Meet the Governors

Mike Finlay

Co-Chair of the Governing Body

I am currently interim Head of Inclusion and SEND at Northumberland County Council and passionately advocate for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Before joining NCC, I was Deputy Head Teacher in a Trust of special schools, initially having trained and worked as a Secondary Art Teacher.

I am passionate about improving provision and outcomes for those with differing needs and increasing the number and quality of meaningful pathways for young people with SEND. I am dedicated to advocating with and for young people and to improving opportunities available to them.

I currently live in County Durham with my wife and 2 daughters, aged 1 and 4. We love to spend time outdoors, often visiting the beautiful places Northumberland has to offer each weekend. I'm delighted to have joined Morpeth First as a governor and look forward to supporting and challenging the school to deliver the best outcomes for its pupils.

Craig Appleby

Co-Chair of the Governing Body

My name is Craig Appleby and I am currently a senior leader in secondary education with 14 years teaching experience. My background is predominantly centered around pastoral care and support, behaviour, attendance, Pupil Premium, internet safety and transition. I hope I can use these skills to support and challenge the school accordingly to be the very best it can be in these areas. I am a proud parent to one girl who currently attends the school and I look forward to watching her and all of the other children grow and develop in such a thriving and positive environment.

Nicola Darrington

Vice Chair

I am a mum of two boys at the start of their school experience with Morpeth First School. We live locally and I am a part time GP at one of the local surgeries. I enjoy spending time with my family exploring new things and laughing together. I love nature and enjoy spending time outdoors, but if inside I also enjoy craft and baking. I am passionate about ensuring every child is given the very best opportunities to learn and develop and I am therefore very grateful for the opportunity to be on the governing board for Morpeth First School.

I have the pleasure of being a Governor Lead in the areas of Nurture and Eat Well to Learn Well. These areas dovetail together nicely with oversight for how school meal provision and how nutrition/healthy living is embedded within the curriculum; as well as emotional wellbeing provision within the school. I am fortunate also to be a Governor Lead for Character Education, something in which I believe passionately, as it supports the qualities I hope my children and in fact future colleagues/neighbours would possess, for the enrichment of society.

Rachael Blackett

My name is Rachael Blackett. I am a Parent Governor with two children in Morpeth First School, and a younger child who will hopefully follow. I live in Morpeth, and having also grown up here, I am keen to support the school.

I work as a Planning Consultant for a global engineering firm. I believe in being able to use my professional workplace skills for the benefit of the school. I have a wide ranging interest, and I am currently a Governor Lead for both Maths and Nuture, which gives a balanced overview of academic and wellbeing elements within school. I also sit on the school’s Resources Committee.

Bryony Roff

I am an architect working mainly on historic buildings in the North East. I am a parent to two boys, both of whom went to Morpeth First School, one is now at KEVI, the other attends Newminster Middle, so I have had many years of association with Goosehill. I have been a governor since 2016, first as a parent governor, now as a co-opted governor.

John Ryder

Originally from Teesside, I fell in love with the area and settled here in 2008. I have deep rooted interest in the school because two of my children attend Morpeth First School, with a further two to follow. As such, you'll often see me in the playground during school pick-ups and drop-offs.

As an entrepreneur, I bring 20 years of business and technology experience to the Governing Body, and I'm particularly interested in how culture & values can play such an important part in the education and development of children. I enjoy exploring and developing this interest as one of the Governor leads for character education.

Jean Stafford

My name is Jean Stafford. I became a Governor at Morpeth First School because I am interested in the education and nurturing of young children. I believe a positive foundation in a cooperative and caring environment will enable a child to grow emotionally and physically towards responsible adulthood. These interests are reflected in my Governor Leadership roles, in the areas of Outdoor Learning and Eating Well to Learn Well.

I am a retired Police Superintendent and since retirement I have re-qualified in adult education and enjoyed teaching at Northumbria University.n I have lived and worked in Northumberland and Morpeth most of my life and feel privileged to know this area well.

Claire Dumbelton

My name is Claire and I have been working at Morpeth First School for over two years. I am originally from Edinburgh, but I now live locally with my husband and son. After living abroad I still have a passion for travelling, experiencing new cultures and learning languages. Back in Northumberland I enjoy being outdoors for long walks in the countryside with my dog and practicing my photography skills. I am also on the committee for my local scouting group.

Amy Moody

I have been part of the staff at Morpeth First School for 14 years. I am also a mum of two boys and live locally. I love spending my time exploring the outdoors, mainly walking and cycling. I coach a local rugby team and my other interests include science and lots of creativity.

Gemma Jones

I am a Parent Governor with two boys who attend Morpeth First School.

Although originally from Teesside, I have lived in Morpeth for nearly ten years with my husband (who grew up here).

I was previously a solicitor specialising in Employment Law but I left my career in law to become a homemaker when my eldest son was born.

I enjoy spending time with my family, exploring the outdoors, socialising with friends and, when I have the energy, going to bootcamp.

I am passionate about ensuring children have a positive learning environment which enables them to thrive - something I believe Morpeth First School already offers. I look forward to supporting the school and playing a part in influencing and shaping its direction.