Welcome to Sir Thomas Abney Primary School. x

The Governing Body

The Governing Body


Sir Thomas Abney governors are at the heart of how our school runs. Our job affects the interests of pupils, staff and how the school is seen by parents and the community at large.

We therefore support and challenge the school management by looking at data, gathering views, asking questions and deciding what’s best for the pupils.

Our foremost priority lies with the safety, wellbeing and achievement of all pupils at the school. Furthermore we value our staff, parents and carers and the wider community of Sir Thomas Abney Primary School.

Your ideas and opinions are important to us and we are happy to help you in any way we can to support the children at our school. If you would like to talk to any of the governors you are welcome to contact us through the school office by using the email form on this website.

Meeting Dates Summer 2016

28 April (Curriculum Committee)

12 May (Resources Committee)

16 June (Full Governing Body)

The Role of the Governing Body

The governing body of Sir Thomas Abney works closely and supportively with the Headteacher and staff to help ensure all pupils get an outstanding education. We have legal duties and powers that enable us to do this. Our governing body was rated Good by Osfted during our most recent inspection.

Governors do not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school, except in extraordinary circumstances. This is the responsibility of the headteacher helped by the school staff. Our philosophy for running the school is one of shared responsibility worked out by common consent.

Governors govern rather than manage. We are there to give direction and focus by performing a vital strategic role.

The full governing body meets once each term. We hold two additional committee meetings each term. We also have a number of working parties that governors are involved with. STA governors love to attend school events such as concerts, open evenings and performances and organise workshops and forums for parents. We take part in staff appointment panels and when necessary hold pupil exclusion panels, parental complaint panels as well as staff disciplinary and grievance hearings.

Governors are also required to take on a ‘link’ role. Link governors liaise with specific subject leaders and visit the school to learn more about and support their subject or ‘link’ area.

Governors demonstrate their commitment to the school by:

  • Showing an interest and participating in many of the schools activities
  • Attending governors’ meetings
  • Visiting during the day
  • Getting to know the staff, pupils and their work
  • Offering support and expertise
  • Attending governor training sessions
The Constitution of the Governing Body

At STA there are a total of 15 governors. The governing body comprises different types of governors who each bring expertise and a different perspective to the team:

4 x Parent Governors elected by parents/guardians of registered pupils. Parent governors must be parents/guardians at the time of election. Parent Governors do not have to leave if their child leaves during their term of office, but they can if they wish to. If there is a potential vacancy, nominations are sought from parents.

If more nominations are received than the vacancies available then an election takes place. If insufficient parents stand for election, the governing body can approach a parent of the school to become a governor.

1 x LEA Governor nominated by the local education authority (LEA). Applications for this role are sent to interested parties, once received they are forwarded to an officer panel for consideration. Once agreed, the application is given to the cabinet to be agreed. LEA appointments can only be removed from office by the officer panel. It is not the decision of the governing body.

1 x Staff Governor  Staff governors are appointed by the staff employed to work at the school or have a contract of employment with the school. If they leave the school, they cannot remain on the governing body.

8 x Co-opted Governors (who must include 1 x parent, 2 x members of staff – of which one will include a teacher). Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing body and, in the opinion of the governing body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school. Teacher governors must be permanent members of staff. They act as a representative role. Once they cease to work at the school their term of office will be terminated.

Associate Governors are invited to the governing body, usually because they offer particular expertise or skills.

The Headteacher is a governor by virtue of their office.

The governing body’s main role is to help raise standards of achievement:

  • It is accountable for the performance of the school
  • It helps shape the school’s future direction
  • It monitors and reviews the performance of the school
  • It makes decisions about the school’s budget and staffing
  • It makes sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs
  • It decides how the school can encourage pupil’s spiritual, moral and cultural development

If you would like to become a member of our governing body, look out for vacancies and information about governor elections on this page.

We currently have vacancies for 2 Parent Governors. If you are interested in joining the governing body please download the Letter to Parents, Nomination Form and Election Statement from the Vacancies Page

News from the Governing Body

Working with FOSTA

Governors have held ‘surgeries’ at Parents’ Evening and have organised ‘Meet the Governors’ coffee mornings as well as other events aimed at parents where attendance has not been as large as we would have liked. Hence we were keen to hear suggestions from FOSTA (Friends of Sir Thomas Abney) about how we can improve the ways in which we engage and consult with parents and carers at Sir Thomas Abney. Chair of Governors Leonie Allister attended a meeting of FOSTA to discuss this.

Following that meeting we are in the process of looking into implementing the following:

  • We will invite FOSTA to attend Full Governing Body meetings to report on their activities
  • Governors’ profiles are currently being posted on this website. See ‘Meet the Governors’ below
  • ‘News in Brief’ from the governing body will be posted here. Watch this space!
  • Dates of future meetings and minutes will be posted

We are also in the process of compiling a series of online surveys for our school community to help us to continue to find positive, new ways to consult, communicate and work together.

Minutes of Governing Body meetings

You can view and download minutes from the most recent Govering Body meetings here. Please click on the document you require:

Full Governing Body meeting, 18th June 2015

Full Governing Body meeting, 13th July 2015

Full Governing Body meeting,  12th November 2015

Full Governing Body meeting, 12th March 2016

Meet the Governors

Leonie Allister (Chair)
Local Authority Governor (term ends 15/04/2016)

I have been a governor at STA for over 10 years and both my children attended the school before moving on to secondary school in Hackney. I am a local businesswoman (owner of a graphic design company established in 1989) and a qualified teacher (I also currently work at an ‘outstanding’ Tower Hamlets Academy).

I believe that all children deserve the very best start in life to help them become happy, healthy and successful young people who are well equipped to achieve their personal goals and make a positive contribution to their communities and the wider world. As a member of the STA Governing Body, the children at the school are at the heart of everything I do as a governor. I strive to support the school as it continues to raise attainment and provide a safe, enjoyable and enriching environment for learning.

Lisa Neidich (Vice Chair and Chair of the Teaching & Learning Committee )
Co-opted Governor (term ends 09/03/2015)

I have been a school governor for about 15 years, the last 7 at Sir Thomas Abney. Besides being Vice Chair, I’m Chair of the Curriculum and Personnel Committees. Outside of STA I’m Chair of the Hackney School Governors’ Association, Vice Chair of Schools Forum and a co-opted member of Hackney Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Commission.

I’m a photographer and have worked as a line producer in TV and Films. I recently started a social enterprise with a friend where we teach cooking low cost but delicious recipes to pensioners, long-term unemployed and people on benefits.

Michael Jacobs (Chair of Resources Committee)
Local Authority Governor

I’ve been on the Governing Body for five years, first as a parent governor, now as a community governor. I’ve been part of the school community since 2000, when my eldest child first joined the Nursery. All three of my children were at Sir Thomas Abney from Nursery to Year 6; two are now at secondary school in Hackney, the eldest has just gone to university. I believe passionately that all children from whatever background should get the possible start in life, and I am proud not only of Sir Thomas Abney’s excellent academic attainment, but the enrichment it provides to our pupils and the way it helps them become well-rounded and tolerant members of the community. On the Governing Body I chair the Resources Committee, which oversees the school’s finances and the improvements we’ve made to the school buldings and playgrounds. When I’m not a Dad I work in the field of climate change policy.

Mohamed Contractor
Parent governor (term ends 31/12/2019)

I became a school governor in 2016. This was my first appointment. I was elected as a Parent Governor and allocated to the resource committee. My eldest daughter currently attends STA and is in the reception year.  I love being a Governor as it gives me great insight to the educational primary structure. It gives me an opportunity to voice concerns and really appreciate all the hard work that the teachers and colleagues do on a daily basis.

Olalere Ladipo
Parent governor (term ends 06/01/2018)

I was elected into a parent governor position of the Sir Thomas Abney Primary School from 7 January 2014 for a four year term. I have served in various capacities of the school governing body in a staff disciplinary panel, Head Teacher review panel, and I belong to all existing committees. I have a linked governor responsibility to evaluate and report the school approaches to ensure that more-able pupils are well managed and equipped for future challenges.

I have attended Hackney School Governors Association (HASGA) conferences during which some topical issues were discussed, and various workshops held. I have had a number of training sessions related to various roles in order to perform better and contribute more to the school governing body.

I volunteered at the school summer fair in July 2015 which was a memorable experience for me.

It has been a fulfilling experience to be part of decision-making processes in the school where I have three children, and more importantly to have opportunities to contribute new ideas, offer solutions and critical challenge.

Andrea O’Brien
Parent governor (term ends 27/11/2016)

I have been a parent governor at Sir Thomas Abney (STA) for 5 years. I have two children, one currently in Year 4 and one in a Hackney secondary school. Both joined STA in reception and they have equally flourished and been enriched as a result of the teaching provided by STA.

My reason for becoming a governor stems from my firm belief that a good education for all of our children is the key to the best possible future for them. I sit on STA’s Teaching & Learning Committee and I am a Literacy Link Governor. This involves the scrutiny of the childrens’ attainment and progress in reading and writing. I conduct visits to view the literacy lessons in the classroom. I can say that through my work as a governor I believe that STA understands the learning needs of individual children and values their differences and diversity.

Outside of STA I work for the Nursing & Midwifery Council. I am very proud to work in the field of public protection and I am committed the provision of excellent public services.

I feel privileged to be a part of STA’s vibrant and creative community. We have much to be proud of at STA.

Our Governors

Leonie Allister
(Chair) Local Authority
Lisa Neidich
(Vice Chair) Co-opted
Geraldine Fitzmaurice
Mohammed Contractor
Elected parent
Olalere Ladipo
Elected parent
Andrea O’Brien
Elected parent
Sharon Smith
Elected parent
Sarah Finch
Simon Jackson
Michael Jacobs
Louisa Searle

Coral Wasylenczuck

Susan Moyse
Clerk to the Governing Body

There are currently vacancies for:
1 x Co-opted (parent)
1 x Co-opted (staff- any)
1 x Co-opted (staff- teacher)