St Michael's
C.E. Primary School

Believe, Achieve, Succeed

Local Academy Board Information

St Michael’s CE Primary School is committed to a high quality of education for all its pupil in an atmosphere of nurture and care.

As part of the Birmingham Diocese Multi-Academy Trust we work with the trust board to ensure that our school community experiences ‘life in its fullness’ John 10:10.

Members of the Local Academy Board (LAB) undertake various roles as you will see from the details below. The board meets formally each half term and you will also see members around the school at various times.

If you wish to contact any of us, please speak to the school office who will be happy to pass a message onto us.

Mr Stephen Pihlaja

Chair of Governors

Our Governors 2021-2022

Stephen Pihlaja Chair of Governors
Jonathan Goll Vice Chair of Governors/SEND Governor
Reverend Ruth Atkinson Safeguarding Governor
Jane Bruten Headteacher/Governor
Elizabeth Flannagan Foundation Governor
Charlotte Jordan Foundation Governor
Dan Whisker  Governor
James Pearce Foundation Governor
Dilwara Begum Foundation Governor 
Saida Chowdhury Parent Governor
Samantha Goode Staff Governor
Kate Coe Staff Governor
Wendy Burke Staff Governor

Meet our Governors

Stephen Pihlaja

Originally from Chicago, I have been lecturer in English Language at Newman University since 2014. I teach and research about the ways people use language to talk about their religious belief, particularly on the Internet. I’ve written several books on the topic of inter-religious dialogue online and how people’s beliefs change over time.

As Foundation governor at St Michael’s, I am hopeful to work with people of different faiths and no faith to work together to find shared values and grow together as a community.

My partner, Yoko, and I have three daughters, and when I’m not researching or teaching, I enjoy long distance running, writing, and sitting quietly in coffee shops.

Jonathan Goll

I came to the Christian faith, in my teens, being deeply influenced by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (the latter I met). My faith has sustained me through many difficult years. In recent years I have used my trade union experience to be involved in local Church politics, so, for example, I am now on Birmingham Diocesan Synod – the central discussion body of the Church of England in Birmingham – and I am Lay Chairman of Edgbaston Deanery Synod (one level down from that, for south west Birmingham). I am on the Parochial Church Council (the PCC) which runs St Michael’s Church, and have been appointed by the PCC to be a Governor of St Michael’s school.

I have an adult education qualification, and have recently also qualified to teach English as a foreign language. I love Gospel I serve, and I would like the same joy I have experienced to be in the life of St Michael’s school.

Reverend Ruth Atkinson

I am Vicar of the St Michael and All Angels Church and visit school on a regular basis to help lead collective worship and as a Governor. The children often visit the church for the beginning and end of term services and as part of their curriculum.

I was born in West Yorkshire and I was a teacher for many year in Worcester. I grew up in the Christian faith; I was ordained in 2009 when I became curate at St Mary’s Church Old Swinford and then became Vicar here in October 2014.

I administer the church food bank which you can access through the school. We have a range of activities for children in church which you can find out about on the church website.

I enjoy working with the children and helping them explore issues of faith.

Jane Bruten

In April 2020 I became the Headteacher at St Michael’s. I was previously Headteacher of Quinton Church Primary School, another school within BDMAT.

I was born and brought up in South Wales and came to Birmingham for university - and I never left!

I have taught in all year groups in the primary phase, leading Numeracy, Literacy, Music and PE in a number of schools in Birmingham throughout my career. I enjoy participating in sports and am a keen musician.

The education of the whole child through opportunities to enrich their lives in activities that broaden and deepen learning is at the heart of my philosophy for education.

A priority in my headship is encompassing the Christian values of St Michael’s alongside welcoming the children of the community into a caring, secure and safe environment.

Elizabeth Flannagan

I have been a serving governor at St Michael’s for around 12 years.  I first took on the role of staff governor whilst working at the school, initially in the capacity of Teaching Assistant before developing my career into teaching. 

I had the pleasure of working at St Michael’s for 23 years; a place I often called ‘home’ due to the families and children within the school community.  During these years, I have worked alongside numerous staff who all hold the children at the heart of the school; strive to develop opportunities for the children to enjoy learning and flourish.  Currently I work as an Assistant Headteacher within an inner city school and hold a Diocese Trust governor post.

Charlotte Jordan

I began teaching in 1999, working as an English teacher in a challenging inner city school in Shepherds Bush, London.  I learned so much about working in a special measures school and my journey there has influenced my career in such a significant way. I have a heart for young people and in my professional life I have the privilege of impacting positively on children's lives every single day.  I feel truly blessed to be entrusted with this position and try to carry out my role with care and compassion.  Teaching is my first and only career and I am still learning which is what I love about my work.  I have been an examiner for GCSE English, led pastoral teams and have line-managed every subject except Science!  My whole school priorities have varied greatly, I particularly enjoy working with the Pupil Premium team and Primary outreach work.  I believe the teaching profession learns so much when we collaborate with each other and also other professionals.   In my previous school, we partnered with Primary staff and collectively developed curriculum content for years 4-7 to ensure the students had a seamless transition and were not repeating prior learning.  This gave me great insight into how Primary schools work, there are lots of commonalities but also distinctions, I have such admiration for Primary staff and their investment in young children.

I grew up in Birmingham and moved away to study at Queen Mary University but stayed in the big smoke for 16 years!  On my return in 2010 I joined my first senior leadership team working at a small secondary school in Erdington.  I loved my time there, we went on an incredible journey together- 3 OFSTED inspections, Special Measures and lots of initiatives to improve the educational outcomes of a significantly disadvantaged community.  I have now moved to King Edward Five Ways as a Deputy Head and this is another exciting role where there is much to learn. Fundamental to my Christian beliefs are to serve others and give my very best in all my endeavours.  As such alongside my teaching I have read  my Masters in Education (Effective Learning) at the Institute of Education and represented black members at my local NUT (renamed NEU).   Both experiences helped to contextualise my understanding of education and policies, but the most valuable training I received was working as a staff governor.  Through this voluntary position,  I learned firsthand  about the instrumental role the governing body plays in supporting the Head and leadership team to provide the best life chances for its students.   This is why I am so happy to join the governing body at St Michael's.

In my personal life I live with two lively children, my son is in Year 8 at a local secondary school and my daughter is 8 and attends a local faith school.  Co-parenting has taught me a great deal about resilience, patience and compassion, there are no rules but through my faith and fellowship with others I am doing my best to help them navigate the world.  I welcome the opportunity to bring my experiences and all that I am, to help contribute to the students at St Michael's school.  I want them to have the very best opportunities for their lives.

Dan Whisker

Profile coming soon - watch this space!  

James Pearce

I’m currently a stay at home father (the most tiring job I’ve ever had!) and the proud parent of two young girls, both of which attend St Michael’s school. Starla’s confidence and progression have come along in leaps and bounds since joining the school – I’m certain that the warm atmosphere and welcoming nature of St Michael’s and its staff has played a huge part in that.

Having been impressed with the strong sense of community and inclusivity that runs through the school I was more than happy to accept the opportunity to join this traditional yet forward thinking team. Your governors care very deeply about the welfare of this school and its diversity of opinion means that all viewpoints are well represented.

I’ve worked in secondary education before, having been a teaching assistant and long term cover teacher in various schools. This experience was invaluable and I hope that it will help me in offering support in any way I can. Please don‘t hesitate to day hello if you spot me in the playground or anywhere around the school.

Dilwara Begum

Profile coming soon - watch this space!  

Saida Chowdhury

I grew up in West London and moved to Birmingham 15 years ago after getting married.

Currently I am a stay at home mother of two boys that both attended St Michael’s.  From a very young age both myself and my partner have encouraged our children to be inquisitive and develop a love of learning about the world around us.

I have worked in various administrative focused posts after completing my degree from Queen Mary, University of London.  I continued my learning after having children by taking part in child development focused courses.

Over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at St Michael’s, listening to children read, helping in the classroom and during various school trips.  I am hopeful for children of all abilities to reach their full potential. 

I believe in creating friendships, as well as improving understanding across different faiths and communities.

I am an open minded, approachable individual who is always happy to have a chat.

I love exploring new places and cultures, running, hiking, cooking, writing poetry, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Samantha Goode

My name is Samantha Goode and I am the new Deputy Headteacher here at St Michael’s CE Primary School.

I have many years of experience as a teacher, in both Primary and Secondary schools across the city; most recently being an Assistant Headteacher and leading a change of programme in Maths across the whole school.

I am really looking forward to working at St Michael’s and working alongside the governing body to effect positive change and progress.



Kate Coe

Profile coming soon - watch this space! 


Wendy Burke 

Profile coming soon - watch this space!