The Governing Board

Members of the Governing Board

Mrs Helen Giblett

Ex. Officio Governor 4.09.2014 - current

Helen grew up in the west of Ireland and is one of six siblings. Having worked in London for 12 years as a teacher and deputy headteacher, she moved to Cornwall in 2001. Prior to taking up the headship of Archbishop Benson Primary School in 2014, Helen had the privilege of being the headteacher of two other schools in Cornwall. After more than fifteen years of headship, she still remains enthused and excited about how schools can make a real difference to the life opportunities of children. She loves Truro and the special place that Archbishop Benson holds within the local community.

When away from work, Helen enjoys the chance to relax and spend time with her husband and daughter. A perfect day would involve some sight-seeing, a nice walk, a beach BBQ (weather permitting!) and the chance to read a good book.

Fr Christopher Epps

Ex. Officio Governor 13.09.2015

Father Chris spent 23 years in the City working as an International Reinsurance Broker placing business in Lloyd’s and international reinsurance markets. That experience has stood Father Chris in good stead in his role as Parish Priest. Father Chris has been Vicar of St. Paul & St. John and St. George, Truro since 2003 and served as a governor of CofE schools as Chairman or Vice Chairman since 1995.

Mrs Karen Standen

Vice Chair Co-opted governor from 25.11.2016 - 24.11.2020

Karen grew up in Northern Ireland and continued her education at Aston University in Birmingham where she graduated with a first class BSc honours degree in Optometry. Karen worked as an Optometrist in York and London before moving to Cornwall in 2000 to set up an Independent Opticians business with her husband in Truro. They thoroughly enjoy being part of the local community.
Karen and her husband have 2 boys who are currently 12 and 9. Their eldest son had a wonderful primary education at Archbishop Benson school before moving up to Penair in 2017. Their youngest is still at Archbishop Benson and enjoys all that the school offers.
Karen has been involved with FABB for many years before having the privilege to be co-opted as a member of the Governing Board in 2016. Karen is keen to ensure that the Governors, Headteacher and Staff all work together to give all the children the best opportunity for success.
Karen loves to travel with my family and tries hard to be a good cook!

Mrs Jo Matthews

Non Teaching Staff Governor 20.03.2015 - 19.03.2019

Having been a member of staff at Archbishop Benson for 15 years, Jo was elected onto the Governing Board to represent the non-teaching staff within the school.
As an HLTA, Jo has experience of all year groups and also a real passion for the happiness, progress and all round development of our children.

Mrs Amanda Colwill

Parent Governor 12.05.2017 - 11.05.2021

Amanda is a parent governor with two children at the school. Whilst new to the governing board, she has been a class representative for FABB for the past 5 years.
When she isn’t at work she is an assistant Headteacher at a large primary school in Cornwall, Amanda likes to relax by baking, reading and spending time with her family (preferably on a beach!).

Melanie Grose

Appointed Governor 13.11.2017

Mel was born in Truro and attended ABB (both infants and juniors). She is an Appointed Governor who joined the panel in Autumn 2017 and also has 2 daughters with the school. Mel is also a Class Representative and member of FABB.
Mel’s qualified as a solicitor in London and worked in the City until 2005 when she returned to Cornwall and is now a Partner at Coodes Solicitors. Any free time is spent with her husband and daughters.

Sarah Lillicrap

Appointed Governor 13.11.2017

Sarah Lillicrap – Sarah is a Members Appointed Governor and joined the panel in 2017. Sarah has lived in Cornwall for most of her life and is married with two daughters. A former journalist, Sarah worked for the West Briton and Pirate FM before joining ITV where she served as the Cornwall Reporter for more than a decade.
She is now Director of Marketing and Business Development for an independent girls’ school in Truro handling communications, admissions, events and development amongst others.
When not ferrying her children between gym classes and untold birthday parties, Sarah enjoys cooking, reading and lying in the sun.

Chair of the Governing Board:

Andrew Gendall

Vice Chair of the Governing Board:

Mandy Hoare

Designated Safeguarding Governor:

Mandy Hoare

Designated Health and Safety Governor:


Designated SEND Governor:

Mandy Hoare


Mr Andrew Gendall

Chair of Governors 01.08.2017 - 19.11.2019 / Appointed Governor 20.11.2015 - 31.07.2017

Andrew is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant with over 25 years’ experience in local government. He currently provides financial management support to the Adult Social Services Directorate of Cornwall Council.
Andrew has been an Appointed Governor at Archbishop Benson since 2011, when he was appointed Chair of Finance (subsequently Chair of Resources). He was elected as the Chair of Governors in September 2017.
Andrew is married to Marie; both of their children attended Archbishop Benson – their younger daughter moved up to Penair School in the autumn of 2017. Andrew is a keen supporter of Archbishop Benson’s values and ethos; his aim as a governor is to support the staff in giving the children the very best opportunities and experiences in their learning journey.
Away from work and school life, Andrew is a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church, a Street Pastor, and enjoys performing in stage musicals and plays.

Mrs Mandy Hoare

Vice Chair 09.2017 - 02.2020 / Appointed Governor 02.2016 to 08.2017

Mandy was born and has lived in Truro all her life. She went to St.Paul's School (Archbishop Benson's predecessor) and the County Girls Grammar School in Truro (now Sainburys).

Mandy is a local business person. She currently owns and runs with her sons the popular Zafiros -Bar/Restaurant - and the Office Nightclub.

All of Mandy's close family have been to the school, her grandson is at the school at the moment.

Mandy is a Members appointed Governor, she is currently the Governing Board’s Special Educational Needs and Disability Governor. She sits on the Governing Board's Personnel, Pay & Pastoral Committee and on the Governing Board's Focus Group for School Improvement Data.

Mandy is a trustee of LARF Cornwall a charity set up in memory of her daughter to help support teenagers and adults undergoing cancer and leukaemia treatment. The charity has raised over £140,000 to date for more details go to

In what spare time she has Mandy likes to escape to the sunshine in Spain, despite her love of Cornwall.

Mrs Carolyn Power

Appointed Governor 20.11.2015 - 19.11.2019

I have been a primary teacher for 23 years and have taught in a variety of schools across the country and have been Deputy Head here at Archbishop Benson for 11 years. I really enjoy the leadership aspects of my role working with colleagues and parents, however I still very much see myself as a class teacher as I love teaching, building relationships with the children and the thrill of seeing a child succeed and enjoy learning.
I have also been a governor for 11 years through my leadership role at Archbishop Benson. My governor experience has included working with the governing body and with committees on Curriculum & Assessment, Finance and Communication & Engagement.
To relax, I enjoy exploring and camping in our beautiful county with my family. I’m also partial to a potter in the garden.

Mr Phil Orwin

Appointed Governor 23.11.17 - 22.11.21

Phil lives in Truro, with his wife and two children, but is originally from Derbyshire.
Phil is a director in his own health consulting business, and specialises in operational and financial turnaround for healthcare organisations throughout the UK.
Phil originally read History at London University (BA Hons) and also holds a MSc in management.
In his spare time Phil also Chairs UniTED Social Ventures, a charity which supports the development of social business ventures in Uganda.

Mr Miles Topham

Appointed 01.10.18

Miles grew up in South Yorkshire moving to Cornwall in his late twenties in 1995.
Miles is a serving police officer in Cornwall. Over the last 21 years he worked in various departments and currently is responsible for partnership working to address the communities strategic priorities. Miles is passionate about early intervention and prevention and is involved in key areas of work around safeguarding children.
Miles is married with two grown up daughters and lives in Truro.

Mr David Galler

Associate Member (by invitation)

Having taught for many years in west Cornwall first, David joined Archbishop Benson in 2011. Since then he has taught across a number of year groups and splits his time between his class teacher and school management responsibilities. In recent years, he has taken a leading role in developing literacy across the school and supporting staff and governors with the national changes to assessment policy.

Mr Mike Williams

Clerk to the Governors

Mrs Debbie Bullen

School Business Manager (by invitation)

How we work

Following a skills-audit process, the Full Governing Board took the decision to restructure and change its way of working to reflect a largely committee–free structure of Governance.

Whilst retaining those committees and panels required by statutory regulation, the Governors now work through a series of Focus Groups .Single or pairs of Governors have been allocated to specialist areas reflecting their own interests and skills. We hope that over time this allows the opportunity to gain a more detailed understanding of their appointed areas of concern. It is hoped that in this way the Governing Board will be able to fulfil its function as ‘critical friend’ to the School Leadership Team, and also be better able to think strategically on behalf of the whole school community. The Focus Governors work closely with the designated School Lead in their Group, communicating, questioning and supporting both through face to face meetings and by digital methods.

Key questions are identified for the Focus Group each half-termly Full Board Meeting and then feedback and report forms are completed by the Lead Governor in the Group.

This then informs the full governing body, but also provides the opportunity for further questioning and consideration.

The details of Focus Groups are as follows:

Focus Group

Lead Governors

School Lead

Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare


Helen Giblett

Outcomes for Pupils

Amanda Colwill

David Galler

Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

Phil Orwin

Helen Giblett
David Galler
Carolyn Power

School Life and well-being

Jo Matthews

Helen Giblett, DSL
Jo Williams & Becky Morris, SENCOs
James Kitto, Pupil Voice
Becky Williams & Jade Palmer, PSHE

Stakeholder Engagement


Carolyn Power

RE, Worship and SMSC

Karen Standen

James Kitto


Andrew Gendall
Mandy Hoare

Helen Giblett
Debbie Bullen


Standing Committees

Pay, Personnel and Pastoral

Andrew Gendall
Mandy Hoare
Amanda Colwill
Karen Standen
Helen Giblett


Fr. Chris Epps


Fr. Chris Epps
Helen Giblett

Audit Committee

Mandy Hoare

T: 01872 273185

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