We want to introduce ourselves and tell you some more about the role of the Governing Body at St Francis of Assisi.
Our main role is to support Mrs Hope and the staff in the running of the school – we ensure that the school has a strong and clear vision and ethos, that standards are high, that all children at St Francis have access to the best possible education and that the resources of the school – the budgets, staff and building – are well and appropriately used. We have a particular interest in the safety and wellbeing of children and staff. Foundation Governors, appointed by the Diocese of East Anglia, have a special responsibility to maintain the Catholic ethos of the school.
We meet as a Full Governing Body four times per year and all Governors belong to one of our two sub committees – Resources, or TLS – Teaching, Learning & Standards – each of which meets termly. Some Governors have additional responsibilities shown below. We will let you know what we have been doing as a Governing Body through the ‘Weekly What’s On’ and we will publish an Annual Governance Statement on the School website. You can request minutes of the Full Governing Body meetings at the office.
Governors will be in school on a regular basis visiting classes, attending events such as assemblies and masses and helping with projects. Some governors are current parents and are in the playground on a regular basis – please do come and talk to us if you have any queries or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Wilkinson Chair – (Foundation Governor)
I grew up in Scotland and moved to Norwich in 2001 as part of my journey to become a Child and Educational Psychologist. I was appointed initially as a foundation Governor at St Francis in December 2018 and have several years of Governor experience in other Norfolk schools. I have one daughter who attends (and loves!) St Francis.
I spent my early career working within academic research and also taught in two Norfolk Secondary schools. I completed my initial PhD looking at behaviour change and my second doctorate was designed to support children and young people who have been bereaved within East Anglia. I have worked within the Psychology Services in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils and now work independently with the Child and Educational Psychology Practice supporting school staff, young people and their families across East Anglia.
I whole-heartedly believe that emotional well-being is central to our learning and development (as children and adults!) and that this also underpins the whole ethos of St Francis.
William Croston – Vice Chair, Chair of Resources Committee (Co-opted Governor)
I am a co-opted Governor and joined the governing body in December 2014. All my children went to St Francis and then onto Notre Dame. I work at Norwich School where I have been for almost 25 years, where alongside teaching Modern Languages, I look after the international pupils, run the exams office and advise on universities. I also mentor trainee teachers from UEA and help interview prospective doctors at University College London.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the year is organising the Norfolk Summer School which is attended by Year 12 students from around Norfolk offering a tailored programme of academic and practical seminars and lectures to encourage Norfolk children to aim high in Year 13 and beyond. I applied to become a Governor because I believe in the ethos which has been created by all at St Francis and want to understand more about how the school is run. I enjoy travel, reading, gardening and sport.
Father Padraig Hawkins – RE (Foundation Governor)
I am a Catholic Priest ordained for the Diocese of East Anglia and for this reason have been appointed as a Foundation Governor at St Francis’ School by the Diocese. Having served in a parish in Ipswich and then at the Cathedral in Norwich, I am now based in the local Parish of Poringland; I have also been the Diocesan Bishop’s Private Secretary for the last three years, a role which now occupies most of my time. Before heading off to seminary and eventually becoming a priest I had a “normal” job working as an engineer and spending each day tinkering with parts for either aeroplanes or helicopters. My hobbies still included anything that involves getting my hands dirty, and also, if the weather is good, going for a nice ride on my motorbike.
Andrew Parle – Sports Premium and Parent Voice (Parent Governor)
I’m a newly appointed Parent Governor at St Francis of Assisi as of May 2018. We as a family moved from Liverpool 4 years ago to Norwich and were delighted our son could attend St Francis’s. He is now in year 2 and growing, developing and enjoy his time here.
I’m excited and passionate about my role as a governor and keen to play an active part of the continued success at St Francis’s. Whilst there is a lot to learn and a lot of listening needed, I already feel part of the community here at St Francis governing team.
I enjoy the warm and caring approach the school has towards the children and feel the catholic ethos has a vital contribution too in the positive educational journey all the children are on.
I have worked in retail for 20 years in a variety of roles including currently a head office project manager. The skills I have learnt in my work life, I hope to bring to the benefit of the wider school and community.
In my spare time I’m a Scout leader locally, keen gardener, I enjoy canoeing and dabble with DIY.
Danny Sharpe – (Foundation Governor)
I am a Teacher of Mathematics at Notre Dame High School, and have enjoyed that role for the last 11years, in which time I have taken on responsibility for KS5 (16 – 19) Mathematics, run several successful Ski trips for NDHS, been involved with preparing students for Russel Group University applications, helped on Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions and I am currently a member of the Chaplaincy Team within NDHS.
I am also involved with the Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclass programme which organises and delivers a series of mathematical talks and workshops for interested year 6 and year 9 students each May and June.
I am a parishioner at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, where both of my daughters enjoy attending the children’s liturgy, and have been a member of the Parish Council for the last four years.
After my eldest daughter completed an enjoyable and successful Reception year in at St Francis, I decided that I wanted to be more involved in the life and work of the school. Having the privilege of being appointed as a Foundation Governor in November 2018, has enabled me to do this.
Sandra Watt – (Staff Governor)
I have only just become a governor at the school and am the staff representative on the Governing Board. I am a Year 6 teacher at St Francis of Assisi with many years experience of teaching this age group and as a result tend to represent the school where matters relating to Year 6 are concerned. At the moment I am joint lead teacher for Maths in the school, with Anne Jeffrey, but have in the past had responsibility for Science, PE and PHSE. I do a running club once a week at Eaton Park with children from Years 3 to 6. I have recently gone down to 4 days a week in order to have a better work life balance. I have 3 children, who all went to St Thomas More and then Notre Dame and who are now at various stages in determining their life ambitions. In my spare time I enjoy being active (running, cycling, skiing and walking), gardening, reading and the cinema.
Francesca Goodbody – (Foundation Governor)
I’m excited to have been appointed as a Foundation Governor in November 2019. I moved to Norwich 22 years ago when I studied Computer Science at UEA and fell in love with the city. Whilst I started my working life as a web designer and web communications officer the majority of my career has been as a project and programme manager, managing software development and business change as well as business analysis and process improvement.
St Francis is a lovely school with a strong Catholic ethos which supports and nurtures its pupils as well as providing them with a solid education. I am keen to learn more about the school’s workings so that I can put my experience into best use and play an active role in supporting its continued success.
I am married and have one son who loves attending St Francis and is thriving in the caring environment at the school. We love camping and the great outdoors.
Edwina Knowles – (Foundation Governor)
Having recently retired from the teaching staff at St Francis of Assis I decided to volunteer as a governor at the school where I have had the privilege to teach for many years. I worked part time at SJB and STM from 2002 – 2006, and then worked full time from 2006 until my retirement in 2018. have always been impressed by the caring ethos of all staff at the school, the high standard of teaching and learning and the wonderful relationship with parents and the community at large.
I began my teaching career in 1979 in Colchester where I taught full time until I had my daughter in 1988. In 1991 my family moved to Norwich. My second child William was born in 1990 and my youngest son Andrew born in 1995. When my son William became terminally ill in 1998 I was grateful for the support my family received from the parish community and particularly for the outstanding loving support they received from the staff at St. John the Bapist and St Thomas More, which of course have now amalgamated and become our new school, St. Francis of Assisi.
I look forward to supporting the school for the next four years in my new role as governor.
Christine Webber – (Foundation Governor)
Christine Webber is the author of fifteen books. She is also a broadcaster and psychotherapist. The early part of her career in television was spent in Norwich where she was the leading news presenter of the nightly programme About Anglia for twelve years.
Subsequently, she became an agony aunt on a wide range of television programmes and newspapers and magazines.
Before her broadcasting days, she had trained as a classical singer and actor and worked in those areas for a time. Though she went on to do other things, she has always had a keen interest, and involvement, in the arts. One of her current jobs is interviewing opera and ballet stars in front of an audience at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This is something she absolutely loves.
Christine is a Catholic and worships regularly at St John the Baptist Cathedral.
John Jackson – (Foundation Governor)
I originally came to England from the U.S. to complete a doctorate at Oxford University and have lived here since 1996 with my wife of 40 years and my son and daughter. Judy my wife is a retired teacher who now works part time in a nursery school and enjoys pilates and her book club. Kate my daughter is married to Ben, lives in London and works for Save the Children. Chris my son is a graduate of the Leeds College of Art and Design and works as a freelance gallery technician and lives in Bourneville near Birmingham. Prior to moving to the U.K. I taught law at a law school in Columbus, Ohio and practiced there as well.
I am honoured to be a new part of the governing body at St Francis of Assisi, and as a new governor, I have enjoyed getting to know the school, its students and staff. I have been a governor at Rye St. Antony School in Oxford, where my daughter attended, and look forward to this new challenge at St Francis. I enjoy students and working in school settings and I have recently retired from Tudor Hall School after 15 years of service. Tudor Hall is a girl’s boarding school in Oxfordshire and I served there as part of pastoral team and, together with my wife, as a house parent. I look forward now to serving the students and staff here at St. Francis.
If you want to get in touch with the Governing Body please hand a letter into the school office or email the clerk at email@example.com