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St Mary's Bentworth

Church of England Primary School

Love, Respect, Belong

Governing Body


Meet our Governors






Maria Fordyce Chair

I enjoy my role as a Governor at St Mary's.  It is a privilege to play a small part in a school that continually strives to ensure that each child makes the best progress, is encouraged and supported to reach their potential and is provided with a breadth of opportunities and experiences that help to underpin the 'can do' attitude of a St Mary's pupil.  The best reward for the work involved as a Governor is seeing children blossom as they learn and develop.  They leave St Mary's with confidence, the ability to work very well with others and a desire to do their best and I hope, when they remember their time here, it is with a smile.



Ex Officio Diocesan governor - following retirement of Revd Canon Ed Pruen, we await appointment of our Diocesan representative.



Debbie Spencer-Jones

I am a long standing foundation governor at St Mary’s, with two children having attended the school. I see my role on the Education Committee as helping to preserve the values of love, respect and belonging that are so characteristic of the school. We  work with the staff to ensure that all pupils can access the highest quality teaching in a safe and nurturing environment, with the widest possible range of experiences and opportunities available both within and outside the classroom. Teachers and governors at St Mary’s have a close working relationship allowing us to ensure that all we do as governors directly impacts on the children’s experience and progress.



Jane Phillips

I am a foundation governor and parent of two children who have attended the school. One of the school core values is belonging and the children of St Mary’s are given a strong sense of being part of the school, church and local community. It gives me great pleasure to see the year 6 children at their leaving service. To see their confidence, how they have blossomed and their strong sense of belonging and love of the school that is so evident.

I am part of the Education Committee. An important part of this role is monitoring academic progress to try to ensure that each and every child is helped to make the best possible progress. The school also aims to provide the children with many varied and different opportunities to help equip them for life after primary school.


Felicity Wevill

I am appointed as a Foundation governor and I currently have one child as a pupil at St Mary's.

I am a member of the  Resources' Committee supporting the Finance side of the Governing Body.



Debbie Kempton

I am appointed as a Foundation Governor and very much hope I am able to contribute to the on-going success that is St. Mary’s.  I have spent over 20 years in Aerospace and Defence as both a systems engineer and programme manager, and prior to that I was a research associate in the Astronomy Department at The University of Texas.  I think that’s relevant because those are both environments where people are trying to do extraordinary things with extremely tight budgets -  much like the challenge St. Mary’s faces.  As a result, I hope that I can bring skills and experience to bear as a member and Chair of the Resources Committee and help the school do ‘more for less’.  I also want to help St. Mary’s maintain its ability to tap into the interests of the children to allow them to grow/explore as much as possible during this critical time (for me this is the formative time where my son will learn to love or hate education!) and I hope I can help St. Mary’s continue to deliver such a positive experience to our children.



Neil Saunders

As a Foundation Governor being part of the Governing Body is both a challenging and privileged role. To be in a position to help and support the school in giving all children the best possible platform to grow and develop as individuals, is a responsibility I enjoy. With modern education continually evolving, the Governing Body and staff work together effectively to create an environment where our children can learn many of the skills required to take with them on their journey beyond St Mary's, with confidence and above all a smile on their faces. 



Local Authority Governor

Jean Cornelius

I am the Local Authority governor for St. Mary’s Bentworth. I first became a governor in 1992, and in 2001 left when I went to live in the Caribbean with my husband. I returned as a governor in 2006. I am the link between the school, and the community, and bring maturity and practicality to the existing governors’ team.
I am very proud to have been involved in the building and refurbishment of the various additions to the school that have taken place over the last 20 years, thanks to help from the school PTA, the dioceses, the local authority, and the community. We have built 2 new classrooms, new offices, and a music room, incorporated the old school house into the school, refurbished the hall, and the toilets. We have kept as much as possible in keeping with the Victorian structure of the old building, built in 1850.
St. Mary’s provides a lovely country school, a happy environment, a strong Christian ethos, and an excellent standard of education. The children leave St. Mary’s well adjusted to cope with whatever life may bring them.





Jo Ayres Head Teacher

As headteacher, being a Governor as well, is an opportunity to be a leader within a team where the pupils are at the heart of all our decisions, questions and reports. It is where I feel challenged, supported and where we find solutions to issues that may be affecting our school community and pupil potential. St Mary’s is very lucky to have such a committed team who bring such a child-centred approach to Governance. I hope I bring knowledge about the running of the school how the school staff team work tirelessly to make sure every day counts. I bring professional reflection and ideas for development. I am enthusiastic and passionate about my job and about educating our children for a tomorrow we do not know. You cannot get a better job than that in my mind. I am thoroughly enjoying our team approach to school improvement with the values of Love, Respect and Belonging.




Fiona Walke  Senior Administrator/Finance






Emily-Jane Messenger 





 Neil Saunders, former parent governor, now Foundation Governor








Ashley Feldon-Lawrence





Associate Members


currently none


Clerk to the Governors


Judy Totman

I have been Clerk to the Governing Body at St Mary's since 2011, having previously clerked for another local primary school for 6 years.  I support the governors at their Governing Body and Committee Meetings, taking minutes and ensuring supportive documentation is available.  












How are Governors appointed?

A Governor is appointed for a 4 year term.  They may, of course, stand down at any time within the 4 year term.  At the end of the term they may seek re-appointment.  We have 12 Governors.  The Governing Body was required by law to review its constitution and completed this in July 2015.  Three changes were implemented as part of the reconstitution following the Diocese guidance for Voluntary Aided Schools:

  • We reduced the number of staff governors (excluding the Headteacher) from 2 to 1
  • We increased the number of parent governors from 1 to 2
  • We removed the requirement that 3 Foundation Governors must be appointed when parents of children attending St Mary's.


Foundation Governors: appointed by Bentworth Parochial Church Council (PCC) as the representative Church organisation for the school locality.  Applicants complete a form for the PCC setting out their involvement in the local community and their religious affiliation—it is not a requirement that you are a practising member of the Church of England.  Foundation Governors should ensure that the school ethos reflects its Christian foundation.  Foundation Governors can be parents with children aattending St Mary's or members of the community.


Parent Governors: appointed by election by  current parents.  The parent governor brings a parent perspective to Governing Body discussions.  They are not appointed as a delegate for parents. 


Local Authority Governor: appointed by Hampshire County Council.  In our case the County Councillor for the school area takes responsibility for the appointment, taking account of local views.


Staff Governors: the Headteacher and elected representative for teaching and support staff.


Ex-officio: the Rector is also a Governor.



My children feel so safe and happy here. They are keen to go to school every day

Parent - July 2018


The school teaches really important life skills through the resilience work- understanding failure is a learning opportunity, not a catastrophe

Parent - July 2018


Communication is excellent- I always know the door is open

Parent - July 2018


The staff show an exceptional level of commitment to the school

Parent - July 2018


You are passionate about children being at the heart of everything you do

Parent - July 2018


94% of our pupils said that 'Teaching is good all the time'

Pupil Survey - July 2018

Thinking of joining us?