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Who are our governors and what do they do?

IMPORTANT: The structure and responsibilities of the governing board has changed now that we are a member academy of The Cam Academy Trust.


School Governance by a Local Governing Board (LGB)

There are 3 types of governor: Trust appointed, staff elected and parent elected, each for 4 year terms. Additionally, the Trust and LGB can appoint individuals as 'Associate Members' who may have specialist skills or knowledge for a minimum term of 1 year, up to the maximum of 4. They are not governors, and cannot vote, but they can attend governor meetings and can chair committees set up for a specific purpose. The Trust appoint the Chair and Vice Chair. The LGB must have a good balance of experience and the skills required to monitor and support a schools performance and to make evidence based strategic decisions, whilst also supporting other schools within the Trust as required.


The board normally holds 2 full meetings per term. Each sub-committee also holds 2 meetings per term. The governors also have a number of other committees, including, for performance management, salaries and salary appeals. The role of the governing board is broad. We approve Trust targets for academic achievement, performance targets for the Head Teacher, approve the school budget, appoint staff, approve school policies and many other roles.

The LGB both challenges and supports the Headteacher to facilitate pupil progress and to ensure the ethos and values of the school continue to align with those of the Trust.


Pecuniary Interests:

The governor's sign an annual register disclosing any pecuniary interests they may have. Each meeting agenda requires all attendees to disclose any pecuniary interests related to agenda items to be discussed.

The currently disclosed pecuniary interests of non Trust governors are summarised as follows:

Chris Leete - is married to Teaching Assistant Hannah Leete.

The full register is available for viewing by request from the school office.


The Governors of Gamlingay First School:

(Name, Category of Governor, Role, Term Expiry Date)


Chris Jukes, Primary Executive Lead, CAM Academy Trust, Trust Representative:

Chris is responsible for the Primary schools within the Trust, ensuring that they are provided with the support to develop and maintain high standards.

He has been a qualified teacher since 1988 working in a variety of schools in Birmingham and Hertfordshire. He achieved his National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2003 which supported him throughout his two Headships in St Albans during the last 14 years, allowing him to experience the many changes in education ensuring that both schools made very good progress. He also has spent the last two years overseeing the growth of his most recent school from two forms of entry to three.

Throughout his time as a Headteacher he has developed and established a strong philosophy for nurturing, pastoral support and the development of early reading, leading to his last school being a national model school for phonics.

He has had the opportunity in Headship to develop his school to school support through his role as a School Improvement Partner and more recently as a Local Leader of Education where he provided regular support to three other schools. Chris has also acted as a Coach within the NPQH course; coaching and advising prospective Headteachers. Over the last three years Chris has been involved as a Non-Executive Director with a local educational catering company providing him with the knowledge and experience of company governance.


Shelley Desborough, Staff Governor, Headteacher:
Shelley was appointed to lead GFS from September 2015 during a time of expected change and is enthused by the varied challenges in her first Headteacher post. Previously Assistant Headteacher for 6 years at Waterbeach Primary School, Cambridgeshire, her family has a strong generational connection with teaching allowing for an informed career choice. With young twins of her own, Shelley is naturally well positioned to understand the specific educational and emotional needs of young pupils today. Under Shelley's stable but energetic leadership the staff and pupils at GFS are progressing in all areas of their development.


Russell Gray, Trust Governor, Chair of Governors, July 2019: 

Locally born and schooled, Russell has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and New York, but chose Gamlingay as the family home for its unique village character. His long standing interest in education led him to becoming a Governor in 2015 primarily to help support GFS through the change of leadership, an important period for any small successful school. His professional experience in Finance and IT has equipped him with useful skills to contribute to the governance of the school. As the current Chair of the LGB he is committed to improving standards across the school, assist with the expansion to primary status and ensure the LGB is effective at supporting and challenging everyone at GFS to fulfil their potential through this important phase of its development.      


Kate Mingay, Trust Governor, Early Years Lead Governor, Vice Chair of Governors, Sept 2017: 
Kate is a long term resident of Gamlingay whose children both attended GFS and became a Parent Governor in 2006. Kate was Chair of Governors during the last two Ofsted inspections, both of which rated the school as ‘Good’. Kate jointly founded and co-owns a local chemical distribution business with her husband. Her degree in Materials Technology with Management and experience with personnel issues, finance and taxation, quality auditing, health and safety, strategic business planning and sales and marketing have proved invaluable during her long tenure as governor. As a keen singer, being a member of a number of local choirs, Kate helps run the after school Choir club.


Simon Richardson, Trust Governor, Chair of Resources Committee, September 2019:
With strong family ties to the village and GFS, Simon recognises the importance of a sense of ownership and involvement from the community and is proud to have had the opportunity to be part of this important relationship for over five years now; initially as a Parent Governor.
With two children now in attendance, his family will continue to have a direct relationship with the school for many years to come and I want to ensure it remains a great school, not just for them but for all the children who may also become pupils in the future. Simon's professional experience in finance, surveying and planning provides the LGB with ideal skills in his role leading the Resources Committee.


Kate Hayes, Trust Governor, Chair of Curriculum Committee, Data Analysis Governor, October 2018:
Cambridgeshire born and a Gamlingay resident for more than 10 years with one child at GFS Kate became a school governor  to focus on what the school delivers for every child's education. As a working parent, Kate is committed to ensuring that working parents can be well connected to the school even when their schedules do not permit a daily presence. 
Her professional background is in data gathering and the use of evidence to make better decisions, including project and change management across many types of organisation. These skills serve her well in her key role ensuring balanced pupil progress is being made throughout GFS.


Emma Giddings, Trust Governor, SEND Governor, September 2019:

Born and raised locally, Emma will have two children at GFS in 2017 having now settled in Gamlingay.

Passionate about education she wanted to become more involved in supporting GFS. The  dedication and professionalism shown by the governing body during her first meeting reassured her it was the right volunteering role to take up.  

A successful solicitor and partner at an international law firm based in London her professional responsibilities are wide ranging and involve team management, business planning and development and an understanding of financial information. These skills continue to be invaluable in her role as a governor at GFS.


Chris Leete, Trust Governor, July 2019: 
Although relatively new to the village, Chris has 3 children at GFS and many friends and family here having previously lived in Sandy, where he gained governor experience as Parent Governor at Laburnum Lower School. After meeting the diverse and motivated group of governors at GFS, I wanted to share and build on my previous governor experience during the next stage of the school's development. His degree in Product Design with professional skills in sales, brand image and marketing are useful in his role ensuring the Trust and Senior Leadersip Team are effective.


Tony Winter, elected Parent Governor, June 2021:

awaiting profile



Beth Slater, Elected Staff Governor, Assistant Headteacher:
I have been a Foundation Stage teacher at GFS for nearly 15 years, originally teaching Key Stage 1. I have been part of the senior leadership team as Assistant Headteacher for Early Years since 2011. I was appointed to the governing body in October 2014.

Non Governor Roles:


Paul Lawrence, Director of Education CAT, Associate Member, Curriculum Committee:

Paul works to ensure the highest standards of education across all Trust’s Acadmies. He has more than 20 years’ experience teaching in schools, 14 of them in senior management. Paul recently spent a year’s full-time secondment working for Ofsted.


Mark Norman, Director of Finance and Operations CAT, Associate Member, Resources Committe:

A qualified Management Accountant with over 20 years experience within a large corporate organisation. Having joined the trust in 2013 Mark has helped develop and enhance the finance systems and controls, whilst at the same time integrate the new academies that joined the Trust.

Now managing the support operations across the Trust, with the remit of increasing productivity and efficency, whilst looking at cost savings and economies of scale, in conjunction with the support services Managers.

Mark is also the Trust’s Company Secretary.

Former Governors (who held office during the previous 12 months):


Sara Hall, resigned as Chair of Curriculum Committee and parent governor and left office December 31, 2016

Mark Young, resigned as elected parent governor and left office May 1, 2017

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