Meet Our Local Governing Committee

Alex Burdon

Trust Member – Local Governing Committee Chair

About Alex

I am a former Walkergate pupil and I’m very proud of the start in life the school and its community gave me. Throughout my career I’ve worked in education including in secondary teaching and more recently working in leadership roles for awarding bodies. I currently lead an Apprenticeship End Point Assessment Organisation. I am married with two young children.

What inspired you to become a governance volunteer?

I’ve seen first hand the impact of governance on school improvement and I wanted to offer my experience to support continued progress at Walkergate. You only get one chance at a primary education and being able to help make that a really positive experience for as many young people as possible led me to become a governance volunteer. Schools rely on volunteers for this work and there is always a shortage of available people.

What are the benefits you get from being a governance volunteer?

Firstly, I really enjoy governance and feel privileged to chair the LGC at Walkergate. I enjoy the opportunity to continue my involvement in schools despite moving on from teaching. Governance needs a range of skills and its difficult to get the opportunity to develop that skill set. Being a governance volunteer means I get to meet our pupils and staff, NEAT colleagues, advisors and a range of other stakeholders, strategically questioning and observing. By doing this we drive continued improvement for our young people. Developing these skills has helped further my career and is extremely rewarding. As a parent, experiencing primary education in this way has helped me better understand what my children are doing, how they are progressing and what I can do to support them.

In three words, how does being a governance volunteer make you feel?

Inspired, happy, empathetic.

Anne-Marie Blackburn

Trust Member

Laura Bridges

Parent Member

About Laura

I live now in Walkergate but have grown up and lived in lots of places, from the East End to as far away as New Zealand. For many years I was a theatre maker, and most loved creating stories and performances with and for children and families. During COVID I re-trained in Psychology. I now work for an NHS therapy service, both researching and helping people with their mental health.

What inspired you to become a governance volunteer?

My child, Joss, is a pupil at Walkergate. I first wanted to get involved to help the school in return for the help it gave him when he started. But from my work with lots of schools across the North East, I also had a sense of how wide the range is of school experiences, benefits, needs and challenges, for individual schoolchildren, staff, families and communities. I wanted to become a governor to help the school think about and make sure that it works in the best way it can for all the different people that are part of it.

What are the benefits you get from being a governance volunteer?

The best bit is getting an inside look at how the school works day-to-day and seeing the brilliant work that is happening everywhere. It feels so special and heart-warming as a parent to walk down the corridors, see into classrooms, talk to the staff, and see for myself the imagination, dedication and thoughtfulness that’s going on – especially when otherwise it can all too often be just “What was school like today?” “Good”(!). It also feels really good to be able to speak out about things that are important to me and see them acted on. I think that the idea of being a Parent Governor can seem a bit intimidating, but it’s definitely given me confidence, and I’d welcome any parents/carers that are interested to join in. (And I’m always happy to chat with anyone who’d like to know more 😊).

In three words, how does being a governance volunteer make you feel?

Proud, connected, active.

David Buchan

Trust Member

Holly Busson

Parent Member

About Holly

Holly is a Chartered Surveyor specialising in commercial property valuations. She has worked in this field for nearly 15 years and is based in Newcastle city centre. Holly also lives in the Walkergate community and has volunteered locally with the elderly.

What inspired you to become a governance volunteer?

I have witnessed how happy the children are to go to Walkergate and I hope to be part of ensuring that continues and the children thrive to their best potential.

What are the benefits you get from being a governance volunteer?

I am inspired by the hard work that goes into running and maintaining our local school and community. This hard work ultimately benefits us all.

In three words, how does being a governance volunteer make you feel?

Engaged, passionate, welcome.

David Coe

Trust Member

Beverley Collins

Staff Member

About Beverley

I am a staff governor and also a class teacher and Maths Lead. I didn’t start teaching until I was 42 after leaving a job as a Senior Commercial Underwriter for a large insurance company. After leaving this job, I initially helped out in my daughters’ school which is when I decided to become a teacher. I have two grown up daughters and a granddaughter.

What inspired you to become a governance volunteer?

As a member of staff, I felt it was important to have someone on the governance team who could represent the staff and give them a voice in the wider decision making process. I hope to contribute and ensure that governance has a positive impact upon the pupils and the staff at Walkergate to ensure that our school develops happy, positive and confident children.

What are the benefits you get from being a governance volunteer?

I am excited to learn more about governance as it is the first time I have had this role. I believe as a member of staff, I will be able to make a positive contribution to the governance team and effectively contribute to the strategic decision making about our school to ensure it remains a positive and effective environment for all.

In three words, how does being a governance volunteer make you feel?

Excited, curious, happy.

Donna Harrison

Trust Member – Local Governing Committee Co-Vice Chair

Jak Hogg

Co-opted Member

Jade Martin

Trust Member – Local Governing Committee Co-Vice Chair

About Jade

Proudly I grew up in Walker! My early primary education inspired me to become a primary school teacher and I
believe this was the bedrock of where I am today! I am currently a Deputy Head Teacher in a local North Tyneside
school, after working in the education sector for 11 years.

What inspired you to become a governance volunteer?

My educational mantra – ‘every child gets one shot at primary education, we need to make it a good one and need to make it land.’ This role has enabled me to have a wider impact beyond my role, to offer more to a different setting, in a completely different context, allowing me to work with likeminded professionals. I believe I have the expertise to skilfully work alongside, supporting and challenging the staff at Walkergate, in ensuring we are providing quality education to its children and the community it serves.

What are the benefits you get from being a governance volunteer?

Being a school governor is a truly rewarding experience. As a school governor, you give back and make a difference to the young people in the school. The main benefit is seeing Walkergate in action, seeing the children and supporting the direction of the school to have an impact on the educational deal the children receive. Joining NEAT as a governor has opened up the door to a wealth of training and opportunities, which have enabled me to develop both professionally and personally.

In three words, how does being a governance volunteer make you feel?

Knowledgeable, dynamic, proud.