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.


John McNichol M Ed (Chair/Community governor)

Deputy Responsible for Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Deputy Responsible for Safeguarding Children

John is a former pupil of the school (1963 – 1970) and had a successful 20 year career in Business Management before entering the teaching profession as an FE 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.

Since retirement John has concentrated on voluntary work including School Governance and still follows his passion for teaching by supporting his local primary school tutoring Year 6 pupils preparing for SATs.

Volunteer Independent Visitor with Barnardo’s Children’s Advocacy and Participation Service (CAPS).

Lifelong Castleford Tigers supporter and Motorsport enthusiast.

Kathryn Scott (Vice Chair/Community governor)

Responsibility for Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Responsibility for Safeguarding Children

Responsibility for Pupil Premium

I have been a governor of Castleford High/Academy for nearly 30 years, I have also been a governor of Park Junior.

I am a proud parent of one daughter and two sons who have all attended both Park Junior and Castleford Academy, they all attended college and two went on to university.

I worked for the local council for over 20 years before I left 4 years ago to become a local councillor.

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)

I have been a parent governor at Castleford Academy for over 10 years as a proud husband and parent of three daughters the youngest of which is still a pupil at the academy. I am a community based pharmacist and have worked in both South and West Yorkshire, I am also Chair of Rotherham Pharmaceutical Committee representing pharmacies across the borough of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. 

Alison Fender (Community governor)

Responsibility for Careers

I have been a governor at Castleford Academy for more than 15 years and was previously a governor at Three Lane Ends J&I school.

Most of my career has been spent working within the Public Sector, including more than 20 years within Education and Skills, including 10yrs+ as a Programme/Project Manager within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Education for the Regional Development Agency, as well as Contract Managing a range of Further Education (FE) Colleges and Work Based Learning Providers.

I have also been a secondary school teacher and FE lecturer specialising in Business Studies, IT, Computer Science and Customer Services qualifications. I now work for Yorkshire Building Society and my role includes IT project support, finance management, internal audit/training monitoring and coaching.

I have a range of up to date qualifications to support my governor role at Castleford Academy including PGCE/Masters in Secondary Education, Business Studies degree, Prince 2 Project Management (Practitioner), NVQL4 Management and Change Management.

I have lived in Castleford since I was 6 years old, and I have been active within my local community for many years including supporting Friends of Savile Park and the Castleford Heritage Trust. I am proud to be a Community Governor at Castleford Academy.

Adam Fletcher (Community governor)

Adam qualified as a solicitor in 2003. Specialising in Property and Practice Management, he is currently the Managing Director of Ridley & Hall Legal Limited. Adam became a community governor at Castleford Academy in July 2015 and was 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 (Community governor)

I am the founding member and currently a Member and Trustee for Castleford Academy Trust.  I am also a governor for both Castleford Academy and Castleford Park Junior Academy Governing Bodies. Outside of school governance I am Vice Chair of the local Labour party ward and Delegate to the Labour constituency party and district Labour party.

I have been a school governor since 1990, starting as a parent governor when my children were at school to the present day, where I am now a community governor.

I have picked up a great deal of experience and skills in that time. And seeing exam results at Castleford Academy improve over the years as well as the progress made by all pupils.

I have been retired since April 2016, where I spent 37 years as a trade union rep and 12 years as a full time HR specialist trade union official for Unison representing members in schools and Children services.  Doing restructures in schools. TUPE transfers of staff and individual cases of disciplinaries and grievances. Also school mergers.  In my role I got to see how schools and services evolved over the years and used this to take back lessons learnt to my own schools.

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)

I am semi-retired working for several charities as a volunteer and also as a health and safety advisor. I worked in my early years in the coalfields around Castleford and studied at Whitwood Technical College. I am married with three adult aged children and my wife is a primary school teacher. I live in the Selby area and have volunteered for other organisations including schools and the local church.

Gemma Storr (Staff governor)

I have been a teacher of MFL at the Academy since September 2008. I was elected to represent the staff in 2016 and it is a privilege to work alongside the governors to continue the fantastic work being done at the Academy.

Gary Vessey (Staff governor)

I have been a teacher of English at the Academy since September 2004 and also underwent a secondment for two years to Castleford Park Junior Academy where I taught in Year 6 – mainly preparing for SATS exams. I was elected to represent the staff as a staff member in 2006 and have continued in this role ever since except when on my secondment to CPJA. I feel honoured to be part of a fantastic, proactive governing body.​

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​)​

Originally from Edinburgh, I have lived in West Yorkshire for fifteen years.  Married to Sarah and proud father of two girls that are in secondary school and college.  Currently Operations Director of Appris Charity Limited, a not for profit apprenticeship training provider, specialising in engineering and manufacturing. I’ve led on four Ofsted inspections over twenty years in the FE sector, most recently achieving Good overall with Outstanding for Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare.​

Governors Declaration