At Stannington First School we have a team of Governors that work as volunteers to support the school.   Their role is to support and challenge the Head Teacher and to help set the vision and strategic direction of the school ensuring that our school is the very best it can be.  Each Governor has specific responsibilities which are also linked to the School Improvement Plan. Their duties include:

  • Ensuring that the school meets its legal responsibilities
  • Setting the school budget
  • Making decisions about the school building and premises
  • Reviewing school policies
  • Appointing staff and making decisions about current staffing structures
  • Looking at how well groups of pupils are performing and ensuring action is taken if there are any concerns

We have three Full Governing Board meetings each year held in the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms.  A range of subcommittee meetings also take place at least once per term.  During these meetings we look at a wide range of information to find out how well the school is performing.  Mrs Palmer provides a detailed Head Teacher’s report at these meetings but Governors also look at data and independent reports so that we can make our own decisions about how well things are going. To support the work that goes on, Governors also try to visit school as often as possible.

We are proud to have a committed Governing Board that is made up of a team individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.


Strategic:  The Governing Board sets the general direction of the school, looking at how it should best develop and improve.  This is done by reviewing and agreeing policies, setting targets and priorities and monitoring and reviewing aims and objectives. Strategic thinking is not always linked with the curriculum and it does not mean just responding to weakness.


Critical Friend:  The Governing Board works with the Head Teacher and creates a clear understanding of the challenges faced in managing the school. The Governing Board is able to question and challenge. A good working relationship is essential as a real critical friendship is only achieved where there is trust and mutual respect.


Accountability:  School is a business and its stakeholders are the learners. The Governing Board has a professional attitude and uses its collective skills to benefit the learners. It gathers views, ask questions and decides what is best for the school and the children. The Governing Board is answerable to the parents and the wider community.


Copies of Full Governing Board Minutes are held in the main school office.

If you wish to contact the school governors, you can e-mail them at: and mark your message 'For the attention of Keith Taylor' or alternatively, you can contact Keith directly at:

Details of our current Register of Interests and Committee Structure can be found at the bottom of this page

  • Mr Keith Taylor

    Chair of Governors - LA Governor

    Appointed May 2016
    Term of office – 4 years

    I retired from my job as Business Manager at Seaton Burn College in August 2016 where I had been employed since January 2005. Previous to this I was employed at Newcastle University for 35 years in various departments providing an electronic, maintenance and design service. I have also served as a school governor in Newcastle spending 9 years as Chair of a Primary School Governing Body, and 3 years as Chair of a Secondary School Governing Body. I moved from Newcastle to Stannington in 2012 and was appointed as a Community Governor in June 2016.

    I enjoy working with governor colleagues, staff, parents and the local community to ensure the children who attend our school receive the best possible start to their school life and develop an enthusiasm and love for learning that will last them their lifetime.

    My main areas of responsibilities are; chair of the Finance committee, Health and Safety, Safeguarding, HR and Finance.

  • Mrs Claire Dungait

    Vice Chair - Parent Governor

    Re-appointed March 2019
    Term of Office – 4 years

    I have lived in Stannington for 16 years and have 1 child at Stannington First School and another who attended the school. I previously worked as a Branch Manager within Personal Finance and now help run the family farming business.

    My specific roles as a Governor are; chair of the Strategic, Policy and Direction committee and to work closely with the school SENDCo to monitor the school's SEND provision. I enjoy my role as a Governor and hope to continue supporting the school in any way I can.

  • Mrs Janine Farrell

    Parent governor

    Appointed Summer 2019
    Term of office - 4 years

    I grew up in Northumberland and, after 15 years of studying and working in London and abroad, returned to the North East in 2018. I have two young daughters who will attend Stannington First School over the coming years. I have a keen interest in the future of this wonderful school and broader community.

    Professionally, I work as a solicitor in the shipping insurance industry, now in-house after 8 years in private practice. I hope to bring many of the skills I have developed over the years to my role as Parent Governor, along with enthusiasm for and commitment to the school, its pupils and staff.

    I am married to Rich, a graphic designer, and together we are enjoying settling into Stannington and discovering the region again with a fresh perspective.

  • Mrs Laura Fox

    Parent Governor

    Appointed May 2016
    Term of Office – 4 years

    I have been a Parent Governor since Summer 2016.

    Having been a computing teacher for the past 10 years, I passionately believe education is key to a child’s chances in life, widening their opportunities and choices. The teachers and staff here at Stannington First School are doing a great job in providing our children with an excellent grounding and secure learning environment. I enjoy being part of a team that supports the school further in their work.

  • Mrs Sandra Dickinson

    Co-opted governor

    Appointed Summer 2019
    Term of office - 4 years

  • Mrs Nicola Harries

    Co-opted Governor

    Appointed Summer 2019
    Term of Office - 4 years

    I have recently returned to living in Northumberland after 19 years. I initially worked as a radiographer but due to family commitments, I moved into the education environment where I worked in a school for children aged 2-6 with Additional Needs. As part of this school’s remit, I moved into a team who visited other primary schools on request to work with children struggling with both educational and behavioral needs on a short -term basis, to assist both the child and the supporting staff. This school then federated with a mainstream school with access for some of those children until 11.

    During the last 15 years, until moving back to Northumberland, I was a governor at these schools, first as a staff governor, then associate, LEA and finally co-opted. I have seen these schools maintain their standards through becoming a Federation and moving to a new build so I have wealth of governance experience which I hope will be helpful in supporting Stannington school.

    I remained a governor at the schools after finishing working in that environment but I continued working as a home tutor until our move.

    So, now fully retired, I am enjoying volunteering in school one morning a week, which is helping me to get to know the ethos and the ways of the school as well as assisting staff and the children to learn.

  • Rev Catherine Pickford

    Co-opted Governor

    Appointed Spring 2018
    Term of Office – 4 years

    As well as having a daughter at the school, I am also the vicar of Stannington, which includes the village and surrounding area, including St Marys Park. I very much value the relationship between the church and school and enjoy leading the monthly school assemblies which take place in the church.

    I am passionate about the links between the school and the community, and am committed to mutual thriving and support between the groups and organisations which work for the benefit of the village and its people. I am also interested in giving the children opportunities to look beyond their immediate surroundings, and learn about those with lives very different to their own.

  • Mrs Angela Harker

    Associate Governor

    Office Manager
    I am an Associate Governor and I have been at Stannington First School since 2012 having previously worked at an accountancy firm.

  • Mrs Alexandra Palmer

    Headteacher Governor

    Alexandra Palmer - Headteacher

    I have been Head Teacher at Stannington First School since September 2017.

    During my time at the school, the Governors have been very supportive. They work alongside me to ensure I have clear, strategic vision for the school and I am leading it effectively to meet the needs of our pupils, staff and wider community. I sit on each of the committees and working groups and I am enormously grateful for all that our Governors do for Stannington First School.

  • Mr Stephen Tunesi

    Staff Governor

    Stephen Tunesi – Teacher

    I am a KS2 teacher, Senior Leader and staff governor. I have worked at Stannington First School since 2011.

    I am also the school Maths and Computing subject leader and the coach of our school football team.