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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.


St Mary’s Governing Body


The main role of the governing body is to operate at a strategic level, ensuring that the Catholic vision and character of our school is upheld, holding the Head teacher and leadership team to account and overseeing the financial performance of the school. Governors also set the budget, manage the school’s admissions criteria and are involved in the recruitment of senior leadership and other staff.


Foundation Governors – These governors are appointed by the Bishop of Lancaster specifically to preserve and develop the Catholic ethos of our school and represent the Bishop’s education policy (e.g. worship and religious education). This is why in Catholic schools the Foundation Governors will always outnumber other governors.


Parent Governors – Parent governors play a vital role on governing bodies, holding the unique position of having a parental viewpoint of the school. Through their children, they have a first-hand experience of the delivery of the curriculum, and how the school is perceived from the ‘consumers’ point of view. This enables parent governors to bring a different perspective to the strategic management of the school. Parent governors are representative parents, rather than representatives of parents.


Staff Governors – These consist of the headteacher and a member of staff (either teaching or non-teaching). The position of the headteacher being ‘ring-fenced’ (ex-officio), so should the headteacher choose not to be a governor, no-one else can fill the vacancy. Staff governors are representative staff members, rather than representatives of staff; bringing an alternative viewpoint and perspective to discussion.


Local Authority Governors – Local authority (LA) governors are appointed to be a link between the LA and its schools. They must therefore be aware of any local priorities and the reasons behind these, but they cannot be instructed how to vote at meetings. Local authority governors are nominated by the local authority but appointed by the governing body.


Co-Opted Governors – A co-opted governor is a person appointed by the governing body who, in the opinion of the governing body, has the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school. A co-opted governor, may have an area of specialist knowledge or experience or bring a wide range of skills and experience to their role as a governor.


Category of GovernorNameTerm of Office

Areas of


Voting Rights

Relationships in


FoundationMr Robert GouldingApr 2019 - March 2023   
FoundationMr William StarkeyApr 2023 - 2027

R.E./Prayer and Liturgy




FoundationMiss Nicola Pettitt - Chair of GovernorsJuly 2021 - 2025

Pupil Premium/

Sports Funding/ GDPR/Reading/



Children attend


FoundationMrs Lucy BrannonMay 2023 - 2027 YesChildren attend school
FoundationFr Kevan DorganMay 2023 - 2027 YesParish Priest
Foundation Vacant X4 


ParentMrs Christina BeattieNov 2022 - June 2023   

Child attends school

ParentMrs Lucy BrannonNov 2022 - May 2023  Children attend school
ParentMiss Joanne ShieldsSept 2023 - 2027 YesChild attends school
ParentMiss Becky KerrSept 2023 - 2027 YesChild attends school
Staff RepresentativeMrs Carley MillerFeb 2023 - 2027 Yes

Child attends


Local Authority RepMrs Sarah JardineOct 2020 - 2024Maths/Modern Foreign LanguageYes

Headteacher at Valley

Primary School

Co-optedMrs Margaret WoosnamJuly 2021 - 2025




Daughter is

a teacher/

grandchild attends school

HeadteacherMrs Susan StarkieEx Officio Yes 
Clerk to GovernorsMrs Anne Hillon  No

Daughter is a teacher/


attend school


Governor Committees


Staffing  Buildings/H&SFinanceQuality of EducationDisciplinaryAppeals
M. WoosnamW. StarkeyN. PettittN. PettittN. PettittM. Woosnam
N. PettittFr K. DorganS. JardineL. BrannonS. JardineL. Brannon
S. JardineC. MillerS. StarkieM. WoosnamW. StarkeyFr K. Dorgan
S. StarkieS. Starkie

A. Baker


C. Miller

S. Starkie





The chair of each committee is highlighted.


Governor Attendance 2021/22/23













 1st half term2nd half term1st half term2nd half term1st half term2nd half term1st half term2nd half term1st half term2nd half term
Nicola Pettitt YY Y Y YYY
Margaret Woosnam YY Y Y YXY
Robert Goulding YYY X X - -
Billy Starkey YX X Y YYX
Christina Beattie YX Y Y -XX
Sarah Jardine YY Y T XXY
Carley Miller YX X Y Y-Y
Susan Starkie YY Y Y YYY
Lucy Brannon -------YX





  • Attendance key: Y = Present, X = Absent, T = Teaching, R= Resigned/Term of Office ended, – = Not expected to attend.
  • Attendance figures are for full governing body meetings during the academic year, not committee meetings.
  • Each of the governors has signed the Register of Business Interests.
  • None of the above are governors at other educational establishments in the Whitehaven area.
  • Governors who have resigned/completed term of office during the last year are shown in blue.