Pen Portraits

Viv Waugh (Foundation Governor)

I have been involved in Primary Education 1975, with time out for family. I retired in 2001 and later completed a three year foundation degree course in Ministry and Theology (York St John University) to become a Licensed Reader (October 2006) in the Parish of Croft, Eryholme and Middleton Tyas within the wider Richmond Deanery. I am very active in and around the community of Croft, and am involved with the Pastoral Care Team who, among other things, hold lunches for the people of the Parish. For a number of years I helped out with Discoverers group in school, have led many school services in St Peter’s Church and Collective Worship in school itself. I have been a Foundation Governor for quite a few years and have seen the school grow and change with all new developments and am very proud of all the children and staff who work tirelessly for its success.

Derek Blenkharn (Co-opted Governor)

I am originally from Eryholme and subsequently Monk End Farm in Croft. I attended Croft Church of England Primary School up until I was 11 years old, when we moved to Eaglescliffe and attended Hurworth Secondary School. We returned to Hurworth some 30 years ago. Both my son and daughter attended Richmond Comprehensive School and following sixth form went on to University.

Until 2011 I was with a local architectural practice in Darlington, who, over a period of years, were involved with numerous extensions and alterations to the school.

I am currently Group Leader for Hurworth Scouts, President of Darlington Lads and Lasses Junior Football Club as well as being involved with Rockliffe Park Cricket Club.

My strengths lie in Health & Safety, Safeguarding and Premises in addition to Sport and Physical Activity.

Julia Clarke (Parent Governor)

I became a parent governor in 2017, when my children were in Year 2 and Reception. I have a degree in Materials Engineering from Imperial College, London and I’m a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. I have many years’ experience in business and project management, both in the chemical industry and consulting. Voluntary work has always been important to me; I have volunteered for a major national charity for over 15 years and am now Churchwarden at All Saints’ Church, Hurworth. My hobby is music and I enjoy playing the violin in several regional orchestras.

Alison Russell (Co-opted Governor)

I became a Governor and coincidentally Chair of Governors at Croft School 21 years ago when my two children were pupils there. They went on to Richmond School, University and are now working as Doctors in London and Brighton.

I am a Pharmacist and have worked in hospital, the community and abroad, although not currently working. I also helped set up and manage a business in Newcastle and nationally with my husband when our children were young.

I was always very keen to be involved in my children’s education which is why I volunteered to help in school when they started and continued to do so. I thoroughly enjoy being involved in education and it is a huge privilege to work alongside such dedicated professionals in our school and see the progress and achievements of the children.

My strengths lie in my enthusiasm for science and desire to provide the best opportunities for every child in school.

Michelle Patterson (Parent Governor)

I am 37 years old and work part time as a Chartered Accountant. I also have a Maths degree from Newcastle University. I have 2 children who attend Croft Church of England Primary School and are in Year 2 and Reception. In my spare time I enjoy reading, Pilates, running and watching pretty much any sport! I also have a secret love of Sudoku!

Lucienne Jewkes (parent governor)

I am very excited to take on the role of parent governor. I have a huge affinity with the school and have formed close relationships over the years that my son has attended both nursery and school at Croft Primary. He has just moved into year 3. I consider myself lucky to be involved with school life in a variety of different ways: coaching netball weekly, reading with the children and heading up ‘The Friends of Croft school’ raising much needed funds to help provide exciting opportunities and resources within school for our children.

I have an extensive background in sales, management, training and education. My last role was that of National Training and Education manager for Yves Saint Laurent, where I was responsible for over 960 consultants across the UK. I would describe myself as highly creative, caring, motivating, empathetic and passionate. For me school life should always be a happy and fulfilling life where all children can flourish, develop and shine. I love to go to the gym and watch live music. My happiest moments are always spent with my little boy!

Simon Robson (Head Teacher)

After completing a BSc Sports Science Degree at the University of Teesside in 1999, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in Primary Teaching. I completed a BScEd in Primary Science at the University of Durham and was awarded QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) in 2001 after successful placements at Seaton Carew C of E Primary School (Hartlepool), St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School (Stockton-on-Tees) and St Bede’s RC Primary School (Darlington).

I started my teaching career at St Bede’s (250 pupils) as Year 5 teacher and later as Year 6 teacher with the responsibility for leading ICT across the school. At this time, I worked closely with Darlington ICT Advisory team and led seminars around ‘best practice’. During this period I received an award from BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) for ICT best practice and I also received a nomination for Teacher of the Year.

After 5 years, I became Assistant Head Teacher and led Assessment, Mathematics and PE. During my time at St Bede’s I experienced two OFSTED visits where the quality of my teaching was judged as outstanding. In a PE subject inspection, my leadership was judged as outstanding. At this point I decided that I would like to further develop as a leader.

I moved on from St Bede’s in 2009 to another Assistant Head Teacher post at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School (240 pupils) in Hartlepool with the responsibility for leading Assessment, Mathematics and Gifted and Talented. Mathematics was a key priority and over my period of leadership standards of progress and attainment in Mathematics increased significantly. In 2010 we were rated outstanding by OFSTED and Good by SIAS. Standards continued to improve and in 2014, outcomes in the core areas were the highest in the town with 100% of pupils achieving L4+ in Reading, Writing and Mathematics and significant proportions of pupils achieving beyond level 4.

I completed the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) in 2011 and took up a new post as Deputy Head Teacher at Holy Trinity in 2013. As an outstanding school we became a Lead Teaching School in 2012 and worked collaboratively with St John Vianney RC Primary School to develop the Hartlepool Teaching Schools Alliance (Together to Succeed). In 2013 I was a member of the Alliance’s Appropriate Body to quality assure judgements of Newly Qualified Teachers across the town. In 2014, I played a lead role in developing the future of the school by taking a lead role in the successful completion of a new school build as part of the Priority Schools Building Programme. In December 2014, the school achieved Outstanding under the new SIAMS framework.

I have been at Croft Church of England Primary School since January 2015 I am thoroughly enjoying the role and challenges associated with managing a small school. My vision is to continue build on the strengths of the school and work with governors and the community to provide the best possible education for our wonderful pupils. I look forward to continuing on this journey.

I am married to Sarah, who is also a teacher and I have two children, George and Rosie, who are both presently at Primary School. I enjoy cooking, playing and watching football, listening to music and playing the guitar.

Gemma McManus (Staff Governor)

I started my teaching career in 2007, where I worked in a primary school in Catterick Village.  I taught in Early Years, Year 1, 2 and 5.  I moved to Croft Church of England Primary School in September 2009 in order to develop my leadership skills in PE and Science.  During my time in Croft I have been given many opportunities to develop my leadership skills further and I am currently the subject leader for Maths, Science, Geography and Learning Skills.  I have also been a Key Stage 1 moderator for the local authority and a Peer Support Teacher (PST) for the Swaledale Teaching Alliance. I have led development groups for teachers continued professional development in moderation and Science for the Alliance, as well as leading the Year 1 Science Workshops for the Northallerton Small Schools group.   I have been the staff governor since 2013 and I am committed to supporting the governors and the head teacher in taking our school forward and achieving the best possible outcomes for all children.