Harbury C of E

Primary School

To love, learn and grow together


Dear Parents, Families and the wider Harbury community,

I have been a Harbury School parent for nine years, and governor for five years. My two children are now at university, 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. I have a lifetime of experience in railway industry operations and leadership with board and executive roles for the last twenty years and I am now a railway Non-Executive Director and advisor working for the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

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 eight governors, with some elected by parents and staff, and some appointed by the governing body. Our new priest-in-charge Rev. Andy Batchelor 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.

I am proud to say that 2019/20 has been a successful period for the school, and we look forward to 2021 in a strong position.

  • Following our “good” OFSTED inspection in 2018, we continue to encourage the teaching staff to sustain and improve learning outcomes for all children. Our teaching team did a great job “online” during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown and looking after a small group of the community’s key worker children. Whilst the school fully reopened in September,2020 we know that generally children’s education has fallen behind. Recovery is therefore the immediate priority, whilst operating the school safely during the ongoing pandemic.  
  • In 2019 we successfully brought before & after school provision “in house” with our “Pod” provision within the school. More than a quarter of our children regularly attend the Pod, which is popular with parents and children. All profits from the Pod are reinvested in the school.
  • We support the head teacher in the recruitment, development and welfare of our excellent and committed teaching and support staff. Managing workload is a constant challenge for primary school staff across the country, and Harbury is no exception to this.
  • We successfully raised and spent funds in the last three years on building projects. This funding has come from section 106 money (paid to the County Council by the developers of the new housing in the village which we had to campaign to receive), PTA raised funds and donations from the community and local businesses. We have spent these funds wisely, refurbishing and upgrading KS1, KS2 and the Pod, and the school is better equipped to handle full classes in future. School security has been enhanced with CCTV installation.
  • We have successfully attracted another reception year of thirty pupils, and the school is operating near to capacity, ensuring sufficient income for the school to meeting its ongoing operating costs and be confident about the future.
  • We continue to work closely with our PTA in their fund raising. Recently completed successful projects have been the “outdoor classroom”, new infants playground equipment and new computers for our computer room. PTA members and families play an important and practical part in improving the school facilities, especially our extensive outdoor areas.
  • We have worked with the Harbury Energy Initiative and fitted solar panels to the school hall roof, to support the environment and reduce our energy costs.
  • We 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.
  • We watch closely developments from central government on school funding and academy trusts; and seek to understand what this means for Harbury.


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 Gibb.c1@welearn365.com.


Yours sincerely,

 Chris Gibb

Chair of Governors
Harbury School


 The Full Governing Body seeks 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 

Governor job description

Governing Body 2021/22

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 (Re-Appointed 02/10/19) (Appointed Chair 02/10/19)

Foundation Governors

  • Rev. Andrew Batchelor (ex-officio appointed 15/10/2020)
  • Mary Thompson – (appointed Foundation Governor 1/10/2020 – 30/9/2024)  

Staff Governor

  • Vikki Preen (formerly Vikki Rudgalvis) (re-appointed 30/09/2020)

Head Teacher

  • Kate Guymer (ex-officio appointed 07/07/2015)

Parent Governors

  • Aseia Rafique (Appointed 03/09/18)
  • Jo Banbury (Appointed 13/10/21)

Co-opted Governors

  • Jenny Gibbons (Appointed 21/03/18)
  • Clare White (Appointed 12/12/18)
  • Sue Johnson (Appointed 11/12/19)
  • Clare O’Keeffe (Appointed 14/07/21) (Appointed Vice-Chair 29/09/21)

Governors who have served in the last 12 months (2020/21) and Attendance Record

  • Chris Gibb                             7/7
  • Jenny Gibbons                      6 /7
  • Kate Guymer                         7/7
  • Claire O’Keeffe                      7/7
  • Mary Thompson                    6/7
  • Aseia Rafique                        6/7
  • Clare White                            7/7
  • Sue Johnson                          6/7
  • Vikki Rudgalvis                       7/7
  • Rev. Andrew Batchelor          3/6

Governor Roles (21/22)

  • Personnel, Standards and Curriculum (PSC) (C Gibb/M Thompson/C O’Keeffe)
  • Finance and Buildings (F&B) (C Gibb; J Banbury)
  • Performance Management (S Johnson/M Thompson/C O’Keeffe)
  • Discipline and Exclusions (M Thompson/J Gibbons/A Batchelor)
  • Appeals (C Gibb/A Rafique/C O’Keeffe)
  • Pay Review Committee (as Performance Management)

Link Governors (21/22)

  • Training – C Gibb
  • Finance – C Gibb
  • Safeguarding – M Thompson
  • SEND – C O’Keeffe
  • Health and Safety – M Thompson
  • Equality – A Rafique
  • Health and Wellbeing – C White
  • The Pod – S Johnson

Governors Declaration of Interests

Claire O’Keeffe Business: SEND & School Improvement
Consultancy – contract work

Governor of Other School: Shaw Hill Primary School, Alum Rock, Birmingham
Employer: Achievement for All School Improvement charity

Mary Thompson

Family Member: Mary’s son is MD of
Scholastic UK (A retailer of children’s books, teaching resources and educational products to Schools & Teachers

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