Governors work closely with Headteachers, school staff and representatives from the local authority (LA).

Suzanne Bailey

I have been a parent Governor since the first year my son Matthew started at Villa Real, age 4, he’s now in 6th Form! I was a Children’s Physiotherapist by profession, and worked in Newcastle and Durham for 20 years, however my main job is being Mum to our 3 children and my toddler grandson. In November 2012 I was elected as Chair of Governors, and am in school regularly and work closely with the Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team. I have worked alongside staff and pupils in most classes and am constantly thrilled to see the children’s personalities shine through.

I am part of the Personnel committee and the Finance committee and as with all my Governor colleagues, I am committed to working with school and taking it forward for the benefit of our children.

Simon Adams

I am Deputy Head Teacher at RNIB Pears Specialist Learning Centre in Warwickshire. This is a school for children and young people aged 4-19 with complex and profound and multiple learning difficulties and visual impairment. I serve alongside my own governing board within the Specialist Learning Trust and also have experience as governor at a special school in Worcestershire, and as Head Teacher at two other special school provisions in County Durham. I am passionate in providing challenge and accountability to school leaders while also offering my skills and experience in supporting leaders in moving the school forwards.

Jane Nattrass

I was appointed as Local Authority Governor in 2014 and have been involved with education for over 30 years, as a teacher, workshop leader, consultant, school governor and Artsmark Assessor for both Arts Council and Trinity College.

Since the death of my 12 year old son, I have set up a charity to support children with Cancer – Henry Dancer Days and spend much of my time working on its behalf.

I have worked in Special Schools throughout my career and am keen to help Villa Real in any way possible

Amy Norton

I became a Governor in February 2014.  I am ‘Mom’ to Flynn and Mackenzie.  Flynn started school in the Autistic Unit age 4.  From the first time that I walked into the school for my visit I felt welcomed and that this was the right place for Flynn to be.  Flynn goes from strength to strength due to the dedication of the staff and volunteers at the school; I wanted to be a part of that to ensure the progression of the school and every child and family that walks through those doors as I did.

Shirley Emerson

I am a Staff Governor. Prior to coming to Villa Real School as a Special Support Assistant, I worked for Behaviour Support, travelling to many schools in Weardale and Teesdale working with pupils of all ages and abilities. Before becoming a Nursery Nurse, I was a Registered Nurse working in anaesthetics and following this working in a community hospital. I have 2 grown up sons, a husband and 3 cats. Because of my experiences over the past 12 years at Villa Real School I hope to be a valued and supporting member of the Governing body and a spokesperson for the wonderful pupils, students and staff of such a very special school.

Roy Patel

I have been a School Governor for over seven years. I am the Chair of County Durham Governors and I am a member of The Schools’ Forum. I am also a fully qualified Parent Support Advisor.

I am currently Chair of Governors at two schools and Vice Chair at another two; some of these school are Special Schools. I am also an IEB member of a secondary school. I keep fully up-to-date with education and have an interest in SEND, Safeguarding, Behaviour and Finance.

I am fully committed to the children who, I would say, come first in any decision I would make; I have children of my own who are of school age. Being self-employed allows me to support schools as needed.

Ivan Jewell

During my past career I worked for thirty years in the Further and Higher Education Sectors. I have a genuine interest in education, and the opportunity for children and young people to reach their full potential. I have been a Governor at Burnopfield Primary School for over 20 years and am a Board  Member of the New College Academies Trust. I would like to share my knowledge and experience  and I am committed to working with  Villa Real School, and assisting it to move forward for the benefit of the children and young people.

Marie Jones

I am an Ofsted registered residential manager with over 15 years’ experience working with children and young people in a residential setting and have now been in a management position since May 2012.

I have access to work place provided courses to develop my knowledge and skills. I attend regular service provider forums to remain up to date with current regulations and legislation. I have sourced and attended external training courses to further enhance my knowledge.

I have worked within Villa real over the years supporting children and young people to enjoy and achieve in education and promote positive outcomes.

I am passionate about helping each child and young person be the best they can be and look for solution focussed strategies to overcome any barriers. I have worked alongside the school and believe children and young people can thrive in the school with positive partnership working.

I am a mother of three, who are all now in employment, however I enjoyed my years supporting, helping and fundraising in their schools. I believe when everyone works together that is when we see the results. This is why I am happy to be a school governor and part of the school.


Arlene Bell

Before I retired I was Head Teacher at Beechdale Nursery School in Consett for 21 years and during that time was honoured to receive an OBE for services to Early Years Education.
Early Years has always been my passion and I am the Early Years governor at 2 other Durham schools – Cestria Primary in Chester-le-Street and Ebchester Primary.
I have 2 children of my own and 6 grandchildren and I am lucky enough to be able to spend time with them all on a regular basis.
I hope to be able to bring to Villa Real everything I have learned both as a Head Teacher and as a parent and grandparent. I look forward to both supporting all staff and children in whatever way I can to ensure Villa Real continues to go from strength to strength.

Caroline Givens

I became a Parent Governor in November 2018. I am a mum of 3 girls and my youngest,Tara, joined the school in September 2018 aged 4. I have joined the Personnel Committee and, with my background in HR and Training in the NHS, I believe I have a lot to offer in this area. I feel honoured to have become a member of the governing body and am passionate about ensuring that we continue to strive for the very best for our children in all we do.

New Governors

Villa Real would also like to introduce Caroline Givens to the Governing Body.

How To Become A School Governor

If you require further information on the roles and responsibilities of School Governors or you are interested in becoming one, visit the Durham County Council website School Governor section.


Governor Code of Conduct Policy 2019

Governing Body Monitoring Visits