The governing board provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools. It has three key functions:
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
Governors or trustees set the aims and objectives for the school or group of schools and set the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives. They monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher. In action, this means:
- Appointing and performance reviewing the head teacher and senior leaders, including making decisions about pay
- Managing budgets and deciding how money is spent
- Engaging with pupils, staff, parents and the school community
- Sitting on panels and making decisions about things like pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary
- Addressing a range of education issues within the school including disadvantaged pupils, pupils with special needs, staff workload and teacher recruitment
- Looking at data and evidence to ask questions and have challenging conversations about the school
Governors and trustees must be prepared to adopt the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
Governors and trustees should also be committed to their role and to young people; confident in having courageous conversations; curious with an enquiring mind; able to challenge the status quo to improve things; collaborative to build strong relationships; critical to improve their own work and that of the board; and creative in problem solving and being innovative.
At Whitefield Primary School, we have a strong, skilled governing body who are committed to our school and actively work alongside the Headteacher, the staff and families within our community to ensure we continue to improve on our journey towards outstanding.
Mrs Susan Jackson - Chair of the Governing Board
After teaching at Whitefield for many years, I am delighted to continue my work with the school as a member of the Governing Board. I became Chair of the Governing Board in Summer 2022. My association has also been as a parent, as both my children attended Whitefield, enjoying and thriving in the school’s environment. I look forward to working to ensure that all pupils attending the school are happy and thrive and able to fulfil their potential.
Mrs Sarah Foster
I have been the Head Teacher at Whitefield Primary School for nearly fourteen years. I have been a teacher in Blackpool and Penwortham primary schools for 28 years. I have a 16 year old daughter who attends a local Blackpool Sixth Form and who works weekends and holidays at Blackpool Zoo. I am passionate about children achieving the best that they can, in both social and academic areas. I enjoy working with the Governing Board - we are a team of highly skilled people who support each other and the Whitefield community.
Mrs Kamini Gandhi - Vice Chair of the Governing Board
I have one child at Whitefield in Year 5 and one who attended Whitefield and is now at Hutton. I was a Solicitor working for a firm for 8 years specialising in Personal Injury before taking a career break. I became a Parent Governor in 2017 and thoroughly enjoy being a Governor at the school. I enjoy being part of a governing body that have the children’s best interest at heart, in making sure that they enjoy their time at school whilst still achieving to their potential.
Mrs Rebecca Caslake
I have been a staff governor for the last year and I am committed to helping Whitefield to achieve the best outcome for each individual child in terms of their academic achievement and emotional well-being. I am a Mum to two young children who both attend Whitefield. I enjoy spending spare time with my husband, children and extended family and friends on days out, walking, swimming, playing board games (although they can get a bit competitive!). We love camping in our tent, it’s great to get away for the weekend and have a bit of time together device free! I have worked in education for a number of years. First as Secondary Science teacher and now, following a career break to care for my children, as the Family Liaison Officer at Whitefield. I am passionate about education.
Miss Judith Ward
My name is Judith Ward. I am one of the Governors at Whitefield Primary School. It was with great pleasure that I agreed to the position here at Whitefield, as I had heard nothing but great things about the school and I would like to be a part of continuing to driving the school forwards. I am currently teaching at another school within the South Ribble area and I currently teach in the Year 1 class but also have experience in Reception and Nursery. I have been teaching for nearly seven years now and I thoroughly enjoy it. My hobbies are dancing, fitness classes, and socialising with family and friends. I enjoy travelling and I have been fortunate enough to have experienced teaching in China and Thailand.
Mrs Abi Huxtable
This is my 11th year at Whitefield Primary School and my first year as a staff governor. I qualified as a teacher in 2010, having built up experiences within a range of educational settings within Portsmouth, Reading, and then Lancashire as a supply teacher. My love of teaching comes from the years of experience of being taught by fiercely loyal and passionate teachers as well as teaching assistants who pushed me, and enabled me to learn in spite of my profound hearing loss. Those teachers inspired me and taught me grit and determination, and I in turn firmly believe every child should be nurtured, included and happy at school.
Mrs Nicola Simpson - Chair of the School Standards and Effectiveness Committee
I have two children and I became a Parent Governor in 2021 when my youngest was in Year 6. I have 20 years’ experience as a writer and marketer across both the private and public sector. I'm focussed on helping Whitefield provide the best possible environment and education for every child.
Mrs Sue Dean - Chair of Resources Committee
I joined the governing board in 2023. I am very passionate about the school as my connections with the school go back a long way. My mum was a teacher from the second year of opening and I became a pupil in 1970. I was previously a governor when my 3 children were pupils here. They all thoroughly enjoyed their time there and have very fond memories of Whitefield. I look forward to working with the governing body as the school to ensure each pupil enjoys their time at Whitefield whilst achieving their true potential.
Mrs Lisa Eland
I am thrilled to have joined the team as a parent governor in 2023. My son is in year 5 and my daughter is in year 2. I have worked in the NHS for 17 years, mostly as a Human Resources Manager. I currently work at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, with a focus on colleague experience and retention. In my spare time (what's that?!) we love to go camping, and I'm also a very reluctant football mum, especially in the winter months! Whilst I don't have an education background, I look forward to supporting the school with a fresh pair of eyes, always with the childrens' best interests at heart.
Mr Richard Crewe
One minute I was talking to Mrs Foster at last years Christmas play, blink and I was in a meeting with her, blink again and I was a Governor! My niece has just left the school and my one of my nephews is here loving life. I have never had any experience as a Governor, but I love Whitefield and everything it stands for. I work in Finance and have a strong interest in Mental Health and Wellbeing - I look forward to continuing to do the best we can for the school and all of the fabulous pupils who attend!
Mr Paul Gardner
I have two daughters in Year 2 and Year 5 - I joined as a Parent Governor in 2023. I have worked for a large global company for 30+yrs in varying roles from engineering, commercial, planning and Strategy. I am hoping my varied knowledge and skill set will enable me to assist Whitefield in continuing to provide an excellent safe environment for education and one where the children can grow and be happy in the same way my daughters have done.
Mrs Sarah Willers - Deputy Headteacher / Observer
Clerk to the Governing Board - Mr Brian Wright, Lancashire County Council
Miss Sarah Mansfield - term ended November 2023
The Role of the Governors
School governors are drawn from different parts of the community and can be parents and staff or from the local authority (Lancashire), the community and other groups. This helps ensure the governing body has sufficient diversity of skills, views and experience but does not mean governors of a particular category represent that group on the governing body. For example, parent governors do not represent the parents at the school and do not report back to them.
Governors are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. The is a voluntary role and governors do not receive financial income from this role.
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
When a school is inspected by Ofsted, its governing body will be required to show evidence that governors conform to their three core functions
In the work that they do, a governors’ essential focus is on:
Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction
Holding the headteacher and school management to account
Asking the right questions
Being aware of the importance of objective data and their sources
Overseeing financial performance
Setting policies, targets and priorities for achieving those objectives
Monitoring performance and progress towards those objectives
Reviewing achievements against the set aims and objectives
Enabling better governance through training, review and planning
Another aspect of the governors role has traditionally been referred to as being a ‘critical friend’ of the school whereby in addition to the duties laid out above, governors can and should also:
Provide constructive advice
Act as a sounding board for the headteacher’s ideas
Give a second opinion on proposals - which includes asking questions and challenging assumptions
Help in arriving at the best solution - to further the best interests of the school
Governors coming in to school
The children will see our governors in school on a regular basis - they are instantly recognisable by their bright orange lanyard with the word 'governor' on!
The governors come in to school for many reasons. We meet on a termly basis for three different things - the first meeting is to discuss our school standards and the impact of actions we are putting in place. The second meeting is to discuss our school finances and everything to do with the school buildings and surrounding premises. The last meeting is a 'full governors' meeting where we meet as a full governing body and review the term and ensure the correct plans are in place for us to continue to move forward.
As well as these meetings, we also have a policy group meeting every term to ensure our school policies are up to date and any changes from Lancashire or the Department for Education have been addressed. And we hold a 'focus group' meeting every term - this meeting allows us to take one area of our school improvement planing and review and discuss it in more detail.
Our governors really enjoy our curriculum showcase events which we hold once a half term, where the governors come in to school and classrooms to see our learning in action! Some of our governors also attend school visits and our Year 6 residential.
Each of our governors has a different skill set that is beneficial to not only the Headteacher, but the school business manager, the teachers and the children. These individual governors will be in school throughout the year to work alongside staff and children.