James Cox,  Parent Governor, Chairperson – Autumn Term 2021

My family have been involved with the school since 2009 when our oldest son  joined the Reception class. We now have two children attending and I continue to be impressed with both the standards of educational input and the pastoral care being offered.

In my role as CEO for a Cumbrian care and support organisation I believe I have a broad range of management skills, knowledge and experience which I hope benefits the School Governors and teaching team.

I have acted as Chair of Governors and am now the Vice Chair. I also now Chair the Resources and Finance Committee. I hope to continuing helping the school  grow and develop in the years to come.


Karl Laithwaite, Head Teacher Governor

I am proud to be the headteacher of Temple Sowerby Church of England Primary School, having been appointed to the role in September 2016.

I am married with three children and have been teaching for over 20 years, predominantly in small, rural schools. As such, I have a great deal of experience in mixed age teaching and understand the demands and opportunities that such settings provide. I am particularly keen to promote the school’s caring, family ethos and to develop the role it plays within the community.

I sit on both the Resources and Finances and Teaching and Learning committees and work closely with the Chair of Governors.


Reverend Clive Hicks, Foundation Governor (Church), Chairperson – Summer Term 2022

I have supported two sons through school and university, including a period of homeschooling while abroad.  I am passionate about the underlying Christian ethos of the school, and hope to help develop even stronger connections between school and church.

I have been a priest for several years now; previously involved in business, university teaching and local government in areas like strategy, marketing, complaint and project management, including collaborative work with charities like MIND and Mencap, and with health services.  I am a keen photographer and play the cello.

I am an ex officio Governor for the school as the Rector of churches in the Heart of Eden Benefice, including St James’s in the village.  I have also been Chair of Governors at Warcop for a season during 2020, and on governing bodies for two other primary schools before moving to Cumbria.


Mike Swindle, Co-opted Governor, Chairperson – Spring Term 2022

I grew up in  Temple Sowerby and attended the school between the ages of 5 & 11 yrs. Having moved away we returned to the village in 2015 so that my child could attend the school.

In my role as General Activities Manager at Center Parcs I manage all the children’s and family related activities, including the Crèche facilities working towards OFSTED guidelines and standards.

As one of the Governors I sit on the Resources and Finance Committee, and hope to give something back to the School which supported and educated me during my first years of learning.

Katie Brannen, Parent Governor

I became a parent governor after moving back to the area with my family; our three boys now all attend the school. I grew up on a farm near Milburn and attended Milburn School, consequently I have first-hand experience of learning in a small rural school.

I worked for 10 years for the State Veterinary Service in technical and management roles.  I am now fulfilling my passion for farming by working on our pedigree cattle and sheep farm as well as attending to the administrative needs of  the farm  and our farm animal husbandry business.

I m the governor responsible for SEND and pupil premium and sit on the Resources and Finance committee, where I believe my experience enables me to contribute effectively to committee matters.


Chris Eva, Co-opted Governor

I was lucky enough to have fulfilled a long-term dream by relocating to Cumbria with my family in 2020, and our 2 boys now attend the school.

I have over 10 years’ experience working within various finance and risk management roles for multi-national organisations. These roles have taught me a lot, including the importance of quality governance, as well as a providing me with wealth of management skills, and it was through managing people that I learnt to understand the crucial role that both a supportive environment and leader play in helping individuals achieve their full potential.

I sit on the Resource & Finance committee, where I hope that I can put my various skills and experience to good use.

My love of the great outdoors means that I try to get outside as much as possible, whether that is cycling, hiking or even through a spot of wild swimming (weather permitting).

Rowena Witchell, Foundation (Church of England) Governor

I am a foster carer for Cumbria County Council, currently approved for 0-3 year olds.  We have lived in the village for five years and our son is in Year 3 at school.

Having always had an interest in children’s development and education, I am pleased to join the governing board and to sit on the Teaching and Learning Committee.  As a foundation governor I believe in nurturing support for each child and their family, that school continues promoting positive, healthy values and that it maintains its strong community links.


Joanne Winter, Teacher Governor

I am the school’s Early Years/KS1 teacher, as well as the Special Educational Needs Coordinator and P.E. Coordinator. I thoroughly enjoy my varied roles and am proud to work at such a friendly, caring school.

I started my career teaching in Manchester in 2001.  I love to travel and have been fortunate to teach in Australia, New Zealand and Tanzania. I have had lots of experience teaching Early Years/KS1 and am currently an Early Years Profile Moderator for the County.

As a teacher governor, I sit on the Teaching and Learning Committee.


Hannah Cleasby, Local Authority Governor (pending approval)

I have lived in Temple Sowerby for over 10 years and my eldest daughter has just started in Reception after having attended the Pre-School since 2019. I have been incredibly impressed with the care, dedication and enthusiasm shown by all the staff at the school and think it’s a wonderful environment for children to learn.

I have taught in a local primary school since 2012 so have extensive knowledge and understanding of the workings of a school as well as being a governor there for the previous 7 years. I also run my own training business delivering mental health awareness and mental health first aid training.

I sit on the Teaching and Learning Committee, am the Safeguarding Governor and believe my experience enables me to make valuable contributions so the school can continue to flourish.

Olivia Colbear, Parent Governor

I grew up in Penrith, and except for my three years at university have always found the allure of beautiful Cumbria too strong to want to live anywhere else!  I work in our long-established family agricultural engineering and sales business.  However, prior to working there, I worked for over fifteen years in the higher education sector in a range of areas, such as research, enterprise, finance and quality procedures.  Then, for four years I worked as a school administrator at a primary school.  It was during my time working here that I came to fully appreciate the key role that a schools governing board play, and also the important role of parent-volunteers in school.

My children currently attend the school and I am always getting feedback from them about what a ‘totally brilliant’ school it is (something that I do agree with them about!)  I hope that my wide-ranging skills enable me to make a positive contribution to the continuing development of the school to ensure it retains its ‘totally brilliant’ status for future generations.

Angela Harrison, Clerk to the Governors – available on 017683 61512

Click here for the current Governing Body Membership – Governing Body Membership 2021-22

Click here for the Instrument of Government – Instrument of Government

Click here for the current Governing Body Terms of Office – GB Terms of Office Record 2021

Click here for the Governor Register of Business Interests –Declaration of Personal & Pecuniary Interests 2021-22

Click here for the Governor Attendance Record – Full GB Attendance Record 2019-2021

Click here for the Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 – 2021 Annual Governance Statement