Anthony Pontifex

I am honoured to serve on the Governing Board at St James’ Catholic High School in my capacity as Headteacher. I was appointed to the position of Headteacher in July 2018. During this period, I have led a transformation at St James’ in the physical environment as well as the culture of the school which is rooted in our three values of family, faith and excellence. My philosophy for Governance and education is simple but powerful; children at the centre of everything we do.

Previously I worked at Pleckgate High School in Blackburn as Deputy Headteacher, a school which upon my appointment was rated by Ofsted as “Requires Improvement”. Three years later it was rated “Outstanding” in all areas. I have a wealth of experience of working in other Catholic High Schools in Blackburn, Manchester and Liverpool.

Paul Carter

I have been a Governor of St James’ since 1998 during which time I was appointed as Chair. I am also a Governor at Aquinas College and Chair of the Schools Forum. I have a strong interest in mental health and well-being of our children as a director of AGE UK in Stockport and a Governor of the local mental health trust. Formerly I worked in SE Asia as a Marketing Director for British Aerospace.

Olivia Woods

I was delighted to become the staff Governor at St James’ in 2014. I have been a dedicated Head of Year and teacher of Science at St James’ since 1996 and have two daughters who attend the school. I am passionate about providing pupils with the best possible Catholic education so that each individual reaches their true potential whilst growing into responsible and caring citizens. I value the opportunity to ensure that our pupils receive an enriching and inspiring curriculum.

Jane Gay

I have been involved with St James’ since it opened as a brand-new school in 1980. I taught here until 2008 and was the teacher Governor for many years. I am now a foundation Governor. I am passionate about the school and believe in providing a first-class education within a supportive Catholic ethos which values and respects staff and pupils alike.

Susan Breckell

I became a Governor at St James’ in 2012 as I am committed to providing an outstanding education for our Catholic community in an inclusive setting where every child is encouraged to excel. I am passionate about school improvement and enabling the students at St James’ to develop into global Catholic citizens. Previously I was Chair of Governors at Cheadle Catholic Infant School.

Margaret Monaghan

I became a governor at St James’ when my two children attended the school a few years after the school opened. My two grandsons are also former pupils of the school. I am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and taught Mathematics for many years. I am committed to Catholic education and to ensuring that St James’ Catholic High School provides an outstanding education for the children of the area.

Louise Bolam

I became a parent Governor at St. James' in 2016 because I am passionate about Catholic Education involving not just academic success but developing the whole child. I believe every child deserves the best start in life and the key to this is outstanding education. I worked as an accountant before I had my 3 children and am also a Governor at a feeder primary, these experiences enhance my Governor role at St James'.

Christine Connolly

I have been a governor since 2007. I am committed to ensuring that St James' is a Catholic community where students have every opportunity to achieve their full potential through their academic work, spiritual life, worship and extra-curricular activities. I am committed to St James' being a community where every member is valued and respected in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and where pupils are helped to fulfil their unique role in the world.

Louise Maguire

I joined St James' Board of Governors in 2016. I have worked in catholic education for over twenty years and wish to support St James' in providing the very best opportunities for our young people.

Jodie Tyrrell

I became Local Authority Governor at St James’ in September 2019. I am a Pharmacist and Lecturer at Manchester University. I believe every child should have the opportunity to access high quality Education in a way that helps them learn and develop both academically and personally. In my role as Governor I want to support the school and be confident that the school is living out its mission to ensure that everyone within our school family achieve their full potential.

Karen Carter

I have been a Governor at St James’ since 2008, initially as a parent Governor and then as foundation Governor. St James’ is a school which recognises that the learning environment is central to the development of the whole child, academically, emotionally and spiritually. As a parent I was always reassured that my children were being cared for in a school that valued them as unique. As a Governor I am committed to ensuring that all St James’ children experience an education that prepares them for their continuing journey in life. I am a practising Midwife and have worked alongside families in Stockport for over 30 years.
Governor Name Category of Governor Term of Office (end date) Committees Responsibility
Mrs S Breckell Foundation 31.08.20 QofE
Chair of Governors
Chair of QofE
Safeguarding Governor
Mrs K Carter Foundation 31.08.20 PDB Chair of PDB
Mrs C Connolly Foundation 31.08.22 PDB
Mr P Carter Foundation 31.08.22 L&S
Mrs J Gay Foundation 31.08.20 QofE
Mrs M Monaghan Foundation 31.08.20 QofE
Mrs L Bolam Parent 31.08.20 PDB
SEND Lead Governor
Mrs L Maguire Parent 31.08.20 QofE
Vice-Chair of Governors

Chair of L&S

Disadvantaged Lead Governor

Ms Olivia Woods Staff 31.08.21 PDB
Mr A Pontifex Headteacher Headteacher QofE
Mrs J Tyrrell Local Authority 09.09.23 QofE
Mr J Livesey Ex 27.06.19 N/A
Fr D Long Ex 13.03.20 N/A


Quality of Education Committee (QofE) – The Governors’ Quality of Education Committee meets termly where current progress is analysed and leaders throughout the school are held to account. Robust questioning and challenge ensure that actions are focused around areas for development. The Quality of Education committee scrutinise:

  • Intent; curriculum design, coverage and appropriateness
  • Implementation; curriculum delivery, teaching and assessment
  • Impact; achievement, knowledge and skill development and destinations

Personal Development & Behaviour Committee (PDB) – The Governors’ Personal Development & Behaviour Committee meets termly where items below are analysed and leaders throughout the school are held to account. Robust questioning and challenge ensure that actions are focused around areas for development. The areas that are scrutinised are:

  • Behaviour and attitudes; behaviour, attendance and punctuality and safeguarding
  • Personal development; careers guidance, citizenship, health and well-being as well as the
  • Catholic ethos; denominational self-evaluation and improvement planning

Leadership & Strategies Committee (L&S) – The Governors’ Leadership & Strategies Committee meets to ensure the Headteacher and School Business manager are held to account for the vision and ethos of the school, student experience, Health and Safety and financial aspects of the school including recruitment. Vigorous discussion ensures value for money and that the deployment of resources is linked directly to the school improvement plan

Headteacher’s Performance Management – Three non-staff Governors will have responsibility for conducting the Headteacher’s Performance Review. The review will be carried out with the support of an independent advisor

Pay Committee – This consists of a minimum of 3 non-staff governors who have no interest in the pay proceeding and have declared any such interests

Pay Committee Appeals – This consists of a minimum of 3 non-staff governors who have no interest in the pay proceeding and have declared any such interests

Staff Grievance and Complaints, Staff Absence, Staff Disciplinary and Dismissals and Appeals against Grievance, Absence and Dismissal procedures and Admissions Committee – The Chair of Governors shall nominate any eligible Governors who has had no prior involvement in the case

Roles & Responsibilities of a Foundation Governor of a Catholic School

Foundation Governors form the majority on a Catholic school’s Governing board. They have the responsibility of assisting the Bishop by sustaining and developing the Catholic ethos and distinctive Catholic nature of the school in which they serve. Foundation Governors have a specific commission to ensure that the school, is at all times conducted in accord with the provisions of the Diocese of Shrewsbury Trust Deed. Foundation Governors follow these principles:

  • To give clear witness to the teaching of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and assume responsibility for governing the School according to Canon Law, the Catechism, and the teachings of the Catholic Church in general and Diocesan norms in particular
  • To comply with the guidance on admissions, staffing, building maintenance and curriculum as published by the Bishop or his delegate through the Diocesan Schools Commission and convey this to the other members of the governing board
  • To seek to appoint Catholic teachers who combine personal conviction and practice of the Faith with the qualities and experience required by particular posts
  • To represent the Bishop or his delegate on the Governing Body with particular reference to the Catholic ethos of the school by ensuring that the whole curriculum of the school is rooted in an understanding of life in conformity with the teaching of the Gospel and the Catholic Church
  • To achieve this, they must ensure that the general religious and liturgical life of the school conforms to Diocesan guidelines. To take particular care that Religious Education has first place in the curriculum, and embraces and enlivens every subject; and that the school follows a truly Catholic programme of religious and moral education approved by the Diocese
  • To consider not only the interests of the school in which they serve as Foundation Governor, along with its pupils, staff and parents, but to comply with Diocesan policy and the interests of other Catholic schools and the interests of Catholic education throughout the Diocese
  • To be eligible for appointment, enquirers must be practising and committed Catholics. Since holding the office of Foundation Governor is a form of service or ministry in the Church, enquirers have to confirm that they are eligible and willing to serve in accordance with the commission from the Bishop
  • The appointment of Foundation Governors is entirely at the discretion of the Bishop of Shrewsbury, or his delegate (Director of Schools), for schools within his jurisdiction



Click here to download the Governors Term Of Office
Click here to download the Governors’ Code of Conduct

Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26