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Full Governing Body

Tony Bishop, Executive Principal

Tony has worked in schools for over 25 years. He started his career as a teacher of Science and worked in middle and senior management in a range of schools before becoming Headteacher of a Catholic secondary school in South Yorkshire. His aim is to ensure that all students have access to an outstanding curriculum in the tradition of the Catholic Church and in an environment that fully supports their emotional and social needs.

Christopher Donnellan QC, Chair of Governors

Christopher is a Barrister who practices mainly in Criminal Law. He became a Governor of St Thomas More over 20 years ago, and has continued as a Governor and Director as the Bedford Catholic Schools came together as the Federation of Bedford Catholic Schools and converted to St Francis of Assisi Academies Trust in 2013.  “I am a Governor because I believe that a good education is essential for every child. Through the best education that we can provide in our schools we give to each and every child the opportunity to achieve of their best and to have aspiration for their future."

Mary Morris, Vice-Chair of Governors

Mary is a retired Senior Education Officer who has always had an interest in education and her children's schooling.  As a Governor she feels more able to contribute to the education experience of all the students attending Catholic Schools within Bedford. Mary enjoys being able to contribute to the strategic direction and on-going progress of all the Bedford Catholic Schools making a difference by improving the life chances of all our students. 

Mary O'Sullivan, Foundation Director

Mary is a retired Head Teacher with 38 years teaching experience. As a lifelong educator she feels as a governor she is able to make a positive contribution to shape the life chances of children and young people. Mary has a particular interest in safeguarding and inclusion.

Ilona Bond, Foundation Director

Up until her retirement in 2015 Ilona was Deputy Head at St Thomas More School having been a teacher for 39 years. She has always been passionate about education and the importance of empowering young people to be aspirational in life and aim for ‘the higher gifts’. Ilona believes that education should offer a breath and variety of learning experiences but must also develop high standards and values.


Cathy Piotrowski MLPI MBA Foundation Director St John Rigby ASIG Chair & Performance Committee Chair

Cathy is Co-Director of a consultancy supporting ICT in schools. Cathy values having the opportunity to support, challenge and influence the leadership of our schools so that our focus remains firmly on sustaining an excellent educational experience for all our students in the Trust. Cathy enjoys seeing the positive outcomes and successes in the schools that are the result of effective governor deliberations and decision making. She looks forward to continuing to support and challenge the schools as a 'critical friend'.

Julia Brady, Foundation Director

Julia is a qualified teacher and linguist, who has worked in education and training for the past 16 years in a range of management positions within the Learning and Skills Council and currently the Skills Funding Agency. Julia co-founded two local education charities supporting migrant communities. She strongly believes that a good education enables young people to maximise their potential and is key to social mobility. Julia is mum to three boys,  two attend Bedford Catholic Schools and the third is at university.

Ann Knought, MBE Foundation Director

Ann works for Central Bedfordshire Council as a Contracts Manager within the strategic Commissioning Team, measuring performance and the quality of care within Adult social care. She previously worked in the private sector setting up a nursing and social care staff agency supporting the local community.  Ann was awarded her MBE while serving in the Armed Forces. Ann seeks opportunities to improve student experience both in and out of the classroom and communicating best practice across the Trust. Her children are being educated at St John Rigby and St Thomas More.   

Fr Malcolm Bull, Foundation Governor, Catholic Life and Performance Committee

Fr. Malcolm Bull is currently the only Priest Director on the Academy Trust Board. Fr. Malcolm Bull is an ex-Anglican married priest and was re-ordained to the Catholic Priesthood in 2002. He is the Parish Priest at Our Lady Help of Christians in Olney, Priest Administrator at St Bede's, Newport Pagnall and Catholic Chaplain to Bedford General Hospital. 

Michele McGettigan, Interim Head Teacher of St John Rigby Primary School

Michele joined St John Rigby Primary in 2013 as a year 5 teacher. She joined the Leadership Team as Assistant Head in 2017 and took over as Interim Head Teacher in June 2018. 

Lisa Sumpter, Head of St Joseph's & St Gregory's Primary School

Lisa has been Headteacher at St Joseph’s since January 2011 having moved from St Gregory’s where she was Assistant Headteacher for several years. ‘Our aim is to give every child coming through our doors at St Joseph’s an education they enjoy, which prepares them for academic success and happy, fulfilling lives, now and in the future’. 

Susanne Combe, Head of Inspirit Teaching School

Susanne has been working at St Thomas More for 16 years. Susanne, who is an Assistant Head Teacher of the school, took over the leadership of the Teaching School in May 2015. 'This is a school based on collaboration where we aim to achieve the very best for each pupil and open as many doors, post compulsory education, as we can for them.'

Andrew Waterhouse, Trust Secretary

Andrew comes from a background in professional education and operations management. He provides support for the governing body in achieving its strategic aims and acts as company secretary and clerk to the governors.

Ira Ottley, Foundation Director

Ira volunteers his time because he passionately believes every child who wants the best for themselves in the future, should be able to attend any of our catholic schools in Bedford, irrespective of background, ethnicity or faith.  “We want our students to take their place in our society as future leaders and responsible representatives of our inclusive community.

Debra Burton, Governor

Debra has been a governor for the Catholic Schools for a number of years and has an interest in achievement for all pupils.






Christopher Donnellan, Chair of Directors & Strategy Committee Chair


Mary Morris, Vice Chair of Directors, St Joseph's & St Gregory's ASIG Chair


Anthony Bishop, Executive Principal


Cathy Piotrowski MLPI MBA, St John Rigby ASIG Chair & Performance Committee Chair

CBICT Data Consultancy and Governor of Kings Oak Primary. Non Executive Director of BEST Academies Trust

Mary O’Sullivan, St Thomas More ASIG Chair & Catholic Life Chair


Ira Ottley, Foundation Director


Father Malcolm Bull, Foundation Director


Julia Brady, Foundation Director


Ann C Knought MBE, Foundation Director


Debra Burton, Parent Member


Ilona Bond, Foundation Director

Non Executive Director of BEST Academies Trust.

Alison Wilshaw, Head Teacher, St Thomas More Catholic Teaching School


Lisa Sumpter, Head Teacher, St Joseph’s & St Gregory’s Primary School


Michele McGettigan, Interim Head Teacher, St John Rigby Catholic Primary School


Susanne Combe, Head of STM Teaching School


Meeting attendance records for 2016-17 are attached below. 

The Bedford Catholic Schools are situated within the Diocese of Northampton. Our Directors (Governors) are appointed on behalf of the Bishop by the Duns Scotus Trust. The members of the Duns Scotus Trust are:

  • Timothy Redding
  • Maxine Clewlow
  • Collette Curtis
  • John Hugh Davies
  • Monsignor Kevin McGinnell
  • John Rogers
  • Peter Teague

For further information, please visit the NORES website