Norton CEVC Primary School
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Governor Profiles

Governor Profiles

Paul Marshall
I joined the governing body in May 2015 and became Chair in November 2017.  I am married with two adult daughters (one a Primary School Teacher) and have lived in Norton since 2012. I am semi-retired having been a police officer in Suffolk for 32 years.
I now work part time as a Management Consultant and also provide advice to Headteachers and governing bodies on effective Headteacher performance. I am a Board member for several Trusts and Charities and I am also a volunteer helper at Norton CEVC Primary School, assisting children with their reading skills.

I strongly believe that the first years of a child’s education are crucial to their later academic achievements and to the development of social and other life skills. Being a governor means I can contribute towards this. In my leisure time I enjoy walking and most forms of sport albeit as a spectator nowadays.


Helen Firth

I was delighted to be appointed Foundation Governor at Norton CEVC Primary School in September 2015. My career in education included teaching and headship in local primary schools and senior positions in pre-school provision and school leadership training. Now retired I have time for new interests. I enjoy country walks with husband Andrew and dog Jess and as a new grandparent love to spend time with my extending family.  I belong to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and am a member of St Michael’s Hunston Parochial Church Council.

I believe the skills and experience gained during many years working with children and school leaders enable me to make an effective contribution to the governing body.  I enjoy volunteering at Norton School and as a governor hope to help ensure the children are happy and safe as they learn and achieve to their full potential.


Brian Aket

My first association with Norton Primary School was in 1984, thirty five years ago, when, as a family we moved into Norton and our youngest daughter, Vivienne, started at the school. Since that time my links have been almost continuous. My wife worked in the school office for a time and my three grandchildren have or are making their way through the school.

I have known six headteachers at the school, Mr Haddon-Silver, Mr Johns, Mrs Cobbold, Mr Dodd, Mrs Hart and now Mrs Sparkes.

Retiring from my headship in December 2002, I was keen to continue making a contribution to local education. Shortly after, I was invited to be the Local Authority governor at the school. I have continued in that role ever since, a period of almost sixteen years. Apart from being the longest serving governor at the school, I also pre-date all members of staff.

I have seen so many changes over the years, from a two teacher school to the seven we have today as well as the demise of the three tier system, the building of four new classrooms, many more staff, a new playing field and of course many more children.

My motivation for serving as a governor originates from my lifelong commitment to education, the deep interest I have in children's progress at school and, as a Norton Parish Councillor, developing the links between the school and the local community. My other interests centre around family and friends, enjoying my vintage cars and being a long standing volunteer at Pakenham Water Mill.


Revd Katherine Valentine

I am Priest-in-Charge of the six villages in the Pakenham Benefice, all of which have children attending Norton CEVC Primary School: Pakenham, Norton, Tostock, Hunston, Great Ashfield and Stowlangtoft. My husband and I have lived in Norton for six years now, and our two grown up children make regular visits - along with Sam the retired greyhound, my daughter’s dog. We often look after him while our daughter is on holiday, and he has come to regard the streets, fields and footpaths of Norton as his second home. One of my great pleasures is going in to school once a fortnight to take assemblies when the children are always so interested and full of ideas. I am also pleased that we are able to welcome classes to Norton church as part of their RE lessons, as well as for worship on special occasions during the year. I enjoy working alongside Salvation Army and Baptist colleagues and friends in supporting the school in its Christian witness to the love of God for all our children.


Andy Richardson

I was delighted to be appointed a parent governor to the governing body in September 2016. I have lived in Hunston for 12 years, am married and have two children one of which is at Norton CEVC Primary School. I work in the food & farming industry and have a wide experience of strategic planning, marketing and corporate affairs in international private and PLC businesses. I currently chair the Welsh Government’s Food & Drink Board and Dairy Industry Leadership Board and am heavily involved in developing the Welsh and UK Brexit strategies. I care passionately about food, farming, the environment, innovation, skills and education.

I believe children should be able to fulfil their potential in a way which comes naturally to their own particular character. Norton CEVC Primary School is an outstanding place for our children to realise this ambition and I look forward to working with the governors to ensure we evolve a strategy which will continue to ensure Norton CEVC Primary School performs at the highest level.


Rebecca Mabbitt 

I became part of the Governing Body in April 2017, when my eldest son was in Stars class. Since then, my youngest son has joined the school, and my husband, as the Deputy Headteacher. We have lived in Norton since 2012, although I grew up in nearby Pakenham. I spent twenty years as a secondary school science teacher, working with Year 7 through to Year 13. Much of my teaching experience in Suffolk was in the Middle School system. I have had a variety of leadership roles, helping to lead school improvement through development planning, data analysis and supporting staff. I take an active role in school, working as a parent reader as well as visiting regularly as a governor. I hope that I will be able to help shape an ever-improving experience for the children of the school, and encourage in them a lifelong love of learning.


Shivani Bailey

My name is Shivani Bailey and I am one of Norton’s newest Parent Governors. My husband, James, and I moved to Norton from Bury St Edmunds in 2013 and we have two children. Our older daughter is in Year 4 and our son is in Year 1. In my day job, I work as a children’s doctor with a special interest in children’s cancer and research. I also have a keen interest in education, although my own involvement in teaching has been with University students, who come with a rather different set of needs to Primary school children! Despite this, I put myself forward to join the governing body as I felt that my background in child health and child development would be a useful addition to the governing body’s skill set. 


Within the governing body, my main role is as the well-being governor for students and staff. I believe that as a society, we are becoming more aware of the importance of mental health, particularly in children and young people. At Norton, we hope to cultivate an environment that promotes resilience from an early age, and that is accessible and allows children to seek help without fear of rejection. By training staff through courses like Mental Health First Aid, we hope to pick up early warning signs of children in need of more support. We will also be focusing on improving communication to ensure that parents/carers are kept informed and involved with any problems identified in school.


The staff and the governing body are committed to giving the children at Norton the best all-round Primary education possible, and are always happy to hear any ideas you might have on how we can improve. Please do come and catch me for a chat if you want to discuss any issues, I do school drop-offs on Thursdays, and pick-ups on Thursdays and Fridays.


Gavin Philp

In applying for the role of Co-opted Governor I was looking for an opportunity to make a contribution to a community that I have lived in for the past fourteen years. I have always believed that good local schools are a key part of strong communities and feel that Norton is lucky to have such a school.


I spent thirty years working as a constable in the Metropolitan Police serving in a variety of roles many of which entailed me working very closely with local schools at Primary and Secondary levels. I had involvement with schools that were ranked nationally at the top of the league tables and with several that were at the bottom. I was able to see what worked and where improvement and change was required and have been part of teams created to help deliver that change. One lesson I did learn was the value of a strong and motivated board of governors to support the head and teaching staff in the delivery of both the academic content: but as importantly the extra-curricular activity that it so important in the development of young people.


After retiring from policing I spent 7 years working for a local social housing provider and saw how schools can play a major part in local village life.


I have been fortunate to be able to travel and have been amazed at the commitment of young people in places like Nepal where children walk along high mountain paths often long distances to get to school. The value of education should never be under-valued.


I am married and can often be seen walking around the village with two large retrievers, I also enjoy trekking and cycling.


Gill McCredie

I was appointed to the governing body in October 2020 and I am delighted to work with the school in this way.  I am the church leader at The Salvation Army in Norton, having been ordained in July 2020.  Before entering into full-time ministry, I have worked in administration, hospitality and music tuition.  I live in Elmswell with my rescue dog and enjoy walking, reading and making music.  Whilst I am new to church leadership and to governance, I have a lifelong passion to see all people become all that they can be, and I believe this is only possible by working together in community.  Working with other churches in the village, I am excited to see how we can help develop the young people of Norton CEVC Primary School grow in their experience of God and be all that He has made them to be.


Mrs Nicky Broughton

I was thrilled to become a parent governor in November 2021. My family and I moved to Norton in 2013 and we have 3 children, 2 of whom attend Norton CEVC Primary School, and our youngest will hopefully join in 2024. I graduated as a Physiotherapist and specialised in musculoskeletal care for both adults and children. A large part of my role involved multi-disciplinary working, team management, service development and teaching. Sadly, our first child was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 2 and I consequently gave up work to care for him during 2 years of treatment before he died 6 years ago. Since then, I have concentrated my time on setting up a charity in his name to raise funds into paediatric brain tumour research. I take an interest in watching the development of all children and especially advocating for those children with additional needs given both my experience professionally and personally. My role as a parent governor will be on learning and achievement with particular emphasis in early years. Home schooling has given me an even greater understanding and experience of teaching young children, but also just as important is a holistic balance so that children can develop their confidence, life and social skills. I am usually on the school run so please come and find me if you have any issues you would like to discuss. I hope that both my professional skills and personal experiences will be of value to the governing body, and I am looking forward to working with the school to maintain their high levels of care and education.