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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 four Community Governors, one Parent and one Staff Governor.

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) 

Angie first came to New Town in 2015, when Reading Borough Council asked her to be part of the team working to turn things around after it went into Special Measures in 2014. In March 2016 she became its chair of governors, leaving to become chair of Berkshire Schools Trust (BST) in 2020. She was delighted to be asked to return in December 2022. Her particular responsibilities at New Town are safeguarding, governor development and health and safety, but her main priority is to make sure that the school’s leaders and teachers are giving the children the best chance they can to read and write well, to learn maths, history, geography and science, and develop their skills in other areas like music, art, singing and sport.

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 almost doubled 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 (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.

Dr 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.

Kirsty Dabbs (Parent Governor)

Kirsty is our parent governor. She has a daughter at our school and wanted to contribute more to the school community. She currently works as an education coordinator for a local charity (RISC) and has a background in teaching and supporting children with English as an additional language. Kirsty is passionate about giving all children the opportunity to reach their potential and is committed to representing the parents/carers with children at New Town.

Kate Hawkins (Staff Governor)

Kate joined New Town in October 2018 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.

Meeting dates:

Wednesday 17th May 2023: Governors

Wednesday 5th July 2023: Governors

Meetings Attended and number of people present:

Meeting Dates Number attended
17th May 2023  8 people
15th March 2023  9 people
8th February 2023  9 people
14th December 2022  11 people
2nd November 2022  5 people



Name Appointed

Term of office

Elected by
Polly Cornish Ex officio Ex officio Trustees of ODST
Angela Morrish (Chair) 01/12/2022 30/11/2026 Trustees of ODST
Kirsty Dabbs (Vice-chair) 25/08/2020 24/08/2024 Elected Parent
Kate Hawkins 03/12/2020 02/12/2024 Trustees of ODST
John Gouk 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

Register of business interests: 


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

Angie Morrish Previously Chair of Governors for Berkshire Schools Trust

Polly Cornish

Spouse is a journalist at the BBC

Kate Hawkins


Kirsty Dabbs

Employee for a development education charity (RISC)

Chris Meunier Editor of the local community magazine, NEWT.
John Gouk IT consulting
Rachelle Cornel None
Nicole Hughes (Clerk) None
Dave Shephard (Advisor) None

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