Local and CAST Governance


Local Governance - The Governing Body

The Governing Body comprises eight Foundation Governors appointed by the Bishop of Plymouth Diocese, two Parent Governors who are elected by the parents of the school, two Staff Governors who are elected by the staff of the school and the Headteacher. The Governing Body can also appoint Co-opted Governors to support its work. 


Parent Governors are elected every four years or on the resignation of a Parent Governor (whichever is earlier). All parents of the school are eligible to be a Parent Governor and will be invited to nominate themselves for such a role should a vacancy arise.


The Governing Body is a hard-working group of volunteers who are passionate about education and give up so much of their time and energy to support the young children in our schools.


In April 2015, St Mary's had a Canon 806 RE inspection and the Governors were key in providing the evidence to enable the inspectors to unanimously evaluate our school as a community which performs collectively according to the Gospel of St John 13:14-15 ‘If I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you are also to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you should also do as I have done to you’. We have been fortunate to welcome new Governors to our school over the past 12 months who have been keen to learn about their roles and responsibilities and to take an active part of in the life of the school. If you would like to find out more about becoming a Governor please ask.

Contact: The chair of Governors, Mrs Ann Harris
c/o St Marys Catholic Primary School 
      Devon Road
      BH15 3QQ

The Role of the Governors

The School Governors at St. Mary’s are parent, staff, foundation (Church) and community representatives who are very interested and enthusiastic about the well being of our school, our pupils and staff. The Governors are responsible for the effective running of the school, both financially and educationally. The governing body has organised itself to ensure that it meets all of its statutory obligations by having a named Governor responsible for undertaking a range of specific tasks.


They meet regularly and oversee the leadership and management of the school, providing expertise, critical friendship and a great deal of support to the school. Their chief concern is to ensure a high quality education for the pupils of St. Mary’s and that the school complies with initiatives and legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act.


The minutes of each meeting are available for inspection in the school office.


Our governors at St. Mary’s are extremely approachable and welcome opportunities to share information about their business and to discuss school matters.

Governing Body Membership

Mrs Ann Harris - Co-opted Governor (Chair)

Responsibilities:  Chair of Local Governance Board and Personnel Governor
Term of office:  30/03/2017 to 29/03/2018
Meeting attendance 2016/17:  100%


Mrs Helen Armstrong - Staff Governor (Head teacher)
I was appointed as the Head teacher of St Mary’s from September 2014. I am married to Tony and we have two children Lucy and Katie. My first teaching experience was in Germany in a Forces school where I taught across the primary range for 5 ½ years. I then taught in Dorset schools for 15 years in all year groups, with a variety of responsibilities. I was previously the Head teacher of a small Dorset school.  In all roles I have been on the school's Governing body and have always enjoyed working with the Governors to improve the provision for our children.

Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  38% 


Mrs Sharon Betts - Staff Governor (Teacher)
I have been a teacher at St Mary’s since 1995!  I am married to Richard and we have two children Nathan and Megan – both of whom attended St Mary’s and are now at St Edward’s.  My first teaching experience was in a Catholic school in Sheffield.  In my many years at St Mary’s, I have been the Co-ordinator for Art, Key Stage Two and Three, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  I am currently Assistant Headteacher and the Designated Safeguarding Lead. I have been on the Governing body for several years and have served on both Pastoral and Curriculum committees.  This role gives me the opportunity to work alongside people who are committed to providing the best educational experience for our children, and I look forward to the opportunities where we can develop our role as a governing body even further.

Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  85%
Committee:  Admissions
Elected by:  The staff of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Poole 


Mrs Lucy Culkin - Co-opted Governor
My son joined St Mary’s in September 2014; I was always keen to ‘give back’ as much as I could to the school community who have supported and nurtured his development within every year group. I am very enthusiastic about being able to work closely with parents and join-up our wider community. I grew up in Poole and chose to settle here, close to family and friends after spending time away at university and abroad. I have worked as a Senior Manager within the charitable sector for the past 14 years, more specifically within organisations who develop informal learning provisions and deliver information, advice and guidance for the most vulnerable within our communities. I have lectured to undergraduate students at Southampton University Business School and serve as a mentor to European students studying in the UK under the European Union Eramus Plus programme. I have a broad range of experience which spans community engagement, education, working alongside government bodies and communication. I hope I can bring some of these skills to the school for the benefit its future.
Elected by:  Governors of St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Term of Office:  06/11/2017 to 05/11/2018 
Mrs Rebecca Granger - Parent Governor
I’m married to James and our twin daughters Milly and Candy are flourishing very happily at St Marys. I joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in 2015. Together with practising as an architect for 20+ years, I’ve lectured on the architecture degree course at the Arts University Bournemouth, and I continue to offer the students mentoring support during their studies and after graduation, work placements and internships within the construction industry. I have wide-ranging experience in the design and construction of school buildings and I’m able to advise on the continuing plans and objectives for improvements to the school’s teaching environment and its facilities. It is a privilege to be actively involved in the School’s governance.
Responsibilities:  Health and Safety Governor
Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  89%
Elected by:  Parents of St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Term of Office:  02/12/2015 to 01/12/2019 
Mr Mike Hayward - Parent Governor
Responsibilities:  Finance Governor
Committees:  Pay Committee
Appointed by:  Governing Body
Term of office:  12/09/2017 to 11/09/2021
Mr Richard Howard - Staff Governor (Teacher)

I joined St. Mary’s in September 2013 having previously worked in two middle schools in Dorset as well as two years teaching in the state school system in rural Japan.  My experience in the primary setting of St. Mary’s has been fascinating and it has been a real pleasure to watch the progress of the children who I have taught in the last five years here.  My P.G.C.E. at Exeter included a specific focus on Literature and it is this subject that is still closest to my heart although I also enjoy working with our Academically More Able children and promoting an interest in the world outside school through visits, competitions and making links with local groups in a range of sectors.  The current governing body is a committed team with a wide range of skills and a clear focus on ensuring the best for our pupils.

Meeting attendance 2016/17:  90%
Elected by:  The Staff of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Poole
Term of office:  07/10/2016 to 06/10/2020

Mrs Monika Kus-Kwiatkowska - Foundation Governor
I have been appointed as a Foundation Governor in June 2015. I am the member of the Pay Review and Admissions Committees. I am also very enthusiastic about being able to work closely with parents, especially with those, whose children speak English as a second language. I have been living in Poole for the last 7 years and I work for the Local Authority. My daughter started at St Mary’s in September 2014 and I can already see the progress she’s made so far, both academically and socially. It’s a privilege to witness the development of our children at St Mary’s and being able to contribute to their wellbeing.

Responsibilities:  Inclusion and Child Protection Governor
Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  78%
Committees:  Admissions
Appointed by:  Diocese of Plymouth
Term of office:  20/05/2015 to 19/05/2019


Eunice Masters - Foundation Governor
I have been a Foundation Governor at St Mary’s since the autumn of 2015. I work part time in St Mary’s Catholic Church parish office and I now have the time to give something back to the school for all it did for my two sons who attended from 1992 to 2001. As a catechist involved in running the Poole Confirmation Programme and supporting the First Holy Communion Programme, I am really interested in how RE is now taught in school. Since becoming a Governor, I have visited the school for a variety of reasons from just a walk round and getting to know you, to lesson observations and staff meetings. The one thing that really strikes me is how welcoming both students and staff are. The students are fantastic, so much more confident than mine were at that age. They are articulate, polite and very able to tell visitors to their classroom what they are studying and why. I look forward to helping support the school over the coming years.
Responsibilities:  Vice Chair of Governors and Teaching and Learning Governor
Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  100%
Appointed by:  Diocese of Plymouth
Term of Office:  11/11/2015 to 10/11/2019 

Mrs Mary Norrish - Foundation Governor
I have been a Governor at St. Mary’s since the autumn of 2013. The school is a very different and much more welcoming place since my 4 children attended between 1976 & 1991. The increased pupil numbers benefit from not only better buildings, but also diverse teaching methods, including the advantages brought by the digital internet world, delivered by St Mary’s dedicated and enthusiastic staff team. I really enjoy going into school to observe classes and see that the opportunities for learning are more interactive and the children certainly look to be enjoying the experience, despite the restrictions of National Curriculum and Ofsted requirements. As a governor, I am also particularly interested in ensuring that staff and governors recognise their individual responsibility for safeguarding every child, and that children with additional educational needs are well supported to make the best use of their particular talents. Besides being a school governor, I am also a trustee of the charity Mosaic, supporting bereaved children across Dorset. I belong to the music group at 9:30 Mass, sing in two local choirs, ramble all over Dorset and the New Forest with St. Mary’s walkers every week, and help with my grandchildren too, so it’s quite an active retirement from children’s social work!

Responsibilities: Safeguarding and Equalities Governor
Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  100%
Committees:  Admissions
Appointed by: Diocese of Plymouth
Term of office:  14/06/2013 to 13/06/2021 


Cannon John Webb - Associate Member
I was ordained to the Priesthood on 27th June, 1986 by Bishop Christopher Budd. My first appointment in October 1986 was to the Sacred Heart Church Exeter as Assistant Priest. In August 1988 I became Assistant Priest of St Peter’s, Crownhill, Plymouth. With the retirement of the Parish Priest in 1990 I became Priest in charge and later Parish Priest of St Peters.

In 1994 I was appointed Bishop’s Secretary and Priest in charge of St Thomas More, Southway, Plymouth, a position I held for four years before moving to St Joseph’s Weymouth in August 1998. Here I also had responsibility for Our Lady Star of the Sea on Portland and Pastoral Care of the Catholic inmates in the Portland Young Offenders institution on Portland. In November 2002 I became a full-time Prison Chaplain initially covering both Chanings Wood Prison in Denbury, Nr Newton Abbot and Dartmoor. After a short time I worked solely in Dartmoor Prison and became the lead chaplain. In 2009, after seven years in full-time Prison Chaplaincy work I moved back into parish work and returned to Crownhill to the recently created parish of St Peter and St Thomas More where I remained until I was appointed Parish priest of St Mary’s in September 2015. On 5th June 2015 (The Feast of St Boniface) I was appointed a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter.

Meeting Attendance 2016/17:  50%
Committees:  Admissions
Appointed by:  Governing Body of St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Term of Office:  01/09/2015 to 31/08/2019 


Clerk to Governors - Mrs Patricia Rushton

Mr Sean Noonan - Co-opted Governor (retired)
Term of office:  08/12/2016 to 11/07/2017

Dr Nkolika Anyabolu - Foundation Governor (retired)

Term of Office:  18/11/2015 to 11/09/2017

Mr Matt Desmier - Foundation Governor (retired)

Term of Office:  04/03/2014 to 29/03/2017 

CAST Governance