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Plaistow Primary School

Governance at Plaistow

The Governors at Plaistow Primary School have an important role in ensuring that the school provides a positive educational experience for all in our school community. They are committed to ensuring that all of our children get the best possible start in life.

Governors at Plaistow monitor the leadership of our school with regards to curriculum, standards and financial management, as well as the safeguarding of our pupils.

Governors ensure that strategic decision making is in line with the vision and values of our school.

Governors support, but also challenge the Head Teacher and wider leadership team in ensuring that the School Development Plan is a robust, comprehensive action plan that is followed, reviewed and reflected upon. They ensure that decisions, whether they be financial or human resources related, are informed by a well-thought-out and carefully constructed planning process.


The Governing Body of Plaistow 

Our Governors provide expertise and experience across a range of skills so as to ensure that the Governing Body is able to undertake its duty to support the creation of a strong learning environment.

Meet Our Governors

June Thomas (Chair of Governors)

I was born and grew up in Hackney, East London.  I spent my working life teaching in Primary Schools, mainly in Waltham Forest and retired in 2008 from my post of Head Teacher of a large Newham Primary School.

I have continued to keep up to date with developments in Education and since retiring have been a Governor of several schools.  I joined the Governing Body of Plaistow in 2015 and was elected Chair in 2017.  I am committed to leading a Board which supports a good school in providing a wealth of learning opportunities for its pupils, to enable them to reach their full academic potential as well as experiencing a wide range of other enriching activities.

I have recently managed the process for recruiting and appointing a new Head Teacher.

I have many interests which occupy my spare time, mainly connected to the Arts. I am often involved in craft projects and spend a lot of time painting and printing.


Sue Giddens (Vice- Chair of Governors)

I was born in London, have lived in London all my life and have taught in Newham schools for over 20 years. I have taught across the whole age range but probably spent most of my time teaching years 5 and 6. For several years, I served as a teacher governor. 

I have a passionate belief that all children are entitled to a great education and thereby a good start in life.  After retiring from my post as an Assistant Head in 2015 I joined the governing Body of Plaistow Primary School to support the school in delivering the very best for our children. I believe that I have the educational experience, the local knowledge and the committment to assist the governing body.

Retirement has given me more time to spend reading and knitting, both of which I enjoy immensely.  I have 4 adult children and a great deal of my time is spent with a growing number of grandchildren!  The most exciting part of retirement for me has been the ability to travel, to experience new places and meet so many different people.


Dean Benoit

I am incredibly proud to be the Head Teacher of Plaistow Primary School and Children’s Centre. 

I grew up in Canada but moved to the UK to complete my teacher training in Exeter. I started my teaching career in Tower Hamlets and developed a keen interest in language acquisition and the teaching of early reading and phonics.

I have had experience as a leader across several schools where I have led on teaching, learning and assessment with a particular passion for curriculum design and implementation. I am also interested in how coaching and mentoring can build strong teams and leadership at all levels in educational settings.

My interests outside of school include cycling, running and travelling to see family and friends abroad. 

Plaistow is a happy school that celebrates its successes whilst always looking for ways to develop and grow. The Governing Board at Plaistow supports and challenges the school on its journey of ongoing school improvement.


Henry Cooper

My name is Henry Cooper and I have been a co-opted Governor since March 2019 and a member of the curriculum and finance committees I have a depth of experience in the financial services industry and have worked in a range of different leadership roles across the UK.

I am currently a Senior Commercial Manager working out of Canary Wharf. As a result, I bring a strong level of commercial and financial acumen to the governing body and enjoy proposing new innovative ways of solving problems. 

Having not had experience in the education sector, I’ve enjoyed being able to work with the Governing Body and learn how the school operates. I enjoy being able to bring fresh ideas from my experience in a different field. 

Outside of work I enjoy keeping fit, skiing, reading, and eating in the range of different restaurants that are on our doorstep in London. I also enjoy sport, particularly rugby. Although I stopped playing a few years ago, since moving to London I’ve been taking advantage of being close to Twickenham and trying to get to as many England games as possible. 

Since being a Governor at Plaistow I’ve seen the high standards that all staff and governors strive towards and I’m really proud to be a part of it.


Fay Flack


Muhammad Azam


Racheal Dzumbira

I was born and grew up in former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. I did a BSc/Education degree at a university in Sierra Leone. After which I taught high school science and maths in neighbouring Liberia.

Whilst undertaking postgraduate studies in the UK, I also did voluntary work at a centre in Newham which offered English, Maths and IT classes to refugees. I became a board member at this centre. I got interested in teaching individuals who were facing barriers of one form or another in education. This led me to teach SEND students in college and becoming a course tutor, which I enjoyed very much. At Plaistow Primary School I am very interested in our SEND pupils.

Since I became a governor in March 2019, I have taken every opportunity to develop as an effective school governor by learning from colleagues and attending training available to governors.?

In my church I enjoy teaching Sunday school to children aged 3 to 15 years. It is such a joy seeing the children develop in many ways. As a school governor I am committed to supporting the school achieve the goal to enable pupils develop in every way.   

I have a passion for safeguarding. I was a safeguarding officer in my church for some time and am now a safeguarding facilitator, training members from different churches.  Safeguarding at Plaistow Primary school is very important to me. The wellbeing of pupils and staff at the school is very important to me too. As such I am committed to supporting the school as a whole to being a safe learning environment so that pupils reach their potential in all they do.

I enjoy swimming, baking and cake decorating all of which I learnt after retiring. I raised funds for a charity I did counselling work with primary school pupils. I do charity walks raising funds for Cancer Research UK.


Donna Occleshaw

My name is Donna Occleshaw and I have been a member of Plaistow Primary Governing Body since 2013. I am a member of both the curriculum and progress and standards committees and I currently serve as chairperson for the Curriculum Committee.

I have a wide range of experiences within education and education leadership. I have taught in all primary aged key stages in different schools within Newham, Havering, and in Early Childhood settings in Sydney - Australia.

I am able to support the governing body to understand the policy, structures and systems within our school as well as representing the voice of the staff within the governing body.

I enjoy reading and travel and have been lucky enough to travel and live in several different countries, including Brazil and Australia - I understand the challenges that some of our pupils face when they begin in our setting and do not understand the language that is spoken!  

I am a keen gardener and have recently taken on the co-ownership of an allotment plot and hope to have lots of tasty veggies to dig up soon!​


Naziya Begum

I was born, raised and now live in Plaistow, therefore I have a special connection with the community and legacy we leave behind. My educational background is Economics, having completed a bachelors and masters in the subject. However, my interest in teaching stemmed from volunteering at a local secondary school, where I worked closely with underachieving pupils. I felt a strong passion and drive to devote my career to giving all pupils an opportunity to achieve their best through education.

I have been a Mathematics teacher and in the education field for the last 10 years, taking on various key roles in pupils’ progression within the school. I have worked with Primary schools to ensure that there is a smooth transition between KS2 and KS3. I am currently training to develop teachers within my school to embed ‘Mastery’ within Mathematics and mixed attainment classes.

My hobbies include hiking, keeping up with current affairs, travelling and learning about other cultures. I dedicate majority of my time to the nurturing of my three children, which is why I am now in a part-time role at my school.

I am new to the role of Parent Governor but I look forward to contributing, challenging and supporting Plaistow Primary’s students, staff and parents in its continual school improvement.


Sabine Pole

I am a proud member of Plaistow Primary School. I grew up in Latvia but moved to the UK in 2007 and I have been a part of the Newham community for the last 15 years. I developed a keen interest in child development soon after I became a parent. I was fascinated by how the mind and behaviour of children works (from prenatal development through to adolescence) as well as how children grow and adapt at different life stages.

To explore this interest further I realised that I had to be more involved, so I decided to volunteer at Plaistow Primary School. From there on my interest increased and I applied for a Teaching Assistant role. Since then, I have taken on various roles within the school setting and gained an experience of a lifetime. It began from supporting class teachers, working with SEN children, leading speech and language groups, becoming a HLTA, leading intervention groups, working with SEND and the Inclusion Team.

I have a great interest in maintaining high educational standards at Plaistow Primary School, both now and in the future. I have recently completed a Psychology degree at Open University based around the mental development of young children. I strongly believe that applying this knowledge will improve the learning process and promote educational success for all students. I am fluent in three languages which is beneficial for both the school and our families. Being able to speak in their native language creates a sense of familiarity and comfort.

I am new to the co-opted Governor role but I look forward to promoting more effective ways of teaching and learning. 

Governor Attendance and Committees

Governors Committees are as follows:

  • Curriculum (C)

Curriculum Committee Terms of Reference - Plaistow Primary School

  • Standards (S)

Standards Committee Terms of Reference - Plaistow Primary School

  • Finance, Staffing and Premises (FSP)

FSP Committee Terms of Reference - Plaistow Primary School

Finance Policy - Plaistow Primary School

  • Safeguarding (Sa)
  • Head Teacher's Performance Management (HTP)
Name Category Committee Membership Full Governing Board Attendance (2021/2022)
June Thomas Co-opted (Chair) C  S   1/6
Sue Giddens Co-opted (Vice Chair) C   S   FSP   Sa   HTP 1/6
Dean Benoit Head Teacher C   S   FSP    1/6
Henry Cooper Co-opted C   S   FSP   HTP 1/6
Fay Flack Co-opted FSP    S     HTP 1/6
Muhammad Azam Parent FSP 1/6
Racheal Dzumbira Co-opted C   S   Sa 1/6
Donna Occleshaw Staff C     S 0/6
Sabine Pole Co-opted C      S 1/6
Naziya Begum Parent C     S 1/6

Governor Declaration of Interests 

Name Category End of Term Date Personal Interests Business Interests Date of Declaration
June Thomas Co-opted (Chair) 23.11.23 None declared None declared November 2021
Sue Giddens Co-opted Vice-Chair) 23.11.23 None declared None declared September 2021
Dean Benoit Head Teacher n/a HT of School HT of School September 2021
Henry Cooper Co-opted 27.03.23 None declared None declared October 2021
Fay Flack Co-opted 21.09.24 None declared None declared September 2021
Muhammad Azam Parent Governor 11.07.23 None declared None declared November 2021
Racheal Dzumbira Co-opted 27.03.23 None declared None declared November 2021
Sabine Pole Co-opted 30.09.2025 None declared Employed by School November 2021
Donna Occleshaw Staff Governor 20.10.23 None declared Employed by School November 2021
Naziya Begum Parent Governor 07.05.25 None declared None declared September 2021

Statement on Governor Expenses

The Governing Body of Plaistow Primary School and Children's Centre has adopted the policy that no expenditure outside of the Service Level Agreement with Newham Partnership Working will be authorised, with the exception of isolated cases which will be authorised by the Finance Committee (or the Chair of the Finance Committee or Chair of Governors where matters are urgent).

Instrument of Government

The Instrument of Government sets out the arrangements for the constitution of all governing bodies of local authority maintained schools.

Our Instrument of Government states our governing body shall consist of:

  • 2 parent Governors
  • 1 Local Authority Governor
  • 1 staff Governor
  • 1 Head Teacher
  • 5 co-opted Governors

Once appointed Governors serve a four-year term of office.

Link Governors

Safeguarding Racheal Dzumbira and Sue Giddens
EYFS June Thomas, Naziya Begum and Fay Flack
Inclusion, Health and Well-Being Racheal Dzumbira, Henry Cooper, Sabine Pole, Naziya Begum and Mohammed Azam
Creativity June Thomas, Donna Occleshaw, Henry Cooper, Fay Flack