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Rickleton Primary School

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The school's Governing Body currently has 12 members who as a collective have a range of roles and responsibilities, which ensure that the school operates efficiently and effectively. They have regular meetings to discuss the school's finances, staffing, curriculum and buildings.


The Governing Body carries out a very important job behind the scenes in supporting and challenging the school staff to improve the outcomes for children.


We work closely as a team particularly with the Headteacher and senior staff on a wide variety of tasks which include:


  • developing a strategic plan for the school;
  • determining school aims, policies and priorities;
  • setting targets;   
  • monitoring and evaluating the work of the school;
  • appointing staff;
  • managing the budget;
  • securing high levels of attendance and good standards of pupil behaviour;
  • ensuring that all children in the school have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
  • ensuring the health and safety and safeguarding of pupils and staff.  


These are just some of the tasks that as governors we are responsible for. Some of these things may seem complicated or at least a bit dull! But we can honestly say that we really enjoy the huge satisfaction we get from seeing how rapidly the school is improving and feel valued for our part in it. We are a strong team with a variety of skills who work well together and have a shared commitment to continuing the journey together for the benefit of all our children in the future.


Occasionally we have a vacancy for parent governors we would encourage any parent who may be interested in being a governor to get in touch with us or Mrs Price so you can find out more about the role and if you would like to be nominated.


Governors can be contacted via the school office on 0191 4155050.

 Governor Meeting Dates – 2023 -2024


Team A (4.30 start)

· Mon 18th September

· Tues 16th January

· Thursday 25th April


Team B (9.30 start)

· Mon 6th Nov

· Mon 4th March

· Mon 10th June


Full (4.30 start)

· Mon 13th Nov

· Tues 12th March

· Thurs 27th June

Message from the Chair


Dear parents and carers,


I am writing to introduce myself as the Chair of Governors at Rickleton Primary School.


My name is Kirsty Ross and I have been part of the governing body since 2012 when I was first appointed as a parent governor. I am currently a co-opted governor. I am privileged to have been elected and to continue to stand as Chair of Governors and to be working with such a professional team of staff and governors. As Chair, I strive to ensure that objectives of both staff and pupils are met with continuous improvement in all areas of the school. I am committed to the school and the shared responsibility we hold for the school’s long term success.


The Governing Body is involved with our school at every level. This includes finance, safeguarding, premises management and staff appointments. As governors, we consider our most important role to be the safety, welfare and education of our pupils.

Governors are appointed to ensure that objectives are met, and that future planning is both visionary and realistic. We provide strategic direction for the improvement of the school; monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the school; and hold the school to account for the standards achieved and the quality of education. We are here to support and encourage Mrs Price-as headteacher, Mr Baker-as deputy head, the Senior Leadership team and all school personnel to ensure that every one of our children has access to an enriched education and all the opportunities that they deserve.


As governors we share a common objective with the wider school community-working in partnership with you as parents and carers and staff to ensure every child reaches their full potential.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. I am very passionate and proud of our school, the high standards of education provided and the wonderful children of Rickleton Primary School


Yours sincerely,

Kirsty Ross

Meet the Governors


Kirsty Ross (Chair)

I am a co-opted governor and have been on the governing body for the last 8 years. As a parent of a 14-year-old daughter who attended Rickleton Primary School I understand the vested interest in securing the very best education for your child/children. I feel immensely privileged to remain involved in the life of the school and its ongoing development. I remain committed to ensuring that Rickleton is providing your children with the absolute best start to their education and that school is also a welcoming and happy community for pupils, families, and friends.

My background is in education. Currently I am employed by Durham University teaching on the BA Education, Educational Studies and PGCE programmes. I also lead on partnership overseeing the professional element of trainee teachers on placements in school. My skills and expertise, hopefully will, allow me to make a real contribution to the governing body to ensure that the school is well lead and empowers all children to achieve their full potential.



 Michelle Barr (Vice Chair)

As a parent Governor with a child who joined Rickleton Primary School in 2017, I have a vested interest in the development of the School.

I am local to the area and manage my own Private Daycare Nursery business in Washington. With my background, I have a deep understanding and knowledge of the Early Years’ Foundation Stage Framework, while my business knowledge enables me to help support Rickleton School with policy planning and review.

I play an active part in my position as Governor and am always willing to listen to views and suggestions on how we can support the School and make it even stronger, building on its already excellent performance.


Tim Kemp

I am excited to be joining the Governors at Rickleton Primary School, with specific responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Social, Emotional and Mental Health. I am the proud father of two children in year four and have seen at first hand the outstanding support that the committed staff at Rickleton provide to children of all abilities.

Professionally, I am a dual qualified Nurse. I initially worked as an Intensive Care nurse both in the UK and abroad before returning to the UK and have spent the last 17 years as a mental health nurse. I have experience in both adult and child and adolescent mental health services and specialise in crisis and risk management.

I join the Governors at an incredibly challenging time for our children, we are now beginning to see the full impact of the COVID pandemic, and the ongoing cost of living crisis will undoubtedly impact many families. The last two years have been immensely challenging, anxiety provoking and for too many - distressing. I have been humbled to see the resilience of our young people, in returning to the classroom and readapting to the lives they enjoyed before March 2000.

Moving forwards, I am passionate and committed in helping our young people grow up to become resilient problem solvers who can overcome adversity, be aware and recognise their own emotions and feelings and be confident in asking for help and support.


Michelle Thompson

I am a newly appointed Governor with both a personal and professional interest in the success of the school, it’s pupils and staff. As well as being parent to a child who is a pupil at Rickleton Primary School, I am also a Local Authority Children and Young People’s Mental Health Commissioner.

Within my professional role I am required to identify gaps in services that support Children and Young People’s Mental Health and prevent the need for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs) input or in-patient services.

I am also a Regulation 44 officer carrying out quality assurance and inspection visits to Children’s Residential Homes to ensure the homes are Ofsted compliant and to prepare them for Ofsted inspection and scrutiny. This has given me a wealth of experience in the critical assessment and analysis of childcare settings and I am able to constructively suggest solutions to achieve improved outcomes.

I am passionate about promoting the best interests of the child and speaking on their behalf. I am an advocate for co-production and believe that children and young people can often provide us with solutions to issues that we, as adults may not have considered.


Alan Baker

Since my first year in teaching in 2001, I have always chosen to be a teacher representative on the board of governors for my two previous schools. This has given me a good depth of knowledge of the impact that governors have on a school and, since joining the Rickleton governors in January 2020, it is clear that our governors have a very positive impact on all aspects of the school. From a personal perspective, I have spent 19 years mainly teaching in Year 6 and also previously worked as an Anglican school inspector bringing knowledge of the impact of values based education.  My own enthusiams are sport, outdoor activity and ICT and I hope these interests can be very beneficial to the governing body and the pupils of Rickleton Primary.


Jan Price

I was delighted to be appointed as Headteacher at Rickleton Primary School in September 2019, having been Deputy Headteacher at the school since 2017.  It is a pleasure to work alongside the Governing Body, staff and parents to ensure the children at our school have the best possible education and school experiences. After graduating from Sunderland University, I began my teaching career in 2009 where I worked in two different schools in County Durham, teaching in Years 3 and 4.  I have always had a passion for ensuring learning for the children is creative and links between concepts and subjects are made. In 2012 I moved to London as I wanted to experience working in a more diverse setting.  I taught Year 6 and was appointed as Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for leading English and Key Stage 2.  Following this I was promoted to Deputy Headteacher and my role was to lead on the whole curriculum across the school. 

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London, I wanted to move back home to the North and did so in 2017 when I joined the wonderful Rickleton team.  It is a pleasure to serve our school community and I look forward to the next steps in the Rickleton journey!


Gillian Walker

My name is Gillian Walker and I have worked at Rickleton Primary since the year 2000.

Prior to working at Rickleton I worked for Natwest Bank for 15 years which gave me the financial background which has helped with the role I have today. I began working in the school office as administrative assistant and in 2005 gained qualifications to enable me to undertake the role as School Business Manager. It was at that point that I began to be involved with the school governing body and I have remained part of the governing body team ever since.

I have three children all of whom attended this school at various times between the years 1998 to 2017. This has given me an interesting perspective as a parent, a member of staff and as a school governor. I have worked for three head teachers and have seen many changes over the years. For me personally one of the greatest strengths for Rickleton has always been the team spirit. This has been particularly evident during 2020 and remains strong to this present day.


Dianne Mowbray Pape

I am delighted to have been recently appointed as a Co-opted Governor at Rickleton Primary School.

After studying English and Education to Masters level at Durham University, I started teaching in Sunderland, working in several Primary Schools, where I taught all age groups from 5 to 11 years old, before taking up my first position as a Head Teacher in Durham County in 1991.  After 8 successful years at the school I moved to be Head Teacher of St Margaret’s Primary School in Durham City for 15 years, before taking early retirement.

In my career I worked tirelessly to achieve high standards in all areas of school life.  My aim was always to help all children fulfil their individual potential and give them a strong foundation for their lives, while they also enjoyed their time in school.  I passionately believe that this is best done through an enriched curriculum, with high value placed on sport, music and the arts, alongside the traditional academic subjects.

Since retiring I have enjoyed keeping fit, gardening, art and photography and travelling the world with my husband.  I now welcome this opportunity to be involved in education once again, especially with such a successful school and I hope to be able to use my time and expertise to support the school in its further development.


Sam Scott

I am a newly appointed Governor with the responsibility for PSHCE and RSE.  I started my teaching career route in pastoral care, as a Head of Year at Biddick Academy, with a passion and drive in supporting students to achieve their full potential.   My current role involves overseeing the SEND provision for the Academy as the SENDCO, and I am looking forward to strengthening the partnership between Rickelton Primary School and Biddick Academy.  I have a real interest in supporting and understand the curriculum and education within a primary setting and working together to ensure that every young person is prepared for the next chapter of their school life. 


Sally O'Connor

I have worked at Rickleton Primary School since 2004 and this will be my second time as a teacher representative on the board of governors. I joined Rickleton as EYFS lead but since then I have worked across the different Key Stages. I am currently the Assistant Head and Key Stage 1 Department lead working in Year 1. I'm responsible for attendance across the school and early reading/phonics. It is a pleasure to work at Rickleton and I am looking forward to working alongside the governing body. I am passionate about supporting our children to fulfil their potential and help them to aspire to be whatever they want to be. 


Gill Turnbull

As a newly appointed parent governor with two boys at Rickleton in reception and year 2 I am excited to start this role and have a vested interest in the development of the school. My professional background is in education as an Associate Professor in Clinical Biomechanics and working in education and clinical research. I have a keen interest in education and particularly how physical exercise and health can be imbedded into children’s education inside and to promote a healthy lifestyle.  I play an active role in my position as a parent governor and regularly listen to views and suggestions from other parents.