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Our School Governors

Our school governors work with our school to support the education of your children. They are drawn from all parts of our local community, and it is their role to ensure that high standards are maintained throughout all aspects of your child’s education.


There are six categories of Governors:

  • Parent Governors, who you elect
  • Teacher Governors, who are elected by the teaching staff
  • Staff Governors , who are elected by the non-teaching staff
  • Partnership governors, who the governors invite to join the body
  • Co-opted Governors
  • Headteacher Governor

Our Governors are:

Chair of Governing Body Mrs Rita Garner from 27/06/2017
Vice Chair of Governing Body Mr Mike Trett from 27/06/2017
Headteacher Mrs Laura James Headteacher
Staff Governors

Mrs Sue George from 23/06/2018 

Mrs Joanne Forkner (Associate Member) from 01/07/2018

Governing Body






Recent Resignations

Mrs Nicky Tunbridge from 27/06/2017
Mrs Kerry Jago from 27/11/2019
Mrs Elizabeth Brown from 25/11/2016
Miss Gemma Ward from 27/11/2019
Mrs Rachael Steel from 27/11/2019


Mr Brett Robins 01/07/2019

Mrs Lisa Wright 28/10/2019




More about us

Laura James: Headteacher

I am the Headteacher of Abbots Hall and was appointed from June 2014. I have worked in Thurrock all of my teaching career and passionately believe in the potential of the children here. I was drawn to this school as I believed that this was a school that could make a difference to all it’s community and this is my drive. I firmly believe that this school is not just for the children but also for their families. Together, we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed and shine!

As the Headteacher, it is my role to work in partnership with the governing body to ensure that the school is effective and provides the very best education for all pupils.  


Rita Garner: Partnership Governor

I am the chair of governors and became a governor at Abbots Hall Primary school when the Infant and Junior schools amalgamated in 2005, however I have been a school governor since 1981.

I attend all committee meetings to ensure I have an overview of all aspects of the school and I am link governor for Safeguarding and Special Educational Needs.

For the past 17 years, I have worked for Essex Education Services, delivering training to school governors in all elements of governance, however my main responsibility within the team is Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment.

I believe that all children, no matter their background or starting points, should be given the opportunity to succeed and their voices are heard!


Mike Trett: Co-opted Governor

I am currently Vice Chair of the Governing Body, Chair of the Standards Committee, a member of the Pay and Performance Committee and Headteacher Performance Management Committee.

I have been a Governor at Abbots Hall since the year after I retired in 2001. Previously, for 22 years, I was Headteacher of a large and successful 11-18 comprehensive school in Essex. As a result of my 37 year teaching career I have significant experience in school organisation and management which I am trying to use for the benefit of all pupils in the school. From my experience as a parent, I know how vital it is that children experience a happy but challenging learning experience.

Rachael Steel: Co-opted Governor

I have been a governor for the school for the past 4 years, this is my second term as a parent governor. I am a member of the Every Child Matters Committee and link Governor for Maths & ICT. I am an active member of the PTA.

For the past 23 years I have worked in local government. I live locally with my family and my two children both attend Abbots Hall Primary Academy. I chose this school for my children as opposed to my nearest school as I received a friendly and welcoming feel during my visit and my family and I instantly felt comfortable in the school environment. I am very happy with the progress my children have made and what they have achieved. I always recommend this school to other parents as I believe this is a great school!


Kerry Jago: Parent Governor

I am currently a member of the Resources Committee; Pay and Performance Committee and Headteacher Performance Management Committee.

I have been a Parent Governor for about six years. My eldest son left the school in 2011, my other son left in 2014 and my daughter is currently in Key Stage 1.

I worked in Human Resources for nine years and then moved into marketing and project management before having my family.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Abbots Hall and look forward to what is to come in the future.


Gemma Ward: Parent Governor

I am currently in my second term as a parent governor. Within this role, I am part of the Every Child Matters Committee. I am the Link Governor for English and enjoy visiting the school learning about its work and reporting my findings to other governors. As well as this I also have been supporting Rita with monitoring the effectiveness and impact of the school’s Special Education Needs provision. Something I am very passionate about!

I have two children at Abbots Hall, both of which are going to be undertaking their SATs in this coming year. I have lived in Corringham most of my life and I am very committed to improving my effectiveness as a Parent Governor and relish the opportunity to see the school thrive and develop further!


Elizabeth Brown: Parent Governor

I have been a governor at Abbots Hall for eight years. I am a member of the Every Child Matters Committee and I have responsibilities are Pupil Premium and ICT. I also help to run weekly Family Learning sessions, which supports parent and child collaborative learning, which we are lucky to have at the school. 

I have four children. The eldest two attended the school and I was very proud of their achievements during they were here. Currently, I have two younger children in years 1 and 2. I am also an active member of the PTA.

Jo Forkner: Associate Member

I have worked at Abbots Hall Primary Academy since January 2009. I have been the Academy Business Manager since conversion in May 2013 and I am a member of the Senior Leadership Team. I am the Chair of the Premises Committee, Clerk of the Standards Committee and a member of the Resources Committees.

I am a qualified Accountant with a career spanning over 29 years in financial settings and have graduated in both CSBM and DSBM.  My experience includes extensive involvement in all areas of the Academy conversion process, Financial and Budget Management, Audit, HR (including Payroll and Pensions) and Facilities Management.

I am passionate about our school and our pupils. It is my belief that we are enabling them to reach for the stars and achieve their full potential.


Nicky Tunbridge: Co-opted Governor

I have been a governor of Abbots Hall since my eldest, of three children, was in Year 1, which was 20 years ago! I have held many different positions throughout the years, including Vice Chair of the Infant School Governing Body, Chair of Committees and have sat on many appointment panels. I am presently chair of the Every Child Matters committee, on the Headteacher performance panel, as well as link governor for behaviour and ethos. I was also Chair of the PTA for 5 years. The school is in an exciting phase and I look forward to working towards a bright and successful future.

I am also a nursing Sister in operating theatres and have been for over 30 years.   I have seen the school go through many changes with all the ups and downs that has bought. The changes include amalgamation from Infant and Junior to Primary School, through the transition to Academy and through many Ofsted inspections!


Susan George: Staff Governor

I am new to the governing body, having served for just under a year, however I have worked in education for more than 10 years! On the Governing Body, I am on the Every Child Matters (ECM) Committee and I am also the lead governor for Attendance (a priority for the school). 

I have lived in Stanford-Le-Hope for most of my life and joined the school staffing team in 2006. I am presently a Teaching Assistant in Year 4 but I have worked in a variety of year groups. I am also part of the school's Wrap Around Care team supervising children attending the Breakfast Club, something that I find very rewarding. 

As a member of Abbots Hall staffing and governor teams, I feel I am able to support and challenge school leaders to ensure that the school provides the very best service for its community!