Our School Governors
Mrs Elisabeth Charman
Chair of Governors
I grew up in the Tyne Valley and after a spell down south, my husband and I decided to return to our ‘roots’ and moved back to Riding Mill in 2012. I trained as a research scientist and have worked for RSPB for 14 years, now focussed on some of our wonderful northern wildlife (ask me about it, I’ll happily chat!). Wildlife and nature conservation have always been my passion and together with my husband and father in law, I write a monthly wildlife column in the Parish magazine. ….
I am passionate about the role of first schools and the first inspirational teachers children meet, in shaping a child’s view on the world and ultimately the decisions they make about their future. I wanted to become a governor at Broomhaugh for a number of reasons. Firstly, the opportunity to work with a committed, enthusiastic group of people to get the best out of our school for the benefit of our children is a privilege which excites me. Secondly, we chose to move back to Riding Mill in part because of Broomhaugh School and its reputation and when we first visited were struck immediately by what we saw and felt in the school. Therefore, I feel I want to commit to work hard for the school as a member of the governing body to retain all that is special about Broomhaugh and give others the opportunity to be wow-ed!
My eldest daughter started in Reception in September 2018 and my second daughter will start in 2021 so I’m at the start of my relationship with Broomhaugh both as a parent and a governor but I am very much looking forward to the journey ahead.
Mr Rob Archer
Linda and I moved to Riding Mill 7 years ago. I wanted to retire, play tennis and golf but things never workout as you expect. Although I am an active player committee member of the village tennis club and golf society.
The first part of my working life was spent as a Director of my own building company. I then completed a degree in Technology which led me on to a 20 year teaching career in computing and Head of Information Learning Technology. Then it was back to being a builder again but on a smaller scale.
Whilst I have a good knowledge of further education I feel I am on a steep learning curve at present. However, with my enthusiasm and commitment in the local community, I look forward to offering my building management and computing skills in supporting the governing of the school.
Mrs Anna Kershaw
I have been part of the community at Broomhaugh for the last five years, since my daughter Martha started her school life here. Martha has now graduated on to Corbridge Middle School and my son Tom is in Year 4, so I am still a regular presence at the school gate!
Most of my career has been focused in education; I have seventeen years of experience of teaching in primary schools across Northumberland. These days I juggle teaching Mindfulness to children and training education professionals, along with supporting my husband with his IT business and running children’s book clubs in our local bookshop Forum Books Kids in Corbridge.
I have a passion for teaching and learning and am keen to support our enthusiastic team of staff and governors here at Broomhaugh to deliver an education in which every child is given the best all-round education possible, developing not just academic excellence, but also helping our children to build the self-esteem and resilience necessary to navigate whatever the future may hold.
Mrs Helen Ridley
After moving to the area in 2003 for work I met my husband and settled on his family's arable and livestock farm just outside of the village. I qualified as an equine veterinary nurse in 2008 and went on to lecture in veterinary nursing and horse care whilst studying for a degree in training and education.
My relationship with Broomhaugh started in 2015 when my daughter started reception. My second child started in 2017 and my youngest will start in September 2019. I am a member of Riding Mill Preschool's committee and Broomhaugh PTA and I enjoy being part of the school community.
I am passionate about children being outdoors and being in an environment that does not pressure them to change but instead uses their own interests and experiences to inspire them to learn.
Becoming part of the governing body at Broomhaugh is allowing me to give something back to the school that is giving my children the best possible start to their education.
Mrs Carole Smith
Local Authority Governor
In the 37 years that we have lived in Riding Mill, Mike and I have never regretted the decision to move to this wonderful community. Our children all attended the village school, I have served on the Parish Council, as Chair of the governing body of the school, been a member of many village societies and I was involved with the fund-raising for the building of the Millennium Hall and the play park.
For my whole working life I was a teacher in Northumberland schools, most recently as an Assistant Head with responsibility for, among other things, Key Stage Two and transition from First to Middle School. Although I ‘retired’ several years ago, I have continued to do occasional supply work and I have tried to keep up-to-date with developments in education.
I also keep myself busy with golf, gym, gardening and grandchildren – not necessarily in that order – and I have membership of a number of voluntary committees. I know how much time and commitment is needed to be an effective school governor. I hope that my time-management skills are still up to the job!
Mrs Hannah Thorpe
Hello I’m Hannah Thorpe. I’m Mum of two – Iris, who attended Broomhaugh First School from Reception and is now in Year 7 at Corbridge Middle School and Barnaby, currently in Year 4.
After 18 years as a dentist (the majority of which I spent working as a Senior Dental Officer with Durham and Darlington Community Dental Service, working with adults and children with additional needs), I have had a rather unorthodox career change and am now trying to develop my lifelong passion for art into some semblance of a new career.
Outside of work, I’m most likely to be seen wearing midlife crisis loud leggings and “running” round the local area. I’m Secretary for Riding Mill Art Club and also a member of the Play and Regeneration Group in the village. I love walking and am an avid reader.
I served as PTA Secretary for three and a half years as a way of getting involved in school life and raising funds, retiring when my facepainting arm needed a rest. I also secured some Aviva funding to develop the school sensory garden and inadvertently found myself wearing wellies and brandishing a spade for much of last spring! Basically, I have an inability to say no.
More recently I became involved in the West of Northumberland Schools’ Consultation as an active member of the parent pressure group STARS. While much of the visible part of campaign involved publicity, grumpy photos in the Courant, starbombing and dancing outside County Hall, a lot of hard work was put in behind the scenes, dissecting the documentation, fact finding and drafting responses to the various parties involved. We have maintained an ongoing dialogue with County Hall and are still watching developments with interest.
While I was obviously pleased with the outcome of the consultation, the fact remains that Northumberland County Council expects its schools to work more closely together and to become more resilient against a backdrop of an ever-decreasing education budget. By becoming a Foundation Governor I really hope that I can help our fabulous school to meet the challenges ahead whilst not compromising on the qualities which make it so special.
Mrs Janine Gray
I am lucky enough to have been involved with our wonderful village school for 20 years. My first taste of life at Broomhaugh was in the Summer of 2000 when I taught here for one term. We had just moved up to the area from north London for my husband to take up a law lectureship at Northumbria University. I then went on to teach at Beaufront and Whitley Chapel before returning to Broomhaugh in 2003. I have two daughters, aged 18 and 11 who go to school in Hexham where we have lived for the past 7 years (after spending 13 years in the village of Allendale}.
I am originally from Leeds, Yorkshire and moved to Canterbury to study French at the University of Kent. I spent a year teaching in Montpellier and, after graduating, taught for two years in Valladolid, northern Spain. I continued to teach English in Canterbury when I returned to the UK. After completing my PGCE, we moved to London where I began teaching at a primary school in Muswell Hill. I have taught in primary and first schools since then and have been coordinator/lead in a range of subjects. I was also staff governor at Muswell Hill and Beaufront.
More than anything, I love being in (or out of!) the classroom with the children. I equally enjoy working with such a fantastic team of people. I am committed to supporting and encouraging each child to discover, understand and learn (as much about themselves and others as the world around them). I aim to make everyone feel safe, happy and valued and I take delight in seeing the children blossom and make progress - ready for the next stage in their school life. Receiving a smile, greeting or passing wave from someone I once taught makes my day.
Miss Jennifer Ainsley
Executive Head Teacher
I have been teaching now for over 18 years and have worked in schools in the Gateshead, Wandsworth, South Tyneside and Northumberland Local Authorities.
I uphold the importance of coming to know every child personally and recognising each child as an individual. I believe that every child is capable of great success and at Broomhaugh CE First School I will work hard every day to enable all children achieve their personal best academically, physically, socially and emotionally in a safe and stimulating environment.
It is important to me that we empower children to find themselves. We must give them the self-confidence to live fully and happy lives and reach their own personal goals, facing challenges with resilience.
I am blessed with a team of dedicated staff who are committed to providing the very best for our children and feel privileged to serve the stakeholders of Broomhaugh CE First School alongside a dedicated Governing Body Team.
Ms Helen Yates
I moved to Riding Mill in 2012 when my youngest daughter Emma was just nine days old and have thrown myself into the community from pretty much day one (blame it on baby brain!). One of the big attractions of moving to the village was Broomhaugh school and the wonderful three tier education system in West Northumberland. My family has education in the blood (my parents and sister are all teachers) and it felt natural to volunteer my time first at the preschool and now at the first school. As a financial journalist in my day job I'm hoping I can offer my skills to help ensure the long term financial viability of Broomhaugh so it can continue to thrive and achieve the excellent outcomes that it does for our children. I became particularly passionate about our education system and it's future during last year's Northumberland County Council School's Consultation on Education in the West. As part of the STARS campaign group I learnt a great deal and made some valuable contacts in our community and beyond that will hopefully assist me going forward. I am not afraid to challenge the status quo and fight for what I feel is best (which I don't think will surprise those who know me). I look forward to supporting the teaching staff and school as it goes through a period of significant, but hopefully very positive, change.