What do school governors do?
School governors are a team of people who work closely with the head teacher to make key decisions vital to the successful running of the school. The governors appoint the head teacher and make decisions that directly affect the education and well-being of the children. They play an important role in improving standards throughout the school and agree the school's budget. In other words, it's a very meaningful role!

Click here for more information about how school governors work

School governors are the largest volunteer group in the country and are drawn from all walks of life. What governors share is a passionate belief that all children deserve to have access to effective schools.

Details of Cockburn's school governors can be seen below:

Mr Dave Westwell: Chair of Governors / Community Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Headteacher Performance, Admissions and Post 16 Tracking (Also a SOUTH LEEDS LEARNING TRUST GOVERNOR). I worked in education for 40 years, all of them in inner-city high schools. I relished the challenges presented to me and I thoroughly enjoyed my career. My three children attended state schools and all went on to university and successful careers. For the last eleven years of my career (1992-2003) I was deputy head at Cockburn and I played my part, as a member of a strong team, in the development of the school. Doing voluntary work was one of my aims on retirement and I was delighted to be invited to join the Governing Body in 2005 and be elected Chair in September of that year. I believe wholeheartedly in comprehensive state education and the opportunities it can give to ALL our young people. My mission as Chair of Governors is to work with governors, headteacher, staff, pupils and parents to make Cockburn the best school in Leeds and beyond. Team Cockburn is close to my heart and "Transformation to Excellence"is the road we are travelling.

Mr John Ellis: Vice Chair / LEA Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Finance/Budget monitoring (Also a SOUTH LEEDS LEARNING TRUST GOVERNOR). I am an ex-Chief Superintendent of Police with over twenty years experience as a governor at Cockburn. I remain a governor at Cockburn because I am excited about the potential in the new, young leadership team and their commitment to "Excellence" for the pupils here at Cockburn.

Mrs Anne Brotherton: Race Equality Governor / Community Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Racial Equality. I have been involved with further education in the city since the 1980s, working as Programme Manager/Lecturer for a major Leeds college for many years. Most recently my focus has been on apprenticeships and work based learning. I have been a Governor for several years and feel privileged to witness the tremendous progress this exceptional school has made, and continues to make.

Carol Stagg: LEA Representative

I qualified as a teacher over 40 years ago and have taught students in primary, secondary, further education and higher education. My last role before retiring in 2010 was working for a local authority in the education sector, where I managed a team of over ninety professionals. I have two daughters both of whom attended state schools in Leeds. One is a chartered accountant and the other is a secondary school teacher of English. I am also a fairly new grandparent which is a wonderful experience. I have been a governor at three other high schools over my working career, assisting them by strengthening their governing bodies for specific periods. I am also actively involved in other voluntary work in my local community. I am delighted to be asked to join the Cockburn Governing body. It is wonderful to see the school go from strength to strength; I hope to use my expertise to support the school in its determination to be outstanding.

Mr Allan Chapman: Parent Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Child Protection. I was recently appointed as a parent governor and although I'm an ex grammar school boy, I'm also ex Cockburn (1965-1972), and a firm believer in comprehensive state education and the vital importance of education and not just as something to get a better job. After I left Cockburn I did business studies and professional examinations at Leeds Polytechnic. For several years I've been a governor at Beeston Primary, the last two years as vice chair. In the late 1980's I decided a change is as good as a rest and spent the best part of a year backpacking around the world. Ten years later I decided to be a full time student again and in 2001 got a BA (Hons) in geography at the University of Leeds. I believe education ends when you die. I'm in customer relations at O2, like mountain walking, pot holing, Leeds United and too many other things to mention.

Ms Dawn Raybould: Parent Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Looked-after children I have worked as a teaching assistant at a local primary school for 7 years and have a degree in learning support. I feel that as I am a parent, a governor and a member of staff within a local school, I can help to provide a good insight into all the different aspects of school life. Previously, I worked in the accounts office of a large solicitors practice. My daughter currently attends Cockburn. My son, who is currently at a local primary school, will attend Cockburn in September so I am committed to the future of the school. I have been a parent governor since the beginning of 2011 and my wish is to be part of the team that intends to make Cockburn the best high school in Leeds. I am passionate about the school and education and look forward to being part of its future.

Mr Raymond Tough: Community Governor

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Special Education. I have recently retired from Cockburn School having been a non-teaching staff governor for the past three years. I am now a Community Governor with responsibility for Special Educational Needs. This entails a close liaison with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and reporting to the governing body on matters affecting this most important aspect of school life here at Cockburn. I have had a professional working relationship with the deputy chair of governors for many years and Cockburn was a school I wanted to come and be a part of especially as I have lived in the area for over 25 years. It is good to be involved in what is more than a school. The future really is an exciting one not just for us but for everyone associated with it. Without exception the staff are totally dedicated, professional and committed to Cockburn and I am pleased to be a part of that team.

Mr Paul Crawshaw: Community Representative

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Attendance. Before retiring in 2007 I worked as a policy adviser with, among others, HM Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government in London and Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire. During my career I was concerned primarily with the renewal of disadvantaged neighbourhoods and worked closely with residents and the community and voluntary sectors to achieve this objective. Since retiring I have completed a qualification in Urban Regeneration at Sheffield Hallam University as well as undertaking voluntary work for Leeds CAB and Cockburn School. In September 2012 I was appointed as a Community Governor and have since taken on responsibility for school attendance on behalf of the Board. I am deeply committed to supporting all at Cockburn ensure that every student reaches their full potential. I am also keen to do all I can to help the school and its wider community face the challenges ahead with confidence.

Mr Scott Morton: Staff Governor

I joined the teaching profession through the Teach First Leadership Development Programme and have been at Cockburn School since 2010. I have always been passionate about education and strongly believe that the foundations of a free, meritocratic and egalitarian society depends on the right of every child to access outstanding educational provision. I am exceptionally proud to serve as a staff governor and support Cockburn's continued transformation to excellence.

Mr Philip Orchard - Support Staff Governor

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Pupil Premium. I have being employed in the capacity of Senior Science Technician at Cockburn for 13 years. I became Support Staff Governor in December 2012. I have seen many changes at Cockburn and can honestly say that the last 5 years, with the increased focus on values and expectations and our transformation to 'good with outstanding features', have been the most exciting and rewarding. I feel very proud to be part of a very positive, productive and motivated team of individuals who focus not only on the importance of every child's education, but also on their moral and social development. I believe strongly in our ultimate goal of not only raising standards and achievement but continuing to build on them.

Mrs Lynn Beese: Parent Representative

I qualified as a certified accountant in 1997 and since qualifying I have worked in accountancy private practices until December 2012. In January 2013 I moved into industry and became the financial controller for a group of companies. I became a parent governor in early 2013, my son currently attends Cockburn and my daughter who attends a local primary school, will attend Cockburn next year hopefully. From the first time I looked around the school, I was pleasantly surprised at the attitude of the students and the facilities available at the school. I feel privileged to be part of the team striving to make Cockburn the best high school in Leeds.

Mrs Nabila Akram: Parent Representative

I have recently joined the amazing governing team at Cockburn. I qualified as a teacher of Science in 2002 and, having worked several years at an outstanding school, I am very enthusiastic about sharing good practice and ideas. Cockburn has gone from strength to strength in recent years. I am very keen in getting involved and playing a part to further enhance the school's role within the community. Having lived in the local area for nearly 12 years it is very pleasing to see the neighbourhood flourish with young educated citizens and I firmly believe that Cockburn is providing the platform for this. I am confident in saying that, having witnessed the commitment and dedication applied by the staff at Cockburn, we are not far off from achieving outstanding!

Michelle Whitaker: Parent Representative

I became a school Parent Governor in 2013. I have one son at Cockburn in Year 8, three children at Beeston primary and one son at Northumbria university. I am also a grandma with three grandchildren. I wanted to become a Parent Governor to be part of Cockburn's journey to outstanding. My son has grown and flourished since being at Cockburn and I want to be part of the team that maintains this so everyone who attends Cockburn gets the same opportunity to reach their full potential. I work for the Local Authority as a Childcare Consultant so I am aware how important a good education is for children's future outcomes. I am also pleased that Cockburn offers lots of opportunities for children to attend extra-curricular activities to broaden their horizons. I am hoping my younger children will be attending Cockburn in the future so I can remain as Parent Governor for the foreseeable future.

Akwal Ryatt: Parent Representative

I became a School Governor in March 2014. I am qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive and have been practising law for over 20 years. I have always wanted to volunteer my services as a school governor, and give something back to the community. I believe firmly in State Education and that it should be available to all children. If a child is going to be a high achiever they will do so in a State School and, they do not necessarily have to go to a Public School for this. I have personally seen the transformation in the school as my elder daughter was at the school before Mr Gurney was Headteacher. She has now gone on to Leeds Trinity University and wishes to train as a teacher. My younger daughter is currently at Cockburn in Year 8. I am very pleased in the way she is progressing and this is due to the excellent teaching and leadership within the school. She has been challenged and put in appropriate groups to further progress and achieve higher grades. Cockburn School has flourished under the leadership of Mr Gurney and I am sure that it will transform to an outstanding school due to the dedication of the teachers within a short time.

Claire Burgess: Parent Representative

Responsible for: Training. My daughter joined Cockburn School in Year 7 in September 2014 and I was very keen to become a parent governor having worked as Clerk to the Governing Body over the previous year. I currently work as a Senior Governor Support Officer and feel that I have lots of knowledge and experience to offer the governing body and school. Prior to my current role I spent 11 years working in Higher Education administration, with the majority of my experience relating to teacher training. I am really looking forward to my term as a governor at the school!

Footer Logos