Governance

“All staff and governors have high expectations about what pupils and sixth-form students can achieve and are fully committed to raising their aspirations and those of their families.”

– OFSTED MAY 2017

The Duchess's Community High School is part of Pele Trust; a Multi Academy Trust 

We work closely with our fellow Pele Trust schools: Ponteland High School, John Spence Community High School, Belsay School, Darras Hall Primary School, Heddon St. Andrews Primary School, Ponteland Primary School and Richard Coates Primary School.

The governance structure of our Multi Academy Trust includes:

The decision-making responsibilities for each level of governance is set out within our Scheme of Delegation, which is updated annually.

The Committee's Role

The Academy Committee of the Duchess’s High School is composed of twelve individuals who are all volunteers and who represent the major stakeholders. Apart from the Headteacher, all members serve for a period of four years. Members can be re-elected to continue for further service thus giving a degree of continuity to the activities of the Academy Committee. The Academy Committee elects a Chairman and a vice Chairman from its membership. They have extra duties over and above those of other members.

The Academy Committee is responsible for agreeing the strategic direction of the school and the policies within which it operates. They also have the responsibility of agreeing the school budget and then the monitoring of the financial performance against the budget. Members are there to help and support. They provide advice but can also act as watchdogs in their role as ‘critical friends’. Members are involved in the recruitment and appointment of staff and also in the performance management of the Headteacher.

The Duchess’s Community High School Academy Committee Members

Alan Rogers - Co-Headteacher

I joined DCHS as Head of PE in 2010 following my early career at Prudhoe High. I made the decision to pursue pastoral leadership when the head of year 9 post became available and have never looked back, holding the posts of Assistant and Deputy Head Teacher with Pastoral responsibility and Designated Safeguarding Lead. I am proud of what we are able to provide for our children and families; having grown up in Northumberland I am acutely aware of the challenges faced when accessing services. 

James Wilson - Co-Headteacher

IMy career in teaching is down primarily to a member of staff at DCHS. Having grown up in Amble I attended my local high school, however the school did not have a school rugby team. I was given the opportunity by the then Head of Rugby Mr Debbage to come and play for the Duchess’s team. That opportunity led me down an exciting journey, not only into the love of sport, but also a passion to give all children opportunities that may not ordinarily be available for them. This action by a member of DCHS staff is ultimately what took me into teaching, and in 2007, having studied History at Hull University, and subsequently at Worcester University for a PGCE I gained my first position as a History Teacher in Central Birmingham. Having taught across a variety of schools in the Midlands, I fostered a love of teaching, not only of my subject History, but also of teaching Politics and Travel & Tourism. I also reignited my own love of learning in 2016 with the completion of a Masters in Education from Newman University. In 2019, after the birth of my eldest daughter, we relocated to ‘home’ in 2019 pre pandemic, for a Deputy Head role here at DCHS. 

Lalage Bosanquet - Academy Committee Chair

I have lived in the area for over forty years and have always had an interest in education. I was a primary school teacher and then set up my own school at Rock in 1984 which ran for nearly thirty years until 2013.

I have been on the Governing Body of DCHS since 19 ??? and was Chair of Governors from 2013. This was a turbulent time as the school changed from three to two tier, moved into a new building and took in a much larger intake of students. I stepped down as chair for two years but have now taken up the position again to assist the school in academisation. I have three grown children who all went through the school and now have their own young families so I have six young grandchildren and enjoy gardening and just drawing breath sometimes. I have never lost my belief that education is the best way for young people to make the most of their lives and although much has changed that fundamental core value is very important to me.

James Clark

I became a member of staff at DCHS in November 2005 initially as an IT Technician from a background of Chartered Surveying, Finance, Research & Development, Moves & Changes, Business Process Reengineering and IT Support.

With the progression of time I became the Network Manager with Data Responsibility, but with a knowledge and understanding of engineering drawings and scheduling, I became the Project Manager from the schools perspective for the move from the old site at Howling Lane to our new build school.

I became a co-opted school governor several years ago as I’m passionate that we shall provide the best of education, opportunities and experiences for our students through supporting the school vision, ethos and strategic direction.

Mark Green

I am proud to be a parent governor and my children have been at the Duchess since 2018. As an adopted Northumbrian (I’ve only been here 20 years!) I believe that our school has the power to support our children in becoming talented, kind and fulfilled young people who can make a positive contribution to our communities and the region for years to come.

I have a background in legal services and in design. I currently work in property development and volunteer with the RNLI. When not at work I spend my free time running along coastal paths with my Bedlington terrier.

Claire Hamnet

Peter Johnson

Hi, my name is Peter Johnson and I am a foundation governor. I have spent my entire working life in education. I originally taught in Brighton and London before finding my true vocation in special education. I taught in special schools for 35 years, that’s 13 as a head teacher in London. I acquired my masters in SEN at London University. I retired and came to live in Northumberland in 2014. I joined the Duchess as a Governor two years later. My mission, as it always has been, is to ensure SEN children are looked after and thrive.

Rachel Milburn

I’m proud to be staff governor at DCHS. I have experience in school governance as a former parent governor and then co-opted governor at Swansfield Primary School. Having attended DCHS as a pupil I then embarked on my university education before beginning my teaching career at Cramlington High School. I returned to DCHS as a teacher in 2002 primarily teaching Food across the year groups. My role as a Lead Practitioner has enabled me to have a variety of whole school responsibilities. Currently I have the privilege of mentoring Early Career Teachers using instructional coaching. Being staff governor allows me to use my knowledge and experience of the local community and our staff and students, having an insight as a long standing member of teaching staff and as a parent. I am a member of the Educational Standards Performance committee and I'm proud to bring a staff perspective to the board.

Clare Mills

Clare is currently the Director of Policy and Communications at Charity Finance Group, the membership body for charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises. CFG’s mission is to develop and support a dynamic, trustworthy and financially confident charitable sector across the UK and Clare leads a team working on all aspects of policy, from improving access to banking for charitable organisations to legislation, accounting and reporting, ESG, tax and VAT, governance, leadership and culture. Clare is a Chartered PR Practitioner and member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Before moving into the charity sector Clare completed a PhD in politics at the University of Newcastle, and spent over a decade working as a senior parliamentary researcher, leading the staff team for a Liberal Democrat MP.

Clare has a significant record for volunteering, especially in governance and board roles. She has served as a charity trustee and chair, a district councillor, strategic advisory body member for the police, and public governor for an NHS mental health trust. She has been a school governor for several schools and currently chairs the Finance, Audit and Resources Committee as part of her role on the governing body for the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick, Northumberland. She has a particular interest in performance management, culture and organisational development, as well as effective governance.

When she’s not working or volunteering, Clare can be found outside on her bike, running, walking or pretending the sea is not that cold, really.

Claire Telfer

Claire Telfer is currently the Chair of the ESP committee and is a co-opted governor.  She was formerly a parent governor between 2018 and 2022, whilst her children were at the DCHS.  

Some of the skills she brings to the governing team are commercial awareness, H & S focus, STEM understanding, digitalisation and linkage to community sports.

She lives in Lesbury and is employed as Head of Design Delivery for a UK civil engineering company.  She is an advocate for local community sports and is a UK Athletics official for the North East.

Steve Wilkes

I am currently a maths teacher at DCHS but was co-opted to the governors whilst a senior leader in another school in the county. I have been in the teaching profession my entire career, either in the classroom, middle or senior management. My particular interests are in learning and teaching strategies, the transformative role of effective schools to change lifepaths, timetabling and the use of data in aiding decision making. Both of my children have been educated at DCHS and look back on their time here with real fondness.   In my spare time I enjoy cycling and spending time outdoors.

Academy Committee Website

Academy Committee Membership, Personal and Business Interests (formerly Governing Body)

DCHS Governing Body Membership over last 12 months _ Personal & Business Interests - 2310.pdf

Meeting Attendance

DCHS Governing Body Meeting Attendance 2022-23 (Sept 23).pdf