Primary School

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Welcome to our Governors’ section. 

Here you will find information about the role of the governing body, details of how our Governing body is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.


The Role and Responsibilities of the Governing Body

Governing bodies are the key strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school. They are also a key part of the overall system for school accountability. Governing bodies have a vital role to play in driving up school and pupil performance and ensuring that resources are used well to give every child the best possible education.


In all schools, governing bodies have three core strategic functions:
a. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
b. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
c. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.


These functions are reflected in regulations for maintained schools that came into force in September 2013 and in the criteria Ofsted inspectors use to judge the effectiveness of governance in both maintained schools and academies.

In practice, governors are a group of volunteers who include parents, staff and members of the local community who act collectively to make decisions that matter to the school and are motivated to do the best for the children of the school.


Governing bodies help set the school’s aims and values. They also make decisions on matters such as performance targets, school policies, and the school’s single plan.  They oversee the use of the school’s budget and have responsibility to obtain value for money for that budget. They are responsible for the appointment of the headteacher.  In addition, governors monitor, support and challenge the headteacher and staff on how well those policies and targets are followed through. They do this by visiting the school, getting to know its strengths and weaknesses, and asking useful questions that foster an ethos of continuous improvement.


When to contact the Governors?

Should there ever be things you’d like to raise, please feel free to contact us. We’re happy to receive your comments and feedback. Many of us are regularly in and around the school, and several of us are often in the playground at drop-off and pick-up times. Alternatively, please feel free to leave a message with the office.


If you have any concerns that you have raised with the school and you do not feel they have been dealt with accordingly then please contact Gemma Sowter at

Meet the team


Gemma Sowter
Local Authority Governor and Chair of Governors

My name is Gemma and I am your Chair of Governors. I have been on the governing body since 2015 and an active part of the school community since we moved to Newport in 2014. I have a passion for education and see it as a privilege to contribute to the development of the school in any way I can. We have two boys, Hayden who has recently completed his time at Newport and Parker who is in Dragonfly Class. I have a business degree from the University of Leeds and an employment background in procurement and executive management.



Lorna Rutter
Parent Governor and Vice Chair of Governors

My name is Lorna Rutter and I have been a Co-Opted Governor since March 2017.
From September 2020 I will take on the role of Chair of the Standards committee and also have a specific focus on SEND, and PPG. My son Charlie attends NPS and just like any parent, I want the very best educational setting for my son, where he can be happy, confident and become the very best he can be. I am focused on this being the experience for all pupils at the school. I work as an Operations Director for a recruitment company with responsibility for company financials, team development and setting company objectives for future growth and development, a range of skills that the school can make good use of to support the pupil’s educational environment and continue to develop on the school’s vision and strategy.


Rebecca Pine
Headteacher (ex-officio Governor)

Rebecca joined Newport Primary in September 2018 as headteacher. Rebecca is hugely passionate about every child receiving outstanding teaching and learning and about inclusivity. She believes in working with families to achieve the very best outcomes for their children and welcomes discussions with people within the community. Rebecca brings her dog, Fergie, with her to school to ensure that all children at Newport get enhanced learning opportunities within the school, especially with reading. Rebecca lives in Great Chishill with her husband, Tom, and their two children, Freddie and Olivia. Rebecca and her family enjoy exploring the outdoors and are keen on cycling, walking the school dog and being in the countryside. She is vice chair of Great Chishill Parish Council and likes to get involved in village life.


Mark Johnson

Co-opted Governor 

Mark grew up around Saffron Walden, went to university in York and then lived in Somerset before returning to Essex. He has worked in local government since 2008 and is a chartered public finance accountant. Mark became a governor at Newport in 2016 and was previously Chair of the Resources Committee; he is also a governor of a church school in Bishop’s Stortford. Mark lives with his wife and their young son near Newport. Having enjoyed his time at school, Mark is keen to play his part in enabling children at Newport to get the best out of their time at school.


Greg Smith
Co-opted Governor 

I am a Co-opted governor with a current focus on Standards. I have a background in Industrial Design & Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University and a PGCE from Cambridge University. Having grown up locally, Wendens Ambo, I now live in Newport. For the last decade of my career, I taught as an Assistant Headteacher in West London, in a large aspiring comprehensive school, where exacting high standards through well-executed plans were the only benchmark. In my next challenge, I now work with my talented brother running an exciting professional chocolatier business in Saffron Walden. I have two sons, Oliver in Otter class and Henry in Dragonfly Class. I love high-quality coffee and enjoy being a part of a local CrossFit community, keeping active.


Simon Mathias
Associate Governor 

I grew up in the area and attended Newport Primary myself before moving on to Newport Free Grammar School. I then embarked on a career in the City for over 25 years rising to be a director responsible for trading and risk management at an Investment Bank. I also have experience of being a non-executive director in both public and private companies. I moved back to the area with my wife in 2006 and moved to Newport in 2015. I am now a stay-at-home Dad to two young boys; one in Hedgehog class and one in Fox class.



Emma Bould

Co-opted Governor 

Originally from New Zealand, Emma moved to the UK in 2005 and has spent the last 15 years working across IT, Construction, Life Sciences Manufacturing and Defence sectors including 5 years service in the Royal Navy. Emma is currently employed by GSK at the Ware manufacturing site where she leads major change management projects aligned to the engineering function.  

A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Emma’s passionate about improving the diversity of the engineering profession and making STEM careers accessible to all. She led the GSK Ware engineering apprenticeships programme for 5 years and mentors engineering graduates to achieve professional registration. In her spare time she is a keen dressmaker, photographer, skier and is currently completing an Executive MBA at Cranfield University. 


Victoria Sullivan

Parent governor

I have 2 children at Newport Primary School; my daughter is in Badger class (year 2) and my son in Falcon class (year 6). I joined the Governing Body as a parent governor in March 2019 after being the Secretary of the Friends fundraising committee since 2015. I run my own HR consultancy business and am passionate about the impact strategy and leadership can have on organisations, including schools. My governor responsibilities include chairing the resources committee to ensure our premises and finances are well managed for the benefit of all the children at the school, overseeing policies and GDPR and being involved in the pay committee and the performance management of our head teacher. I believe it is a great time to be contributing to the strategic direction of the school and would encourage all parents to get involved in any way they can.


Amy Cockerill
Co-opted Governor 

As someone relatively new to the area, I am keen to contribute to the local community and am excited to learn what Newport is all about. After university in Durham, my teaching career has taken me from Hampstead to Birmingham and Nottingham and now to Cambridge, where I am Director of Studies at an independent fifth and sixth form college. I have held roles in special educational needs and safeguarding and nothing is more crucial than providing a safe and productive environment for all of our young people to grow and learn.



Keeley Chandler

Associate governor and Deputy Headteacher

I joined Newport school in September (2018) as Deputy Head teacher, having previously taught for 20 years in Hertfordshire, building my role from class teacher top senior leader and acting Deputy Head teacher. Over the years, I have taught classes from Reception up to year 6 and enjoy them all! They all bring their challenges, their unique styles and their different skillsets but one thing that remains is that children are children, whatever the age, and have the right to the best education. I believe in Newport being the best inclusive school, where children enjoy learning and teachers enjoy teaching. Outside of school, my passions lie in dancing, music, sewing, theatre and cinema trips and socialising with friends; I love to incorporate these skills within school, wherever possible.


Molly-May Walbanke

Staff Governor and Class Teacher

I joined the school, in 2018 as a RQT. I am now in my fourth year of teaching and absolutely love being at Newport Primary. Last year I taught in Robin Class and this year I am in Otter. I am passionate about teaching and embrace any way to improve my personal development. Before teaching, I taught English as a Foreign Language in a private school in Madrid and, during my time at university, volunteered in HMP Bedford Prison to improve the children’s experience of visiting family members. During my time volunteering, I began to understand the importance of nurture and have always used this as a platform for my teaching career. In my spare time, I enjoy barre, running and walking my two dogs with my family. I hope to complete a half marathon again next year having previously run the London Marathon in 2016 and Cambridge Half Marathon in March 2020.


James Phillips

Co-opted Governor

James has moved to the area fairly recently after spending time in Suffolk and Cardiff for work and is keen to get involved in the local community. James works in London for Lloyds Banking Group, with experience across multiple areas of the business including sales/customer process, business change and communications. I am excited to start my governor role at Newport Primary and look forward to working towards our goal of achieving excellence together. James also has a passion for rugby and recently finished his term as Chair of the RFU National Youth Council, where he led a team of inspirational volunteers to make rugby more inclusive and relevant to younger people within the game. Moreover, in his spare time he is a rugby referee within the Hertfordshire area and also coaches young match officials. He is also loves his coffee and his food, especially getting his BBQ out when the weather allows.

Declaration of pecuniary and personal interests