The Genesis Federation

The Genesis Federation consists of Beckley Church of England Primary School and Peasmarsh Church of England Primary School. The Federation has an overarching governing board and a Vision Statement.

Genesis Federation logo

Our Federation embraces the creation and development of ‘human flourishing’ through wisdom, hope, community and dignity. We nourish our community on a journey of spiritual, moral, physical, intellectual, emotional and social growth that helps everyone to fulfil their potential through the promises and love of God. We work in harmony to promote ‘”Life in all its fullness”.

To contact the governing board, please email the Chair or the Clerk


Upcoming Events

This Month

Governors Who Have Stepped Down in the Past 12 Months

Governor Attendance 2022-23/2023-24

Rose Durban: Chair of Governors


I live locally and want to contribute to making a difference locally and can’t think of a better way than to help contribute to changing children’s learning and life-chances across Beckley CE and Peasmarsh CE Primary Schools, which together make up The Genesis Federation.  I come with experience of working on behalf of vulnerable children within and across the education, health and voluntary sectors which complements the wealth of skills, expertise and support other governors bring.  Our job is to champion children’s learning and achievement in each of our schools.

In my experience, what children and families say they need is simple and powerful: I tell my story once, Support and services join up around me, People do what they say, I feel better, safer and able to learn and achieve.

I believe that every child in each of our two schools, Beckley and Peasmarsh has the right to be safe and cared for, succeed in learning, thrive and mature into adulthood, able to contribute to the economy and their community in a positive way. I’m getting to know the Genesis community and even though I haven’t been part of it for very long, I’ve been hugely impressed when I meet with the headteachers and their staff to see and hear their passion and commitment to make this a daily reality for children.

What matters to me is to think big for children, believe in them, and work together so that their rights are realised, their views shape decisions made about their lives and they respect the rights of others.  Together, as a governing body, we can make an important contribution to helping our school leaders ensure children are learning and achieving well, positive about themselves and their community and looking forward to a bright future.

I am pleased and proud to be chair of our Governing Board. Please do get in touch via either of the schools if you want to contact me.

Rose Durban

Andrew Button: Co-opted Governor


Andrew is a qualified Actuary and a member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He has recently semi-retired from his role as CEO of an insurance company, after working in the insurance and banking industries for more than 35 years. Andrew lives locally and has 2 adult children and 3 adult stepchildren. He was previously a parent governor at his children’s primary school in Brabourne. Andrew hopes that he can use the skills and knowledge gained over many years to help support the Federation.


Colin Barling: Foundation Governor

Rhiannon Chillingworth: Parent Governor


Rhiannon serves as a Parent Governor in the federation. She has been a teacher for 11 years and is Head of English at Rye College.

Rhiannon has a passion for the creative and performing arts and believes they play an integral role in the academic, emotional and social development of a child. She is also an advocate for reading for pleasure and the promotion of this in schools.


Jeff Clements: Foundation Governor


Jeff lives locally in the Rye area; he had a long career in law enforcement and latterly as a senior manager in the civil service. He was previously a long serving governor at the junior school that his children attended, now that he is retired, he wants to help the schools within the Genesis Federation using his experience from a long and varied career. Jeff has a particular interest in Safeguarding.

Vicky Dyer: Co-opted Governor

Vicky was born and brought up in Sussex and has lived in Beckley with her family since 2001. After studying history at uni, she became a political consultant specialising in the visual arts, heritage, education and charities sectors.  Her most rewarding campaign was without doubt that of free admission to the National Museums and Galleries.
She is also a trustee of Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival, and can confirm that the happiest concert is always the schools’ performance, when it is always a joy to see the fun and sense of achievement of the budding performers.  She enjoys listening to a wide variety of musical forms, and strongly recommends in-car and kitchen karaoke for breaking down any family tensions.
An avid reader all her life, she believes fervently in the power of reading to feed curiosity, develop emotional depth and understanding, and to serve as a key tool to deciphering life and people while always providing hours of solo entertainment.

Revd Dr Owen Edwards: Ex-Officio Foundation Governor

Emma Herbert: Staff Governor


Emma has been working at Peasmarsh school since April 2010. She has experience of teaching year 1-6. In September 2015, she started her qualification to become the SENCO at Peasmarsh which she finished in August 2016.

emma herbert

Chrissie Johnston: Parent Governor


Chrissie has two children; an older son who is now at secondary school having spent seven years at Beckley School and a daughter still at the School. A former Management Consultant and Company Director, she had a special interest in using data to help her clients develop strategy and drive change. Prior to becoming a governor, Chrissie volunteered for five years on the Management Committee of the Peasmarsh Flying Start Pre-School, including serving as its Chair and charity Trustee.

At the other end of the educational spectrum, Chrissie is a Lay Visitor for the Architects Registration Board, involved in the accreditation of architecture qualifications.

As a parent, Chrissie loves to be outside with her children and is passionate about the benefits of outdoor learning. She holds a degree in Experimental Psychology and continues to be fascinated by how children learn.


Ann-Marie Murphy: Local Authority Governor


Ann-Marie is a trained Secondary school teacher and now works in educational publishing for Primary and Secondary schools. She grew up in Hastings and has taught overseas for many years in Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Spain. She moved to Battle in September 2015.

Together with her husband she offers respite fostering across Kent and Sussex to children aged 4-18, often with special and complex needs. She has annual ski and sailing trips and but loves exploring the local area too.

She began as a co-opted governor for two small Primary schools in East Sussex in December 2019, responsible for SEND and then EYFS. She is particularly keen to ensure that all children are safeguarded well and can fulfil their full potential whatever their background, special educational needs or disabilities.


Paul Redstone: Co-opted Governor


Paul Redstone was appointed as an Associate Member in December 2020 and has lived in Cripps Corner since 1990. He graduated in Natural Sciences/Physics at Cambridge then worked at Logica, a computer software company. In 1989 he become co-owner of a pharmaceutical services company based in Battle which analysed clinical trials, working for most of the major drug companies. The company grew to nearly 100 staff, before merging with a US company. In 1997 he started a software company based in Bodiam then Tonbridge, which he sold in 2011, since then he has worked as a freelance computer consultant before retiring.

In May 2021, Paul was elected to East Sussex County Council, as member for Northern Rother which includes Peasmarsh and Beckley schools.

Paul was a governor of Vinehall School for 13 years until 2019, concentrating on financial planning, strategy and key staff appointments. He was educated in the state system and with his mother, wife and two of his children as teachers has a long interest in education! He believes strongly in the ability of education to give opportunities to all children to achieve their maximum potential, not only academically but in the life skills necessary to become fulfilled in this changing world. He is also involved in a number of local and national charities.

Paul Redstone Photo

Lison Smart: Headteacher – Peasmarsh


Lison really enjoys working at Peasmarsh School because every day is different and exciting. The children make her laugh and she likes to hear the stories that they tell her. When she is not at school, Lison likes to spend time with her family and two little dogs. She loves reading all sorts of books and finding out about the world.

Simon Thurston: Headteacher – Beckley


Simon has been teaching since 1987, initially in secondary schools, with the last eleven being in primary schools. He has taught all ages, from 4 – 18 and says that the 4 year olds are the most scary! Simon is passionate about supporting the pupils, parents and staff in his school to thrive, flourish and excel in every aspect of life and sees the school as playing a key role within the local community.

Out of school, Simon and his wife are very involved in a local church and in any other time left over, he is busy either playing the drums, watching rugby, going for walks and enjoying meals with his family.

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