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St Robert Southwell

Catholic Primary School

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The Governing Body

Welcome to our Governors’ section. 

Governors are responsible for working with the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team to set priorities for the school.

As a Catholic school, most of our Governors are Foundation Governors appointed by the Bishop of our Diocese.

We also have representatives from parents, staff and the local authority.


St Robert Southwell Catholic Primary School Governing Body 2020-21

Meet our Governing Body

Irene Innes

I have been a Foundation Governor since 2009 and was elected Chair of Governors for St Robert's in 2016. I am a member of St John's parish where I am a reader, Readers' Coordinator and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. My husband is David and together we attend Mass.

I was educated in Catholic Schools and have experienced the importance of educating children, not just academically, but spiritually. My favourite subject at school was Maths! Most of my working life has been at RSA Insurance Company. I left RSA in March 2020.



Charlotte Booth

My name is Charlotte Booth and I was first appointed as a Foundation Governor in the Spring of 2013. I am now in my second term as a governor at St Robert’s. I work for Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Pilgrimage, in the Pilgrimage Office, and I am a long-standing member of St John’s Parish in Horsham. I am also a St Robert’s parent with two children currently attending the school and one past pupil.


Richard Boyle

I have worked in education at all levels, in particular Special Education for over 40 years. I am currently working as a Consultant to special schools in a variety of settings around the country. I am married with two grown sons and I live locally.


Teresa Bhatti

My name is Theresa Bhatti and I was appointed as a Foundation Governor in November 2019. I am married and have a son and daughter who both attended St John’s and St Wilfrid’s Catholic Schools. I have studied Biochemistry in Edinburgh and currently work in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

I have been a member of St John the Evangelist Church since 1994 and over the years I have supported the First Holy Communion preparation and currently help with the baptism preparation group. I have also established a coffee morning on the First Friday of the Month in St John’s Church hall which has been a great success.


Eva Harrison

My name is Eva Harrison. I have been a teacher for 33 years and have worked in catholic Secondary Schools for 15 of those years. I mainly taught Religious Studies to A-Level but I have also taught Geography, History and Law. I was heavily involved in teacher training/mentoring for over 20 years.#I was appointed Foundation Governor in June 2021. I am a long-standing member of St John's Parish and I help lead the Confirmation programme. I am married to Paul; we have one son who attended St John's Catholic primary School and St Wilfrid's Catholic Secondary School.


Clare Ralston

My name is Clare Ralston. I was appointed as Staff Governor in October 2020. I am the class teacher in Galilee which is our Year 2 class. Although this is only my second year at St Robert Southwell, I have been a teacher for 14 years. I am married,  have 2 daughters and a very boisterous Spaniel called Pip.


Ciaran Little

I was appointed as a Parent Governor in Spring 2021. I have a daughter in Year 3 and two sons who have now completed their time at St Robert's. I am new to this role, however I hope I can apply my 20 years of professional experience to the academic and personal development of the children at St Robert's.


James Thorndyke

My name is James Thorndyke and I was appointed as a Parent Governor in June 2021. My wife and I moved to Horsham in September 2020 and we have two children attending St Robert's. I am a partner at a law firm with offices in London and the United States.


Sue Smith

I was appointed as a Foundation governor in September 2021 and it is such an honour to serve at St Robert Southwell in this capacity. I am originally from Dundee in Scotland and was educated in Catholic schools. I studied French for four years at the University of St Andrews before moving to Surrey. My working life was spent in financial services with Legal & General, where I was an Operations Director; responsible for customer services. 

I am a parishioner at St John the Evangelist in Horsham, where I am a reader at Sunday Mass (and sometimes on weekdays too, if i am needed!). St John's plays a really important role in my life and I am lucky enough to work in the Parish Office and to lead the First Holy Communion programme.


Malcolm Peppiatt


Together with my wife and three children (now grown up with their own children), I have been a member of the Parish since 1988. During this time, I have worked on the First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes, have been a Mass Coordinator, Children's Liturgist and am currently an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. After forty years teaching in six schools, the last of which was The Weald School in Billingshurst, I retired in 2010.  Since then, I have worked with dozens of schools in West Sussex on developing international links with schools in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia via the British Council's Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme.







Are you interested in becoming a Foundation Governor?


Foundation Governors do not need to be education experts. The most effective governors listen, think and ask questions. There is no magic formula about what makes a perfect Foundation Governor, they come from all walks of life and all ages.


What is a Foundation Governor?


Foundation Governors are appointed in the name of the Bishop and form the majority of the governing body of a Catholic school. 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.  Governing boards have three core functions:


  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.


The ministry of Foundation Governor is an important one, because the Catholic character of our schools depends on committed Catholics being willing to undertake this service. The Bishop is therefore very appreciative of all those who offer to assist him in this vital task.


Responsibilities and Time Commitments


The average Foundation Governor role will take up about 10-12 hours per month. However, this can vary depending on the school calendar or by events, such as an Ofsted inspection.

This commitment includes the minimum requirement of attending three full governor meetings per year and serving on at least one committee.

The committees will focus on areas such as finance, curriculum, pupil progress and site management.

You will also be encouraged to attend training sessions.