Governor Pen Portraits

Please see the below Pen Portraits for the St Thomas More Catholic School Governors:

Mr Jonathan Parkinson – Head Teacher

Mr Parkinson joined St Thomas More Catholic School in September 1989 as the Head of Physics. Over the years he has been Head of Science, Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher and was appointed to the post of Head Teacher of St Thomas More Catholic School in September 2005. During this time, the school converted from a voluntary aided school, initially to a single academy trust, and then in 2013 to a multi-academy trust. It became one of the first 50 Teaching Schools in the secondary phase and has been judged Outstanding twice by Ofsted.

Mr Parkinson still teaches A-level Physics and Psychology, but not at the same time. He is an active Ofsted Inspector and an Educational Advisor to the North East Regional Schools Commissioner. Mr Parkinson is also a Governor at Bede Academy in Blyth, which is part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation.

As well as being the Head Teacher of St Thomas More Catholic School, Mr Parkinson is also the Chief Executive Officer of the St Thomas More Partnership of Schools, and is responsible for the strategic oversight of the trust.

Mr John Hayes – Chair of Governorss

Mr Hayes is the Chair of Governors at St Thomas More Catholic School, as well as the Chair of Directors of the St Thomas More Partnership of Schools Trust.  Mr Hayes first became involved with St Thomas More in 1979 when he became a pupil; both of his brothers attended, as did his two daughters. He became a parent governor at the school in 2002 and subsequently a Foundation Governor, Academy Director, and Multi Academy Director. Mr Hayes feels it has been interesting being involved in, and witnessing, the changes that have taken place with the school since he first started there, he thinks the transformation has been spectacular and the evolution continues. Mr Hayes’ main drive is to ensure that pupils attending have the best chance at a very good education, in a Catholic environment and that he can help to give something back to the school. He also enjoys working with, and learning from, an excellent contingent of staff, governors and directors right across the Partnership, who all possess great drive and determination in delivering the best for all of the pupils in our care.

Mr Hayes has been a Local Government Officer, within Environmental Health, for some 18 years now, dealing with legislation and businesses on a daily basis; prior to that he worked in the private sector which involved managing people from diverse backgrounds, as well as managing land and livestock and delivering on customer expectations. Mr Hayes expects to continue to be involved with the school and the development of the Multi-Academy Trust for a while yet, and believes that these developments, whilst challenging are vitally important if we are to ensure that our children can be provided with an excellent Catholic education and experience for life for years to come. Outside of Mr Hayes’ school commitments, he enjoys spending his free time with his family and four dogs.

Mr Kevin Robertson – Chair of Governors

Mr Robertson is the Vice Chair of Governors at St Thomas More Catholic School, as well as the Vice Chair of Trustees of the St Thomas More Partnership of Schools Trust. Prior to joining the Local Governing Body of STM, Mr Robertson was a Foundation Governor at one of the MAT Primary Schools; Sacred Heart in Byermoor. He was also the Chair of Governors at St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas in Stella, where he started as a Parent Governor in 2005.

Mr Robertson is a solicitor, and Partner, at Bond Dickinson LLP, where he is Head of the Newcastle Office and leads a team advising local authorities, central government departments and a variety of education bodies including academies and other schools.

Mrs Eileen Barrass – Foundation Governor

Mrs Barrass is a Foundation Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School, as well as a Trustee of the St Thomas More Partnership of Schools Trust. Mrs Barrass has been a Governor for more than 30 years, and her four daughters have all been students at the school. Two of her grandchildren are currently in Y13 and Y11 at school.

Mrs Barrass was previously a Governor at her Parish Primary School and worked in an administrative role within schools in both Gateshead and Newcastle Authorities.

Dr Barbara Lowery – Foundation Governor 

Dr Lowery is a Foundation Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School, however was previously a Parent Governor for 3 years prior to this. She has two children who both attended St Thomas More Catholic School, from Year 7 to Sixth Form. Dr Lowery feels that having been a GP for many years, the skills learnt in running a small business are useful in understanding aspects of the school, such as Finance and HR. Dr Lowery’s present work in safeguarding children is of relevance to safeguarding within the school environment, and she has been the Safeguarding Governor for over a year now.

Mr David Brophy – Foundation Governor

Mr Brophy is a Foundation Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School, however was previously a Parent Governor for 4 years prior to this. Mr Brophy is also a former pupil of St Thomas More Catholic School. He has two children who both attended St Thomas More Catholic School.

Mr Brophy, who runs a successful technology company brings many of the skills used to both run a business and to develop the skills of his employees to the table. In addition, My Brophy spent 9 years as a youth football coach which involved certification in the safeguarding of children as well as their development. Mr Brophy has been an active member of the school improvement program for the past couple of years.

Mr David Brickland – Foundation Governor

To follow.

Father Jonathan Rose – Foundation Governor

Fr Jonathan Rose is a Foundation Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School and also at St Mary & St Thomas Aquinas’ Primary School at Stella. After graduating from Durham, Fr Rose was ordained in 1989. He has been Priest in Charge at Stella since July 2013 and was formerly a Foundation Governor of St John’s, Bishop Auckland and St Aidan’s, Sunderland.

He spends his free time with family in France or exploring the best dive sites!

Father Adrian Tuckwell – Foundation Governor

Fr Adrian Tuckwell is a Foundation Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School and is parish priest of St Joseph’s Church in Blaydon and St Anne’s Church in Winlaton.
He was ordained priest in 1994 for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and was born and brought up in Sunderland.
As well as being a Governor at St Thomas More, he is also on the board of governors at St Joseph’s Primary School in Blaydon.
During his time as a priest he has had placements in Low Fell, Wallsend, Durham and Hartlepool. During those previous appointments he served on the governing bodies of three Catholic primary schools and two Catholic comprehensive schools.

Councillor Malcolm Brain – Community Governor

To follow.

Mr David Roberts – Staff Governor

Mr Roberts was elected as Staff Governor in March 2013, and as well as covering the general Governance of the Academy, is a member of the Behaviour Panel. Mr Roberts is the Technical Support Manager and a Cover Supervisor, and works in the Design Technology Department and throughout the School. Mr Roberts left school after doing his O levels, and took up an Engineering Apprenticeship through British Coal where after furthering his education, became an Engineer over the 17 years he worked in the Industry.

Mr Roberts then worked as a Technology Technician in Biddick School in Washington for 8 years before taking up his present post at St Thomas More in 2001. As well as having 2 grownup daughters who have gone through their Education, he feels he is up to date with school life and the “day to day” running of the school. As the Academy is a Catholic Academy he believes the Christian Ethos is very important. He feels that there have been many changes over the years, but the function of the school is the same; for the students not only to gain GCSE’s and A level qualifications, but to leave the Academy as “well rounded” individuals who are confident and able to contribute to society with a pleasant outlook on life.

Mr Alastair Young – Staff Governor

Mr Young was elected as a Staff Governor in July 2016 and is looking forward to serving the community of St Thomas More Catholic School. During the last three years he has been a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages at the school. Mr Young’s step-daughter attends the school, and he has a passion for ensuring outstanding academic progress for pupils, as well as continuing the school’s long-standing excellent provision of spiritual and moral care. Mr Young has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and ran a family hotel business for 12 years. He believes there is a great opportunity for him to use these business skills to contribute to the governance of the school. Mr Young’s key skills are problem-solving, strategic planning and people management. His free-time activities have included a stint as a RNLI volunteer crewman, as well as mountain-biking and travel to France and Germany. Since starting at STM, he has been on four educational visits to Germany.

Mr Andrew Bessent – Parent Governor

To follow.

Mrs Claire Reid – Parent Governor

To follow.

Mrs Colette Bell – Parent Governor

Mrs Bell is a Parent Governor at St Thomas More Catholic School, and was appointed in May 2017. She currently has one daughter and one son who attend the school, in years 10 and 7, her eldest daughter previously attended the school and gained excellent A Level results which have allowed her to continue her education at a Russel Group University.

Mrs Bell is the Deputy Head Teacher at Blaydon West Primary School, and previous to this worked in two catholic feeder schools of St Thomas More. She believes her understanding of the transition from KS2, along with her current role as designated Safeguarding Lead at Blaydon West Primary, will be an asset to the Safeguarding Committee. Mrs Bell has an understanding of OFSTED requirements through her own work, and has also marked external examination papers for KS2 SATs. In addition to this, she has sound knowledge of the OFSTED criteria, which will be useful to the Monitoring Committee.

In Mrs Bell’s spare time, she enjoys reading, sport, and has participated in many charity runs and bike rides, including the coast to coast.