St Wilfrid's Catholic Primary School

St Wilfrid's
Catholic Primary School


The School's Governing Body is made up of parents, parishioners and school staff who all share the common interest of our children's education. School governors are volunteers who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education. They do not need to be education experts or have formal qualifications. As well as benefitting children's education, being a governor can be an incredibly enriching experience for parents and members of the local community. 

The duties of governors include:

  • Protecting the School's distinctive Catholic character
  • Holding the headteacher to account for standards and achievement
  • Setting the aims and ethos of the school
  • The admission of pupils
  • Ensuring that a robust framework is in place for setting curriculum priorities and aspirational targets 
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
  • The maintenance and repair of the building
  • Monitoring and evaluating the school’s performance
  • Approval, monitoring and accounting for the budget allocated to the school
  • Ensuring proper provision is made for pupils with different abilities and needs, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school.
  • Staffing levels 

Foundation Governors are appointed in the name of the Bishop and form the majority of the governing body. They have a legal duty to preserve and develop the Catholic character of the school and to ensure that the school is conducted in accordance with its trust deed.  Local Authority Governors are appointed by West Sussex County Council, the Parent Governors are appointed by parent election and the Staff Governors by staff election. If you are interested in becoming a governor please contact the office who will be able to inform you of any vacancies. 

St Wilfrid’s is a Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School.

The running costs of voluntary aided schools, like those of other state-maintained schools, are fully paid by central government via the local authority. They differ from other maintained schools in that only 90% of their capital costs are met by the state, with the school's Governors responsible for raising the remaining 10%. These funds have to come largely from parents.  Donation forms are available from the office.

We ask each family, where they are able, to contribute £36 a year to the Governors’ Fund. This helps pay for the essential upkeep and development of the buildings.

The Governors’ Fund is entirely separate from money raised by The Friends Association, which is used for ‘extras’ such as the wildlife area and updated computer equipment for the new Learning Resource Centre and new play equipment.

How are the governors organised?

The full governing body meets three times a year and the Annual General Meeting is held in September.

There are non-statutory committees which meet termly and make recommendations to the Full Governing Board, each have a quorum of 3:

Strategy Team

Portia Ray, Josie Hall, Jonny Laws and Maria Cowler

Staffing, Pay and Appraisal

Portia Ray, Robert Marr (Chair), Jonny Laws, Jane Taylor, Maria Cowler

Curriculum and Special Needs

Portia Ray, Desiree Forde-Gaskin (Co-Chair), Josie Hall (Co-Chair), Maria Cowler & Marian Watson

Finance and General Purposes, including Health & Safety

Portia Ray, Tony Moger, Dave Bradley, Dan Sibley (Chair), Maria Cowler, Philip McGuiness

There are also statutory committees:

Pupil Admissions

Dave Bradley, Jonny Laws, Tony Moger, Jane Taylor, Maria Cowler

Pupil Discipline

A quorum of 3 governors drawn from any eligible non-staff governors excluding Chair of Governors

Staff Dismissal and Appeals Committee

A quorum of 3 governors drawn from any eligible non-staff governors excluding Chair & Vice-Chair

Headteacher’s Performance Review Panel

Jane Taylor, Portia Ray and Jonny Laws

Complaints Panel

A quorum of 3 governors drawn from any eligible non-staff governors excluding Chair of Governors 

Governor Code of Conduct 

If you would like to contact the governors please send an email to the school office or if preferable, send a letter in a sealed envelope which will be handed directly to the Clerk of Governors. The Governors have up to 5 school days to acknowledge receipt of any correspondence. 

Meet the governors 

Foundation Governors 

Portia Ray - Chair & Foundation Governor 

Portia has two children who both attended St Wilfrid’s.  Portia is a doctor working in A&E and at the local hospice with no other business or financial interests. She is not a governor at any other school.

Date of Appointment – March 2012, renewed March 2016, renewed March 2020

Appointment ends March 2024

Monitoring Areas – Changes to Leadership, SEN, Staff Wellbeing/Parental Code of Conduct


Robert Marr  - Foundation Governor

Robert works in education as the Deputy Headteacher of a Catholic Comprehensive Secondary School.  He has no specific financial responsibility.  Rob is an associate governor at the school where he is Deputy Headteacher.  He does not have voting rights in that role.

Date of Appointment – March 2012, renewed March 2016, renewed April 2020

Appointment ends April 2024

Monitoring Area – Changes to Leadership


Father Rick McGrath - Foundation Governor

Father Rick has been parish priest and foundation governor since 2006.  He has been involved in school governance for many years.

Date of Appointment – 2006, renewed December 2017

Appointment ends April 2026

Maria Cowler - Headteacher & Foundation Governor

Maria serves as a foundation governor at St Wilfrid's in line with holding the position of Headteacher.  She was appointed in September 2019.  Previously, she has worked in a number of Catholic primary schools across the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and has held the position of Headteacher in two other settings.


Josie Hall - Foundation Governor 

Josie has two children who attend/ed St Wilfrid’s and became a parent governor in 2016.  Josie works in education as a Senior Leader in a comprehensive secondary school in Brighton, she has no other business or financial interests. She is not a governor at any other school.  

Date of Appointment – June 2020

Appointment ends June 2024

Tony Moger - Foundation Governor 

Tony works in IT as a Network Designer, primarily in the aviation/air transport industry. Tony works on different types of projects with a focus mainly on large scale infrastructure works. Tony is not a governor at any other school.

Date of Appointment – June 2020

Appointment ends June 2024

Monitoring Area – Health & Safety

Jonny Laws  - Vice Chair & Foundation Governor 

Jonny is a Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, where he works in the Corporate Planning and Legal Entity Management Sector.  Before that he was a business controls manager with the same bank.  He is a Director of the City Veterans Network, a Community Interest Company which seeks to assist service leaders’ transition to civilian employment in the financial industry and raises money for service charities through fund raising events.  A Reserve Army Officer, he commands a Company of the Princess Of Wales’s Royal Regiment based in Brighton.  Jonny is not a governor at any other school.

Date of Appointment – March 2016, renewed June 2020

Appointment ends - June 2024

Monitoring Area – Communication

Desiree Forde-Gaskin  - Link & Foundation Governor

Desiree works in a senior management role, which involves all aspects of management duties, including finance.  Desiree has worked as an emergency nurse for 20 years, over 15 of which have been at senior level in Autonomous Practice.  Desiree does not hold any other governance position at any other school. 

Date of Appointment – November 2018

Appointment ends- November 2022

Monitoring Area – RE & Worship



 Co-Opted Governors 

David Bradley  - Co-Opted Governor

David works in the Financial Services sector, working with American Express for over 15 years plus a break from the Company with time in the insurance sector and with another card issuer.  Currently working as a consultant at American Express, much of Dave’s experience is in the area of Business Intelligence, ensuring that a company has the right information at the right time and place to help improve business performance and better decision making.  Dave is not a governor at any other school.


Date of Appointment – August 2015, renewed August 2019

Appointment ends August 2023

Philip McGuinness - Co-Opted Governor & Treasurer

Philip is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants with over twenty years’ experience of general management and financial planning.  He has also enjoyed the benefit of having three sons attend St Wilfrid’s.  Phil is not a governor at any other school.


Date of Appointment – March 2021

Appointment ends - March 2025

Monitoring Areas – Lunchtimes (Food/Go! Catering/Behaviour),

 Local Authority Governor 

Dan Sibley - Local Authority Governor

Dan is an experienced commercial banker having worked in the financial sector for c 10 years.  Dan has worked for the National Westminster PLC for c 8 years and holds the position of a Senior Relationship Manager.  This involves managing a portfolio of SME clients and attracting new ones.  Dan is also a member of the Chartered Banker Institute and a Co-opted member of the Executive Council of the Gatwick Diamond Business.

Date of Appointment - March 2021

Appointment Ends - March 2025

Staff Governor 

Marian Watson - Staff Governor 

Marian is staff governor.  Marian has taught at St Wilfrid’s for 16 years, initially as a supply teacher and then as a permanent teacher from 2009.  Marian teaches in Key stage 1 and is responsible for co-ordinating the mentoring of NQTs and student teachers across the school.

Parent Governor 

Jane Taylor - Parent Governor  

Jane works in a Learning and Development role within a regulatory body, working at arms length from the Home Office. She has over 20 years’ experience in HR, focusing in more recent years on the learning and development side. She currently has a child attending St Wilfrid’s and became a parent governor in January 2021.  Jane is not a governor at any other school.

Date of Appointment - February 2021

Appointment Ends - February 2025

Monitoring Areas  -OPAL/Behaviour, staff wellbeing/parental code of conduct

Andy Hill - Parent Governor

Andy has nearly 15 years’ experience in local government finance and governance, gained working at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. He is based at Brighton & Hove City Council where he works for a regional partnership that includes six local authorities, the South Downs National Park Authority and the two universities in Brighton. Andy has three children, two of whom are currently at St Wilfrid’s and became a parent governor in May 2022. Andy is not a governor at any other school. 

Date of Appointment - May 2022

Appointment Ends - May 2026