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Governors and Finance

School Governors have a varied and important role.  They have 3 core functions:

  • Planning the strategic direction of the school
  • Overseeing financial performance of the school and ensuring money is well spent
  • Holding the Head Teacher or school leadership to account

The governor role is strategic rather than operational. Governors don’t get involved with the day to day running of a school, instead supporting and challenging the school’s leadership team to drive forward school improvement.






Mr Scott Rowland; Chair of Governors / Co-opted Governor

Since being elected as a parent governor in 2018, I have proudly served on the Governing Body, and in December 2021, I became the Chair of Governors.


I've spent over 15-years leading and developing small businesses, implementing strategy and creating growth. In that time, I've learned how to identify critical areas for success, simplify complex issues and apply commercial insight. With 24 years of management experience working across roles in hospitality, live events, and creative services, I thrive on helping people – and making a positive difference.


I have three children, the youngest (Oskar), who is currently in Year 4 at the school. My other children (Ida and Felix), who are now at secondary school, also went to Parkhead. I believe strongly in the core ethos of Parkhead and am committed to supporting it to provide the best possible experience for all its pupils and staff.



Miss Karen Ward; Co-opted Governor

I have worked in education for just over 3 years now, as a secondary school teacher and as a tutor and have recently joined the governing body of Parkhead Primary school. I am passionate about helping children achieve their best through education, and I also really value wellbeing in education. I am looking forward to supporting the children and staff at Parkhead Primary School.



Mrs Sophie Leach; Co-opted Governor / Deputy Head Teacher

I have been a member of staff at Parkhead Community Primary School since 2007, at first as the 5/6 Phase Leader and then as Deputy Head since 2016. I have been a member of the Governing Body since 2017. It is my job to work alongside Mrs Bailey; Head Teacher to report back to governors on a whole range of areas. As part of my role as Deputy Head, I am English lead and I enjoy working with the other members of the governing body to ensure we provide a curriculum, which is engaging, challenging and inspiring. I love working with the pupils, families and staff in our community and aim, through the work of the governing body, to continue to make Parkhead a place where children can learn, thrive and become the best they can be.   


Rev Alison Stewart Smith; Co-opted Governor

I was born and raised in Northumberland and worked in various roles in education before training to become a priest in the Church of England. I became the priest-in-charge of the parishes of Ryton and Winlaton in February 2020 and was co-opted onto the governing body of Parkhead Primary School in December 2021.  Having worked variously as a Modern Languages teacher, a teaching assistant and in school administration, I am passionate about education and the opportunities it gives to all children. I am looking forward to becoming part of the school community as a governor and getting to know and supporting our wonderful staff and students.


I am married to Richard who works in IT and sound engineering. In my spare time I am a keen musician and I enjoy playing in a ceilidh band and singing, I love dancing and my two cats, and I spend most of my time off trying to subdue the overgrown Rectory garden!


Mrs Michelle Thompson; Parent Governor

I have been a governor at Parkhead for many years and I feel very privileged to say that my daughter attends this fantastic school and is thriving! I wanted to become a governor to simply give something back to the school that has offered so much to my child throughout her tenure here. 


I have a background in education having previously worked in a secondary school as a PE teacher. I predominantly have a sporting background and, alongside my PE degree, have completed other qualifications. These include an FA level 1 coaching badge, boxercise instructor training and, most recently, a boogie bounce course. I am fortunate enough to be employed by the school to deliver boogie bounce sessions to many of the children through curriculum PE, breakfast club and after school club. Alongside this, I often run an after-school football club for our pupils.  


Throughout my tenure as a governor, I have involved myself in many aspects of school life, most notably supporting reading across the school. I am also the chair of a charity that has recently been registered, named SPLAT, to work alongside the school in raising funds to further support Parkhead’s learners to achieve and thrive! It also provides a great way to help foster good relationships with other parents/carers and the wider community. 


I am very proud to be a governor here and just like every parent at Parkhead Community Primary School, I want the very best for my child and feel it advantageous that I can bring a parents’ perspective to governing body meetings. I feel it is important that every child at Parkhead is happy, safe, confident and strives to become the very best they can be.  I believe strongly in the core values of Parkhead Community Primary School and am fully committed to ensuring that all children and staff get the best experience possible.  


Councillor Julie Simpson; Local Authority Governor

I am proud of having served Parkhead Primary School for over a decade, seeing it go from strength to strength.


I serve as a local ward councillor, hold a number of national roles, and am a former local government manager, having served as a school governor in the area for 25 years.


I have been chair of governor for two schools, and vice chairperson for 1 school, also having supported some schools through special measures.


Delivering a first class education to our local children is what motivates me to be a school governor. Education, free at the point of delivery, everyone being treated equally. Local schools play a pivotal role in the wider community, through their links working with the local libraries, community centres, church and uniform groups. Many families seek valued support from their local school, including having the choice for their children to receive an affordable hot nutritional meal.


It is important to me, that everyone gets the best start in life, and this is why I am a school governor.



Mr Jonny Coates; Co-opted Governor

As a newly co-opted governor, I am looking forward to playing an active role in assisting with developing the school, building on the impressive foundations which have been put in place. I have extensive experience of financial management, capital projects, Health and Safety and leading strategic change within an organisation.  I have worked in Senior Leadership roles in schools for more than a decade; currently I’m Chief Operating Officer of Eden Learning Trust in Durham and a Trustee of the Institute of School Business Leadership which is a national professional body.  I am passionate about working in and with schools with a view to improving the learning environment for all students.



Dr David Lowther; Co-opted Governor

I am a co-opted Governor with a background in UK Higher Education. Following completion of my PhD in History at Newcastle University, I held a three-year research and teaching position at Durham University. My current role is Assistant Principal at University College, Durham University, where I lead the College’s Student Support office and sit on the College’s management team. Elsewhere in the University I continue a limited amount of undergraduate teaching in History, and have worked closely with the EDI team on university-wide training initiatives. I am passionate about working to remove barriers to education, and hope that my skills and experience in the HE sector can bring an additional perspective to the Board at Parkhead.