Ralph Thoresby School

Ambition and Achievement for All

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Neil Martin- Chair (Trust Governor)

Simon Bannister- (Co-opted Governor)

Emma Butler- Chair of Student Welfare (Trust Governor)

Michelle Lofthouse- Chair of Curriculum & Standards (Co-opted Governor)

John Fryer, Co-opted governor

Anna Wood- Co-opted governor

Mary Wood- LA Governor

Paula Brown- Co-Opted Governor

Shirley Marsland- Co-Opted Governor

Sharlene Williams- Staff Governor

Jess Crisp- Parent Governor

Rebecca Bowens- Parent Governo

Chair of Governors

 Neil Martin

I have been a governor at Ralph Thorseby since 2011, originally as a parent governor and more recently as a Trust governor. I am Chair of the Governing Body and the Resources Committee.

My son and daughter were both students at Ralph Thoresby. My daughter is currently studying at Liverpool University.

I also enjoy being involved in the range of school activities. As a governor I attend open days, parents’ evenings and award ceremonies and the Christmas Banquet – an amazing event that really brings the students and local older population together – the school show and Christmas concert, to name a few.

I work for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and take a keen interest in how the school supports and develops its diverse student population. I am pleased to say that the school works well in this area, but that does not stop me challenging, questioning and contributing to the decision making around equalities.

I enjoy listening to live music – although I can’t play a note – walking, photography and drawing.

Local Authority Governor

Mary Wood

I became a Local Authority Governor at Ralph Thoresby in 2012. I had recently retired from teaching and my husband and I relocated to Yorkshire to be near our daughters and grandchildren.

I taught for over forty years in London and Bedford. I became a Head of the Geography Department at a large upper school in Bedford. I then moved on to be Head of Year, and with a change to vertical tutor groups I became overall Head of the House system. My final role was as Assistant Head Teacher with responsibility for Inclusion. I taught at my last school for 22 years, it had many similar qualities and characteristics as Ralph Thoresby and I immediately felt at ease within my new role.

I enjoyed teaching and found it to be a very fulfilling career. Every day was different and one never became bored. I also enjoyed the interaction with young people. I still get great deal of satisfaction from working within education and feel that I can make a valuable contribution.

In 2017 I became a school Governor at the local village primary school. This was a completely new for me as I had very little experience of primary education. I have thoroughly enjoyed my new role and despite the pressure of more meetings I value the insight it has given to me in the full range of education from Reception to Sixth form. It has also given me huge respect for primary school professionals.

In my leisure time I enjoy travel, reading and spending time with and caring for my four grandchildren.

Co-opted Governor

Anna Wood

I have been a co-opted governor at the school since 2014 and am also a governor of a local primary school. My husband and I live in Cookridge with our three children, the eldest of whom attends Ralph Thoresby School.

My background is in science, having studied Biology at the University of Nottingham and then worked as a scientific researcher. I later retrained and now work at St James’s Hospital.

I am the link governor for Science and also maintain a keen interest in the remainder of the curriculum including citizenship.

Co-Opted Governor

Michelle Lofthouse

I joined the Governing Body in 2012.  I have lived in Leeds for over 12 years, and now live in Adel with my husband and two sons.

I started my career as a teacher, and then went on to work for an Awarding Organisation, as Director of Customer Development before joining Learndirect as Director of Business Development.  I set up my own business in 2009, Flip Consulting Limited, specialising in Educational Consulting for UK organisations and Ministries of Education around the world.

I act as the link Governor for 6th Form and for Pupil Premium and chair the meetings we hold on Curriculum and Standards, ensuring that school is providing opportunities for all students to reach their potential.

CO-OPTED Governor

Shirley Marsland

“I have not long retired as a Careers Consultant from a local university and have worked in schools, further education and higher education all my life.
Both my children attended Ralph Thoresby High School, so I was pleased to be accepted as a governor in 2018. I’m trying hard to learn about the school and look forward to contributing to its development in future years.

Given my professional background, I am especially interested in how students are prepared for their future careers both academically and through careers education and employability activities. I am also interested in student welfare and as a maths graduate, hope to learn more about the maths curriculum and it’s challenges.

I am enjoying the opportunity retirement brings to engage in a range of activities with friends and family. I particularly enjoy keeping fit, walking, watching tennis, trips to the theatre, holidays and eating out.”

Rebecca Bowens

I joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in December 2021.

I have two children, my youngest started at Ralph Thoresby in 2021 whilst my eldest attends a local Special School in their 16+ provision.

I am a freelance business consultant and have experience of working with businesses globally on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, management and disclosure, recently setting up and managing a team, within a large, multi-national company, dedicated to developing and delivering ESG services to corporate clients. I also have many years’ experience in adult education both in business and as an antenatal teacher.

I love being active and outdoors, spending a lot of free time walking, cycling and occasionally running (if I really have to!), and have a real interest in sustainability.

Shirley Marsland


Emma Butler 

I joined the Governing Body in February 2017 and currently Chair the Student Behaviour and Welfare Committee.

In a professional capacity I work fulltime as a human resources manager at the University of Bradford, and there are clear parallels between both roles in wanting to listen, understand and assist.

My desire to get involved is twofold. As a parent of a current pupil, and with my youngest son to follow in 2020, I want to make an active contribution to school life.

I’m also a long-standing Cookridge resident who has watched Ralph Thoresby flourish in recent years under the stewardship of Mr Carr, my fellow Governors and the wonderful teaching and support staff. So it’s fantastic to be part of an evolving, determined and successful team.

In a personal capacity my interests include enjoying the great outdoors – a passion that extends from my geography degree and many, many miles of trails in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria.


Paula Brown 

I’ve lived in Adel since 1994 and I’ve been a governor at Ralph Thoresby for over 15 years now.  I originally joined as an LEA appointed governor then became a community governor as I am chair of The Adel Association.

I’m a member of the resources committee and take a special interest in the promotion of the school, considering how we can publicise the work we do here to improve the lives and future prospects of our students.

My son attends the school and is now in the 6th form.

I work full time as a wedding photographer.  In my spare time I work on community campaigns and as an independent citizens’ advocate, helping people who have fallen victim to fraud or injustice represent themselves.


Simon Bannister

I joined the Governing Body in 2017 and have been a Parent Governor of a local primary school for 6 years.

My son attends Ralph Thoresby School and has just started year 9. I am very pleased with the progress that he is making and how he is enjoying his time at school. My daughter will start year 7 next September.

My background is Housing Management & I have worked for Leeds City Council for thirty years. My particular interest is health & safety and I attend the monthly PFI meetings to monitor issues such as maintenance, catering, cleaning, caretaking and security. My interests include music, walking & reading.

I am an Insurer Relations Consultant with 30 years’ experience in Financial Services in the Insurance and IT Industry. My background has been dealing with leading Software Houses and managing the successful delivery of products for a specialist panel of Insurers.  I am responsible for the relationship management and sales activity of over 100 Product Providers across the UK and Ireland. The specialist areas include Strategic, Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Partners. I also focuses on ensuring there is a positive customer experience during the pre-contract and post-contract handover processes, working closely with external partners as well as internal teams where either Personal or Commercial Lines identify a significant opportunity. Vikki i s a Prince 2 Practitioner in Project Management and ITIL certified.

As well as recently joining RTS as a Governor, I have also been a Governor at Pool C of E Primary School for the last 3 years and I’m currently Chair of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee. I also has a daughter starting in Year 7 at RTS in September 2019.


John Fryer

My name is John Fryer and I have recently joined the Governing Body at Ralph Thoresby. I grew up and went to school in Leeds. I qualified as a teacher in 1979, did a Masters Degree at Leeds University, then lectured at Crewe and Alsager College of HE. I started teaching at Temple Moor High School in 1981 teaching PE and English. I moved into Special Schools in 1991 spending 17 years at Milestone/West SILC where I was Deputy Head.  I also did my Doctorate at Leeds University and NPQH during this period.  I moved on to be Head for 2 years at Brooklands Special School in Skipton before taking over as Principal at Broomfield South SILC in 2010 from which I retired in the summer of 2018.

I enjoy all sport, particularly football which I played for many years as well as following Leeds United through the many ups and downs!! I also like running, walking and cycling and have completed a number of marathons. I like to travel – I worked as a lifeguard in America for two summers whilst at college, have visited Africa, Asia, New Zealand and a number of countries in Europe – but feel when the weather is right there is not much to beat our lovely country!

I have worked with children of all abilities in my career and hope I can contribute and lend some experience to enhance the lives and opportunities of the students at Ralph Thoresby during my time as a Governor.

Sharlene Williams

Teacher governor

I started teaching in 2004 after completing a BA Honours degree in Theatre Studies at the University of Hull. For four years, I taught at a school in Bradford then went on to work in a school in Pontefract for 8 years.

I joined Ralph Thoresby in 2017 and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I love being part of a teaching staff that provides such creative, engaging and immersive learning experiences for students in our school.

No two days in school are ever the same, and watching students grow and flourish and become passionate about their learning is a joy to be involved in. As Head of Drama, my passion is in the arts and I take every opportunity to embed this passion in to my teaching and always look to find ways of making the classroom environment and lessons stimulating and exciting. I am delighted to be a governor at Ralph Thoresby as I feel that I can give good insight into the day to day life at the school and also be involved in shaping the future of the school. My aim is to provide opportunities for students to excel both academically, socially and culturally and have a particular interest in staff and student wellbeing.

The type of staff governor I aim be:

G – Good communicator
O – Open and honest
V – Visionary, keen on making a difference
E – Effective
R – Representative of all staff
N – Not shy of making difficult decisions
O – Objective, observant as well as outgoing
R – Responsible, respectful, reflective, resilient, resourceful and reasonable.

Governor Committee Meetings



13 September Strategic Approach (extra meeting)

20 September 4pm Governors meet new staff

5pm Full Governors meeting

11 October FGB: Curriculum and Standards

15 November FGB: Student Welfare

06 December FGB: Overall Effectiveness

17 January FGB: Curriculum and Standards

14 February FGB: Student Welfare

14 March FGB: Overall Effectiveness

25 April FGB: Curriculum and Standards

16 May FGB: Student Welfare

20 June FGB: Overall Effectiveness

11 July FGB: End of year business


03 November

02 February

20 April Budget meeting

15 June

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