Meet The Governors
Judith Ward, Chair of Governing Board
I have been a member of the governing board of Laygate Community School since 2012, serving initially as a co-opted governor, vice chair and now chair since July 2016.
I have lived all of my life in South Tyneside and taught in three secondary schools in the borough, until my retirement in 2014. My vast educational experience has served me well in my governor role but I am keen to continue my own education and have recently completed the Governors’ Leadership Development Programme. I regularly attend courses on the School Governor Training Programme, in addition to online governor training delivered through Learning Link.
I also serve on the management committee of the South Shields branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, looking after my two dogs and cooking.
I am very proud to be chair of the governors of Laygate Community School and I enjoy the role immensely, leading a team of committed and hardworking governors. Laygate is a wonderful school, with hard working, caring teachers who are steadfastly determined that every child will reach and where possible, exceed their true potential and it is a pleasure to work with them and the children who attend the school.
Wendy Doyle, Vice Chair/Parent Governor
I am a performing musician and have worked for Sage Gateshead as a community musician since 2001. During this time I have worked with children in school and community settings designing, leading and project managing creative music-making projects which have an emphasis on positive social outcomes.
I currently lead on training and quality at Sage Gateshead as well as teaching on the BA Community Music Degree. As a performing musician I am an accomplished percussionist and steel pannist, having competed in and won national steel pan titles in the UK and Trinidad. I live in the local community and my children attend Laygate.
I am absolute passionate about all children getting the best opportunities in all communities.
Cllr Shiela Stephenson – LA Governor
I am a local authority governor and have been on the governing board for seven years. Before I retired, I worked for the local council.
I am a councillor for the Westoe Ward of South Shields. Additionally I am a volunteer at the League of Friends at South Tyneside Hospital and also serve on the Citizens Advice Bureau Management Committee.
As a grandmother of two young children, I am very interested in primary education.
Scott Brown – Co-opted Governor
I am currently head teacher of Hadrian Primary School and have been in post for over 13 years. I joined the school as deputy head in 2001, having moved from Marsden Primary in Whitburn. I started my teaching career at Biddick Hall Juniors in South Shields.
Hadrian and Laygate have had a close association over the years, as we serve a similar EAL community. I know the school well, as I also spent a period of time as Executive Head at Laygate, supporting the then, new head teacher. I am keen to help the school in any way I can, to ensure our children get the best possible start in life with a great education, in a safe, caring and happy environment.
We are lucky to have such a range of interests and expertise amongst our governors who, as a result, are able to bring different dimensions and viewpoints to our work to help and support us in ensuring the school continues to meet the needs of all of our children.
Alison King - Staff Governor
I currently work as a Teaching Assistant at Laygate. I have been a non-teaching Governor for over 12 years now. I began working at the school as a volunteer, when I used to bring my children here. I then went on to college to train as a Teaching Assistant and further training to become a qualified counsellor, which helps me to support the vulnerable children within school setting.
Dr Malcolm Dixon – Co-opted Governor
My career has been in education: a teacher, local authority science adviser and, for 25 years, in a university leading primary and secondary teacher education degree courses and partnerships with schools.
I have over 20 years experience of school governance, in a variety of schools, and have had 30 books, for children and teachers, published. I regard an excellent primary education as being crucial in life - I was fortunate to receive an outstanding primary education in South Shields and know how important that has been in my own life.
As a governor I aim to support the staff, pupils, parents and governors of Laygate Primary School in their intentions for the highest standards in all that they do.
Janice Wilkinson – Co-opted Governor
I am delighted to be a co-opted Governor of the Governing Board of Laygate Community School, this is a great privilege. I have lived in South Tyneside all my life and I am proud and happy to still live in the area. I have two grown up daughters and now have a little grandson, I still work full time over four days as a Personal Assistant at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and look after my grandson the day I do not work. In my spare time I enjoy family time, shopping, walking, going to the gym and jogging and I love power walking and the outdoors too. In my spare time I am a volunteer for MacMillan and I am also training to run the Great North Run this year too.
I am so pleased to be a School Governor and I am thrilled and delighted to take up my first Governor role at Laygate Community School, not too far from where I grew up. I am enthusiastic and passionate about all the children and staff and welcome the opportunity to support everyone in gaining their very best potential and I hope to make a valued contribution to the continued development of the school.
It is a great privilege to be a co-opted Governor at Laygate Community School where I have enjoyed my tenure to date and look forward to the success of the school and its pupils in the future.
I was born and raised in a very diverse community in Northern Ireland, leaving to join the Merchant Navy in 1996 where I worked my way up to Captain, then pilot at the Port of Tyne before moving into the offshore oil industry. I presently work as a Marine Surveyor with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspecting Merchant vessels, fishing vessels and conducting certificate of competency exams for deck officers.
I married and made home at South Shields over ten years ago and now have three young children in primary education in the area.
Locally I am a volunteer member of two shipping organisations at Newcastle where in the past I have led on training and leadership.
Inspired by my family, in recent years I have taken a keen interest in how teaching is delivered to children of all levels of ability. I am delighted to continue on the board of Governors, supporting the staff to ensure the pupils realise what can be achieved and reach their full potential in a safe and enjoyable learning environment.
I am Director of Music at Newcastle High School for Girls in Jesmond. I have been a teacher for six years, and a peripatetic musical instrument teacher for five years before that, so I am heavily involved in education and delighted to be able to be involved from a governor’s perspective at Laygate.
I currently live in Fulwell Mill, Sunderland, having just moved from the Lawe Top area of South Shields where I resided for 6 years. My wife is also a teacher and we have a 20 month old son, Elijah.
Ken Younger: Co-opted Governor
I was and am bred, born and based in South Shields (apart from 7 years when I worked in Scotland). The schools I attended were Westoe Infants, Laygate Lane Junior School (now Laygate Community School) and the old grammar and technical school (now Harton Technology College). While at school, I involved myself in several extra-curricular school activities such as drama, sport and choir.
In my full-time career I worked for 3 local authorities in financial administration and, mostly, information technology. I then worked part time as an IT consultant for a number of different organisations. For most of this time I was in positions which required me to be responsible for the appointment of staff, some of whom were coming into their first employment after school and / or further education. .
My principal hobby has been sport in which I have played a number of sports and involved myself in their administration. As my involvement here has reduced, I have welcomed the opportunity to become a Governor because I think some of my experience is relevant to the role.
Steven Graham – Co-opted Governor
I currently work for Northumbria Police and I am part of the Neighborhood Policing Team that covers the area of Laygate. I have been with the Police for over 5 years and in the last year I have requested to become the School Liaison Officer for the schools within my area of responsibility.
I believe it is beneficial for the schools’ staff, pupils and parents/guardiansto have regular contact with the Police to help break down or stop barriers coming up and to hopefully stop young childrenbeing afraid of police. I have done several inputs to the whole school and individual year groups and the interaction fromthe pupils is always positive.
The atmosphere in the school is always friendly and happy which is clear to see and it’s an environment I would happily continue to work in and help when and wherever I can.