Our Academy Council
From 1st November 2017 our school became part of the Durham Diocesan MAT (company number 10847279). The company information and details of members and directors of the MAT are available at www.durhamdmat.co.uk
For the company documents, including the funding agreements, click this link: http://www.durhamdmat.co.uk/Our-Faith/
For the policies (including whistleblowing, complaints, finance, etc) click this link: http://www.durhamdmat.co.uk/Policies/
This means that many of the roles our governing body undertook are now overseen by an Academy Council. We are fortunate and grateful that our governors moved forwards with us are now serving the school on this council. Their details are listed below.
Please click the link to access the Signed Scheme of Delegation
(Whilst the document no longer applies, if you wish to see the St Aidan's Instrument of Governance for historic purposes, click this link)
Mrs Deborah Robinson - Chair
I have served as a member of St Aidan's Governors for many years. As a teacher myself, I am passionate about education and ensuring all students are given opportunities to thrive and move into the next chapter of their lives in the best position possible.
Being a mum of 3, I am also able to offer support and guidance from a parent’s point of view which can be difficult when you are restricted to the guidance provided by government and an academic influence.
When not working, I love spending time with my children doing craft activities, swimming and baking. We love the outdoors and are always willing to try new things, especially since the pandemic and putting our wellbeing to the forefront of our lives.
Mrs Ellen Gardner - Vice Chair
Hello, my name is Ellen Gardner and I have had many roles over many years within St Aidans school, ranging from pupil, parent, Chair of FOSA and now academy councillor.
My professional background has been with the Civil Service and also as a Nursery Nurse /Teaching Assistant and a 1 to 1 support worker within the education sector.
I am passionate and committed about continuously improving standards within our school and to see that all pupils get the quality education they deserve and to achieve their maximum potential, before moving onto the next phase of their lives.
Mr Brian Hays
I am a retired Contracts Specialist/Senior Buyer and have worked in the Supply Chain Departments for Steel and the Petro-Chemical Industries located in Teesside.
I am a member of St. John Ambulance, in Durham County for over 42 years’ service. Starting as Cadet at the Hartlepool Division and then rising through the ranks finally to be the County Commissioner for Durham County until my retirement. I am now a member of the Order of St John, Durham County Priory Group support the works of the Order.
I have been a practicing communicant of St. Aidan & St. Columba’s Church for over 50 years and also the Deanery Synod representative for St. Aidan’s Church.
Also, I am a Foundation Governor for the Board of Education at St. Hild’s Church of England School.
I have three children and five grandchildren who keep me busy and young at heart. I have worked in retail but have been retired for three years. I missed the contact with work colleagues so decided to take up a volunteer role as an Academy Councillor at St Aidan’s CE Primary School. I am a former pupil of the school and was amazed to still recognise features around the building from when I attended. I love reading and attending the gym which keeps both my mind and body fit. I love to spend time with my grandchildren, showing them how to bake, do crafts and visiting museums.
Dr Alla Alwan
Hello, my name is Dr Alaa Alwan. I am from Syria and I went to university there and qualified as a Vet. After the war, I moved to Lebanon with my husband and daughter. We had to live in the refugee camps so I volunteered as an English and Science Teacher in the camp school.
We have lived in England for nearly 2 years and our daughter attends St Aidan’s school. My husband is also a vet and we are retraining to become practicing vets here. To keep busy, I volunteer in the Hartlepool Baby Bank as an interpreter. Due to my experiences, I feel I can offer knowledge and skills to the Academy Council, as well as giving me a better understanding of how the education system works in Britain. I am looking forward to being a part of the St Aidan’s school family.
Mrs Elaine Peake
I retired in 2018 from my role of School Business Manager at St Aidan’s after 19 years, to help with childminding for my three grandchildren. Although initially missing work and my work colleagues I have now happily integrated into retirement. I lead a busy and interesting life which I find is as varied as my role was at St Aidan’s. I am a County Councillor for Durham County Council, a Parish Councillor in the village where I live and find both work happily alongside my childminding duties. I was then given the opportunity to return to St Aidan’s as an Academy Councillor and was delighted to take on this new role. I am once again very happy to give my time and energies to St Aidan’s and hope some of my past experience will be of benefit to the staff, children and Academy Council.
ParentsMrs Jenni Petch
My name is Jenni Petch. I have been a primary school teacher for 11 years and truly believe I have the best job ever - it is a real privilege to be able to shape young lives. I live in a very busy home with two beautiful boys, two dogs and my partner, who runs a building and landscaping business. My eldest boy is 4 and is extremely lively- he keeps us very busy and likes to be outdoors and on the go! I also have a 12 week old baby, who is a very happy and chatty little soul. We have a Black Labrador called Bonnie and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Bruce who (despite the size difference) are best friends. We enjoy taking them for long walks and Bonnie enjoys playing football with the children in the garden while Bruce watches on. I am delighted to bring my experience as a mum and teacher to the role of governor in such a nurturing, inspirational school. I hope to support the school in building strong home- school links with parents and give a parents perspective on those important initiatives that drive high standards and outstanding quality of education. I am looking forward to being part of the school family as my own children grow with St Aidans.
Mrs Karen Chapman
My name is Karen Chapman and I have thoroughly enjoyed working at St Aidan’s since 2015. I was previously a teacher in Year 2, which was both a delight and a privilege, until my recent appointment as Deputy Headteacher, which I am extremely thrilled and excited about. I enjoy working alongside my fellow Academy council members as we continue to deliver our Christian Vision and to always provide the best for our children, parents, staff and community, so that they can flourish and enjoy life in all its fullness.
I am passionate about helping all children to reach their full academic potential and to have a thirst to be life-long learners and for each and every child to feel valued, accepted, loved and appreciated for who they are in their journey through to adulthood.
I am blessed with a wonderful husband and 4 grown up children, 2 grandchildren, soon to be 3! Though the family are spread far and wide, we like nothing better than spending time together on holidays and at special occasions! I have a love of travel, reading and countryside ride outs on our motorbike.
Miss Gillian Hood
My name is Gillian Hood and I have been Headteacher at St. Aidan’s since September 2023. I have worked in education for over 23 years, beginning my teaching career in a large community primary school in Darlington. I have been a senior leader at St. Aidan's for 15 years and consider it to be THE most special, caring place - a place that feels like home to us all.
I am extremely passionate about education and have high aspirations for all children. I think that all children deserve the best possible education and the chance to be the best they can be, through strong and nurturing teaching and learning.
I live at home with my partner and our teenage daughter. We enjoy spending time as a family, exploring the world in our motorhome. I also enjoy attending gym classes and have a strong love of reading.