Meet the Governors

Background Information on the School Governors:


Mr John Gibson

 I have recently retired after a ‘lifetime’ of work in Local Government, most recently working for North Kesteven District Council.  I was educated at Spalding Grammar School, followed by seven years at University, then a career in Environmental Health at various locations across the UK.  I have two grown up children and a wife who was a teacher before retiring in 2014.  I am so fortunate in being able to give time to the Pilgrim School.  It is such an important school for pupils who, for whatever reason, deserve our special attention and support.  I was initially appointed as a governor on the staffing committee in October 2013, before being elected as Chair of Governors when Mike Thornalley stood down in April 2015. 

 My experience in Local Government enables me to bring management, finance and health and safety skills to the school.  I aim to contribute effectively to its leadership and ensure the governing body’s contribution to school improvement.

Mr Pete Banks

 I retired from the Royal Air Force in 2004 after 25 years as initially aircrew and then as an Administration Officer.  I then transferred to the Royal Air Force Reserves as a Senior Operations Officer on a Harrier squadron on a 2 year contract.  I was the Bursar at Kesteven and Grantham Girls School (Grammar) for 3 years prior to re-joining the Royal Air Force Reserves again as a Senior Operations Officer. I managed the personnel close down when the aircraft was withdrawn from service. I finally retired in 2012 and now work as a part time freelance photographer and designer.

 I was educated at Blundell’s School, Tiverton, Devon, Manchester University and postgraduate at Didsbury College of Education.

 I have 2 grown up children.  I am married to Sue, who stoically created 15 happy homes as we moved with the RAF.  Although this precluded any formal career, she is now a locally know artist.

 My mother was a Deputy Head and I trained as a teacher, although the RAF intervened before I could practice the profession. Going back as a Bursar felt like a natural progression and my current involvement with the Pilgrim continues my association with education.  I am glad the Chairman asked me to become a governor.  Right from my first contact with the school I have been so impressed by the total dedication of the Head teacher and the staff at all levels of the school.  Their selfless professionalism in making the lives of our wonderful children significantly better by their sympathetic and compassionate touch is inspirational.  I feel privileged to be of service.

 My work in the RAF and as a bursar have given me the following management and personal skills; recruitment, public relations, budget planning and accountancy, organisation, presentation, health and safety, estate management, leadership training, IT infrastructure and web management, contract management, security, commercial activities, strategic planning, senior management experience.

Mrs Julie Bembridge

 I was born in Derbyshire, but have lived in Lincolnshire for all but the first five years of my life. I was educated at secondary school's in Holbeach and Sleaford. Went on to spend 36 years working in the NHS in a variety of different roles that introduced me to the head teacher of the Pilgrim School, as we were both part of the Tackling Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board, which for me saw the introduction and implementation of Teenage Advice Centre across the county. During my career in the NHS I worked in a variety of different roles, including patient contact and user involvement, became a service manager with resourcing responsibilities and a large budget to manage. During the last 7 years I was the recruitment services manager, this required me to provide advice on policies and procedure, bank and agency staff, volunteering and work experience placements. Therefore my experience enables me to share the knowledge and skills gained about procurement issues, budget management, safer recruitment, training issues and the wellbeing of a happy and healthy workforce. 

Mrs Jo O’Neill

 I am Head of English and Humanities at The Pilgrim School and have been in post since January 2015. I have twenty-six years of teaching experience, having taught in London, North Yorkshire, Southern Africa and for the last fifteen years in Horncastle in Lincolnshire. My experiences have been varied and exciting, ranging from an inner city secondary modern to an independent boarding school, a government boarding school in Botswana and a grammar school. I also worked part-time in a Special School when my children were babies and I am delighted to be back in Special Education again and working in this fabulous school.

Mrs Sue Morrison

 I am currently employed by Lincolnshire County Council as a Practice Supervisor within their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Team for the Boston and South Holland Locality. This means I oversee a small team of staff who are responsible for supporting the transfer of statements into Education, Health and Care plans (EHCPs), writing new EHCPS and dealing with complex matters relating to the education of pupils with SEND in our locality, such as consideration of medical funding, support when a pupil is excluded, increase in funding, requests for changes of placements to name a few. My short term wider remit is to support the Special schools in transferring the statements of their pupils into EHCPs. 

Prior to taking on this role in April 2015 I had been the head teacher at John Fielding School, a school for children with severe and profound learning difficulties in Boston, for 11 years. During this time the school moved from undersubscribed and unsatisfactory to over subscribed and a good school. Pupils had a wide range of opportunities including trips in the UK and abroad, performing at the Young Voices concert with 5000 Primary school pupils in Sheffield, performing at the Schools Shakespeare festival in a number of theatres around the county, putting on their own fashion show and working towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. We were the first special school in the County to achieve the Gold ArtsMark Award and our Governors were the first special school governors to achieve Governor Mark.

Prior to this I had worked for 12 years at St Francis School, in Lincoln, a school for pupils with physical and medical difficulties. I taught the Nursery/Reception class for many years before becoming Assistant Head and Inclusion co-ordinator. As Inclusion co-ordinator I was able to support main stream schools in their work with pupils with physical difficulties. I have also taught in mainstream schools both in England and Germany.

In my personal life I have a partner, 4 children and 7 grandchildren. I am a Scouter with responsibility in Boston District for supporting Leaders who are undergoing training and within both the District and the County supporting the Special Needs remit. I am an active member of the Boston Preservation Trust and sit on the Civic Group which debates planning and other issues affecting the town. In what time I have left I am furnishing a Victorian dolls house and finding miniature sewing and knitting an exciting challenge!

Mr Tony McCarthy

I am grandfather to a pupil at The Pilgrim School, to give something back to the school that has got my granddaughter where she is today I put myself forward to be a school governor. I have worked for my current employer for over 12 years, I am a surveyor and I believe I have a keen eye for detail as I have to take critical dimension before communicating this information to my colleagues so they can place production orders for our clients. My job as a surveyor is nationwide and I frequently have to work away from home. What spare time I have is usually centred around our 8 grandchildren. I understand that the responsibilities of a parent governor is to act always in the best interest of the school and its community, and will endevour to put as much effort into the role as possible to maintain a supportive environment. Learning about the education system will be something new to me but I believe the special status of The Pilgrim School is helping its pupils to achieve their full potential academically, and also develop fully in their community and society as a whole. As a parent governor I would be able to raise issues or questions which other parents may put forward.

Mrs Susan Waring

I am an elected member of North Kesteven District Council and of Leasingham and Roxholme Parish Council. My involvement with The Pilgrim School came through the Sleaford Rotary Club of which I am President Elect.  I have been employed as a Probation Officer and as a Senior Social Worker specialising in child abuse investigations.  I enjoy the opportunity to identfy and encourage young peoples special talents and skills.

Mr Neil Blackwell

 I left the Royal Air Force in July 2015 after serving nearly 28 years in the role of Personnel Support and worked for 10 months as a Special Educational Needs Assistant Caseworker for the Local Authority.  I took the opportunity in February 2016 to move across to working within a school setting and applying the skills that I have and knowledge gained to benefit The Pilgrim School.  I am employed within The Pilgrim School as a Community Liaison Manager.  I hold an MSc and BSc (Hons) in Psychology which I studied for whilst serving in the RAF.  I am thoroughly enjoying working within the school and am keen to learn more about SEN in particular autistic spectrum disorder.







Latest News

Duke of Edinburgh - The start of a new Expedition for our Pupils.

The school is now registered for a licence to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  The DofE Manager will be DA and a pilot will be run at the Sleaford Base initially with approx. 4 – 5 of our current Y10 and below pupils.  Sessions will happen every week starting after Christmas to prepare them for their expedition.  If the pilot is successful we will roll out the award to other interested bases/pupils.

Save the Children - Christmas Jumper Day

 A Christmas Elf Dressed up for Jumper Day

Hi Everybody,

Today at Sleaford it was Christmas Jumper Day!!! Pupils and staff wore the jazziest, brightest, over the top jumpers I have ever seen and everybody got into the Christmas spirit in a big way. Donations for the Save The Children fund were greatly received. There were games lined up and prizes galore and everybody had such fun. Even the candidates for RSO interviews arrived looking very festive! We all had a fantastic day. 

Thanks everyone, from your cheeky Christmas DR  Elf

 Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day Logo


London Trip December 2017

On Wednesday 13th December this year, 16 students and 8 staff took a train to London. We walked two miles through London taking in the iconic sites along the river; the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, The London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Shard. We walked over Waterloo Bridge to Covent Garden and down Drury Lane and Museum Street to The British Museum where we saw the Mummies of Ancient Egypt. We had lunch at the museum and then we went by taxis via Buckingham Palace to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see a performance of the musical Wicked. We then jumped into more taxis to go back to Kings Cross Station, where we managed to fit in seeing the Harry Potter Platform 9 and three quarters before catching the train back to Lincolnshire. It was a full and tiring yet incredibly worthwhile day in terms of broadening horizons,  having new experiences, learning new skills, being sociable, building resilience and having fun!

All the best


Btec Animal Care - Handling Day

 MillipedeHedgehogBearded Dragon


 On the 5th December, we had visitors of various reptile and small animal species. The animals included: a hedgehog, a millipede, a frog, tarantulas, a scorpion and a snake. An interesting thing I found out was that if you stroke a hedgehog, the spikes don’t prick you and it feels like a rough rug. Also the bearded dragon’s chin turns black when it starts to become angry. When I held the millipede, it tickled my hands and it wrapped its self around them.


Children In Need - Varied Activities & Pudsey Coin Fill

On Thursday 16th November,  our member of staff JD hosted a Children In Need Fundraiser morning in her Tutor Time. Students from Sleaford base took part in juggling, hoola hooping and covering Pudsey Bear in loose change that the students brought in. A big Thank You to a pupil BJ for bringing in a huge carrier bag full of 2p and 1p coins!

On Friday 17th students came to school in various costumes including two Pudsey Bears, One Pokemon character, a number of onesies and lots of spotty items.

Everyone had lots of fun and a number of staff from Sleaford base also got involved.