Pen Portraits

Local Governing Board (May 2024)

Please click here for a link to the Trustee and Governance Profiles of the Dales Academies Trust

Here is a copy of the Code of Conduct for the Governors.


Mrs Louise Probets


Mr Haleem Ghafoor (Foundation Governor)

I have been a Parent Governor for the past seven years at St Francis but was recently appointed as a foundation governor.  I wanted to get involved because as a father of three children who attend or have attended the school and someone who wants to make a real difference in their community, I felt that this is the perfect platform to be able to do this.   I also want to ensure that all children who attend St Francis have the opportunity to achieve and aspire to fulfil their potential but also want to support and work with the school to ensure that it continues to grow and remain as an outstanding school.

Vice Chair

Mrs Katie McLeod (Parent Governor)

A good education is one of the best foundations any child can receive in their lifetime. Being a working mum with two children at the school, I am truly passionate about all children at St Francis getting the best possible education and opportunities to succeed in later in life.

I am Head of Commissioning and Strategy for the NHS across the Tees Valley. In my role I assess national policy, evaluate local population need and design and implement health services across our community. As a result, I feel I have many skills beneficial to the parent governor role, including being a strategic and analytical thinker, understanding the importance of developing strong relationships and collaborative working.

I am committed to supporting the school continually achieve its high standards and ensure the best possible outcomes for our children and staff.


Rev Brenda Forrester (Foundation Governor)

Hi, my name is Rev’d. Brenda Forrester, vicar of St. Francis of Assisi church since April 2022. This is my first appointment as vicar and am relatively new to York diocese, having previously served my curacy in Durham diocese.

At church and in school, we are aiming to uphold St. Francis’ own views; loving God and loving God’s creation with all our heart, seeking to create a world that is fair and just, where everyone can flourish.

We are excited to be partnering with school, working on a big project under the umbrella of ‘Creation Club’’, which encompasses the Church of England’s Five Marks of Mission: ‘to tell, teach, tend, transform and treasure’.

For myself, there is no greater privilege and responsibility than working for God and God’s people. I am a priest, wife, mother, animal rescuer and fossil hunter, seeking to live life in all its fullness and sharing God’s amazing love with all.

Mrs Margaret Lawrance (Foundation Governor)

I am a Classical Ballet Tutor and Educator with considerable experience in producing and creating ballet, contemporary and narrative dance. I trained at the Royal Academy of Dance as an examiner. For many years, I taught and examined extensively in the UK and overseas. On achieving Qualified Teacher Status, I worked within Secondary and Higher Education teaching Performing Arts, English & Media Studies. At the present time, as an immensely experienced and fully qualified teacher, I specialise in 121 Classical Ballet tuition and intensive coaching for young people, together with Elderberry Ballet Fitness for mature students. My continuing passion is to facilitate conscious movement and wellness to support a balanced and healthy lifestyle for both young and mature students.

I am so proud to be a Foundation Governor at St Francis of Assisi Church of England Primary School where I am responsible for Safeguarding and am on the Admissions Committee. My faith and my Church Family are paramount in my life.

Mrs Natalie Hodgson (Foundation Governor)

My sons attend St. Francis and I became a parent governor in 2022 as I want to help the school to continue to succeed. I have recently been appointed as a foundation governor as my family and I have attend St Francis of Assisi church for the past eight years.

My work as a local authority lawyer includes advising upon education matters, including school admissions and exclusions, along with a diverse range of prosecutions. I believe that my knowledge of education law, together with skills in professionally challenging information, critically reviewing policies, and holding people accountable transfer well to school governance. I have been qualified as a lawyer for over a decade and have sixteen years’ experience.

I have a passion for education, having previously worked as a legal trainer and assessor. I enjoy volunteering as part of the team that deliver our Friends of St Francis events; demonstrating my commitment to the school and my reliability as a volunteer.

Mr Nick Lyle (Foundation Governor)

Mr Leighton Taylor (Staff Governor)

I am Leighton Taylor and I have been a teacher at St Francis since 2018. My teaching experience covers all Key Stages from Reception (EYFS) to Year 6 and I am currently the teacher who leads the music curriculum. I have a real passion for the arts and like to promote their use across the curriculum to enhance learning as well as children’s own cultural capital.

I came to teaching during my thirties, after spending many years in the entertainments industry and performing across the country. Using skills I have developed, I am able to help children engage with their learning as well as building confidence in children. I am currently completing an NPQ in Leading Culture and Behaviour, which I will use to help enhance, the already brilliant, school community.

Mrs Marie Watson (Deputy Headteacher and Foundation Governor)

I’m Marie Watson and am the Deputy Head Teacher, SENDCo and Reception leader at St Francis of Assisi C of E Primary School. I began my journey at St Francis as an NQT and in the 20 years that I have been here, I can honestly say that I have the best job in the world.

I have a real passion for teaching, particularly in the Early Years. It’s enthralling to see how young pupils can completely immerse themselves in an activity – you never know what to expect next or which way their play will take them. It’s a privilege to be a part of this journey.  Being able to support and make a real difference to the lives of our young people is so rewarding. I fully support and have been an integral part of developing the school’s Christian vision and ethos at the school. I understand how important it is for pupils to flourish and for us to prepare them for their next stage of life.

Mrs Claire Whitehead (Parent Governor)

We have one foundation governor space.


Janet Tasker
Stockton Education Department,
P.O. Box 228,
Municipal Buildings,
Church Road,
TS18 1XE