Dear Parents, Families and the wider Harbury community,

I have a lifetime of experience in railway industry operations and leadership, with board and executive roles for the last twenty years. I am now a Non-Executive Director on the board of Network Rail and chair their Safety & Environment Committee and Property Board. I have been a Harbury School parent for nine years, and governor for three years. My two children are now in further education, having flourished at the school. I want to help the next generation of Harbury families to make the most of the village’s most precious asset – our community school – and I know the governors and staff of the school share this passion.

Firstly, a quick recap on what school governors do, without boring you with all the laws, rules, policies and obligations, which you can read elsewhere if you have a mind to. The governing body’s primary responsibility is the safety of the children and staff at the school, which includes safeguarding, health & safety, anti-bullying measures (including online) and welfare, and we adopt and manage school policies on all these subjects. The head teacher, who is a member of the governing body, is accountable to us for carrying out these policies supported by the staff. After safety our next priority is overseeing the education and special needs of the children, and the head teacher presents a plan for this at every meeting, supported by data to show progress, and we discuss this in detail. The governing body oversees the school’s finances, recruitment of staff, management of buildings & facilities and relationships with stakeholders such as our Parent & Teacher Association, County Council, Church of England and the community. The data presented to the governors is anonymous – only the necessary professional teaching staff know the educational progress, needs and circumstances of individual children by name. Confidentiality and privacy are important principles of all governing bodies.

The governing body currently consists of nine governors, with some elected by parents and staff, and some appointed by the governing body. Rev. Craig Groocock and Deputy Chair Mary Thompson are appointed by the Church of England, as we are a “Voluntary Controlled” Church of England School. Others are completely independent of the school and community, and all bring particular interests, skills and experience (such as past and present teaching) to the governing body. The governing body elects the chair, and the chair leads the meetings and work of the governing body. Like the board of a company, we do not run the school on a day to day basis; that is the responsibility of the head teacher and her senior management team of teachers – the executive. Working closely with the head teacher we set the strategy and policies, building on objectives set by central government, and make sure they are carried out. We act as an appeal body in the event that parents and staff feel their issues are not being addressed by the executive. Governors are not paid and commit time during the day and in the evenings to carry out their roles, attend training courses and events, such as parents’ evenings. We have “diagnostic days” in school, when we spend time in school reviewing the work of the school and engaging with children and staff. All governors are fully DBS checked before they can take up their roles. We are supported in our work by education and governance professionals from Warwickshire County Council. I am grateful for the time and effort given by all the governors on behalf of our community.

Looking forward to 2019 the governing body has a number of challenges to address:

  • Following our “good” OFSTED inspection last year, we will encourage the teaching staff to sustain and improve learning outcomes for all children.
  • We will support the head teacher in the recruitment, development and welfare of teaching and support staff. Managing workload is a constant challenge for primary school teachers across the country, and Harbury is no exception to this.
  • We will watch closely developments from central government on school funding and academy trusts; and understand what this means for Harbury.
  • We have money to spend on building projects (called section 106 money, it is paid by the developers of the new housing in the village), and we want to see that spent wisely and quickly, so that the school is better equipped to handle full classes in future.
  • We will work with the Harbury Energy Initiative to fit solar panels to the school, to support the environment and school finances.
  • We will support our PTA in their fund raising for other projects, such as the “outdoor classroom” and new infants playground equipment.
  • We will work closely with parents and the wider community to give each and every child the safe and comprehensive education they need to confidently prosper as they prepare for, arrive at and move through our school and on to secondary education. Parental support in this is key. In 2018 95% of parents attended parents’ evenings, and in 2019 we hope to develop other ways for parents to support their individual children’s educational needs.

2019 will be a busy year.

If you want to know more about the role of the governing body, who we are and what our policies are, please see the school website. We welcome your interest, support and challenge, privately face to face rather than via social media, and I am always willing to meet parents and others in the community who share my passion for our school. If you want to contact me, please email me at

Yours sincerely,





Chris Gibb
Chair of Governors
Harbury School

The Full Governing Body is currently seeking to compliment the team with the appointment of additional governors who are not parents of current pupils, and do not have a teaching background, as these attributes are currently well represented, and is independent from the school. In particular we would welcome applicants with experience in overseeing building projects and financial management. It is not necessary for applicants to live in or around Harbury. Click on the link below for further detail.

Governor job description


Chris Gibb                               Jenny Gibbons                    Rev Craig Groocock
Chair of Governors

Kate Guymer                          Claire O’Keeffe                     Aseia Rafique

Mary Thompson Vice Chair
Vikki Rudgalvis                      Mary Thompson                   Clare White


Governing Body 2018/19

Governors are appointed for a term of four years with the exception of ex officio governors who join/remain by virtue of their post.

Chair of Governors
Chris Gibb – Co-opted Governor (Appointed 01/09/15) (Appointed Chair 12/09/18

Foundation Governors
Revd. Craig Groocock (ex-officio appointed 01/04/2008)
Mary Thompson – Vice Chair (Re-Appointed 01/01/19)

Staff Governor
Vikki Rudgalvis (Appointed 21/12/18)

Head Teacher
Kate Guymer (ex-officio appointed 07/07/2015)

Parent Governors
Clare O’Keeffee (Appointed 24/05/2017)
Aseia Rafique (Appointed 03/09/18)

Co-opted Governors
Jenny Gibbons (Appointed 21/03/18)
Clare White (Appointed 12/12/18)

Governors who have served in the last 12 months and Attendance Record

Alan Bennett (Chair)iiiiiiiiiiii5/6 (resigned 20 July 2018)
Chris Gibbiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii8/8
Jenny Gibbons                  3/4 (appointed 21st March 2018)
Rev. Craig Groocockiiiiiiiiiii4/8
Kate Guymeriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii8/8
Donna Hetheringtoniiiii ii iii5/6 (end of term July 2018)
Wayne Mcelfatrickiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii4/6 (resigned 20 July 2018)
Claire O’Keeffeiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiii 7/8
Karen Reaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii6/7
Mary Thompsoniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii7/7
Aseia Rafique                    3/3 (appointed 12 September 2018)
Clare White                       1/1 (appointed 12 December 2018)

The above information was updated 01/01/19

Governor Roles

Finance and Buildings – Chris Gibb
Personal, Standards and Curriculum (PSC) – Mary Thompson, Claire O’Keeffe & Chris Gibb
Performance Management – Chris Gibb, Claire O’Keeffe & Mary Thompson
Discipline and Exclusions – Jenny Gibbons, Craig Groocock & Mary Thompson
Appeals – Aseia Rafique, Claire O’Keeffe & Chris Gibb
Safeguarding – Mary Thompson
Special Education Needs – Mary Thompson

Governors Declaration of Interests

Claire O’KeeffeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiBusiness: SEND & School Improvement
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiaiiConsultancy – contract work
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiGovernor of Other School: Shaw Hill
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iPrimary School, Alum Rock, Birmingham
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiaiii Employer: Achievement for All School iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiImprovement charity

Mary ThompsoniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiFamily Member: Mary’s son is MD of
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiScholastic UK (A retailer of children’s
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibooks, teaching resources and iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieducational products to Schools & iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiaiiiiTeachers

The governing body works in two committees:

Finance and Buildings Committee

The Finance & Buildings (F&B) is responsible for agreeing and monitoring the three year school budget in line with the funding available. The committee is responsible for ensuring that the budget meets all of the legislative requirements and guidance as well as meeting the schools individual needs and responsibilities as identified via the schools ‘Single Integrated Development Plan’.
The committee also has a responsibility to assist the school in ensuring that the school is compliant with all Financial reporting to the County Council under the newly introduced ‘Financial Management Standards in Schools’.

In addition, the committee takes responsibility for overseeing and monitoring all areas concerned with the health, safety and welfare of everyone using the school premises. The committee ensures that:
• the school has procedures in place to meet all relevant health and safety legislation
• relevant policies are up to date and are being adhered to
• all accidents on school premises are being monitored
• the site is being maintained effectively
• decisions are made about the best use of capital expenditure
In addition, we discuss any relevant issues and matters which have arisen with respect to the school environment and welfare of its community – for example travel arrangements for trips.

Performance, Standards, Curriculum and Personnel Committee

This committee has the responsibility of monitoring how well pupils at Harbury Primary School achieve, as well as discussing with the school all the policies which set out what children will be taught at school – this includes sex education, and special educational needs, as well as extra-curricular activities. We also keep an eye on policies which affect everyone’s life at school, like race equality and equal opportunities, and the home-school agreement. The committee works with the school to keep the prospectus accurate, attractive and up-to-date. We monitor attendance, and keep under review the progress the school is making in enabling children to stay safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, and eventually to achieve economic well being. We also review the school’s child protection policy and procedures annually.
The committee also has responsibility for agreeing and approving the level of staff employed within the school and again ensuring that all of our legislative employment responsibilities are managed.

What do we do?

Role of a school governor: To contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school by:

  • Setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Holding the headteacher 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.

Recent activities

  • Head Teacher performance management
  • Election of committee positions for the coming year
  • Attend diagnostic days at school
  • Training of new Governors
  • Health and Safety inspection
  • Finance review with local authority
  • In depth analysis of Academy Status, reviewing the school’s options
  • Attendance at area Governors meetings
  • Review parent questionnaires