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St Patrick's RC Primary School


Meet the Governors

What do we do?

You might think that being a school governor is all about attending lots of meetings and completing lots of paperwork but this definitely isn't the case.

The main role of the Governing Body is to help raise the standards and performance of the school by supporting the work of the head teacher and staff. We work very closely with the Senior Management Team and the rest of the staff to provide support, but we also challenge and ask questions to ensure that the best possible decisions are made for the school and its pupils. We do not become involved in the day to day management of the school because this is the Head teacher’s responsibility but we do hold her to account for the performance of the school.

How do we do this?

We meet as a full Governing Body twice a term to consider a wide range of issues including school improvement, policies and finances. We have also established a number of committees which allow us to discuss issues in more depth and report back to the full Governing Body. Our committees are:

  • Staffing and Curriculum
  • Finance

Committees also meet twice a term and the majority of the governors sit on at least one committee. We also carry out monitoring visits to help us understand and appreciate the work of the school. Sometimes these are learning walks around the building to develop our own knowledge and on other occasions they are focused on a particular aspect of the school's performance and involve discussions with staff and pupils. We do not make judgements about the quality of teaching or the progress of individual pupils because that is the responsibility of the head teacher. We also attend training to assist us in carrying out our duties effectively

Who are we?

Our governors come from many different backgrounds but we all have one thing in common: we are passionate about St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School and dedicated to ensuring that our pupils have the best education possible. We all bring different skills and experiences but we work well together in the best interests of the school. The normal term of office for governors is four years, although sometimes governors are reappointed for further terms if they wish.

Parent Governors:
Parent governors are elected by other parents of pupils registered at the school. They should be parents of pupils currently at the school but they may serve out their term of office if their child leaves. Parents who are also members of staff are not eligible to be parent governors.

Local Authority Governors:
Local Authority governors are appointed by the local authority which maintains the school, in our case this is Cumbria. Sometimes potential authority governors approach Cumbria LA and ask to be allocated to a particular Governing Body but, in practice, such governors are usually recommended by ourselves and then approved by the LA.

Foundation Governors:
Foundation governors are appointed by the Bishop of Lancaster to represent the religious ethos of the school.

Teacher Governors:
The head teacher of a school automatically becomes a governor at the time of appointment unless they inform the Governing Body that they do not want to be a member. Our head teacher is a governor and this ensures a really productive working relationship. Another staff member is elected by and from the whole teaching and non-teaching staff. Staff governors may not continue to be governors if they cease to be employed by us.

Co-opted Governors:

A co-opted governor is a person appointed by the governing body and who, in the opinion of the governing body, has the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.


Executive Headteacher
Mrs Sheryl Slack

I began my teaching career at St Bede’s Carlisle. Following this I moved to St Mary’s Harrington and after a few years was appointed Deputy Head. After completing the National Professional Qualification for Headship I was appointed as Headteacher of St Patrick’s. I am also a Local Leader of Education and a Section 48 Inspector for the Diocese of Lancaster. In 2018 I was appointed Executive Headteacher of St Mary’s.

I am totally committed in ensuring every child achieves their potential in a caring and nurturing environment. Being a governor enables me to work with a group of individuals who will ensure that the strengths of every child is fully developed and that high expectations are set and achieved. My philosophy is based on Christian values of love, truth, respect, justice and honesty. In our St Patrick’s family everyone is welcomed, valued and special.

Head of School & Co-opted Governor

Mrs Zoe Whitehead

I am the Head of School at St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School and have spent the last sixteen years teaching within Key Stage Two.  I regularly work with other senior leaders in the area to support and develop teaching and learning and have experience of supporting other schools in maths and curriculum development.
I enjoy helping others to improve the impact of their work with children whether this is as a student, newly qualified or experienced teacher.   I also welcome the opportunity to help others rise to the challenges of leadership. I firmly believe that the sharing of good practice both within and between schools is one of the most powerful tools we have to drive change, improve performance and ensure the best outcomes for all children and families.


Chair of Governors/Foundation Governor
Gary Martin

I have been a Foundation Governor at St Patricks School since 2014. I was Vice-Chair of the Governing Body and Chairman of the Staffing and Curriculum sub-committee for quite a few years before becoming the Chair of the Governing Body in September 2020. I have also been on the Finance Committee for a number of years.

I am married with 3 children, two of whom attended St Patrick’s School. I am very proud of our school and all the achievements of the pupils and staff within the school.

Vice Chairperson/Foundation Governor
Mr David Jones

I am a Foundation Governor at the school and was Chair of the Governing Body from 2013/2014 until September 2020. During this time I have overseen two OFSTED inspections and I have helped the school form a collaboration with St Mary’s, Harrington, which is proving very beneficial to our school. I have also been the safeguarding governor for a number of years. I am now the Vice Chairperson of the Governing Body.

I am married and have seven children and two grandchildren (a grandchild currently attends the school). I am a Chartered Engineer with a degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering and am currently employed as a Lead System Engineer. I play the church organ at our parish church and in my spare time, I practice Karate with the ESKK club where I help teach and have reached the level of Brown Belt.

Foundation Governor
Patricia Poole

Many years ago I attended St Patrick’s R.C Primary School and have so many fond memories of my time there. This was my reason for wanting to become a governor, to give something back to the school that taught me so much in my early childhood.
I have three sons who also attended St Patrick’s and have gone on to do extremely well in their further education and their chosen careers.
I have been a governor at St Patrick’s school for over 16 years starting as a Parent Governor and then I was appointed to a Foundation Governor by the Bishop of Lancaster.
I am very proud to be part of this wonderful school, with pupils who want to achieve the very best they can in caring surroundings, knowing they are all special in Gods eyes.
My designated link as governor is with SEND and I work closely with the SENCO representative in school. I am also a Foundation Governor at St Joseph’s Catholic High School and the Manager of the Helena Thompson Museum.


Foundation Governor
Julie Canfield

I have been a Foundation Governor at St Patrick's for 9 years. I have 3 sons who have all attended/attend St Patrick's and they have been given the best start to their education.
I believe that all children should be given the opportunity to be the best they can be and I am fully committed in supporting the school and staff to continue the great work they do to help children achieve this.
I am a HR professional and member of the CIPD with over 20 years experience working for a local social housing provider.


Foundation Governor
Debbie Tennyson

I became a Parent Governor in October 2016 and was appointed as Foundation Governor in February 2018. My key responsibility within the Governing Body is Health & Safety.
I worked in local government for 12 years and now work full time as a teaching assistant at St Mary’s School and try to fit my job around everything that comes with being a busy mam! I completed my voluntary placement at St Patricks & I still try to help out in school as much as I can. I also assist with Children’s Liturgy at Our Lady & St Michaels Church.
I have one daughter in the school, Libby in Year 4, and my eldest daughter Amy attended St Patrick’s before moving onto St Joseph’s School. Both my daughters were/are happy and confident at St Patricks School and that means the world to me. It is important to me that all children have the best experiences that they can during their time at school. As a governor I want to support the staff at St Patricks so they can continue to provide the very best opportunities for all the children in the school.


Foundation Governor

Louise Holt

I was appointed Parent Governor in 2018 and then a Foundation Governor in October 2020. Although I myself didn’t attend St Patrick’s I have strong family connections with the school as my grandmother, father and two of my children attended here. I have one child still at the school, in Year 6. I have responsibility for Finance within the governing body. 

I feel very lucky to be involved with such a wonderful school which provides a caring and nurturing environment for every child. 

I work as a conveyancer for a local firm of solicitors and in my spare time am involved with Workington Cricket Club. 


Foundation Governor
Gabrielle Rush

I am a Foundation Governor for St Patrick's and my area of responsibility is RE/Collective worship/HRSE.
I am currently the acting Head of RE at St Benedict's Catholic High School and have specific training in Catholic education.
I used to attend St Patrick's myself and have a child in the school at present. I am pleased to have been offered the opportunity to serve the school in this capacity.


Foundation Governor

Stephen Maxwell

I am Stephen Maxwell and I have been appointed by the Bishop of Lancaster to serve as a Foundation Governor for St Patrick’s School.

My association with the school dates back many years when I first attended as a pupil. I have two children, one of which now attends St. Patrick’s.

I feel extremely privileged to be given this opportunity to serve the school as a foundation Governor and I look forward in supporting my fellow governors, our head teacher and staff in promoting the Catholic faith and ethos of the school, whilst also ensuring the safeguarding of our children.

Staff Governor
Lorraine Hamer

I have been the Staff Governor for three years and a teacher at St Patrick’s for 9 years. During that time I have taught every year group, providing a fantastic overview of the school.  I am Science Lead, taking the school through the Primary Science Quality Mark in 2019 and I am passionate about nurturing our pupils’ curiosity for the world they live in.  More recently I have taken on the role of Global Learning Lead which fits perfectly with the caring ethos of our school, where pupils think about others and the impact their actions have on the wider community.
I believe deeply that each child is unique and deserves the very best education, so being at the heart of decision making for our school is a privilege.


Local Authority Governor
Bernadette Jones


Parent Governor
Malcolm O’Hare

I have been a parent governor for just over a year now and my area of responsibility within the governing body is sports funding and delivery. My son is currently in year 6 at our great school. I work within a safety department in a forever changing and challenging environment. Outside of work one of my main passions is coaching football for Workington Reds Juniors where I currently oversee training and games for 2 youth teams.


Parent Governor
We currently have a vacancy for a parent governor.

Clerk to the Governors

Mrs Annette Glaister
C/O St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School
Derwent Street
CA14 2DW