Chair of Governors – Mr. Paul Houghton

Contact details: C/O Dowson Primary Academy, Marlborough Road, Hyde, Cheshire, SK14 5HU

Tel: 01613660177 email:

Vice Chair of Governors– Mrs. Julie Holmes

Local Governing Body Members:

  • Paul Houghton
  • Julie Holmes
  • Kat Thornburn
  • Lorraine Walkden
  • Lois Samuels
  • Paul Lovell
  • Kate Jeffries
  • Joanne Duffy

The responsibilities of local governors include:

  • Ensuring the quality of educational provision
  • Providing support and challenge to the academy leadership team
  • Holding academy leaders to account against a range of broad and measurable outcomes identified in the Academy Improvement Plan
  • Have oversight of the academy’s financial situation
  • Helping the school to set high standards by planning for the school’s future and setting targets for school improvement and future performance

Specifically, this means that governors will:

  • Ensure high outcomes for young people
  • Identify and deal with areas of underperformance, including the implementation of a Strategic Academy Improvement Plan
  • Use the resources available to the academy to raise standards and provide evidence of the success of the strategies adopted
  • Raise staff performance through proper performance management and recruitment
  • Ensure that the educational provision aligns with the nature of each Academy and the strategic aims and values of the Trust
  • Report directly to the Board of Trustees

In order to discharge these duties and make a significant difference to the quality of education provided by the academy, governors should:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to furthering the achievement and progress of all learners within the academy
  • Have a commitment to the values of the Enquire Learning Trust
  • Have a commitment to collaborate working including making a contribution to the development of the Trust and its academies
  • Have at least one significant area of expertise that can be utilised to add value to the development of the academy and the Trust as a whole
  • Have a passion for developing learning across the locality served by the academy
  • Work with the Trust’s code of conduct

Role of Chair

  • It is the Chair’s responsibility to liaise with the Principal in order to ensure the Governing Body conducts its business and is able to report to the Board of Trustees effectively. Being a chair of governors is a key role in the leadership and management of the academy.
  • Chair of governors should:
  • Work with the Principal to promote and maintain high standards of education and achievement
  • Ensure the Governing Body hold the Principal to account for the educational performance of the academy and its pupils.

Meet the Governors

Mr Paul Houghton

Chair of Governors (Co-opted)

I have been a governor at Dowson since my son was in year 2, it’s his first year in senior school now (Sep 2016). I really enjoy working with and challenging the school leadership to deliver the best possible education for our children and was really pleased at the recent OFSTED result officially grading Dowson as good with some outstanding features. I still have a strong connection to school as my wife Nicky Houghton is a teaching assistant to our nursery children. Outside of work I have a busy job in the corporate world, love my sport, walking the dog and above all my family holidays near the sea.

Mrs Kathryn Thornburn


I came to Dowson in September 2008 and was originally the Assistant Headteacher in Lower School and English Co-ordinator. I became the Deputy Headteacher in April 2011 and my responsibilities included leading Teaching and Learning, Assessment and the Curriculum. I became the Principal in September 2017 and I am incredibly proud to be leading such a fantastic team of staff and educating the most brilliant children. The most important part of my job is developing and supporting teachers to deliver an exciting and challenging curriculum in the highest quality lessons they can and keeping track of all the learners in school to make sure they are achieving their full potential. I think my job is challenging but very rewarding - it’s the best job in the world! At home, I am kept very busy by my beautiful and lively children: Lily, who is 7 and Henry who is 2. Lily loves to swim, dance and sing as well as playing football for her team on a Saturday morning. She is a real performer and Henry is growing to have a similar character too! He loves to join in with stories, songs and rhymes as well as build, run, jump and climb and generally cause the usual chaos known to come with the toddler years. My husband Gary is a great husband and daddy and does more than his fair share around the house because I am so busy! As a family, we like to spend time baking, taking walks or day trips out or just playing in the house with board games or art and craft activities. When I find time, I like nothing more than diving into a good book and relaxing. I also love to sing, although it’s usually just along to the radio these days!

Kate Jeffries

Parent Governor

Hi there, my name is Kate Jeffries and I am a parent governor here at Dowson Academy. I have 3 children currently in the school, they are in years 3,4 and 6. I work part time for Greater Manchester police and I enjoy running in my spare time! My favourite part of being a governor is the visits into school, seeing the children engaged and enjoying their lessons. I am very proud to be involved in such an integral part of this fantastic school!

Paul Lovell

Co-opted Governor

I became a co-opted governor in May 2015. My main reasons for wanting to become a governor came about when my two daughters started at Dowson. Having a vested interest in Dowson, I became interested in the school's performance, quality of teaching, children's progress and prospects, enjoyment and safety. Becoming a governor has allowed me to go "behind the scenes" and understand more clearly how a school operates. It has also given me the opportunity to have a say in the decisions made that affect our children and the direction the school is taking, ensuring the best outcomes for both. I’m continually amazed at how committed and passionate the staff are about our children's development and the school's continued progress. I have a BEng in Computer Engineering from the University of Salford, and I currently work as an Embedded Software Consultant. My work has gained me experience in several sectors such as military, aerospace, automotive and more recently smart metering. In my spare time, I enjoy regularly keeping fit at the gym, mountain biking, Formula 1 racing, socialising and DIY.

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