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 the 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 provided by the South Tyneside School Governor Training
Programme, in addition to online governor training delivered through NGA Learning

I also serve as a trustee on the management committee of South Shields branch of
the Citizens Advice Bureau. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, looking after my
dog and cooking. I am particularly interested in politics, both local and national.
Living in South Shields, I am acutely aware of the issues faced by the families which
are served by our school.

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 wonderful 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 Community 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 our children.

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 serving 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 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 neo
diverse 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.

Lyndsey Magee – Co-opted Governor
I currently work for the Port of Tyne and I’m very proud to be part of a business that
tries to give back to the community where it can. I hope that, as a school governor, I
can try to do the same by offering my time and gain some valuable experience for
myself in the process.

I’m expecting to learn a lot during my time as a Governor and I’ll be approaching the
role with a completely open mind since I’ve not had any involvement in education
since, I was a pupil myself (over 20 years ago).

I’m South Shields born and bred and as I live just a stone’s throw from Laygate
Community School I was excited to be given the opportunity to serve on the board of
governors to, hopefully, make a difference for local children and their families.

Cameron Abernethy – Co-opted Governor
I am delighted to be co-opted as a governor at Laygate Community School. I moved
to South Shields in January 2022 to serve as the Associate Priest at St Mark and St
Cuthbert’s, Cleadon Park and St Peter’s, Harton. My role also involves supporting St
Jude’s Church, Laygate.

Before my ordination, I was a primary school teacher for fifteen years working mainly
in the centre of Edinburgh. I have been very fortunate to teach in schools with very
diverse school populations and have learned much from the pupils and their families.
I am passionate about all children being able to flourish within school.

It has been a real pleasure getting to know the staff and pupils of Laygate
Community School over this past year. I have enjoyed the opportunities to support
classes, welcome visits to St Jude’s Church and to lead whole school assemblies. I
look forward to becoming a part of the school community in this new role as a


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.

Nicole Tang – Staff Governor
I am currently a teacher at Laygate Community School and have been in this post for
over 4 years. I first started working at Laygate through a supply agency, where my
role continuously changed. Although I was a supply teacher, I was able to
experience first-hand how unique the school was. As soon as a post for a teacher
came up, I was eager to apply for the position.

I have been lucky to be a teacher at Laygate as we are a close-knit team and every
member of staff within the school is supportive and hard-working. Being a part of the
governing board will be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to being
involved in school-related discussions and seeing how each of the governors share
their expertise with one another and strive to ensure the needs of all the children are