Who are our Governors?
The Governors are unpaid volunteers who are all motivated to make a positive contribution to the education of Sebert Wood children. Our Governors are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are parents of children in the school, some live in neighbouring houses, others work in the local business community or are appointed by the local authority. There is always at least one staff governor.
Chair of Governors and Safeguarding Governor : Mr Jamie Gaskin
Vice Chair of Governors : Mr Andrew Southwood
Our current Governors are as listed below:
Mr Richard Attwell – Parent Governor Richard was elected as a parent governor in February 2016. He has two children that have been educated at Sebert Wood Primary School and two older ones that are now working in Cambridge. Richard has worked in financial management positions throughout his financial career. He is the governor with responsibility for Maths and PE and sits on the Finance and Premises Committees.
Mr Graham Balaam – Co-opted Governor Graham has been a governor since 2004, both his children went through the school between 2004 and 2009 but he committed to stay on the board to see the school through the current School Organisation Review.
Coming from an Industry based finance background Graham has many years of experience with finance and business operations and has now gained good knowledge of the school budgets and day to day demands of a busy governing body.
Mr Miles Beasley – Co-opted Governor Miles has lived in Bury for 8 years and two of his three daughters currently attend the school. He has been a Co-opted Governor for a year and in addition to the full board responsibilities, supports the Personnel committee. A partner within the John Lewis Partnership, Miles works for Waitrose as a Regional Operations Manager. As is the case for many, family life is extremely busy. However there is a little free time found for sport as a participant and spectator and socialising with friends and family.
Mr Peter Dewhurst – Headteacher
Mrs Helen Edgar – Parent Governor Helen was elected as a parent governor in February 2016. She has had two children go through Sebert Wood, one currently in Year 6. She is a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at a local primary school and has worked in primary education for 20 years. She is a governor with responsibility for Special Educational Needs and IT and sits on the Curriculum and SEND committees. She is passionate about the education of children , allowing them to reach their full potential.
Mr Jamie Gaskin – Chair of Governors and Safeguarding Governor Jamie has lived in Bury St Edmunds for the past 17 years. Jamie has two sons, both having previously attended Sebert Wood. Jamie’s wife Jo is also a Teaching Assistant in Nursery. Jamie works in retail as a company director. Outside of work Jamie enjoys socialising with friends and family!
Miss Samantha Lee – Staff Governor
Mrs Marie MacInnes – Co-opted Governor Marie is coming to the end of three terms of governorship at Sebert Wood and has seen many changes over these last 11 to 12 years.
Her entire working life has been with the NHS but is now retired. When working, Marie worked as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist with children with disabilities, both physical and emotional. She chairs the Special Needs committee of the governors plus the Curriculum committee, and has worked with Mrs Dade and Early Years, having small groups of children to develop gross and fine motor skills during the school week.
Her late husband was a governor of three different schools and her family are concerned with education in all its aspects, and believe that when children are happy they learn well.
Marie has two sons and two grandchildren, who she sees regularly. She am involved with Holiday Clubs, Sunday School and Mums and Toddlers weekly groups within church.
Her interests are reading, gardening, flower arranging and travelling.
Mrs Amanda Mead – Parent Governor Amanda was elected as a parent governor in February 2018. She has two children at Sebert Wood and has seen the school transition into a full primary school with the addition of Years 5 and 6. Amanda is a qualified solicitor. As well as undertaking full governor duties she is GDPR Governor and also supports the Curriculum Committee.
Mr Andrew Southwood – Parent Governor – Vice Chair Andrew, a governor since 2013, has three young children who are working their way through the school for several years to come. With over 15 years experience as an Environmental Regulator, Andrew’s areas of particular interest include climate change and the ‘Green’ agenda. His public sector contacts to accelerate the installation of solar panels on the schools roof, saving the school £100’s every year in energy bills and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of our school.
Mr Peter Thompson – Local Authority After graduating in Law from the University of Liverpool, work brought Peter to Bury St Edmunds in 2004. After falling in love with the town, he settled in the next street to the school, moving there in 2009. Now working as a Business Manager in the automotive trade, Peter also sits as an elected member for Moreton Hall at West Suffolk Council and Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
Although a Local Authority governor, Peter also has two children moving through the school. He is a governor with responsibility for SEN and sits on the SEN and Curriculum committees.
Mrs Wendy Harvey – Co-opted Governor Wendy has worked at the school for 20 years. In 2006, she completed a Specialist Teaching Assistant Certificate qualification, which enabled her to cover teachers when they have time out of class for courses or preparation time. Then in 2012, she gained her Higher Level Teaching Assistant status. She is currently mentor for the school’s Teaching Assistants. Her passion comes from her now, two grown up children attending the school. She wants to continue to enable every child that attends the school to have the best learning experiences, becoming independent learners, finding their strengths and encouraging self discovery.
What is the role of the Governors?
We view our Governors as our ‘Critical Friends’. They provide us with strategic leadership and accountability. They regularly challenge our decisions and by doing so help us to become as effective as possible.
What do the Governors do?
Our Governing body carry out a number of important roles including:
• setting the aims and objectives for the school
• setting performance targets for achieving those aims and objectives
• monitoring and evaluating the progress the school is making towards achieving those aims and objectives
• approving school policies
• ensuring all children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
• balancing the finances and approving expenses
• appointing the headteacher, assessing his/her performance and setting their pay
• assisting in the appointment of members of the teaching staff and agreeing their pay recommendations
• hearing appeals on pupil exclusion
• dealing with staff grievances and disciplinary action
• ensuring compliance with statutory safeguarding requirements
• hearing the second stage of parental complaints
What do the Governors not do?
Our Governors do not manage the school on a day to day basis. This is the role of the Headteacher and the senior management team. Whilst Governors do visit the school regularly as part of their strategic role, they do not assess the quality of teaching. They monitor this by analysing data provided by the school and external sources (e.g. Ofsted).
They do not monitor individual children’s performance or behaviour. They identify themes and trends by monitoring the progress of groups of children.
Governors do receive feedback from stakeholders, including parents, but only deal with complaints that have not been resolvable directly with the school. All parents are encouraged to approach the school in the first instance.
Governors do not fundraise for the school (although many choose to do so).
How often do Governors meet?
Governors meet as a full governing body at least once a term. In addition, all Governors sit on various committees that also meet once a term. A budget setting meeting is held once a year.
In between meetings, Governors attend training sessions, carry out school visits, review documents and respond to emails and telephone calls as needs demand. On average the role demands around 10-20 days commitment per year.
How do I contact the Governors?
Governors are happy to be approached in person in the playground. More formal approaches can be made by writing to the Chair of Governors. Letters for the Chair of Governors can be left with the school office. Alternatively, Governors can be contacted at the following email address: Governors @sebertwood.co.uk
How do I become a Sebert Wood Governor?
If you are interested in becoming a Governor, please approach the school. Governors are appointed for a four year term. Whilst many Governors sit for more than one term, there are regular vacancies as Governors move, or change their home or working patterns which may prevent them from being able to commit enough time.
Anybody over 18 years of age can apply to become a Governor. No special qualifications are required. All necessary training and support is provided.
The Governors are committed and work hard for the school. However, they also know how to have fun and can often be seen socialising together!