Meet the Governors
Frances McIlwaine – Acting Chair of Governors
I was born and educated in Scotland. After completing a degree in Arabic with French and Spanish, at Edinburgh University, I moved to London to work in the City in the financial sector. I used my languages when travelling to meet clients, and I managed my own department and a team of professional staff.
I have 3 children, whilst they were young I volunteered in the children’s playgroup and then at their primary school, and even did a stint as a TA. This encouraged me to make a complete career change and I completed an initial teacher training qualification to teach languages to adults, and then went on to do a PGCE. I taught languages part-time for 10 years at Oldham Lifelong Learning. In 2009, I took on a full-time position with Lifelong Learning to manage and develop their virtual learning platform. Since then, my job has expanded into wider aspects of data, documentation, quality of teaching and teacher training. Most recently I have been given responsibility, as part of a small team of 3, to develop our digital marketing. In my role as Governor I use my extensive experience from commercial and education sectors to ensure the highest possible standards for all pupils at St Mary’s.
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.
Mr Chris O’Hare – Parent Governor
I am a proud father of two boys at St. Mary’s and was appointed as a Parent Governor in spring 2017.
I am on the Resources Committee, where my experience of working for a UK high street bank for over 20 years are best used. The investigative skills I developed whilst working in the Fraud, and Technical Support teams enable me to question effectively; a key skill for a Governor.
I stand behind our values & ethos, and am passionate about the positive direction the school is moving to. I feel privileged to be a part of making that a reality.
I also volunteer for a national youth homeless charity a few days each month, where I co-present a life skills course to prepare clients for independent living.
Councillor Kieran Heakin – Chair of the Standards and Effectiveness Committee
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.
Mr Peter Stec – Chair of Resources Committee
I joined the Governing Body in January 2013 as a Foundation Governor following my retirement in December 2012 as the Headteacher of St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Newchurch, Rossendale, having taken the school to ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding features’ over a twelve year period.
I wanted to be able to pass on my experience where possible and to help develop the potential in St. Mary’s. My interests and expertise are varied ranging from finance, curriculum, staffing, special needs and buildings.
Mr Alastair Torr – Staff Governor
I have been elected Staff Governor at St Mary's and I am also the Assistant Headteacher and Year 6 teacher. I have not been a School Governor before but I am greatly looking forward to the role and being able to support the school in wider context than I already do. I have been a teacher for 7 years having taught at several different primary schools. English is my favourite subject to teach but I also have a real passion for History in which I have a BA (HONS) degree. My wife works in a High School in Manchester and we have 4 children who also enjoy a Catholic school education. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, bowling, football and squash.