The Governing Body of Thurton CE Primary School

Our School Governance Statement:

‘The Governing Body actively promotes effective spiritual, moral, social and cultural development alongside inspiring teaching to provide an exceptional learning environment where pupils love to learn.’

The Governing Body of Thurton CE Primary School consists of 11 members who support the school in its strategic direction through acting as a ‘critical friend’.

School Governors are members of the school’s Governing Body. They have responsibility for raising school standards through their three key roles of setting the strategic direction, ensuring accountability for financial spending and monitoring and evaluating school performance. Governors are the largest volunteer force in the country. The Governing Body is made up of the following members: the Headteacher, a member of school staff, parents, members of the community, church representatives and appointed representatives from the Local Authority.

Governor Hub – all information for the Thurton School Governors is kept on this virtual learning environment (VLE).

Register and Attendance 2021-2022

Register and Attendance 2020-2021

Register and Attendance 2019-2020


(Minutes of Full Governor Meetings, which do not include strictly confidential information, are available upon request from the Headteacher.)

Thurton Governing Body Committees and Terms of Reference Document

Who can become a school governor?

All types of people can become school governors. There are no special qualifications required, but you must be 18 or over on the date  when elected or appointed. Enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education are the most important qualities. If you are a Parent Governor, you will not just be thinking about your own children but all the children and the longterm future of the school. However, to be a Governor, you do not need to have a child at the school or even know anyone in the school, just a desire to be involved with our school, to help it become the best it can be. All Governors are expected to have a clear DBS(Disclosure and Barring Service – this used to be known as a CRB, Criminal Records Bureau)before they become a school governor.

The full Governing Body meet six times a year, once per half-term. Each member of the Governing Body is also either a member of a subcommittee or has a specific area of the School Improvement Plan as a focus. These groups meet once per term, or more often if necessary. The committees and groups are:

  • Strategic Leadership – Headteacher, Chair of Governors and Vice Chair of Governors
  • Finance Committee
  • Ethos Committee – led by Fr C Ellis
  • Personnel Committee
  • Curriculum and Standards Committee
  • Link Governors for specific sections of the School Development Plan (SDP), Safeguarding, Health and Safety (including E-Safety) and Curriculum areas.

Each group feed back to the main Governing Body in the second meeting per term.

Types of Governors

Local Authority Governor – appointed by the LEA

Mr Gary Corbett

‘I have worked for the Local Authority since 1976, moving to Thurton with my wife Nicki in 1980, our two children and 5 of our grandchildren have all attended Thurton Pre-school, Thurton VC School and then to Hobart, an endorsement on how positively we support education with our local schools, especially the early years of their education—they are all doing well.

It is for me, being a Governor to use my life experiences to contribute and care for the future of both the school, children attending, importantly supporting the teaching and support staff throughout the year. Governors help strategically with the direction of the school and its development, supportive to the Head- critical where required and accountable to stakeholders. I hope to provide a listening ear and always ask if I am unsure and question where necessary.  

In my free time, I enjoy sailing and paddle boarding locally, walking usually with our daughters two Labs if local. Watching my grandchildren’s love of football and I volunteer for a local charity Waveney Stardust Trust.’    

Parent Governors– elected by other parents at school, or where there is no competition, appointed by the Governing Body.

Mrs Jayne Casey

‘I am mother to Olivia and Harry, who attends Thurton & Ashby Pre-school. We live in Ashby St. Mary. My background is in education, having worked with primary-aged children, in and out of schools, all my working life. Currently my time is devoted to my family and the local community: I am Parish Council Clerk, part of the committee that is renovating Thurton & Ashby playground, I run the Christian pre-school group Little Fish, and help within the PTA.’

Mrs Sorrel Kelly

‘Hello, I’m Sorrel, mother to Luca (y2), Finnley (R), and Ada (preschool). I recently moved back to Thurton after living abroad and have loved becoming part of this community again. I have worked in education in various capacities while gaining a Masters in Early Childhood Development. I am passionate about supporting all young children in becoming life long learners full of respect, compassion, adventure and who attain a desire to do great things. As your parent governor, I would love to hear from you about how your child is getting on at Thurton. So if you see me around, do stop for a chat.’

Co-Opted Governors– appointed by the Governing body, for example because they represent community interests or have particular skills

Mr Len Swiffen – Acting Chair of Governors, Chair of Curriculum and Standards Committee, elected by and representing Thurton Parish Council

‘I’m Len Swiffen. I have been a governor at Thurton VCP School for more than six years. Before retirement, I had almost forty years teaching experience in primary, junior and middle schools in Norfolk. My aim is to support positively, the very demanding work of everyone concerned with Thurton VCP School, in ensuring that every child receives the best and widest educational opportunities possible to enable them to fulfil their full potential and to prepare them for secondary education.’

Mrs Laura Butler

‘Hello, I’m Laura. I joined the Governing Board in December 2022 as a Co-opted Governor. I live in Ashby St Mary with my husband Gavin, a deputy headteacher at a secondary school, and our two boys, the eldest of whom is in Reception.  

After studying law at university, I applied to join ‘Teach First’ – a teacher training programme designed to attract teachers to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities, where children face the greatest barriers to their learning. My plan was to finish the two-year programme and then move to London to complete my law training contract, but within weeks of stepping into my first classroom, I realised I loved teaching.  

I have since had the opportunity to work in a diverse range of schools: from inner city schools in Special Measures on journeys of rapid school improvement; to a boarding school in rural Norfolk; leading international schools in both Thailand and China; and currently, a school whose GCSE results place them in the top 50 schools for progress in the country. I have held a range of middle and senior leadership roles, mostly focused on improving standards of teaching and learning, and I have an MA in Educational Leadership from Warwick University.  

I am particularly interested in educational neuroscience and how we can use what we know about the brain to help promote a child’s learning.  Unsurprisingly as an English teacher, I am also obsessed with encouraging children to love reading, and I never tire of browsing the children’s shelves of a good bookshop.   

Having taken a bit of a career break over the last five years to enjoy my time raising our boys, I currently spend more time getting muddy at forest school sessions, shaking a rattle at music groups, or fishing my child out of gymnastic ball pits than I do in the classroom. However, I remain passionate about education, and I am delighted to be able to support Thurton Primary as a school Governor.’  

Mr Roland Kaye – Represents community interest

Ms Amy Brooke

‘My name is Amy and I have lived in Thurton since 2015 with my partner Greg, beagle Dexter, cat Macy and two children Jasper aged 5 and Liberty almost 3. Jasper is currently in Year 1 in the school.  Having moved from Norwich, we love the change of lifestyle and pace being so close to plenty outdoor space, fresh air and walks without the crowds of people! We are both keen runners and it is a joy to have such a vast outdoor ‘playground’ on our doorstep!  I was keen to become a school governor to not only support our fantastic community school develop and thrive but feeling I could bring knowledge and skills as a Children’s Services professional having worked for Norfolk County Council for 12 years. I started my career as a Connexions Personal Advisor, before moving on to Youth Work and various management roles. I have worked in roles managing children with disabilities, early help and prevention, family support and most recently community development.  I am moving onto work for Family Action, a national charity that supports vulnerable families as a Deputy Director after February half term. I have a real drive for equality and inclusion, supporting vulnerable families reach their potential and pride myself on the integrity, understanding and humility I bring to my work. I look forward to supporting the school on this and I am certain I will learn and gain so much from the role having never worked directly within education.  Having balanced the significant demands of a senior management role alongside my own family’s needs for several years, not least during the current exceptional year, I can combine making sound judgements under pressure with being a caring parent to my two young children. I feel this would be fundamental in the role as a school governor and I am really looking forward to getting stuck in.’

Foundation Governors– appointed by the Diocese and are representatives on behalf of the local church. These governors do not have to be regular Church attendees but have to believe in the philosophy and ethos of the Church.

Mrs Anne Dring

‘I’ve been a school governor since September 2016, my aim is to give the children every opportunity and encouragement to achieve the best they can during their time at school. I was a school librarian for many years before retirement, so am fully aware how reading helps in every aspect of life – not just literacy – so I visit the Blue class every week to support the children in their learning. I also love music and help with the school choir. Being a part of the Governing Body and a member of the Curriculum Committee is a pleasure, it’s a place where we can share our skills for the benefit of the school and wider community.  I am a committed Christian, part of Thurton church and also Holy Trinity church in Norwich.’

Mr Paul Carter

‘I have lived at Claxton for over 30 years having made the move from Newbury, Berkshire in 1989. However, I was born in Devonport, Plymouth where I attended a boys grammar school and subsequently studied at Universities in Wales and Birmingham before being appointed one of HM Inspector of Factories in 1979. My career with the Health and Safety Executive over ~ 40 years as a senior regulator involved staff management, policy development, partnership working, enforcement and representational work as a UK invited expert attending the European Chemicals Agency Forum (ECHA) in Helsinki.

My three daughters were all educated locally and attended Universities across the country. They now work as primary school teachers in Norfolk and in music education in the West Midlands. My wife, Sarah was a school governor and classroom assistant at Rockland St. Mary Primary School for many years.

As a newly appointed foundation governor, my aim is to apply my professional experience, my interests in science, natural history, music performance and role as a churchwarden within the Rockland Benefice, to contribute positively to the educational and pastoral experience of all those who attend Thurton CE Primary School. I believe that education should provide children with the opportunities to develop their intellectual, sporting, creative and spiritual potential, to become good citizens, tolerant, inclusive and with a strong sense of purpose, curiosity, responsibility and engagement within their families and communities.’

Staff Governors– elected by the school staff. Head teacher is a governor by virtue of his position.

Mr Jonathan Barber – Head teacher

Miss Laura Debenham – Class teacher

If you wish to contact the Governing Body please address correspondence to the Chair of Governors via the main school office.

If your contact is the result of a complaint please follow the steps outlined in the complaints policy available in the office or on this website in Queries

Minutes of Governor meetings are available on request to the Headteacher.

The partnership in practice – who does what?

Area Headteacher (HT) Governing Body (GB)
Overall responsibilities
  • Runs the school on a daily basis
  • Advises governors
  • HT is the main influence on GB’s decisions
  • Determines the aims, ethos and priorities of the school
  • Critical friend
  • Delegates to the head the power to run the school
Funding and policy making
  • HT or senior leadership team (SLT) does the nitty-gritty work of formulating the plan
  • Drafts the detailed action plans
  • Involved in planning discussions and decisions through its committees
  • Agrees the final school improvement plan (SIP)
  • Ratifies whole school policies
  • Supplies the information and advice and produces the curriculum plan
    • Determines curricular policy and agrees the curriculum plan.


  • Draws up the initial staffing plan based on the school’s needs
  • Decides the complement of staff
  • Decides what proportion of the overall budget should be spent on staff
  • Manages the appointment process, e.g. draws up job descriptions, organises the day in school and timetable
  • Has responsibility for managing appointments
  • Should work within the agreed criteria


  • Produces the budget headings
  • Manages the school’s spending and budget
  • Responsible for approving and monitoring the budget
  • Monitors the school’s financial management
  • Interprets the regulations for the governors
  • Manages the performance management of the staff and the progression up salary scales which at the point of appointment were agreed with the governors.
  • Determines salary levels for all members of staff  (at time of appointment with  advice from HT)
  • Determines salary level of Headteacher
  • Ratifies the statutory pay policy
 Personnel Day to day management of staff. Deals with personnel issues if issues occur.