What do school governors do?

Governors work with senior leaders in the strategic development of the school and in raising standards of achievement. Duties include setting the school’s vision, aims and objectives, approving the school budget and appointing the headteacher.

Governors must both support and challenge the headteacher, so need to gain an understanding of the school’s overall performance in order to explain its decisions and actions. They do this by attending regular meetings, carrying out school visits and meeting with senior leaders. They also attend training in order to keep up to date with the requirements of their role. Governors work as a team and make collective decisions.

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please contact the Clerk to Governors for more information:

Meet our Governors


Louise Willard

I have been Head Teacher at Elm Grove Primary School since September 2014. It is my second headship, prior to this I was the Head Teacher at Carlton Hill Primary School for 7 years. I trained in Brighton and qualified as a teacher in 1982. I have taught across the primary age range since then in 9 primary schools in Brighton, East Sussex and Australia.

Parent Governor

Tara St John


Vice Chair,

Co-opted Governor

Hugh Mehta

My eldest daughter joined Elm Grove in 2014 and my youngest started in reception in 2018. In my day job I manage big partnerships and projects for international charities – I’m currently with Sightsavers after long stints with WWF and UNICEF. As a governor I’m enjoying the opportunity to play a more active role with the school and my local community.

Associate Governor

Chris McNeill

I joined the Governing Body at Elm Grove as a Co-opted Governor in September 2015. I have also been a governor at Carlton Hill Primary School since I retired from a career in primary education in 2010. During this career I have taught in Australia, Brighton and East Sussex and have been a headteacher in West Sussex.

Co-opted Governor

Chris Adams

Both my children attended Elm Grove. I’ve worked and lived locally in the community for the previous 13 years. Having worked closely with the school in his role as one of the Directors of the Out of School club, and as a Senior Leader in a local digital company I want to bring my experience of Leadership and Management to support the school leadership team make the tough but strategic decisions to ensure the success and continue growth of our amazing school.

Co-opted Governor

Natalie Dodds

I have 3 young children, the eldest of which is at Elm Grove. I have worked for Children & Family services for the last 9 years, including as a Family Outreach Worker, a Co-ordinator for Children & Family Centres and most recently as an Early Years & Childcare Advisor.  I hope that both my personal and professional experiences can support me to contribute effectively to the Governing Body of our school, to best meet the needs of the children and families within our community. .

Staff Governor

Vitor Brito Costa


Local Authority Governor

Diana Boyd

I am a co-opted governor, with particular expertise in special educational needs. I am Vice-Chair of the Parent Carer’s Council (PaCC), representing parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities in Brighton and Hove. I also volunteer in various roles, including as an Amaze Face2Face befriender. All three of my children attended Elm Grove.

Parent Governor

Julian Ridge

My eldest daughter joined Elm Grove in 2016, with her sister following in 2018. I have lived in the immediate area for over 20 years, so have a local interest in the school as well. Professionally I work as a Senior Project Manager in a regulated industry in which I run a programme of large construction projects. I look forward to bringing my professional experience of managing projects, contracts and finances to assist the school in continuing to deliver effectively for the local community and inspire positive change.

Co-opted Governor

Phil Kelly

I live in the community and catchment area of Elm Grove and have been a staff governor on three occasions as well as being a parent governor at my children’s school.  A career working in a multidisciplinary team setting has developed my expertise and understanding of how schools can become successful communities, with relationships between adults and children being fundamental to effective learning. This guiding principal has been underpinned by a strong skill set in behaviour management techniques, restorative justice, mentoring as well as an understanding of SEN provision.

Parent Governor

Becs Kent

My eldest son joined Elm Grove in 2019, with my daughter joining in 2021 and I’ve lived locally in Hanover for the past 10 years. I have been actively involved in the PTA since my son was in Reception and became the chair in 2021. I  spend much of my free time managing The Pantry, a community food project that supports Elm Grove families in need, whilst also leading all of the fund raising events in the school.  A career spent in documentary making has developed my skills in working with and understanding people from all walks of life. When faced with a challenge I pride myself in working together to find creative solutions. I hope that I can bring my professional and personal experience to support and grow our wonderful school community.


Co-opted Governor

Camilla Gauge

I bring special expertise in governance, programme management, policy-making and the public sector to Elm Grove from my day job working in Health Care. My family and I moved to the area in 2021 and our youngest daughter will be starting at Elm Grove soon. I’m also a Trustee at Grace Eyre, a local charity for people with learning disabilities and autism. On my days off I like walking in the Downs or going to the seaside and I’m always up for a crafty/arty project.

Co-opted Governor

Laura Haynes-Copp

Our family joined Elm Grove in 2012, my son has now moved on and my daughter is in year 4. I have been an active member of the PTA for a number of years and also worked with the school to create a steering group to support the adoptive parents within the school. I am the family event organiser for Brighton and Hove Families Through Adoption, helping to provide peer-to-peer post adoption support. I also sit as a service user advisor on the council’s PIC panel, working to improve support in education settings for children with trauma and attachment needs.  Being the SEN link governor is something close to my heart as I have personal experience of  the challenges schools face in meeting the many and varied needs of vulnerable children.


Elm Grove Primary School Governing Body


Name Role Term of office Appointed by Original appt date
Chris Adams Co-opted governor 08.03.23-07.03.27 Governing body 04.03.19
Diana Boyd Chair, Local Authority governor 16.09.20- 15.09.24 Governing body 16.09.16
Vitor Brito Costa Staff governor 29.11.22-28.11.26 Governing body 29.11.22
Natalie Dodds Co-opted governor 08.03.23-07.03.27 Governing body 03.06.19
Camilla Gauge Co-opted governor 07.12.21-0612.25 Governing body 07.12.21
Laura Haynes-Copp Co-opted governor 03.06.19-2.06.23 Governing body 03.06.19
Phil Kelly Co-opted governor 20.11.21-19.11.25 Governing body 20.11.17
Becs Kent Parent governor 04.03.23-03.03.27 Elected by Parents 04.03.23
Chris McNeill Associate governor 13.07.19-12.07.23 Governing body 13.07.15
Hugh Mehta Vice Chair, Co-opted governor 22.11.21-21.11.25 Governing body 22.11.17
Julian Ridge Parent governor 10.05.22-09.05.26 Elected by parents 10.05.22
Tara St John Parent governor 11.06.22-10.06.26 Elected by parents 11.06.26
Louise Willard Head teacher governor 03.09.14- ongoing Member by virtue of office 03.09.14

In the past 12 months we have also had the following members on our governing body:


Name  Role  Term of office  Appointed by  Resigned  Original appt date
Emma Sutton Parent governor 11.06.18-10.06.22 Governing Body N/A 20.07.18
Tammy Bowles Staff governor 17.01.20-12.07.22 Governing Body N/A
Karen Waldon Saunders Associate governor 18.07.22-29.11.22 Governing Body N/A 18.07.22

Register of interests 2022/23


Name                                       Relevant business interests Any other educational establishments governed Relationships with school staff
Chris Adams

Full time employment with Madgex Ltd, Brighton, BN1 4AA.

Treasurer and director of Elm Grove Out of School Club

Trustee Grassroots

Diana Boyd None Member of the Brighton & Hove Pupil Referral Unit management committee None
Natalie Dodds None None Parent
Camilla Gauge None None Parent
Phil Kelly None None None
Becs Kent Chair of Elm Grove PTA None Parent
Laura Haynes None None Parent
Chris McNeill None Governor at Carlton Hill Primary None
Hugh Mehta None None Married to teacher at Elm Grove Parent
Julian Ridge None None Parent
Tara StJohn None None Parent
Vitor Brito Costa None None Staff
Louise Willard None None Headteacher at Elm Grove Primary

Full Governing Body Meetings

The full governing body meets once or twice a term. At these meetings, the governing body carries out its 3 core functions, as identified by the Department for Education in the Governance Handbook.

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic vision
  • holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure money is well spent

The current chair of governors is Diana Boyd. The Vice Chair is Hugh Mehta.

Some functions are delegated to committees. Elm Grove Primary School has three committees.


Record of Attendance Elm Grove FGB 2021-2022

Minutes of meetings:

Full Governing Board Finance & Premises Quality of Education
29.11.22 FGB Minutes
20.09.22 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 15.09.22
12.07.22 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 15.06.21 18.10.22 Quality of Education minutes
12.05.22 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 24.04.22
02.02.22 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 22.02.22
07.12.21 FGB minutes  Finance & Premises Minutes 05.10.21
23.09.21 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 15.06.21
19.07.21 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 20.04.21
13.05.21 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 23.02.21
25.03.21 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 06.10.20
14.01.21 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 07.05.20
01.12.20 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 11.02.20
24.09.20 FGB minutes Finance & Premises Minutes 14.11.19