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Because we are a Church school, the majority of our governing body is appointed by a combination of the St Peter’s Church Parochial Church Committee and the Diocese of Oxford. Currently Mr. Jon Driscoll, Mrs. Fran Childs, Mrs. Anita Smith, Mrs. Sara Green, Mrs. Kate Woods and Mr. Paul Clayson hold these positions as ‘foundation’ governors.

There is a requirement that at least one of the foundation governors is a parent of a child at the school; Mr. Driscoll, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Green, Mr. Clayson and Mrs. Woods are current parents.

Mrs. Abbie Strange is our staff appointed governor. Reverend Hannah Reynolds is an ex-officio member of the governing body as is the Headteacher, Mr. Paul Shaughnessy. There are also two parent-governor positions one of which is held by Mrs. Catherine Yarker and the other by Mrs. Kate Brady.

What do governors do?

The first thing to make clear is that the Headteacher runs the school on a day to day basis. The Head and the staff are professionals; the governors are not, nor are they expected to be. Anything concerning the ordinary running of the school should be addressed to class teachers or the Headteacher.

But governors do have a lot of responsibility and the relationship with the Head can only work effectively if they are prepared to invest time in the role and attend regular training courses.

  • The governors are expected to work with the Head to promote the improvement and monitor the performance of the school.
  • Together with the Headteacher, governors set the future direction for the school and decide how the budget should be spent.
  • Governing bodies make decisions collectively on matters such as performance targets, school policies, and the school’s development plan.
  • Governors monitor the impact of policies and the use of the school budget. They hear appeals from pupils and staff and consider complaints.
  • Governors provide the Headteacher with support and advice, drawing on their knowledge and experience. They ask searching questions and respect the Headteacher’s position as the professional leader of the school.

All governing bodies operate on the basis of ‘collective responsibility’. This means that once a decision has been agreed all of the governors share responsibility for it. This applies to parent governors in exactly the same way as the others; parent governors are not ‘parent representatives’ but full, active members of the governing body.

In practice, our governors are expected to attend all, or at least most, of the 6 full governing body meetings (which are usually held at 5pm) and be a member of a sub-committee (which either meet in school hours or at 5pm).

Other roles can be taken on when a governor has more experience.

Governors are not paid although they can claim back basic travel expenses for attending training courses and the like.

Our current Governing Body

Mrs. Sara Green (Chair of Governors; Foundation Governor)

I am Chair of the governing body and one of the Foundation Governors. I am link governor for maths, which involves working with the maths subject leader to monitor progress and attainment in maths throughout the school.  I am also the governor with responsibility for whistle-blowing.

I am a full time mum with three children, two at the school, one having moved on to secondary school. When not running around after the children, I fill my time with various community activities; I am a member of Didcot Baptist Church, helping out with the toddler group that runs there during the week and I also volunteer at the Food Bank. I help with the school choir, playing the piano for them, and I also play for the school services at St Peter’s Church.

Mrs. Anita Smith (Vice Chair of Governors; Resources Committee; Foundation Governor)

I have been a governor at Northbourne for 6 years. I enjoy the challenge of being part of the Governing Body and the opportunity to help the school plan and move forward, ensuring that all children have an excellent start to their education.

I am a full time mum to 3 children.  My oldest two children attended Northbourne but are now both at secondary school and I have a daughter who is in Nightingales.  When I am not looking after the children I fill my time by volunteering once a week at a local toddler and baby group and I am also Chair of the school PTA.  I am also involved with a local Beaver/Cubs and Scouts group.

Mr. Jon Driscoll (Resources Committee; Foundation Governor)

I am a Foundation Governor appointed by the PCC of St Peter’s Church.  I have served as a governor since 2007 and was chair between 2008 and September 2017.  I have special responsibility for safeguarding. I am also a parent of Eddie in Eagles.  I am a qualified football coach and have helped run school football and cross country for the last few years.

Rev. Hannah Reynolds (Chair of Resources Committee; Ex-Officio Governor)

I have been Priest-in-Charge at St Peter’s Didcot, and ex officio Governor at Northbourne, since January 2013. Before coming to Didcot, I was Priest-in-Charge at All Saints Hanworth (near Heathrow Airport) and Curate at All Hallows, Twickenham.

Before training as priest in the Church of England, I worked for nearly 20 years as a professional engineer, starting out in Control Systems for gas turbines (used in oil rigs and distribution networks in the Middle East, Russia and the North Sea) before moving on to Avionics design and development with British Airways.  In my later career I worked for the Engineering Council as Senior Executive responsible for Codes of Professional Practice and Guidelines on Sustainability, Health, Safety and Risk Management and the Environment. My last non-Church job was for The Energy Saving Trust managing their Energy Services, Community Energy and Schools programmes.

Mrs. Kate Brady (Teaching and Learning Committee; Parent Governor)

I have been a parent governor at Northbourne since 2015 when my daughter joined Puffin class.

I attended Northbourne myself and am passionate about supporting and enhancing learning for young people.

Having worked with schools through an ICT provider for over 10 years, I am an advocate of using technology to help both teaching and learning. My specialism is online safety and in my day job I work with schools to help them keep their communities safe online. I am also a NSPCC “Speak out, Stay safe” ambassador, helping young people to understand risks they may face and how to get help. This has given me a strong foundation in understanding safeguarding in education.

Mrs. Abigail Strange (Teaching and Learning Committee; Staff Governor)

I have been a teacher for over 15 years and have a real passion for maths. My role as Numbers Count Teacher at Northbourne gives me the opportunity to work with all children across the school, helping support them in their learning of mathematics.

As staff governor, my main role is to act as the staff’s voice by raising any questions the staff may have, as well as sharing any priorities or points of discussion that have been raised in governors meetings with staff members . I have been a governor for just over 4 years and joined when my daughter was in Reception. I really enjoy being part of such a nurturing school which strives to always provide the best possible education for your children.

In my spare time I like to take my cockerspaniel on long walks, dabble in the odd art/ craft activity or cook.

Mrs. Kate Woods (Resources Committee; Foundation Governor)

I have been a Governor at Northbourne since the beginning of September 2017. I was previously a trustee for Stepping Stones Pre-School. I join the school governing body with specific responsibility for maintaining the school’s strong christian ethos, ensuring this runs throughout the school, from assemblies to within each classroom. 

I am a full time mum to 3 children, all of whom attend Northbourne. Prior to having children, I worked in the publishing industry as a Project and Web Manager. 

As a member of The Kings Church, Didcot, I am involved in leading the children’s work, local toddler group and help lead various courses we run within church.  I also love to bake and stomp around the local countryside! 

Mr. Paul Clayson (Teaching and Learning Committee; Foundation Governor)

I have been a Foundation Governor since September 2017. I have a daughter in Y2 and am looking forward to helping support the school. I have worked with computers at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the Harwell Campus for 30 years. I teach judo in my spare time and am also on the committee for the Fleet Meadow Community Association.

Mrs Catherine Yarker (Teaching & Learning Committee; Parent Governor; SEN Governor)

I have recently been appointed as a parent governor and I am looking forward to working with the school to support the school, governors and parents in my new role. My son is in his second year at Northbourne and I am excited about having the opportunity to give something back to the school.  I am a Social Worker specialising in working with adults and children who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing and deafblind.  I am particularly passionate about Special Educational Needs, both through my work and my personal life.

Alongside my interest in sensory impairment, I enjoy cycling, running, cooking and visiting family and friends.


An introduction to the role of Parent Governors (2015)

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