School Governors

What we do

Together we oversee, challenge, support and act as a critical friend to the Head Teacher and her team, as we plan the future direction and strategic vision of the school, that will serve the best interests of our current and future children. We do this by:

  • Thinking and working strategically to help raise standards of education and care
  • Supporting and challenging the Headteacher and staff
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress towards priority targets
  • Ensuring accountability to all stakeholders


 The Full Governing Body meets once a term. If would like to attend this meeting please contact the Clerk to the Governors, Verina Gibson on

Governors also each serve on one of the following committees which meet once or twice a term:

  • Curriculum
  • Resources and Finance

Individual governors also have responsibility for Child Protection/Safeguarding, Special Educational Needs, Health and Safety and links with the Diocese and Babcock for training.  Additionally, governors are involved in various Working Parties as and when the need arises.

Becoming a Governor

At St John’s our governors are nominated by the Diocese of Guildford, the local PCC, teaching staff and parents. They serve a term of 4 years, although they can continue for subsequent terms.  It is a voluntary role and we endeavour to recruit volunteers with skills that will enable the school to achieve its priority targets.

As St John’s is a voluntary aided school; at least half of the governors must be Foundation Governors. Foundation Governors are representative of the Church of England, and are the school’s link with parishes, deaneries and the diocese.

Parent Governors bring the views of parents to the Governing Body, but they speak and act as individuals. They do not vote for all parents in general. They have equal status in the work of the Governing Body and have voting rights.

Please click here to see the Governors-Details-and-Register-of-Interest


Revd Debbie Smith

Ex officio

Following a background as a nursing sister I worked as a pastoral assistant in Southampton and London supporting people facing bereavement and training teams in the pastoral and healing ministry. I went on to train and work as a psychotherapist for the NHS and was ordained in 2005. I emigrated to New Zealand with my husband Andrew in 2007 where we lived and worked for almost 11 years. I developed a significant informal congregation for young families in the community becoming National Team Leader for Messy Church NZ and a diocesan role in children & family ministry. These roles involved training and mentoring churches in new expressions of church, strengthening relationships between church and the community it serves. Trained in Godly Play, I enjoy interactive creative storytelling to connect our story to God’s story that enable children to flourish. My role in the school will involve multi-sensory approaches to sharing stories and creating space for curiosity to promote wellbeing.

Clair Craven

Chair of Governors

I joined the governing body in 2017 - both my children attended St John’s and it gave them the very best start to their learning journey. I am a Surrey Local Leader in Governance and chair another local infant school. I am also a Trustee of an education trust in south west London and therefore have a strong interest in supporting the school ‘s strong academic performance, its values, and future plans. My background is in ICT, and I was a Company Director for several years, with nearly 20 years' experience within both the public and private sectors. I now run my own marketing consultancy company. I passionately believe that schools have a responsibility not only to provide the best academic education but also to provide a caring, safe and most of all, happy and enjoyable environment where children are treated as unique individuals and supported to achieve their full potential.

Myra Johnson


A resident of Churt for almost 40 years, I worked in business process, systems and information management roles for ICL, Xerox and, more recently, for Imperial College. Now retired, I am delighted to have more time to enjoy the outstanding natural environment that surrounds Churt, and for voluntary roles with 1st Churt Scout Group and local schools, in both the state and independent sectors. As a newly appointed foundation governor at St John's, my special interests are to support the school in fostering creativity, valuing diversity, and in developing the children's understanding of the natural sciences, and an appreciation of the natural environment.

Alice Jones


I am delighted to be a newly appointed governor and am looking forward to learning from and working with my committed and enthusiastic fellow governors and all the staff at St. Johns. I am founder of my own company which I set up over 16 years ago, and the best part of my work involves mentoring and guiding young students who find education a struggle. I strongly believe that formative educational experiences are the key to successful career outcomes and I relish the opportunity to be partof a school that has such a warm and caring environment for all. My main focus as a governor is to ensure we are all mindful of mental health and wellbeing, alongside maintaining the very high academic standards achieved at the school, particularly in a rapidly changing world.

Sonia Lay


Our family got to know the school in 2011 whenour older daughter joined Reception. We fell in love with the nurturing family like ethos built on the foundations of strong values. When our younger daughter joined the school last year, I was delighted with the opportunity to become a parent governor and support the school from behind the scenes. Having worked as a teacher and a school leader for many years, I hope to contribute my experience and support the school in maintaining the excellent teaching standards and the truly unique ethos. My main interest is the curriculum and how the children’s needs are reflected in the day to day classroom practice. I believe in holistic approach to education where nurturing of the whole child is valued as highly as academic success.

Peter Luckham


I have lived in Churt for over 50 years. I became the Caretaker and Crossing Patrol Officer at St John’s School, where I spent a happy 25 years. As a former pupil of Tiffin Boys School, Kingston, I am very keen to help maintain the highest possible standard of learning at St John’s within a happy and healthy environment. Wishing to continue my connection with the school I accepted a role on the Governing Body.

Richard Rowe


Having been a headteacher in Church schools for many years I am keen to continue to work as a governor and assist the school in any way I can. I had the privilege of helping the school as an interim head for a delightful summer term in 2016. It was great getting to know so many families and being part of the community. I live 15 minutes away in Witley and continue to work assisting schools in Surrey and London. I am married to Philippa and we have three children (2 teachers and a social worker!) and five grandchildren. They are all in primary schools or nurseries - so I continue to be aware of how parents and families are feeling. It is a joy working with St John’s team and Marion. I am particularly passionate about the Christian ethos of the school and the links with St John’s Church.

Mike Shorthose

Appointed by LA

My boys have long since completed their school and university careers, however I maintain a strong interest in education believing that it is the first few years that create the foundation. I have been impressed by how many people I have met in Churt whose children have passed through the school - they all talk so fondly of their experiences and, having seen the school and met the staff, I can see why it is such a great place to start learning. It is a real privilege to be a Governor of such a vibrant community. My background is of having been the founder of a consulting company in aviation. Of the many roles I have played, a key one was as finance director. I will be bringing this expertise to the Governing Body and taking on the role of Chair of the Finance and Resources committee.

Marion Stevens

Head Teacher

Marion has been with the St John's family for over 19 years having worked across all year groups before undertaking the role of Head in December 2018. Marion is an inspirational and inclusive leader, with strong links within the community. Her drive for innovation combined with her sense of fun ensure all children thrive under her care.

Sara Thompson


Sara currently teaches Year R for 3 days a week, and is our Literacy Coordinator. She brings with her a passion for drama and literacy in the infant classroom. Sarah ensures the transition from nursery to school is smooth so the children become happy and confident learners. All children thrive under her care.

Governors' Section

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