St Luke's Academy About Us

Local Governing Body


The governance of a multi-academy trust differs from those of maintained schools. The White Horse Federation (TWHF) believes that placing statutory responsibilities firmly at its centre, in the remit of the board of trustees, allows the local governing board (LGB) to focus on providing support, overcoming challenges in the delivery of educational excellence, and achieving outstanding outcomes for all pupils.

There are direct channels of communication between the principal and the LGB chair and central services. The clerk to the board of trustees will hold contact details for all members of LGBs within TWHF. However, routine communication for day-to-day school business should come from the chair of that LGB, managed by the school or through an LGB clerk, if such a position is deemed necessary.

The principal and the chair of the LGB are responsible for ensuring the quality and timely distribution of all material needed to keep members well-informed about the school and TWHF. The principal and the chair are also responsible for ensuring the views of the LGB are well communicated to the board of trustees. This can be done via the elected chair’s representative on the board of trustees. Senior executives from TWHF will be nominated by the CEO to sit on an LGB. Trustees reserve the right to attend any LGB meeting.

The White Horse Federation has a very clear and shared understanding of what constitutes good and effective governance. Schools within TWHF will be judged to have outstanding governance when members of the LGB:

  1. Talk about teaching and learning.
  2. Know a great deal about the school and its community.
  3. Are ambitious for the school and its community.
  4. Ask questions which make colleagues reflect, and that these discussions lead to delivering the very best outcomes for every child and adult within the school community.
  5. Maintain strong and effective relationships within TWHF.

In order for the shared model of governance to be effective for TWHF and the schools, it is essential that there is effective communication between the board of trustees, the LGBs, chairs groups, principals, the central team, and the executive leadership team.

Current Local Governors

Mrs Caroline Down Principal
Vanessa Aris Chair of Governors
Mrs Lee-Anne Farach Vice Chair of Governors
Rachel Skates Co-opted Governor
Camilla Thornalley Co-opted Governor
Chris Down Staff Governor
Darren Swenney Staff Governor
Ivor Williams Governor
Mrs Sushma Patel Community Governor

Vanessa Aris - Chair of Governors

Vanessa Aris is a retired Science Teacher with over 30 years’ experience and is Chair of Governors at two Primary Schools in Gloucestershire. In all, Vanessa has been a Governor in 8 schools (repeatedly as Chair or Vice Chair) and has worked with Local Authorities on issues of Governance. She was awarded the MBE in 2000 for services to Education. Vanessa is Chairman of the Governing Committee.

Lee-Anne Farach - Vice Chair of Governors

Lee-Anne Farach has been a qualified social worker for over 25 years and has worked in and across the breath of children’s services focussing on early help, youth services, schools and children’s social care. Lee-Anne is currently the Director of Children’s Social Work with Swindon Borough Council. Lee-Anne has a doctorate in leadership in children’s services. Lee-Anne is an experienced Governor having previously been the Chair of Governors for a primary school in the East of England.

Darren Sweeney - Staff Governor

Darren Sweeney was a primary school teacher approximately twenty years ago, after spending a similar period of time working in the engineering and manufacturing industry as a qualified electrical fitter. During his time as a teacher, he has qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Leader, a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Manager and Educational Visits Coordinator, all roles that he as undertaken during the ten or so years he has been working at St. Luke's.

He now work teaching Design and Technology (resistant Materials) to Key Stage 3, runs the Forest School sessions for KS3. and also helped devise a course in Woodland Management for Conservation, which he also leads, for Key Stage 4 students, who may gain an Open College Network award following sustained engagement with the course.

Ivor Williams- Governor

Ivor Williams was born in Royal Wootton Bassett and have lived and worked in Swindon all my life, He is married with five children and 14 grandchildren age’s 1 to 27.

He has two sons who both needed special needs one of which was Educated at St Lukes school a few years ago and he did very well, his other son was placed at an New inclusion school and did not do as good.

He was diagnosed to have dyslexia and through that suffered because of people not understanding children with special needs back in the early and late 60’s, that is the reason he became a school governor because of his passion to help children with special needs.

He is currently Chair at Beechcroft infant school and Chair at Covingham primary School.

He is an accountant with over 30 years commercial experience in industry ranging from Retail to Manufacturing.

He is also on the school forum committee, Swindon SENDIASS Committee and sit on the Swindon Admission Appeals Panel.

Rachel Skates -Co-opted Governor

Rachel Skates has been in primary school teaching for 15 years and is the principal of a one form entry primary school for the past 5.

She has a passion for making things better for disadvantaged children and hope to use her skills and knowledge to help all children at St Lukes.

Register of Interests 2019-20 & Attendance 2018-19

Local governors have been appointed by the board of trustees and will serve a four-year term.

NamePositionNature of InterestDate RegisteredDate CeasedDates of ServiceAttendance 2017-18
Caroline DownPrincipalHusband is Staff Governor, St Luke's Academy24/9/19--tbc
Vanessa ArisChairNil--01/09/15-tbctbc
Lee-Anne Farach Vice Chair of GovernorsEmployee at SBC, Redyear Court Management Company24/9/19--tbc
Chris DownStaff GovernorHusband of Principal24/9/19--tbc
Rachel SkatesCo-opted GovernorNiltbc
Sushma PatelGovernorMember of General Pharmaceutical Council, Vice Chair of Swindon Hindu Samaj (Charity)19/11/19--tbc
Ivor WilliamsGovernorSENDIADD, School Forum, Beechcroft Infant School, Covingham Park Primary23/09/19-31/10/13-31/07/23tbc
Camilla ThornalleyCo-opted Governortbctbc--tbc
Darren SweeneyStaff GovernorNil24/09/19--tbc

Steve Colledge - Left

Jerry Giles - Left

The White Horse Federation Local Governing Body

Each school has its own local governing body (LGB). The chair of each LGB will also sit on a collective group of similar chairs, from which one representative will be elected and then co-opted onto the board of trustees. This process will be repeated every two years, thus affording new chairs the opportunity to be similarly elected.

TWHF board of trustees has clearly identified the areas of responsibility that they delegate to the LGBs. Although not in any way legally responsible, and not itself accountable for the statutory functions, the LGB has an important role to play in assisting the school to operate effectively in line with the wishes of TWHF board of trustees as communicated to the LGB.

To learn more, visit The White Horse Federation website.

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