Governors of the Great Oaks Federation

We are part of a hard federation with Wyberton Primary School and have a joint governing body who support and work with the Senior Leadership Team, teachers and parents for the purpose of school improvement.

Our Governors

Sue Brackenbury

Chair of Governors
LEA Governor

Date of appointment:
15/09/2015 – 14/09/2019

Other governance roles:
Governing Body of Frithville 
and New York Primary Schools


Anne-Marie Strachan

Interim Headteacher

Date of appointment:

Stuart Griffiths

Chair of Finance & Staffing Committee
Co-opted Governor

Date of appointment:
08/01/2013 – 07/01/2021

Relevant business interests:
Owner of Boston Blinds

Rick Chipperfield

Parent Governor

Date of appointment:
01/02/2016 – 31/01/2020

Other governance roles:
Governing Body of Old Leake
Primary School


Paul Daubney

Co-opted Governor

Date of appointment:
10/11/2015 – 09/11/2019

Other governance roles:
Governing Body of
The John Fielding
Community Special School

Sarah Paul

Associate Member (no voting rights)

Date of appointment:
03/01/2017 – 21/07/2017

Other governance roles:
Governing Body of Meridian
Federation, (Holbeach Bank 
and Fleet Wood Lane 
Primary Schools)


Jon Posey

Parent Governor

Date of appointment:
15/09/2015 – 14/09/2019


Gemma Hodgson

Co-opted Governor

Date of appointment:
08/01/2013 – 07/01/2021

Fiona Clarke

Staff Governor

Date of appointment:
03/05/2016 – 02/05/2020

Reverend Stephen Holt

Foundation Governor

Date of appointment:
12/12/2016 - 11/12/2020 

Other governance roles:
Governing Body of Boston
Grammar School


Reverend Jane Robertson

Foundation Governor

Date of appointment:
12/12/2016 - 11/12/2020 


Jackie Hawkesworth

Associate Member of the Finance & Staffing Committee (with voting rights)

Date of appointment:
10/04/2014 - 09/04/2018

Former Governors


Helen Richardson

Executive Headteacher

Date of appointment:
18/04/2006 – 02/01/2017 



James Shawley

Staff Governor

Date of appointment: 
07/12/2012 – 10/04/2016


Reverend Sowden

Foundation Governor

Date of appointment: 
21/12/2012 – 20/12/2016







Philip Barlow

Foundation Governor

Date of appointment:
13/05/2014 – 31/08/2016







Governor Attendance Records 2016/17

Full Governing Body Meetings              Finance & Staffing Meetings                         

S Brackenbury - 5/5                            S Brackenbury - 4/4                                 
S Griffiths - 5/5                                    S Griffiths - 4/4                                                                      
F Clarke - 5/5                                      P Daubney - 4/4                                                           
G Hodgson - 5/5                                 J Hawkesworth - 4/4                                                                
R Chipperfield - 4/5                             S Paul - 1/1                                                       
J Posey - 4/5                                       A Strachan - 1/1
P Daubney - 5/5                                  H Richardson - 1/1
S Paul - 3/3
A Strachan - 3/3
Reverend Robertson - 2/3
Reverend Holt - 1/3
H Richardson - 2/2

Governor Attendance Records 2015/16

Full Governing Body Meetings              Finance & Staffing Meetings                  

S Brackenbury - 6/6                               H Richardson - 2/3                               
H Richardson - 5/6                                 S Griffiths - 3/3                                      
S Griffiths - 5/6                                       S Brackenbury - 3/3                                    
J Shawley - 4/4                                       P Daubney - 0/2                              
G Hodgson - 6/6                                     J Hawkesworth 3/3                                         
P Barlow - 5/6                                                                  
M Robertson - 0/2
J Posey - 5/6
P Daubney - 5/5
L Young - 1/1
Reverend Sowden - 0/5
F Clarke - 2/2
R Chipperfield - 2/2

Governor Attendance Records 2014/15

Full Governing Body Meetings              Finance & Staffing Meetings                  Standards Meetings

S Brackenbury - 2/3                               H Richardson - 4/4                                 S Brackenbury - 1/1 
H Richardson -3/3                                  S Griffiths - 4/4                                       S Griffiths - 1/1
S Griffiths - 3/3                                       P Singleton - 1/4                                     P Barlow - 1/1
J Shawley - 3/3                                      J Hawkesworth - 4/4                               M Robertson - 1/1
G Hodgson - 3/3                                     L Tyrell - 2/4                                           S Paul - 1/1
P Barlow - 3/3                                         Reverend Sowden - 3/4                         J Sharples - 1/1
P Singleton - 1/3
M Robertson - 1/3
M Chester - 0/3
Reverend Sowden - 3/3


Parent Survey about the New National Curriculum



Governors' visits to the school 

September 2015 

A recent learning walk around St Thomas’ school clearly showed the breadth and depth of topics that the children study together with a whole range of skills that they acquire. 

The display ‘Around our school and the world’ is a good example as it has contributions from every year group and clearly shows the skills that children are gaining such as map work, research and comparative skills. They compare human and physical features of different locations; they use their maths to work with co-ordinates and grid references; they have identified countries in the northern hemisphere together with their food products; they have learned about rivers and the water cycle; and they have visited the local area and learned road safety when exploring. 

There are many more examples of the children’s work across a broad range of subjects that show imagination and creativity as well as success in academic and sporting activities.  Children are given many and diverse opportunities to discover what inspires them and to develop a love of learning.

November 2015 

Following half-term, I was able to accompany Assistant Head, Mrs Mayer, around the school to learn how she uses her leadership time to ensure that displays are planned effectively and monitored.  

Space has been allocated to year groups with a time frame of 3 weeks for completion.  Year 1 children have used their collage skills to produce an extremely colourful display of the work of Henri Matisse; and the work by Year 4 children following their visit to Flag Fen clearly demonstrates the interest that this visit generated and includes a model village complete with ‘mammoth’ that the children produced on their own initiative.  

Mrs Mayer looked for cross-curricular links and checked that the displays celebrated the work of children of all abilities. 

Year 4 Weaving workshop (5 November 2015)

Children in the two Year 4 groups were following a grid of activities.  These comprised weaving with coloured paper strips (both small and large), weaving with wool on a fork, weaving strips of fabric into a large frame for display, and weaving with willow strips to produce a bird feeder.  There was also an activity that required the children to research the history of weaving and answer 3 questions displayed on the Smartboard.

The children mostly worked in groups of their own choosing but were organised by the class teachers for instruction from a visitor on willow weaving.  They were focused on each of the tasks in hand and were very keen to tell me what they were doing and how much they were enjoying the activities.  It was clear that the children were engaged and excited by what they were learning.

They were polite and helpful at all times; they showed confidence when speaking to a ‘new’ adult in the class and they worked safely.

When parents arrived for an ‘open’ session, the children eagerly explained their tasks and showed them around the range of activities.

Pupil interviews and monitoring behaviour 

Mrs Riglin interviewed small groups of Year 4 and Year 6 children, noted all of their comments and identified points that needed discussion with the class teacher and any further action.  For example the children in the Year 4 group did not have a secure understanding of the acronym SMART when related to internet safety.  

Mrs Riglin also explained the systems for monitoring behaviour.  These include the checking of behaviour logs kept by class teachers, and the maintenance of the Child Protection Register and the Vulnerable Children Register. 

Children’s behaviour in class is monitored through ‘drop-in’ observations.  Mrs Riglin visited a Year 4 PE session, a Year 6 Maths class and a Reception class.  The children were attentive and engaged in the activities and when they were not, the teacher and/or TA present intervened.  Mrs Riglin noted any points for feedback to the class teacher.

11 November 2015 

Year 6 pupils led a very moving service for Armistice Day.  Their selection of poems, readings and prayers showed sensitivity to the occasion as well as clear reflection as to what the day means. 

The children spoke clearly and confidently; they sang the hymns wholeheartedly without a crib sheet and did not falter even slightly when the music failed and they were left without a backing. 

After the service, the guest, Squadron Leader Mark Hassall, answered questions from a group of Year 6 pupils.  They were extremely polite and treated each other with respect; their expressions showed that they were enthralled and inspired by the Squadron Leader’s account of his experiences.

Year 3 Nativity Performance at St Thomas’ Church

Year 3 children performed their Christmas show ‘Hosanna Rock’ on 2 December at St Thomas’ Church.  The event was very well attended by parents and other family members. 

The children had various roles to play: one child narrated the nativity story, others played the parts of Joseph and Mary, the Shepherds, the Wise Men and the animals.  All of this was done extremely well and without obvious prompts.  There were 12 songs which were sung by all the children who were in very good voice and sang confidently without crib sheets; they even carried on without hesitation when the background music failed due to a small technical hitch.  

My favourite songs were ‘You are my Brother’ and ‘Hosanna Rock’ complete with the actions.  The performance was fantastic and credit is due to all the children and staff who clearly worked hard to get everything ready for the day.

Reception and Year 1 Nativity Performance 

This was a lovely performance by the youngest children in the school.  They sang all the songs from memory with great enthusiasm and with all the hand movements.  The costumes were fantastic and all the children looked amazing.  

All the available tickets were taken up and parents and other family members were clearly very proud and supportive of their youngsters. 


Classroom environments KS1 

The classroom environments are a very rich source of information for all abilities; there are many scaffolds for less able children including key words, word banks, and time connectives; and all children use the displays and other resources in many ways to aid their learning.

In Religious Education, children in Year 2 have been learning about Noah and the Ark.  They used post-it notes to write questions to God some of which were practical questions about where the food came from and some that were more philosophical for example one child had asked ‘Why do some people suffer?’ 

There are many examples of cross curricular links.  In Year 1, the topic is Toys and the children have sorted different toys into categories such as past and present.  They have learned time-related vocabulary and used maths skills in ordering the years that the toys were produced.  Science has been integrated by exploring the different kinds of materials used and drawing a pictogram; differentiation for higher ability pupils is also shown in their use of data handling skills.

The children in Year 2 have learned about Rangoli patterns and have used pictograms, tally charts and bar graphs depending on their ability.  The Maths corner has examples of their use of length, weight and capacity and they have made and tested paper rockets and measured distances covered with exploration of what makes a test fair.

A very high level of support is evident in classroom environments.  For example there are buttons on the main display in Year 1 that give vocabulary in Polish to help EAL children; and in Year 2 there is an area for ‘Special’ work where a child who has special learning needs is pictured with a grid of the numbers 1-100 that he produced on his own initiative.


Classroom environments KS2 

Every classroom visited has a wealth of learning resources for every subject.  These resources encourage independent learning for example number squares, times tables and extended vocabulary in each subject.

There are many examples of cross curricular links.  Maths is integrated into Geography in the use of co-ordinates, grid references and for longitude and latitude.  It is also integrated into Art through analysis of an artist’s work eg Andy Warhol; and into RE through the calculation of the ages of Saints and how many years ago they lived.  Year 6 children have used Venn diagrams to illustrate how appliances are powered; they have also used circuit symbols.  Year 4 children have drawn graphs to show decibels of sound heard.

Differentiation is very evident for example in the use of imagery in year 4, EAL children are asked to use adjectives to label an image, the core group of pupils are asked to write sentences about the image, and the higher ability children are asked to describe the feelings depicted.

There are also ‘fun’ ways of extending vocabulary for example a burglar has ‘pinched’ a word and a list of other words that could be substituted is displayed.  In one year 5 classroom, there is an outstanding representation of the workhouse from Oliver Twist complete with gas lamp – produced by a child.  The book has been used to create a word bank of emotive language.

World War 2 is the topic for year 6 pupils.  This has been related in RE to the persecution of the Jews and the children will be learning about Anne Frank.  The display Battles, Bombs and Bullets encourages a love of reading through leaflets, postcards and advertisements all in the WW2 theme. 

Children have been given line graphs depicting the battles and casualties but without labels and from clues provided they have worked out which battle is which.  This activity has been differentiated and for example more able children have identified the battles with fewer clues.

The classrooms provide a stimulating and supportive environment for all ages and abilities and the boards are changed regularly as topics change.


Autumn Term 2016

Pupil interviews

I recently observed pupil interviews in all age groups at both the St Thomas’ and Wyberton schools.  These interviews focused on behaviour and safety and the children’s responses were very pleasing both in their content and in the manner in which they were given. 

All pupils were very definite about telling a teacher if they had a worry or a problem; they said they felt safe both in school and when out on trips.  The younger children talked about holding hands with a partner and not crossing the road until they were told to do so. 

Children spoke knowledgeably about keeping safe while using the internet including telling their parents what they were doing.  Children at Wyberton advised not using chat rooms and Facebook and said they would only use child-friendly sites. 

Pupils in all year groups were able to explain what bullying involved and how to deal with it.  Pupils in year 5 at St Thomas’ spoke at length about the various forms of bullying – emotional, physical and mental. 

They talked about pupil behaviour in their classes and one group spoke very proudly about their ‘Charter’.  They were all very clear about the need to behave well and about the consequences of poor behaviour; they gave examples of the loss of break time and having your name moved down the behaviour chart. 

KS1 children at St Thomas’ had some positive views about attendance: they said they must be at school so that they can learn and so that they can listen to the teachers; they said it was important to follow the rules. 

Children at Wyberton School said that good attendance would help them to get brighter and brighter and that when they were older, they would be able to get a decent job.  One pupil quoted his father saying “the harder you work when you are young, the less difficult it is when you are older”.  They talked about getting a well-paid job, a higher degree in university and a better start in life. 

The children in all year groups were very eager to contribute and able to articulate their thoughts well. They were very well-mannered and did not interrupt their peers but put up their hands to show they wanted to contribute to the discussion.


Armistice Day Assembly

Once again this was a very moving tribute delivered by Year 6 children who had chosen the poems, hymns and prayers making sure that the content appealed to the entire audience.  For example the poem ‘The Inquisitive Mind of a Child’ had been chosen with the younger children in mind and was read as a dialogue between a boy (the child) and a girl (his mother).  The poem drew out the significance of the poppy in a very meaningful way and ended with a very thought-provoking verse: 

But why, Mummy are you crying so?

Your tears are giving you pain.

My tears are my fears for you my child.

For the world is forgetting again. 

Throughout the proceedings, Year 6 children spoke with confidence and sensitivity; they sang very well; and showed great respect for the occasion. 

Mrs Ransome, attending on behalf of the Royal British Legion, received the wreaths produced by each class from two class members who walked in unison to the front of the hall and laid the wreaths in front of the ‘Cenotaph’. 

‘The Last Post’ was announced with the suggestion that members of the audience might like to pray for those who have suffered through war and conflict. 

Throughout the Assembly, all children showed the utmost respect for the occasion; they behaved impeccably and their interest and attention was very evident.


Spring Term 2017

23 January 2017 

This morning I attended a KS2 assembly organised and led very confidently by the Church School Council on the theme of the Conversion of St Paul.  All members of the Council played their role enthusiastically and well, including the younger pupils. 

The story of Saul becoming St Paul was acted out convincingly and in a thought-provoking way and one pupil told me later that he felt the message they were giving had been believed.  The children had devised a very appropriate introduction that engaged the audience and they had chosen the hymn ‘Shine, Jesus Shine’ because they felt that it fitted well with the story being about Jesus being the light and people wanting to follow.  The assembly concluded with a short prayer.  The members of the Council had planned everything themselves and can be congratulated for their commitment. 

I felt that the whole assembly was very uplifting and look forward to attending similar events.


Friday, 3 March 2017 

I recently accompanied St Thomas’ Year 5 pupils and the Choirs of both St Thomas’ and Wyberton primary schools to the Women’s World Day of Prayer service at Boston Stump. 

During the hour-long service, all the children gave their full attention to the proceedings, sang the hymns, made all the necessary responses and showed great respect for the occasion.  They listened carefully to the stories of a very different kind of life to theirs read by school pupils. Several members of the public spoke to the children after the service and congratulated them on their very good behaviour. 

The two pupils chosen as Readers carried out their roles extremely well.  They read their long and complex scripts clearly and confidently and made strong eye contact with members of the congregation.  They also helped to distribute the sachets of rice and collect the donations. 

Members of the Choir sang beautifully and were thanked for their contribution by Reverend Jane.  It was a real pleasure to be part of this event