School Governance Structure

The Priory Primary school is a maintained voluntary-aided Church of England School. This means that, while we are supported by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Local Authority and the Diocese of Winchester Education Board, our Governing body is ultimately responsible for the strategic direction of the school.

Each governor is responsible for contributing to the Governing body’s discussions and in meeting its three core functions. The Governing Body is legally accountable and must operate in the best interests of the school.

The task of the Governing Body is to lead the school strategically, focusing on 3 core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of the vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the effectiveness and efficient performance management of staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

We are incredibly indebted to this dedicated group of volunteers who give up so much time to oversee and support this school in this way.

Types of Governors and their Role

Parent Governors

Parent Governors are elected by other parents at the school, except in certain circumstances where they are appointed by the Governing body, for instance, when the number of vacancies is greater than the number of parents standing for election. Any parent or person with parental responsibility, or a carer, of a registered pupil at the school at the time of election can stand as a parent governor. Parent governors can remain in office until the end of their term of office, even if their child leaves the school. The role of the parent governor is not a spokesperson for the views of parents. They are the same as any other governor on the body, providing a ‘parental viewpoint’, i.e. representative of parents rather than the representative of parents.

Headteacher Governor

The Headteacher is a governor by default, although they do not have to take up the role. They can resign from their governor role. The role of the Headteacher is to implement the strategic framework established by the Governing body, which they will help develop as a member of the Governing body. The Headteacher is responsible for the operational and day-to-day running of the school. One of the Headteacher’s responsibilities it to provide information to the Governing body so that it can meet its three core objectives.

Staff Governor

Teaching and support staff who are employed to work at the school under contract of employment, at the time of election, are eligible to stand for election to the Governing body. Their role will end either at the end of their term of office, of if they leave the school. The role of a staff governor is the same as any other governor, strategic leadership and holding the Headteacher to account but also includes providing a ‘staff viewpoint’. It is important for prospective staff governors to fully understand the role prior to appointment. Staff governors are not a spokesperson for the views of all staff.

Local Authority Governor

A (LA) Local Authority Governor is nominated by their LA to the Governing Body. A LA Governor is representative of the Local Authority and is the same as any other governor; they provide an ‘LA viewpoint’ and they should participate in the same way as other governors. They are not required to be affiliated to a political party, although they should be aware of local issues.

Co-opted Governors

Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing body. They are people who in the opinion of the Governing body, have the skills and experience required to contribute to effective governance and success of the school. Those eligible to be staff governors can be co-opted governors. Co-opted governors act in the best interests of the school and wider community but should not be required by others, such as the appointing Governing body or community, to take a particular stance on issues discussed at Governing body meetings.

Foundation Governors

Foundation Governors are either appointed or take the role by virtue of an office that they hold (ex-officio), e.g. the local vicar. Where appointed, foundation governors in the school are appointed by the Winchester Diocesan Board of Education after consultation with the Parochial Church Council of Priory Church, Christchurch. Foundation Governors are appointed to secure compliance with the school’s trust deed and to preserve and develop the religious character of the school.

Who’s Who on the Governing Body

Chair of Governors, Mr Geoff Tabor

Vice-chair of Governors, Mr Dominic Jones

AppointmentNameTerm of Office (Start)Term of Office (Expiry)
Headteacher (by appointment)Sarah RichardsonSept 2023
Chair (Foundation)Geoff Tabor July 2021
(elected as Chair Sept 2022)

July 2025  
Vice-Chair (Foundation – Diocesan Education Committee)Dom Jones May 2021
(elected as Vice-chair Sept 2022)
May 2025
Ex-Officio (Foundation – Priory Church)Father CharlesOct 2015
FoundationAnita PennyMay 2023May 2027
FoundationSuzanne Gosling May 2021May 2025
FoundationTim Hewitt
July 2023July 2027
FoundationGenevieve Ross July 2023July 2027
FoundationSimon EarlMay 2021May 2025
Local Authority (BCP Council)Sally HawkridgeAug 2021Aug 2025
Staff Jenna FieldSept 2020Aug 2024
ParentLeonie Hurrell
July 2023July 2027
ClerkKay TowlerMay 2019  –

In 2023-24 the governors plan to meet monthly to oversee matters relating to the quality of education, safeguarding and the core operation of the school i.e. good financial management. Previously, the governors worked in 2 sub-committees (Finance and Resources and Standards).

Governors who have stepped down in the last 3 years (since Sept 2020):

NameRoleTerm of Office
Barbara RobertsonFoundation Governorresigned July 23
Sarah AndrewsParent Governorresigned July 23
Sue SollyFoundation Governor and chairSept 1998 – Jul 22
Kate WoodheadFoundation GovernorNov 2020 – May 22
Lisa BlackburnLA GovernorSep 20 – Aug 21
Jamie WardParent GovernorMar 17 – Jul 21
Jonathan EvansFoundationFeb 20 – Jan 21
Gerald Crabb (deceased)Foundation and Vice ChairNov 16 – Nov 20
Simon CroutearStaff and Associate (AHT) Sept 20 – Dec 20
Alistair LambonFoundationMar 17 – Sep 20
Stephen Bowdenco-optedApr 17 – Sep 20

Governors with particular responsibilities

Mr Dominic Jones is our Governor responsible for safeguarding.

Mr Earl is our Governor responsible for the premises, including health and safety.

A small sub-group of Governors, including Mrs Penny and Mr Tabor are responsible for admissions.

Mrs Andrews is our Governor responsible for SEND and inclusion, including looked after children and Pupil Premium.

Mrs Robertson and Father Charles are our SIAMS linked Governors.

Governing Body – Terms of Reference

Governors’ Business and Financial Interests Declaration

Governors’ Attendance at Meetings Record

Full Governing Body Minutes

2022-23 academic year

2021-22 academic year

FGB Minutes

Standards Committee

Finance and Resources Committee

2020 – 21 Academic Year

2019 – 20 Academic Year