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Meet the governors

Our School governors offer strategic guidance to the school. This involves:

  • Working with other board members to plan the school’s strategic direction.
  • Overseeing the school’s financial performance, ensuring money is well-spent.
  • Holding the headteacher or school leadership to account.

A school governor’s relationship with the school’s leadership team involves challenging existing processes to drive school improvement.

Chair of Governors - Mrs Claire Sneath

Hello, my name is Claire Sneath and I am a co-opted governor. I have been a member of the Blackburn governing board since November 2021, and Chair since September 2022. I have close links with Blackburn as my children and grandchildren attended the school in the past.

I am now retired but was a teacher for many years in Rotherham schools and a headteacher in the primary sector for 13 years. Prior to retirement I also worked in school improvement for the Local Authority.   

I enjoy spending time with friends and family, including looking after grandchildren, and I also enjoy reading and walking. I feel privileged to be part of the Blackburn community, working with a team of dedicated governors and school staff to contribute to the best possible outcomes for all pupils.

Vice Chair of Governors - Mrs Caroline Birkinshaw 

Hi, my name is Caroline and I’m the vice-chair and also the Local Authority Governor at school, as well as being a parent at school. I’ve been involved with Blackburn for a long time, with my eldest child starting 16 years ago, and with my youngest child in nursery, I hope to be involved for a few more years to come! I really enjoying being able to play a part in shaping the school, and love seeing the children flourish in the warm and welcoming environment Blackburn Primary provides.

Headteacher - Mr Mark Bennett

Hello, my name is Mark Bennett and I have been the Headteacher of Blackburn Primary School since September 2020. 

Previously I have worked in other Senior Leadership roles in Rotherham Schools. Blackburn is a school close to my heart as I completed my initial teaching training and first few years as a teacher at the school. I enjoy working with a fantastic group of governors, shaping our schools strategic direction to give our children the best possible start to life they can have. 

When not in school I enjoy spending time with my family, running up and down hills, riding my bike and on rare occasions, I enjoy having a season ticket at Hillsborough. 

Safeguarding Governor - Mrs Helen Hardy

Hi there, my name is Helen and I am a parent governor here at Blackburn Primary school. 
I have 3 children, my younger two children come to Blackburn and my eldest came here too. I am a specialist visual impairment Teaching Assistant and I have worked for many years in education. 
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and when I get chance, I really enjoy a good book!
I have been a parent governor here for about a year and a half now and I really enjoy it! Blackburn is a wonderful school and I'm very proud to able contribute and give some of my time to the school that gives so much to my children.

Finance Governor - Mrs Alison Brown

Hi, my name is Alison, and I am a co-opted governor. 

I have been a governor for eighteen months, and although I am relatively new in the role of school governor, I have really enjoyed expanding my skills and knowledge on the board of governors so far and understanding how school operates.

I am linked to Blackburn school as my daughter attends the school, and I am also a member of Friends of Blackburn School helping with events and fund raising for school.

I am a qualified mortgage adviser and have spent the last 15 years of my career with HSBC. Over the last two years I have moved away from a regulated advising role with the bank to a Business Development Manager supporting brokers who access HSBC mortgage products.

Outside of work I enjoy reading, walking my greyhound Nancy and spending time with family and friends.

I have enjoyed the governor role so far and feel I am part of making our school a great place for the children.

Wellbeing Governor - Mrs Lauren Hickey 

Hello, my name is Lauren and I am a parent governor.  

I have only been a governor for a year, but I have already learnt so much. Originally from Cornwall, I am a RAF veteran having served for 15 years. Whist in the RAF I met my husband and we decided to set down roots in Rotherham. We now have twins and chose Blackburn school for its reputation and core values that reflect ours as a family.

Having suffered PTSD during my military service, I have a keen interest in trauma responses and wellbeing. A passion, I hope to use to help support the school with its mission of nurturing well rounded children.

Special Educational Needs Governor - Mrs Sarah Phillips 

I lived in the West Hill area for 16 years during which time my children attended Blackburn Primary School. One of my children is still living in the West Hill area with a daughter who is attending Blackburn Primary. I am currently a Specialist Teacher working for the Local Authority Specialist Inclusion Team supporting and advise a number of local schools to meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs.

Leading up to my current post and following the completion of my nursery nursing and primary teaching qualifications 24 years ago, I have had a varied teaching career in Rotherham including Maltby Hilltop Special School, Dearne Valley College training nursery nurses, Wickersley School and Sports College, the Local Authority Behaviour Support Service and Rawmarsh Secondary School as SENCO. I have completed both the National Award for SEN Coordination and a Post Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia).

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, holidays in Tenerife and I am a season ticket holder at a local football club going to as many home and away matches as I can. I shall be retiring early 2024 and look forward to having the time to visit school on a more regular basis witnessing all the lovely work happening in school.

Staff Governor - Mrs Sarah Weightman 

Hello, my name Sarah Weightman. I have been a member of staff at Blackburn for nearly 25 years, starting my carer here as an newly qualified teacher.  During my time at Blackburn I have been a class teacher in Foundation 1 and 2, and also in Year 1 and 2. I became SENDCo 10 years ago, and more recently Deputy Head in January 2020 and Safeguarding Lead in September 2020.

I have previously been a staff Governor, though this was some time ago, so I was pleased to re-gain this role and work with the Governors on behalf of the staff to continue to build on the wonderful education we already provide for our children.

Outside of school, I love spending time with my family. I have a son and daughter who keep me on my toes – especially in their teenage years!  I enjoy listening to music, going to the gym (only dance classes!) and watching Sheffield United (not this season). I also have a love of traveling and enjoy road trips in the Summer with my family.