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John Ray Infant School

John RayInfant School

Governance / Finance

Governors Statement John Ray Infants September 2022

We do not have anyone earning over £100K working within the school.

Our governing body is the key strategic decision-making body of the school and we set the school’s strategic framework from which all staff follow.

We agree the priorities, aims and objectives for the school and sign off the policies, plans and targets in order to achieve them.

We check on progress and regularly review the strategic framework for the school in light of that progress. The governors do not get involved in the day to day running of the school but support the headteacher’s leadership whilst making her accountable for the performance of the children and staff.

We have a strategic role to promote high standards of educational achievement, ensuring that adequate plans are made and legal obligations are met.


· Promote and maintain high standards of educational attainment

· Agree the school development plan

· Set an annual budget detailing planned spending

· Approve a staffing structure

· Ensure the safeguarding and health and safety of children and staff

· Deal with complaints against the school

· Support the setting of standards for pupils’ behaviour and discipline

· Make sure the buildings are welcoming and safe

· Ratify, adopt, monitor and review statutory and school’s internal policies

· Ratify policies formed on the school’s curriculum and collective worship

Key roles:

· To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

· To hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff

· To oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent

Core features of effective governance:

· Commitment to ongoing development and to getting to know the school well, including effective induction

· Commitment to playing an active part whilst working as part of a team

·  Ability to provide robust challenge and hold school leaders to account whilst listening to and respecting the views of others

· Focus on a strategic role rather than involvement in operational matters 

Schools Financial Benchmarking link

If you need to contact our chair person please email

My Name is Karen Wark. I am Chairperson and sit on the Resources Committee and am Subject Governor for English. I joined as a Governor in Sept 2019 because I had an interest in understanding how the school works ‘behind the scenes’ and the challenges it is facing now and in the future.  I am passionate about supporting everyone in the school – particularly the dedicated staff working hard to enable every pupil to achieve their full potential. I currently work for Essex County Council in HR focused on service improvement, organisational design and change management. Two of my children are currently at John Ray Infants and outside of work, you will always find me doing something with my family, usually outdoors!

My name is Penny Smith.  I have been a member of the governors team at John Ray Infant School since I retired in 2015.
I taught in Infant and Primary schools in Essex for nearly 40 years including 11 years as a headteacher. I live close to the school and see it as very much a part of our local community so it is a privilege to be able to support the school in this role. I am a member of a local church. I love playing tennis and badminton and also spending time with my family.


My name is Jo Heissig. I became a Parent Governor in 2008 whilst on a break from a career in Education to raise a family. All 3 of my children attended John Ray Infants and being a Governor has been a great way of getting to know the school and it’s systems better and gain an understanding of how and why decisions are made and how they benefit every child that attends the school.
I am fortunate now to work at John Ray Infants in the Foundation Stage and have been able to remain on the Governing Body as a Co-opted Staff Governor.
In my spare time I enjoy Baking and Reading.

Hi, I’m Jon Tatam and I joined the John Ray Infant Governing Body in February 2021 as I have three young children who are all benefiting from the school. I am chairperson of the Resources Committee. I have lived and grown up in the local area all my life, with the exception of a few years in Surrey for business reasons, and I want to be able to give back to our school and community. In my professional life I am a senior manager for a company providing legal services and enforcement solutions specialising in property and financial disputes / matters. I am also an NHS employee and regularly work shifts for the East of England Ambulance Service.  In my spare time I’m usually found either walking our dog or playing taxi for the numerous kids' clubs! 

My name is Jason Crowe. I joined the John Ray Infant Governing Body in April 2023 after my two children had the pleasure of attending this school, and seeing the positive impact it had on both of them.I wanted to help and support the local community and what better way than to help shape our children’s education. I work in the recruitment sector, whereby I am also an advisory board member and ambassador for The British Institute Of Recruiters (BIOR). In my spare time, I enjoy various sports, the gym and spending time with my family. 

I'm Natalie Pennell. I have a passion for education and I've been a KS1 teacher for over 11years. I have a passion for early reading and wanting children to thrive. Previously, I worked as an outdoor instructor at an outdoor activity camp. This was an amazing experience! I’m happiest when I’m with my family and friends. We are a busy family who love; walks, playing games and being together. I love being by the seaside and in my spare time I love to paddle board. I feel very lucky to have one children in the Infant School and one child in the Nursery. I decided to be a Parent Governor as I wanted to support the school and children. It is a pleasure to be part of the school community. 

Hi, I'm James Brush, and I am so pleased to have recently become a Parent Governor at John Ray Infant School, where both of my children attend. I bring a wealth of experience to this role, balancing my professional life as well as a commitment and passion to enhancing the educational environment for young learners.

I work professionally as the Head of Residential Sales at Branocs Estates in town. Additionally, I am the Founder of SMILES Sport, a community business offering multi-sport and football skill sessions aimed at engaging and developing the children in the area.

Outside of work, I enjoy all types of sports, and when time allows, I enjoy hitting the golf course for a few rounds. As a family man, I treasure moments spent with my loved ones, including our cherished Goldendoodle Bailey, whom we enjoy taking on dog walks. We are active members of the Skylark Church in Chelmsford and enjoy our local community church, Cornerstone in Black Notley; I recommend The Coffee House in the week for all coffee and cake fans. I look forward to supporting this excellent school as a Parent Governor and as a supportive aid for the fantastic staff that give our children so much during their Infant School journey.