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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.


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.

Chairperson/Foundation Governor
Mr David Jones

As a dedicated Foundation Governor I'm currently serving my second term as the Chair of the Governing Body, previously leading from 2013/2014 until September 2020. Over this period I have successfully guided the school through two OFSTED inspections and Section 48 inspections.  I played a pivotal role in establishing a fruitful collaboration with St Mary’s, Harrington, which has been successfully completed. In addition to my role in Education, I am a Chartered Engineer with expertise in Instrumentation and Control Engineering. Currently I lead  a team of control engineers and also contribute my musical talents by playing the church organ at our parish church. Married with seven children and three grandchildren, two of whom currently attend the school, I am committed to fostering a positive educational environment.

Vice Chairperson/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
Carolyn Newland

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 6, 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
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, both of whom now attend 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.


Foundation Governor

Kevin Connolly

Staff Governor
Lorraine Hamer

I have been the Staff Governor for four years and a teacher at St Patrick’s for 11 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

In my role as the appointed Local Authority Governor, I serve as one of the finance governors, overseeing the school budget. With a strong background in managing finances, I bring a wealth of experience to ensure the school's financial stability. Outside of governance, I've successfully run my own childminding business for many years, leading to my designation as the school's EYFS governor. Family is of utmost importance to me, as I am married with seven children and three grandchildren, two of whom are currently students at the school. In my leisure time, I find joy in crochet and spending quality time with my family, balancing a commitment to education with personal interests.


Foundation Governor
Joseph Dunkwu

I became a parent governor in 2022 and I have a son who is currently in the year 1 class. I fell in love with St Patricks after I noticed how well behaved the pupils were whenever they came around to Our Lady & St Michaels Church. I decided to become a governor to help continue the good work being done by the teachers and other staff of the school. The hope is to continue to improve the learning environment for the children at St Patricks.


Parent Governor

Marcia Smith

I became a parent governor in 2022. My background is in catering, which I have worked within for 22 years. I am an extremely busy Mam to two very sporty boys and I work part time. Amaru is 13 and coming to the end of Year 8 at St Josephs. He went right through St Patricks from Reception. Tito is 10 and in Year 6 at St Patricks. Amaru thoroughly enjoyed his time learning at St Patricks, Tito is currently enjoying learning there too.

I've always loved helping out in school when possible and Parent Governor has always been at the back of my mind. I feel school should be a safe haven for children to enjoy learning and enjoy spending time with their friends. As a Parent Governor, I would like to help St Patricks continue to make amazing decisions for our children.

Parent Governor
Peter McGuckin

Co-opted Governor


Clerk to the Governors

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


Code of Conduct for Governors of a Governing Body

Guidance of recruitment of staff for Governing Bodies