In this section...


We are pleased to welcome you to the governors’ section of the site. We hope it will give you an insight into who we are and what we do.

Cutteslowe Primary School is an academy managed by THE RIVER LEARNING TRUST. Each school within The River Learning Trust is managed by its local governing body and the Senior Leadership Team of the school.

Working in partnership with the Headteacher and staff, governors ensure high standards of achievement for the children in the school. We focus on strategy and school improvement; we decide what we want the school to achieve, set priorities and monitor progress to realise these aims. We have three core strategic functions delegated to us by The River Learning Trust Board:

  • Setting the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school, within the context of The River Learning Trust
  • Holding the Headteacher and senior staff to account for the educational performance of the school and its children
  • Ensuring the school remains within the budget delegated by The River Learning Trust and making sure the money is well spent

Our current Chair of Governors is Mrs Helen Pooley

Cutteslowe Primary School
Wren Road

Who are the Governors?

The governing body is made up of the Headteacher and people from various different groups who have an interest in the success of the school, including parents, staff, the local authority and the community.

The governors welcome a range of viewpoints, and make decisions together about a variety of issues. Between them governors have a wide breadth of skills and experience to enable the governing body collectively to support and challenge the school leadership. As vacancies arise specific skills are targeted to fill gaps in the governing body. As a result, key professional skills are represented from law, accountancy, architecture to educational skills.

Helen Pooley (Chair)

I'm delighted to have taken on the role of Chair of Governors this year. I've had a long association with the school that stretches back over 14 years, first as a tutor and then as a parent and Chair of the Friends.

This is such an exciting time for the school with the arrival of Gillian as our head, and I look forward to working with her, the teaching staff and the other governors to make our school the very best place it can be for our children.

Kate Dew (Vice Chair)

I have been a community governor at Cutteslowe for the last three years and I am excited to have just taken on the role of Vice Chair.  I have two children at the school and have worked/lived in Oxford city for the past twelve years as an Assistant Head Teacher, specialising in Inclusion and Safeguarding.  I am looking forward to working with the school community and the new Head teacher Gillian, in my role as Special Educational Needs and Safeguarding link governor.

Jo Buchan - Shreeves (Parent Governor)

I have two young children at Cutteslowe Primary School (Jack and Florence) and also a young cat called Dinah who tries to come to school every morning! I started my career as a secondary school science teacher in Oxford, but for the past twelve years I have worked in the charity sector - currently as the Head of Improvement and Impact for a large medical research charity. I am currently the link Governor for Attendance and Behaviour and am also the chair of the Impact committee, which meets three times a year.  Outside of school and work I enjoy cooking and trying new food and recipes - the majority of which are usually rejected by Jack and Florence!

Liz Burton (Community Governor)

My passion for education comes from 40 years in state primary schools, fulfilling a wide range of roles. I have a firm belief that education can transform life chances. Schools must advocate for every child.

I have wide experience of multi-cultural city schools. I have worked in eight primary schools in London and three in Oxford, including Cutteslowe for over seven happy years! I have had the joy of leading three schools as a headteacher for nineteen years, St Ebbes Primary in South Oxford; St Mary and St John Primary and St Francis in East Oxford. I have extensive experience of school Improvement, accountability and inspections. St Mary and St John was in special measures when I was first seconded to support the school. It was an honour to work with a committed community on developing a school where everyone could thrive; demanding and rewarding in equal measure!

I retired from full time headship in August 2021 to take life a little easier and develop in other areas. I work as a Samaritan and have recently trained as celebrant to lead funerals and memorials. I am still, however, very committed to education and I am delighted to be part of the Cutteslowe governing body. I have two grown up children who came to Cutteslowe and live in North Oxford so returning feels like coming home!

Joe Porter (Parent Governor)

My name is Joe Porter. I have now been a Parent Governor for just over two years and my area of responsibility is for Health and Safety.

I have two children who both attend Cutteslowe School in Year 1 and Nursery respectively. I am a Teacher at a school in North Oxford and in my free time, I enjoy either watching or playing cricket for Oxford Cricket Club.


Tom Murray (Parent Governor)

My name is Tom Murray and I am the leader of a small Church of England church (Cutteslowe Connected Church) based in the Cutteslowe community. I am married to Gin (who works at the JR hospital) and we have two children, Kitty (3 – who attends Cutteslowe Primary School in Nursery) and Jack (1). We moved into Cutteslowe, just 2 minutes from Cutteslowe School, in June 2019 to help lead the church. Although we have only been here a short time, we feel very settled in the community and I am excited to be a community governor at Cutteslowe Primary School.

Jude Noble

My name is Jude Noble and I am the link governor for Early Years. I am a parent governor with two children at the school and love being part of the wider Cutteslowe community. My professional background is in safeguarding, family support and children’s rights, having previously worked in the family courts and for the NSPCC. I now work for a research foundation which focuses on education, welfare and justice which I’m hoping will come in useful as the governing body works alongside school staff to think about how the school can best meet its high aspirations by delivering the best possible outcomes for Cutteslowes children.

Laurence Fouweather (Local Authority Governor)

I am very pleased to have joined the Governing Body in Autumn 2022. I represent the Cutteslowe and Sunnymead ward on Oxford City Council. I am the Link governor for Pupil Premium.

I have lived here for over 40 years and know what a great community of all ages we have in this area. I’m now retired from my former career in IT in Education and I am very keen to help Cutteslowe Primary School deliver the best educational experience for all the children who attend.



I am pleased to be joining the Cutteslowe Primary Governing board.  I work as a Local Director in Banking looking after Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  I am passionate about Financial Education for children while in school and for adults in our community, and have been working in partnership with the Cutteslowe community for the last 18 months to bring this to life.  I bring over 15 years of experience working in Banking and Finance and look forward sharing this expertise to support the board and the school.



I recently joined the Governing Body as a Community Governor having moved to Oxford from Worcestershire where I was a GP. I was a Governor at the local Primary School for about ten years  when my children were growing up and Chair of Governors for several years. Since retiring I have undertaken a variety of voluntary work: as a medic in a township of South Africa and also in remote areas of Nepal. I was also  Treasurer for the Parish Church Council in my Worcestershire village. 



How does the Governing Body work?

The River Learning Trust delegates key strategic responsibilities to the governors.

The governors then work collaboratively with the Headteacher and senior staff to establish the vision and ethos of the school within the context of The River Learning Trust. We look at where the school is now, ask what we want the school to achieve and how are we going to achieve this. Together with the Headteacher,  and senior staff, we use the published school performance data.and additional outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation, to inform priorities in the School Improvement Plan. We set clear, ambitious targets for the school and develop policies and budget and staffing structures to achieve these aims. We also appoint the Headteacher.

The governor’s act as a critical friend to the school, reviewing the performance of the Headteacher, checking that progress is being made towards targets, and evaluating the effectiveness of policies and the School Improvement Plan. We also help celebrate the school's successes and ensure that parents are involved and informed as appropriate.

Governors get to know the school through attending meetings and by visiting the school during the school day.

The governing body is organised into two sub-committees, which take responsibility for holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance and financial performance of the school. Each governor is allocated to one of the two sub-committees and some governors take on specific responsibilities, for example, Safeguarding and Health & Safety. All governors attend the Full Governing Body Meetings.

Key Information about the Governing Body

Contact the Governors

If you wish to contact the Governors, please contact the Clerk to Governors on

You can also contact the Governors via the office email.

Become a Governor

Governors make a significant contribution to ensuring that every child receives the best possible education.

They are key strategic decision makers in schools. Our school is a rich and diverse community and we want our governing body to reflect that diversity. It is also important that as a group the governors have the range of skills required to fulfill their strategic responsibilities. By being part of the governing body you will be able to contribute to open debate and help the group to make majority decisions.

Who can become a governor? 

Almost anyone aged over 18 can be a school governor, you don’t have to have a child at the school or have any particular qualifications. Governors are currently drawn from four groups: parents, staff, the local community and the local authority. Currently, there are three Full Governing Body meetings a year. In addition each governor joins one of two sub-committees, each committee meets six times a year. Some governors take on specific responsibilities, for example, Special Educational Needs and Disability, which will involve further meetings. To help you understand the role, all new governors attend the governor induction programme run by the local authority. Further training is available to enable you to enhance your knowledge and skills.

Becoming a school governor in Oxfordshire

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