St Peters Birstall

Life at St Peter's C of E Junior, Infant & Early Years School

Our Team of Governors

Our Governor Body

St Peter’s has 14 governor positions.  There are 8 foundation governors, 2 parent governors, 2 staff governors, one local authority governor and one co-opted governor.  A governor’s term of office is 4 years.  We are all volunteers who wish to make a positive contribution to the school and the education of all its children.

Working in partnership with the Head Teacher and staff, governors play an important part in raising school standards and promoting continuous improvement in the performance of the school.

Governors work together as a team making collective decisions and have numerous roles including:

  • Making decisions on the school’s budget and staffing
  • Selecting the Head Teacher
  • Ensuring the National Curriculum is taught effectively
  • Making sure the school provides for all of its pupils, including those with special needs
  • Helping to plan the school’s future

Agendas and minutes of our meetings are made available to the local authority and are at the school for anyone to read via the school office.  We do however maintain the right to confidentiality where appropriate.

Correspondence to the Chair can be sent via the school office.

Please click to view the governors business interests form - September 2018

Governors in post at May 2020

Chair of governors

Janice Mitchell (Diocesan)

I am chair of the governing body of St Peter’s Church of England Primary School.  I have been a school governor at the school for over 30 years and became chair in May 2016. I have lived and worked in Birstall for over forty years and have been an active member of St Peter’s Church for most of that time. For many years I was involved in children’s work in the church, helping to run Sunday school. I worked at Fieldhead School for 15 years as school secretary and classroom assistant and have always been very passionate about education. I have two sons who both attended St Peter’s School and Batley Boys High School, I am a grandmother of four children and so I’m still very interested and involved in education. I have recently retired and now feel able to devote more time to St Peter’s School. We have a very committed team of Governors and I am very proud to be a member of the Governing Body. Our aim is to ensure that every child has the opportunities to achieve their full potential; to support all of the staff who work in the school to be able to deliver the best education in a safe and secure environment for all of our children.

Vice chair

Rev Paul Knight (Ex-Officio)

It is a privilege to serve as a governor at St Peter’s School a responsibility I have had since I became the Vicar of Birstall in 1997. One of my children and three of my grandchildren have attended St Peters School and so I am aware of the excellent standard that the school works to maintain. I also have the opportunity to lead Assemblies (Collective Worship) about every two weeks and I am able to see, first hand, the enthusiasm of the children and the dedication of the staff. May it long continue.

Foundation governors                    

Leif Wilks (Diocesan)                        

 I have been a governor at St Peter’s since 2003. I am a foundation governor appointed by St Peter’s Church, where I am also a Reader. I am chair of the Standards and Effectiveness and the Distinctiveness committees, and I am on the Staffing Committee. I also have responsibility for health and safety. I believe that reading is a really important part of young people’s development, and I am one of the school’s team of Reading Friends as well as being the Literacy governor. It is always a great pleasure when a child really engages with a story that we are reading together. I am also a volunteer at Birstall Library and I would encourage all parents to join and take advantage of all the books on offer there.
I have been retired from Kirklees Council for nearly ten years, so I have time to help with different school activities through the year. I am proud to be part of the very special community that is St Peter’s school.


Alison Sowden (PCC)

I have served as a governor for over 25 years. I am an ex pupil at St Peter's. I have always adhered to the role of a governor as a 'critical friend'. Of course, our role has grown over time, but I believe I am a governor who can adapt to serve the school well. I completely support the school ethos and Christian Values. I want to see children nurtured to be caring for each other, for their community and the wider world, as well as being given opportunities to achieve their potential academically. In my working life I am a registered nurse and currently have a management role. I have skills in HR, recruitment, training and health and safety. As a church member at St Peter's I have a pastoral role, and have worked with children and families for many years. Having lived in Birstall all my life, I have a wealth of local knowledge and having been a governor for so long, I have a good memory that comes in hand at times. I hope to continue serving school in this way for many more years.                         

Karen Robinson (PCC)  

I have served as a governor for just over a year and am also on the resources committee.  I really do feel that it is a privilege to be a governor for this very unique and special school.  I have lived in Birstall for 30 years and have attended St. Peter’s Church for 11 years.  I have one son who currently attends St. Peter’s School.  In my working life I am a Senior Sales Administrator and have been in my current employment for 29 years.


Rev Mike Green





Staff governors

Lesley Evans (Head Teacher / Ex-Officio)

I have been the Headteacher at St Peter’s CE (VA) J I & EY School since September 2011 and a school governor since 2003. I am very proud of the academic and spiritual journey our school is on. I thoroughly enjoy my job at St Peter’s and I am keen to work with the Governing Body to help our school to be considered outstanding. I believe we are making great strides towards this goal and St Peter’s is a really special place. I feel very privileged to work with such fantastic children, staff, parents, governors and community. I really do believe that our school vision, ‘A Brighter Future Together, One Body, Many Parts’ is only possible if we are all there for one another as a school family.

Outside of school, I am married with two children. I enjoy days out as a family, socialising with my friends and family, eating out and travelling. I also enjoy exercising and running!!!


Hayley Conway

I have been a Cover Supervisor at St Peter’s CE (VA) J I & EY School since March 2015 and a school governor since 2019.  I thoroughly enjoy my job as it has so many different parts and I believe St Peter’s is a really special place - it’s own little family. I feel very grateful to work amazing children and staff and feel we all support each other well.  One of my favourite memories at St Peter’s is the work we did on the School Song, it really showed how we work together to make ‘A Brighter Future Together’.

Outside of school, I enjoy days out with friends, playing Saxophone and Euphonium in local bands and travelling. I also enjoy singing and making crafts.

Parent governors  

Paul Ford

I am married and live in Birstall. My son and daughter both attend St Peters’ School, in Year 2 and Year 5.  I work as a Project Manager within the Finance Industry. I am passionate about equipping children with the skills that they will need both within work and community environments. Outside work, I am actively involved in local Scouting; I am Scout Leader at Birstall Scout Group and served as Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts for six years. I also enjoy the outdoors, caravaning, reading and meeting with friends.

 The role of Parent Governor is important to me as it allows me to offer support to the school and Governing Body, whilst offering a parental viewpoint. I am a strong believer in the value of high-quality education at an early age as a foundation for a child’s success in life. Like all parents I want the best for my children and I believe that we need to support the school but at times we also need to question the way things are done. By taking the approach of a critical friend through the asking of questions and challenging the work of the head teacher and the senior leadership team I help to ensure that the school is not only achieving for every child, but that it is constantly striving to exceed for every child.


Emma Harker

I am a parent of 3 children at St Peter's school and became a governor at the end of February 2020. As a new governor I have lots to learn but I am looking forward to supporting the school by offering a parents perspective on things. I’ve always lived in the area and currently teach at a local secondary school. 


Co-opted governor

Graham Hilton (staff)

I have proudly served as a governor at St Peter's since 2014. I am a member of the resources committee and also lead the standards and effectiveness committee. As Deputy Headteacher and also a governor I am able to play an important role in strategic planning and decision making in school.


Committees 2019-20

Standards and effectiveness committee

Lesley Evans

Graham Hilton

Janice Mitchell

Hayley Coway

Leif Wilks

Staffing committee

Lesley Evans

Janice Mitchell

Rev Paul Knight

Graham Hilton

Head teacher appraisal committee

Rev Paul Knight

Alison Sowden

Leif Wilks

Resources committee

Alison Sowden (chair of Resources committee)

Lesley Evans

Graham Hilton

Karen Robinson

Paul Ford

Admissions committee

Lesley Evans

Janice Mitchell

Rev Paul Knight (Chair of Admissions committee)

Alison Sowden

Paul Ford

Complaints committee

Janice Mitchell

Rev Paul Knight

Alison Sowden

Staff dismissal committee

Janice Mitchell

Rev Paul Knight


Pay / Dismissal committee

Janice Mitchell



Pupil discipline committee

Janice Mitchell

Alison Sowden


Pay committee

Alison Sowden

Leif Wilks


Dates of full governing body meetings 2019 – 2020

Monday 23rd September 2019

Monday 18th November 2019

Monday 20th January 2020

Monday 2nd March 2020

Monday 18th May 2020

Monday 13th July 2020


Attendance at governing body and committee meetings 2019-20

Please click here to see the attendance at governing body and committee meetings this academic year.



Governors Newsletter Issue 1 - 25/11/19


How to become a school governor

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