Castleford Academy

List of Governors

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Governance – List of Governors ​

Governors make an exceptional contribution to the work and direction of the school.  We make strategic appointments to the governing body to ensure a breadth of expertise and experience.  All are from the local community and are closely involved in the school as parents, employers or ex pupils. 

The Governing body have expertise in education, local government, law, regional government organisations, business, industry and accountancy.  Governors assume individual responsibility for holding departments and inclusion to account. A number of sub committees meet at least every term to evaluate the effectiveness of the school action plans and to act on their findings.

Governors

John McNichol M Ed (Chair/Community Governor)

Deputy Responsible for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Deputy Responsible for Safeguarding Children

John is a former pupil of the Academy, formerly Castleford High School (1963 – 1970) and had a successful 20-year career in Business Management before entering the teaching profession as a Further Education Lecturer. A passion for education resulted in his involvement in Initial Teacher Training and consequent appointment as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education and Professional Development at The University of Huddersfield. John’s expertise surrounding Business Management and Further Education Development provides a vast array of invaluable, proficient intelligence to the Castleford Academy governing board.

Since retirement, John has concentrated on voluntary work, including School Governance, and still follows his passion for teaching by tutoring Year 6 pupils who are preparing for SATs in an ‘Outstanding’ primary school, and by supporting Maths teaching in Castleford Academy Sixth Form. Further to John’s voluntary work within the Education Sector, John is also a Volunteer Independent Visitor with Barnardo’s Children’s Advocacy and Participation Service (CAPS) and a Telephone Befriender for MHA Wakefield Communities.

John is also a Motorsport enthusiast, and takes a vested interest in other local amenities, being a lifelong Castleford Tiger’s Supporter.

​Kathryn Scott

Responsibility for Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Responsibility for Safeguarding Children

Responsibility for Pupil Premium

Kathryn has been a governor of Castleford Academy (formerly Castleford High School) for nearly 30 years, and has also been a governor at Park Junior School, now Park Junior Academy. Kathryn’s extensive experience as a governor, together with her established career working for the council, render’s Kathryn’s expertise invaluable to the Castleford Academy governing body, with substantial, effective challenge and direction.

As a proud parent of one daughter and two sons, all of whom have attended both Park Junior and Castleford Academy, Kathryn has a vested interest in the education, development and betterment of students in the Castleford area. All of Kathryn’s children proceeded to attend college, with two furthering their education at University.

Previously, Kathryn worked for the local council for over 20 years before leaving this role to become a local councillor. As a local councillor, Kathryn is a member of the Planning and Highways Committee, Licensing Committee, Corporate Parenting Committee and the Financial Review Committee. Kathryn is also the Deputy Chair of Children and Young People and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

George Panayiotou (Ex Officio)

I have been the Headteacher of Castleford Academy and the Accounting Officer of Castleford Academy Trust since 2013. I started my teaching career at Castleford Academy in 2003 as a Teacher of PE and have developed and gained a vast amount of leadership experience from there.  I am a National Leader of Education which has seen me support numerous schools nationally on school improvement including pupil premium and school reviews.  I am also the chair of the Wakefield Secondary Headteacher’s Board and contribute to other local and regional working groups, including the West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership group.

I am totally committed to raising standards and to providing all pupils, staff and trainee teachers with opportunities to excel.  In October 2019, I led Castleford Academy to become the first secondary school in the country to gain an Outstanding Ofsted rating under the newly introduced framework. 

I am experienced in delivering training both locally and nationally including leading and hosting a range of CPD and training for NPQEL and NPQSL. My extensive coaching skills and experience are used to improve teaching, develop leadership, accountability and improve the performance of key members of staff.​

Chris Bland (Parent Governor)

Chris works in the Healthcare sector as a Pharmacist and as a Senior Manager in his company which affords the Castleford Academy governing body a comprehensive range of leadership, managerial and business knowledge. Chris’ expertise is further demonstrated through his role as Chairperson of Rotherham Pharmaceutical Committee which he has held since 2012. This role involves working with key stakeholders, collaboration and promoting his profession to the wider community. 

For over a decade, Chris has been extremely proud to be contributing to the advancement of Castleford Academy as a governor and over this time, has witnessed as the school has developed, matured and progressed. Chris firmly supports Castleford Academy’s consistent theme that ‘every child matters’, believing that giving students the best possible education has always been at the forefront of the school’s ethos. 

Alison Fender (Community Governor)

Responsibility for Careers

Alison has been a governor at Castleford Academy since 2003, and also has some Junior School governance knowledge and experience. Coupled with her expertise in the Finance/Banking Sector, Alison affords the Castleford Academy governing board a wealth of knowledge, challenge and judgement.

Alison’s career within the Public and Finance/Banking sector has included over 20 years supporting Education and Skills and since 2014, Alison has worked for Yorkshire Building Society, supporting IT colleague development, project delivery, internal audit, community engagement/volunteering, data analysis and resourcing.

Alison is an experienced and well-regarded Project/Contract Manager, having previously led the Yorkshire and Humber region’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Education programme (including £13 million budget delivery and evaluation). Alongside this, Alison has managed a range of Further Education Colleges and Work Based Learning Providers (for the Learning and Skills Council) to ensure they deliver high quality education outputs for 16-25 year olds, including Apprenticeships. Further to this, Alison has also been employed as a secondary school teacher and

Further Education lecturer, specialising in Business Studies, IT, Computer Science and Customer Service Qualifications. Alison also possesses a wide range of qualifications to support her governor role at Castleford Academy, including PGCE/Masters in Secondary Education, Business Studies degree, Prince 2 Project Management (Practitioner), NVQL4 Management and Change Management.

Adam Fletcher (Community Governor)

With an extensive, successful career in the Law Sector, Adam’s knowledge and expertise affords the Castleford Academy Governing board a vast and unparalleled range of challenge and judgement.

Adam qualified as a Solicitor in 2003, having trained with Hartley & Worstenholme at the Castleford and Pontefract offices. Specialising in Property and Practice Management, Adam is currently the Managing director of Ridley & Hall Legal Limited, a multi award winning law firm based in Huddersfield.

Adam is also a Trustee of Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), a charitable trust which manages 13 leisure facilities and swimming pools on behalf of Kirklees council. Further to this, Adam created Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance (KDAA) in 2014 and was honoured to be appointed Chair. Adam is invited to speak at various events about the promotion of the Alliance, to raise awareness of those living with dementia and also, to establish a greater understanding of the efforts undertaken by their carers.

Adam has also become a keen supporter of Huddersfield University, specifically the Law Department and Law Clinic, and has been invited to assist with regular training sessions for the students and the Law Clinic concerning client care and practice management. Adam became a Community Governor at Castleford Academy in July 2015 and was then appointed as Trustee of Castleford Academy Trust in January 2016.

Ian Hobson (Staff Governor)

I have worked at Castleford Academy for the past 24 years in my capacity as Premises Manager.  I have served on the governing body for more than 10 years as support staff governor and am also a member of various sub committees. Both my son and daughter have passed through Castleford Academy, local college and university and gone on to successful careers.

John Hughes

John is the founding member and, currently, a Member and Trustee for Castleford Academy Trust. John is also a governor for both Castleford Academy and Castleford Park Junior Academy Governing Bodies. Outside of school governance, John is Vice Chair of the local Labour party ward and Delegate to the Labour constituency party and district Labour party. John’s vast experience on local governing boards, coupled with his lengthy career within the Trade Union Sector, afford John substantial awareness which provides instruction and challenge to the Castleford Academy governing board.

John has been a school governor since 1990, beginning as a parent governor when his children attended the school, to the present day where John is now a community governor. John has acquired an abundance of skills through his first-hand experience during this time and has witnessed both exam results and pupil progress improve at Castleford Academy.

John retired in April 2016, following a notable career where John spent 37 years as a Trade Union Representative and 12 years as a full-time HR Specialist Trade Union Official for Unison (representing members in schools and children’s services). Other duties John carried out during his career include performing restructures in schools, TUPE transfers of staff and individual cases of disciplinary action and grievances, along with school mergers. In his role, John was able to observe how schools and services evolved over the years and used this information to construct lessons for his own schools,

To remain updated, John attends numerous training courses each year and reads information distributed by DfE, NGA and other governor websites. John has been a delegate to Wakefield District School Forum for the past 13 years, initially from his union, Unison, and more recently as an Academy School Governor. John has found this role useful for sharing best practice across the district and ensuring that the Castleford Academy Trust are adhering to this guidance.

To keep updated I attend numerous training courses each year and read information sent out from DFE, NGA and other governor websites. ​

Martin Thomson (Community Governor)

With first-hand knowledge over a range of sectors, from Health and Safety to the Petrochemical Industry Sector, Martin offers the Castleford Academy governing board an incalculable range of expertise and understanding.

Martin began his working career in the Mining Industry in the coalfields and around Castleford and studied at Whitwood Technical College before qualifying as a Mining Engineer. Martin relocated into engineering in the year 2000 and has since worked across the Power Generation and Petrochemical Industry Sector.

Martin is currently semi-retired, working in a voluntary capacity for several charities including Age UK and Carers Time Off, and also with Selby Abbey Primary School where he provides numeracy and literacy boosters for Key Stage 2 pupils. Martin works part-time with an engineering construction company in Health and Safety Management following 14 successful years fulfilling the role with a previous employer.

Previous experience working in Health and Safety enables Martin to work alongside his fellow governors to ensure effective challenge to the management team of Castleford Academy for the mutual benefit of pupils, parents and employees of the Academy. Martin’s previous role required him to conduct monitoring of the organisation’s compliance with legal and other requirements in terms of health, safety and environmental issues. Martin’s duties involved reporting findings to the Board of Directors, producing data for discussion and to propose initiatives and design management systems to ensure continual improvements. Throughout this role, Martin was an integral member of the senior management team and assisted in the transformation of an organisation to become one that is recognised as a leader in health and safety management for the Construction Industry Sector. Martin has championed the needs of all employees in terms of health and safety, especially by way of effective consultation and engagement, with much success in the mining, construction and engineering industries. Martin is also a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Safety Practitioner.

Extensive experience within the Health and Safety industry has contributed to Martin’s proficiency with regards to conformity and regulation. This wide range of familiarity across a spectrum of areas provides great practical knowledge to the governing board, with specific reference to Engineering and more locally-based progression routes.

Gemma Storr (Staff Governor)

A teacher of Modern Foreign Languages at Castleford Academy since September 2008, Gemma brings a plethora of expertise and teaching experience to the Castleford Academy governing board. Gemma has previously led the Prefect team in their duties and responsibilities and more recently, has assumed the role of Assistant Year Leader, which constitutes working pastorally with both staff and students at the Academy. Gemma’s experience in both her teaching position and leadership role has afforded her a holistic view of the school, allowing Gemma to scrutinise the teaching and pastoral elements of education and import this immediate knowledge into the operations of the Castleford Academy governing board.

Gemma is committed to ensuring that all children receive first-rate education and have high aspirations for their future. Gemma considers it a privilege to work in such a skilled and passionate team that supports her view of education and endeavours to continue the excellent work being fulfilled at the Academy.

Gary Vessey (Staff governor)

Gary works in education as a Teacher of English at Castleford Academy, specialising in Literacy in both the classroom and across the whole school. He also has experience of working in a Primary setting and brings expertise in the Key Stage 2 curriculum and how this translates into the Secondary framework. Gary is also a Senior Marker for the Key Stage 2 SATS, specialising in spelling, punctuation and grammar, and has held this position for over 5 years.

Prior to entering education, Gary worked as an Area Manager for a dry-cleaning company and was heavily involved in staff training, both at Customer Service level and dry-cleaning operator level. He was also responsible for budgets for the branches he covered and has financial experience in profit and loss accounting, wages and budgets.

Gary also brings a wealth of experience of interview techniques and staff welfare. He was responsible for attendance, Health and Safety and staff well-being. Gary also brings experience of working with and liaising with suppliers and contractors to ensure that deadlines were met on new openings and that these all came in at or under budget.

Gary is Castleford-born and educated, further promoting his passion for exciting pupils in lessons and making a real difference to future generations within Castleford and its surrounding areas. Gary’s experience in both the Education sector and managerial roles provides the Castleford Academy Trust with a knowledgeable and valued governor, with consistent contributions across multiple areas of expertise.

Kathryn Law (Community Governor​)

In my position of community governor at Castleford Academy and Headteacher at Castleford Park Junior Academy, I am passionate about improving the life chances of children in Castleford.

I believe that all children deserve the same valuable chance at an exciting and challenging education and endeavour to provide this through my commitment to school and my research into highly effective educational practice. Receiving the best education is paramount to ensuring the children of Castleford achieve their aspirations in the future.​

Kenny Stoddart (Community Governor​)​

Kenny’s extensive involvement in the Further Education sector guarantees the Castleford Academy governing board a wealth of inherited knowledge on the subject of training opportunities and Ofsted inspections. Kenney is the proud father of two daughters who are currently in Secondary School and College, heightening Kenny’s interest in the education and progression of young adults.

Originally from Edinburgh, Kenny has lived in West Yorkshire for fifteen years and is currently employed as Operations Director of Appris Charity Limited, a not-for-profit apprenticeship training provider, specialising in engineering and manufacturing. Further to this, Kenny has led on four Ofsted inspections over twenty years in the Further Education sector; most recently achieving ‘Good’ overall with ‘Outstanding’ for Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare.

From his lengthy experience in these fields, Kenny brings an abundance of expertise to the governing board surrounding leadership, education and the strengthening of skillsets and educational provision.

Governors Declaration