Governing bodies are the key strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school. They are also a key part of the overall system for school accountability. Governing bodies have a vital role to play in driving up school and pupil performance and ensuring that resources are used well to give every child the best possible education.
Governing bodies have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
In practice, governors are a group of volunteers who include parents, staff and members of the local community who act collectively to make decisions that matter to the school. They are motivated to do the best for the children of the school.
Governing bodies help set the school’s aims and values. They also make decisions on matters such as performance targets, school policies, and the school’s development plan. They oversee the use of the school’s budget, and have responsibility to obtain value for money for that budget, and are responsible for the appointment of the head teacher.
In addition, governors monitor, support and challenge the head teacher and staff on how well those policies and targets are followed through. They do this by visiting the school, getting to know its strengths and weaknesses, and asking useful questions that foster an ethos of continuous improvement. A more detailed account of how we work can be found below.
Contacting the School Governors
If you wish to contact the Governing Body, please use the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Approach of Governors and Governing Body
Governors act according to particular values:
Mutual respect and trust between staff, pupils and governors
Shared (with staff) common purpose and collective responsibility for the school
High expectations for the school – pushing for change and striving for better
Governors commit significant amounts of time and energy to their role and supporting the school and its development. This involves attending meetings, getting to know the school and keeping up to date with its activities (attending activities where appropriate) and taking up additional tasks as and when required.
Governors’ core focus is what is in the best interest of the school, pupils and staff and the aim is to ensure that the school is outstanding.
Governors focus on the broader picture and provide a general steer for the school and do not generally become involved in the detailed day to day running of the school.
Governors work to build constructive working relationships with staff at the school and other governors.
Governors are critical friends – supporting the school and challenging the school to improve its performance; asking difficult questions and working with the school to make difficult decisions as and when this is necessary.
Governors understand the boundaries of their role – they are not inspectors.
Governors know when to speak and when not to and when to give advice and when not to
Governors work to add value to the school.
Specific Roles & Responsibilities
Governors oversee and support the strategic development of the school in the following areas:
School achievement - this is holistically (including academic and moral development of children) and in line with every child matters
Operating as a school and a business
Governors have statutory duties:
These relate to how the school is constituted
Particular areas are finances and safeguarding
Governors oversee and support the work of the Head Teacher.
Governors ask questions, monitor and focus on change – a key part of this is monitoring evidence and data.
Where possible governors are aware and consider past activities to ensure changes suggested are relevant and not re-inventing the wheel.
Governors bring in outside expertise and use their skills and knowledge from their professional lives to support the school, this is in particular areas such as finances, areas that the staff do not always have experience of.
Governors are a link to the community where the school is based.
Governors take up specific roles where necessary:
Individual governors take up specific roles – in particular Safeguarding, Finance, Data, Legal, Human Resources, Commercial Management and other strategic areas deemed appropriate
At times there are specific areas that governors will oversee/work with the school on – this will tend to be one-off and short to medium term and relate to the changing needs of the school
This necessitates having a group of governors with a range of background and experiences
Governors have a self responsibility to ensure that they are effective governors – building their awareness of school issues, attending meetings and updating their own training and learning and assessing their own performance on a regular basis.
Governors should be a physical presence at the school and where possible interact with staff and pupils – this helps make the teachers and pupils aware of the governing body and where possible get a better sense of their role.
Preparing & Training Governors
This is an initial and ongoing process and involves governors learning about their role and how they can add value to the governing body and the school.
Learning takes place through:
formal training sessions (mainly offered in the county)
reading relevant internal and external documents
learning through doing – through the experience of being a governor
attending activities at the school – this is seen as important as formal training - it includes attending open days and attending ongoing activities at the school (super learning days, strategic planning days, sports days etc)
Several key activities are put in place to help new governors learn about their role:
A system of mentoring - where the new governor is paired with an existing governor. They are encouraged to meet to review governor activities, such as meetings, training and the general development of the new governor.
Meeting with the Head Teacher
Attending both types of committee meetings
A formal session(s) inducting new governors
Reading key documents
Governors have a pro-active approach to learning and organise their own learning plan.
Please click on the buttons below to view or download the documents
Trade Union Facilities Time: Fulbrook is part of the pooled scheme arrangement managed by Central Bedford. No time off is taken by members of staff for Trade Union activities.
Members of the Governing Body
Samantha Clancy - Head Teacher
Secondary trained, Sam has always worked in middle schools, apart from two terms as Acting Headteacher at one of our feeder schools, Ridgmont Lower. She went to a middle school herself as a child.
She lives in Northampton and has two daughters. She began her teaching career in Northampton, but when the three-tier system was reviewed and subsequently changed, she came to Fulbrook in 2005 as the French Subject Leader.
After being Head of Year 5, then Assistant Headteacher and SENDCo, Sam was appointed as Headteacher of Fulbrook in September 2015. She is extremely excited about and committed to taking the school from a middle to an extended secondary school.
Sally Hartley - Chair (Member)
Sally has been a governor since 2012 and at the start of 2021 became Chair of the Governing Body. She has been link governor for English and wellbeing and PSHE and Chair of the PEAP committee.
A resident of Woburn Sands with children at Swallowfield, she is passionate about the development of all through education in our expanding village. With a background in working with young people in developing countries - she has wide experience of non-formal education in livelihoods, reproductive health, peer education, youth agency and voice.
For the last 10 years she has been an academic and researcher working on youth issues within the international development sector. She is now transitioning to work in the mental health sector and is a counsellor.
Lindsay Smith - Vice-Chair - Appointed Governor
Lindsay has been a governor at Fulbrook since 2006. Both her children attended the school and she has lived in Woburn Sands for 25 years.
Lindsay worked in the NHS as a nurse, General Manager and then in the Department of Health as a Performance Analyst. She has experience in managing services and public finances, strategic planning and implementation alongside improving performance through sharing good practice.
She sits on the Finance Estates and Staffing committee, the Pupil Engagement, Achievement and Performance committee and Headteacher's Appraisal committee.
Clive Cowmeadow - Appointed Governor
Clive has been a governor since 2009. He lives near the school and both his, now grown up, children were pupils. Clive is the longest serving current member of Woburn Sands' Town Council and has been town Mayor on four occasions.
Clive is a retired teacher and for many years was the Head of Mathematics at a large Bedfordshire Upper School. He is a senior examiner for GCSE and was formerly chief marker for the Key Stage 3 national mathematics SATs. Clive is keen to foster community links and maintain Fulbrook as a local school of choice.
Nik Hartley OBE - Appointed Governor (Member)
Nik Hartley is the CEO of the Spinal Injuries Association, a national charity with a head office in Milton Keynes. The charity builds the voice, quality services and rights of people paralysed by a spinal cord injury. He previously led humanitarian organisations overseas, most recently focusing on the role of young people in their own countries. Nik is a qualified teacher himself but has always focused his efforts in charities.
Nik lives in Woburn Sands and joined the governors in 2012, having been attracted by the leadership Fulbrook was showing in education but also the centrality of its values at the heart of the school and his local community.
Paul Farrant - Associate Governor
Paul joined in October 2014. He enjoyed a long career with BP, specialising in Procurement and Process Simplification. He is married with a daughter and a son, both of whom have two sons each. His two eldest grandsons attend Fulbrook. His other grandsons live in Western Australia.
Paul is now an Associate Governor, having had many years experience working on the Finance, Health and Safety, Staffing areas of the School. He will be contributing to new projects and improvement opportunities for Fulbrook as an extended secondary school.
Angela Evans - Appointed Governor (Member)
Angela has lived in Woburn Sands for many years and joined the Governing Body in 2004. She has responsibility for Safeguarding with a particular interest in Looked After Children.
With an administrative and marketing background she worked for a national organisation for more than 30 years and has carried out many years of voluntary service within the Justice System. She is currently on the Appeals committee and has previously been a member of the Finance and Policy committees.
Angela is the designated Governor for Safeguarding.
Lisa Lazard - Appointed Governor
Lisa joined the governing body in 2021 and has a child at Fulbrook. Lisa is an Academic Psychologist at the Open University and has worked in education (Lecturer and Researcher) and as a consultant for over twenty years. At the Open University, she has specialised in designing distance learning for students from diverse backgrounds. Her research focuses on equality, diversity and inclusion, particularly sexual harassment. She has also worked as a consultant on managing conflict and relationships within organisations in both remote and in person working.
Lisa is committed to fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments for all children and those that live and work with them.
Amos Raban - Appointed Governor
Amos joined the governing body in 2023.
Amos works as a self-employed educational consultant for schools, councils, institutions and EdTech companies focusing mainly on digital transformation, digital education and literacies, professional development and innovation.
Amos has over 20 years of wide experience in education, including curriculum and course development, entrepreneurship, project management, consulting, teacher training and as a college lecturer. He is a qualified history and civics teacher and assumed various positions in secondary schools.
He is passionate about supporting school change management and innovation processes.
He lives in Woburn Sands and has three daughters attending Swallowfield. The oldest is due to join Fulbrook in 2025.
Fiona Cavanagh - Vice-Chair - Parent Governor
Fiona has lived in Woburn Sands for many years and has a son in Fulbrook. She has 20 years experience within 2 large international businesses, primarily focused on business management and learning and development. Since leaving corporate life, she has worked in the local Lower school, has, and is, involved in school PTA's and currently works as an Invigilator in a Secondary school.
Fiona is passionate about wanting the best for our children and is a strong supporter of the future strategic changes for the benefit of our children. Fiona wants to support the school to continue to build on the current successes to work towards future goals.
Simon Johnson - Parent Governor
Simon joined the governing body in November 2020 as his eldest daughter joined Fulbrook. His second daughter is due to join in 2024. Simon has had over 20 years experience running his own company specialising in sales & marketing solutions for global hospitality companies.
Simon’s motivation for joining the governing body came after spending most of this year homeschooling his two daughters. His aim is to help and assist in shaping the very best educational environment for all current and future pupils at the school.
Simon is the Governor with responsibility for PE and Sport Premium.
Matthew Holder - Appointed Governor
Matthew is a local resident of Woburn Sands, with children at Fulbrook and Swallowfield. He is a Chartered Management Accountant, with over 15 years of finance experience and currently works as the Group Commercial Accountant for an R&D tech firm in Milton Keynes. As well as a governor he utilises his skills as a finance professional. Matthew is also a link governor for Health & Safety, and sits on the Finance, Estates and Staffing Committee. With young children, Matthew is keen to see the progression of Fulbrook through to a secondary school and sees the school as holding a strong relationship in the local community.
Lorraine King - LA Appointed Governor
Lorraine joined the Governing Body in 2021. She lives in local area and has been a governor at another local school for over five years. As a governor, it is most important to her that the children who attend Fulbrook are happy, healthy and successful.
Lorraine is the Governor with responsibility for SEND and Pupil Premium.