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Local Governing Body


Shalford Infant & Nursery School is governed by a local governing body, which is a committee of the board of trustees of Learning Partnership Academy Trust, who have overall responsibility for governance of the school.  The committee comprises a group of volunteers who give their time and expertise freely to support the school by 

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school; 

  • Holding school leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff; and 

  • Overseeing the school’s financial performance of the organisation and make sure its money is well spent. 

The specific responsibilities of the governing body are detailed within the trust’s scheme of delegation and Local Governing Body terms of reference.   

Governors meet regularly through the term to discuss all main aspects of the school and visit the school regularly to understand, support and monitor school life. We follow government guidance, are supported by the trust and adhere to a code of conduct in all that we do.  For further information please contact: 

  • Chair of Governors: Sarah Hardcastle c/o Shalford Infant & Nursery School, Station Row, Shalford GU4 8BY 

  • Clerk: Natasha Brown  c/o Shalford Infant & Nursery School, Station Row, Shalford GU4 8BY 

How we make decisions?


Our Local Governing Body is based on a stakeholder model, with representatives of parents, staff, and the local community.  Members are recruited for a three-to-four-year term on a skillset basis and/or through parental election. 

School Visits

As governors we conduct school visits to observe how they operate, how the curriculum is delivered and to learn about the organisation and its ethos. We consider that strong strategic leaders have a good understanding of its school(s) and the organisation that they support, and that they actively contribute to improving the learning and outcomes for all children.  

Our visits serve a number of purposes including:  

  • Improving knowledge of the school, its staff, needs, priorities, strengths and areas for development. 

  • Observing children’s behaviour and their engagement in the school’s activities.  

  • Acquiring knowledge to enable governors to act as critical friends.  

  • Monitoring and evaluating plans, budgets, and achievement.  

  • Observing the condition of the school’s buildings, facilities, its grounds and its security arrangements.  

  • Monitoring and assessing how the school’s and trust’s priorities are being delivered.  

  • Helping the local governing body and the trust to fulfil their various statutory duties.

Code of Conduct

As governors we follow the trust’s code of conduct, of which are few highlights are below: 

  • We will encourage open governance and will act appropriately.  

  • We will actively support and challenge the school and executive leaders.  

  • We will accept and respect the difference between strategic and operational leadership, ensuring that we work collectively for the benefit of the organisation.  

  • We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the school and local community, as well as other schools.  

  • We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.  

  • We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside meetings.  

  • We agree to adhere to any rules, policies and procedures agreed within the trust or as required by the law.  

  • We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of the trust and its schools.

Registers of Interest

We manage personal relationships with related parties to avoid both real and perceived conflicts of interest, promoting integrity and openness in accordance with the seven principles of public life.  

We publish this information on our trust and school websites.  Please find below our most recent register of interests for the local governing body at the bottom of the page.

Becoming a Governor

Becoming a governor is an incredibly rewarding experience.  You will be joining a movement of over 250,000 people nationwide and team of over 100 Learning Partners’ governors, all skilled individuals who give their time freely to support children and young people in their community. 

Please consult our trust website page on becoming a governor and contact our Chair of Governors for more information. 

In our own words…….

Rachel Churchley: Community Governor

I joined the governing body in November 2023 as a Community Governor and I feel privileged to be able to support my local community this way. I have worked as an Early Years Teacher for many years in a variety of schools and I have experience of senior leadership, middle management, mentoring, volunteering and mental health support. Since moving from London, I have lived in Shalford for over ten years, where I have become a mum myself and opened my own business as a childminder from my home. 

My passions are educating our young people, supporting my local community through voluntary endeavours and protecting the mental health and wellbeing of our children alongside their parents and teachers. In any spare time I have, I enjoy walking my miniature schnauzer, playing piano and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.


Laura Crossley: Parent Governor

I joined the governing body in May 2023 as a Parent Governor after my son joined Oak class. With my daughter hopefully attending just as her brother leaves, Shalford Infant School is going to be a part of my life for the foreseeable, and so I am excited to be able to get involved and help this incredible school on its journey.

I run a small IT business that works with the UK Government, and hope to be able to bring my experience as an Executive Director and Talent Manager to the Governing Body and deliver value to this amazing team of volunteers.

Arbaaz Nayeem: Community Governor


I am delighted to be part of the school's governing body, which I joined in October 2021. Our schools play a vital role in imparting and enabling British values in the lives of our future generations, and I am honoured to be able to contribute to this time-honoured endeavour at Shalford Infant & Nursery School. I am a career development consultant (14+ years) having recently transitioned into a utility investment management role, and look forward to supporting the school's activities in helping build back better through our children. 

 VACANCY: Community Governor



Sarah Hardcastle: Chair of Governors, Community Governor 

I became involved with the Governing Body in 2015 and continue to be excited by the work here to provide the very best outcomes for your children. I have three teenage daughters, so spending time at the Infant school is a lovely change! I've spent the majority of my career at the BBC in journalism and radio production.

Karen Brooks: Vice Chair of Governors, Parent Governor


 I joined the governing body in November 2019 as a parent governor after   my eldest daughter started in Oak Class.  I’m delighted to have this           opportunity to contribute to the development of the school, which   forms such an important part of our community. I trained as a chemist   but have since moved into research management.  I currently work part-   time as a project manager at the University of Surrey.

Natasha Brown: Clerk to Governing Body

After joining Shalford Infant & Nursery School in September 2019 as Office Administrator, I am delighted to take on the role of Clerk to the Governors.  I’ve worked in schools for the last 10 years after previously working for a large IT company and my previous experience has given me a good foundation for my new role.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and also enjoy home arts and craft, gardening, rambling around the local countryside whilst persevering with my keep fit classes!


Gemma Beswick: Staff Governor

I began my teaching career in 2015 at Shalford Infant and Nursery school and have been here ever since because I love being part of such a nurturing and close-knit school community of children, parents, staff and Governors.  

Throughout my time at Shalford I have become incredibly passionate about the Early Years and child development. I am the Early Years Lead and love sharing my knowledge, beliefs and enthusiasm with other Early Years professionals whilst also constantly developing and furthering my own knowledge and understanding of development from birth to 5.  

I am also the Leader of Learning for early reading, phonics and computing at Shalford where I have the privilege of developing and supporting the curriculum in these subjects from Nursery to Year 2.  

I really enjoy being part of the Governing Body as I get to be part of the key decisions that are made for our school and then get to witness the impact this has on the children’s learning, growth and development. 

During my free time I love reading, going out for meals and wondering through the Chantries. I also love paddle boarding, especially along the River Wey.  

Michelle Dutton: Headteacher

As Headteacher of the school, I work in partnership with the Governors to continually evaluate what we do and find out what we could improve in school for the children. I appreciate the ideas and discussion we have at meetings when it comes to decision making. It’s good to hear everyone’s views before making key decisions. I studied drama alongside my teaching degree and really enjoy visiting the theatre with my husband.

I love going for walks in the fields and woods near my house – it’s a good ‘thinking’ time – and I often get back with some good ideas to bring into school.


Sarah Burchard: Community Governor

In 2020 my husband and I moved from Guildford to Shalford and I retired from my job as an Environmental Scientist working in multi-agency emergency planning. With time and energy to give back to the community, I am delighted to have been able to join the governing board of Shalford Infant and Nursery School and to be able to support this happy school. 

In my spare time, I look after my allotment and help with my three grandchildren, two of whom are local.

Rev. Sarah Lloyd: Communty Governor  

It’s a real privilege and joy to support and be part of Shalford Infant & Nursery School as a governor and regular visitor. The school is such a wonderful, happy, lively, learning heart of our local community.  I joined the governing body in 2019, having moved back to Shalford on being appointed as the Vicar for the Parish of Shalford & Peasmarsh.  Having grown up in Shalford a very long time ago, I spent most of my career as an academic book publisher before ordination. I've loved working with children in sports coaching and in ministry and school support roles where I’ve lived in London, Winchester and Basingstoke. Walking and accompanying my dog on his pastoral visits around Shalford and Peasmarsh is a favourite occupation.