Meet our Governors

Meet the Governing Body of

 East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham C of E Schools

A hard working team striving for excellence for all of our children


Chair of Governors

Chris Gent

I joined the Governing Body to help contribute to the excellent work already being done within both schools, and as a parent of two past pupils of East Cowton CE Primary I am keen to help shape the school for the future and overcome the challenges we may face. I was elected Chair of Governors in October 2018 and having had the pleasure of being involved in education and schools for the past 15 years, I hope will put me in a good position to fulfil this role effectively and provide ideas and guidance to the Governing Body. As part of my Health and Safety remit I will endeavour to visit the school regularly to ensure both schools are safe for our children.





Vice Chair of Governors

Verena Duffield



For many families, the school is at the heart of the community. For my family this is certainly the case and this is one of the key reasons why I joined the Governing Body in July 2019. I wanted to get a chance to get to know the staff and the school vision, strategies and policies better. With my eldest son already attending KF primary and my youngest hopefully attending in the future, I also wanted to better understand what our schools do to help our children grow and learn. As elected Vice Chair of Governors, I hope that the skills I have accrued in my professional career will enable me to support both EC and KF school to continue achieving their goals. During school monitoring visits my main area of focus will be on the Curriculum.



Collette Faulks


I am an elected parent governor. I joined the governing body at Kirkby Fleetham prior to Federation, and then as Chair saw the schools through Federation and into the Dales Academies Trust. I stood down as Chair in September 2018 and am now link governor for literacy. I am committed to ensuring that the schools in both villages flourish to allow our children to enjoy all of the benefits that come from being at the heart of their communities.


Susan Shields

I have lived in East Cowton for over 20 years and became a governor in September 2015 whilst working at East Cowton CE Primary School as School Administrator.  I have had a varied career covering a number of disciplines within and beyond the education sector, gaining valuable skills that I am pleased to able to put to good use as a governor.

I am proud to be the joint Chair of the Curriculum and Standards Committee and also have specific responsibility for oversight of Key Stage 1 and Early Years in East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham Church of England Primary Schools. I aim to make sure that the children in our schools feel safe, valued and have the best possible opportunity to learn and thrive in the supportive environment provided by a dedicated team of school staff.


Rachel Savage

I am a Foundation Governor for East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham Primary Schools and am appointed by the diocese. I am the Governor responsible for SEN provision and make regular visits into both schools. I have been a Governor for over 5 years and have worked in Primary schools for nearly 10 years. I live in Kirkby Fleetham and both my children are former pupils of the school so I fully appreciate the unique environment in a small, rural school.




 Marie Mann

I have been a teacher at East Cowton School since September 2014 and teach in the KS2 class. In addition to my normal teaching role, I am Mathematics subject leader and am responsible for monitoring and developing this area across both schools. I serve on the governing body as staff governor and co-Chair the Curriculum/standards Committee and Resources Committee.



Lynn Wild


Prior to the federation I was Co-opted Governor on the Governing Body of Kirkby Fleetham Church of England Primary School.  I have lived in Kirkby Fleetham for over 27 years and both of my sons attended the school.  I believe rural villages are richer for having a school at their heart and look forward to supporting the federation in my new role.

My expertise lies in school finance and administration.  I am currently the School Business Manager at Hambleton & Richmondshire Pupil Referral Service and previously worked at both the Allertonshire School and Northallerton College.  I am confident that the knowledge and experience gained in both my current and previous roles will be an asset to the school.



 Polly Sinclair


I have lived in Kirkby Fleetham for 9 years and all four of my children have attended Kirkby Fleetham primary school. My youngest two are in year 1 so I have a long term interest in seeing both the schools flourish and grow.

As part of my role on the governing body I look after the website, publicity/promotion of the schools and computing.  I am also a member of the curriculum and standards committee



Mike Dillon


I started my working life as a teacher and have spent my entire career working in and supporting schools.  As a recent appointment to the governing body I hope to bring some of this experience to bear in supporting the two schools.

After nine years in the classroom I taught in the university sector as a teacher trainer and then worked in a number of local authorities as a schools adviser. I was one of the first in the country to be trained as an Ofsted inspector and took part in many school inspections over a number of years. As Director of Children’s Services in two local authorities, my work as an educationist widened to include the critically important area of safeguarding. Although I am now retired I continue to have direct involvement in children’s services through working as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Together for Children, the company responsible for delivering children’s services to the people of Sunderland. I am also on the Board of the Hays Travel Foundation, the charitable trust that supports young people nationally.

I live in Kirkby Fleetham and have three grown-up children. I enjoy painting and the arts generally, especially music.


Clerk to the governing Body
Valerie Brown


 Val can be contacted through either school