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Who's Who

Who are St Stephen's governors and what do they do?


Below you can find out a bit more about each of the governors, who they are, what type of governor they are, something of their background and skills, and also why they are one of the governors. Phillip Ratcliff is the Chair of the Governing Body and Fr Philip Corbett and Ken Kitson are the Vice-Chairs.


School governors come from every walk of life. There are over 300,000 school governors in England and they form the largest volunteer force in the country.


Each individual governor is a member of a governing body, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the governing body. Decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing body.


The role of the governing body is a strategic one, its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the school
  • set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • be a source of challenge and support to the headteacher (a critical friend)

The headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school and the implementation of the strategic framework established by the governing body.


Here are our school Governors.


Philip Ratcliff - Chair of Governors

Type of Governor: Local Authority
Committees/Responsibilities: Chair of Governors, Training Link Governor.
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: Learning and Development, Organisation Development, Project Management and Communications
Why I’m a St Stephen's Governor: St Stephen’s is already a fantastic school, known for its teaching and learning and "family atmosphere". I want to contribute to its continued development so that it can be formally recognised as an outstanding school, supporting the work to make sure that the partnership between pupils, teachers and parents works to the very best of everyone.


Father Philip Corbett - Vice Chair    

Type of Governor: Parochial Church Council - ex officio as the Parish Priest
Committees/Responsibilities: Children, Family & Community, Curriculum & Achievement, Foundation Stage.  Responsibilities include liaising between the Parish and the School. Chairman of the Parochial Church Council. Chairman of the Families Committee and a member of the Faith committee.
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: I am very interested in religious education across all age groups and in finding ways to help children engage with faith.
Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: Our Parish is dedicated to the work of the school and passionate about promoting education for our young people.  As a Governor I hope to be able to encourage the school to be the best it can be as part of the wider parish family.


Ken Kitson - Vice Chair


Type of Governor: Southwark Diocese Board of Education
Committees/Responsibilities: Vice Chair of Governing Body, Chair of Resources Committee and member of the following other committees: Curriculum and Achievement, Performance Management and Staff Dismissal Appeals.
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: Financial management is the common thread that runs through my professional life. I did not pursue this into accountancy, but I do have qualifications in internal audit and book keeping. I have also worked within IT departments, carrying out a variety of roles including financial management, service management, project management and providing support to business in defining IT requirements.
Why I’m a St Stephen's Governor: St Stephen's is a very special school. Throughout the school there is a drive and a determination to provide a safe place for the children together with a teaching and learning environment that will bring the best out of each individual child. There a strong commitment to the development of Christian values and habits in the children and Biblical belief.  Children are offered a range of opportunities to help them discover where their interests and talents lie so that they can get the most out of life. As a governor I want to play my part in ensuring the school continues to have the same heart and continues to support each child in fulfilling their potential - not just academically, but in all aspects of life.


June Reid


Type of Governor: Diocesan Foundation
Committees/Responsibilities: Vice Chair of St. Stephen's Governing Body; Link Governor for Look after Children and Safeguarding; member of Finance sub committee
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: Over 22 years experience of Local Government; expertise in general and financial management, fundraising, project and programme management
Why I’m a St Stephen's Governor: I am the parent of a former St. Stephen's pupil and a regular attendee of St. Stephen's Church. I valued the teaching and learning and pastoral care the school had given my son and wanted to meaningfully support its growth and further development.


Chris Chambers 


Type of Governor: Foundation
Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement, Premises and Faith Team.
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: I work within the construction Industry. Safety, welfare and well-being are paramount.
Why I’m a St Stephen's Governor: I am ex pupil of St Stephen's. To foster good education and good teaching a safe, healthy and secure environment has to be sustained. Traditional values of fairness and respect are always part of the school package. The dedication of the senior team, teachers, parents and pupils can only lead in one direction - St Stephen's school becoming outstanding.


Irene Olaleye

Type of Governor: Foundation (Parochial Church Council)
Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement, Children, Family & Community, SEND, Literacy & School Website 
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: Currently a full-time mum to four children; 2 of whom are pupils at St Stephen's, my working background has generally been Office Management and Administration in various industries including the Wine Trade and Telecoms.
Why I’m a St Stephens Governor: I'm a previous St Stephen's pupil whose children now attend the school and I'm also parishioner of St Stephen's Church. With these in mind I am obviously passionate about St Stephen's and want to ensure all its pupils reach their full potential and that the school continues to strive towards being Outstanding. This is most certainly achievable, given the calibre and commitment of the staff and Governing Body.
I'm keen to strengthen the link between the Church and school in order to maintain the teaching of Christian values. With roots embedded within the school in the form of my children I'm familiar with the day-to-day running of the school and can provide an alternative, parent perspective on issues.


Errol Harris
Type of Governor: Foundation
Committees/Responsibilities: Premises, Curriculum & Achievement
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: I run a private sector leasing company which provides affordable housing.  My role entails the management and maintenance of private residential property. My experience covers property construction, board membership of a housing association, property acquisition, management and lettings, property finance and debt management.
Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: Due to the nature of my work, and being a parent myself.  I have first hand experience of how important an inclusive education system is and how this can affect a child's life experiences.  The fact that St Stephen's is a faith led, benefits the schooling its pupils.  I am passionate about early years education as this sets the foundation for a child's future.


Monica Whitney

Type of Governor: Foundation
Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement, Faith Team, Staff Dismissal, Admissions, and Complaints Panel
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: Headteacher for 19 years at a Church of England school in the borough of Greenwich, now retired.  Representative on the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education when working in Greenwich.
Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: Having been a Headteacher and prior to that, Deputy Headteacher for 10 years, both at Church of England schools; my teaching career has been spent in church schools.  My Christian faith is important to me and I think central to the life of a church school.  As a Foundation Governor I wish to support the Headteacher and staff in all aspects of their work to provide an excellent education for the children in their care, but particularly in maintaining and strengthening the Anglican traditions of the school's foundation.


Gill Parker


Type of Governor: Parent Governor
Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement, Finance & Personnel
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: I am a mother of two and a part-time child-minder. As a Business & Foreign Languages graduate, I worked in a number of media positions from coordinating press and PR for a national body supporting the teaching of modern foreign languages for business and education, marketing for an on-line events company to managing a newsroom for ITN Ltd.
Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: I was impressed with the sound management and positive ambience of St Stephen's from the start. I have seen first hand the excellent pupil; focussed teaching here as a parent helper in the classroom. My fund-raising work as a Parent Forum member has deepened my commitment to the school. As a Governor I am keen to witness St Stephen's win the ultimate accolade for its excellence; Outstanding status.


Karen Vorster


Type of Governor: Teacher Governor
Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest:  I have BEd degree Middle Years of Schooling, Children's work in Christian organisations and churches.  Biblical Preaching and Teaching including leading all age church services.
Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: I want to serve the school, the Headteacher, staff and pupils.  Our whole family have appreciated the strong Christian ethos of the school.  It was the main reason for our choosing St Stephen's for our children.  As a governor, I would like to help the school to maintain its excellence with God continuing to be at the heart of all that the school does.


Ayesha Lahai-Taylor


Type of Governor: Parent Governor

Committees/Responsibilities: Curriculum & Achievement
Areas of Professional Experience/Interest: I have experience in customer services, community investment and events.

Why I'm a St Stephen's Governor: I am extremely passionate about the children of the future and would like to try and contribute as much as a I can to ensure they receive the best education possible.  I want them to be able to have a chance to explore different opportunities whilst developing valuable skills for life. St Stephen's is a reputable school and I'm excited to be part of it.