Bishop Ullathorne Catholic School Governors
The role of the governing body
Governing bodies are the key strategic decision-making body in every school. It is their job to set the school’s strategic framework. This includes ensuring the school has a long-term strategic vision. The governing body agrees the strategic priorities, aims and objectives for the school and the policies, plans and targets for how to achieve them. It checks on progress and reviews the strategic framework for the school in the light of that progress.
Foundation governors, appointed by the Catholic Diocese, have a specific role in preserving and developing the character of the school, including its religious character. They ensure our school is conducted in accordance with the foundations governing documents, including the trust deed relating to the school.
This is a demanding role for our volunteer governors who represent of parents, staff, the local community, the local authority and the Catholic Church. Their role includes:
understanding their strategic role – building a productive and supportive relationship with the Headteacher while holding them to account for school performance and taking hard strategic decisions in the light of objective data;
ensuring they have the necessary skills and commitment, including challenging the school to bring about improvement and hold leaders to account for performance;
appointing an effective Chair to lead and manage the governing body
evaluating their performance regularly in the light of Ofsted expectations and other good practice; and
making changes as necessary to improve their effectiveness.
The Governors undertake their duties through a series of meetings which meet half termly.
About our Governors
Robert Ridley - Chair of Governing Body and Holy Cross MAC Foundation Director
Rob has 23 years of experience working within the Financial Services industry for a number of large corporate institutions. He has a Diploma in Business Analysis and is a Prince2 Practitioner. He has managed the delivery of high profile projects ranging from organisational change initiatives to complex IT implementations for Banks within the UK and Ireland. He is now responsible for developing new business opportunities within this sector.
Rob has been a school Governor for 16 years and has experience both at a primary and secondary level. He was appointed Foundation Governor of St Anne’s Catholic Primary school in 2002 then appointed Chair of the Governing Body until 2012. Rob was appointed as a Foundation Governor of Bishop Ullathorne Catholic School and has been the Chair of Governor's since 2015.
He has had the experience of several Ofsted inspections with both schools and is well-positioned to support schools to shape and secure the future of Catholic education within Holy Cross MAC.
Chris Billings - Headteacher
Chris has been Headteacher at Bishop Ullathorne since September 2017. He was previously a Deputy Headteacher for two years. Chris has worked in Catholic Education for over 15 years and is also Vice Chair of Governors at St Gregory’s primary school in Stratford Upon Avon.
Daniel Mathew – Parent Governor
Daniel was educated in Catholic institutions in his home town of Kerala in India where he also enjoyed an active involvement in social and religious youth organisations and this is an interest which he has maintained since moving to the UK in 2004.
Prior to becoming a Parent Governor at Bishop Ullathorne, Daniel held a similar position at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School for eight years and in the two years where he served as Vice Chair, the performance rating improved from Good to Outstanding. He passionately believes that all children should have the opportunity to achieve their full educational potential.
He has three children, one of which is currently in Year 7 at Bishop Ullathorne, and works as an Accountant for a group of companies based in the Birmingham area. In his spare time, he enjoys taking his sons to play in their football leagues every weekend and also supports a number of charitable organisations.
Cora Taylor – Foundation Governor
Cora was appointed as a Foundation Governor in 2019. Her background is in the private sector in product development. However, for the last 5 years she has worked in a business support role at a specialist college in Coventry.
Her son attends Our Lady of the Assumption primary school and Cora attended Bishop Ullathorne as a student and very much enjoyed her time at the school. As a Foundation Governor, Cora continues to promote the Catholic faith.
Ria Brennan – Parent Governor
Ria has been a swimming instructor for just over 3 years. She is passionate about helping children and adults to gain valuable skills and being safe in the water. Before becoming a swimming instructor, Ria used to be a Nursery Nurse before starting a family which had now grown to include four daughters. Ria is also undertaking an apprenticeship in Customer Services.
Her two older daughters currently attend Bishop Ullathorne and two younger daughters are at All Souls Catholic Primary school. In her my spare time Ria is a busy mother helping her daughters compete in gymnastics, trampolining and tennis competitions and spending time on her allotment.
Anthony Cawley – Bishop Ullathorne Vice Chair of Governors and Holy Cross MAC Foundation Director and Vice Chair
Tony has worked within a business environment for multi-national companies and small businesses using diverse business skills and experience built over time. He has managed multi disciplined engineering teams and tendering departments completing many multi-million-pound projects. Tony has managed Profit and Loss budgets and has a comprehensive knowledge of working within a commercial business environment.
As vice chair of two governing bodies, Tony has extensive experience of working within an educational environment and determining strategic direction for the schools. As chair of the resources committee, he has challenged and supported the headteacher, business manager and finance team to ensure that budget planning is accurate and realistic particularly when faced with ever changing funding criteria. He led a successful multi vendor tender negotiation across a group of schools to ensure best value contracts. Tony has experience of senior staff recruitment and has been instrumental in this process on a number of occasions including the compilation of marketing material, short listing and interviews.
Cameron Burns – Staff Governor
Cameron joined Bishop Ullathorne in September 2018 as a teacher of science and has contributed to the family atmosphere in the school. Cameron has previously served as a governor for Cornwall College. Whilst there, he helped to develop a curriculum for higher education study at the campus.
Maureen Ann Perry – Foundation Governor
Maureen worked in schools in Coventry from 1970 to 2006 as a teacher. She was Headteacher at St Benedict from 1982 to 2001, and after amalgamating with St Mary’s, the Headteacher from 2001 to 2006. St Mary and St Benedict’s school is one of Bishop Ullathorne’s partner primary schools.
She had three children at the school and four grandchildren, two of which are present students, and two more coming up when they reach key stage 3.
Although retired, Maureen works as a consultant to schools helping to create a stimulating environment for children to work in by refurbishing areas in the buildings (and gardens) such as libraries, halls, circulation spaces and outdoor areas using art work and curriculum work created by students.
As a governor, she is Treasurer of the Coventry Governors Association and represents Secondary Local Authority Schools on the Schools Forum.
Maureen now resides in Kenilworth and attends St Francis Church.
Leanne Ward – Parent Governor
Leanne has worked within the Banking industry for over ten years in various roles and has extensive knowledge of the Banking and finance sector and business management, with a special interest in development and management. Leanne also works in the retail sector part time helping customers with their needs.
Leanne is a governor at Bishop Ullathorne and was originally a student at Bishop Ullathorne, and now has two children at the school