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New Town Primary School Nurturing Brilliance, Inspiring Ambition



The Local Academy Board (LAB) at New Town Primary School is appointed by the Trustees of the Berkshire Schools Trust (BST). It currently has four community members taking into account the varied skills and experience offered as a academy board and a staff governor.

Under its governing document, BST may appoint up to four more community governors.

Meanwhile if you are interested in finding out more about becoming a governor, whether as a parent, staff member or community member, please email the Trust Secretary, Mrs C Hails, on for further information. Thank you.

What does the LAB do?

The LAB 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, and report on it to BST;
  • 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, and report on that to BST.

The LAB meets five times a year at New Town, for approximately an hour and a half. 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.

Who are the governors?

Mr Stewart Johnston (Chair of Governors)

Stewart has lived in the heart of the Newtown community for 17 years and his children were educated locally. Having been a governor at New Town’s neighbouring school, St John’s CE Primary School, for around 8 years, Stewart brings a wealth of experience in school governance, premises management and health and safety.  He currently works as an Operations Manager at Wycliffe Baptist Church, and takes the lead on monitoring premises, health and safety matters at New Town.

Miss 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, in the role of Head of School.  Having begun her teaching career at St John’s CE Primary, the close working and mutually beneficial relationship which has been built between the two schools resulted in the formation of the Berkshire Schools Trust in 2016, of which New Town is a proud member.  Polly was appointed as the Headteacher of New Town from September 2018, and is passionate about driving school improvement in order to provide the very best for the whole school family, and working successfully within the wider Trust community to grow and flourish.

Mr Thomas Freeney

Thomas joined the governing board in November 2018. He is currently studying Psychology with Neuroscience at the University of Reading. Following completion of this degree he will go on to train as a teacher in the University of Southampton. Thomas has experience working in mental health support and oversaw the development and training of MeeTwo's SuperPeer team, which now provides support to over 6,000 children. Whilst Thomas is new to governing he aims to contribute to the safe running of the school, using his experience in child mental health and management to enable this. He hopes to support the fantastic work carried out by New Town staff and to help ensure equal opportunities and outcomes for all its pupils.

Mr Mayank Taneja

Mayank joined the academy board in July 2019. He is passionate about helping people and organisations find the right solutions to their business needs and challenges. He works as a procurement consultant with a leading European frozen foods brand. In his free time, he likes to read spiritual and motivational books.

Kirsty Dabbs

Kirsty is our recently appointed parent governor. She has a daughter at our school and wanted to contribute more to the school community. She currently works as a PA for Reading Borough Council but has a background in education and supporting children with English as an additional language. Kirsty is committed to representing the parents/carers with children at New Town.

Kate Hawkins

Kate is our 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. 

 Meeting dates:

Wednesday 23 September 2020; Governors - face to face and online via MS Teams due to COVID-19

Wednesday 25 November 2020; Governors. Online via MS Teams due to COVID-19

Wednesday 20 January 2021; Governors. Online via MS Teams due to COVID-19

Wednesday 17 March 2021; Governors

Wednesday 19 May 2021; Governors

Wednesday 07 July 2021; Governors


Name Appointed

Term of office

Appointment Type
Polly Cornish Ex officio Ex officio Ex officio
Thomas Freeney 27/11/2018 26/11/2022 Trust
Stewart Johnston 01/06/2016 31/05/2024 Trust
Mayank Taneja 11/07/2019 10/07/2023 Trust
Kirsty Dabbs 25/08/2020 24/08/2024 Parents
Kate Hawkins 03/12/2020 02/12/2024 Staff
Geoff Stoves 25/11/2016 24/11/2020 Staff
Angie Morrish 01/06/2016 08/04/2020 Trust
Rachel Penny 01/06/2016 11/09/2019 Trust
Vincent Gardner 01/06/2016 20/03/2019 Trust
Ahmed Kisombe 18/10/2018 20/03/2019 Trust
Jenny Trueman 19/10/2017 01/10/2018 Parent


Please find attached below the Registers of Interests of our Governors and meeting attendance.