It is a privilege to be able to support Catholic education and our parish communities as Chair of Governors for St Elizabeth’s, a position that I have held since 2014.
I am a parishioner at Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride’s, Kew Gardens. My professional work is in leadership and education and I am proud that my career has been in public service, including some in Health Service management. I spent ten years as a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI) and a similar period as Director and Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, so my work in education has been – and continues to be – very hands on. I also have considerable experience of policy work and the political arena. I am pleased to have spent a number of years as Vice Chair and Acting Chair of the Board of what is now St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Currently I work for the Education Commission of the Archdiocese in addition to undertaking consultancy throughout the field of education.
I never lose sight of the blessings that we have in being able to provide such a high quality education as we do at St Elizabeth’s. We know that in the many refugee camps and in underdeveloped parts of the world children yearn for schooling. Malala Yusefsai stands out as an example that, tragically, for some getting to school can still be a matter of life or death. Therefore, we need to use this precious gift of schooling well. Thanks to the staff, the parents, governors, clergy and those who form the triangle of home, school and parish, I am confident that we achieve this. Thanks to our teachers and school leaders our standards, as shown in our SATs and elsewhere, are very high but more than this we offer a broad and exciting education, founded in our Catholic faith. We are determined that every pupil should uniquely develop their full potential and enjoy being at school.
As Chair of Governors I continue to work collegiately so that our Governing Body fulfils its statutory functions. We provide appropriate challenge to the school’s leaders, ensuring that our resources are used as efficiently as possible and with probity, and most importantly, that the school’s ethos is protected and developed, and that the school works with an agreed strategic vision – all within the expectations of our Mission Statement.
Dr Oona Stannard
Chair of Governors