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

01772 613026

Little Hoole Primary School

Enabling All to Believe, Grow & Achieve

Jim Barwise

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


I am a chartered public finance accountant. I qualified in 1975. I worked, mostly, in local government for Preston, Chorley and Blackburn with Darwen Councils. I was Chief Accountant at Chorley and Head of Audit and Assurance at Blackburn. At Blackburn, I also had responsibility for developing both business risk management and corporate governance procedures.

At Blackburn, we audited schools and developed governance processes for them but I cannot say that I have a background in education. It was my financial background that the Governors at Little Hoole decided would be of value to them and so I was co-opted to the Governing Body in March 2015. After what must have been a singularly impressive six months, I became Chair of Governors in October 2015.

I live in Fulwood and my son and daughter both went to school there. I had no real knowledge of Little Hoole before 2015 when Mr Stammers showed me round it. I was very impressed and I continue still to be impressed. At all times, the School presents a culture which it embodies in its daily activities and which it almost breathes: “Believe, Grow, Achieve”. (Formerly, it was “Where children grow in self-esteem.”)

I am not a teacher “by trade” and I am not even someone with a work background allied to education. My professional, audit background gives me the skills to fulfil a governor’s role of asking awkward, searching or challenging questions. These are necessary because, in the end, Little Hoole spends a lot of public money and what it achieves with that money is of primary importance to its children’s futures.

Staff, children and, even, governors all move on but the School, not just in its bricks-and-mortar existence remains and not in a static sense, to contribute to future generations as they believe, grow and achieve. As a governor, my essential role is to support the school community, both now and in the future, in not standing still and in helping it to meet the new challenges that appear on the horizon. As Chair, this role is interesting, a lot different from what I had anticipated, and enjoyable but personally testing too.

I am just one member, however, of a Team who, with their varying backgrounds, experience and personal attributes, all contribute to ensuring that the School is as well-managed and as successful as it can be. This is achieved by working closely with the Head, focussing on strategic matters not day-to-day operational ones, and fulfilling the Governing Body’s statutory functions of: ensuring clarity of visions, ethos and strategy; holding the Head to account for the School’s educational performance and overseeing the effective use of the public purse.

Having been Chair for 8 years, I have long realised that, as I have learned more, I always have more to learn. The School has many challenges facing it, as well as opportunities to grasp, but, whilst fundamentally they are not unique (Covid being an exception), the circumstances often vary. It is in attempting to make the most of the School’s challenges and opportunities, that a strong Governing Body is vital to help in making the most of these circumstances. It is this too which is rewarding for governors, me included. Currently, we have such a Body.

Jim Barwise

7th December 2023

To contact Mr. Barwise please email