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What is the role of the governor?

In state schools they have responsibility for raising school standards by performing these key roles :-

  • Setting the strategic direction, policies and objectives 
  • Approving the budget 
  • Reviewing progress against the budget and objectives
  • Challenging and supporting senior staff by being a critical friend
  • Playing a part in appointing staff

In essence we are all about one thing - improving the school.

The governing body of the schools are made up as follows :-

  • Parent Governors: parents (one from each school in the federation)
  • Staff Governors: Usually the Head Teacher plus a member(s) of the school staff
  • Authority Governors (previously known as LEA Governors): nominated by the Local Authority
  • Co-Opted Governors: members of the local community (appointed by the rest of the governing body)
  • Foundation Governors: representatives of the diocese.

The federation is always interested to here from parents or members of the community who are interested in becoming a governor or who want to know more about the role. We are particularly interested to hear from people with a strong business or finance background. Contact the office of either school and they can put you in touch with the Chair or Vice Chair.

You can find out more about becoming a school governor at the ‘School Governors’ One Stop Shop’ website.

The responsibilities of the Governing Body are shared between the full Governing Body and Committees.



The governors of the Hundon and Thurlow Primary Federation are :-



Co-Chair Carol Thompson(Co-opted) -After 30 years in secondary education, 12 of them in Senior Management, I left teaching and embarked on a second career as a relationship counsellor, working with couples and young people. I also wrote and delivered courses for Relate in a variety of settings. This work brought me into contact with a wide range of people: students, parent groups, teachers, prisoners, adults with learning difficulties……

When my husband was recovering from a serious illness, we decided to move to Suffolk. Having now retired for the second time (!) I am eager to use my experience in a different setting, and become involved in my new community.  Other interests include maintaining an ancient French farmhouse, gardening, and the theatre.

Carol is on the Steering,Finance &  Personnel and Teaching, Learning & Assessment Committees

Co-Chair Penny Smith (Parent Hundon)  I became a Governor in December 2017.  I moved to Hundon in 2016 with my family and love the village and the community spirit.  I have a son at Hundon School.  I am currently on a career break from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in order to spend more time with our young son.  During my career in the FCO, I held a number of positions in London and overseas.  My last position was Deputy High Commissioner at the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  I have travelled extensively and am now thoroughly enjoying putting down roots in Hundon and not moving house every couple of years!  In my spare time I enjoy walking our dog in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.  I also have an interest in travel, foreign languages and current affairs.  I look forward to working with the other members of the Governing Body and the staff and pupils at Thurlow and Hundon Schools.

Penny is Chair of the Teaching,  Learning & Assessment Committee she is also on the Finance & Personnel and Steering Committees.

Vice-Chair Val Phillips ( Co-opted) -  I became a Governor in September 2018 having lived in the local area since the early 1990s. I have worked in education throughout my career, including as a primary headteacher and a senior adviser with the Local Authority. In recent years, I have worked as an independent education adviser, working with schools and governing bodies across East Anglia. My work has led me to appreciate the very special opportunities that rural primary schools can give to children and I consider myself fortunate to work with the governing body of Hundon and Thurlow schools as the Federation grows and develops.  My leisure time often sees me walking in the countryside including as a local ‘Health Walk’ leader. I also enjoy keeping fit through yoga and cycling, and I take every opportunity for foreign travel! I have two grown-up ‘children’ and my two small grandchildren certainly keep me on my toes!

Val is on the Teaching, Learning & Assessment and  HT Performance Management Committees 

Sarah Upson (Local Authority) I came to Clare in 1973, when I joined the staff at the Middle School, where I continued teaching until it closed in 2011. I moved to Hundon in the early 1980s and have been a Trustee and the Clerk to the Rogeron Trust for approximately 12 years.  I spent some years as the Year 5 Year Tutor at the Middle School, which involved liaising and working with Hundon staff. This was a great pleasure, as I found the school to be a welcoming and friendly place where the pupils fulfilled their potential in a secure and positive atmosphere. During my final year at Clare I spent time at Hundon school, gaining experience with the younger pupils, and I found that my impressions from previous visits were confirmed.I was delighted to be asked to be a Governor in January 2012.  I relish the opportunity to become more involved in the workings of the schools, to help them continue to give pupils the best experience they can have.

Sarah is on the Premises,Health ,Safety & Welfare Committee and is also the Safeguarding Governor


Zena Chalmers  (Co-opted) I have worked in Finance and Administration in both primary and high schools for over 25 years. In 2006 I joined the Local Authority Enhanced Finance Team and visited schools throughout Suffolk to help School Bursars and Headteachers to manage their finances. Thurlow was one of the schools I visited and when I retired in April 2016, I was delighted to be asked to be a Governor.

Zena is Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee and also on the Steering Committee

Sharon FitzGerald (HT/Staff)  Sharon is on all the governing body committees except the Head Teacher Performance Management Committee which she attends.


Claire Buckle (Staff)  Claire is on the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Committee


Justine Cammiss-Strudwick  ( Co-opted)

Justine is on the  Premises,Health ,Safety & Welfare Committee

Lee Jeffrey ( Parent Thurlow)

Lee is on the  Premises,Health ,Safety & Welfare Committee


Lisa Mitson (Committee Clerk)

Lisa works at Hundon School in the office.

Lisa attends  committee meetings as a governing body clerk.


Angie Price (Associate)

Angie works at Hundon School in the office.

Angie attends the Finance and Personnel committee meetings.

Emma White( Committee Clerk)

Emma works at Thurlow School in the office

Emma attends committee meetings as a governing body clerk 



All governors have voting rights in their respective committees and each governor has voting rights when the full governing board meets.


Pecuniary Interests


What is a Pecuniary Interest?

A governor must avoid using his/her position as a governor for personal gain or the gain of other outside parties. Members of the Governing Body are asked to record, any pecuniary interests held either personally or through a company or relative or partner. An 'interest' is a situation where a member of the governing body may be affected personally or financially, directly or indirectly, or in some other way by a decision made at a meeting where the governor is present.

It is important to understand that for a pecuniary interest to be relevant it should relate to goods or services which might be acquired by the school. If Governors or members of staff have pecuniary interests in businesses or companies that would not provide goods or services to the school then they would not need to be declared.

The School Governance (Procedures) (England) Regulations state that members of the governing body with any such interest must declare it as soon as possible at any meeting of the full governing body or committee meeting, must not take part in the discussion, must not vote and should withdraw from the meeting. Their withdrawal and return should be minuted. From the 1st Sept 2015 the pecuniary interests of all governors must be shown on the schools website.


Pecuniary Interests of Hundon and Thurlow Primary Federation Governors



Date of Appointment

Parent Governor

Child at our school this year


Company Director, Partner, Business Owner? If Y inc NAME Trustee of a charity? If Y inc NAME


Spouse or partner living with you employed by school?


Governor at any other School? If Y inc NAME

Any other interest to declare?
Penny Smith 5.12.2017 Y Y N N N N N
Carol Thompson 13.3.2019 N N N N N N N
Zena Chalmers 21.3.2016 N N N N N N N
Sarah Upson 1.9.2014 N N N Yes Estate Charity of Thomas Rogeron N N N
Lee Jeffrey 9.10.2019 Y Y N N N N N



9.10.2019 N Y N N N N N
Val Phillips 3.10.2018 N N


Y Val Phillips Education

Sharon FitzGerald 1.4.2017 N N N N N N N
Claire Buckle 29.9.2014 N N N N N N N
Emma White N/A N Y N N N N N
Lisa Mitson N/A N Y Y Husband GRM Electrical N N N N
Angela Price N/A N N N N N N N