The Governing Body

Our governors have a wide variety of experience and expertise and play an active role in all parts of the school community. The Governing Body has high expectations for all of our pupils and works closely with the senior leadership team to develop our outstanding provision.

Julie Nixon

Julie Nixon Chair

I became parent and safeguarding governor three years ago, and have been Chair since September 2016. I am passionate about our new school and the outstanding provision our children receive. I have two children with PMLD who are in Canada class; Therefore I see first-hand how our resources support their educational needs.

I am a qualified nurse and have lectured on the Autism Studies degree and Challenging Behaviour Course at the University of Kent. I have six children and have fostered children with additional needs for almost 10 years; as such, I will strongly advocate for high-quality provision on their behalf. I have seen education in various settings, from nursery and primary to secondary and beyond. I believe that accessing outstanding education is a fundamental right for all children and hold our senior leaders to account for the provision within our school.

Ron Dale

Ron Dale Clerk

I have worked as a clerk supporting school governing bodies since 2004. As a member of Kent County Council’s Clerking Service I work with several schools across Kent as well as The Beacon. I started as clerk to the Governing Body of The Federation of Foxwood and Highview in September 2013 and remained to support the governors when the new school was established in September 2016.

My role as clerk is to provide effective administrative support to the Governing Body to enable it to carry out its statutory functions while giving advice on governance, constitutional and procedural matters as required. I undertake regular training and development to maintain my knowledge and to keep up-to-date with current educational developments and legislation affecting school governance.

Bethan Rivett Governor

I am a newly appointed governor, starting the role in September 2017. I am employed by East Kent Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust as a Team Leader for an integrated Children and Young people’s Therapy Service. I am a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Occupational Therapist working with more than 20 years of experience working within the NHS and based within the multi-agency Team at the Beacon.

I co-lead a team of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language therapists who provide targeted and specialist services to support children to engage and participate to their potential. We deliver services, training and advice to children, families and the wider workforce at the Beacon and to schools in Shepway.

I am passionate about improving outcomes for children and their families and have a wider perspective about the impact of the health and well-being for children with additional educational needs. I am keen to keep the child and young person at the centre of the excellent work that happens here at the Beacon.


Greg Nicholls Governor

I have been a governor for the last two years after I was invited to apply for the role of Finance Governor as I had some experience in the finance industry. Furthermore, I have previously been a foster carer myself for children with a wide diversity of needs and I am always keen to ensure that young people achieve the best possible outcome that they can.

I also have a background in social work wand am currently the Registered Manager for a medium size independent fostering agency. I have long working history with children who have a wide variety of special needs. The young people my agency looks after have a number of challenges in their lives and it is essential that a sound education allows them to achieve the best that they possibly can.

I live in Horsmonden, am a single father and am kept active by my son who is an energetic sportsperson.

Kate Yeoman

Kate Yeoman Governor

I have been delighted to have been connected to The Beacon (then Foxwood and Highview) initially through my work at CCCU; I teach student teachers and support them during their school placements. The Beacon is an exceptional school. The dedicated staff team use an impressive range of skills and knowledge to assist pupils (and student teachers) with their learning. As a governor, I am privileged to be part of a team whose role is to ensure that the school continues to provide an appropriate, ambitious and inspiring education for all pupils.
My interest in special educational needs and the provision of an appropriate and inclusive education for all children stems from my years as a primary teacher and SENCo in central London. I moved to East Kent with my family in 2009 and love living between countryside and sea.

Neil Birch Governor

I am the Executive Head of The Beacon and am proud to have been the Head of both Foxwood and Highview on their journeys from Requiring Improvement to Outstanding and their transition to this incredible provision.

I am a National Leader of Education and I lead the CLASS Teaching School alliance on behalf of all 24 of Kent’s special schools. I chair the regional advisory board of the Cooperative Schools Network; I am vice chair of the KASS (Kent Association of Special Schools) and lead the schools’ strategic work on a County and National level.

I am committed to Solution Focused working and have been published as a Research Associate of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, related to Solution Focused Leadership.

Nicola Webster-Hart Governor

I am very proud to be a recently appointed Parent Governor to The Beacon School as the staff, expertise and resources at the school (and before it, Foxwood School) have made a huge impact on the life of my youngest child and as a result, my whole family and I wanted an opportunity to give something back to the school. I have experience in the Health and Social Care sector as I am a Trained Nurse and from working as a specialist foster carer; in law working for City Law firms and in more recently in Executive Search/recruitment. I have always had a special interest in promoting women’s achievements and volunteered to help run The Sweet Charity and The Women of Year Lunch and Assembly, a high-profile event held annually, raising both awareness of women’s issues and celebrating women’s achievements, as well as raising money for its nominated charity, then NCH Action for Children.

I also previously managed the events for The Adelaide Group, a women’s networking forum to promote Women in Business.  I have had my own recruitment business and now spend my time directing the industrial and pharmaceuticals practices of a niche executive search firm specialising in private equity backed businesses, being a Parent Governor for the Beacon School, an artist and much more importantly, Mum to 3 incredible children.

Tim Hull Governor

I became interested in becoming a Governor through my nephew’s attendance at the School. My educational background is in commerce and economics, and my career is in financial technology, so I hoped that my skills would prove useful to the School as a Finance Governor.

In my time in this role, my admiration has grown for the dedication and professionalism of the staff and leadership team at the Beacon. Their very genuine care and commitment to the students of the Beacon is inspirational, and it has been my privilege to be involved. I live near Canterbury with my wife and three children, having moved here from London in 2012.

Ali Erskine Governor

I was delighted to join the governing body at the Beacon School in July 2018. I have a strong connection to the school as I taught across all the key stages for 15 years at Foxwood School, before it became the Beacon. I am currently Head of School at Whitfield Aspen School, a fully inclusive mainstream primary school with a Specialist Resource Provision for 111 pupils with Profound, Severe and Complex learning needs.

I am passionate about the quality of learning opportunities for all pupils and look forward to sharing my skills and experiences on the Beacon governing body. I am very excited to be working alongside the highly skilled and visionary team at The Beacon School.


Alison Youd

I am passionate about supporting the learning of young people with SLD/PMLD/ASD to improve the quality of their lives and those of their families. I taught in special schools in South London for 30 years in all roles from class teacher to Executive Head Teacher. As a Head I led the school from special measures to outstanding and have deep experience in school improvement and development. I am very proud that both the schools I led were judged Outstanding by Ofsted at my last inspection. I was one of the first special school Headteachrs to be appointed as a National Leader of Education and was a consultant headteacher for the Nation College of School Leadership.

I have an MA in special education and I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

I have spent the last 6 years as a senior lecturer at CCCU supporting the development of the next generation of teachers. I was thrilled to represent CCCU on the board of KSENT from its inception. I have been school governor and MAT director in various schools for 25 years. Now I am mostly retired with interests in history, archaeology, gardening, the arts and I am a local parish councillor. Special schools are my natural home and I am delighted to be able to contribute to the future of The Beacon and have the opportunity to continue my lifelong involvement with special education.


Constituted under The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 on 1 September 2016 as a new school.

The Governing Body of The Beacon Folkestone operates the circle model with Governing Body meetings held termly (at least six meetings per academic year). The Governing Body has agreed on Monitoring Groups with the following responsibilities to monitor specific subjects and priorities of the School Improvement Plan:

Leadership and Management Julie Nixon,
Finance Tim Hull, Greg Nicholls
Pay Committee Tim Hull, Greg Nicholls, Ali Erskine
Learning, Behaviour & Safety Colin Wimsett, Kate Yeoman, Julie Nixon, Bethan Rivett, Nicola Webster, Ali Erskine, Alison Youd
A Governor will be responsible for ensuring statutory guidelines are followed:
Health and Safety
Child Protection and Safeguarding Ali Erskine
Headstart Julie Nixon
Relationship & Sex Education Julie Nixon
Children-in-Care Greg Nicholls
Governor Training & Development Ali Erskine