Contact: Mrs. Mercer, Little Hoole Primary School, Dob Lane, Preston, Lancashire PR4 5QL

01772 613026

Little Hoole Primary School

Believe, Grow, Achieve

Jim Barwise

Co-opted Governor, from March 2015 -  Chair of Governors


I am a chartered public finance accountant, I qualified in 1976, and I worked mainly in local government with Preston, Chorley and Blackburn with Darwen. During this time, I was Chief Accountant at Chorley and, later, Head of Internal Audit at Blackburn. I also had additional responsibilities for developing both business risk management and corporate governance procedures. At Blackburn, we audited and developed governance processes in schools but, otherwise, I do not have a background in education. It was my financial background that the Governors decided would be of value to them when, in March, 2015, I became a co-opted governor at Little Hoole. After what must have been a singularly impressive six months, in October, 2015, I became the Chair of Governors and the Chair of the Finance Committee.

I live in Fulwood and my children went to school there and, consequently, I had no knowledge of Little Hoole before March. When Mr Stammers showed me round in March, 2015, I was, to put it mildly, very positively impressed by what I saw. When, later, I accompanied him to observe an English lesson, the enthusiasm of both teacher and class was remarkable: a far cry from my own primary school days! At all times, the school, in an unforced way, presents a culture which lives up to, even exceeds, its motto: “Where Children Grow In Self-Esteem”. Clearly, this culture is not an overnight thing: it seems to be the atmosphere that the school community breathes.

Governors, Teachers and Children all move on but the school remains, contributing to future generations’ own growth in self esteem. As a governor, I consider my basic role is to support the Head, staff, children, parents, governor colleagues and all those with the school’s well-being at heart, both now or ten years time (Well, for me, perhaps not ten years), in not standing still and in helping to make the school the best it can be. I am a lay person and a volunteer, in a very professional field, nevertheless, part of my role is to ask awkward questions because, in the end, big sums of public money are being spent and Little Hoole’s children’s futures are of prime importance. 

As Chair of Governors, I find the role challenging and revealing. I am, however, part of a group who, with their varying backgrounds, experiences, strengths and weaknesses, all contribute to ensuring that the school is soundly managed and that it is fit for purpose by focusing on the core functions of: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding the Head to account about the school’s educational performance, whilst also encouraging and, in a limited way, assisting the Head to achieve the school’s strategic objectives; overseeing the school’s financial performance to ensure that its funds are properly and beneficially spent. 

Having been a governor for ten months and Chair for three, I have a lot to learn (always will) and the learning curve is steep but, I hope, that I and the Governing Body are getting there rapidly. The role of Governor is a lot of things and it is more demanding than I anticipated but, definitely, it is rewarding.


To contact Mr. Barwise please email