St James' Church of England Primary School

Together in faith, we are a winning team.

The role of school governors is:

to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction 

    to hold school leaders to account for improving performance,  

   and to make sure money is well spent.

 The Government recognises the dedication of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who serve as school governors who are passionate about supporting and improving their schools.

 Governing bodies are the key strategic decision makers in every school and a key part of the overall system of school accountability. They have a vital role to play in driving up school and pupil performance and ensuring every child receives the best possible education.

 The education system is changing rapidly. Every school needs a high performing governing body that:

  • understands its responsibilities and focuses on its core strategic functions
  • is made up of people with relevant skills and experience
  • operates efficiently and effectively through appropriate structures and procedures  

At St James' we recognise that our governors work really hard to help us make our school the best it can be and we are very grateful for their time and commitment.

Annual Governance Statement 

Governor Information (including register of interests)

Governing Body Attendance Record 2019/2020

 Meet our Governors

Mrs Walton - Co-opted Governor and Chair of Governors


Hello! My name is Shelagh Walton and I have been a governor at St James since 2004. I'm the current Chair of Governors and I'm working very hard with the school to ensure that all our children receive the best education possible. I visit the school regularly working with the senior leadership team and staff and also work with the school council to encourage their active participation in school life and the wider community. With them we have visited the mayor, been to see the Houses of Parliament, run a school competition to name our outdoor learning space and written letters to a pupil in Uganda through Action Aid.

Please feel free to contact me or any of the school governors at school if you wish to have a conversation about school!

Mrs Marsh - Headteacher

My name is Verna Marsh and I am the head teacher of St James’ Church of England Primary School.  I have held this position since January 1998 and love being part of the St James’ community.

I am passionate about education, and feel that my experience of being a mother and being a teacher help me to fulfill my role as governor and head teacher.  I believe that the school has many strengths which we can build on together to provide firm foundations for the future of the children in our care.  

Mrs Lowe - Staff Governor

My name is Julie Lowe and I have been a teaching assistant as St James' for over 20 years.  I started working at St James' because both of my daughters attended this fantastic school.

I work alongside Mrs Stott and Mrs Farnworth in Year 6.  I think this is the best job in the world.  I have been a member of the governing body for many years and I feel strongly about the ethos and education which the school offers. I am passionate about St James' and I have seen it grow from strength to strength over the years. I like to throw myself into lots of activities around school: fairs, trips, reorganising, fundraising, celebrations and shows as I am a firm believer in developing the whole child.  I truly believe that our children never leave St James' - they are always a member of our family, just more grown up.

Miss Parnell - Deputy Head Teacher and Associate Governor

My name is Catherine Parnell and I am the deputy head teacher at St James'. I feel very lucky to have been a member of the St James' family since 1999, spending 12 years as the year 6 class teacher before becoming the deputy in 2012. 

During these years, I have seen and been part of many positive changes and firmly believe that the community of St James' is stronger than ever.

I take an active role within the governing body as an associate member.

Mr Deepak Agnihotri - Co-opted Governor

My name is Deepak Agnihotri. I am a physiotherapist with experience  of being a governor on a medical trust board. I also have a child in the school.

Useful links and documents for governors

Governor Handbook - March 2019

Competency Framework for Governors - January 2017

Department for Education

National Governors' Association

Tameside Governors

For up to date training modules from the comfort of your own home, please remember to access your e learning  accounts as much as you can.

NGA Learning Link Governor e-Learning 

Governors for School

Revd Farnworth - Foundation Governor

Reverend Roger Farnworth: I am the ex-officio foundation governor for St. James School. I am the Church of England minister at St. James' Church. I have been on the governing body since 2003. I chair the Resources Committee (Finance, Premises, Personal and Safety) within the governing body. I am regularly in school taking assemblies on Monday mornings.

Mr Brereton - Foundation Governor

My name is Simon Brereton and I am the head teacher of Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Ashton.  I have held this position since September 2010 and have been a member of the St James’ Governing body since 2014.

I have a strong commitment to the education of children in my own school and in Tameside as a whole. I believe that schools work best when they cooperate with each other and it is for this reason that I wanted to be part of the Governing Body at St James’. I am a father, which gives me a good understanding of the pressures faced by young people and parents alike!

Mr Barker - Co-opted Governor and Vice Chair of Governors

Ian Barker, governor, here. I have a life long interest in education and in particular that which takes place in primary schools. In my professional life I have had a variety of roles in the education field. My interests in school life centre around maths and environmental studies. In the latter area I am interested in Eco-work and gardening. As a co-opted governor I feel that the school represents fully the community which it serves.

Mrs Bernadette Reid - Co-opted Governor

My name is Bernadette Reid. I am a retired nurse. I believe that the two most important things in life are health and education. Having spent 27 years working as a health care professional, I am now looking forward to serving my community as a school governor. Having raised two children of my own, who both went through the local authority education system I know what a difference an excellent governing body, head teacher and school can make in a child’s life. I also know that, after their parents, the most important influence in a child’s life is their teacher. I have agreed to take a special interest in languages, craft and design and safeguarding and health and safety. These are not random choices: because I am an enthusiastic crafter and my daughter speaks five languages. Though I have little aptitude for languages myself, I realise the importance of languages in a diverse community. The first duty of any school is safety and I relish involvement in this area using the knowledge I gained as a health visitor.

Mr Mark Bidgood - Co-opted governor

My name is Mark Bidgood and I am the headteacher of Canon Johnson Primary School, also in Ashton Under Lyne. I am a co-opted governor at St James'.

Mr Stephen Barker - Parent governor

My name is Stephen Barker and I am a parent governor at St James'. My two children attend the school.  I visit school each week to listen to readers in Key Stage 1.

Mr Lee Worthington - Parent Governor

My name is Lee Worthington and I am a parent governor at St James'. I have one child at the school currently.

Types of Governors

Local Authority (LA) governors – appointed by the Council;

Parent governors – parents with children at the school, elected by other parents;

Staff governors – teaching and support staff at the school, elected by other staff;

Foundation governors - appointed from the Parish by the Diocese;

Co-opted governors - people with links to the local community, chosen by other governors;

Associate governors – people from the local community chosen by the other governors.