What do school governors do?

School governors are a team of people who work closely with the Head of School to make key decisions vital to the successful running of the school. For further details of our Governors on GOV.UK please CLICK HERE. 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!

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.
If you would like to contact our Chair of Governors please write to:
Mr P Nuttall – Chair of Governors
Cockburn School
Gipsy Lane
Leeds – LS11 5TT


  • Peter Nuttall: Chair of Governors / Foundation Governor

    RESPONSIBLE FOR: Headteacher Performance and Admissions.

    Monitoring Duty: Humanities

    I qualified as a teacher in 1971, working firstly in the south of England for twenty years before moving back north to Leeds, twenty-five years ago. I ran the education arm of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, organising staff from local and national companies to help mentor pupils in most of the Leeds secondary schools, as well as organising the annual Leeds Careers Conference. In 2000 I was asked to set up the Mentoring Department at Cockburn and since then have also been closely involved with the writing of the bids for Arts Mark Gold, The Learning Trust (South Leeds), of which I was secretary, and the development of the movement of the school to Academy Status.  I believe that Cockburn has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, and despite retiring I felt that I still wanted to be a part of the outstanding  journey that the school is taking, as well as  being involved with the Learning Trust. Thus I was extremely proud to agree to become the Chair of Governors of the school.

    Term of office: 21/01/2016 – 21/01/2020

    Register of Interests: Member of The Cockburn Multi-academy Trust.

  • Mr John Ellis: Vice Chair / Community Governor

    RESPONSIBLE FOR: Finance/Budget monitoring

    Monitoring Duty: English

    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.

    Term of Office: 01/11/2015 – 31/10/2019

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare other than daughter working as member of Support Staff at Cockburn School

  • Mr Raymond Tough: Community Governor

    Monitoring Duty: SEND

    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.

    Term of office: 1.01.17-1.01.21

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Mr Paul Crawshaw: Community Representative

    Monitoring Duty: 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.

    Term of office: 29.08-16-29.08.20

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Mr Stewart Cooke: Staff Governor

    Monitoring Duty: CP & CLA

    I am employed at Cockburn School in the capacity of Director of Key Stage 4 and Teacher of Technology. I have worked within education for the last 6 years at a local school in south Leeds. I joined Cockburn School because I feel strongly about the link between expectations, values and achievement and subsequently believe that children within our catchment area can succeed. I have always been a firm believer that social equality should be at the forefront of education and it is the right for every child to access a broad curriculum, that allows them to gain a solid foundation to take forward into employment opportunities. Working alongside the CSG team and within a department, I believe I have the right balance of experience to understand the difficulties and barriers that our young people face in gaining a outstanding education. I hope as staff governor I can uphold and develop the well-being and standards of teaching across the school in our journey to outstanding.

    Term of Office: 18/11/2015 – 17/11/2019

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Mr Philip Orchard - Community Governor

    Monitoring Duty: Health & safety

    I have been 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.

    Term of office: 01/02/2017 – 31/01/2021

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Shamim Miah: Community Governor

    Monitoring Duty: ICT & Business

    As a former student at Cockburn four years ago, I feel passionate about the standard of teaching and learning at Cockburn. I am currently a law student, who enjoys representing the youth in the political sphere and getting more young people engaged in politics. My previous role as a Member of Youth Parliament for Leeds, where I represented the young people of Leeds in the House of Commons gave me the ambition and determination to improve the education of young people. Being in the position of a community governor provides a unique and exciting experience to be involved with the school’s ‘Transformation to Excellence’. As a former student who has succeeded through Cockburn’s vision, I have seen the progress the school has made and wish to help the next generation of students on the journey to greatness.

    Term of office: 25/01/17-24/01/21

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Mrs Lynn Beese: Parent Representative

    Monitoring Duty: Maths & Pupil Premium

    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.

    Term of office: 26/09/2018 – 26/09/2022

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Michelle Whitaker: Parent Representative

    Monitoring Duty: Arts & PE

    I became a school Parent Governor in 2013. I have one son at Cockburn, 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.

    Term of office: 20/03/2018 – 20/03/2022

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.

  • Akwal Ryatt: Community Governor

    Monitoring Duty: Science & Technology

    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.

    Term of office: 20/03/2018 – 20/03/2022

    Register of Interests: No interests to declare.