Our Team


The Staff team consists of Teachers, Teaching Assistants, and Residential Social Care Workers. As well as the teaching and care teams we also have a full compliment of auxiliary staff in our catering, maintenance and administration departments. Included in our team of support consultants are Adolescent Counsellors, Speech and Launguage Therapist, Art Therapist, and Dyslexia Specialist.

Sara Hack


Raymond Lau

Vice Principal

James Mills

Head of Education

Steve De Souza

Head of Care

Company Management

(Place your mouse over underlined names for more information on our Governors)

Directors and Governors

  • Sue Deane – Chair & Health & SafetySue Deane, appointed Chair of Farney Close on 20th October 2018, first became involved with the School nearly 20 years’ ago as a member of the Employment Team of Farney’s long-standing legal advisers. During that time she advised on all HR related matters. Sue sat as a magistrate in Brighton for over 20 years and gained valuable experience in chairing courts and meetings.
  • Carole Johns – Vice Chair & Safeguarding, E-Safety and PreventCarole has worked with children and young people in several residential special schools for children with SEMH in a number of roles including Head of Care and as a Family Inclusion & Safeguarding Manager. Carole as elected as a Governor in May 2018. She continues to be passionate about Child Protection and Safeguarding.
  • Martin Gibrill – CLA (Children Looked After) and Complaints
  • Jenny Bowry – Teaching & Learning, Monitoring incidents of bullyingJenny was brought up in South Wales and moved to Sussex to study. After graduating, Jenny joined Farney Close in 1975 as a teacher until her retirement in 2016. Jenny states, “this wonderfully stimulating and exciting environment has become a huge part of my life and when I retired I was very pleased to take on the position as a Governor of the school”.
  • Nicki Bartholomew I have a BA (QTS) in English and have taught across the age ranges, I took early retirement from my job as Deputy Head  at a local independent school but really missed teaching and being involved with teachers, pupils and the educational world. Consequently I became a tutor for children who were finding areas of the curriculum and school life a bit of a challenge. This only fills a small amount of time compared to teaching, so when a friend suggested that I might enjoy being a school governor that seemed the be the answer. Farney Close school impressed me with its ethos, inclusivity and broad and varied curriculum and shares many of my own personal teaching philosophies.
  • Simon LashleyOut of school back in ’88, I was offered a job in the very new world of IT and jumped at the chance. My career spans 30 years starting on the first office PC’s and the start of the Internet and Email as we know it today, to running very complex change programmes in both the Telecom and Media Industry….It is fair to say that I love technology and how it can improve our lives! Outside of work I enjoy Rugby and Football and am the current Chairman for Burgess Hill Rugby Club.


  • Mark Bennett
  • Sara Hack – PrincipalI have worked at Farney Close since 1982. Initially I worked on the care team, trained as a Social Worker at the end of the 90s and was promoted to Head of Care. In April 2019 I gained the position of Principal which was previously referred to as the Head. I truly believe in what Farney offers the young people that attend the school. Our ethos of “supporting each young person to become the best possible version of themselves” is embedded into my practice as is ensuring that all young people and staff are Safeguarded whilst in our care.
  • Sharon Radley – Staff Governor
  • Lester Speed – Staff GovernorLester has worked at the School for over 20 years and prior to this he has worked in the Care Profession since leaving school. He is very passionate about his role and is committed to ensuring the schools ethos is followed to allow the young people to become the best versions of themselves. Lester currently works as the Assistant to the Head of Care and was appointed as a Staff Governor in January 2020.

National Minimum Standards, Std 20 Independent Visitor: Diane Thackrah

A full list of our staff team is available on request

Please click here to view our staff structure.