Our Governors

Governors are responsible for overseeing the management side of a school: strategy, policy, budgeting and staffing. They enable their school to run as effectively as possible, working alongside senior leaders and supporting teachers to provide excellent education to children.

Contact Sandra Stephenson for further details about becoming a school Governor.

Governing Board Committees

Epinay School have full Governor’s meeting termly with additional sub-committee in place, as below:

  • Epinay School’s Governing Board – Chair Governing Board Cllr Audrey Huntley
  • Finance and Human Resources – Mr R Whitelaw (appointed chair of the committee by the committee)
  • Discipline – Chair would be appointed.
  • Complaints and Appeals – Chair would be appointed.

Governing Board Members

Christopher Rue, Head Teacher

I have had the privilege of being Head Teacher at Epinay Business and Enterprise School since January 2017. I have spent my full working career in special needs schools, a job I find tremendously rewarding. I like to think that I have a lot to offer as a leader in a special school, I have had a number of positions within school including teaching assistant, HLTA, Pastoral Manager, Residential Child Care Officer, Teacher, middle leader, Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Head of School and Head Teacher. ‘Ready to listen, ready to learn together’ is something that we strive to work towards every day, we have worked extremely hard in giving children an enriching and creative education that equips them with the skills and attributes they will need to support them to develop as happy, confident and independent learners who are prepared for adulthood.

Audrey Huntley, Chair of Governors, Foundation Governor

My name is Audrey Huntley and my child previously attended Epinay Business and Enterprise School. I am committed to special needs education with a strong belief in the choice offered from Epinay to all pupils. I have a good understanding of the education system as a parent who has experience in ensuring the best education and fulfilling the potential of my own child. I can also empathise with the needs of our children and their parents, with the necessity for parents to have a voice in the education of our children through the Governing Body. It has been a privilege to be able to send my child to Epinay. I am very impressed by the strong inclusive ethos that the school embodies and of the outstanding care shown to the children and of the consistently high standard of education our children receive.

Carl Buckley, Co-opted Governor

Carl has been self employed for the past 20 years. Originally working in finance he has significant experience providing consultancy support to the public sector. He lives and works within South Tyneside and since 2003 has managed a North East based marketing agency providing a range of services to both the private and public sectors. Urban River has worked with a number of schools, academies and colleges to improve their on and offline presence. A governor at Harton Technology College since 2006, Carl is passionate about supporting the local area. Following on from some successful work with Epinay and the development of a new website, he was approached to become a governor, a role to which he could not turn down. “Epinay has gone form strength to strength and represents some great opportunities for many young people across the region” which is a key driver as to why I am involved.

Karl Dewing, Co-opted Governor

My wife Jill & I live with our 2 boys in Whitburn. Our son Harry attends Epinay and we consider ourselves very fortunate he has a place at such as fabulous school. Hopefully, my previous experience as a governor at Fellgate Primary School (with a special interest in their Autistic Base), will stand me in good stead for such as important role. Recently ‘reired’ after 40+ years in the Royal Navy, latterly as the Manager of the Naval Careers Office in Newcastle, I’m looking forward to becoming involved in what promises to be an important and eventful couple of years for our school.

Emma Duffy, Parent Governor

My daughter has been at Epinay School since she was 5 years old, we were very nervous about starting school but within a couple of weeks I could see a big difference in her.  My daughter has done really well here and absolutely loves coming into school.  She is much more confident now and attends SEND clubs and encourages her peers to go along.  I am currently being assessed for autism and would like to offer support to others who may need help.  I am friendly and like to talk to parents/carers from the school and have set up an Epinay Families facebook page.  I like to help with school fundraising, keeping healthy and I like baking at home.  I love to help and delighted to be a Governor, although overwhelming, I am looking forward to helping with school development and moving to the new school site.

Jodie Gillespie, Parent Governor

My husband and I live with our two sons and Labrador in Whitburn and my eldest son attends Epinay. He loves going to school and I love to hear all about the exciting things happening there – forest school, beach school, Luna the dog, Pudsey day – everyday is different! I know we are very fortunate to have our son attend a caring and friendly school where staff strive to do the very best for every child. I look forward to supporting the teachers and pupils at Epinay to make it even more amazing that it already is especially when we move to the new site.

Julie Hayes, Co-opted Governor

I live with my partner Paul and our two daughters Jade and Ashley and our cat called Tabitha. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends. I like to read, keep fit and cook. I have worked at Epinay School for over 20 years and I have loved every minute of it. I work with wonderful staff who are committed to their job and the rewards we get from teaching are priceless. The opportunities for the children within the school are thoroughly researched so they get the best out of their time with us. I feel very privileged to be a part of such an outstanding school.

Ingrid Marley, Parent Governor

I have a daughter Ava started at Epinay School in 2016 as she was struggling in mainstream and Epinay was recommended.  Ava loved it from day one, she started in Mrs Coutakis class and made friendships straight away.  I work at the local Morrisons store and we have been able to support the school through the community champions programme, offering a range of products to support school events such as; bottled water for sport day, raffle prizes, children’s books, breakfast club supplies.  My oldest daughter also works at Epinay and she loves working in the school, it also gives her more of an understands of Ava needs.  I am a Governor and like to help out a lot with school development and fundraising at events.  I also have 3 grandchildren, all boys, who I spend a lot of time with.

Francesca Marriner, Co-opted Governor

My name is Francesca Marriner and I am the SEND Manager at AK Teaching, working in partnership with Epinay school over the last 5 years. I previously taught overseas specialising in Maths and Science which was a life changing experience.  I am thrilled to be a governor for Epinay School and very much looking forward to helping with the development of the new school site. The staff and pupils are fantastic!

Martin Pitt, Staff Governor

I have been a teacher at Epinay School since 2020 and feel privileged to work in such an outstanding setting.  The opportunities available for our students are amazing and the staff here are relentless in their mission to help every student reach their full potential.  I have worked in the school through the covid-19 pandemic and seen first hand the nurturing support and car the school has for our students and their families.  I am excited to be part of the team as we embark on the newest chapter in our new amazing building.  Outside of school, I have two children and we love to go on adventures and explore new places.

Cllr Kenneth Stephenson, LEA Governor

– information to follow

Mr Robert Whitelaw, Co-opted Governor

I am a Chartered Accountant and until I retired in 2007 I was Financial Director of a private national leisure business based in the North East.  I moved to South Tyneside, from a little Ayrshire village called Moscow, in 1986. I have been involved as a governor in a number of local educational establishments since 2007. I was invited to join the governing body of Epinay in 2017. I am married with two children and  have five grandchildren. My son, his wife and their daughter live in Newcastle upon Tyne whilst my daughter, her husband and their four children live in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.