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Governance 

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The Chair of Governors can be contacted via Rebecca Tills, the Clerk to Governors at rebecca.tills@laidlawschoolstrust.com, Laidlaw Schools Trust, Suite 2, 3rd Floor, St Nicholas Building, St Nicholas’ Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RF or 0191 6622416.

Eileen Bolton

Eileen Bolton

Chair of Governors

Violet Rook

Violet Rook

Local Governor

James McGowan

James McGowan

Local Governor

James is currently the Vicar of Fenham and Chaplain to the Dame Allan’s Schools. Before arriving in Newcastle in February 2019 he had spent almost eight years on the Isle of Man, first as Assistant Curate at Cathedral Isle of Man and then latterly serving as Vicar of four Churches in the south east corner of the Island, In addition he held a number of other roles in the Diocese of Sodor and Man including working as their Diocesan Director Education and as Chair of Governors at one of the Diocesan Schools. James completed his first degree in York, and then trained as a secondary teacher at the University of Durham and taught Religious Studies in the North East for a number of years before training for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham. During his time teaching, James was also a member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. He was awarded an MA in Faith and Public Policy from the University of Chester in 2016 and has an interest in the area of Disability Theology and Education Policy and Practice. In March 2020, James was one of the first in the country to be awarded the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership Award for Educational Leadership with a focus on the two areas of professional development of junior clergy and effective leadership within and educational context.
Sam Girling

Sam Girling

Local Governor

Sam has worked within the education sector since qualifying as a primary school teacher in 1998. She spent the first 12 years of her career teaching in schools in County Durham, both in rural and challenging socio- economic areas.

Sam has taught across the primary age phase and was a Deputy Headteacher for 4 years before completing NPQH and taking a one- year secondment to High Force Education SCITT. She led and managed the institution through an OFSTED inspection to achieve an outstanding judgement. Upon completion of the secondment she was successfully appointed to Programme Leader at Gateshead Primary SCITT and was responsible for the recruitment and training of over 200 primary teachers in the north east. During the 7 years she led the programme, the SCITT was inspected and judged to be an outstanding provider of Initial Teacher Education.

As a teacher and Deputy Headteacher Sam has gained first- hand experience of global education systems including Ghana and Mauritius as part of connecting classrooms. She has spoken at an international conference in Spain to share class- based research on the use of interactive technologies in the early years. She has used this knowledge and experience in her own practice and with trainee teachers.

Amy Brown

Amy Brown

Parent Governor

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Local Governor

I work for the Department of Education based in Darlington. I manage a team of four and we look at many aspects of school provision in Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead. My work includes converting schools to academy status and monitoring existing trusts in the academy sector. I am the finance lead for the Northern Region working for the Regional Skills Commissioner. I previously worked for Nissan in Sunderland and the Rover Group in Oxford where I was born. I moved to the North East in 1987 and currently live in Whitley Bay. My three children all went through the 3 tier system in North Tyneside. Sophie is currently in Australia, Hannah works in London and Luke in Leeds. I am a keen cyclist when the wind isn’t blowing too hard along the coast.