St Bernadette's Governing Body
Our Governors are an amazing group of volunteers who serve the parish of Holy Family in Small Heath. They support our school in educating children in a happy, calm and safe environment where they feel surrounded by God’s love.
Governors play an important role in the leadership and management of the school. They are involved in the recruitment of staff, formulating the school budget and ensuring the curriculum we offer to the children in school is engaging, challenging and appropriate. The Governors are regular visitors in school, offering support and challenge in equal measures and holding the Head and senior leadership team to account.
The Governing Body's aim is to work closely with the Headteacher, the leadership team and the staff, in order to help the children at the school achieve their full potential. They meet as a Full Governing Body four times a year and in addition to this, will meet in smaller sub- committees to focus on finance, staffing, admissions or curriculum.
Our Governing Body is made up of 7 Foundation Governors who are appointed by the diocese, two parent governors, appointed by the parents, a Staff Governor and a Local Authority Governor. All serve for a term of four years.
If you would like to contact the Governing Body, please forward hard copies of mail to
Mr John Lenihan
c/o St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School,
Hob Moor Road,
Emails to be sent to
email@example.com and given the title 'For the attention of Mr John Lenihan'.
The School Governors
Mr John Lenihan Chair of Governors (FG)
Curriculum Governor / Finance Governor / Mathematics Governor
Mrs Gemma Wrench
Vice-Chair Parent Governor / Chair of Finance / Curriculum Governor
Mrs Maria Winters
Foundation Governor / RE Governor / Chair of curriculum
Fr Fretch Ballesteros
Foundation Governor / R.E Governor
Mrs Vas Panayiotou
Parent Governor / Safeguarding Governor
Mrs P Moran
Mr Carlos De la Cruz
Foundation Governor / Finance Governor
Miss Angela Cowings
Local Authority Governor
Staff Governor / SEN Governor / Finance Governor
Mrs Maria Smallwood
Clerk to Governors
Any correspondence to the Governors should be addressed c/o St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School.
Miss A Cowings
I joined St Bernadette’s School in 2002 as Deputy Head and was appointed as Head Teacher in 2006. Since my appointment I have always been a member of the Governing Body and work closely with the dedicated team of volunteers to develop provision within school.
As Head teacher it is my duty to deal with the day to day management of the school. As a member of the Governing Body we provide the strategic management. We set the general direction of the school and consider ways that it can best be developed.
As a team, we monitor the school’s progress and set annual targets for the school’s performance. The team of governors act as a critical friend to the Head, whilst providing me with the necessary support required to lead the school.
Chair of Governors
I was appointed as a Governor in March 2019. I am currently a member of the Resources Committee.
I previously served as a Governor at Corpus Christi School in Stechford.
After spending 50 years in the Printing Industry and having grandchildren in the school I am now looking forward to supporting St. Bernadettes pupils and staff in the challenging world of education.
Mr C. Dela Cruz
I have been a school governor for a number of years and have seen a lot of changes throughout the years. I have really enjoyed being on the school governing board, and doing my best to contribute in ensuring the school provides the very best facilities, support for the teaching & non-teachingstaff, and to ensure all pupils to have opportunity and encouragement toreach their full potentials.
I've been a Foundation Governor at St Bernadette's since 2016. My day job is working as Head of Legal and Company Secretary at a water company, so I have experience of working in corporate governance and I hope that I bring some of my skills and experience from that role to my role on the Governing Body.
For me, the role of the Governing Body is to support and provide healthy challenge to the leadership team at St Bernadette's for the benefit of the pupils, and I really enjoy playing my part in that.
I have been a parent governor at St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School since 2018.
As part of my role, I am the link Governor for Literacy and also the Chair for the Resources Committee and a member of the Admissions Committee.
I believe the children’s education, progress, personal welfare and development should be at the heart of all decision making at school. I am happy to be part of the Governing Body that will support the school in order to get the best outcomes for the children.
I was appointed as a Foundation Governor in February 2023. I was a teacher at St. Bernadette’s for thirty-three years, and I retired from St. Bernadette’s and teaching almost seven years ago.
I hope that I can bring some of my skills and experience from my years of teaching to my role on the Governing Body.
I look forward to supporting the pupils and staff of St. Bernadette’s in any way that I can.
Fr Fretch Ballesteros
I would like to introduce myself as the new Parent Governor of St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School. My name is Vasiliki Panayiotou (please refer to me as Vas) and I joined the Board of Governor's on 20th December 2019. I am honoured and privileged to have been given this opportunity to represent the parents of the children that attend the school by Miss A Cowings. I will do my utmost for the best interests of all concerned, in connection with the school.
Before I became a full time mother to our 2 girls I worked in telesales for a wholesale food distribution company for around 8 years and prior to that, I co-owned a business in floristry for around 20 years in Solihull. My eldest daughter, who is five, is in Year 1 at St Bernadette's and our youngest is 16 months old, going onto 6!
I can't speak highly enough about St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School or all the staff in connection with the school. I remember when we visited the school during an open day and my first thoughts were about the impeccable behaviour of the children. Also, during the classroom visits we observed how the teachers interacted with the children and we saw the passion and commitment they have in everything they do. I turned to my husband and said, this is where I want our daughter to come and he agreed. We feel blessed that our children are and will be attending the best school
I have worked at St Bernadette's since 2001 and have been staff governor since 2020???? It is my privilege to be part of such a vibrant and hard working school community, both as a member of staff and governor.
Cllr Zafar Iqbal
I was previously a Governor at St Bernadette’s, I have a long association with the school and was previously a Governor some years ago when my son attended. I am now an LEA appointed governor and as I live close by I have a genuine interest in supporting my local schools.