Our Lady Of Furness Catholic Federation

Lovingly we Learn in Harmony

Governor Profiles


Name:  Isabel O’Donovan


Category of governor:  Foundation Governor 

Term of office: 4 years 

Work: I have been a full-time GP working in Barrow for the past 20 years 

Governance experience: I have been a foundation governor at St Mary’s prior to the Federation and have now been a Governor in the Federation for the past 3 years.  I am also a parent Governor at UVHS 

Hobbies and interests: I enjoy cooking, travelling, my 5 children and 2 dogs.  I am trying to get better at Orienteering – a sport my children all love!  

Links to the school/area:  My children all went to St Mary’s  - a total of 35 children years! I have lived near Ulverston since we moved here in 1996 and worked in Barrow all of that time. 

Why did you become a governor?   

I come from a family of teachers and head-teachers so passion about education seems to be in my genes. I want young people to be ambitious for themselves; to have opportunities and aspirations and to be confident that they can find a place for themselves in a very difficult and fast-changing world.  Our education system, primary and secondary, has a vital role in that development and I love playing a very tiny part, trying to make sure it is as good as it can be. 

Name: Canon Paul Embery


Category of governor: Foundation


Term of office: Four years


Work: Parish Priest


Governance experience: I have served as a school governor before; also I have been a trustee in several charities, including the Diocese of Lancaster.


Hobbies and interests: Experiencing different cultures, current affairs, limited D.I.Y.


Links to the school/area: I am the Catholic priest who serves the local community


Why did you become a governor? The education and formation of young people is a very important priority in the Church.


Name: Hazel Ord

Category of governor: Foundation Governor

Term of office: 09/11/2018 – 01/11/2022

Work: Retired (School Science Technician)

Governance experience: Support Staff Governor Parkview School Barrow

1997 - 2006

Hobbies and interests: Singing. Playing the harp. Folk music and Dance. Crafts (sewing, knitting)

Links to the school/area: I have lived in the area for 45years. I have 4 children all of whom attended St Mary’s Catholic Primary 1981 – 1998 during that time I was an active member of the PTA. I became a Catechist for First Holy Communion working with parents and guardians 1994 – 2011. Since 2006 some of my grandchildren have attended St Mary’s with one of them currently in year 5.

Why did you become a governor?  I became a governor to continue my connection with the school so that I can help to maintain the excellent ethos the school has always had. I am grateful for the moral grounding that the school has given to my children and my grandchildren and want to help to provide that for others

Name: Ian Patterson


Category of governor: Foundation Governor


Term of office: Until 2020


Work: Retired Project Director. Previously worked for GSK


Governance experience: 30+ years


Hobbies and interests: History, Literature, Film, Model Making and Painting


Links to the school/area: Came to Dalton in 1981 to work at GSK. All three of my children attended Our Lady’s. I have also been a governor at St Bernard’s.

Why did you become a governor? My wife and parents were all teachers so I have been involved in education all my life as pupil, helper, volunteer so governor seemed a logical step to be involved further in my children’s education.

Name: Mary Page

Category of governor: Foundation

Term of office: four years

Work: retired

Governance experience:

Was a governor of my children’s primary school in Bolton during the 1990s.

Was associated to the governing body when I was a deputy head teacher in Preston.

Was a governor of St Bernard’s Catholic High School where I was headteacher.

Worked for the Cumbria Learning Improvement Service where I advised and supported governing bodies across the West of the county.


Hobbies and interests:

Walking, reading, knitting, singing and more recently, cycling, learning to paint and looking after my two grandchildren.

Links to the school/area:

I live in Baycliff and attend St Mary’s Church in Ulverston.

I was head teacher at St Bernard’s Catholic High School and have taught in Catholic schools for 20+ years.


Why did you become a governor? To support Catholic education in the area.  

Name: Matthew Ratcliffe


Category of governor: LA Governor


Term of office: Appointed 2018


Work: Company Secretary and Legal Counsel (Solicitor), Carr’s Group plc


Governance experience: Company Secretary, Corporate Governance professional


Hobbies and interests:

Spending time with my family, mountain biking, music


Links to the school/area:

I have lived in Ulverston since 2009 and have two children currently attending St. Mary’s


Why did you become a governor?

As a parent and local resident, I have a vested interest in the success of our schools in developing the skills of our young children and the roles that they continue to play in our community.

Name: Millie Scott

Category of governor: Parent Governor

Term of office: November 2015 – November 2019

Work: Employment

  •   Retired teacher – taught German & French in secondary schools in Norwich, Ulverston, Barrow-in-Furness, Millom
  •   Assistant Headteacher at Millom School - responsible for student support and pastoral team 
  •   Before retiring spent 5 years as part of the team at Barrow Excellence Cluster Partnership (BECP), working with primary and secondary schools to support staff development and promote student inclusion.  Delivered training for staff, worked alongside staff to deliver programmes for students.
  • Piloted the first multi-agency support team in the area


Governance experience: 

  •   Local Authority governor at Croftlands Infant School back in the 80’s 
  •   Co-opted senior leadership governor at Millom School 2000 - 2005


Hobbies and interests:

  •   Supporting family, including children, older relatives and grandchildren
  •   Interior design and property development
  •   Reading (when I get the chance!!)
  •   Helping with homework
  •   Socialising 
  •   Walking


Links to the school/area:

  •   Grew up on Walney, large extended family in Barrow and South Lakes 
  •   Lived in Ulverston area for over 30 years
  •   Children attended St Mary’s 
  •   Grandson currently in Year 6 at St Mary’s
  •   Member of St Mary’s RC Church
  •   Vice Chair of the PTA

Why did you become a governor?

  •   Passionate about education and inclusion
  •   Keen to support school to build on its success and share ideas
  •   To support staff and be a critical friend
  •   To bring a parent’s view to discussions on policy and progress

Name:    Nicola Rielly

Category of governorEx officio a Staff Governor

Term of office:  Linked to my contract as Executive Headteacher

Work:     Executive Headteacher

Governance experience:  

I have 20 years’ experience as a Staff Governor and Headteacher. 


Hobbies and interests:

My little granddaughter Eva Sienna is my new hobby and interest!  I love my garden and spend my hours during the weekends and holidays working in the garden and tending to my vegetable plot.  Knitting, sewing, quilting and crocheting are my go to mindfulness activities. I find being creative a real joy and share this hobby with many of my friends. 

Links to the school/area:

As Executive Headteacher I am responsible for the day to day management of our Federation and accountable for every element of teaching and learning.


Why did you become a governor?

As Executive Headteacher the ex officio automatically provides the opportunity to be a Staff Governor.  

Name: Rosemary Hocking.

Category of governor: Foundation Governor.

Term of office: January 2019 – January 2023.

Work: RE lead.


Governance experience: I have been a member of the Governing Body for 5 years.

Hobbies and interests: Craft & reading.

Links to the school/area: Both my children attended Our Lady’s School and my two grandchildren attended St. Mary’s.

Why did you become a governor? I was asked by the Assistant Headteacher as I wanted to be involved in supporting the running of the schools. 

Name: Laura Byrne


Category of Governor: Staff Governor


Term of office: October 2017 for 4 years.


Work: St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.


Governance experience: 2 years as Staff Governor and 1 year on sub- committee (Staffing and Curriculum). 


Hobbies and interests: Spending quality family time, camping, live music, theatre, dance, swimming (including wild swimming) and education. 


Links to the school/area: I have 2 children that attend St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. I have taught at the school since September 2018.


Why did you become a Governor? I became a Governor when I took on the role as Deputy Head. I wanted to gain further insight into the governance of the school and Federation. 

Name: Rachel Jewell

Role: Clerk to Governors.


I have been working as Clerk for the Federation for two years. I also work as Clerk for other Catholic Primary schools in the Furness area including Sacred Heart, Holy Family, St. Columba’s and St. Pius X.

My role is to provide procedural, legislative, administrative and organisational support to the Governing Body to ensure that they are meeting their statutory duties and working in accordance with legal frameworks.

My previous work experience includes sales and sales management with local and regional newspapers including Cumbria Newspapers and the Manchester Evening News. 


Hobbies and interests:

I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, cinema and music. 


Links to the school/area:

I have lived in Ulverston most of my life and have two children who currently attend St. Mary’s school.