Swalwell Primary School

Working together, learning together



Welcome to our Governors’ section. 

Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.


A welcome message from the Chair of Governors



Dear all


I am the Chair of Governors at Swalwell Primary School and would like to welcome you to our website. I hope it provides you with all the information you need – if you cannot find what you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact us.


We want our website to be a gateway for communication between the school, parents and the wider community. If you have any suggestions for improving the website and/or the information provided we would be very happy to hear them!


I do hope it is evident from our website that Swalwell Primary School is a safe, caring and truly inclusive environment where every single pupil counts and contributes. We strive to make sure that our children are happy, involved and fully engaged in their learning and progress. We also have a great deal of outdoor space and learning resources which provide an added element of fun!


Our mission is to ensure that every child is provided with the skills they need to flourish both at school and in life beyond education. Those skills include resilience, compassion, communication and independence. To achieve that mission we follow a rich, varied and vigorous curriculum to engage and challenge pupils, delivered by teachers who endeavour to be outstanding at all times – every lesson counts!


Thank you for visiting our website. We want Swalwell Primary School to continue to be a central and constructive part of the community so please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Lucy Gray

Chair of Governors, Swalwell Primary School




Lucy Gray, Chair of Governors


I have been a governor at Swalwell for 5 years and I have been Chair of the Governing Body since 2016. I live in Gateshead and applied to be a governor in order to make a positive contribution to my local community. I am a solicitor and find that a lot of the skills I have developed in my professional life help me to be as effective as possible in my role as Chair.


At the time of writing I have a four week old baby so I will not be around as much as I would like over the next few weeks but I am looking forward to getting back to school as soon as I can, with the special perspective that parenthood brings!


Malcolm Brown, Vice Chair of Governors


I have been a governor at Swalwell for over 5 years. I have over 20 years experience as a governor in two other primary schools. I started as a parent governor in my children’s primary school.


I have always worked with children. A career as a social worker followed by over 15 years as a foster carer. My wide and I still do a daily school run for our Year 5 grandchild. We have provided preschool care for three of our grandchildren but COVID has limited our contact with our fourth grandchild born this year.


I read a lot and follow Newcastle United and the Welsh Rugby Team.


Jan Rodriguez


“I was born, grew up and was educated in Gateshead, as were both of my children. I spent my career in education as a teacher and a senior leader in Gateshead and later working as an education consultant and an L.A. adviser in Yorkshire. Over the years I have been a parent governor and also worked on a regular basis with governing bodies in my work as an adviser. I am now retired and settled back in Gateshead and I’m very proud to be a governor at Swalwell Primary School, working alongside the headteacher and all staff to allow the children to access the broad education and many opportunities which Swalwell Primary School has to offer.”


Alex Perkins


“I’m a co-opted Governor and consider myself extremely lucky to have lived and worked in the local area for the last 16 years.  Originally from Birkenhead, Gateshead is now very much a place I consider home and as such I’m keen to give something back to the community which has given me so much.  In particular, I’m passionate about ensuring ALL young people are provided with the education, support and wider opportunities they need to thrive and realise their potential.  I have 15+ years’ experience of the education sector (most of which has been in Gateshead) having been fortunate enough to work for both the Gateshead School Sport Partnership and Youth Sport Trust.  Owing to this background I have a sound knowledge and experience base, possessing particular skills which I feel will help to drive our school forward, ensuring it is best placed to realise its aims and fulfil its vision.”


J. Jones


Having worked in the office at Swalwell Primary for a year covering maternity leave, I knew instantly how amazing the school and it's leadership was.  Although I was sad to leave the Swalwell family in an employment capacity in June 2022, I was thrilled to be invited back to join the Governor board as a co-opted Governor.


I have lived in Gateshead for over 20 years and feel proud to serve as a Governor for such a caring, compassionate and inclusive Primary School in the area.


I am looking forward to working alongside all Governors, the Head Teacher and leadership team, the teaching staff and the parents and pupils of Swalwell, to help provide a positive contribution to the school and help drive it's vision and core belief that 'every child has the right to become the best they possibly can'. 


Councillor Dorothy Burnett 


I am a Gateshead councillor I feel it is a privilege to be appointed as a Governor of Swalwell School. I live in this community and am very passionate about the education of our children.


As Gateshead Councillor I take my governor duties very seriously and recognise the need to scrutinise and question the policies and principles put in place to ensure the effective governance and success of the school, whilst supporting the head teacher and her staff, who through their dedication and commitment, provide the best education possible for our precious children, whose education is paramount to their future. I believe in equal opportunity for all and this should be reflected throughout all teaching practices and educational establishments.


As a parent and  grandmother I understand the importance of children being taught in a safe and inspiring environment, by skilled teachers who work hard every day to make sure our children meet their full potential  and who understand the needs of the diverse community our children belong to.


As governors we are answerable not only to the parents and children,  but the  whole community to ensure the school stands up to its vision statement of providing a safe caring and respectful environment which enables pupils to develop emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually and develop their full potential through learning at Swalwell Primary school.


Beverley Wright


I was born and raised in the Gateshead borough and have been a parent governor at Swalwell for over 5 years now, both my children attend the school, my daughter began as an ARMS pupil in nursery and is now in year 6, my son is in year 3. I wanted to be a governor at Swalwell to give something back for the support they had given us as a family. Previous to having children I worked in the care sector, managing services and facilitating training of social care staff, I am extremely passionate about inclusion and SEN, I have found as both a parent and governor Swalwell’s approach in both of these areas are exceptional. I want to use my personal and professional experience to support the school to progress with its vision and to provide an education and opportunities that are accessible to all.


In my free time (which is rare) I love spending time with family and friends, I’m a huge football fan and go to every home match, I am also actively involved in a handful of charities supporting children and their families across our region.


Danielle Harding


I am a parent governor and have two children who attend Swalwell Primary. I attended Swalwell Primary School when I was a child and have lived in the local community all of my life. This alone gives me the drive to be involved in such an exceptional school not just as a parent but as a governor too. I aim to utilise my involvement within the local community so that it benefits the children and staff at school and vice versa. I am passionate about not just my own children, but every child’s education and ensuring they are getting the right one.


Barry Abbott


My name is Barry, and I am the Rector of Swalwell, Whickham and Chaplain to the Gibside Estate. However, in a previous career of twenty years, I have worked at a senior level within two Local Authorities managing Environmental Health Services. I am dedicated to lifelong learning, and the delivery of the very best of education for all children. In my present role I work with, and seek to serve our community wherever possible. It is a privilege be connected with Swalwell Primary School. I remain passionate about helping all children to achieve their full potential, and over the years have gained substantial experience from membership of several school Governing Bodies. I am married to Jill, and we have four children, all of which have been schooled locally. Our youngest is enjoying Year 13 at Whickham School. My pastimes revolve around cycling, swimming, reading and photography. That said, if years could be rolled back, I’d still be playing rugby and running karate clubs! Barry


Samantha Leaver


I have worked at Swalwell Primary School as an Assistant Headteacher since 2016. I am the SENDCo and Early Years lead. I also deliver Forest School and Life skills lessons in Early Years and Key Stage1. I am passionate about inclusion within our school and ensuring that every child gets a curriculum that allows them to thrive. This is one of the reasons I became a school Governor, as well as wanting to ensure the school continues to go from strength to strength. In my spare time out of school I enjoy walking with my children and dog, exercising and going on holiday.


Karen McCall


I am one of the Assistant Heads at Swalwell Primary School, where I have worked since 2014. My aim is to use my experience to support the Head Teacher in developing new initiatives within our school to maintain and improve standards including progress, achievement and behaviour, ensuring our children have the best possible education. As a member of staff on the Governing Body, I aim to offer an insight into school activities and give a professional knowledge of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. I am passionate that all children develop as young adults and that this is as important as academic learning, this means that their emotional and mental health is of high priority.


Eileen Elliott 

I am the School Business Manager at Swalwell and in October 21. I have worked in 4 schools over a period of 15 years. I have 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren. I love working in schools. My role is to provide the greatest resources for the children, parents, staff, and governors to ensure the best outcomes for the children at our school. I believe that if schools and families can work together for the children we will have well-rounded children who can move into their place in the world with confidence. 


What Governors do…


  • determine the aims and overall conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement;
  • be a critical friend of the Head Teacher;
  • set and review staffing levels and structures;
  • appoint Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers;
  • set and agree school budgets;
  • Ensure policies are set and adhered to;
  • Monitor Health and Safety and management of the premises.


Our Governing Body


  • works closely with the head teacher and senior management team to set the direction for the school;
  • determines the aims and overall conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational attainment;
  • conducts most of its business through meetings, making use of relevant papers and guidance, training, and advice from the head teacher;
  • has a range of duties including;
  • setting targets for pupils achievement
  • managing the schools finances and setting the school budget
  • ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum is delivered
  • developing school policies.
  • appointing staff and specifically the head teacher, undertaking performance management and reviewing pay.


Becoming a Governor


Parent Governor


Parent governors are elected by parents for a term of four years. At the end of that time the position will be advertised through school and parents asked to apply, with a vote of parents if there are too many candidates for the positions available.


Co-opted/ community Governor /associate Governor


Generally, when a position becomes vacant, the governors look for a person from the community who has the expertise, experience or qualities needed to help with the work of the body.


If you are interested please contact the school.

School Financial Information & Benchmarking Spending


We are asked to publish on our school’s website whether any member of staff receives a salary of £100,000 or receives increments of £10,000. This is to confirm no member of staff is paid this figure.


School Financial Benchmarking

The school uses the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Schools Financial Benchmarking website to find similar schools and then compares their per-pupil revenue and expenditure data against spending at Swalwell Primary. This allows the school to identify areas where spending is comparatively high or low. It is important to also understand the story behind the data and to consider it in context.


The Headteacher and Business Manager work closely with the Chair of the Resources Committee when considering financial decisions and the Leadership Team are also consulted when developing the systems and processes the school has in place to help ensure spending is efficient and results in the best outcomes for our pupils.