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Ryton Infant and Junior School Federation

Positive, Respectful and Safe


Welcome to our Governors’ section. 

Please find below details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.

Governor Subject Link 2019

Governor Meeting Attendance 2018 2019

Pecuniary Interests 2019

Mrs Deborah Ashcroft - Executive Headteacher

Mrs Susan Spurr -  Co-opted Governor / Deputy Headteacher

Mrs Nicola Johnson - Co-opted Governor / Deputy Headteacher

Miss Claire Baker - Associate Member / School Business Manager 

Mrs Ali Bottomley - Staff Governor / Year 6 Teacher 

Cllr Freda Geddes - Local Authority Governor / Chair of Governing Body

Mrs Mel Graham - Co-opted Governor / Vice Chair 

Mr Jon Comb - Co-opted Governor

Mrs Corrine Ashburner - Co-opted Governor

Mr Jeff Austen - Co-opted Governor

Mrs Rachel Lawson - Co-opted Governor

PC Andrew Hyde - Co-opted Governor

Mr Ian Wilson - Co-opted Governor

Mr Paul Vickers - Parent Governor

Mr Mayang Patel - Parent Governor

Governor Pen Portraits


Cllr. Freda Geddes 

I am Freda Geddes, Chair of Governors for Ryton Infant and Junior School Federation and I have been associated with these schools since 1973. 

I have taught in both schools and have been a Governor for over 20 years. 

At present I am the link Governors for EYFS, Art, Design and Technology and Safeguarding. 

I am a local councillor and volunteer at our schools, Barmoor Hub, Ferndene Park as well as helping to organise community events e.g. Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween events and Bonfire Night. 

I have lots of interests besides education such as Dancing, Gardening, Tai Chi, Antiques and History.

I am proud of my association with the Federation where all members of the school community work extremely hard to educate and care for the children who attend here. 


Mrs Deborah Ashcroft

I have been privileged to have been Executive Head teacher at Ryton Federation since September 2018. Prior to this role, I was head teacher of a school in Gosforth for 9 years. Throughout my career I have loved teaching. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in Norfolk, Durham, Newcastle and Gateshead. So my experience is certainly wide-ranging! Another side of my role is to visit other schools to evaluate the quality of their education. This can be very interesting!

It is a joy to be part of the lives of your children. I take delight in chatting with children, seeing them take pride in their achievements and we love to share a joke!

In my spare time, I like to watch my teenage daughter thrive, walk my big, bouncy dog, read, serve my community and explore the World.


Mrs Corinne Ashburner

I am Corinne Ashburner. I have spent my working life in education, from classroom teaching through to senior management and training of teachers.

I am Primary specific, an area where I believe providing the best groundwork to pupils is vital.

Outside education I have been involved with young people since my late teens having worked in the Scouting and Guiding movements, chaired Young Offending Panels and also had an overall management role for Youth Programmes within Lions Clubs International across the UK.


Mr Jeff Austen 

I am currently a co-opted Governor at Ryton Infant and Junior School Federation, and have been since February 2019. I am a father to twin girls Isobel and Katherine who are currently in Year 2 at Ryton Infants. 

I come mainly from a catering and hospitality background, having spent over 20 years in the industry. I am very customer service driven and enthusiastic, skills which I believe are good to have on board. I am also an active member of the PTA, Friends of Ryton School. 

I will always strive to make sure that every child in Ryton Federation gets the best education and learning experience that we can offer. 


PC Andrew Hyde 

I am Neighbourhood Beat Manager PC 473 Andrew Hyde from Northumbria Police’s Outer West Neighbourhood Policing Team, my area of responsibility is Ryton, Stella, Crookhill, Crawcrook, & Greenside.

I have over 15 years policing experience, all of which has been in the Gateshead area and previously worked as a 24/7 response officer covering the Outer West Area before becoming a Neighbourhood Beat Manager.

I am an ex pupil of Ryton Federation having attended both Ryton Infant & Junior Schools between 1988 – 1996 and have maintained strong links to the school & the local community since I left Ryton Comprehensive School (Now Thorp Academy) in 2003. 

I am a newly appointed Governor of Ryton Federation with my responsibilities being Pupil Premium, PE Sport Premium, and Safeguarding.  


Mrs Rachel Lawson

I work for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) as a Policy and Research Officer. My background is Criminal Justice System, I worked for 10 years with Durham Probation Trust and 7 years with Northumbria Probation Trust.

I have lived in Crawcrook and Ryton for the whole of my life, I am a local business owner- M Lawson Removals and I am the volunteer events coordinator for Barmoor fireworks and part of the team looking to expand the free events available to our community.

I am a newly appointed Governor of Ryton Federation with my responsibilities being Safeguarding, SMSC and PHSE. 


Mr Ian Wilson

I am a partner at Tait Farrier Graham Solicitors working primarily in Gateshead and Newcastle and I have lived in Ryton and Crawcrook since I was born, I attended another local primary school and attended Ryton Comprehensive school. My children attend the toddlers group and nursery that I did, and will in due course attend the same school, and it is their learning journey which triggered my interest in primary education. I believe through my own professional and personal experience I have a lot to offer in terms of improving the well-being of children and playing a vital part in shaping educational services and relish the opportunity to make valuable contribution to the area I have lived in all of my life. I feel privileged to be in a position to meet and assist young people and find theirs and their teachers enthusiasm inspiring. It has given me the opportunity to give back to my local area and also help prepare me for the stresses of being a parent of school children!! Outside of work I love to spend time with my wife and children and supporting Newcastle United up and down the country. I am a budding chef and I am passionate about food and wine. I also like to involve myself in local charities and in particular assisting the most vulnerable in our society, those who live on the streets.  


Mr Mayang Patel

I am Mayang Patel, father to Eashan 8, Rivan 7 and Ameya 5 all of whom are students at Ryton.

We have made Ryton our home for over 10 years and we cannot think of a better place to bring our kids up.

I am privileged to represent the Ryton Federation as a parent governor.

We have been associated with Ryton Federation School for over 4 years now since Eashan started in reception. The school is more than just a foundation for our children to get the best start in their lives. The school is the focal point in Ryton and it is the one thing which brings all local  families together for a common purpose. We have got to know some wonderful people in this time, children, families and staff alike. There is a real community spirit about the place which makes it something special.

My job working alongside the NHS in delivering the best patient outcomes in a challenging financial and target driven environment  is not too different to the education system. I believe with this experience I will add value to the ongoing governance and development of our school we can continue to be proud of.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my partner Vicki and the kids, eating out, listening to music, travelling and watching movies. I also coach Rivan’s U7 Football Team which takes up plenty of time.