Meet the Governors

Judith Ward – Chair of Governing Board / Co-opted Governor

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 (apart from one year in Washington) 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 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 NGA 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 knowledgeable 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.

Ali Hayder – Parent Governor

I have lived in South Shields since 1990.  I am very active in the local community, for example, I have raised money for local charities and been involved in local campaigns.  I am the executive president of the Bangladesh Human Rights North-East U.K. Division.

I have a daughter who attends Laygate School so I am keen to be involved with the governing board.  I have a Batchelor of Science degree from my home country of Bangladesh and I have continued to be interested in education for all ages.  As a governor, I will support the governing board to achieve the best possible education for the children who attend the school.

Aysha Daya – Parent Governor

I was elected to the governing board in May 2019.

A graduate in Islamic Theology, I grew up in Coventry.  I have lived in South Shields since September 2014 when my husband secured the role of the Imam at the Al Azhar Mosque in Laygate. I am also a qualified ESOL language instructor and taught at the Berlitz School of Language in Makkah, Saudi Arabia for 7 years. Previous work also relates to community cohesion in Coventry.

Within Laygate Community School, I felt it important to have a representative for ethnic and minority groups at the governing board level. This is to ensure all parents can feel that they have someone to whom they can relate, to voice their concerns.

In an ever-growing world where people move freely, I feel I will be able to bring the views of the parents who until now, may not have been vocal.

Scott Brown – Co-opted Governor

I am currently headteacher 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 time as Executive Head at Laygate, supporting the then, new headteacher. 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, 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.

 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 reaching their very best potential and I hope to make a valued contribution to the continued development of the school.

Luke Oldham – Co-opted Governor

Born and raised in the glorious seaside town of Bridlington in East Yorkshire, I first moved to the area in 2000 to undergo a Merchant Navy cadetship, living in Chichester whilst attending South Tyneside College.

I’ve spent seventeen years working at sea, sailing in the various ranks culminating in serving as a ship’s Captain. The decision was made to pursue a new career ashore when my wife and I decided to have a family. I have spent the last three years working in one of the countries busiest ports first as an Assistant Harbour Master and most recently progressing to the role as the ports VTS Manager.

I am currently living in Cleadon, Sunderland, with my wife and three children, two boys and a girl, aged 8, 6 and 4. In addition to being a school governor, I’m currently a sitting Magistrate for the Northumbria South Bench.

I’ve always had an interest in education since my wife undertook her teaching degree. My interest has furthermore increased now that I have three children in primary school. I’m particularly interested in SEND provision and that schools adopt an inclusive environment for all pupils.

Jason Pateman – Co-opted Governor

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 my home in 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.

David Newey – Co-opted Governor

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.

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/guardians to have regular contact with the police to help break down or stop barriers coming up and to hopefully stop young children being afraid of the police.  I have delivered several inputs to the whole school and individual year groups and the interaction from the 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.

Kiri Dowens – Co-opted Governor

I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the board of governors for Laygate Community School. I was born in the Chichester area and have spent much of my life in South Shields attending local schools. I am now a qualified primary school teacher with a BA Hons. in History.

I currently work as a Home Tutor at the Beacon Centre as well as working as a casual sports coach for South Tyneside Council’s play development scheme. Having previously spent 3 years teaching at an international school in Kuwait, I have a great deal of experience working with EAL students. Throughout my education and career, I have a vast array of experiences working with children of far-ranging needs from moderate learning difficulties to severe and profound physical difficulties. I feel it is these experiences that will help me aid the school in its aim to have all children reaching their full potential and beyond.

In my personal life, I have always been involved in dancing and trampolining. Things which have been somewhat put on hold since the birth of my beautiful daughter 20 months ago. I look forward to the exciting experiences being on the board of governors for such a diverse and dedicated school will bring.

Ken Younger – Co-opted Governor

I was and I am born, bred 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 several 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 several 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.

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 the school setting.

Chris Manns – LA Governor

I was delighted to join as the Local Authority Governor in March 2020.  I have worked at South Tyneside Council since December 2014 and am currently employed as the HR Advisory Services Manager.  I have worked in several Local Authorities providing HR advice and support to Headteachers and Governors for over 15 years.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my dogs, cooking and reading.

I am looking forward to supporting the Governing Board and the staff to ensure the children can achieve their best possible outcomes.