Local and CAST Governance
Local Governance - The Local Governing Board
The Local Governing Board comprises three Foundation Governors appointed by the Bishop of Plymouth Diocese, two Parent Governors who are elected by the parents of the school, two Co-opted Governors, one Staff Governor who was elected by the staff of the school and the Headteacher.
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 Local Governing Board 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.
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 Lucy Culkin
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 and foundation (Church) representatives who are very interested and enthusiastic about the well being of our school, our pupils and staff. 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, please ask at 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.
Local Governing Board Membership
Mrs Lucy Culkin - Co-opted Governor (Chair)
I am the Chief Executive of the Dorset and East Devon UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ‘Jurassic Coast’. As CEO for the organisation responsible for the management, geological and paleontological conservation and protection of the Site, I co-ordinate a team who deliver engagement, education and economic development of the World Heritage Site. I work closely with local government, central government and other representative bodies to ensure effective delivery of Government contracts, partnership agreements and organisational Governance. Having had extensive third sector project management experience, I am currently studying for an MBA at the University of Birmingham; gaining my Masters degree from Bournemouth University in 2007 and undergraduate degree in 1999. I have 2 children at St Mary’s, in both lower and upper years and consider it a privilege to be a Governor at the school.
Responsibilities:  Chair of Governors, Parents and Wider Community Governor  
Elected by:  Local Governing Board of St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Term of Office:  19/02/2019 to 18/02/2023
Meeting Attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  None declared
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  None

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 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  Employee of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Poole
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  None


Mrs Ann Harris, OBE - Foundation Governor (Vice Chair)

I am delighted to be the Vice-Chair of Governors at St Mary's Catholic Primary School.  My working life was spent in education as teacher, headteacher, adviser and inspector.  My passion for providing children with the best education possible remains.  I believe effective governance makes a difference and so am happy to be the National Leader of Governance Advocate for Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset which gives me the opportunity to work alongside other Governors.

At home, I am married to a very patient husband, with whom I share three children and eight grandchildren.  I enjoy painting, walking (particularly by the sea) and gardening in my spare time.

Responsibilities:  Vice Chair of Local Governance Board and Personnel Governor
Term of office:  04/02/2019 to 03/02/2023
Meeting attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  None
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  Trustee Plymouth CAST, Governor Bearwood Primary & Nursery School



Mrs Kerry Houston-Kypta - Parent Governor

I was born in Poole and, apart from my time spent away at University, I have always lived here.

In my working role, I am a Commercial Property Solicitor and Partner in a local law firm. I qualified in 2004 after studying European Law at Warwick and Bordeaux Universities and then completed my training with a large commercial firm in Southampton. I have a lot of experience of dealing with all aspects of commercial property work and hope to be able to bring those skills in to good use in my new role as a parent governor.

I am a mum of 2 daughters. My eldest is in her final year at St Marys and my youngest will hopefully be starting in September. I have seen my eldest daughter grow in confidence and flourish during her 7 years at the school and I am very happy to also be bringing my experience as a parent to the local board of governors.

When I had more free time, I used to be a keen Ballroom & Latin American Dancer and one day I would like to take it up again. In the meantime, most of my free time is spent looking after my daughters and taking them to their various hobbies and activities. I also enjoy gardening, running and going for long family walks along the beach.

Appointed by:  Governing Body
Term of office:  30/09/2019 to 29/09/2023
Meeting Attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  Salaried Partner Coles Miller LLB
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  St Edwards RC / CE School
Dr Adrian Nightingale - Foundation Governor

I am a lecturer within Southampton University’s Mechanical Engineering department. I teach engineers across all years and have wider higher education teaching experience having previously also taught undergraduate chemists and ocean scientists. I lead a small research group that develop water analysers, chemical reactors, and other sorts of fluid-based technology. I am also undergraduate Admissions Tutor for my department, dealing with a lot of excited prospective students as they decide where to go to university and what to study.

Away from work I am married to Sarah and we have two children who are both enjoying their education at St Mary’s. I am a reader at St Mary’s church and have previously served on the parish council. In my spare time I enjoy running, cycling, and music (guitar and records).

Responsibilities:  RE and Catholic Life Governor
Appointed by:  Diocese of Plymouth
Term of office:  22/03/2021 to 21/03/2025
Meeting Attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  None declared
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  None


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
Committees:  Admissions
Appointed by: Diocese of Plymouth
Term of office:  14/06/2013 to 13/06/2025 
Meeting Attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  Trustee Mosaic
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  None


Mr Simon Thomas - Staff Governor
I have been lucky enough to work at St Mary’s since the end of March 2019 having arrived on a secondment. I’m the father of two very active daughters who keep me fit keeping up with them on foot or bike. I have taught in Poole schools for twenty years and am still as enthusiastic about education and learning as I was when I first started. My career began in a church school and, in many ways, working at St Mary’s has felt like “coming home”. I have the privilege to represent the hard-working, dedicated staff of our school on the governing body. I look forward to providing an interface between two sets of people who share the success, spiritual development and well-being of the children as the basis for all they do.
Elected by:  The Staff of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Poole
Term of office:  30/09/2019 to 29/09/2023
Meeting Attendance 2020/21:  100%
Business Interests:  Employee St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Poole
Third Party Related Transactions:  None
Other Governorships:  None.

Clerk to Governors - Mrs Patricia Rushton


Governors resigned within the last 12 months
Mr Mike Haywood - Parent Governor
Term of Office:  12/09/2017 to 12/10/2020
Mrs Monika Kus-Kwiatkowska - Foundation Governor
Term of Office:  26/09/2019 to 15/02/2021
Ms Rebecca Granger - Parent Governor
Term of Office:  05/05/20 to 31/08/2021