Sir Charles Parsons School Governing Body

1. Introduction:
Governing bodies are the strategic leaders of schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. This is reflected in the law, which states that the purpose of maintained school governing bodies is to ‘conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school’.

In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
      • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
      • holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
      • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

2. School Governance Regulations:
The School Governance Regulations published by the Department for Education explains how the governing body of every maintained school must be constituted.

The total number of governors in all schools must be no fewer than seven. There is no upper limit but it is recommended that the governing body consider whether a smaller number of governors would allow business to be conducted more effectively.

The governing body must include:
      • at least two parent governors;
      • the headteacher (unless the headteacher chooses to resign from the governing body);
      • one staff governor; and
      • one local authority governor.

In addition, as the school is a foundation special school within a charitable trust it is required to have at least two trust governors.

The governing body may appoint as many co-opted governors as they consider necessary but the number of co-opted governors who are eligible to be elected or appointed as staff governors must not, when counted with the one staff governor and the headteacher, exceed one-third of the total membership of the governing body.

The governing body of Sir Charles has been agreed as follows:

      a. Three parent governors
      b. One Local Authority governor
      c. One staff governor
      d. One head teacher
      e. Three foundation governors 
      f.  Three co-opted governors


3. The Governing Body of Sir Charles Parsons School:
The governing body at Sir Charles Parsons School is responsible for the strategic direction of the school. The committees can be given delegated authority to make decisions, monitor, evaluate and review particular plans, policies and targets. Although decisions may be delegated, the governing body as a whole remains responsible for any decision made under delegation.

Details of our school governors can be found below.

The downloadable document at the bottom of the page gives further information about the roles of the governors.

4. Minutes of Governor Meetings.
Governing Body minutes are available on request.

Ashley Ferguson

Chair of Governors

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Foundation Governor

TERM OF OFFICE: One year remaining

WORK: I am a retired Chartered Civil Engineer. I have worked for over 20 years involved in project management of capital schemes in the water industry, delivering projects and programmes up to £80m. My work involves management of budgets, timescales and quality, dealing with multiple stakeholders and managing teams of people.

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: My work has given me skills and experience to assist the Governing body in challenging the school’s leadership to deliver the best outcomes for our students. I started as a parent governor before being appointed as Chair in 2015. I sit as Chair on the Board of Directors for Newcastle Special Schools Trust – The compass Trust of which Sir Charles Parsons is a member.

I sit as Vice Chair for the Finance and Staffing Committee and Lead Governor for Safeguarding.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Photography, Rugby and the odd social occasion. Family life is a large part of what I do.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: My son attended Sir Charles Parsons School. At this point I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a governor. I have lived all my life in the north east, initially living in Heaton.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: It was not something that had initially come to mind but I was persuaded by the then Headteacher and the Chair of the Governing Body. It is challenging and it is important that we have a mix of governors that can bring various skills to the role. I would hope that dealing with stakeholders, finance and chairing many meetings would help me carry out this role.

Nigel Coates

Vice Chair of Governors

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Vice Chair of Governors

TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

WORK: Associate Professor / Director of the Business Clinic, Northumbria University

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: Chair / Trustee of The Marketing Trust, Trustee of Smile for Life Children’s Charity

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Walking, gardening, swimming

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: I live in East Newcastle and have a special interest in students’ learning and their understanding of how to overcome Equality, Diversity and Inclusion barriers.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I was originally approached by a past Chair of Governors to consider joining the Board. The invitation was a surprise but having discussed it with my wife (who was a special needs teacher), I then visited the school to discuss the role with the then Head Teacher and Chair of Governors. I was immediately impressed with School and its philosophy. It was felt I could contribute to the Governing Body and I was delighted to become a governor.

Karen Hamilton

Head Teacher

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Head teacher of Sir Charles Parsons School

TERM OF OFFICE: Duration of headship


HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Swimming, reading and being outdoors.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: I have worked in Sir Charles Parsons School since it opened, first as a science teacher, then as part of the leadership team.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: It is important that the headteacher is part of the governing body to ensure that there is a strong link between the strategic leadership of the governing body and the everyday organisation and running of the school.

Ruth Proctor

Foundation Governor


TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

WORK: Retired

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: Member of Sir Charles Parsons School governing body for 18 years. Prior to that I was a parent governor at Cragside Primary School for 10 years.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Walking, reading, the theatre and singing in a local community choir.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: My son was a student here from 2002 to 2009. I have lived in Newcastle all of my life.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: Because I’m a passionate advocate for the school and for all young people with special needs.

Dawn McMurtry

Foundation Governor

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Foundation Governor

TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

WORK: Teach First – Responsible for the development and qualification of trainee teachers.
Worked as a teacher and leader in education in secondary schools in London and the North East.


HOBBIES & INTERESTS: I’m a fan of independent cinema and film. I do Yoga and Pilates as a form of exercise.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: My job involves travelling to many different secondary schools in the region, so I have the fortune to witness a range of good practice across schools. I have a particular interest in Sir Charles Parsons as I’m drawn to the personalised curriculum provision.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I believe that all children are entitled to a high-quality education - being on a governing body enables governors to support young people and shape the opportunities open to them.

Alexandra Weatherstone

Career Link Governor

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Co-opted, Career Link Governor


WORK: Enterprise Coordinator with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: This is my first role as a school governor.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Movies and theatre, dance and performing arts, travel and scrapbooking my experiences, walking with my beautiful pooch Poppy.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: My role requires me to work with numerous schools/colleges across the region to support the development, delivery, and ultimate achievement of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I have been working with education for nearly 6 years and in that time, I have become particularly interested in supporting young people with SEND. I wanted to become a school governor with Sir Charles Parsons to gain more experience in the running of the school and the challenges their young people face while giving careers and employability a firm place on the agenda.

Andrew Gullon

Co-opted Staff Governor

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Co-opted Staff Governor

TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

WORK: Senior Learning Support Assistant for 32 years

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: Nine years experience

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Seven-a-side football and spending time with my family.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: A member of the Staff and Finance Committee. A staff member at Sir Charles Parsons School within the 'Personalised Learning Department', and with specific responsibility for manual handling across the school.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: To bring my professional experience, and knowledge, and to share the views and where appropriate, the concerns of staff with the governing body and act as a conduit between staff and the governing body.

Saman Haq

Staff Governor


TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

WORK: Teacher at Sir Charles Parsons School


HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Cooking and natural home remedies

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: I live local to the school area and have done so for the past 20 years. My three children also attend secondary schools locally. I am therefore very familiar with the East end of Newcastle.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I have had the honour and privilege of working at Sir Charles Parsons School for the past nine years, as a member of the teaching staff. Already working in the school, I have first-hand experience of the education system and knowledge of teaching and learning, and I am committed to ensuring every child receives the very best education. I am in a unique position on our governing body, the role of staff governor offers me an opportunity to make a real contribution to the strategic management of the school, providing an interesting and rewarding dimension to work.
As a member of the governing body, I am passionate about ensuring that the provision and education of each and every child, is the best it can possibly be, working hard to ensure that we allow every child to reach their full potential whilst here at Sir Charles Parsons.

Lisa Barron

Parent Governor


TERM OF OFFICE: Four years

BUSINESS/WORK: I am currently an End Point Assessment manager for new standards and operational implementation, I have worked for my current employer for over 5 years. I have worked in various areas in my life such as adult training, childcare and Adult care.

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: I am new to being a school Parent Governor but feel my current skills and experience will help and support the school within this role.

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: I enjoy spending time with my family going on days out and finding new adventures, I also enjoy doing some craft activities, baking and swimming.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: My son currently attends Sir Charles Parsons and started in 2022, we currently live in the Newcastle area.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I became a school governor as I want to be an advocate for the children and parents of students that attend the school and feel this will help to support with opportunities for everyone who attends the school so they can achieve their full potential. I think that being a governor will also give me more understanding of how the school is run and understand some of the challenges they face.

John Wood

CATEGORY OF GOVERNOR: Foundation Governor


WORK: Teacher of PE and Sport and Assistant Head of the year at Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.

GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE: This is my first role as a school governor.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: I enjoy listening to podcasts on High Performance and reading about leadership, taking m y children to various sporting activities including basketball and football.

LINKS TO THE SCHOOL/AREA: I’ve lived in the North East for over 20 years and have a particular interest in supporting children and young people with SEND. Working in an Independent School we are committed to creating meaningful relationships with schools in our local area, to create a partnership and support package that can benefit the young people in the North East.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A GOVERNOR: I’m passionate about supporting young people with SEND and ensuring there is outstanding provision for their education which can further improve their opportunities in adulthood. My father sadly developed Parkinson’s disease and I witnessed first hand how this changed is sense of self and observed how peoples perceptions changed. I want to be able to champion everyone with SEND to see them as valuable people in our society and celebrate their achievements. I wanted to become a school governor with Sir Charles Parsons to also gain more experience in the running of a school and help make an impact on the safeguarding of their young people.

T. 0191 2952280