School Governance

School Governance

Anyone who interested in becoming a Governor please contact Alana Mackenzie (

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 - ESC Chair and Link to Quality of Teaching and Learning & Leadership and Management

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 am a long-time resident of Darlington. I have been involved in Primary education for several years: as a teacher, headteacher and as a governor of both primary and secondary schools.

My only current involvement is with Marchbank Free School, where it is my pleasure and privilege to be a member of its Education Standards Committee.

I am currently Chairperson of that committee.

Marchbank is a delightful place to be and a school which gives its best to every pupil on roll.

Nigel Little - Curriculum Link- Board Appointed

I have been a Board Appointed Governor since May 2015  and am the Link Governor for Curriculum. 

I was born in Darlington and spent my early years here. I returned to live in Darlington in 1977 having worked away for a number of years.

My career was in Sales and Marketing in the Textile Industry for over 40 years.

I am now retired and with more time available I wanted to become involved in the local community and felt I might have something to contribute.

I was particularly pleased when an opportunity arose to join the Governors at Marchbank School. l already had connections with the original school which was at this location in Darlington before relocating to the Lake District and then Northumberland.

 I have found it to be a strong team which has such an important part to play in raising  standards in the school and who believe in ensuring that education can change the life of every child there.

Wendy Turpin - Vice Chair

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.

Jenny Francis – Data Link- Board Appointed


 I have two daughters, three granddaughters and two grandsons, the youngest of whom is a student at Marchbank. 

Although not involved in education in my working life I am very grateful for the opportunity to make a positive contribution to this wonderful school and the fantastic children we care for. I was the Logistics Manager at Wensleydale Creamery before retirement in 2013. My responsibilities included, amongst many others, both internal and external auditing. Skills I hope will enable me to become an effective Governor. I  am a volunteer at a local nature reserve and a keen bird ringer. 

Mr Chris Ashford - Board  Appointed and EVAT Trustee


Chris Ashford – Chris is a married father of two who has lived in the Darlington area for 30 years. He retired from Durham constabulary in 2014 after 30 years’ service where his roles included the Crime Investigation Department, the Fraud Squad and Child Abuse investigation. Chris holds a BA Hons degree in Crime investigation and Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He is currently employed by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board/Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board in Darlington as the Multi agency Safeguarding Trainer.

Bill Oldfield – Behaviour Link - Board Appointed

Caroline Green - Executive Principle BHA and MFS   

I have been Principal at Beaumont Hill Academy since 2016. 

I am now in the privileged position of being Executive Principal across Marchbank Free School and Beaumont Hill Academy.

I have worked in special schools throughout my teaching career and am committed to ensuring all pupils receive a high quality education which prepares them for their next stage of learning.

Germaine Holmes - Board Appointed 

I currentlywork as a Librarian at Durham University’s Bill Bryson Library, having worked there in various Librarian roles since 2001. I have provided pastoral support to students since 2002. Previously I was in senior nursing management positions. I have 25 years hands on experience in nursing both in General nursing and psychiatry. I have dyslexia and an eye condition. I have two sons, one who is on the autism spectrum and the other with dyslexia. I have dual nationality, (English and French).

My hobbies and interests are gardening, (including grow your own). Dress making, knitting, craft sewing etc. Local history especially Roman archaeology, which were part of my degree and postgraduate degree studies. (Singing as part of a choir at church and our staff choir), swimming and baking.

I have always had a keen interest in education and believe that everyone should be able to have the same opportunities, regardless of background, religion, race or sexuality. As a governor I feel that one of my roles is to assist in ensuring as level a playing field for all to access learning opportunities so that each individual can achieve their potential. As my own children no longer need the level of input from me to ensure this in their studies I want to assist others in achieving their maximum potential through my role as governor. I have a particular interest in learning difficulties and believe this is where my strengths lie.  Currently I have the additional role of Data Management, which I and learning to get to grips with.

If you have any queries relating to governance or wish to contact any of the members, directors or governors, please contact Alana Mackenzie, Governor Development Officer.  

By telephone: 01325 248156

By e-mail:

By post: The Education Village, Salters Lane South, Darlington, DL1 2AN