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New Town Primary School Nurturing Brilliance, Inspiring Ambition



The Local Governing Body Board (LGB) at New Town Primary School currently has seven Community Governors, one Parent Governors and one Staff Governor. The Headteacher is also a governor due to their role.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a governor, whether as a parent, staff member or community member, please email our clerk to governors, Nicole Hughes, at for further information.


What does the LGB do?

The Local Governing Body has three main responsibilities:

  • to provide the strategic vision and support and challenge to the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team for the day to day running of the school;
  • to monitor the progress and wellbeing of the children attending New Town Primary School and the staff who teach and support them.
  • to make sure that the public money allocated to the school is managed effectively and in the best interests of pupils and staff at the school.

The LGB meets five times a year at New Town, for approximately two hours. Each governor is responsible for monitoring the school’s performance in a specific area related to their personal skills and experience, so additional meetings and reports are usually required depending on the area of responsibility allocated to them. Governors often also attend school events and parents’ evenings, so it can mean quite a commitment.  We currently do not have any separate committee meetings.


Who are the governors?

Angela Morrish (Chair of Governors & Community Governor) 

Angie is a highly experienced governor, trustee and governance consultant. She first came to New Town in 2015, when Reading Borough Council asked her to be part of the strategic team working to turn things around after the school went into Special Measures. When it came out of Special Measures and joined Berkshire Schools Trust (BST) in March 2016, she became its chair of governors, leaving in 2020 to chair BST’s trustee board. She was delighted to be asked to return in December 2022 and over the last year has focused on building the LGB and broadening its diversity and skills base. As well as governor recruitment and development, her responsibilities at New Town include safeguarding, attendance, children we care for and staff and pupil wellbeing.

If you would like to contact the Chair of Governors, please telephone or email the school office, or write to her C/O the below address.

 01189375509  or       

New Town Primary School, School Terrace, Reading, RG1 3LS


Polly Cornish (Headteacher) 

Polly Cornish joined New Town Primary School firstly as a Deputy Headteacher in 2014, and has brought the school successfully out of special measures since that time, initially in the role of Head of School, then as Headteacher since 2018. Polly is immensely proud to lead New Town, and to be part of the amazing school family here which has over doubled in size in the last few years as the school has improved. She champions the most vulnerable pupils and groups, values the rich diversity of the East Reading community, and roots her leadership in the school values of love and kindness. 


John Gouk (Vice Chair, Community Governor)

John joined the governing board in January 2023. John worked in IT consulting for 35 years before retiring in 2015, since when he has enjoyed the freedom to pursue his own interests in technology, and to cycle, windsurf and practise taiji. He started working with primary schools running Code Clubs in 2017, and was introduced to New Town Primary School as part of that endeavour. With an ex-teacher partner and a teacher daughter, John well appreciates the challenges facing all educators, in respect of both curriculum and pastorally, and is keen to support the school’s diverse and inclusive intake, especially in STEM.


Chris Meunier (Community Governor)

Chris joined the local governing body in February 2023, having previously been a member of the Berkshire Schools Trust board. His experience in education comes mainly from a career in Further Education working at Reading College, where he started as a science and engineering teacher and went on to manage curriculum development more widely with a particular interest in developing the core skills of Maths and English. He also served on the Management Committee of Cranbury College, the local authority pupil referral unit, acting as Chair for two years. He has been connected with youth work and voluntary action in Newtown since his days as a university student and is presently editor of the local community magazine, NEWT.


Rachelle Cornel (Community Governor)

Rachelle joined New Town Primary School’s governing board in May 2023. She is currently Director of Communications at Peel Hunt, a specialist investment bank focusing on UK mid cap and growth companies. She has over 16 years’ experience in marketing and events roles working both in house and agency. She is a member of the management committee and the Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion forum at Peel Hunt. Rachelle is passionate about DE&I and ensuring all children are given the opportunity to thrive.


Kate Hawkins (Staff Governor)

Kate joined New Town in October 2018 originally as the Assistant Headteacher, having previously worked in two other Reading primary schools, specialising in teaching Early Years pupils. She loves the diverse cultural make up of the pupils and their families at New Town, who are enthusiastic and bring a wealth of experiences. Kate enjoys working as part of a team to continually improve the school and the fact that no day is the same. She has a passion for phonics and its part in teaching reading and writing. She has been the school's Deputy Headteacher since 2022.


Alexandra Edwards (Parent Governor)

Alex was elected to New Town Primary School's governing board in November 2023. She has two children and her eldest has just started at New Town Primary School. Alex is an Associate at Boyes Turner LLP practicing in Court of Protection law with 10 years' experience in assisting clients that lack capacity to manage their property and financial affairs. Alex wants to ensure the school is successful and that all children receive the very best education. 


Lyuba Copestake (Community Governor)

Joined the governing body in October 2023. Lyuba has over 18yrs of experience working in different fields of mental health care. They currently works as a Mental Health Practitioner in primary healthcare, as well as a specialist mental health mentor for university students. They also serve as a Lay member for the college of optometry and part-time Care Quality Commission Inspector for mental health. Lyuba has a passion and long-standing commitment for promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing for young people.


Sukyna Powell (Community Governor)

Sukyna joined the New Town Primary School governing board in October 2023. She has worked in various sectors in consumer health working with many global companies. With extensive knowledge of the NHS system and organisations, Sukyna currently works as Early Career Engagement Manager for NHS SCW, where she encourages workplace experiences for all young people within the NHS in the non-clinical space. Sukyna is a local resident and has a daughter within a local secondary school and this has enabled her to have insight of what young people need to be successful and assist with successful outcomes.


Aya Kawawa-Beaudan (Community Governor)

Aya Kawawa-Beaudan joined the governing board in January 2024. She is currently a Managing Associate at Linklaters LLP, where she focuses on delivering technology and innovation initiatives to the firm’s global capital markets practice. She is passionate about ensuring that all children have access to high-quality education which gives them the opportunity to explore their interests and reach their full potential in a safe and inclusive environment.

Meeting dates:

Wednesday 11th October 2023: Full Governing Body

Wednesday 6th December 2023: Full Governing Body

Wednesday 31st January 2024: Full Governing Body

Wednesday 27th March 2024: Full Governing Body

Wednesday 8th May 2024: Full Governing Body

Wednesday 10th July 2024: Full Governing Body


Meetings Attendance:



Name Appointed

Term of office

Elected by
Community Governors      
Angela Morrish (Chair) 01/12/2022 30/11/2026 Trustees of ODST
John Gouk (Vice-chair) 09/01/2023 08/01/2027 Trustees of ODST
Chris Meunier 07/02/2023 07/02/2027 Trustees of ODST
Rachelle Cornel 04/05/2023 03/05/2027 Trustees of ODST
Lyuba Copestake 28/09/2023 27/09/2027 Trustees of ODST
Sukyna Powell 12/10/2023 11/10/2027 Trustees of ODST
Aya Kawawa-Beaudan 30/01/2024 29/01/2028 Trustees of ODST
Polly Cornish 01/09/2014   Trustees of ODST
Staff Governor      
Kate Hawkins 03/12/2020 02/12/2024 Staff
Parent Governors      
Alexandra Edwards 14/11/2023 13/11/2027 Parents


Register of business interests: 


Relevant business and pecuniary interests, including governance roles in other educational institutions.

Angie Morrish Trustee of Governors for Schools governor recruitment charity; consultant at Homework and Revision online maths tuition; various other non-relevant board positions (self and husband).

Polly Cornish

ODST Safeguarding and Estates committees; husband is a journalist at the BBC

Kate Hawkins

None directly relevant
Chris Meunier Trustee of St John and St Stephen's Child Contact Centre
John Gouk Little Heath School Code Club leader; STEM network ambassador, which may involve other local schools
Rachelle Cornel None directly relevant
Lyuba Copestake None directly relevant
Sukyna Powell None directly relevant
Alexandra Edwards None directly relevant
Aya Kawawa-Beaudan None directly relevant
Nicole Hughes (Clerk) Office Manager at New Town Primary School; Co-Chair and Tustee of Birch Copse PTA
Dave Shephard (Advisor) Finance Manager, New Town and New Christ Church Primary Schools; Trustee of Aspire 2 Whitley and Christ Church Centre

Previous Governors: 

Name Appointment  Appointed Term
Stewart Johnston Chair of Governors  01/06/2020 - 14/12/2022
Mayank Taneja Community Governor  11/07/2019 - 12/05/2023
Thomas Freeney Community Governor  27/11/2018 - 15/03/2023
Kirsty Dabbs  Elected Parent  25/08/2020 - 21/07/2023
Muntasir Al-Asfoor Elected Parent  14/11/2023 - 19/01/2024