Governing Body

Governors are essential to the work of the school and are legally responsible for it. They are not however, involved in the day-to-day running of the school which is managed by Dr Robert Whannel and the Senior Leadership Team.

This leaves governors free to focus on their core functions of:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

  • Holding the Head Teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff

  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

Governors work with senior leaders to ensure all students achieve the results they need and deserve.  We push school leaders to give every student an engaging, stimulating learning experience. We challenge school leaders to create a continuing environment of school improvement, and to make sure strategic goals are implemented and effective.  We act as a sounding board for issues being reviewed within the school.  We approve the school budget and appoint the Head Teacher.


Mrs Lucy Katz: Chair Of Governors  (Finance, Risk and Curriculum)

I am the Chair of Governors.  I have been a governor since 2013, and have worked with The Cooper School, and the Bernwode Schools Trust since 2016 as a Trustee and as Chair.  

Bicester families and their children deserve the very best from The Cooper School and I am fully committed to ensuring it is my role to make sure this is what the school is providing.

I strongly believe that learning should open doors for all students in the future by making sure students achieve the very best grades they can, across multiple subjects.  In order to achieve this, lessons should be engaging and enjoyable, with teaching of the highest quality.  It should prepare all students to be positive members of the communities they live in.  My goal is to make sure that all students are offered opportunities at The Cooper School which meet these aims.  

I am the Link Governor for AEN (SEND) and for Safeguarding.  It is my role to ensure that all students are safe in our school and beyond.  It is also down to me to advocate vigorously for all students, ensuring that our full education provision is accessible to everyone.



Mrs N. Martell-Bundock: Vice Chair Of Governors - Curriculum -Parent Governor

Mr B. Tweddle: Staff Governor - Curriculum

Mr P. Ayris: Trust Governor - Chair Finance and Risk

Dr R. Whannel: Headteacher

Mrs C. Brown: Parent Governor -Curriculum

Mr T. Ward: Curriculum

Mrs I.Moss: Curriculum

Mr K.Woodley: Finance

Mr R. Grigsby: Finance & Risk

Mr A. Pitchfork: Staff Governor - Finance and Risk


In collaboration with the CEO of the Acer Trust, with the headteacher, and with other school leaders, governors have identified a set of priorities to guide our work throughout the year.

Our priorities map onto the Strategic School Development Plan, and are guided by our values of Dream Big, Work Hard and Be Kind outlined in our statement of ethos and values [click here].

We focus on the following key areas:

  • all lessons are at least good
  • school leaders are developing the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment framework to deliver the school’s strategic vision and meet the aspirations of all students
  • curricula for all subjects are well-structured, sequenced, engaging and consistent within Departmental Development plans
  • all learning is accessible to all students, with a particular focus on students with additional educational needs and low attaining students
  • we tackle the long-term challenges with reading skills prevalent in the communities we serve
  • all students feel safe in our school, and that we play our role in ensuring students can be safe outside school
  • improvements in behaviour are accelerated through staff training and consistency of implementation, with a particular focus on low level disruption
  • improvements in attendance are accelerated, with a particular focus on students who are AEN or Free School Meal recipients, and those who are persistently or severely absent
  • all staff are empowered to improve their practice through effective CPD
  • staff are supported in their wellbeing with a particular focus on workload
  • budgets are effectively and appropriately developed to meet the strategic needs of the school
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion strategies are effective in meeting the needs of groups of students at risk of under-performing because of their background
  • students’ mental health is supported through the developing role of the Phoenix centre
  • we use the School Development Plan effectively to hold school leaders to account
  • we recruit new members to the governing board, addressing potential gaps in the skills we need
    governors undertake training to develop necessary knowledge and skills
  • we leverage off the potential for school improvement offered by joining the Acer Trust
The Role Of Link Governors

In order to perform their role well, governors are expected to get to know the school, including visiting the school occasionally during school hours and gaining a good understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses.

This also provides an opportunity to hold departments and staff to account, and gain a better understanding of the school at work.  Governors need to ensure that the school’s stated ethos and values are evident and embedded in practice. The Governing Body will then be better placed to demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of the quality of provision for students and staff.

To find out more about the role of link governors, please click here.


The Curriculum committee has responsibility for:“Holding leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its students, and theeffective and efficient performance management of staff”.

Specifically, the Curriculum committee is tasked with ensuring that:

  • every student maximises her/his academic and / or vocational potential through teaching of the highest
  • school provides a learning environment that enables all students to flourish both academically and spiritually,
    irrespective of culture, race, gender, ability, faith or orientation
  • the school’s curriculum offer is appropriate to the needs of its students, paying due attention to national
  • the school implements interventions of proven impact to students who need support
  • the school focuses particularly on the learning needs and outcomes of vulnerable groups including, but not
    limited to students in receipt of the Pupil Premium and students with an AEN need or an EHCP
  • Curriculum planning and delivery are developed with clear intent, implemented sequentially, effectively and consistently across year groups
  • results are analysed, understood, and used to flex future planning
  • the school exploits meaningful assessment data to drive improvement
  • staff are effectively managed and developed to ensure pupil outcomes align with performance targets
    outlined in the SDP
  • appropriate behaviour management policies are developed, reviewed and embedded, so that all students
    are enabled to reach their potential

For more information click here.

The role of the Finance and Risk Sub-Committee

The areas for which the Finance and Risk Sub-Committee is responsible cover:

  • Financial policies
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Financial monitoring
  • Premises and Health & Safety
  • Staffing
  • Risk management

For more information click here.

Would you like to be a governor?

People want to become governors for a range of reasons.  Some are parents, some are staff members, and some are people from the local community who have no direct connection to The Cooper School.  Often people want to give something back to society.

Being a school governor can help you in your career.  These range from learning valuable management skills, through to developing strategic development plans and managing finances.

We are all passionate about improving the education on offer to Bicester families.  

The route to governance is designed to be low key, relatively informal and unintimidating.

Please click here if you’d like to find out:

  • what governors do
  • how we work
  • what skills and experiences you could bring
  • how to apply

Please also feel free to contact the Chair of Governors via to discuss the role.

key documents

Meeting Attendance 2022-23
Meeting Attendance 2023-24
Current & Historical Governors
Governor Details & Register of Business Interests
Code of conduct for governors
operating framework