The Southwater Junior Academy


Our Trustees

The trustees of The Southwater Junior Academy are unpaid volunteers who are elected to provide strategic leadership and accountability to the academy. The trustees work in partnership with the leadership team at SJA and have the following key areas of interest:

  • Holding the academy leadership to account for the educational performance of the academy and its pupils
  • Overseeing financial performance and making sure funds are well spent
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Acting as a critical friend to the headteacher who undertakes operational responsibility for the academy
  • Ensuring accountability of the academy team
  • Promoting high standards of educational attainment
  • Agreeing the Academy Improvement Plan
  • Setting an annual budget detailing planned spending
  • Approving the staffing structure
  • Supporting the leadership team, when and wherever appropriate

The trustees work with the academy leadership team to set the aims and objectives for the academy and set the policies and targets for achieving them. They monitor and evaluate the progress the academy is making and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher.

The trustees come from all walks of life, with a wide range of work and life experiences which enriches the benefit that they provide. They uphold the SJA values of Kindness, Resilience and Working Hard.

Information about the governance of The Southwater Junior Academy is available here

Our current trustees

  Rebecca Toogood (Headteacher)

Rebecca started her lifelong interest in education by volunteering in a primary school in a deprived area of Norwich.  This started her on her career path, quickly followed by teaching  in Japan for 2 years. Upon returning to the UK, she studied for a PGCE in secondary English.

Rebecca, then took on the challenges of teaching in various outer-London secondary schools, with a keen interest in working in environments with challenging circumstances. She then moved into Local Authority advisory work for Hillingdon.  Whilst working as an Education Adviser and English Consultant, she completed a Master of Education in Educational Leadership & School Improvement.  Rebecca then took on the role of Assistant Headteacher at a large secondary school in Hillingdon, helping the school move from requires improvement to good with outstanding features.

In 2014, Rebecca became part of the senior leadership team at the Littlehampton Academy, in the role of Assistant Principal.  She supported the transition to bring the Academy out of special measures. 

In 2018, she became the Headteacher at SJA. The combined experiences in Rebecca’s career to date; the drive to make education in the academy the very best it can be; and working with a committed team at SJA, demonstrates her extreme pride in being the Headteacher at SJA delivering a high quality
and well-rounded education to all of our children.

In her spare time Rebecca is passionate about cooking, gardening and spending time on creative projects, which include upcycling and DIY.

 Jon Bye (Co-Opted Trustee - Chair)

 Jon is a co-opted trustee and was appointed Chair of Trustees of Southwater Junior Academy in 2018 after 8 years as a director, trustee and parent governor. He has been an active member of the team, supporting the conversion from school to academy in 2011, holding Chair of Finance and Premise, and supporting the delivery of the new IT Suite and various premises improvement projects.

Jon is Head of Customer Marketing for an international aerospace company based in Crawley, West Sussex. Before moving to marketing, Jon was Head of Communications for 10 years. Jon graduated from De Montfort University in 1994 with a Degree in Electronic Engineering and began his career with GEC Marconi as an electronics engineer holding engineering roles across software, hardware and systems. Jon continues to promote engineering through STEM engagement events, actively encouraging young people to consider a career and future in engineering.

Jon lives in Southwater and is married with two children, who both attended Southwater Junior Academy. He is a keen cyclist, runner and enjoys some downtime DJing. Through events such as the London Marathon and various cycling events, he has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

 Elizabeth Cockerill (Co-Opted Trustee - Vice Chair)

Elizabeth has been a trustee since October 2017. She has two children, who have both happily attended Southwater Junior Academy and has lived in Southwater community for many years. She is now a co-opted trustee.  Having previously been a parent trustee with first hand experience of the academy, Elizabeth gives a highly valuable perspective on the matters that arise, which assists the trustees in their supportive role at the academy. Elizabeth’s key highlights are working with the leadership team and observing the passion which staff show in their support for each one of the children in their care.

Elizabeth’s hobbies are supporting her children in their many and varied sporting activities, and looking after and walking her three dogs.

 Claire Attaway (Parent Elect Trustee - Chair of People & Pay)

Claire has been a parent trustee since October 2020. She is married with two children; one of which is at Southwater Junior Academy and the other at Southwater Infant Academy.

In 2007, Claire qualified as a primary school teacher at Brighton University and moved to Southwater.  Soon afterwards, she started her career in teaching at a local Horsham school. She has a good understanding of the local community and issues that arise in primary schools. She is the Science Lead at her school and is passionate about science being practical, investigative and fun.

When she is not running around after her children, Claire enjoys keeping fit by reading books, attending fitness classes and practicing yoga at home.

 Paul Davies

Paul has been a trustee since January 2022.

He completed his BSc in Business Management and works as a business owner and director for a local estate agency and financial advisory firm.  Paul hugely values the local community and has had significant involvement working with local partners, from a Parish Council role to Chair of the Southwater Business Networking Group.  Previously, he spent a decade with global medical companies in sales and marketing roles.

Paul brings experience in business planning and marketing and is keen to give back to the community.  He hugely values the opportunity to support local educational structures.

Paul lives in Southwater with his wife and daughter and counts his hobbies as travel, exercise and walking his dog. 

 Marcus Medley (Parent Elect Trustee - Chair of Curriculum Committee)

Marcus became a parent trustee in October 2020. 

He is the Assistant Head Academic at Christ’s Hospital School and has over fifteen years of secondary and tertiary education experience, having worked as teacher, middle leader, and now senior leader.  He is married with two children; one of which is at Southwater Junior Academy and the other at Southwater Infant Academy.

Marcus graduated with a PhD in organic synthetic chemistry in 2009 from Bristol University before moving to Horsham to take up a position as a teacher of Chemistry. His passion is for everything STEM-related and he is keenly interested in the education sector both locally and nationally.

Marcus has recently moved to Southwater and spends what little spare time he has enjoying sport, fitness, outdoor pursuits and gardening.

  Samantha (Sam) Norton (Co-Opted Trustee)

Sam joined the trustee board in June 2023. With almost three decades working in primary education from class teacher to senior leadership, including Headteacher, Sam is excited to have joined SJA as Co-Opted Trustee to share her passion for education.  Sam has worked in a variety of sized settings across two different local authorities and is well-placed to support the work of the trust, knowing first-hand the joys and challenges of life in school!

Sam’s current role as Primary Advisory Teacher with West Sussex Virtual School, enables her to work with a wide network of partners to support the most vulnerable children, currently under the care of WSCC, who may be in school anywhere from the Highlands to the South coast.  Sam’s role sees her champion children’s access to high quality education; working with others to improve the children’s progress and outcomes, alongside advising on the impact of trauma and attachment to support children’s holistic development.

Sam is married with two children who are now studying at secondary school/further education.  She loves travel, food, cooking, music and dancing and adventurous activities!

 Andrew Berry (Co-Opted Trustee)

Andrew joined the trustee board in July 2023. He is married with two boys, one of which is at SJA, and has lived
in Southwater for 12 years. Andrew currently works in the research field of Human genomics, as a genome annotator and has spent his career in academic science at the University of Warwick and at a research institute in Cambridge.

Andrew is interested in education, especially science and the possibilities that offers to children looking for careers in biomedical science.
Andrew values the strong sense of community that Southwater offers. In his spare time he enjoys walking with his family and two dogs.



Interested in becoming a trustee?

The trustees meet 6 times a year, and sub-committees a further 3 times per year each. There are currently 2 sub-committees covering "Finance, Audit & Risk" and "People & Pay". The trustees are also involved with visits to the academy and Parents' Evenings, and they regularly support academy events.

The trustees role is covered by the DfE's Academy Handbook, and is a commitment each trustee makes for a 4-year period, renewable at the end of each term.

If you would like more details about the role of a trustee, or feel that you would like to take up such a position, please contact us below.

Contact us

Please use the form below to send Trustees a message or question.

Alternative you can write to us at Clerk to the Trustees, The Southwater Junior Academy, Worthing Road, Southwater, West Sussex, RH13 9JH.

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