New Chair of Governors – Mrs Sam Nicol


It is with great pleasure that I am taking on the role of Chair of Governors here at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy.  This is a wonderful opportunity to work with Mrs Lucas, the Headteacher, whose professional approach and passion for providing excellent education to the pupils, I have found to be inspirational.  My Father believed passionately in education and how important it was to your future life success and it is a principle I have held dear to this day.  I am a great believer in life long learning.

Until this summer, I have spent the last 25 years in the NHS. During the last 13 years I have had the privilege to hold a number of director roles, running busy and large medical departments and strategic roles in a mental health trust and in a number of organisations responsible for commissioning health services.

In the last decade I have specialised in leading large scale change programmes, across complex geographies and organisations, dealing with system-wide and systemic challenges to bring about practical solutions through collaboration in the public sector.

The education sector too is a highly political environment and faces the same sorts of financial and social challenges that the NHS does. I understand that in the last year BSCA has experienced a period of significant change. 

Change is all about how successful the transition from one state to a new one is handled.  In my short time with BSCA I can see evidence of significant benefits of change, but it is important to recognise that to have new beginnings there have to be endings and the gap between the two can be a painful experience for some people.  I hope I will be sensitive to the different responses the people of BSCA may be experiencing.

A recent change in the direction of my career has enabled me to have time to commit to being a governor at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy.  I am really excited at being part of a leadership team taking BSCA on the next stage of its journey.  I am sure that with Mrs Lucas as Headteacher, the commitment of the staff and the pupils’ dedication, success is guaranteed.

As part of the Board of Governors I understand we have an important role to play in the progress of the Academy and in working as a team, alongside the Head and her team, to achieve the highest standards possible.  The latest Headteacher’s report has just emphasised the need for all the governors to support and uphold the driving up of standards and expectations for the benefit of our students.

The next five terms are a critical time period in implementing the BSCA improvement plan, and the Governing Board has a strategic leadership responsibility to ensure the delivery of the plan.  I expect us to do this through offering supportive challenge, to ensure the best solutions are available, by volunteering our significant range of skills and experience and by ensuring we are role modelling the changes that we would expect to see.

To this end I have ensured that the Board has its own development plan in place in the next few months, and that we, as governors, have committed to developing the relationships across the Academy and the MAT, and availed ourselves of the training to ensure that we can enact our responsibilities as governors and as the Governing Board to the highest possible standards.

I have made a personal commitment to Mrs Lucas and the Academy to offer mentorship and support as appropriate and to getting to develop connections across the Academy because it is important to cultivate trust and the type of relationships that allow for robust challenge and even disagreement, but which can work effectively to find a sliver of common ground on which to move forward.

To this end I have already had the privilege to attend the early years’ nativity.  It was really lovely, and a testament to the hard work of the staff, but also the connections between the school and the parents. 

I look forward to getting to know as many members of the BSCA community as possible, gaining your confidence and working collaboratively over the coming months and years.