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

I have lived most 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 education and
have attended the Governors’ Leadership Development Programme.  I regularly
attend courses on the South Tyneside 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 extremely 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 their full 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 highly 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 15 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 absolute 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 then 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 9, 7 and 5. 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 truly 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

I married and made my home in South Shields over ten years ago and now have
three children in primary and secondary 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.

Steven Graham – Co-opted Governor
I currently work for Northumbria Police and I am part of the Neighbourhood 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

David Gowans – Co-opted Governor
I work for Barclays, leading their team supporting Creative Industries businesses.
Working for Barclays for a decade in support of industry, I see the importance of
creativity and diversity in success.

I live in South Shields and was brought up in a struggling single parent household, I
have a huge passion for supporting programs in my region and I also mentor
neodiverse people in support of their ambitions.

I am incredibly excited about helping guide the school in its journey as a governor. I
am keen to have a key involvement around STEM activity and I am proud to be a
small part of all the hard work from the parents, teachers and support system the
school has in place.

John Pearson – Co-opted Governor
I am delighted to be a co-opted Governor of the Governing Board of Laygate
Community School.

I have lived and worked in South Tyneside all my life, from Westoe Colliery to South
Tyneside MBC until I retired in October 2021. I currently sit as a board member on
the Tyne and Wear Pension Board, and I am also a trustee for the Harton and
Westoe Welfare. I enjoy swimming, walking and watching football.

I am so pleased that my first role as a school governor is at Laygate Community
School, as my first school as a child was Laygate Infants then Laygate Juniors.
I look forward to working with and supporting the Governing Board and staff to
ensure the children can achieve their best possible outcomes.

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.