School Governance

School Governance

Marchbank Education Standards Committee (ESC)

School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education. They are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school.

Marchbank Free School has an excellent body of governors who individually and collectively offer a wide range of skills.

Liz McAllister 

Chair of ESC

Her role is to ensure we have an effective team which offers strategic leadership and accountability for educational improvement. She also needs to ensure that we effectively manage a regular self-review and develop the boards effectiveness to challenge and to set and manage risk.

I'm a long time resident in Darlington, grandmother to three lovely girls and a former Primary Head Teacher. My Masters Degree focused on Education Management. My dissertation was on Parental Involvement in the Management of Pupil Behaviour. I have been a governor is a variety of schools since 1987, most recently at Mowden Federation of Schools but  in the past at schools in County Durham and Chair of an Interim Executive Board of a Leicester Primary School in Special Measures. Fortunately that school improved significantly and had a new Governing Body appointed. I ceased my involvement in other schools when I was accepted as a Governor at Marchbank. I do other voluntary work in Darlington, being a Samaritan and currently Chairperson of Healthwatch Darlington. I found a real welcome at Marchbank from students and staff alike. I enjoy visiting whenever I can.

Janet Penman  

Vice Chair of ESC

Janet works for the Department for Education and was involved in the conception of the school working with Mandy  and a team to ensure we opened a high successful school in a quality environment for the children. 

"It is very rewarding to work with a strong team of teachers and leaders and to see the difference Marchbank School is making to the life chances of the children in their care."

Mandy Southwick (Principal) 

Mandy is the Principal of Marchbank Free School, and is a Governor in an Ex Officio capacity.

Nigel Little 

Worked in Sales and Marketing in the Textile Industry for over 40 years. Now retired.

With more time available I wanted to become involved in the local community as I felt I may have something to contribute. I was particularly pleased when an opportunity arose to join Marchbank School . I already had connections  with the original school which was there before relocating to the Lake District and then Northumberland.

Sam Calvert

Sam is a teaching assistant in school and is currently studying for a foundation degree. 

Wendy Turpin

I was delighted to be appointed to Marchbank's Education and Standards Committee in October 2016. 

Having worked for the Department for Education for many years, I hope to put my experience to use in helping Mandy,  her team and my fellow Governors achieve Marchbank's vision and aims thus improving standards and life chances for our young people through provision of a safe, secure and stimulating environment which will prepare them for transition to secondary education.

I was born in Darlington,  have one daughter and am involved in other voluntary work within the area, including duties at St Teresa's Hospice.

EVAT Board of Directors

Please click on the link below to visit the EVAT Board of Directors page:

EVAT Board of Directors

We have a full ESC but we still have a vacancy for a parent governor. If anyone would be interested in applying or would like further information please contact our governance support and development officer Alana McKenzie on