Welcome to our Governors' section.
Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.
We have also provided a Register of Governor Interests and an Annual Statement of Issues for your information.
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:
Buildings and Finance, Staffing and Resources
Health and Safety
Curriculum and Standards
Safeguarding and Pupil Welfare
Committees also meet once a term and all 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 Mary’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 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 are appointed by the Bishop of Lancaster to represent the religious ethos of the school.
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.
Mrs S Slack
I began my teaching career at St Bede's Carlisle. Following this I moved to St Mary's 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 Workington. I am also a Local Leader of Education and a Section 48 Inspector for the Diocese of Lancaster.
In 2018, it was a privilege to be appointed Executive Headteacher of St Mary's.
I am totally committed in ensuring every child achieves there 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 Mary's family everyone is welcomed, valued and special.
Head of School
Mrs C Newland
Being part of the school's Governing Body is an important part of my role as head teacher of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. I work closely with governors with the ultimate aim of providing the best possible educational experiences for our pupils. The work of our Governing Body is effective because we share this vision and all have high expectations of what our pupils can achieve. We work together identifying areas for improvement, setting targets and monitoring actions to ensure that the school continues to provide excellent value for money.
Chair of Governors
Mrs G Duncan
I have been a governor since 2017 and just recently became Chair of Governors in January 2019. Both my children attend the school and have been given a great start to their lives . St Mary's is a warm, welcoming and friendly school and provides opportunity and experiences for every pupil.
Being a governor is important to me because I believe every child deserves the best start in life as mine have.
I am IOSH trained and just recently completed my Level2 in Mental Health Awareness.
Mr E Byrne
I have been a Foundation Governor since 1999. I am an Analytical Chemist and take a keen interest in the teaching of Science. I am a STEM science ambassador, a role which involves visiting schools and using various projects and lessons to encourage interest in the sciences. I currently have roles involving Health and Safety, and Safeguarding. All three of my children attended St Mary’s school and I still continue to find the school a very welcoming school with a strong Christian ethos. Outside of work and school my hobbies include fell walking, DIY and photography – and occasionally cycling.
Mrs M Holmes
I have been a Foundation Governor for 27 years! When I first became a Governor both of my sons attended St Mary’s School. Over the years I have been involved in lots of activities within the school. St Mary’s is a very friendly welcoming school with a sound Christian ethos.
Mrs F Teasdale
I have very fond memories of St Mary’s having attended in the 1960’s and can remember playing in what is now the car park for St. Mary’s church on Church Road, to helping us juniors ‘move’ up to the present building, when our section was completed. The ‘infants’ had moved up a year or so earlier. Oh to have a canteen on the premises! What bliss! It also meant that, as one of the ‘infant’ teachers was my mam, (Mrs. Woodall - I am her youngest daughter.) we arrived a little earlier than school started so was ‘encouraged’ by her to ‘do my piano practice’ on the piano in the hall. I firmly believe that the ‘concrete’ foundation for my faith was laid equally by my ‘home’ family and ‘school’ family. I cannot thank them enough for this.
A few years ago I was contacted and asked if I would return to help with delivering music lessons to some of the pupils in the school. I was more than delighted to do so. I taught some of the children ‘piano’ albeit they had to bring in their keyboards as unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of pianos! I became a Foundation Governor in March 2017 and by September was elected to the post of Vice Chair. I currently have roles involving Religious Education, History and Music.
It is wonderful to be back and involved with the school. It is also wonderful to see that the Christian ethos has not changed in the slightest. Mam, who did not originate from Workington, always maintained she was always in awe of the way the children of St Mary’s, encircled a child who we now term as having ‘special needs’ with love, and never called them any of the names that were in circulation at that time. St Mary’s was always a happy school to be in. Just watch the face of any ex pupil who attended in that era. It will probably light up! It is currently a happy, welcoming, caring school. With everyone working together, daily prayers to Our Blessed Lady and God beseeching them to protect, help and guide us to ensure we all stay true to our Mission Statement, those attending now and in the future will, when asked later in life, be able to say that their time at St Mary’s was the best time of their lives!
Mr I Denny
I became a Foundation Governor in February 2017 and I am responsible for Buildings and Finance. My wife and our three children have all attended St Mary’s School and my son completed a teaching training placement here. My son’s entry into the “Design a New School Badge Competition” won and St Mary’s still use his winning design today. All my children have gone on to good careers, having had a solid grounding and education in St Mary’s. This is the reason why I became a Governor as I wanted to give something back after all we have received as a family.
I have been a Parent Governor since the start of 2019. Currently one of my sons attends the school and my other is in Jack and Jill at St Mary's Pre-School. Both really enjoy going to school there and have been made to feel very welcome. Being a parent governor is important to me because I am interested in the schools future not only for my own sons but for the community and future pupils. It is a great school and I want to see it succeed in the future.
As the parent of a child attending St Mary's and another who I hope will attend it the future, I became interested in becoming a parent governor for many reasons. I have a keen interest in my child's education and also understanding the school environment as a whole. I volunteer regularly in school and feel this gives me an excellent insight into the dedication and values of everyone involved. I am proud to take on this role and I hope to give a positive contribution to the future of the school and ensure that all children feel that they are supported to gain the most from their early school years.
We currently have two vacancies for Foundation Governors
Clerk to the Governors
Mrs Julie Dyer
C/O St Mary’s Catholic Primary School