Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names and categories for each Governor.


Full Governing Body

  • Sue Herlihy- Community Governor, FGB Chair, Governor for Training and Reading/Literacy 
  • Gail Seaton – Associate Governor
  • Rosalind Hopkins- Executive Headteacher
  • Lisa Bramall- Parent Governor, Governor for PPG
  • Kerry Clarkson- Parent Governor for QofE
  • Amy Dunstan – Staff Governor
  • Janet Downes- Co-opted Governor, QofE chair
  • Paul Saxby – LA Governor, Vice Chair, Governor for Health & Safety, BAH&S Chair, Governor for COVID-19
  • Debi Palmer – Co-opted Governor, Governor for EYFS, Safeguarding & LAC
  • Andrew Patterson – Co-opted Governor, Finance Chair

Former Governors 2019-2020

  • Lindsey Willday 
  • Dr Phil Wood
  • Louise Finn
  • Caroline Pearson

Governor Committees 
Behaviour, Attitudes, Health & Safety 

  • Sue Herlihy 
  • Rosalind Hopkins
  • Paul Saxby (Chair)
  • Debi Palmer
  • Amy Dunstan
  • Lisa Bramall

Quality of Education

  • Sue Herlihy
  • Janet Downes (Chair)
  • Rosalind Hopkins
  • Debi Palmer
  • Amy Dunstan
  • Kerry Clarkson

Finance and Staffing Committee

  • Andrew Patterson (Chair)
  • Rosalind Hopkins
  • Sue Herlihy
  • Gail Seaton
  • Lisa Bramall

Pay Review Committee

  • Sue Herlihy
  • Rosalind Hopkins
  • Gail Seaton

The Governing Body

The School’s Governing Body is proud to be part of the progress that the school is making and is highly committed to ensuring Birch Wood’s vision and ethos continue to underpin its success.

The Governing Body is a group of volunteers organised within the Education Act 2012 and the Regulations associated with that Act that came into force in 2012 and 2013.

The Governing Body has three core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, aims, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Seeking to ensure the educational performance of the School and all of its pupils; and
  • Oversight of the School’s financial performance, use of resources and performance management

These functions are exercised via the Governing Body and its respective committees. These committees are:

  • Behaviour, Attitudes, Health & Safety
  • Quality of Education 
  • Finance and Staffing

The Governing Body and its Committees oversee and approve the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and within that Plan have identified particular areas of focus for evaluation and review. There are regular meetings of the committees (where members of the School’s leadership team are also present), and the full Governing Body, together with frequent meetings between members of the Governing Body and members of the School. These meetings, and these contacts, create a governors monitoring schedule of the Governing Body’s work; a full record of those meetings is maintained.

Key documents include:

  • The School Evaluation
  • The governors monitoring schedule
  • External Validation

The Governing Body also has a number of statutory duties, for example the safeguarding of pupils, employment within the School and complaints procedures. These duties are also contained within the work of the committees and the Governing Body as a whole. The Governing Body is subject to inspection by OFSTED and the Governing Body’s performance is part of the Leadership and Management comments in subsequent reports.

The Governing Body’s work

The Governing Body and those working in and supporting Birch Wood – including students, parents as well as staff seek to build and maintain relationships based on trust and openness and a shared view of the School’s aims. Birch Wood is fortunate to have knowledgeable governors who fully understand the needs of the students and how staff seek to meet those needs. Governors have frank discussions about the School’s strategic direction, policy decisions and the development of educational practice. Governors are actively involved in reviewing and evaluating policies, progress, positive behaviour for learning, health and safety, CPD and staff performance.

The Governing Body are important a part of the School’s success through their contribution to the strategic direction of the school.

The Governing Body’s membership

The Governing Body’s composition conforms to regulations that must be in place by September 2015. 

In addition the Governing Body is fully supported by a two Clerks, Denise Reed & Lou Bedder, who can be contacted at  Neither Denise or Lou are a voting member of the Governing Body.

Governors Reports

Behaviour Principles

Governors’ Written Statement of Behaviour Principles
This statement was written and approved by the Governing Body. It will be reviewed every 3 years in
line with the school’s Positive Behaviour Policy.
Rationale and purpose
– This Statement has been drawn up in accordance with the Education and Inspections Act,
2006, and DfE guidance (Behaviour and Discipline in Schools, January 2016).
– This is a statement of principles, not practice: it is the responsibility of the Headteacher to
draw up the school’s behaviour policy, though these principles must be taken into account
when formulating this. The Headteacher is also asked to take account of the guidance in DfE
publication Behaviour and Discipline in Schools: a guide for Headteachers and school staff
(January 2016)
– The Behaviour Policy is publicised to staff and families on the school website.
At Birch Wood School we aim to:
– Provide an inclusive model for our understanding of behavioural needs.
– Encourage pupils to become independent, responsible, accepting and caring people with
respect for the beliefs and values of others
– Promote all aspects of each pupil’s development, preparing them to make a positive
contribution to society and to have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as
– Develop pupil’s social, communication and self-management skills.
Key beliefs and ethos for behaviour.

The Governors at Birch Wood School strongly believe:
– Children and young people want to behave well.
– Behaviour is a means of communication – we must ensure that all pupils are supported to
communicate their needs safely and appropriately.
– With the right support and intervention children and young people can learn to improve
their behaviour and manage well.
– All of our children have learning difficulties which impact on how they learn to behave.
– Birch Wood School is an inclusive school. All members of the school community should be
free from discrimination of any sort (as laid down in the Equality Act, 2010).

Governor Attendance 2021-2022

2021-2022 Full Governing Body Attendance
Sue HerlihyYesYesYesYesYes5/5100
Lisa BramallNoNoYesYesYes3/560
Ros HopkinsYesYesYesYesYes5/5100
Amy DunstanYesYesYesYesYes5/5100
Tom SmithYesYesYesYesYes5/5100
Andrew Patterson YesYesNoYesYes4/580
Debi Palmer YesYesYesNoNo3/560
Janet Downes Yes YesYesYesYes3/5100
Gail Seaton YesYesYesYesYes5/5100
Kerry ClarksonNoNoYesYesYes3/560
Paul SaxbyYesYesYesYesYes5/5100

2021-2022 Finance and Staffing Attendance

Sue HerlihyYesYesNoYes3/475
Lisa BramallYesYesNoYes3/475
Ros HopkinsYesNoYesYes3/475
Andrew PattersonYesYesYesYes4/4100
Gail SeatonYesNo YesNo1/450
Judith BrookYesYesYesNo3/475
Tom Smith YesYesYesYes4/4100

2021-2022 Quality of Education Attendance
Sue HerlihyYesYesYesYes4/4100
Amy DunstanYesYesYesNo3/475
Ros HopkinsYesYesNoNo2/450
Tom SmithYesYesNoNo2/450
Debi PalmerYesNoYesNo2/450
Janet DownesYes Yes YesYes4/4100
Kerry ClarksonYesNoNoNo1/425
Tom Bradley-HewellYesYesNoYes3/475
Phil LeaneyYesYesYesYes 4/4100

2020-2021 Behaviour, Attitudes, Health & Safety Attendance
Sue HerlihyYesNoYesYes3/475
Amy DunstanYesYesYesYes4/4100
Ros HopkinsYesYesYesNo3/475
Tom SmithYesYesNoYes3/475
Debi PalmerYesYesYesNo3/475
Janet Downes YesYes YesYes4/4100
Tom Bradley-HewellYesYesNoNo2/450
Lisa BramallYesYesYesNo3/475
Paul SaxbyYesYesYesYes4/4100

Governor Attendance 2020-2021

2020-2021 Full Governing Body Attendance
Rosalind HopkinsYesYes 2/366
Sue HerlihyYesYes 2/366
Kerry ClarksonYesYes 2/366
Debi PalmerNoNo 0/30
Lisa BramallYesNo 1/333
Caroline PearsonNoNo 0/30
Amy DunstanYesYes 2/366
Gail SeatonYesYes 2/366
2020-2021 Behaviour, Attitudes, Health & Safety 
Name15. Attendance%
Sue HerlihyYesNo 1/333
Rosalind HopkinsYesYes 2/366
Paul SaxbyYesYes 2/366
Debi PalmerNoNo 0/30
Amy DunstanNoYes 1/333
Lisa Bramall NoYes 1/333
2019-2020 Quality of Education
Name15. Attendance%
Sue HerlihyYesYes 2/366
Rosalind HopkinsYesYes 2/366
Debi PalmerNoNo 0/30
Amy DunstanNoYes 1/333
Kerry ClarksonYesYes 2/366
2019-2020 Finance & Staffing
Name29.9.2028.1.2120.5.21 Attendance%
Caroline PearsonYesYes 2/366
Rosalind HopkinsYesYes 2/366
Sue HerlihyYesYes 2/366
Gail SeatonYesYes 2/366
Lisa BramallNoYes 1/333
Percuniary Interest DeclarationGovernorDetails
Businesses (of which I am a partner or sole proprietor)None Declared              
Company Directorships – details of all companies of which I am a directorNone Declared 
Membership of professional bodies, membership organisations, public bodies or special interest groups of which I am a member and have a position of general control or managementNone Declared 
Gifts or hospitality offered to you by external bodies while acting in your position as a governor/trustee and whether this was declined or  accepted in the last 12 monthsNone Declared 
Contracts offered by you for the supply of goods and/or services to the trust/school None Declared 
Other conflictsNone Declared