Academy Council INFORMATION

Who are we?

Our Academy Council is made up of people from all walks of life; they bring their different backgrounds, experiences, and skills and, as volunteers, they work together for the benefit of the School helping to be part of the link between the School and the Community it serves.

If you need to contact the Chair of Governors, you can reach him through the school by writing an email or letter addressed to Mr T Regan, c/o St Paulinus Catholic Primary Academy, Temple Road, Dewsbury, WF13 3QE or email and the correspondence will be passed on to him. Thank you.

Meet the Academy Council

Mrs Cathy Baxendale

Chair of Academy Council
I’m proud to have been elected Chair of Governors from September 2023 and relish the opportunity to continue to support our wonderful school in this wider capacity.
As an active member of the parish community and with 32 years teaching experience at secondary level including Headship as well as at three of our Diocesan schools, representing varied catchments. 
 I bring a range of experience and perspectives. Before retiring last year I worked extensively with feeder primary schools during my 16 years at Senior Leadership level and have now taken an additional foundation governor role at St John Fisher, Dewsbury to continue that connected approach between primary and secondary education.

Mr Tom Regan

Vice Chair of Academy Council

I have been a governor since 2015, starting as a Foundation governor and now in my role as Parent Governor. I was appointed Vice-Chair in September 2017 and have been Chair of Governors since April 2019. I have 2 children currently enjoying school at St Paulinus. I originally wanted to join the Governing body to give something back to Catholic Education and support the school that I attended as a child and to ensure the students and staff enjoyed and benefitted from their time at St Paulinus as much as I had. Previously I worked as a teacher for 11 years at a 3-18 school in Bradford working as a Head of Faculty, Head of Year and finally as a member of the leadership team with responsibility for Sixth Form. I changed careers in 2017 and am now in a new role working for the West Yorkshire Police.

Mr Adam Smart

Foundation Academy Councillor

I have been a parent governor since 2017 and am currently in my second year of being Vice Chair. I have 3 children currently in school with another who will hopefully start at the school 2022. I wanted to become a governor to ensure that my children and all children at our school receive the educational experience they deserve. Outside school I am a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager employed by Yorkshire Water predominantly investigating and solving river water quality issues.

Ms Mary Mochrie

Foundation Academy Councillor

Before retiring I spent most of my working life in education, which included St John Fisher Catholic Academy, supporting students with special educational needs and/or a sensory loss.  I have two daughters who have both worked in education so it continues to be a big part of my family life.  I have been a school governor here at St Paulinus for two years now and during that time I have enjoyed being part of the school’s community attending celebration assemblies, masses, festivals and school trips.  This has enabled me to see teaching and learning first-hand and watch the children of St Paulinus flourish.

Mr Gavin Muldoon

Parent Academy Councillor

This has been my first governor role and this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to become involved since my son started at St. Paulinus.

I applied for the role of governor as it will give me the chance to become more involved in the development of the school and in turn help both my son and other children in their time at St. Paulinus and enable them to develop intellectually as they grow.

I feel that my experience and work outside the school as an Operations Management Specialist within a global company will offer a different perspective and skill set to complement the other governors already in place.

Mrs Agnieszka Kulas

Foundation Academy Councillor

Mrs S Brearley

Foundation Academy Councillor

I have been involved with St Paulinus Church and School all my life. I attended the School my daughters did and now my Grandchildren attend the same school. Whilst my Daughters attended I helped set up Friends of St Paulinus and became involved with my Daughter in running the group now. We run fundraisers to assist the School in providing any extras they may need to aid learning and for fun activities. I wanted to become a Governor to hopefully give support to the teachers and the rest of the governors. I work in mental health. and in my present role work closely with Families and carers.

Ms Jessica Smith

Staff Academy Councillor

I joined the school in September 2019 and I have enjoyed every day since. As soon as I arrived, I felt part of a family.  From the staff at all levels all the way to the children, everybody is aiming towards the same goal: succeed and enjoy education in the light of Jesus.

As staff governor, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to make a real contribution to the strategic management of the school, providing an interesting and rewarding dimension to my work. I am looking forward to supporting the headteacher with decisions that I am sure will help the staff and children.

I am also looking forward to working alongside the other members of the governing body to ensure that our efforts and work fulfil its duties to all children

Miss Hayes


I am the Headteacher of St Paulinus.  I joined the school as Deputy Head in September 2016, moving to Acting Head and now as Headteacher from September 2019.  I have had a long and interesting career to date.  Before joining St Paulinus, I have had many roles including being a leading teacher who supported other schools.  I came to Kirklees from Blackpool as a KS2 Leader, moving on to Assistant Head then a deputy in the same school.  I have gained a wealth of experience over my career right from Nursery to Y6 meaning that I understand the importance of each year group and how it moves a child forward.  As soon as I joined St Paulinus, I immediately fell in love with the school and its pupils.  Our core values of “Faith, Family, Respect and Achievement” permeate the whole school on a daily basis.  As a member of the Academy Council, I am able to share all the great work that goes on in our school on a day to day basis, as well as bring about change to better the school and its provision.  I am fortunate to work with a passionate group of people that want the best for all the children.  My role on the board is to be a voice for all those linked to our school (that’s pupils, parents and staff) and to ensure that decisions being made will support the whole school.  The Academy Council’s role is to hold me accountable for what happens in the school and together we make strategic decisions to improve the school for the future.

..WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME part of the Academy Council?


Academy councillors ARE VOLUNTEERS THAT HAVE:

  • An interest in the performance of the School
  • A desire to positively contribute to and represent the community
  • An open and enquiring mind
  • The ability to look at issues objectively
  • The confidence to ask questions and join in debates
  • A willingness to listen and use the information they are given to make informed decisions
  • The ability to work with the Headteacher, staff and the Academy Council
  • Time to spare to attend all Academy Council meetings and to spend time in school when necessary
  • An ability to maintain confidentiality in all circumstances.
  • An ability to think strategically



The Academy Council is made up of 4 – 5 different appointments.  There is the Headteacher, a staff academy councillor, parent academy councillor, foundation academy councillors and sometimes there is an academy councillor from the LA (Local Authority) or the Trust.  They all have equal say and equal voting rights.  Each academy councillor represents a different part of the School community and their role is to represent the thoughts of that part of the community.


WHAT IS THE Academy Council’s ROLE?

The Academy Council of our school plays a key role in:

  • Setting targets for raising standards in educational achievement.
  • Monitoring the progress towards meeting these targets.
  • Supporting, and when appropriate, challenging the Headteacher and senior leaders
  • Deciding on policies and future development plans.
  • Monitoring the impact of actions taken by the school to improve learning for pupils.
  • Understanding what it is like to be a child at St Paulinus.


As well as attending all Academy council meetings, Councillors are also asked to look at specific areas of the school’s work in more detail.  To help support Academy Councillors in understanding their role, everyone has access to further training to help build their knowledge and understanding.



At St Paulinus, the council meets 7 times a year for a Full Academy Council meeting.  These meeting last between 1 and 2 hours.  During these meetings, Councillors are presented with information, ask questions and vote on different areas e.g. policies etc.  Academy Councillors are also warmly invited into school to see policies and procedures in action so they can make a more informed decision.


In the meetings the follow areas are discussed:



To ensure that the Diocesan vision for Catholic education is articulated through the school’s mission statement; and is clearly and effectively reflected in it’s policies, development plans and practices.



To provide support and challenge to the leadership of the School and to hold them to account in relation to the quality of educational provision including: the quality of teaching and learning; pupil progress and outcomes for pupils; the quality of the curriculum provision and delivery; behaviour and safety of pupils.



To provide support and challenge to the leadership of the School and to hold them to account in relation to the use of resources to support the priorities of the school including: the leadership of teaching and learning; the School budget; the employment and development of staff; the premises.


The meetings can often be very interesting and varied – our Academy Council has a real impact on what happens in School.


HOW CAN I BECOME A member of the Academy Council?

Parent Academy Councillor – to become a Parent Academy Councillor you need to have children in the school.  Parent Academy Councillor are always voted in by other parents through a whole school vote organised by the School.  There are a maximum of 2 parent governors on the Academy Council at any one time and, when there is a vacancy, the school will advertise it to all parents.


Foundation Academy councillor – to become a Foundation Academy councillor you need to be a practicing Catholic and Fr Jonathan, or another priest, will need to recommend you.  Foundation Academy councillors are appointed by Leeds Diocese.  If you are interested in becoming a Foundation Academy councillor, the school holds the application forms you will need to complete to send to the Diocese.


Staff Academy Councillor – To be this type of councillor, you need to be a paid member of the staff of St Paulinus.  Volunteers are asked to come forward and the staff Academy Councillor appointed is voted in by the staff of St Paulinus.

Associate Academy Councillors – these are councillors that join the Academy Council due to their role in school.  The Academy Council decide if they can attend meetings and what voting rights they have.


We currently have a couple of Foundation Academy Council vacancies, if you think you may be interested in becoming a Foundation Academy Councillor  of St Paulinus, please contact school for more information


HOW LONG IS A Councillors TERM?

Once appointed, a Councillors term lasts for 4 years unless they resign at an earlier stage.  After 4 years a councillor will need to be voted in for a second term if they wish to continue in the role, or in the case of foundation Academy councillors, they will need to apply to the diocese to request a second term.