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Governing Committee

The Directors and Governors of The Croft work closely together; the Board of Directors, which has the ultimate legal responsibility, are supported by our Governing Committee, and one member of the Governing Committee attends the Board meetings.

The Croft Governing Committee is a member of both AGBIS (Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools) and NGA (National Governance Association).

What do Governors do?

The purpose of governing bodies is to help raise standards within schools and to ensure they are maintained, thereby providing the best possible education for all pupils in the school. 

To be effective, governors require a strategic understanding of their function and have clear arrangements in place for monitoring progress against targets. They must also be prepared to challenge the Headteacher and staff, as well as provide them with advice and support. In practice this means:

  • The Role of a governor is largely a thinking and questioning role and not a doing role.
  • Governors are members of a board/committee and no one, not even the Chairman (except in emergencies) can act alone or make decisions.

With this in mind, governors are not involved in the day-to-day running of any part of the school, and schools do not ask individuals to sort out concerns that should be taken to the school leadership teams.

Strategic View

Governors help to decide the school's strategy for improvement so that its pupils learn most effectively and achieve the highest standards.

The governing body helps set, and keep under review, the broad framework within which the school operates. Governors are involved in formulating and reviewing policies and drawing up the school development plan.

Supportive Challenge

This challenge comes from monitoring and evaluating the schools’ effectiveness. This can be achieved by:

  • Formal Learning Walks
  • Looking at data
  • Attending events
  • Talking to staff and pupils
  • Receiving reports from the Headteacher and other leaders at governors’ meetings

Honest, impartial feedback from governors can be really helpful for the Headteacher and staff. The governors are a diverse group of individuals with years of collective experience from a wide range of backgrounds. This outside knowledge and expertise can be invaluable in providing the Headteacher and staff with advice, information and occasionally a fresh perspective. 


Governors are responsible for ensuring the highest quality education throughout the school. To do this they have the right and responsibility to discuss, question, and refine proposals, whilst always respecting the professional roles of the Headteacher and other staff. 

The governing body is in turn accountable to parents and the wider community for its actions and the school’s overall performance.

The Governors may be contacted via the Governance Professional:

Meet the Members of the Governing Committee

Vanessa  Aris  MBE


Vanessa Aris is a former Science Teacher with over 40 years’ experience, she still tutors students for GCSE and A'Levels and beyond. Vanessa has been a Governor for nearly 20 years and has governed in 14 schools (repeatedly as Chair or Vice-Chair) and has worked with Local Authorities on issues of Governance and as advisor to Headteachers. She was awarded the MBE in 2000 for services to Education.

Jenny Thornton


Jenny is a children’s Occupational Therapist, with an independent practice based in the Midlands.

She has over 25 years experience of working with and supporting children within mainstream education.

Jenny is the proprietor representative on the governing committee. Jenny’s four children are all former Croft students. 

Chris Curtis


Chris brings 10 years+ working on technical construction projects in the education sector, across primary, junior, secondary, and higher education. Chris has successfully designed and implemented curriculum analyses, gap analyses, master planning, funding applications, and the practicalities of managing projects within a live school environment. As a company director, Chris brings much experience in staff management and health and safety procedures. 

David Hann


David is a parent of two former Croft pupils. His working life has included starting and growing a business, general management and marketing within the computer systems sector.

He is also a qualified teacher and has experience across the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

Tim Kenny


Tim Kenny is Head of Marketing at SCC, Europe’s largest privately owned technology provider based in Birmingham and owned by the Rigby Group, based in Stratford-upon-Avon. He also supports a number of Corporate Social Responsibility activities within SCC as part of its philanthropic approach to helping unleash the potential in our communities.

Gemma Marchington


Gemma Marchington worked at The Croft School for 12 years, in teaching and management positions, specialising in Early Years. She has a passion for teaching, contributing to each child’s development, with the aim of them reaching their full potential.

Gemma played a big part in setting up our successful Forest School and becoming a fully qualified Forest School teacher. She has three young children, two of whom attend The Croft School. 

Jessica May


Jessica May is Head of Learning at Longborough Festival Opera and Head of Education at Campden Music Festival, as well as a regular performer, adjudicator and teacher. She is a Trustee of the charity, Music and Theatre for All. Her two sons are former pupils of the Croft.

Sarah Pilbeam


Sarah is a teaching professional with a specialism in working with special needs students, in particular; Autism and children with complex learning difficulties. Sarah has over 20 years experience in SEND practice. 

Sarah lives in Stratford-upon-Avon and works locally at a Special needs school.

Nicholas Berry


Nicholas Berry is a senior criminal barrister who prosecutes and defends in Crown Courts throughout the Midlands area. He is head of the recruitment and training of pupil barristers for his Chambers based in Birmingham.

Nicholas lives in Stratford-upon-Avon and has a daughter who attends The Croft School.








Charlotte Tyler


Charlotte Tyler lives in Stratford-upon-Avon and all three of her children are former pupils at the Croft, spanning a continuous period of 16 years, the last of whom left the school in 2022.

With a career in Public Relations, Events and Brand Development and an avid interest in children and their education, she joins the committee with a long term affinity and affection for the school, having been a heavily involved parent spanning almost 2 decades!









Karen Powell


Karen Powell has over 25 years’ experience in supporting and developing school governance, leadership and working in school improvement. She worked in a Local Authority for 7 years as the Governor Development Officer and set up her own consultancy in 2013 allowing her to work with schools and academies across the country. She is a regular conference speaker and trainer, whilst also supporting governors in headteacher recruitment.  She is an accredited Safer Recruitment and CEOP trainer.  Karen specialises in safeguarding and has a portfolio of courses related to safeguarding and governance. She is passionate about governance, and how the work of governors, proprietors and Trustees can impact the life chances of our young people.  











Alveston Hill, Loxley Road,
Warwickshire, CV37 7RL

T:01789 293795

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