Benhurst Local Governing Body

Mr Fred Steel

Fred is a Chartered Surveyor and has reached the highest level in his profession, being elected a Fellow of both The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Chartered Institute of Building. He is also a Member of The Institute of Civil Engineers and a Member of The Chartered Management Institute. He has over forty years’ experience as a construction professional and manager.

Fred is currently working as Major Works Manager for a local London Borough. Prior to this he was employed as Head of Building Services at another London Borough where he worked for over thirty years. During this time a major part of his role was dealing with schools’ new build and major maintenance. 

Fred has extensive experience as a school governor in Havering and has currently served thirty-one years at Benhurst Primary School (where he attended school as an infant). He also served for over twenty-five years at Parklands Junior School and four years at Hall Mead Secondary School. Fred was Chair of Governors at Benhurst for twenty-five years before stepping down from this role in 2018.

Other positions include being a Vice-President of Upminster Cricket Club and previously as Honorary Construction Officer of The Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford.

Fred has experience of working with young people outside of school and has managed local youth football and cricket teams in the past. Also, outdoor adventure and other events under the umbrella of the National Association of Clubs for Young People.

Mrs Bev Mills

Bev has been a Local Authority governor at Benhurst Primary School since November 2004.

Prior to this Bev worked at Prudential Assurance in a variety of HR and system roles including HR Systems Manager with responsibility for 35 staff and the running and development of all HR and payroll systems for the Prudential UK operation. Following voluntary redundancy, Bev volunteered as a school governor at Benhurst to broaden her experience and share her business skills in an educational establishment.  Bev undertook various projects including the implementation of wrap-around care with the provision of before and after school provision, which included surveying parents and interviewing and engaging the successful suppliers.  Bev is currently a Student Support Manager working at Harris Academy Rainham. She is responsible for all school data, timetabling, pupil reporting and examinations.

In her spare time, she helps run a dancing school in Harold Wood for pupils from 3 to 80!

Mrs Abiola Fakayode

Abiola has been a parent-governor at Benhurst Primary School since 2011 and a co-opted governor since 2015.

She is employed at the Department for Education in Westminster and has the responsibility for overseeing Behaviour & Safety along with another governor.

Her passion is for children to make progress in life and to contribute positively to our society. Outside of family and work, Abiola’s interests are traveling, photography and cookery.

Miss Anna Gray

Anna has been a Governor at Benhurst since 2013, Vice Chair since 2018 and has the responsibility for overseeing Education and Achievement. Anna has one daughter who left Benhurst Primary School in July 2019 to move to a language specialist boarding school in Bishops Stortford. 

After studying for 4 years at Canterbury Christ Church University (Geography and Education), Anna took a year and half to work and travel around the world. Upon returning home, she worked as a primary school teacher in various schools within Thurrock and then as an Early Years Lead in several Havering schools.

After having her daughter, Anna stopped full-time class teaching but has taken several roles on a part-time basis. These have included working in an advisory capacity to schools in Havering to improve their Early Years, working on an early speech and language intervention programme and working with children from 3-18 who attend a local dance and musical theatre school.

Anna is passionate about every child receiving the best education and uses her role as a governor to provide this for our children.​

Mr Dean Jeffreys

A life-long Havering resident, Dean has a background in education and the not for profit sector and has been a governor at Benhurst since 2009. He became Chair of Governors in 2018.

Professionally, Dean spent thirteen years working in secondary education, initially as a History Teacher and culminating as Associate Assistant Head. Along the way he held a number of roles including Head of Department, Head of Year, Head of House, Staff Governor and Induction Tutor. At various times he taught History, Geography, RE, Citizenship, PSHE, Sociology and Law.

Dean currently works for the Marine Society and Sea Cadets and is the national Head of Learning. He is responsible for charity-wide learning of all cadets and adult volunteers across the organisation and line manages the four national training centres. In addition he is the charity’s national lead for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Vocational Qualifications and the National Citizen Service.

In his spare time, Dean is a volunteer with The Scout Association and was for five years the Regional Commissioner for London, managing the provision of Scouting to young people aged 6 to 25 across the capital, featuring a membership in excess of 47,000. He is also a Freeman of the City of London.

Dean was also previously Chair of Trustees as an Activity Centre in Brentwood, which has over 100 acres of woodland and buildings, offering countless hundreds of residential and daytime activities each year, and operating at a turnover of over £300,000 a year.

Mrs Katherine Hart

Katherine studied Psychology at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge before completing her Post Graduate Certificate in Education at The University of East London. She started her teaching career as a Year 3 teacher at Crownfield Junior School in Collier Row, Romford.  It was here that Katherine developed her passion for Mathematics in her first middle leadership role as she led the subject throughout the school and supported other schools across Havering. After 5 years, Katherine moved to the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, where she worked at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School continuing to lead Maths and teaching in Year 5 and then 4. In 2013, Katherine became a Cambridge University Mentor and went on to train several outstanding trainees.

Katherine joined Benhurst Primary School in September 2014 as KS2 Assistant Head teacher and Year 6 class teacher. In the past 6 years, Katherine has developed her leadership role and has been responsible for successfully leading Assessment and Pupil Premium across the school as she took on the role of Deputy Head. Most recently, Katherine has become the Acting Head teacher and is excited about the journey that the school is on. She is keen to support the children, staff and wider community to live out the Core Values and be ambitious in achieving the school’s motto: Only my best is good enough for me’.

Mrs Stella McCarthy

After working in the Legal Profession as a Chartered Legal Executive for 15 years, Stella took a career break to bring up her two children. Whilst on this career break, her children joined Benhurst and Stella volunteered as a parent helper. Stella enjoyed working with the children and became a Learning Support Assistant at Benhurst in 2002. Quickly, she progressed through various roles from Teaching Assistant to Higher Level Teaching Assistant. Stella then joined the Graduate Teacher Programme at the Institute of Education and achieved Qualified Teacher Status. 

After completion of her NQT year in 2012 at Benhurst, Stella became a Year Group Leader and took the role of Computing Coordinator. Stella is passionate about computing within the school and helped to lead changes to the hardware, software and pedagogy across the school which were instrumental in moving the school from Requires Improvement to Good. Stella is a qualified SMART Exemplary Educator and SMART Certified Education Trainer and has travelled to Madrid and Canada with SMART to take part in training and to act as a mentor to teachers from around the world. Stella leads many international seminars at Benhurst and plays a key role in the annual BETT week, leading sessions at Benhurst and the BETT show. In 2016 to 2017 Stella took on the additional role of Assistant Head Teacher to cover a maternity absence. This academic year, Stella has taken on the role of Acting Deputy Head Teacher.

Mr Kevin Cooper

Kevin joined the Local Governing Body in 2017 and has two children in KS2.

Following an education in Havering, Kevin obtained a Masters Degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering (Hons) at University College London, specialising in the development of high-speed diamond semi-conductors and the application of Ultra-High Frequency Military Radar. He then won a role with Marconi/BAE Systems on a fast-track development programme, and went on to spend 6 years in management positions within UK Defence.

Kevin is now a management consultant with over seventeen years experience of managing challenging programmes and projects in complex environments.  His assignments have included high-profile roles in project and programme management; programme controls; risk management; scheme sponsorship; change management; contract management and procurement for clients including Virgin Trains, Thameslink, Crossrail and High Speed 2.

Kevin is a full member of both the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Association for Project Management (APM), and has passed both the Association for Project Management Professional and Practitioner Qualifications.

In his spare time, Kevin is a Group Scout Leader, managing the provision of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts with a local Scout Group.  

Mr Peter Whitelock

Peter has lived in Elm Park for over 20 years and was appointed to the local governing body in January 2017.

Peter has had prior experience of being a governor at three other Havering schools with a background working as a HR Manager for the public and not for profit sector including being the Head of Education HR for three local authorities.

Mrs Foluke Sangobowale

Foluke was appointed to the Local Governing board in 2018 and is a link Governor for Finance. 

She is married and has 3 children who have all attended Benhurst school.  Foluke briefly worked in the Banking industry but has now worked in the Social Housing sector for 18 years and has extensive experience of dealing with specialist and complex Housing legal and management matters.

Foluke was recently appointed the Head of Housing Services at one of the largest Housing Associations in London.  

Foluke has a Law degree from Westminster University, a postgraduate qualification in Law. (College of Law,  London), Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Leicester University. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and is a Part-qualified Company Secretary.

Foluke is an author of two books and has experience of working with young people, preparing them for entry into selective independent and Grammar schools. She is particularly passionate about developing children’s literacy and numeracy skills especially reading.

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