Governing Body

A school’s governing body is a group of public-spirited volunteers whose main responsibility is to determine the aims and conduct of their school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. Individual governors bring their own experience and expertise to the group, and the best governing bodies use and benefit from the skills of all their governors.

The governing body holds the school to account for the quality, standard and effectiveness of the teaching and learning. Through the governing body, the school is accountable to the local education authority, the parents of the students and to the wider community. In practice, the governing body works with the Headteacher to determine how the school should develop to ensure continued improvement, and with the Head and staff agrees plans, policies, targets and procedures that work towards that development.

The governing body is also responsible for ensuring that the school fulfils its legal obligations, for the provision of the curriculum, managing the school budget, staffing, the social care and development of the students, and other statutory requirements such as developing school policies, setting targets, managing performance and so on. The governing body is also responsible for evaluating the progress of the school, making sure that effective monitoring is taking place and making strategic decisions on the basis of this evaluation. Governors are most useful to the school by being supportive yet challenging, neither blindly accepting nor entirely critical of the way the school functions. If the governing body gets the balance right it can both support the school and promote its improvement effectively. We welcome the involvement of parents, both as Parent Governors and through feedback. For more information, contact the Chair of Governors, via the School Office.

Meet the Governors

Richard Barber – Chair

Richard has created a large I.T. and data business that operates in over 150 countries, he is currently Chairman of several businesses and occasionally lectures on entrepreneurship to university students. Richard is currently chair of the Finance committee and previously has been Chair of Governors and chaired the Curriculum and Personnel committee. Richard converted to Catholicism in 2010 and is married with three children who still seem to occupy his spare time.

Mark Godson - Vice Chair

Mark is a Foundation Governor and practising Catholic attending Holy Name Church, Chelmsford. Married to a retired secondary school teacher, Mark’s two adult daughters were both educated at Canon Palmer Catholic Secondary School, Ilford.
With extensive retail management experience at Sainsburys, a further 20 years as Head of Communications in other industry sectors and living in the city, Mark has a keen interest in helping the school and its community maintain and improve its, strong, confident and distinctively Catholic ‘voice’ and reputation; a place where students, staff, parents and rounded education are highly valued and celebrated, in an inspiring, caring ‘faith-full’ environment.

Maria Payne

Maria is the Local Authority governor, and brings over 10 years’ local government experience to the governing body. Her experience working in public health and particularly within mental health means she has a keen interest in the health and wellbeing of the students and staff at SJP. Maria intends to apply this through the remit of the new Welfare Committee, which she will chair, and the Curriculum & Personnel Committee. She is a practising Catholic at Our Lady Immaculate in Chelmsford, and has several family members and friends who have attended SJP previously.

Mary Ball

Mary is a Chartered Engineer working part-time as a highway engineer and as an exam invigilator at SJP. This experience is advantageous to her participation in the Health & Safety committee, which she chairs and the Finance and Premises committee. Mary joined the Governing Board as a Parent Governor in December 2015 and transferred to being a Foundation Governor in May 2018. She is a parishioner of St Augustine of Canterbury, in Chelmsford and has a son at SJP.

Anice Kavathaker

Anice is a parent governor who has two children attending SJP. In her professional role, she is a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and also an external examiner for Bradford University. Currently, she is  undertaking a professional doctorate in education in an area of team based learning. In her previous role, she has worked for one of the local NHS organisation as a children’s nurse and is currently an education champion for Basildon hospital. One of her key interests is to ensure that the students from secondary school do have a smooth transition to University and are aware of all the potential options for their future.

Anne Gardner

Anne is a retired primary school deputy head with 27 years experience including OLI school and Holy Family school Witham. Anne lectured in Early Years Education at Chelmsford College for several years and has experience of education at most key stages, and also has staff governorship at both catholic primary schools.
Anne is a member of OLI and Holy Name parishes, reading at mass regularly at the latter, and sees smooth transition from primary to secondary education as key to a child's personal and spiritual development.

David Weatherhead

David has worked in the finance industry for the past 32 years. He was a governor at OLI school for 10 years and currently sits on the Crimestoppers London Board and London Chamber of Commerce International and Security & Defence Committees. He is married with two daughters one of whom is still at SJP.
As a governor, he has sat on numerous committees including finance and premises and brings a wealth of governing body experience with him.

Donna Clark

Donna is a staff governor who has been working as Head of Art at St John Payne for the past 5 years. Since graduating in Graphic Design, she has been teaching Art and Design for the past 28 years, during which time she also undertook a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art and Professional Practice. Donna also works as a visiting moderator/ Team leader for an exam board. She also has two children at SJP.

Gina Lawrence

I am an ex-pupil of the school. My oldest son left in 2020 and is now studying at university and my youngest son will leave in 2022 and also plans to study at university. Before joining the governing body, I was a member of the PTA, initially in the role of secretary and, for the last five years, as chairperson. I am currently employed as an LSA at Columbus College, working with students who have additional needs, prior to which I worked for many years at Our Lady Immaculate Primary School. I am a parishioner at Our Lady Immaculate and Holy Name.

David Gatheral

David is a co-opted Governor who works in the Education Service at The Diocese of Brentwood. He is the School Building Officer managing school capital funding and providing advice to schools. Previously, David spent sixteen years in the Education Department of Essex County Council designing and administrating databases of school asset management information. Later, as Assistant Capital Programme Manager, he oversaw capital investment in school improvement and maintenance projects. He has good working knowledge of school property issues including leases, asbestos and building technology. His wife has fond memories of attending St John Payne in the 1980s. More recently, as a keen table tennis player, David organised the 2022 Chelmsford Table Tennis League Championships at the school – over 100 local table tennis players thoroughly enjoyed their weekend ping-ponging in the school’s assembly hall and gym.

Eugene Ahern

Eugene was appointed as a Foundation Governor in early 2022 and regularly attends OLI Church in Chelmsford. His background is in the Law having been both a Solicitor and latterly a Barrister before retiring towards the end of 2020.His interests include History, Cricket and travel particularly to Italy.

Olive England

I was born in Freetown Sierra Leone, in west Africa, I am the oldest of three sisters on my late mother's side and I have stepsisters and brothers. I have been an active Christian with Church of England all my life. I was educated to GCSE level. I left school at 17 and started my own business selling beauty products in Freetown. In 2002 I was visiting the UK to buy my stock. In 2008 I sold my business and moved to the UK.
I was married but now a widow. I am a single mother of three beautiful children.
My children were born in the UK, Bonnie my oldest, Jamie my middle son and Ethan my youngest son.
In 2008 I worked full time in a care home for two years I then concentrated on bringing up the children, but also doing some part time jobs. I was also buying and exporting beauty products back to west Africa. In 2015 I became a mental health support worker for the NHS in Norfolk. In 2016-2018 I worked for a high street fashion store in Norfolk as a sales advisor.
At the end of 2019 I moved to my present address in Chelmsford to be closer to family and friends. My eldest two children now attend St John Payne Catholic school.
I now have a part time job with World duty free as a sales advisor. I now feel very settled in Chelmsford.

Fr. Damien Wade

Fr Damien is a priest of parishes of Our Lady Immaculate, The Holy Name Chelmsford and St Augustine Springfield. He was born in Ireland and spent most of his life in the country until he moved to the UK in 2009, to take up a teaching post in the diocese. He taught Business and ICT and was a member of a school leadership team with oversight for Data monitoring and ICT strategy. He has a passion for education and holds degrees in Business, Education, Philosophy and Theology. He attended Allen Hall Seminary in Chelsea London, prior to ordination to the priesthood. He looks forward to preserving and developing the Catholic ethos of the school and representing the Bishop’s education policy.


MEMBERSHIP AS AT 1st September 2022

Name of governor Appointment Expiry of Appointment Portfolio

Authority (1)
Mrs. Maria Payne 08/11/2021 06/11/2025

Mr. David Weatherhead 26/03/2020 25/03/2024
Mr. David Gatheral 29/03/2022 28/03/2026

Foundation (10)
Mr. Richard Barber 01/09/2021 31/08/2025 Chair
Mrs. Mary Ball 06/07/2022 05/07/2026
Mrs. Anne Gardner 01/09/2019 31/08/2023
Mr. Mark Godson 04/11/2020 03/11/2024 Vice-Chair
Mr. Eugene Ahern 01/03/2022 28/02/2026
Mrs. Gina Lawrence 01/01/2022 31/12/2025

Mrs. Rebecca Iciek Deputy Head
Mr. Peter Marsh Assistant Head

Parent (2)
Mrs. Anice Kavathekar 17/05/2019 16/05/2023
Mrs. Olive England 01/09/2022 01/09/2026

Staff (2)
Mr. Tom Coen Ex-officio Head
Mrs. Donna Clark 30/09/2021 to 29/09/2025

Mrs. Tracey Marshell


Name of Governor or Associate Member who has served in the last 12 months but has now stepped down Category of governor and date of leaving Appointing Body
e.g. Governing Body, Local Authority
Membership of Committee Positions of Responsibility Relevant business interests that could present a conflict of interest, including whether a governor at another school Personal relationship (if any) with member of school staff
e.g. spouse, partner, relative
Gloria Scott F 06/10/2021 Diocese Welfare None - -
Maria Marven F 02/11/2021 Diocese Marketing None - -

Ryan Naidoo

C 31/08/2022 Diocese   None - -
Leonie Bradford-Doig C 31/08/2022 Diocese Finance & Premises None - -
Fr Stephen Morrison  F 31/08/2022  Diocese Curriculum & Personnel None
Tom Reilly F 01/07/2022 Diocese  Welfare None - -
Anne Rushton F 31/08/2022 Diocese Admissions Chair - Relative




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