Welcome to the Governors’ section of the Layston Church of England First School website.  Here we would like to welcome you and tell you a little more about the role of Governors, the kind of people we are and how we support the Headteacher and the school community.  

The Role of the Governing Body 

As Governors we are responsible for the strategic vision of the school and for supporting the Headteacher and her staff in achieving that vision.  We are responsible for setting policy, agreeing and monitoring the school development plan and setting and managing the school’s budget; all in the interest of raising standards of achievement for every pupil. In addition, Governors do a wide variety of other things, either through formal committee activity or through personal involvement with the day-to-day life of the school 

The role of our Governing Body is not to manage the school on a day-to-day basis; that is the role of the Headteacher, Mrs McMurrough, along with the staff team.  Layston Church of England First School is a supportive, caring and successful school and it is our role and responsibility as a Governing Body to support the school and help to maintain and grow this success.  

Governing Body Meetings 

Our Full Governing Body (FGB) meets seven times each year.  At our meetings a wide range of topics are discussed including a Head Teacher’s report, feedback on teaching and learning and the approval of policies to support the effective running of the school. We alternate the focus of our meetings between ‘Finance & Resources’ and ‘Curriculum & Standards’ so equal scrutiny can be applied to these important areas throughout the year. Each of our governors has a primary interest in one of these areas and we come together in aligned working parties outside the FGB meetings when required. 

In addition to committee membership, many governors have additional responsibilities for specific school subjects or areas, for example Child Protection, Safeguarding or Data Protection.

Our Governors 

There are several different types of governor; this is determined by how you became a governor rather than the type of responsibility you have.  All governors have the same status. 

Our Governing Body consists of 11 governors including the Head Teacher and Staff Governor.  

  • Parent governors are parents or carers of children enrolled at the school at the time of their appointment. We have 5 parent governors. Should their child/ren leave Layston School during their term of office, they may continue on the Governing Body until the end of their four year term. 
  • Foundations governors are appointed by the Diocese of St Albans and, they have a duty to preserve and develop the Christian character of the school and to ensure that the work of the school is conducted in accordance with its trust deed. We have 3 foundation governors. 
  • Local authority governors are nominated by the local authority in order to maintain liaison with the authority and maintained schools in the area. We have 1 LA governor. 
  • Staff governors are dictated by the Instrument of Government which limits the number of elected Staff Governors to one.  

The role of Governor is a voluntary position and we are fortunate to have volunteers with a wide range of professional and personal experience.  Our governors are: 

Maggie McGarry – parent governor

Term of office – November 2018 – November 2022
I moved back to Buntingford in 2015 having originally grown up in the town and lived here until I left to attend University.  The primary reason for returning was so my son could attend the great schools we are so lucky to have.  I have spent my career working in Human Resources which has given me transferable skills which are I believe are useful to support the school, in particular coaching and organisation development.  I am the current Chair of Governors and I have additional responsibility for Staff Pay and Performance, HR and Head’s Performance Management and Exclusions. 

VICE CHAIR: Michelle Sleath – LEA governor

Term of Office: September 2020 –September 2024

I have been a governor in schools for more than 10 years and am committed to working with the school to ensure we are providing a lifelong and rounded education for our children.  I am fortunate enough to have had two children attend Layston First School, giving them a great foundation in learning – both have now moved on successfully to Middle and Upper Schools.  The role of governor has enabled me to combine my experience in a number of fields.  Having been a teacher for 15 years, I also have qualifications in special educational needs and have been an advisor in this field.  More recently, I united my educational experience with my accountancy qualification whilst working for the school’s company, Herts for Learning.  I am currently serving as the vice chair of the Governing Board, with a specific focus on Standards and Curriculum. 

Margaret Lawrence – Associate Member

Term of Office – February 2016 – February 2024
I moved to Buntingford in 2015 from North London. I became a Diocesan Foundation Governor in February 2016, when my term ended in Feb 2020 it was renewed for another four years. 
I am a retired teacher.  I taught Biology in a Girl’s Independent School at secondary level and was also responsible for curriculum and delivery of PHSE throughout the school. As a governor I have a focus on Curriculum and Standards and have additional responsibility for SEND, mental health, RE, PHSRE and Exclusions. I am an active member of St. Peter’s Church. 

CHAIR: Colin Wilson – foundation governor

Term of Office – Jan 2020 – Jan 2024
I moved to Buntingford in February 2019 to be nearer my children in anticipation of my retirement from the Civil Service, where I currently work 3 days a week. I am an actuary by training and have served a term as President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. I attend St Mary’s Church, Westmill. As a governor I am the lead for Finance and Resources.

Mary Powell – associate governor

Term of office – October 2020- October 2024
I have lived in Buntingford since 1984. My four children have been through the 3 tier school system here, all attended Layston and my youngest has just left Freman College. I joined the school office in September 2008 to help with the collection and banking of money coming into the school and have since been trained to look after the monthly accounts. 3 years ago, I was promoted to School Business Officer. Since my strengths lie in finance my area of interest is Finance and Resources.

Voting rights: none

Samantha Woolford – staff governor

Term of Office: November 2020 – November 2024

I joined Layston in 2016 as a SEN TA and then moved on to admin assistant in the school office. I have two young girls and lead a busy life juggling my responsibilities as a working parent. However, I am super organised and enjoy being busy. I love the interactions I have with parents and pupils and my favourite part of the job is figuring out ways to help them. My responsibilities on the governing body include Curriculum & Standards.

Emma Hampton – parent governor

Term of office – October 2019 – October 2023
I have lived in Buntingford since 2011 and have two children at Layston. I am a Parent Governor with special focus on Curriculum and Standards.  I am also the training lead.  I have spent my career working for Hertfordshire Children’s Services working with children, young people and their families.  This includes working within Social Care and The Youth Offending Team.  I believe that the skills I have are useful in supporting the school and in ensuring that the children are at the centre of everything we do.  

Rebecca Madin – parent governor

Term of Office – September 2021 – September 2025 

I moved to Buntingford from Ware in 2015 with my partner and eldest child, because it looked like a lovely town with a great community feel to bring up our young family, and we were not

disappointed!  My two children are currently at Layston, the youngest having just started Reception. 

I have a professional background in Project Management and Operations and I am currently Head of Operational Governance at a Technology Services firm, so bring with me strong organisational skills, experience in establishing robust frameworks, processes, and process improvements which I hope I will be able to use to support the team at Layston. 

Catherine Morris – parent governor

Term of Office – November 2021 – November 2025 

Hello, my name is Cat Morris and I’m mum to three attending Layston School. I have 10+ years’ experience delivering service and application management in the financial sector, today my role incorporates partnering with business stakeholders and vendors and leading a team who define and deliver technology strategy for business applications. Learning agility is key in all walks of life; being able to think critically, have self-awareness to help us handle tough situations, accept uncertainty and a desire and determination to push forwards. As technology and our environment disrupts our traditional models and approaches, it is important that individuals and organisations drive these behaviours. For our children learning agility gives us the opportunity to empower our children on their learning journey and promote a growth mindset.  I’m passionate about the culture of learning and our Buntingford community, and bringing my experience to the Governing Body at Layston School.

Elizabeth Salter – Associate Member

Term of Office – May 2018 – May 2022

I have lived in Buntingford since 2002 and have seen it grow over the years yet still retain a tight community vibe.  In 2017, I became involved in supporting Layston School initially as a member of FOLS and then also as a parent governor with responsibility for Safeguarding and Finance and Resources. My working background is in Human Resources and I’m a member of a local church where I assist in running the Sunday school.  I have worked within various sectors of child services, giving me additional insight and experience in safeguarding and health & wellbeing, which support the core values of looking after our children at Layston which I believe are key to our children’s happiness at school. 

Please see this table for more information about our Governors, updated annually, including Committees, Meeting attendance, Declaration of Business Interest and Governance Roles in Other Schools.