Governing Board

The Local Governing Board of Framwellgate School is made up of the following members:

Angela Darnell (Appointed) (Chair)

Angela Darnell started her teaching career at Framwellgate School Durham in 1975. She left in 1990 to take up a post as Deputy Headteacher at Egglescliffe School in Stockton on Tees where she was promoted to Headteacher in 1994. She retired, after twenty years of headship, in July 2014. Egglescliffe School was graded outstanding in three consecutive inspections (2005, 2008, 2013). The school was characterised by high levels of achievement, excellence in teaching and learning, a longstanding commitment to the importance of pastoral care and the belief in a holistic approach to education. In 2010 Angela was awarded an O.B.E. for “services to education”. Since retiring Angela is working with a range of secondary schools in Stockton L.A. as a School Improvement Adviser. She has also done some work for Durham University School of Education in her role as Honorary Fellow.

Alisdair Nicholas (Head Teacher)

Alisdair was appointed as Head Teacher of Framwellgate School Durham in February 2013.  Alisdair was formerly Deputy Head Teacher at Framwellgate School Durham and has held a number of other Senior Roles across the education sector nationally.

Helen Coppock  (Parent Governor)

Helen has worked for the NHS for over 24 years. She has worked in a variety of NHS organisations in Essex, London, and North East, mainly critical care,  acute medicine and site management. She has a Master’s degree in leadership and organisational change and has particular interest in organisational culture, change management and leadership development. Currently, she is working as a Ward Manager in an acute medical ward.

On a personal level she has two daughters; one has just started at the school. She is a single parent and understands the challenges that this can bring.   She was educated at the school and firmly believes that all children have potential and should be encouraged to work hard to achieve their goals.

Andy Gargett (Staff Governor)

I joined Framwellgate School Durham as a newly qualified teacher in September 2001. Since my initial appointment I’ve held numerous positions of responsibility within the school; Deputy Head of House, Acting Head of Year 11 and Deputy Head of Science to name a few. For the last 9 years I’ve been the Director of Science.  I have a daughter at the school in year 8, who was desperate to enrol here even though this isn’t our local school.

I’m proud to say I work at Framwellgate School Durham and I’m keen to support the governing board in whatever way I can to help improve the learning outcomes and aspirations of all students at the school.

Darren Grocke (Appointed)

Dr Darren Grocke is an Australian graduate from The University of Adelaide (1994), and received his DPhil from Oxford University in 2001. He has held positions in London, UK and Ontario, Canada, before arriving in Durham University in 2007 where he is a Reader in Stable Isotope Geochemistry and is Manager of the Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL). Darren has published over 100 international papers, has fieldwork areas all around the world and has given keynote talks and international conferences in Europe and America. His research interests range from archaeology, climatology, ecology, forensics, geology, oceanography and palaeontology. Over the past year he has been involved with stable isotope studies on killer whales, penguins, London Romans, mammoths, seaweed and Celtic beans.  On a more personal note, Darren’s daughter has just started at the school, he has four border collies, a very supportive wife and in his spare time makes steampunk and cyberpunk jewellery.

David Gurden-Williams (Appointed)

Dr David Gurden-Williams graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 2004.  His career has been in various technical/laboratory roles for 3M covering quality, analytical, research and development and testing.  Through these activities, David has become a member of safety, testing and standards committees at a national level.  He has been involved with Framwellgate School Durham since 2010 as a STEM ambassador.  David brings experience as a scientist, multi-national corporation employee and standardisation in a technical world.

Derek Hall (Appointed)

Derek is Chair of the Excel Academy Trust Board. Derek successfully completed over 30 years with Durham Constabulary. During that time he earned promotion through the ranks eventually heading the Strategic/Corporate Development Department, the Training Department, as well as commanding policing for the North of the County. He led his own Force to acquire the Investors In People Award, a first in England and Wales. Throughout his career he was seconded to the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Government Office for the North East and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.  Latterly he was appointed as Temporary Assistant Chief Constable for Durham. Since his retirement in 2006, he has worked in the private sector and is currently a self employed Management Consultant. He first became a Parent Governor in 2007, and believes passionately in personal development and education. Derek holds a Master’s degree in Education and is a committed member of the Rotary Club of Durham.

Deborah Halliwell (Parent Governor)

I studied my A-Levels at Framwellgate School Durham and went on to gain my History/ Sociology Degree at Sunderland University.  I currently work as a secretary in a local primary school and have ten years experience as a primary school governor.  I became involved in scouting when my eldest son was 6 and I am still volunteering as a Beaver Scout Leader 12 years later. My youngest son has recently joined this school and has settled in very easily thanks to the fabulous pastoral care and up to date parental information.

As a parent, school secretary and scout leader I have a keen interest in children’s education and have many skills to bring to the role of school governor. These include financial, administrative and analytical skills and I have attended many training courses to help me fulfil this role.

I truly believe in the lifelong learning ethos and will actively seek to raise children’s aspirations and help them reach their potential.  In order to achieve the best outcomes for our pupils it is important to work in partnership with children, parents and staff and I will work hard to build positive relationships with all stakeholders including community and business links.

Amanda Hopgood (Parent Governor)

Amanda became a parent governor at Framwellgate School Durham in 2009 and is Vice Chair of the Excel Academy Trust Board.  Her career started out with Halifax where she worked as a mortgage advisor for 20 years, before entering the political arena where she is now a County Councillor for Durham County Council, representing Framwellgate and Newton Hall ward.  Amanda was formerly a student at Framwellgate School Durham, where she met her husband and many other friends, as well as taking on the responsibility of being Deputy Head Girl.  Amanda is passionate about the school and local area and as a parent governor, gets actively involved in the school at every opportunity.

Thomas Martell (Appointed)

I want all children – irrespective of background –  to have a fantastic education, which is why I chose to become a school governor. I work for a leading education charity that aims to promote improving education through better use of evidence.  Previously I was a secondary school teacher, Head of Department and staff governor.

I will use my professional experience to support and challenge the school to achieve the best possible education for all pupils.  Specifically, I hope to promote better use of evidence because looking at what has – and has not –  worked in the past can put us in a much better place to judge what is likely to work in the future.

Denis Martin (Appointed)

Denis joined the Governing Board in 2016.  He is currently Professor of Rehabilitation at Teesside University.  With a background in physiotherapy, he has worked in teaching and research into pain management and rehabilitation for over 25 years.  He also has extensive experience of the voluntary sector having been Chair of Pain Association Scotland for over 10 years.

Karenza Passmore (Parent Governor)

Karenza is a Parent Governor committed to representing the views of Framwellgate School Durham parents and pupils. Karenza is Director of the North East Religious Learning Resources Centre, an organisation dedicated to supporting Religious Educational and Learning in schools and other institutions across the North East.

Jen Straughan Hawley (Appointed)

Jen joined the Governing Body of Framwellgate School Durham when her son started in year 7 and since her appointment has supported the school as a member of the Health and Safety Committee, Disability Awareness Group and School Company Board.  Jen has worked in the hotel industry in front of house / sales and group roles. Her work as a local government facilities management officer includes working with community groups and civic teams.  Her work background and involvement in the local Area Action Partnership and Durham City Shopwatch have provided Jen with a well rounded and informed insight into the local community, which has proven to be a valued asset in her capacity as a Governor.

Joanne Thorns (Parent Governor)

Joanne joined the Governing Body of Framwellgate School as a parent governor in 2006.  She worked for 10 years as the local parish priest at All Saints Church on Newton Hall and was involved in many community groups, activities and worked with other local schools.  She is now the Regional Officer for North East Churches Acting Together, a charity that encourages churches to work together and engage with their local communities.  Joanne originally qualified as a pharmacist and worked in a number of pharmacies across the North East before training for ordination to the priesthood. Joanne is passionate about the education and well-being of every child so that every child has the chance to fulfil their potential.  She has been Chair of Governors at a local primary school.