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Ryton Infant and Junior School Federation

Positive, Respectful and Safe

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Governor Pen Portraits

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 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.



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 3 at Ryton Federation. 

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  PC 473 Andrew Hyde from Northumbria Police’s and up until recently was part of the Outer West Neighbourhood Policing Team,  with responsibility for 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. 

My responsibilities are Pupil Premium, PE Sport Premium, and Safeguarding.  


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 , Rivan  and Ameya  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 5 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 U8 Football Team which takes up plenty of time.


Mrs Vikki Hunter

I joined Ryton Federation in September 2019 and am the current year 4 teacher. Prior to this I taught in a school in Northumberland. I love working with children and helping them achieve their potential. I am looking forward to further immersing myself into Ryton Federation through the staff governor position. Outside education I have been a member of Girlguiding UK since childhood and was an assistant unit leader for 9 years. 


Mrs Ashleigh McNeill

I am Ashleigh McNeill, Mum to Travis and Tommy McNeill who attend the Federation.

I have lived in Ryton for most of my life and also attended all of Ryton Schools throughout my education years.

I am proud to be part of the Ryton Community and I’m well aware of many of the children and families who also attend the schools.

I have spent all of my working career in Children's services for Gateshead Council, mainly working within the Children’s Homes,

and my current post is Registered Manager. Within this I am responsible for providing a high level of care and support for some of our most vulnerable Children and Young People with a wide variety of needs, including Looked After Children and Children with Disabilities.

I have lots of current knowledge and experience around SEND and this is a particular area I have an interest in.

Children’s Homes are highly scrutinised by Ofsted with twice yearly unannounced inspections, so I have lots of knowledge and experience in managing quality assurance, working within inspection frameworks and ensuring that children and young people are being supporting to achieve positive outcomes and reach their full potential. I also have responsibilities for managing the Health and Safety of the homes, budget monitoring and ensuring financial viability and manage staff teams. This equips me with lots of transferable knowledge and skills to support the federation and I hope to support in any way I can to ensure our children and young people thrive.