Welcome from the Governors
We warmly welcome you to St. Giles’ School. As governors we care passionately about the wellbeing of the pupils and the success of our school. First and foremost for us is that the children are safe, happy and ready to learn, supported by high quality teaching and facilities and a wide range of opportunities inside the classroom and in our extensive outdoor learning areas. We have enjoyed seeing the school make progress over recent years and we make our contribution to that through our commitment to the Full Governing Body, Teaching & Learning, and Resources committees, as well as making regular visits to the school and taking part in school life whether the summer or winter fayres, the speaking competition or the visits and trips on offer. We feel that this is a really special place and we are sure you’ll agree if you or your child spends time here.
You might wonder what the governing body does for the school. Perhaps the most important thing we do is to provide support and constructive challenge to the Head and his team about the work they are doing and how that fits with the School Development Plan. There are a lot of other areas of activity though. One recent focus for us in the Teaching & Learning Committee, for example, has been taking time to understand the new Ofsted inspection approach, with its attention to the intent, implementation and impact of everything the school does to enable the children to learn. We have also, in our Resources Committee, been overseeing plans for new building work following a generous donation from a member of our local community. Of course it isn’t all glamour (!), we have a lot of school policies and guidance that regularly need reviewing to check that they are up to date and fit for purpose.
As a governing body we welcome your views and feedback. If you have anything you would like to tell us about your experience of the school, successes or things you think we could be doing better, just ask to speak to the Chair, a parent governor or any other governor by contacting the school office.
The Governors are representative of the Church and various local groups and they influence the character, policies and general administration of the school. They are elected for a period of four years or for their term of office (ex-officio) and meet regularly to debate all aspects of school life.
There are two committees;
- Teaching and Learning which deals with the Curriculum
- Resources which deals with Finance, Premises, Pay and Personnel
|Governor||Category/ Appointed by||First Appointed/
Term of Office
Relevant Interests (inc other schools)
|FGB Attendance 2020-21|
|Mr Keith Smithard||Head Teacher||01/09/2015 –||
|Mrs Sarah Boulter||Parent Governor
Chair of Governors
|07/01/2020 – 07/01/2023||
||One child at the school|
|Miss Linda Bailey||Foundation Diocese Board of Education||01/02/2017 – 31/01/2021||Health and Safety
|Rev Philip Green||Foundation Diocese Board of Education||20/11/2020 – 19/11/2024||
|Vacancy||Foundation ex-officio||Priest in Charge||/4|
|Mr John Schmitz
|Foundation (PCC)||18/06/2018 – 17/06/2022||
|Mrs Anna Garcia||Foundation (PCC)||14/11/2018 – 13/11/2022||
|Mrs Henrietta Hodgkiss||Foundation (PCC)||22/11/2020 – 20/11/2024||
|Mr Marcus Starling||Parent Governor||31/01/2018 – 30/01/2022||
||Two children at the school||1/4|
|Mrs Natalie Dowdall||Staff Governor||23/10/2019 – 23/10/2023||Deputy Head
|Mrs Nicola Thrussell||Associate Member||02/09/2020 – 02/09/2024||School Business Manager
||One child at the school||1/4|
- Teacher governors are appointed from staff at the school
- Parent governors are elected by and from parents and carers of pupils at the school
- LA governors are appointed from a list maintained by the local education authority
- Community governors are co-opted by the governing body
Mr Keith Smithard
Having taught in schools in Hertfordshire, and abroad, I am delighted to be the Head at St. Giles’. My background as a teacher and leader in schools has given me first hand experience of developing teaching and learning within schools. I am enjoying the opportunity of working in a small school and supporting the Governing Body in their role.
Mrs Natalie Dowdall
Having been a teacher for many years in a range of schools in London, including three-form entry schools, an all-through academy and a Hindu faith school, I am delighted to be Deputy Head of St. Giles. I have a range of experience supporting staff through roles such as NQT mentor, subject leader and Key Stage leader, which has given me invaluable knowledge to develop schools. I am driven by a desire to ensure all children enjoy school as much as they can, through quality teaching and a wealth of opportunities and experience. Being on the Governing Body allows me to help to develop our school in another way, which I really look forward to.
Mrs Nicola Thrussell
I have one child who attends St. Giles’ – my son joined in September 2015, and my daughter also attended before moving on to Secondary School. Before having children, I worked as a Finance and Operations Section Manager for Marks and Spencer, much of which involved tight budget control – the biggest being my store’s staffing budget. I also gained a wealth of experience in Disciplinaries, Performance and People Management.
I worked for Marks and Spencer for ten years but chose not to return to retail following the birth of my children. I then worked part-time as a Church Administrator in a busy Potters Bar Church for about 6.5 years, where I am still a member of the church council. As of Sept 2020, I now work at St Giles’ as the School Business Manager. I am deeply committed and dedicated to supporting the school and all those involved with it – staff, parents and children, and feel extremely privileged to be part of the Governing Body.
Miss Linda Bailey
Having been raised in Kettering, Northamptonshire, I moved to London in 1976 to join the Metropolitan Police. I served as a police officer until 2003 and then as an office manager until 2007. I moved to Potters Bar in 1988 and worshipped at St Giles’ Church where I was married in 1989. I joined the Governing Body of St Giles’ School in 2000 and became the training governor where I stayed until the vicar, Rev. Alan Harding, asked me to become Churchwarden in 2004. I could not hold down both positions and stepped down as Governor. I remained Churchwarden until December 2007, then in July 2008, I was asked to return to St Giles’ Full Governing Body where I became the Health and Safety Governor. I have held the positions of Chair and Vice Chair during the last four years, and I enjoy being part of the school governing body, helping out in school whenever I can and getting to know the staff, children and their parents. Over the years, it has been an honour to see the children develop and grow into responsible young adults.
Mrs Sarah Boulter
Mother of two children, my daughter left St Giles’ in 2019 to continue her education in secondary school, and my son started in reception at the same time to begin his.
Since 2015 I have been working within the Early Years sector as an Early Years Practitioner. I am Ofsted registered, hold a NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in early years qualification, and am currently undertaking SEN teaching diplomas level 3, 4 & 5 alongside child psychology studies. I am also a qualified paediatric & mental health first aider.
As a Governor, I look to add value by supporting in the areas where my experience and qualifications in Early Years can, and to help raise the profile of the school and support the amazing work the teachers and staff do for our children.
Mr Marcus Starling
I have four children, three at St. Giles’ and one who has recently gone on to secondary school. I have a degree in Archaeology & Anthropology and work as a civil servant, having spent some time at the Department for Education before my current role. I have previously worked at a charity for the blind and I taught English in Japan for two years. I am also a trustee of ‘A Partner in Education’ which is a charity supporting schools in Rwanda. I am very pleased to be a parent governor and to support the school in its ambitions for our children.
Mr John Schmitz
After many years in industry, mainly in computing, I joined the Education Authority in Barnet and took on the role of ICT Strategy Manager for 120 schools, which I did for 11 years. Following this, I worked for the London Grid for Learning, project managing the delivery of broadband internet into 2,500 London schools, and then across England, until my retirement in 2018. I am married to a retired primary school headteacher and have two children, one of whom is also a primary school teacher. I am a member of the PCC at King Charles the Martyr church and a regular attendee at services. My leisure interests include Rugby Union, and I have been a season ticket holder at Saracens for over 15 years. I hope I can help St Giles’ school to achieve the best outcomes for all its pupils and staff.
Mrs Anna Garcia
I have worked in Education for 25 years. In the past I have been Head of Department at a Further Education College, I have experience of teaching and supporting students, managing teaching and support staff and liaising with parents. I understand the constant pressures that come with the job of being in charge of a department and working towards educational targets, preparing for Ofsted and operating within a budget. In my current role I work with Pre-School Children who have a Special Education Need. My role includes delivering teaching sessions in the home, supporting parents and giving them strategies to help their child. If the child attends an Early Years Setting, I will advise the setting and supporting them with SEN and inclusion strategies. We moved to South Mimms 5 years ago and my son was lucky enough to be given a place at St Giles’. He has now moved on to secondary school. During his time at St Giles’, I was extremely happy with the holistic approach the school had with being focused not only with academic achievement but also fostering the child’s spiritual, moral and physical development. It also gave him a sense of community and belonging, which is one of the special things about the school, making the children feel like they belong and are welcomed. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to be a School Governor and would like to support the school in ensuring that all the children who attend the school go on to reach their full potential.
What do governors do?
Governors have three main roles:
- Strategic role: Governors are involved in the school development and improvement planning process, allocating resources and in considering the direction, aims and values of the school governors. The governing body’s focus is on raising the achievement of all pupils. Governors help to set and regularly review all school policies (e.g. homework, special educational needs) and seek to ensure that the school meets its targets.
- Critical friend: Governors monitor and evaluate progress in the school.
- Accountability: The governing body must account to the whole school community for the performance of the school, the educational standards it achieves and the quality of education it provides.
The governing body meets at least once a term. Minutes of these meetings are available from the school office.
To contact our governors by email, please us this address – firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, please go to www.governornet.co.uk.