Meet the Governors

Mrs C Cogdon

Chair of Governors (Staffing Commitee, Finance and Premises Committee, Safeguarding, Pupil Premium ,MFL and Communication)

Please contact the school office if you would like contact details for the Chair of Governors

Mrs Caroline Ash

Head Teacher/Governor

See Head Teacher welcome under the 'our school' tab.

Mr R Donnelly

Govenor / Deputy Head (Finance and Premises)

My name is Mr Donnelly, or as the pupils like to call me ‘Mr D’. I am the Deputy Head of Dinnington First and teacher for Class 10 (Year 4). Currently I am responsible for leading the development of Maths, Art and Assessment in school and I am part of the school governors committee.

Although I originally qualified with a Civil Engineering degree from Newcastle University, I decided to follow a family tradition and become a teacher. I now have over twenty years teaching experience, which has allowed me to amass a vast array of knowledge and techniques to ensure that pupils at Dinnington thrive. Key to my philosophy in teaching is the understanding that pupils learn best when they feel safe and when school is a fun place to be. To this end, I often use my own interests, which include drawing and painting, sport, music, computing and reading to make learning as fun and engaging as possible.

Mrs Jill Davison

Chair of Governors

Jill Davison is the Chair of Governors. She joined the Governing Body in June 2021. Jill lives locally in Dinnington and is married with one son, who is currently at Dinnington First School. Her son loves the school and she wanted to give something back to the school and be involved in contributing to the future success. Jill works in Housing as an Assistant Director of Corporate Services and is a qualified Company Secretary. Jill brings her experience of working in Strategy, Policy, and Governance. She loves walking, swimming and keeping fit.

Mr Daniel Talbot

Vice Chair of Governors

Category of governor - Parent Governor
Term of office - 4 years.
Work - I work for a local house builder as the Engineering Manager. I project manage construction projects from inception to completion.
Governance experience - I have no Governance experience; I am keen to learn the role and see how I can help the School and Staff achieve more.
Hobbies and interests - I am a Kids Pastor in a Local church in Newcastle, I over see a large adult team who sees over 100 kids each week in church. I love seeing kids and team grow in their faith. I also pretend to like running although some might say its just walking fast.

Links to the school/area - I have two children in the school who are just starting their education journey with Dinnington First School.

Why did you become a governor? - I wanted to support the school in being the best it can be and supporting our children to achieve their potential.

Rev M Edwards

Vice Chair (Staffing Committee, RE, PHSE and PE)

Who are you?

Rev Mark A Edwards MBE ( known simply as Reverend Mark ) Priest and published Author of 3 Books which recount my time as a troubled Child going through the care system ( 4 foster homes and a children’s home. ) and my journey with mental health and my troubled youth. ‘ Tears in the Dark published in 2004. ‘ Beyond the Collar ‘ uploaded to Amazon kindle 2014, and my more recent publication ‘ Life After Care ‘ from lost cause to MBE published 2017. I am married to Lesley and have 4 children and two grandchildren. I have been a regular visitor to the school since I arrived in the village in 2008. I come in every Thursday and listen to year 2 read and then story time with Rev Mark with year 1, complete with my health and safety messages. As well as governor I like to see my role as that as Chaplain to the school to support staff and children. Historically there has been strong links with St Matthews’s church, links that I hope will continued for years to come.

What do you do?

I am the parish Priest for Dinnington and Brunswick coming under the umbrella of
‘Christ the King Team Ministry ‘ I am also a volunteer Medic, a Community First Responder with the North East Ambulance Service ( for the last 10 years )

What is your super skill?

First and foremost I am a Pastor, a people’s person, I care passionately about the school the children and Staff and have always supported and affirmed the ethos of the school and tried to bring a spiritual dimension to all I do, which includes wholeness and well-being. I suppose as well as Gov I see myself in a Chaplains roll. I don’t have any particular ‘ Super Skill ‘ that I know off. I am often in awe of the wonderful gifts and talent that my colleague’s fellow governors bring to the table and learn a lot from them. It’s a privileges to serve along side them.

What would you like to know more about?

Everything! I am still learning what it is to be a governor government change policies changes Head teachers Change, but the needs of the Children remain the same, to be valued loved affirmed nurtured within a caring holistic environment. To enable children to thrive we need to know how to provide the kind of environment that will address not just their intellectual needs but their spiritual needs as well. The Holistic approach to education is something I would like to know more about and see implemented. The health and well being of both the staff and the children is something which should not be neglected.

Mrs E Appleby

Governor (Curriculum Committee and Literacy)

Category of governor - Co-opted

Work - Lead Project Manager for Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate

Governance experience - I have been a governor since my daughter attend Dinnington First school and have always been part of the curriculum committee.

Hobbies and interests - I swim with my daughter as part of Blyth lifesavings sports team. We have a touring caravan and love to spend time in the lakes with family and friends – paddleboarding and walking. We also enjoy ski-ing as a family.

Links to the school/area - I lived in the village as a child and attended Dinnington First School and then fed into the Gosforth school. I moved back to the village before my daughter started school.

Why did you become a governor? - I became a governor as I wanted to give something back to the village and to understand more about the Education system that prior to my daughter starting school I had very little involvement in.

Mrs Karen Gordon

Governor (Staffing Committee, Early Years and Design Technology)


Mrs C Clayton

Governor and Learning Support Assistant (Curriculum Committee and SEND)

Category of governor Staff Governor

Work - I work in KS1 as a teaching support assistant and a lunchtime supervisor assistant.

Governance experience -10 years at Dinnington

Hobbies and interests - I have a passion for education and seeing children thrive in a school environment

Links to the school/area - I have lived in the village for many years and find it a real joy to be part of the school and local community.


Why did you become a governor? - I became a parent governor about 10 years ago after my two son’s enjoyable and successful time at Dinnington.


Mr John Beattie

Governor (Curriculum Committee, History and Geography and Equalities)

Category of governor - Co-opted.
Term of office - Joined Autumn 2019.
Work - Deputy Director (Families) at Campaign for Learning, a national organization dedicated to championing social justice through lifelong learning. Before joining the Campaign I worked at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, sharing my love of stories and reading with schools and families.

Governance experience - I became a Governor at Dinnington in Autumn 2019.

Hobbies and interests - I love reading! I can completely lose track of time reading a good book with my cat (Bob) curled up next to me.

Why did you become a governor? - I became a governor to share my skills and make a difference for children and families.

Miss Laura Heels

Governor (Curriculum Committee, Computing and School Commuication)

Category of governor - Co-Opted
Term of office - Started in Autumn 2019
Work - Lecturer at Newcastle University teaching Computer Science. I research into equality diversity and inclusion in Computer Science systems.

Governance experience - I have been part of the curriculum committee at Dinnington since being part of the governing team.

Hobbies and interests - I enjoy photography in my spare time.

Why did you become a governor? - I became a governor so that I could help with the Computer Science curriculum and help children who might struggle at school.