Governors' Blog....



Hi, my name’s Helen and I wanted to introduce myself to you as the new Chair of Governors at Christ Church Pennington CE Primary School. My partner and I live in Leigh and worship at Christ Church Pennington. We have 3 daughters between us, my adopted daughter who is 12 and his twin daughters who are 9. I work in Children’s Services at another Greater Manchester local authority and my partner is a software developer. I have previously been a governor at a special school in Wigan prior to becoming a governor here at Christ Church about 18 months ago.

It’s a really exciting time for the school and it’s a real privilege to be the Chair of Governors here. As Mrs Hill and myself are both new to our roles we are learning together and have lots of ideas to help make Christ Church an even better place for your children to learn, and to follow on from the brilliant work that that was done by Mrs Rigby, the previous Headteacher, and Mrs Fisher, the previous Chair of Governors. .

During the recent Ofsted inspection we retained our ‘good’ status as a school, but Ofsted did pick up on a couple of things that needed a little improvement and so they have told us they will be back in about 12-18 months to see how we are doing. This is a really exciting opportunity for us to provide new opportunities and experiences for your children; and to develop the incredible staff team we have here. It won’t be an easy year and everyone will be working really hard, but when Ofsted come back we want them to see what a great school Christ Church Pennington CE Primary School is.

I came to school last Monday for a meeting with Mrs Hill and caught the end of assembly where the children were all wearing odd socks for anti-bullying week. It was great to see them all so enthusiastic to be a part of the school community and enjoying standing together to fight against bullying.

Thank you all for the support to the school that you give as parents we really do appreciate it.

Helen Nicolle

Chair of Governors


On Tuesday 5th June, I had the pleasure of going into school to watch the two assemblies led by the five young people from the Message Trust.

The first assembly was for the older children and after introducing themselves the Message people asked the pupils’ questions about love, who they loved and about Gods love for them.  They then taught everyone a song with actions ‘Our God is a great big God’. Some of the children knew the song as it is one that we sing at Church, but soon everyone was joining in with the words and actions.

Next it was the turn of the younger children and in their assembly they were given paper on which they drew around their hands.  It was explained to them that everyone’s fingerprints are different and no matter what differences we all have, that God loves us all the same. Then we all made a big circle, children, staff, visitors (including myself) to play a game of Simon says which taught the children that they should always listen carefully.

I left then, but the group from the Message Trust spent the rest of the day with the children and staff, going into the classrooms, and having lunch with everyone.

It was a lovely experience having the five young people in school and one which I’m sure that the children enjoyed, and I hope that the time that they spent at Lowton High School was also a great experience for the students and staff at the school.

Mrs Mavis McLean

Foundation Governor


March 2018 visit to Christ Church Pennington

As Chair of Governors I was on a routine visit to school to check the Child Protection procedures and the content of the website. This is to ensure they both fulfilled the statutory requirements demanded by Government. This business done with, my eyes were drawn to the displays around school – I went to look further.

As Governors we have been informed about the school’s focus on reading in this academic year. Indeed Mrs Percy and Mrs Monaghan have already made a presentation to The Governing Body about how everyone in school has worked hard to make this a priority.

On my walk around school I saw some beautiful displays including one called, “ 100 books to read before you leave Christ Church, “ and another very funny one, “ When your teachers were young,” now those photographs were hilarious – I never knew Mr Hudson could be so sweet! The book choices were great as well.

What were particularly interesting were the recent Book in a Box entries – so numerous I’m told that the hall space was completely taken over by them – well done children and parents. They were truly amazing.

I know that our school, like others, has also celebrated World Book Day – regardless of the extremely low temperatures experienced on that day.

I noticed that all reading materials in school are very well cared for and stored appropriately so that the children can have easy access to them. It is a real credit to school that they maintain the quality of these resources so that they will be attractive to children. I am confident that our children will become Life Long Readers as a result of this investment.

If you have chance please go and have a look – you know you will always be welcome.

Gill Fisher

Chair of Governors


Last evening, 28 March 2017, I was in school attending a parents and carers “Calculation” event.  The idea was to bring us adults up to speed with the way that maths is taught in the new curriculum.

The first thing to say is a huge thank you to the large number of staff (and pupils) who gave up their time to give us, hands on, demonstrations of how it is done. Their efforts were rewarded by a magnificent turnout of grownups who packed the hall.

It’s not usually a good idea to single individuals out but in this case and exception is OK.  Because of a technical hitch two KS1 children had to demonstrate how they use physical aids to do sums and at the same time describe it to a hall full of parents and careers.  They were exceptional and were given a huge round of applause.

After a short introductory presentation we all dispersed to classrooms.  Sue and I went to Y5 where 4 or 5 children were showing (very capably) how they do addition and subtraction.  We learned what a “placeholder “is and all about “exchanging”.  I came away with a much better understanding.

The atmosphere in school was comfortable and friendly and the children of all ages displayed the customary air of polite Christ Church confidence.

Well done everyone!


Mr Gareth Cheesman

Associate Member of the Governing Body


As Chair of Governors I have been privileged to take part in the life of our school. It is so pleasing to see the strong links which exist between the school and church.

Hellos and Goodbyes :

Last year we had to say our goodbyes to Rev Tony Butterworth, who had been a very loyal and hardworking member of the Governing Body for many years. We also wished Mrs Doyle a happy retirement after teaching here for over 32 years. Her love of the job shone through in all that she did.

In November we of course welcomed our new vicar Rev Alan Saunders and Mavis McLean, Foundation governor, who now both sit on the Governing Body. We are now saying a very fond goodbye to Rev Lloyd Lee, who has been curate for several years, and also been a member of The Governing Body. His worship times in school were described as, “inspirational,” – our loss is Vancouver’s gain.

Christ Church has been oversubscribed for several years – this is no surprise to the Governors as we acknowledge the quality of education offered to its learners, regardless of their ability or status. The school’s profile is classed as 1A by the Local Authority – the highest category which can be reached. The school’s results are consistently above the local and national average – well done to ALL who work so hard to have achieved this!

Last year the school focused on Mathematics teaching. Currently it is part way through its,” Year of Reading.” There have been many exciting activities designed to embed a love of reading in every child. There are so many things going on in school it would be too much to list them all but I would pick out just a few – The Community Carol Service and lantern parade, The wonderful Nativity we watched, the taking part in Young Voices at the Manchester Arena, the numerous trips and outings including residentials to Hinning House and Robinwood and many sporting events throughout the year. Some of you may remember an appearance on National Television as an ex pupil had developed an Internet Safety App – so important in these days of increasing social media.

As well as the school supporting different charities, The Friends of the School always support the school both in terms of social and fundraising events – school is very grateful for this!

We, as Governors, are justifiably proud of Christ Church and will continue to serve it in whatever way we can.

Gill Fisher

Chair of Governors


Dear Mrs Rigby and all the staff and children at Christ Church.  

A huge thank you to you all for the refreshments provided before my last Governor's meeting last week and the FABULOUS framed photograph of all the children which was taken in our church.

It has been a privilege both as a parent and a governor to witness the commitment and dedication of all the staff and pupils in such a fantastic school.

I wish you all the best for the future

Best Wishes

Margaret Atkinson

Retiring Deputy Chair


On Wednesday 24th February 2016 all members of the Governing Body attended a full and interesting day in school. Marguerite Murphy from our LLG consortia spoke to us about the structure of the most recent OFSTED framework and its implications and then reminded us what to look for when undertaking a learning walk around school.

The remainder of the morning we walked around school and went into all classes. This must have been very daunting for the staff, but they certainly welcomed us warmly.  We were able to see the children engaged in their learning and although very busy some of them did have a chat with us.

A more informal chat took place as we enjoyed lunch with the children- how school dinners have changed - select your own on screen and visit the salad bar!!

After lunch we discussed our findings from the walk around school. The day concluded with worship led by Rev Butterworth.  A busy, tiring but very fulfilling day. Thank you to all in school for making it worthwhile.

Mrs Gill Fisher

Chair of Governors


Myself and Jeanette Hayden attended the annual Governors' Conference entitled 'Closing the Gaps-ensuring the best for all our pupils' on Saturday 7th March 2015 at Leigh Sports Village.
A significant number of governors attended from approximately the 1750 governors that we have in our borough. A welcome to the conference was made by Cllr Joanne Platt (Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People's Services). The main speaker was Allen Baynes who is a freelance education consultant and his presentation was thoroughly entertaining. Our musical interlude was provided by The Glee Club from Lowton CE High School. This was followed by a speech by the Interim Director of Wigan Children's Services-James Winterbottom who outlined the proposal of a 'Deal for Children and Young People' to narrowing the gap by taking a different approach to how children's services will hopefully operate in our borough in the future. Both John Banks (Headteacher at Westleigh High School) and Rachael Coultard (Headteacher at St George's Atherton) gave presentations of good practice in schools in relation to the effective use of the Pupil Premium to raise attainment. The conference was then closed by Adrian Hardy (Chair of the Wigan Governors Forum).
Once again an enjoyable conference enabling us to meet with other governors in the Wigan borough.


Mrs Margaret Atkinson

Deputy Chair


One of the great joys of being a school governor is the opportunity to share some of the wonderful activities that children, from our school, experience.

On 4th March 2015 the school choir took part in Young Voices, a concert in which our pupils performed as part of a 7000 strong (yes seven thousand) ensemble choir involving perhaps 200 schools. It filled half of the seats in the venue.

Just to hear the chatter of that many children in the Manchester Arena before the start was extraordinary but when they started to sing I defy anyone not to have a lump in their throat. It was beautiful, joyful and emotional and the children’s raw energy just filled the vast space to bursting point.

The whole thing was a tribute to the dedication of all children and teachers involved but I’m almost sure I could hear the Christ Church school choir singing the best of all.

I’m sure every child will remember the day they sang in a choir of 7000 children.


Mr Gareth Cheesman

Associate Member of the Governing Body


Friday 13 June was in no way unlucky for me, nor three fellow “Dragons”.

On behalf of the Friends of School we spent an invigorating morning assessing pitches made by teams from each class and deciding whether Friends should invest in their proposed business venture.   We considered whether the proposal would add to the pleasure of visitors to the Summer Fayre and if it would add to the funds available for Friends to spend on behalf of pupils.

The other Dragons were, Mark Willis the proprietor of World of Wicker, Kathleen Howarth, better known as Kathleen Atherton of the eponymous Leigh dance school and Sue Cheesman (Friends Treasurer) who kindly stood in at short notice to cover for a Dragon absent because of illness.

Dragons were unanimous in their praise for each of the class presentations, all of which gained the investment they sought and one got extra funding to help with an issue identified in discussion with Dragons. The professionalism and confidence of the teams was of huge credit to the individuals and the school.

Dragons’ Den is an established part of the school year and provides direct experience of planning developing and launching a business. It requires pupils to bring to bear all the skills that any business start-up requires and they do so with great energy and skill. It is wonderful experience and very competitive.

Mr Gareth Cheesman

Associate Member of the Governing Body


I must apologise for those of you who have been 'watching this space' for my follow up blog on my visit to the 'After School Blogging Club' but I have been busy recently and I haven't even been 'blogging'!!!!

So one Friday after achool Mrs Rigby took me to meet Mr Hudson and his fellow bloggers, there were aproximately eight to ten children in the club that afternoon.  After Mr Hudson gave me a brief overview of what exactly 'blogging' was I sat with the children who were paired up together.  The object of that afternoon's club was to blog about what they had planned to do that particular weekend.  Lots of sport and shopping was involved and some children even if nothing was planned had some ingenious ideas about what they would like to do.  All the children were very enthusiastic, willing to talk and show me their blog and how it could be shared with their friends.

Overall an excellent way for the children involved to develop and engage their literacy skills in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  Thank you Mr Hudson and his 'bloggers' for letting me share this time with you.

Mrs Margaret Atkinson

Vice Chair


On 8th March 2014 Mrs Hayden, Mrs Rigby and myself attended the Governors' Conference 2014 at Leigh Sports Village along with approximately 140 other governors from across the Wigan borough. The conference provides governing bodies with information and fresh ideas to improve school performance, not just on an educational level but on a practical one as well. As usual the conference was very informative and gave us plenty to think about. One item which we wanted to consider was a 'Governors' Blog' to inform some of the items and issues that our School Governing Body encounters to parents and carers. As I personally have never 'blogged' in my life, I thought I would turn to the experts and visit the children who stay behind on a Friday in our very own blogging club. So as they say 'watch this space'.


Mrs Margaret Atkinson

Vice Chair