Pen Portraits

Marjorie Rastall

Chair of Governors

I have been a governor at the school since the early 1980's when the first of my four children began their schooling at Slaley. My own career in education began in 1973 teaching in Cumbria followed by posts at Prudhoe, Consett and QEHS.  From 2000 to 2013, when I retired, I was involved in teaching and then senior management within the youth justice system.  I have been involved with Slaley show since 1988, first as general secretary and then pony secretary.  I have recently taken over as chairman of the show.  I am a parish councillor for Hexhamshire having lived in the Shire for the last 20 years after previously living at Red Hemmels dairy farm at Healey.


Catherine Lincoln

Vice-Chair of Governors

SEND, Safeguarding & E-Safety Governor

I'm Catherine Lincoln, a co-opted governor.  I live in the village and work locally at Dilston College.  My involvement with the school goes back to when I worked at the school as secretary a few years back, and both my children went to Slaley. I have a PGCE in Early Years education and experience in special needs and safeguarding, as well as a financial background. I believe that small schools are the best place for children to start their education, and as a governor, my role is that of a critical friend - to support but also to challenge.


Ian Stevens MBE

Co-opted Governor

Governor with a responsibility for H&S. 

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. Debbie Brett


I joined Slaley First School in January 2016 from Shotley Bridge Primary School where I was the Deputy Headteacher. Previously, I taught in a Middle School in Bedfordshire and a Junior School in London.

For the past 25 years, teaching has been my vocation. In that time, I have completed four terms of office as a teacher Governor which has enabled me to work closely with all members of the school community and gain a deeper understanding of how schools operate within the wider context of education.

My aim has always been to facilitate learning and guide children to become the very best that they can be. As Head teacher of Slaley First School, I feel I am in a privileged position to pursue this aim, but also appreciate that it brings great responsibility.


Rachel O’Neill

Teacher Governor

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.


Mrs. Laura Hall

Co-opted Governor



Mark Foster 

Parent Governor

My wife Andrea and I moved to the area in 2015. Andrea grew up in Corbridge and we knew Slaley first school in Northumberland would be the perfect place to bring up our children. It has not disappointed, it is such a wonderful thriving school.  We are lucky that currently we have 2 children at the school and hopefully another little boy to join in a couple of years’ time. 

I am a qualified actuary (my wife still doesn’t know what that is!) working in investments/pensions. Officially Actuaries “use their financial skills to help measure the probability and risk of future events”. I am happy to help the school in any way I can, to ensure the future is secure and the school children continue to have a great first class experience.  

In my younger days I was also a keen sportsman so extremely happy to see all the extra-curricular activities available at the school.


Lucy Irish

Parent Governor

My husband and I moved to Slaley in 2010, having relocated from the south coast with work. We count ourselves very lucky that we picked Slaley as our home as it is a great place to live with a strong community and a real gem of a school.  We have one child at the school who loves it and one more who can't wait to start.  I have already been involved with the school, acting as treasurer for the PTA for three years before accepting a role as Governor.  My background and degree is in engineering, however I have worked in a number of roles across the supply chain over the past 20 years with Procter and Gamble (which recently became Coty at my site in Seaton Delaval), including R&D, project and program management, operations leadership, logistics and financial management.  In my role as a newly appointed governor I will be supporting financial management at the school but also looking to see where else I can help the team at the school.


Alexia Dawson

Parent Governor & DPO

I live in Slaley and have two boys.  One has been all the way through Slaley First School and is now at Middle School and the other is still at Slaley.  I have been a governor since summer 2018.  I work as a solicitor in Newcastle and specialise in healthcare law.  I provide advice to NHS Trusts in relation to all aspects of medical law.