The Board of Governors at St Columba’s School determines the overall direction and development of the School through good governance and clear strategic planning, in order to ensure that present and future pupils receive a high quality of education. We work with the Rector in setting and reviewing the vision, policies, plans and procedures that are required for this to happen.
The Board of Governors is responsible for the appointment of the Rector and other senior staff, and for monitoring their work and activities. The Board also controls the School’s finances, and ensures that it complies with the legal and regulatory framework which applies to independent schools. As St Columba’s School is a registered charity, we are required to ensure that we operate in accordance with the requirements of OSCR (the Scottish Charities Regulator). Charitable status also means that the Governors are trustees, with a duty to act together to meet the charity’s objectives and provide the appropriate level of public benefit. More generally, the Board aims to follow best practice as set out in the guidelines of the Association of Governing Bodies for Independent Schools (AGBIS).
There are normally up to 12 Governors on the Board, including the Chair and Deputy Chair. The composition of the Board of Governors is subject to careful thought and planning to ensure that there is relevant knowledge and experience. When a vacancy is to be filled, the Governors consider what field of experience or training is not represented, or is under-represented. It is considered important that the Board has an educationalist, and people with relevant finance and business expertise. Others who may have valuable experience to contribute include doctors, lawyers and property professionals. Specialist experience apart, it is also considered important that the Board of Governors comprises individuals with sound judgement, who can look at issues from a range of angles and who can devote the necessary time and energy to undertake their roles successfully.
The role of the Chair of the Board of Governors is to ensure that the business of the Board is conducted properly, that meetings are run efficiently and that all other Governors contribute fully and work together as a team. The Chair also has an important role in supporting, guiding and liaising closely with the Rector.
Calum Paterson is the Managing Partner of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), a leading UK private equity and venture capital fund manager. SEP specialises in investments in innovative, high-growth companies and has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. Calum co-founded SEP in 2000 and has managed the firm since then. He is also current Chairman of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), which represents the interests of 700 members across the UK.
Dr Aileen Findlay, BSc, MB ChB, MRCGP (Deputy Chair)
Aileen is married to Iain; they have five children - Douglas, Alastair, Iain, Caitlin and Gavin, all of whom have been at St Columba’s - four of whom have now moved on to further education.
She was born in England and studied medicine at Edinburgh University. She works eight sessions as a partner in the Bridge of Weir/Houston General Practice, where she is the educational supervisor for the GP trainees. In her spare time she likes to walk her dogs.
Hugh Currie, DL, BSc, CEng MICE
Hugh was Managing Director of Lithgows Limited, an old Scottish family-owned business, and due to the diverse nature of the business, in aquaculture, boat building, ship repairs, renewable energy and property, he travelled extensively. After nearly 32 years of working for Lithgows Hugh left the company in 2011 and set up his own consultancy business. He is married to Lesley and they have two daughters, Jennifer and Jillian, both of whom attended St Columba’s, and both of whom are now lawyers. His hobbies are skiing, golf and salmon fishing.
Hugh is a former Chairman of CBI Scotland, a former Vice Chairman of Scottish Enterprise Renfrewshire before its dissolution and a former member of the Greenock Academy School Board. He has been a Governor of St Columba’s School since 2001, during which he has sat on most of the key committees. This has given him a good knowledge of the School’s strengths and greatly assisted in identifying areas for improvement.
David Gray, BA
David Gray was Principal of Stewart's Melville College, The Mary Erskine School and the ESMS Junior School in Edinburgh from August 2000 until July 2018. This family of schools is the largest independent school conglomerate in the EU, with over 2700 pupils and more than 550 staff.
He was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh and Bristol University, where he read English. After two years’ teaching in a large Bristol comprehensive, he moved to Athens in Greece, where he lived for six years and where he was the co-owner of a Greek language school. He returned from Greece in 1985, after which he taught English at Dulwich College until 1988, before taking up the post of Head of English at Leeds Grammar School. From 1992 until 2000, he was Headmaster of Pocklington School, an HMC co-educational boarding and day school of 750 pupils in East Yorkshire.
He has three children - twin daughters and a son. His particular interests are Balkan current affairs, cricket, long distance running, and music. In January 2019 he will take on the post of Principal of Brummana High School in Beirut, Lebanon.
Jo Halliday, BSocSc
Jo is an experienced Commercial Marketeer with over 20 years in senior roles for global blue chip companies, including Coca-Cola, Grand Met, Jim Beam Brands, Whyte & Mackay and Fortune Brands. She has run a successful marketing consultancy and is the co-founder and director of Talking Medicines. Jo lives in Kilmacolm and is married to Alan with four children, three of whom are at St Columba’s - Finlay, Neave and Freya. Interests are running, from 10K to Marathon distances, travelling and supporting the children in their sporting interests.
Katharine Hardie, LLB, DLP
Katharine is a Partner at the international law firm, Pinsent Masons, which has offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She has considerable experience on all aspects of commercial property work with a particular emphasis on development work (both commercial and residential) and has been involved in a number of regeneration projects.
Originally from Aberdeen, Katharine has worked in Glasgow since qualifying as a solicitor and now lives in Kilmacolm with husband Michael and daughters Hannah and Grace, both of whom attend St Columba's. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, music, theatre and dancing.
Glen Watson, BA, CA
A graduate of the University of Strathclyde in Economics and Accountancy, Glen qualified as a Chartered Accountant, latterly specialising in taxation. He left the profession to concentrate on developing a career in the property investment sector and completed a postgraduate diploma in Surveying and Land Economics at the University of Paisley. Glen holds a number of directorships in property companies, whose investments spread across commercial, retail and residential sectors throughout the UK. Combining these skills, he has an executive role in a boutique commercial law firm.
Glen and his wife Evelyn have one daughter, Laura, a former pupil of the School. His hobbies include gardening and walking his dog.
Kenneth Wilson, MA, CA
Kenneth is a Chartered Accountant and a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Now based in Glasgow he has worked in the past in their Toronto and London offices. He is also a founding and current trustee of The Glasgow Hawks Sports Trust whose aim is to promote rugby in schools in the west of Glasgow. He grew up in Kilmacolm and was educated at Kelvinside Academy and Aberdeen University. He lives in Kilmacolm and is married to Sharen. They have two children, Jamie and Sarah, who are both at St Columba's. His hobbies are rugby, golf, skiing and tennis.
Paul Yacoubian, BAcc, CA
Paul Yacoubian is the Managing Director of Craig Corporate Limited, a management consultancy focused on business management, corporate finance and taxation. Paul and his wife Paula have been resident in Kilmacolm for over twenty years. They have four sons, all of whom have received (and, in the case of the youngest, is still receiving) their education at the school. Paul joined the board in November 2006.
Guy Clark, FSI, JP, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire
Honorary Vice Presidents
Dr Helen Laird, OBE, DL, MA, PhD
Ron Kennedy, TD, FCII
The Board of Governors meets formally approximately six times during each academic session. Other ad-hoc meetings are arranged, as required. Meetings are attended by the Rector and other relevant representatives of the School. A Governors-only section is included in each Board meeting, to allow the Governors to discuss certain matters confidentially.
Much of the work of the Board of Governors is conducted through committees. There are currently five principal committees: Education & Pastoral; Finance; Nominations; Remuneration; Estates/Health & Safety. Shorter life committees are also established from time-to-time (eg for fundraising). These committees meet regularly and report to the Board of Governors.
Governors are normally appointed for a period of three years, with the possibility of this being renewed for a maximum service of nine years. Beyond this, the Chair or Deputy Chair can have two spells of three years in each of these roles in addition to the maximum of nine years as a governor. Governors are appointed at the Annual General Meeting, which is held in January each year. The Nominations Committee keeps a register of individuals who are interested in becoming a Governor and makes relevant approaches when vacancies arise. Anyone interested should contact email the Chairman of the Nominations Committee via Mrs McWhirter at Senior School (email@example.com), or write in confidence to:
Mr H Currie
Governor and Chairman of the Nominations Committee
St Columba’s School
Kilmacolm, PA13 4AU
Parents wishing to contact the Board of Governors can do so via Mrs McWhirter at Senior School (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write in confidence to:
Mr C Paterson
Chairman, Board of Governors
St Columba’s School
Kilmacolm, PA13 4AU