Local Governing Body


The Local Governing Board shall consist of eight members of which there shall be

  • One staff
  • Two elected parents
  • Five Foundation (including the Headteacher)

The term of office of local governors is four years.

Chair of Governors: Mr Kieran Heakin (

Trust Governance Professional: Ms Helen Whitaker ( 

Our current Governor membership for 2023-2024 can be seen below and in the link at the bottom of the page.

Meet the Governors

Councillor Kieran Heakin - Chair and Foundation Governor

I have been a member of St Mary’s and St Anselm’s parish since I moved to Whitworth in 1979. I have always been involved in education on a wide scale and enjoy the opportunity to support St Mary’s RC Primary School as a governor.

I have a wide range of experiences, skills and knowledge that I bring to the role of governor. I have good communication skills and am highly motivated and principled. I am a good listener with good interpersonal skills but most of all good judgement and common sense. I have good organisational skills and am used to working under pressure. I am a team player and understand that contributions from all team members should be valued.

As a manager, I understand the need to be able to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life and varieties of backgrounds. I enjoy meeting new people and am down to earth friendly and have a good sense of humour. As a manager, I am a leader and motivator of people and am used to getting the job done.

I am widely experienced in the field of education. I have been a teacher for 43 years and a headteacher for 30 years before my retirement in 2015. I have also been an OFSTED Inspector, School Improvement Partner, Local Leader of Education and Diocesan Leader of Education in Salford Diocese.

On a wider scale, I am Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services on Rochdale Council and Councillor for the Healey Ward in Rochdale. I am Chairman of a local charity, Health Aid UK and enjoy playing too much squash at Rochdale Cricket Club.


Fr Chris McGrane - Ex Officio

I am Fr Chris McGrane, I was appointed  Parish Priest of St Mary and St Anselm’s Bacup and Whitworth on 19th  October 2018 . I studied in Rome and  was ordained priest in 14th July 2001 after having worked in the British Council , over the last 18 years I have served in 6 parishes  before I came to St Mary’s and Anselm’s , having  had a lot of experience both in as a governor and in chaplaincy in both primary and high schools in those parishes.

I am very pleased and honoured  to have been made an ex officio Governor to St Mary’s and to be able to join in the spiritual and social life of the school where I have been made welcome by some very nice  children and a very dedicated staff.


Mrs Shelley Johnson - Parent Governor

I’m Shelley, I have lived the majority of my life in Bacup. I’m a mummy to 5 children, 3 step children. I have been a part of the St Mary’s family for many years. My eldest is 18 and he was part of the school and my youngest children are five and six so I have many more years to come. As a parent governor I feel I can have my input for all other parents within the school community. 


Mr Andy Dickinson - Associate Governor

I am a Catholic retired Headteacher from Rochdale who is passionate about Education and have a great depth of experience in making a difference to children’s lives. Before early retirement, after serving many years as a teacher and more as a Headteacher, I was one of the nations first National Leaders Of Education. In addition to leading my school to an award for the highest attainment and progress scores in the country, I was deployed across the North West Of England to support many schools where the need to raise standards was high on the agenda. I also worked for the Salford Diocese as a Leader Of Education and initiated a number of programmes - especially in the support for newly qualified teachers and in Religious education. I also worked as a Primary school Advisor, frequently contracted to help school leaders and teachers by the Local Education Authority, the Diocese and the National College For Teaching & Learning. Over the years, based on personal and professional experience, I have taken a particular interest in helping some of our most vulnerable children. I currently serve on the board of trustees of a charity supporting children in the autistic spectrum and with learning/development needs. My philosophy for education is simple: 
Primary school life should be a happy and memorable place for children and all who work there. We must build today, on the foundation of yesterday, for the children and their future. Every adult should be a witness to Christ and a role model to children and adults and must strive to enable children to love to learn — and to learn to love.

Miss Sheena Mills - Staff Governor

I am Sheena Mills and I am a staff governor.  I started working at St Mary's in November 2019 and love my teaching role, supporting our children and helping them to be the best they can be.  
I have a wide range of experiences, skills and knowledge that I bring to the role of staff governor. I am a good communicator and I am a good listener with good interpersonal skills.  These skills have given me the tools I need to lead mental health and well-being within school for both staff and children. In my previous career I was a police constable therefore I am able to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.  My policing background gave me a greater insight into the  challenges we face in society today and how to support those in need. At home, I have a wonderful little boy who makes me smile every day! 
Mrs Claire Mills - Headteacher
I am the Headteacher at St Mary's and I believe that every child has gifts and talents to be developed and appreciated. I love working at St Mary's with my dedicated and caring team of staff. It is my aim that we provide the best educational opportunities and pastoral support that we can in order to help our pupils thrive in school and as citizens in our community. I have been teaching since 1995, and I particularly like studying linguistics and grammar. I am married with three children who keep me very busy outside of school.




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