Meet the Governors

Mrs Melissa Baynes

Chair of Governors  / Local Authority Governor  /  Safeguarding / E-Safety Governor / SPDC Member

I live on a dairy farm just outside of Slaley village, I have 5 children all of which have been through Slaley School my youngest still attending. I am a Nurse working as a clinical Manager and community Matron In the  NHS Children’s Mental Health Services with extensive experience working with children with Special educational needs, Mental Health conditions and assessment of Neuro-developmental conditions and post diagnostic support. I am passionate about supporting the school to continue to provide new opportunities and experiences for the children to enable all children to thrive and reach their own potential.


Mr Neil Watson
Vice Chair of Governors / Co-opted Governor / FRMC Member
For the last thirty years I have managed a small, privately owned manufacturing businesses. In 2021, with our first grandchild now on the scene, it was time for a change. After working away from home for over ten years, my wife and I gave up our jobs to start the local Newcastle Tutor Doctor franchise, providing extra tuition both privately and through schools in the area. We are a family of keen sailors, having raced sailing dingies with my son at Derwent Reservoir and more recently at Tynemouth sailing club. I joined Slaley First school as a governor at the beginning of 2023 and look forward to helping the school thrive in the local community.


Mr Ian Stevens MBE

Co-opted Governor /Responsibility for Leadership & Management /Health & Safety /FRMCMember 

 With a background in glaciology and computer programming it was only natural that I went on to spend 33 years in the rail industry!  My early career was spent in the Tyne/Tees area as an Operations Manager.  From there I progressively moved south to take up safety roles at a national level in London.  In 2020 I retired from the industry and what had become my specialist role for the previous eight years – suicide prevention.  For my work in that field, I was honoured with an MBE in 2018.

By chance my wife and I discovered Slaley in 2019 on our journey back to London following a visit to the Edinburgh Fringe.  We instantly knew it was the place that we wanted to retire to.  The sense of community was a huge draw for us and since moving from Wimbledon we have looked to make our contribution to both the village and the Parish.  Currently I serve as a Parish Councillor and sit on the Commemoration Hall Committee.

Having had two girls spend many happy years in education, due to the support they received along the way, I am keen to play my part in making the journey of other children as fruitful and fulfilling as theirs.

Mrs Kayleigh Herdman
Co-opted Governor / responsibility for Early Years and Personal Development / SPDC Member
For the past four years I have lived on a hill farm just outside of Blanchland with my husband and two children, after moving from Hexhamshire where I grew up. 
I have a first class honours degree in Hospitality and Food Management and now own and run a luxury shepherd's hut holiday accommodation business here on our farm. 
It's a pleasure to be part of the governors team and be part of a great local school, which my daughter currently attends. 

Mrs Angela Hayward

Headteacher / SPDC and FRMC Member


I joined Slaley First School in September 2021 as Headteacher and Governor. I am delighted to be part of the wonderful Slaley community and I am committed wholeheartedly to providing the very best education to the children in our care. I have three children myself and so fully understand the importance of being considered and included as a parent. I view all of our parents as partners in the educational process and encourage parental involvement in all aspects of school life. We have an open door policy for new and existing parents, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any information or have any queries.


Mrs Rachel O’Neill

Teacher Governor / SPDC Member


I joined Slaley First School in April 2002 as Key Stage One Teacher. During this time I have worked closely with the headteachers, staff and governors to develop the provision offered at Slaley First School. In May 2013, I became a teacher Governor. In this role I share ideas with Governors, providing a valuable link between the Governing body and staff. I am passionate about everyone in our school community working together to achieve the very best for the children in our care.



Mr Mark Osborne

Parent Governor  / Governor responsible for Early Years / FRMC Member


I have lived in Slaley since 2015 and have four children (two boys and two girls); both of my boys currently attend the school. I have been a governor since Autumn 2021. I work as an ecologist and am a founding director or an ecological consultancy.


Mrs Lynda Potts

Co-opted Governor / Governor responsible for SEND / Pupil Premium & COVID Catch Up / SPDC Member


I was first involved with Slaley First School when my children attended there over 20 years ago. I served as a parent governor for a number of years and also taught in school covering absent staff at times. I qualified as a teacher in 1985 and throughout my long teaching career taught mostly in special schools initially in Nottinghamshire, then Northumberland, County Durham and Hartlepool. I taught children with a wide range of special needs predominantly in the primary age range.

During this time I also became interested in alternative health and trained in a number of therapies including Bowen therapy and Reflexology. Since leaving teaching, I have qualified as a Herbalist and currently run a clinic from home near Whittonstall.

I look forward to being involved with Slaley School again and hope that my experience will prove to be a useful asset to the team.

All Governors can be contacted via our School Office.