Welcome To Our Website!


School Governance

Governing Body 2022/23

Documents for download:

Register of Pecuniary Interests
Please note - the signed copy is held on file in school for GDPR purposes and is available for viewing on request

Governor Information
Gillian Surtees

Parochial Church Council (PCC) Foundation Governor – Chair of Governors

I was appointed as a PCC foundation governor by the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Education Board in 2009 and I am a member of the congregation at St Mary’s Parish Church. I have over 30 years of governor experience, initially as a parent governor at my children’s primary school and then as a teacher and head teacher governor at schools where I worked across Tyneside. My grandchildren now attend Whickham Parochial.

When I retired as a head teacher of a Church of England Primary School, I was delighted to bring my governor experience to the Parochial school to support and help bring continued success across the school. I am also keen to ensure the Christian ethos and excellent relationships with St Mary’s Church are maintained and encouraged. I was appointed as Vice Chair to the governors in 2018 and as Chair of Governors in 2021.

Lorraine Ferguson

Co-opted Governor - Vice Chair

I have lived in Whickham for over 25 years, and I have 3 children. I always took a keen interest in school life when my children were at primary school, and I can see how things have moved on and developed within the education system in only a few short years. With that in mind, I was keen, and was fortunate enough to be elected initially as Parent Governor at this school, and later becoming a Co-opted Governor. The children’s social and educational development is so important, and for me to be able to be a part of a team of dedicated individuals, understanding how the school is run, and contributing to decision making is both exciting and rewarding.

My background is as a Human Resources professional, having worked for a children’s charity for over 25 years now. Many of the skills developed during my career can equally be applied to the role of Governor, including interpersonal skills, staff recruitment and training, budget monitoring etc. I have a particular interest in Safeguarding, having been trained to deliver Safeguarding courses, including protecting children and young people on-line, and I am currently link Governor for Safeguarding. Hopefully I can use some of this knowledge and experience to help the growth of the school and its pupils in years to come.

Christopher William Liddle

Foundation Governor

I am a teacher with over twenty years experience in secondary education.

As a Foundation Governor, I was initially elected to represent St Mary’s parish church and continue their commitment to the Parochial School. I have been a governor for over 10 years. My son is the third generation to attend the Parochial School, as did I and also my mother. The Parochial School has been a big part of my family’s life and I see it as a great honor and privilege to serve as the Chair of the Governors.

Father Barry J Abbott

Foundation Governor

I am Rector of Whickham and Chaplain to the Gibside Estate. As an Anglican priest I serve the historic parish of Whickham. The Church of England Parochial School was founded by a previous Rector of Whickham over 300 years ago and has remained under the Church’s care until the 1970’s when it became Local Authority Controlled. By virtue of being Rector, I am a Foundation Governor. However in a previous career of twenty years, I 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.

As well as the conventional duties associated with my present role I am charged to work with, and alongside, all members of the community for their benefit. I have good working relationship with all schools in Whickham, as I do with local businesses and local politicians. I have a good understanding of the area; its strengths and as well as its needs.

I remain passionate about helping all children to achieve their full potential and have gained substantial experience from membership of several school Governing Bodies over the years.
I am married to Jill and we have four children, all of which have been schooled in Whickham, our youngest is enjoying his time at Whickham School. My pastimes revolve around cycling, swimming, reading and I’m presently developing a proposal for a PhD. Though if years could be rolled back I’d still be playing rugby and running karate clubs!

Rachel Simpson-Smith

Parent Governor

I am currently serving my second term as Parent Governor at Whickham Parochial School. I have two children who are in Year 4 and Year 1.

I am a Primary School Teacher of over 16 years with a specialism in Early Years and I work as a Nursery Teacher in a local primary school. The education, learning and development of young children have long been my greatest passion and I am wholly committed to supporting Mrs Walton and the Governing body in delivering the school’s aims and values. I am hugely committed in my desire to help our school achieve high standards of education, through a fun, creative and child-centred curriculum.

I am also involved in the running and organisation of the Friends of Whickham Parochial Primary School, occupying the role of Vice Chair, helping to raise much needed funds for our school.

Councillor Marilynn Ord

Co-opted Governor

I am married with two grown up sons and five grandchildren, I have lived on Fellside Park in Whickham for over forty years.

I have been a Local Ward Councillor for Whickham South and Sunniside for the past twenty years.

I am also a School Governor at Cloverhill Primary, both schools for the past twenty years since I was elected onto Gateshead Council.

Beth Smith

LA Governor

Having moved to the North East with my husband’s work in 1964, I have lived in Whickham ever since. Both of my daughters attended the Parochial School. I am a teacher by profession, having worked in schools within the area until my retirement. Already being a school governor at Park Lane, Gateshead MBC asked me to accept a governor place at the Parochial School as they wanted someone committed to St. Mary’s Church. This was then followed by a request to join Washingwell as governor, and I have served both schools for many years, including in the positions of Deputy Chair and Chair. I am a regular worshipper at the Parish Church serving for many years as Admin Assistant to the PCC, and for over 20 years in the running of the ‘Play and Praise’ for pre-school children. I have many other interests, and I am a keen volunteer, including in Swalwell’s Credit Union, the Food Bank depot and the Emmaus Community in South Shields for the homeless.

Prospective Governors

Are you interested in school governance at Parochial? Please click on the link below to find out what the job entails.