Newchurch Governors

'Leaders, staff and governors want the very best for pupils.' (Ofsted Report, 2019)

All schools in England have a governing body which is responsible for overseeing many of the strategic decisions of the school. A key role is to act as a 'critical friend': to support, challenge, ask questions and represent the school community.

The three core strategic functions of the governing body (as detailed in the Governors’ Handbook shared by the Department of Education) are to:

  1.        Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2.        Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupil; and
  3.        Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Our Governing Body is made up of a range of people from a range of different backgrounds including: parents, staff members, local authority and community representatives. The standard term of office for a governor is 4 years. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected every year.
The governors meet as a full governors on a termly basis but also as committees each term:
  • Full Governors (Local Authority Led)
  • Finance 
  • Buildings
  • Personnel 
  • Curriculum and Standards
The steering group, made up of the Chairs of each area, meet termly ahead of the full governing meetings.
  • Mrs Vicky Beddall

    Chair of Governors

    My name is Vicky Beddall and I became a Parent Governor at Newchurch in Oct 2018 and then Chair of Governors in October 2023.. I have one daughter at Culcheth High and a son who is in Year 3 at Newchurch.

    I am a fulltime working mum, working for a large international company as Head of Information and Records Management, with responsibility across offices and sites throughout the UK.

    I am deeply committed and feel passionate about Newchurch Primary School both as a parent, a Culcheth resident, secretary on the Newchurch PTA and as a parent voice on the Parent Board. My husband attended Newchurch, many years ago, and he has happy memories of his time at school and now it’s my children’s time to make their own memories.

    Newchurch is an excellent primary school, delivering high quality learning opportunities both within, and outside, the classroom. I feel passionately about primary school education and believe that the first years of a child’s education are crucial to their later academic achievements, and just as importantly, the development of social and other life skills. I am very keen to play a part in helping the school deliver the very best educational and social outcomes for all children and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Governing body and excellent staff at Newchurch.

    Although I don’t get much spare time, but when I do I enjoy spending time with my family and running.

  • Mrs Claire Howarth-Platt

    Curriculum and Standards Chair and Vice Chair of Governors

    I joined the governing body in 2020, to support our school to meet the needs of all of our children, to continue to improve and to ensure that all of our Robins enjoy their time at school and develop a love of learning.
    I work for a large organisation as a Learning and Development specialist, it is a fast paced, multi-faceted role that requires creative collaboration, systems management and acute problem solving.
    I have been involved in school governance for several years and manage my voluntary commitment alongside my work, my love for sewing and the weekly struggle to coax my children out of the house at the weekend.

  • Mrs Jean Williams

    Local Authority Governor & Personnel Chair

    My name is Jean Williams. I am the Local Authority Governor and previously the Chair of Governors at Newchurch and I’d like to tell you a little about being a governor.

    The governing body is made up of volunteers who are representative of the parents of the school, the local community, the local authority, and the school staff. We meet regularly to make sure that the school functions well and provides your child, and all the other children at Newchurch, with the best possible experiences and opportunities of school life.

    With the school leadership team we decide what we want our school to look like in the future and what kind of learning experiences we want for our children. Through our meetings and financial decisions we try to make sure that this becomes a reality to enable our children to take their place as the adults of tomorrow.

    As well as meetings we might come in to talk to the children and ask them what they think about school, go along on school trips or come to support the school at events throughout the year. All in all being a governor is an important but enjoyable role and all the governors at Newchurch are committed to helping the children of Newchurch as they Prepare to Fly.

  • Mrs Jayne Narraway


    Newchurch has a very special place in my heart. Never before have I worked with colleagues and governing body who have so selflessly and wholeheartedly worked to ensure the very best for the children in their care.

    I have taught children from Early Years to Upper Key Stage Two. After beginning my career in St Helen’s, I have embraced many opportunities in order to ensure the very best for the schools and children with whom I have worked, as well as other schools in Warrington. For many years, I was an Early Years and Key Stage One Moderator for the Local Authority. I have been an educational consultant specialising in Phonics, English and Early Years and have worked with lots of schools in Warrington in order to improve outcomes.

    I am currently a SEND Reviewer working on behalf of the Local Authority.

    Without doubt my passion, other than English, is ensuring every child has a curriculum that meets their needs. I often refer to our curriculum design as a ‘Chocolate Box Curriculum’ where there is something for everyone, even if they are the only one to favour it. The commitment to a holistic curriculum and Newchurch’s child-centred approach to education is what attracted me to our wonderful school, and what motivates me each and every day.

    Even after so many years of teaching, I still believe this is one of the most rewarding and privileged jobs any person could wish for. Each day is unique; filled with many things to celebrate and share, new opportunities to take whilst preparing our children to fly.

  • Mrs Anthea Ray

    Co-opted Governor

    My name is Anthea Ray and I have been a governor at Newchurch since 2013. I am a co-opted governor.

    For 6 years in London and for more than 20 years at a Warrington High School I taught science, eventually becoming an Assistant Head. I feel I have the interest and skills needed to serve on the governing body at Newchurch. I am the Safeguarding Governor, the named governor for Science and Design Technology and a class link Governor.

    I live in Culcheth and am committed to supporting Newchurch, its excellent leadership and dedicated staff.

    As well as my role as a governor I sing in a local choir and volunteer at my grandchildren’s school. I also volunteer for the South Cumbria Rivers Trust monitoring the water quality of a local river.

    My hobbies are belonging to a book group, walking and camping. In my spare time I enjoy travelling and visiting friends and family.

  • Mr John Duckett

    Staff Governor

    Having worked at Newchurch Primary School for the past 15 years, I am fully aware of the excellent work the governing body do in ensuring the best possible education, experiences and outcomes for our 'Robins'. It is therefore a great privilege to be on the governing body this year.

    For those who don't know me, I have largely been the Year 6 teacher during my time at Newchurch and moved to Year 5 in 2019. After joining the Newchurch family as a student teacher many years ago, I was fortunate enough to be given a full-time post in Year 4. I went on to spend 9 great years in Year 6 before becoming Deputy Head in 2019 and moving to Year 5.

    My background is in the arts having completed the BA Fine Art course at the University of Central Lancashire, then spent several years volunteering in galleries in Liverpool before coming to teaching. One of my biggest aims at Newchurch has always been to bring this passion for the creative arts into the classroom and curriculum. This has resulted in RobinFest - an annual celebration of the Arts each year.

    I am delighted to be on the governing body, helping the school move forward, as it always has.

  • Mr Gary Marsh

    Parent Governor

    I’m Gary Marsh and I became a Parent Governor in December 2022. I have one daughter in the school who joined in November 2020 in the middle of the Covid pandemic.

    As a family we had moved into the Culcheth area and we were delighted by the warm welcome extended to us by the Newchurch family. I am a passionate believer in the mission of Newchurch and its commitment to improving outcomes for all children. Our daughter loves being a Newchurch Robin and I hope to be able to give something back to the school and the community.

    I am a Project Manager by profession and now lead a large Business Unit within a global engineering company. My business has values including Integrity, Collaboration, Sustainability and putting our People First. These are all values that I see at Newchurch and are life skills that the school focuses on along with the core curriculum.

    I get to work with a large and diverse global team delivering hugely challenging projects across the UK. I recognise that all team members bring their own strengths to our team and different approaches makes for a stronger overall team. I believe that there is no ‘cookie cutter’ approach to life and that differences should be celebrated and leadership involves building a pathway to successful outcomes for everyone.

    In my personal life I am a keen runner and cyclist, but snowboarding is my true passion. As a family we stay active and like to spend as much time outdoors as we can. Our daughter loves dancing, swimming and Brownies which, like many parents, keeps us busy.

  • Mrs Niamh Harrison

    Parent Governor

    My name is Niamh Harrison, I am delighted to be starting 2023 on the board of governors. My two daughters attend Newchurch and they both love being a Newchurch Robin.

    I am a paramedic with North West Ambulance Service so used to working under pressure. This enables me to make difficult decisions in a fast moving multi-cultural environment along with following and keeping within protocols and procedures.

    I joined the board of governors to get a better understanding of the running of the school and how it provides the children with their educational needs. I want to make sure that all children have the best start to their educational journey and that standards are met for each child.

    Along with my husband, we have lived in Culcheth for 10 years and have always felt a wonderful sense of community. Having watched my daughters develop both academically and socially over the years that they have been at Newchurch, I have wanted to contribute towards their future educations. I feel that primary school education sets children up for the future and being at Newchurch they will become well rounded individuals that can continue to thrive in their next steps in education.

  • Mr Simon Arnold

    Finance & Parent Governor

    My name is Simon Arnold and I joined the board of governors in November 2021. Both of my sons attend Newchurch and love being a part of the Newchurch Family.

    My teaching experience is limited to home schooling during the Covid lock downs, during which time it was clear to see first-hand the care and passion of the teaching staff and the excellent opportunities our school provides to pupils and families. I was motivated to join the board of governors to help support the school in ensuring that it is able to continue meeting its aim to provide every child the best possible start to their education.

    I work for a multi-national manufacturer in a global IT leadership role that involves people, project and financial management. I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with a hugely diverse group of people from different countries and cultures and with varied educational backgrounds and expertise.

    Like many families we spend a lot of weekend time at the side of swimming pools, football and rugby pitches! We love the outdoors, walking, camping and exploring and I’m a regular parent volunteer at my son’s Beavers evening and weekend activities.

  • Mr Luke Birchall

    Co-opted Governor

    Hi I’m Luke Birchall, I am happy to be joining the board of governors at Newchurch Primary School in 2023. I have two daughters that hopefully will be attending Newchurch Primary School when they become of school age.

    In day to day life I work in production and quality control for the print and packaging industry. For the last 6 years I have also been involved in the management of a local hospitality venue within Culcheth Village.

    I have lived in Culcheth Village for 22 years and I am committed to supporting the leadership and its dedicated staff at Newchurch Primary into the future.

  • Taryn Lowe

    Parent Governor

    My name is Taryn Lowe, and I'm delighted to join the Newchurch governing board as a parent governor. Having one daughter currently enjoying her Reception Class journey, and another daughter who will be joining in 2025, I am deeply invested in contributing to the continued success of our educational community.
    I grew up in Culcheth and, having moved back ten years ago, my family and I have felt the warmth of the village’s community spirit. I think that a good primary school education sets the foundation for a child's future success, and seeing my own child develop academically and socially at Newchurch, has inspired me to want to give back to the school and community.
    Family is the most important thing to me. My partner and I run a drylining company and I also work as a project manager for a global IT software development and implementation organisation. My professional background enables me to bring a blend of strategic planning and community centred entrepreneurship to the board. My experience in managing diverse stakeholders, navigating complex challenges, and overseeing significant budgets have equipped me with skills I feel are key for good governance.
    When I'm not working or volunteering my time, we do the usual weekend activities like swimming lessons and ballet, and we love getting out and about with our puppy Mylo. I am also an avid creator, designing and crafting with a laser machine at home, which adds a touch of creativity to my professional and family activities.