play as the highest form of human development. 

Claire Miller

My name is Claire Miller and I’m a parent of two children at the school, in Year 1 and Year 3, and I have been a local resident for over 15 years. During that time I have contributed to the community in voluntary roles: I founded the Suffolk Home Birth education and support organisation, ran the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Cloth Nappy Library, and as Chair of Ipswich Hockey Club. I have a keen interest in supporting the school culture, deepening the Mantle of the Expert pedagogy, and upholding the aims and values of Bealings School. I am a Mechanical Engineer by training and have always lived by the Bealings’ ethos that we create to understand. I now work at the intersection of the decarbonisation of transport and energy. The skill of continuous and enthusiastic learning throughout our lives has never been more important for our children to develop, preparing them to tackle the existential threat of climate change and adaption with pragmatism, creativity, and hope. There is no better school to support that than Bealings and I’m honoured to serve as a Governor.

Hailey Smith

Hi, I’m Hailey, newly appointed Parent Governor.I have 3 children at the school currently spread across key stage 1 and key stage 2. I have lived in Playford for over 8 years and used to run the parent and toddler group in the village and have enjoyed watching the transition of many of your children throughout their learning adventure. I now find myself in the fortunate position of being an advocate for supporting the school’s ethos and values and to ensure the continued success of raising happy and friendly children.

Andy Stone

Hello, my name is Andy. I’ve been a parent governor since 2020 and I support Rick as part of the finance subcommittee. My family and I moved to Suffolk in 2018 and the clincher in our decision to relocate was Bealings. My wife and I were wowed by the humanity, creativity and overall philosophy of the school, which subsequently benefitted our two children enormously.

Governor Attendance Record