Governors work closely with headteachers, school staff and representatives from the local authority (LA).

Statutory Guidance for Governing Bodies

St Charles RCVA Primary School adhere to the statutory guidance from the Department of Education. This means that governing bodies must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to the constitution of governing bodies in maintained schools.

The Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools (Updated Aug 2015)

How To Become A School Governor

If you require further information on the roles and responsibilities of School Governors or you are interested in becoming one, visit the Durham County Council website School Governor section.

Governing Body Committee Structure

You can find out more about each governor and their roles and responsibilities below.

NameCategoryAppointing BodyTerm of OfficeCommittees Serving OnOther Positions of ResponsibilityBusiness InterestsRelationships
Mr Chris ButlerFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle23.09.2016 – 31.08.2020Finance
First/Pay Review
Chair of Governors
Chair of Finance
Safeguarding Lead
Miss Vanessa MainsFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle11.07.2016 – 10.07.2020Standards
Headteachers Performance
Vice Chair of GovernorsNoneNone
Mrs Joanne BrownCo OptedDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle01.09.2015 – 30.08.2019Admissions
Fr Harry O’ReillyFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle10.03.2015 – 09.03.2019NoneNone
Mr Phil McDonaghFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle19.04.2016 – 18.04.2020Admissions
First/Pay Review
Headteachers Performance
Chair of Admissions NoneNone
Mrs Michelle BowmanFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle23.09.2016 – 22.09.2020Appeals
First/Pay Review
Chair of PremisesNoneNone
Mrs Sharon CantwellFoundationDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle03/07/2017 – 27/06/2021
Mrs Liz O’HehirLocal AuthorityDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle04.02.2016 – 03.01.2020Personnel
Husband – Geoff O’Hehir – Chartered Accountant
Liz O’Hehir LTD – Education Training
Sarah MaxfieldParent GovernorDiocese of Hexham and Newcastle22.05.2017 – 22.05.2021
Miss Anna RobinsonAssociateDiocese of Hexham and NewcastleAdmissions
Paul Robinson – PER ProductionsNone

Record of Governor’s Attendance 2016 – 2017


Present – YES

Apologies Accepted – A/A

NameGovernors Body Meeting
Finance and Personnel Sub Committee 30/06/2016Governors Body Meeting 12/10/2016Special 13/02/2017Governors Body Meeting 08/03/2017Special 28/03/2017Full Governors Meeting
Full Governors Meeting
Committee and Standards 08.03.18
Mrs Sarah MaxfieldN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AYES
Mrs C HoltYES
M BowmanA/A
Mrs B HillYES

Meet Our Governors

Mr Chris Butler

Mr Chris Butler

Chair Person / Foundation

Hi, my name is Chris Butler and I’ve been a Governor at St. Charles for twenty five years, during most of which time I have been fortunate to be Chair of Governors of our wonderful school.

I went to primary school in Wiltshire and secondary in Fife before moving to Spennymoor in 1974 and marrying my wife Diane.

Our four children attended St Charles and then St Leonards and benefited greatly from the excellent education they received in both schools. They’ve now moved on into careers and all live away now.

Having spent most of my career in manufacturing companies, for the past ten years I have worked for Five Lamps, a Teesside based charity helping people find work and start small businesses.

I can honestly say that, despite having been a Governor for quite a while, every time I’m in school I, not only learn something new, but am constantly impressed with the dedication and professionalism of all the staff.

As a governing body we are all committed to working with Mr Burke and his team to strive for ever better achievements and quality of the school experience for every one of our children

Miss Vanessa Mains

Miss Vanessa Mains

Vice Chair / Foundation

I work for The Priory Group within the Management Accounts team and have done so for the past six years, altogether working within the same industry for the last 13 years.

I have two children my eldest is a pupil at St. Charles and I wanted the same school life experience for my children as I received attending St. Charles. To commence on their school journey in a caring environment and to have the sense of belonging to a school family, whilst learning, having fun and being creative.

I am privileged to be a part of St. Charles’ Governing body and I aim to assist the team to continue to make our school the best it can be for our children.

Mr John Burke

Mr John Burke


My name is John Burke and I was appointed as Head Teacher of St Charles RCVA Primary School in January 2017, after serving as the Deputy Head Teacher since January 2013.

I am immensely proud to be Head Teacher of a school where everyone is made to feel welcome and special. It is a privilege to work with a dedicated team of staff and governors who are firmly committed to ensuring that every child flourishes and achieves their very best, providing them with the solid foundations needed for future success.

Father Harry O’Reilly

Father Harry O’Reilly


My names is Fr Harry O’Reilly and I am the parish priest at St Charles R.C. Church, Tudhoe.

I was born and educated in Ireland and ordained in 1965. Over my 40 years as a priest, I have served in the parishes of St Godrics Durham, St Roberts Morpeth, St Matthews Jarrow, St Mary‘s Sunderland, St William’s & St Anne‘s Darlington, St Gregory’s South Shield, before moving to St Charles in 2006.

My particular role as a governor (as I see it) is to promote Christian beliefs and standards and to encourage good links between the school and the parishes of St Charles and All Saints, Ferryhill.

Mrs Michelle Bowman

Mrs Michelle Bowman


I was born and brought up in Spennymoor and attend St Charles Church in Tudhoe.
I have worked locally as a Personal Assistant for over 31 years.

Generations of my family have attended St Charles school which has given me a strong bond with this special school.

As Governor I endeavour to strive for excellence whilst maintaining the high standards of nurturing set throughout each year group.

I feel honoured to be part of this school’s past and future success.

Mr Phil McDonagh

Mr Phil McDonagh


I moved to Spennymoor just over 10 years ago, my wife (Anna) having been born and raised in the town.

We chose to move to the area ahead of starting a family as Anna was keen to bring our children up attending the same school as she had herself.

When our eldest child joined the school I was impressed by the excellent level of education offered, and the warm family friendly atmosphere and welcome received by all, and in 2013 agreed to become a Parent Governor.

After serving for 3 years as Parent Governor I was asked to take up a Foundation Governor role.

Professionally I have worked in the Information and Technology sector over 20+ years, and I am now a senior manager for a major global organisation. The technology and commitment to developing technology skills also, in my view, makes St Charles stand out as a school, and I could not think of a better place for my 2 children to grow and learn.

I feel humbled to be part of such a fantastic team.

Mrs Sharon Cantwell

Mrs Sharon Cantwell

Foundation Governor

My name is Sharon Cantwell & I have lived in Spennymoor all my life.

I am married to Martin & we have two grown up sons both of who attended St Charles School when they were young & have very happy memories of their time there. I regularly attend St Charles Church & am also a Eucharist Minister.

My career background has been in Admin/Finance & for the last 14 years as Credit Controller.

I feel privileged to be part of the Governing Body for St Charles & look forward in supporting & helping maintain the values, care & excellent education St Charles offers.

Mrs Claire Holt

Mrs Claire Holt


As a parent governor I am committed to working with the school, parents and community to continue to improve the school for the benefit of all children at St Charles.

A little bit about me ... I am married and have two boys currently attending St Charles, who have both thrived due to the all round opportunities that they have received from the school. I have been an active member of the Friends of St Charles by helping at movie nights, Halloween discos and the Summer Fayre. Involvement in these events has shown me the dedication that the parents/guardians and staff have to the children and our school.

I have a background in Human Resource Management. I believe these skills will allow me to help develop and shape the school on its continuing journey of improvement. I will be able to offer a parent’s perspective so that all children have the very best education experience possible.

Mrs Liz O’Hehir

Mrs Liz O’Hehir


I live in Spennymoor, worship at Tudhoe St Charles and my children attended St Charles’ School.I taught primary age children in schools across Durham before taking up a primary headship in Stockton. In August 2014, I retired from this post where I had been for the previous eleven years.

Since then, I have continued to work independently as a Primary Link Tutor to trainee teachers, who are part of Carmel School-based Initial Teacher Training programme. In addition, I work as part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle’s Inspection team undertaking RE Inspections in Catholic Primary Schools.

As I have a background in Business Administration and accounting and also undertake some consultancy work in this field.

From my roots and my background in education, many of which have been in areas of high deprivation, I know how important it is for youngsters to be exposed to as many opportunities as possible to become independent, self-assured and well-rounded citizens.

St Charles offers this, every member embracing their mission. Children are our future and I passionately support any activities that help in their success.

Mrs Joanne Brown

Mrs Joanne Brown


My name is Mrs Brown and I am the Associate Governor for St Charles RCVA Primary School. Within school I am the Year 1 support assistant. I have worked at this school for over 17 years, starting as a volunteer helper. Four generations of my family have attended St Charles and it always brings fond memories.

As a governor I strive to main the high standards that have already been achieved and look forward to many years as a Governor and staff member.

Mrs Sarah Maxfield

Mrs Sarah Maxfield

Parent Governor

My boys, Joseph and Oliver attend St Charles. My husband, Matt is self-employed and I’m currently taking a career break. In my spare time, I am involved in several projects at St Pauls Church Spennymoor including a community listening experiment and helping to run the After 8 group. I also find myself involved in lots of other charity events!

I am immensely proud to have been elected as a Parent Governor. I strive to make a positive contribution to the team. I believe that St Charles provides pupils with an exciting and fulfilling environment in which to learn and I am committed to the successful future of the whole school.

Miss Anna Robinson

Miss Anna Robinson


My name is Anna Robinson and I am currently the Acting Deputy Head Teacher. I teach Year Six and have been a member of staff at St Charles for 7 years. To also be a Governor of the school is something very special and important.

The school prides itself on the uniqueness and caring qualities that is has. I am incredibly proud to teach such wonderful children and to be part of a governing body that wants the best of the pupils in our school and aims to provide them with the opportunities to grow and develop.

Mrs Bernadette Hill

Mrs Bernadette Hill

Deputy Headteacher

My name is Bernadette Hill. I am the Deputy Head Teacher at St Charles. I have worked at St Charles for 16 years. I have experience in EYFS, KS1 and KS2.

St Charles has a very special place in my heart. It is where I attended as a child and where my children now attend. I have seen so many changes in the school over my long association, going from the old Victorian building to the ‘new’ building.

Witnessed several Head teachers and Deputy Heads making their mark and taking the school from strength to strength. As a Deputy Head and a Governor I hope to help support the continued success and development of a beloved school.

© Copyright - St Charles RCVA Primary School