Meet the Governors


Chairs of Governors: Claire Higgins

As Chair of Governors, I feel privileged to work with the headteacher and the senior leadership team to promote and maintain high standards of educational achievement at St John Fisher and ensure that the governing body sets a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school.  I was appointed as Local Authority Governor (LAG) in March 2019 and am in my second term as an LAG.  

My Governor link areas are safeguarding , SEND, pupil premium, inclusion, attendance and behaviour, PHSE, computing and digital Safeguarding and school council link governor.  I have an interest in health and safety and I Chair the Health and Safety committee working with the School Business Manager and Site Manager to ensure the school H&S standards comply with the requirements of the Tameside Local Authority auditors. 

Having attended St John Fisher RC Primary myself before I moved on to St Thomas More, I feel passionately about leading the team of Governors as we work together at a strategic level to ensure that the Catholic vision and character of the school is upheld.


Mandy Harris

 I am very proud to be the Headteacher at St John Fisher RC Primary School. I came here in September 2018 from St Catherine's RC Primary School in Didsbury, where I was the Deputy Headteacher for four and a half years. I have taught for 31 years and have experience ranging from Year 1 right through to year 6. My favourite subject is Maths and I still love to teach it. I have lots of experience in curriculum development and assessment and quality first teaching. All of which are skills I share with the staff here at St John Fisher. I have also previously been the Teacher representative on the governing body. 

I have four children all of whom were educated in the catholic sector and I am committed to developing the faith life of our school in conjunction with the academic. Developing the whole child and helping them to be ready for the next stage in their lives is an important part of our job. 

I am passionate about education and am dedicating to making St John Fisher the best Catholic Primary School it can be. 


Lindsey Hamnett

I am a Foundation Governor appointed by the Bishop of Salford. My Job is to ensure that the school is conducted in accordance with the rites, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Faith.

I have been a part of the school/church community for 16 years volunteering at PTA events as well as being a Faith Friend helping out with the sacramental programme and the children’s chapel at St John Fisher Church.

I am a stay at home mother to 4. My eldest, Aimee is currently studying A-levels at college. My son Harry is at secondary school and my youngest two daughters, Charlotte and Megan attend St John Fisher.

Having four children of my own I understand that every child is unique and special. I volunteered to be part of the governing body to ensure each pupil reaches their full potential at this school.


Niall Johnson

It is a privilege to be appointed as a Foundation Governor at St John Fisher in April 2021.  Having lived in Haughton Green since a child and having been a former pupil of St John Fisher and St Thomas More, I know the local community well. Previously, I have worked at St Thomas More for 7 years in a number of roles which include: Teacher of Religious Education, Head of Year 7, Head of Year 8, Head of Year 9 and Assistant Currliculum Leader of Religous Education. During my time at St Thomas More I was part of an outstanding section 48 inspection. My curriculum, teaching and learning experience, and knowledge of the spiritual life of Catholic Schools will be valuable in ensuring that the children of St John Fisher receive a Catholic education that allows them to leave as rounded individuals, equipped with the skills and knowledge to face an ever-changing world.


Donal Townson


My name is Donal Townson and I was appointed by the Bishop of Salford as a Foundation Governor in September 2015. My association with the school dates back to 1991 when I was appointed as Deputy Head teacher retiring in 2015.


I am an active member of St. Mary & St. John Fisher parish and I’m a reader at Sunday Masses at St. John Fisher. I’m also the Authorised Person at St. Mary’s, so I’m responsible for ensuring that the legal requirements of marriages solemnised in a registered building are met.

I’m also the Secretary of the Tameside Schools’ Football Association and run the primary school competitions. This year, it was my pleasure to present the school’s boys’ and girls’ teams with their medals and trophies for winning the Alan Millea Cup and the Kate Stonehewer Trophy for small schools.

Finally, I’ve got three children and three grandchildren, so I’m kept busy most days.


Recently, I’ve attended a number of the school Masses on a Tuesday and they are a joy to be there as a member of the congregation. The singing of the pupils is fantastic and the pupil readers demonstrate a mature quality of reading. Behaviour in church is also excellent.


I also attended the schools’ Summer Fair and was struck by a number of things. Firstly, the wonderful relationship between staff and pupils, between staff and parents, and between parents themselves which stood out. The hard work put in by all the school staff, again reflects on the teamwork being developed by Mrs. Harris. I also watched pupils who attend Lane’s Dance Academy perform intricate dance routines in front of a large crowd which shows the confidence being developed.


With these qualities, I feel privileged to supporting our Head teacher, Mrs. Harris, and all the staff in the  wonderful job they are doing in promoting the Catholic Faith and Ethos of the school, while also ensuring the safeguarding of our pupils and seeing them develop the skills and confidence to leave our school having achieved their full potential to strive for greater things.


I also look forward to supporting my hard working fellow governors, a dedicated and committed Governing Body, led by our excellent chair, Mrs. Claire Higgins, in challenging and supporting our Head teacher and staff as they strive for excellence for the children we have been entrusted with.


Emma Shaw


I feel very privileged to be the teacher governor at St John Fisher R.C Primary school.  I have been a class teacher at the school for 5 years and for the past 2 years, I have also been the EYFS and KS1 Lead. Previously, I have owned and managed my own private day nursery and therefore, have a wealth of experience in supporting the learning and development of our younger children.  

I have been married for 20 years and have 2 children of my own.  My daughter is currently studying for a degree at university and my son is starting his A-Levels at college.   As a parent and a teacher, I believe that secure and positive relationships are fundamental to supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing. I am the Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead at St John Fisher.  I am passionate about developing relationships in order to understand and support the needs of all our children.  I am also a keen advocate for enhancing staff wellbeing and am proud to work with a team who are incredibly supportive.