Governor Pen Portraits

Ruth Veitch, Head Teacher

Our Lady and St. Thomas RC Primary School is a very special place and the whole school, Parish and local community of Willington have been extremely welcoming and supportive to me as a new Head teacher.

My personal vision is to lead our exciting, innovative school in its next chapter.  I aim to ensure excellence through whole school team work in partnership with inspirational classroom practitioners and through enhancing our creative curriculum and wider learning opportunities.

I have taught in the Durham area for twenty years with experience of all age ranges.  During this time, I was fortunate to teach in South America during a secondment which was extremely rewarding.  I have been a Deputy Head for 8 years and a Governor for many years in a large Catholic Primary School before my first Headship appointment in September 2017 at Our Lady and St Thomas.

I have a wealth of experience in all areas of Education and enjoy the unique challenges and invaluable opportunities being a Head teacher provides.

Strong working partnerships with parents are essential and being involved in school life. Through our school events and groups and family learning we will continue to strengthen these links and can look forward to an exciting future for our school.

Alison Aisbitt, Chair of Governors

After studying law at Liverpool and attending the Bar in London, I now work for Sunderland City Council as the Legal Advice Development Manager for Social and Welfare Law.

I was appointed as a Foundation Governor about 18 years ago, and have been Chair of the Governing Body since 2002.

I was appointed as a National Leader of Governance in May 2014, and bring a wide range of experience of managing people and services, dealing with change and monitoring plans and projects to bring about improvement.

I am a member of an Interim Board at a secondary school in Durham, and have recently joined St Mary’s as a governor in Newton Aycliffe

I am fully committed to the children who, I would say, come first in any decision I would make, and as a parent to India, a past pupil at this school, who is now studying to be a teacher herself.

In my spare time I am an avid football supporter, making regular trips to watch Liverpool FC play.

Madeleine Fulton, Staff Representative

I joined the Governing Body as Teacher Representative a number of years ago bringing a wide range of educational experience to the table.

I qualified as a teacher in 1987 after completing a four year BEd Honours degree with a specialism in Early Years teaching.  My career began in Newton Aycliffe, moving to OLST in 1994, where I worked First in Reception / Year 1 / Year 2, moving to a range of different year group combinations in the years since!  At some point along the way, I became Deputy Head, a role I embrace wholeheartedly as it allows me the chance to help guide and lead my school as a member of the senior leadership team but to continue to work where I know I am at my best – in the classroom.  I have taught every year group across the Primary Curriculum but I have to say, that my favourite Year groups are Years 5 and 6.  I love seeing children on the cusp of young adulthood, learning to make reasoned judgements and wise choices.  There is no greater pleasure than helping them realise the potential that they often don’t see within themselves and I am proud that we teach our children to be articulate and confident in expressing their own opinions.  I have an absolute passion for this school and its pupils and I can’t imagine teaching anywhere else!  I work alongside a team of the most dedicated and gifted colleagues anyone could wish for and it is a joy to come to work every day.

Another of my passions is the training of those new to the profession – it is an honour to be at the forefront of shaping future generations of teachers and I look forward to re-establishing my link as a trainer for Durham University from September 2018.  Many of my past students are now colleagues in other schools and it is thrilling to know that I have helped them become the teachers they are today.

As a local resident and member of our Parish, I am immersed in my community and so teaching here is very personal for me. I am a mother of two grown up children who both attended OLST and flourished during their time here and I am at my happiest when surrounded by my rather large family, spending most of my time outside of work with them.

Jamie Graham, Foundation Governor

I have worked in the IT industry, predominantly as a Field Engineer for the last 16 years, with a background in sales and management before that. I graduated (fully 20 years ago this year) from the University of Manchester after studying literature.

As a father of six, I have two former pupils and four current children at Our Lady.  My wife, Lorna, is a Teacher and PE co-ordinator at the school and we spend every waking moment when not at work watching our children play sport.

Joanne Norman, Parent Governor

I have lived in Willington since 2009, having moved from Bishop Auckland where I was born.  I have two children, the oldest of which is a student at OLST, with my youngest soon to follow.  I have been a Parent Governor since May 2017.

Shortly after graduating from York St John University I began working for Groundwork, an environmental charity, delivering projects in Durham, Gateshead and Sunderland, I left the organisation in February 2018 to take a career break.

As a Senior Project Officer, I delivered a wide range of community projects including play projects, heritage schemes, education projects, environmental improvements and community engagement activities.  I also managed educational and engagement activities at Chopwell Wood in Gateshead and led a project to re-establish a community centre.  Much of my work has involved community consultation and securing funding to develop a project.

My aim as Parent Governor is to support the school to be the best it can be and ensure it provides for all children’s educational and developmental needs.  I am delighted that the school places such emphasis on the role of families to help children develop and am committed to helping the school sustain this.

I have particular interests in health and wellbeing and the environment and look forward to supporting the staff and children develop new projects in these fields.

 Marie Roe, Foundation Governor

I recently became a foundation governor for Our Lady & St Thomas Primary School, after being a parent governor since 2015. I have worked in the Housing and Regeneration sector for the past eighteen years.  I lead teams who ensure that businesses manage themselves well.  I am a fully qualified specialist in Human Resources and Organisational Development,  I support the school in designing and delivering whole school initiatives”.

Jane Sumega, Foundation Governor

After studying for 4 years in Edinburgh, I worked for a year at Beamish Museum as an Education Officer and it is from there that my passion for teaching started.  I then moved to London where I trained at Goldsmiths University and worked in a school there before heading off to Kent to teach.  I returned to the North East after 11 years to take up a new role at Parkside Academy.   I am still teaching Science and absolutely love the excitement of each day in school and the lessons that it brings.

Children are our future and any decision that is made must centre around their best interests.  I am a parent to two girls at OLST and I am so proud to hear how much hard work our teachers put into the school for them to enjoy their education.

I also organise and deliver Science Clubs in the school to develop a love of science and investigation skills.

Fraser Tinsley, LA Governor

I have been a school governor since 2014 and live in Willington with my wife and three children.

I am a Durham County Councillor representing Willington & Hunwick Division and Chair of Greater Willington Town Council.  I am a member of Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority Board and a Charter Trustee of the City of Durham.

I am a Chartered Town Planner and qualified Teacher (QTS) and have experience working in the public and private sectors in central government and private consultancy.  Awarded an MA (Hons) in Town Planning and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) I also hold a Post Graduate Certificate in Pedagogy from St Mary’s University.

I have significant experience of governance in many different contexts. An ability to drive change and work with stakeholders to achieve results. I am committed to using my skills and knowledge to support the development of this area, with a particular focus on developing opportunities for children.

In my spare time I play cricket for Willington CC in the North East Premier League.

Sarah Jackson, Foundation Governor

I have recently joined the Governing Body as a foundation governor.

I studied Psychology at Lancaster University for three years and during my studies I volunteered as a mentor with children who were isolated in the community, then with children who were NEET (not in education, employment or training) and supported them to realise they could achieve their aspirations. Once I had completed my degree I began working for Barnardos in Burnley, supporting families who were at risk of eviction and who had complex needs. I moved back to Durham in 2012 and began working for Durham County Council doing a similar job, working with families who had multiple and complex needs. I now work in Children’s Services in Newcastle as a Family Support Worker.

Since I began volunteering I have always been passionate about helping families, parents and children, to achieve their potential and this is why I love my job and find my job so rewarding.
I am also an active member of Our Lady and St. Thomas Catholic Church, I volunteer with the Children’s Liturgy and I have recently become a catechist to support the children preparing to make their First Holy Communion.

In my spare time I like spending time with my family and friends.