Welcome to our Governors’ section.
At Chopwell Primary School, we have a very proactive Governing Body that is committed to maintaining and raising standards across every aspect of school life.
Please see below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor and a bit about our background and experience.
Mrs Liz Sillence - Chair
I have been a governor at Chopwell for several years, first as a parent governor and now as a co-opted governor. I work in Higher Education and love to see the enthusiasm the children have for learning at Chopwell Primary. As a governor, my role is to provide support and challenge to help continue driving the school forward enabling every child to reach their potential.
Mr Mark Woodhall- Vice Chair
As a newly co-opted governor, I am looking forward to playing an active role in assisting with further development of the school, building on the impressive foundations which have been put in place.
Having worked for the FA for 17 years across a variety of different roles; from facility development and governance to identifying funding support, I am keen to support the head, staff and governors in any way I can to help the school to move forward positively for the benefit of every pupil.
Cllr Lynne Caffrey - Local Authority
I've been a member of the Governing Body here at Chopwell Primary for many years. I also serve on the Governors at Rowlands Gill Primary. I'm a Local Councillor which enables me to advise school about borough-wide issues and joined-up thinking to support the local community.
Mrs Victoria Bruce - Head Teacher
I joined Chopwell Primary as Head teacher in September 2017 having worked in several other schools. I'm passionate about providing the best education possible for the children here, ensuring they leave us as well rounded individuals, ready for life ahead. I work closely with a very proactive governing body who provide support and challenge.
Mr Jonathan Coates - Co-opted
I've been a co-opted governor at the school since 2013 and am also an ex-employee, during which time I oversaw changes to the IT infrastructure and learning environment including the development of the outdoor areas. Those links to Chopwell also extend to my family as I'm married to Mrs Coates who is one of the Assistant Headteachers! I have extensive experience of financial management, capital projects, Health and Safety and leading strategic change within an organisation and have worked in Senior Leadership roles in schools for more than a decade. Currently I’m Chief Operating Officer of Eden Learning Trust in Durham and a Trustee of the Institute of School Business Leadership which is a national professional body. In 2021, I was appointed as a co-opted governor at Parkhead Primary School in Winlaton. I am passionate about working in and with schools and look forward to supporting the school on its journey in the future.
Hannah Reay Co-opted
I’m primarily a business woman but also a teacher. I taught in a primary school for 13 years before deciding to start up my own small business making pickles and jams; The Pickle Palace. The production of jars of pickles is now only part of what we do as we’ve become a CIC (community interest company) and we deal with lots of ‘rescued’ food from major supermarkets and feed people with it at various events and venues. This saves the food from landfill as well as the resources used to produce and package it and I’m now using my teaching skills to educate children in schools about the issues around food waste.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with several local schools and despite the fact I’m no longer a classroom teacher, I’m passionate about education, and really care about how I can make a difference for the children. It’s been a pleasure working with the children and parents at Chopwell and I’m really excited about being a governor and working more closely with the school. Having enjoyed my role as governor at Chopwell I've also joined the governing body of Cumbric Education.
Susan Wilkinson Co-opted
I joined the governing body in February 2019. I'm a retired primary school teacher, a job I did for over twenty five years. I really enjoyed being a teacher; it is incredibly rewarding being involved in helping children find, and develop their true potential. It is also, some people may be surprised to hear, tremendous fun.
As a governor at Chopwell, I hope to be able to support and encourage both staff and children, in their joint quest to increase their knowledge and expertise across the curriculum, and enable the children to leave the school as excellent representatives of their village.”
Mrs Helen Cookson -Co-opted
I have been a co-opted governor since February 2018. I am an Accountant and feel I can use my finance background and experience gained in other areas of my work, to provide the right level of support and also to challenge when necessary. I have one child who attends the school and I value the role that the school plays in my child’s life and also how much the school brings to the village as a whole. I became a governor to contribute to the ongoing improvement and leadership of the school and will provide any guidance I can. It is fabulous to see the children grow and become such amazing young people.
Mrs Laura Reavely - Parent Governor
Having been a parent of a child at this school since 2015 I have seen the school develop over the years. I now have four children attending Chopwell Primary, so the school is a big part of our lives. I am an Ofsted registered childminder so have knowledge of the EYFS and I’m studying for a business degree in accounting. I look forward to using some of my developing knowledge to support the school whilst I learn more about being an effective school governor.
Kristy Payne - Parent Governor