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Firs Primary School

Inspire, believe, achieve!

Board of Governors

Statement from the Chair of Governors - September 2023


Welcome to the new academic year 2023/24


My name is Marilyn Reynolds. I am a Co-Opted Governor and also the elected Chair of Governors. Having previously been Vice Chair I was appointed as Chair of Governors in September 2021. I was a governor when we received the well-deserved Outstanding in 2017! The Ofsted inspectors recognised the outstanding education and achievement across the school. It was noted that “leaders are determined and uncompromising in their pursuit of a first class education for all pupils”. They also commented that “Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. They are enthusiastic, considerate and resilient”. As Chair I confidently trust that our school leaders know how to provide the very best educational experience for the children of Firs.


Our Governors are committed and play a very active role in school life.

A school's Board of Governors has three core functions:

  • ensuring that the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school are clearly defined;
  • ensuring that the Headteacher performs his or her responsibilities for  the educational performance of the school; and
  • ensuring the sound, proper and effective use of the school's financial resources.


The Board of Governors at Firs Primary School consists of twelve governors from different areas of the community:

  • The Headteacher
  • One Staff Governor
  • One Local Authority Governor, appointed by the Local Council
  • Three Parent Governors, appointed by the Board of Governors from self nomination
  • Six Co-opted Governors appointed by the Board of Governors

Please see the Constitution document below that details the names, roles and terms of office for the current year.

From time to time there will be a vacancy for a Parent Governor. When this happens parents will be informed and nominations will be considered by the Board of Governors.


Firs Governors have a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills that we use to support school. We complete an annual audit of skills to see where those skills can best be deployed. Governors are encouraged to attend training sessions held by the Local Authority Governor Services so that we are able to assess our own ability and make sure we have the necessary skills to fulfil the role to which we are assigned.



We meet as a Full Governing Body three times a year and have three committees to support our work.

These committees also meet three times a year. The committees cover;

  • Finance, Pay and Personnel
  • Buildings & Premises  
  • Curriculum& Educational Standards


To support the delivery of the School Development Plan, we each have our key Link Governor roles which help us develop expertise on curriculum development. Link governors visit school regularly to meet with subject co-ordinators and talk to pupils. This gives us the opportunity to discuss attainment and progress, teacher workload and professional development, subject action plans and quality resources. We also have link governor roles for SEND, Equality, Pupil Premium, Safeguarding, Wellbeing and Health & Safety. By making relevant enquiries of the subject co-ordinators Link governors are able to report to the governing body on the progress of school priorities from the School Development Plan.


Throughout the year we will tell you more about our involvement in school life through the Governors’ termly newsletter.


Marilyn Reynolds

Chair of Governors


The Role of a Governor at Firs Primary School

Firs Primary Governors’ Action Plan 2023 - 2024

If you would like to request a copy of any Governor newsletters from previous academic years, please contact the School Office via 0161 973 7350 or 

Firs Primary Governing Body Constitution

Committee List and Link Governor Details

Register of Business Interests


Mrs Sarah Bryan - none

Miss Laura Taplin- none 

Mrs Katie Pentith - none

Mrs Marilyn Reynolds-  none

Mrs Lynette Lawson - none

Mrs Joanne Bambrick - none

Mrs Gillian Laybourn - none

Mr Stephen Witterick - none

Mr Robert Rigge - none

Miss Reanne Hartley - none

Mrs Alexandra Booms - none



Register of other establishments governed and/or other interests declared


Mrs Sarah Bryan - none

Miss Laura Taplin- Governor at Lum Head Primary School, Cheadle

Mrs Katie Pentith - none

Mrs Marilyn Reynolds-  none

Mrs Lynette Lawson - none

Mrs Joanne Bambrick - none

Mrs Gillian Laybourn - Governor at Delamere School, Urmston

Mr Stephen Witterick - none

Mr Robert Rigge - none

Miss Reanne Hartley - none

Mrs Alexandra Booms - none



Meet the Governors

Hi. My name is Marilyn Reynolds and I am a co-opted Governor at Firs. Having previously been Vice Chair, I was appointed as Chair of Governors in September 2021. I worked happily at Firs myself for 33 years in Key Stage One and then in the Early Years.  Previously I was a Staff Governor.  Having taught in Trafford for 40 years, I retired from Firs Primary in July 2014. Not wishing to break my ties with the school, I offered to continue being a governor and help support the school in any way I could.


Over the years I have witnessed many changes of staff and leadership, but the one thing that has remained constant is the concept of the “Firs Family” and the desire to nurture and challenge the children to be the best they can be. The current SATS results are outstanding and reflect the hard work and motivation of all the staff working at The Firs.


Since retiring I have had more opportunity to attend Governor training and have recently become Safeguarding Governor. Safeguarding is an area of school life which has become increasingly more challenging and very much on the Ofsted agenda.


Helping with class trips, supporting small groups with Rapid Writing and being part of the successful “Teapot Talks” gives me a wonderful overview of everyday life at Firs and an opportunity to interact with children, staff and parents.


If you wish to contact Mrs Reynolds, please ring school (0161 973 7350) or email ( and we will pass your contact details on to her.

Hello, my name is Mrs Bryan and I am extremely proud to be the Headteacher at Firs Primary school. Firs is an inclusive, family friendly school at the heart of our increasingly diverse community. We embrace the needs of the whole child and celebrate their unique achievements. I understand the importance Firs plays within the local community; the warm, vibrant atmosphere that is threaded through the School culture and ethos plays a fundamental part in the lives of the children, ensuring they become well rounded individuals with the key skills and values to become successful in their life long journey. Our School vision of ‘inspire, believe, achieve’ is paramount and the well-being of the child is at the heart of the School community. These beliefs underpin my own personal philosophy of teaching and leading, and it is for these reasons I was attracted to the position of Headteacher at Firs.


Throughout my 24 years of teaching I have taught from Nursery through to Year 6. This experience has given me a secure understanding of what children need at different stages of their educational journey. I have been a leader for over 12 years in a variety of school settings, giving me a breadth of knowledge and skills to continue to provide the children with an excellent educational journey in both an academic and pastoral capacity.


At Firs, we seek to bring out the best in each child, and in striving to achieve this we aim to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. We encourage the children to achieve their personal potential and encourage development of their individual talents. In line with our School vision we expect the highest possible standards of behaviour and attitudes towards learning. Our pupils are caring and thoughtful towards each other and this contributes to the safe, secure School learning environment. As a parent myself I value the positive relationship we have with our School community and work hard to support them in every way we can. I am extremely lucky to lead a compassionate and hardworking staff and work collaboratively with our supportive governing body where we all put the children at the heart of everything we do.

Hi. My name is Miss Taplin, and I have been privileged to work at the Firs Primary school since 2005. When the opportunity to become a Governor arose, I did not hesitate. It felt important to support a school I believed in and worked alongside colleagues I trusted and respected. I have been honoured to be elected as Staff Governor and take a seat on the Finance, Pay and Personnel committee as well as the Buildings and Premises committee. In my time working here, the school has continued to develop and grow as an ‘Outstanding’ school and I believe it is our priority to ensure that does not change by working together, supporting one another and putting the interest of the school and its pupils, at the forefront of everything we do should ensure the schools continued success.


In my time at Firs, I have had many roles including Key Stage 1 lead, Assistant Head Teacher as well as being in charge of coordinating Special Education Needs for the school and leading on safeguarding. I am currently Deputy Head Teacher working under the direction of Mrs Bryan, our Headteacher.   


Our School vision of ‘Inspire, Believe and achieve!’ is at the heart of everything we do here at Firs Primary School. It is my pleasure to work with such hard working and committed staff and governors who strive to ensure the best for every child. One of my main aims as a Deputy and Governor is to help provide our pupils with not only an excellent education, but with a sense of self-worth and emotional well-being too. We all know happy children learn! As a member of staff and a parent of two young children myself I feel I have a good all-round understanding of our school and have good relationships with staff, parents and pupils.  Firs is a vibrant, exciting, forward-thinking school and it is a really joy to work with the pupils, staff, families and wider community.  

Hello. My name is Katie Pentith and I am a co-opted Governor at Firs Primary School. I have been teaching at Firs Primary School since 2010, predominantly in the Early Years department. I began my journey at Firs as an NQT before progressing to EYFS Lead and from 2021 I have a new challenge as an Assistant Headteacher. I consider myself extremely lucky to work at Firs and being part of the 'Firs Family'. 


I am passionate about working in Early Years as I have the privilege to start the children on their journey to fall in love with school and with learning. There is nothing better than seeing that lightbulb moment and knowing that I have impacted positively on that child's learning. 


As a Governor I strive to support pupils and their families, to provide life skills alongside educational opportunities and to support the school in its future.  


My name is Gillian Laybourn and I am a co-opted governor at Firs Primary School. I have lived in Ashton on Mersey for 34 years and, having recently retired, I now have the time to devote to giving something back to the community. I have three grown up children and four grandchildren; unfortunately, none of them live close by.


After leaving university I spent 30 years teaching in an inner-city school in Salford. During my 30 year career I was assistant head of Year 7, managing the transition from primary to secondary school. I was also Head of Religious Education, Personal and Social Education and careers, and taught child development to GCSE level. After 30 years I took early retirement from teaching in 2008.


I immediately took up a new challenge, becoming a business officer at English Heritage, later Historic England, in their Manchester office. When I retired from this role, I was the assistant business manager.


I hope the skills I have developed throughout my working life will allow me to make a positive contribution to The Firs Primary School. I am looking forward to going into school as on a regular basis to help class teachers in any way I can, to serving on a committee and to being a link governor.

Hello, my name is Lynette Lawson and I am a co-opted Governor at Firs. I wanted to become a governor at The Firs Primary because I was born and bred in Ashton Upon Mersey and I was so impressed by the level of support and challenge they have given my son, who attended the SSC. 


I am passionate about all aspects of education and recognise how important it is in shaping the lives of the future generation. I have worked in education since 2002 myself. I began my teaching career in Trafford, then moved onto Cheshire East in 2012. I have held numerous roles within the senior leadership team, all challenging yet very rewarding. I have also held positions on a governing body since 2006. I believe that my knowledge, skills and understanding will be an asset to the school and all stakeholders within it.


I welcome the opportunity to work with an extremely competent, knowledgeable and compassionate team of staff and governors. I feel very honoured to work with the school in this capacity and will strive to ensure we offer the very best opportunities and education for all our pupils and their families, to contribute to their continuing learning and development and to help shape the future of the school.


As BB King said; 

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you."

My name is Joanne Bambrick and I am very proud to be a Governor at Firs Primary School. I work as a Senior Lecturer in Banking & Finance at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) where I have been since 2009, and previous to that I spent 10 years in the Finance & Pensions sector in Edinburgh. One of my key roles at MMU, alongside teaching, is working with students to assist them in developing their skills and strengths to enable them to go on to have successful careers after University. 


I strongly believe that every child should be given the opportunity to achieve their full potential, whether that is going on to study in Higher Education, undertaking an apprenticeship or even becoming an entrepreneur. As a school governor, I will utilise my experiences in higher education and industry to support the staff and enable the children to have the greatest start to their educational journey.

My name is Stephen Witterick and I am proud to be a parent Governor at Firs Primary School. I am the IT Manager at a local Grammar School, a role I have held for over 4 years. I have worked at the school for over 23 years, starting as an IT/AV Technician, continuously developing my experience and skills. Part of my role is to introduce new technologies into school to support teaching and learning and parental engagement.


I hope I can use my experience to help the school go from strength to strength and provide support that is beneficial to the school community.

Hello, my name is Robert Rigge.  I have worked in the construction industry, primarily as a consulting engineer in highways and drainage, in both the private and the public sector since 2014. Outside work I volunteer in the Scout Association and have done so for the past 10 years. 


I joined the governing board as a Co-opted member in late 2021 and sit on the Buildings and Premises Committee.  I’m looking forward to applying my skills and knowledge to enhance, where possible, my linked areas and the school generally.

Hello my name is Reanne Hartley and I was elected as parent governor at Firs Primary School in July 2023.


I have lived in Ashton on Mersey for most of my life and I attended Ashton on Mersey Secondary School.

I work for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS, and I am passionate about children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. I believe that a child’s mental health is so crucial to their upbringing, especially in these early years.


I hope to bring more parents voices to the board as I would like to think I am very approachable and can relate to a lot of the parents and carers.


I am the Mum of Tyler and Lucas who both attend Firs , so I have a personal stake in making Firs the absolute best environment for all the children to learn , be happy and achieve their best.

Hello, my name is Alex Booms and I am proud to have been appointed at the beginning of November 2023 as one of the Parent Governors at Firs Primary.

I work in audience outreach and insights at the BBC, primarily with children and young people but also with adults from across the UK. I have been working with young people in a variety of roles, including as a science teacher, for nearly 15 years. My son started reception in September 2023, and as a new parent to school I have been immediately impressed with the passion, skill and kindness that all the staff approach their jobs with.  

I am looking forward to being able to join the team of Governors and work with the school, staff and parents to help ensure that this already fantastic school continues to be the best it can be. I hope to be able to use my skills and experience to support the school and ensure our children get the best experience possible.