What are School Governors?
They are committed non-executive volunteers who come from all walks of life in the local community. For schools to be able to continuously improve and become increasingly accountable, it is important that a strong and knowledgeable governing body brings a range of skills and experience to support and challenge the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team.
What are their key responsibilities?
- to determine strategic aims and promote values and beliefs, ensuring there is a broad and balanced curriculum which supports the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical well-being and development of pupils
- to monitor and review the performance of the Headteacher
- to monitor the school’s finances and resources to ensure that they are well-managed for the benefit of pupils
How are they chosen?
There are various categories of Governors:
- Foundation Governors in Church of England schools are nominated by the local Parish (Parochial Church Council) and approved by the Diocese. In Voluntary Aided schools, like ours, there must be a majority of Foundation Governors over all other categories combined.
- Co-opted Governors are appointed by the Governing Body for their individual skills and experience.
- Parent Governors are elected by all parents.
- Staff Governors are elected by all staff.
- Local Authority Governors are appointed by the Local Authority.
- Headteachers are governors by right (ex officio) for as long as they are in post unless they choose to opt out.
Associate Members are appointed to one or more committees of the board because they have specific knowledge and expertise in a particular area. Associate Members are not Governors. They may be given voted rights on their particular committee but cannot vote at Full Governing Body meetings.
Our Federation’s current Governors and Associate Members:
Helene Allen is a Foundation Governor, Health & Safety Governor and governor link for Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) at Oakfield. Helene is Island born and believes in the importance of giving back to the community and sharing skills. Helene is a volunteer for various organisations, including the Carnival, Youth for Christ, Messy Church and Open Arms. Helene has been involved with Oakfield Primary School for many years, including as an LSA, Family Learning, PTA and as a Governor. Helene believes that education is paramount but empowering and nurturing the children is crucial.
Eric Hemming is a Foundation Governor and Chair of Governors. He has been involved with corporate governance in public and private healthcare organisations as an executive and non-executive director since the early 1980s. After he retired to IOW he became a school governor in primary academies, including as Chair of Governors in Shanklin. He brings business and organisational management skills, including coaching and mentoring senior managers. He is Chair of Governors at Wootton Community Primary School and a founding member of the board of Ed-WISE IOW, the Island’s charitable community benefit society dedicated to enhancing the education and life chances of IOW children and young people.
Maria Herbert is Head of School at Arreton and an Associate Member. She is invited to attend and contribute to all governing body and committee meetings. Maria entered the teaching profession in 1986. She has taught in a variety of school across the island and joined Arreton 15 years ago. During this time Maria has taken on increasing amounts of responsibility including SENCO and became Head of School in September 2017. Maria is committed to the school and works tirelessly to ensure all of the children and their families feel valued, supported and are able to reach their full potential. Maria firmly believes in providing children with as many experiences as possible so allowing all to shine and achieve. Maria is very proud to work at Arreton and be part of the continuing journey.
Simon Jarvis is the Staff Governor for the federation. After an 18 year career as a manager with The John Lewis Partnership, mostly in London, he re-trained and moved to teaching in 2001 and worked in a deprived South London borough for eight years. While there, he served on the governing body as the teacher governor before moving to the – now closed – Bishop Lovett Middle School. Reorganisation saw him move to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School where he also served as Staff Governor with a specific interest in data and the community. He moved to Oakfield in 2016 and now wishes to bring his experience for the benefit of the children of our Oakfield family. He is a member of the Camerata Chamber Choir on the island and, when time and hovercraft permit, enjoys singing services with the Consort Choir in Portsmouth Cathedral.
Marilyn Larkin is a Foundation Governor. She is the Chair of the Education & Standards Committee and co-ordinator of the governor monitoring programme at Oakfield. She has been involved in education since 1972, was a primary school teacher for 40 years and part of the Senior Leadership Team at her last school where she held a TLR (Teaching and Learning Responsibility) for Religious Education (“RE”), Collective Worship and English as an Additional Language. She has been a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) tutor who worked in adult Education and abroad in Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and China. She was a member of the S.A.C.R.E (Standing Advisory Council for RE) for Southend Borough. Since retiring to IOW she is a member of the Open the Book team which provides Christian based assemblies in Newport primary schools.
Paul McCathie joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in April 2019. Paul has a daughter at Oakfield. Paul is originally from New Zealand, but has lived on the Island since 2003.He is a professional tree climber and arborist and he owns and manages Goodleaf Tree Climbing, a recreational tree climbing company based in Appley Park in Ryde.
Jane Page is a Foundation Governor and co-ordinator of the governor monitoring programme at Arreton. She is a member of the Education & Standards Committee. She has been a Foundation Governor for The Arreton & Oakfield Federation since 2015, after retiring from a student focussed role in Further Education. She is also an education and learning volunteer at Osborne House and is part of the team that leads special sessions for schools. She regularly volunteers at Arreton with the older children and is responsible for monitoring the governor visits at Arreton.
Martine Raby is an Islander and went on to study History of Art with History, and took a post-graduate year in antique valuation. She worked in Cowes at an information service which traced art, antiques and collectables for dealers and collectors, and then as a PA / Events manager and subsequently in logistics. Through her children, she developed an interest in the running of schools. She became involved and chaired the local PTA and subsequently moved into school administration. She was an experienced Clerk to Governors before becoming School Business Manager in a maintained primary school. With her children now both in further education and university, she now concentrates on running her own long-established family business. She volunteers at the IOW Foodbank warehouse and is a board member of Ed-Wise a community benefit organisation which is dedicated to enhancing the education and life chances of children on the Island.
Vikki Reader is Head of School at Arreton Oakfield and Associate Member. She attends all governing body and committee meetings. Vikki entered the teaching profession in 1998 after qualifying from Kingston University, Surrey. She has experience of teaching in London and on the Island. After 4 years, she was awarded Advanced Skills Teacher Status by the Department for Education and part of this role included supporting other teachers on the Island to improve the quality of teaching in Key Stage 1, and in particular, Early Years. Three years later, Vikki was a senior leader and the opportunity arose to be seconded to work for the Local Authority as a Children’s Centre Teacher. She jumped at the opportunity to work more closely with families and children of pre-school age and later combined this role with the job of improving Literacy and Early Years’ Outcomes across the Isle of Wight, which involved supporting many primary schools. Vikki’s experience drives the value she places on working with others and a wide range of agencies to help improve children’s life chances by considering the whole child, so when the opportunity to join our Federation as a Senior Leader with responsibility for Early Years arose, she applied immediately. Since then, she has progressed from Deputy Head to Head of School at Oakfield, a role that she is immensely proud to hold.
Mark Stephens is a co-opted Governor who joined the Federation in April 2019 following retirement. Mark is a member of the Education & Standards Committee and has responsibility for P.E. and Sports across the Federation. Mark started teaching on Merseyside in 1983. He has experience teaching across Secondary, Middle and Primary School age groups. His professional achievements include Assistant Head at Cowes High School, Head of Solent Middle School, moving it from Good to outstanding, and Principal of St Blasius Primary, moving it from special measures to good. Mark’s specialism is Physical Education. He is Vice Chair of the Island Schools Football Association and Treasurer of the Island Schools Cricket Association. Mark also has a keen interest in Special Educational Needs and holds the National SEND award, as well as a diploma in understanding Dyslexia. Outside of education, Mark is interested in all sport and DIY.
Christine Westmore is a Foundation Governor and governor link for the Early Years Foundation Stage (“EYFS”). Christine is a member of the Education & Standards committee. Christine has a background in Early Years’ teaching and project management with Hertfordshire County Council and later in social care and the development of information sharing systems for social workers in Lincolnshire. Now retired and having returned to the Island in 2012, Christine is kept busy with a grand parenting role although she enjoys the visits to both schools and meeting the children in the Reception classes.
Kath Abbott. I was born and educated on the island and ordained in the Church of England in 1999 and served a curacy at Seaview and St Helens before being appointed Rector of Wootton in 2002. Currently I am priest in charge of the Parishes of Wroxall, Newchurch and Arreton. Prior to ordination I had a career in SEN Education. As a qualified nursery nurse I worked as a senior houseparent at St Catherine’s School Ventnor, then as a nursery nurse at Medina House School before finally joining the SEN early years team then based at Thompson house Newport. My role was community based, as part of a multidisciplinary team working with children from birth to transition into school delivering developmental based education, including Portage home teaching, in conjunction with the other professionals; ie Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and Educational psychology.
There are currently vacancies for Foundation Governors, especially with recent educational and safeguarding experience. With a view to the future we are also looking to engage governors who would be willing to prepare to take on responsibilities as chairs of committees and the governing body itself in due course.
Each of the two committees (Resources and Education & Standards) has specific governors as permanent members but all governors are entitled and encouraged to attend any committee meetings if they wish.