School Governors

What do School Governors do?

The head teacher is the manager of the school. The governors are unpaid volunteers from different backgrounds such as business, industry, education, farming and the church. Governors include representatives from the church, parents, teaching staff, the local community and the Local Authority.

Our job is to help and support the Head Teacher in her decision-making and strategic planning for the school. She can discuss things with us and ask for our views.  This is done through small committees and through full governors’ meetings that take place once a term. When the school is inspected, the performance of the governors is included in the inspection.

The governors assist the Head Teacher in achieving targets; reviewing and updating school policies; making long-term plans; planning how the school budget will be spent; drafting reports about the school’s progress; appointing new staff; ensuring the health and safety of the children; the maintenance of the school buildings and grounds; and dealing with any complaints.

The governors have links with classes and subjects. We visit the school, and observe and join in activities as much as possible. We attend training courses. We are strongly united in our pride in the school and our desire to support it. This is why we give of our time so willingly.

To find out more about the visits that the School Governor's are involved in, please visit the Special Reports section of this website.

The School Governing body are involved in a number of committees for more information please visit the Governing Body Committees page.

Meet our School Governors

Clerk to Governors - Antonia Praud

Governor Profiles:

Mathew EvansMathew Evans - Chair and Parent Governor
Special Responsibilities: EYFS and Computing
Pecuniary: None

I am a Director of Information Technology for a large American credit card company and have spent most of my working career in IT for financial services organisations. During my career I have moved from a purely technical role to the management of large teams. I have a wide range of responsibilities including: managing people, technology and a large multi-million dollar budget. I hope that my business skills will be transferable to the roles of Chair of the Governing Body and Parent Governor, and will allow me to support the continual development of the school.

I am married to Catherine, a primary school teacher, and we have 3 children: Isabelle, currently going through Kirby Hill, and twins William and George, who were born in February 2016. I enjoy baking and jam making at home as well as gardening at our allotment. When I get any free time, I can be usually found with my head in a book.

Jennifer ClementsJennifer Clements - Vice Chair and Co-Opted Governor
Special Responsibilities:
SEND and Inclusion & A Broad and Balanced Curriculum

I joined Kirby Hill School as a class teacher in 1986, teaching all primary school ages during my career in education. Before I had my children, I was Deputy Head of a large Infants school in Tadcaster.

During my time at Kirby Hill I had three periods as Acting Headteacher and helped with the transition into the new school building.

I also became SENCO at the school, a sector of education which is of particular interest to me.

I retired from Kirby Hill in 2009, but then became employed on a part-time basis by York St John University. I am now an External Mentor and Link Tutor, helping and judging students competency when they are on teaching practice, in many schools throughout North Yorkshire, and as far afield as Cambridge.

I also interview for potential PGCE, undergraduate and School Direct students each year for York St John.

I have also been involved with students’ specialist modules in their final year, where they study Children with Special Educational Needs.

John HelliwellJohn Helliwell – Foundation Governor
Special responsibilities –
Safeguarding and English
Committees -
Pecuniary – none

I’m Yorkshire born-and-bred and a committed Christian. I spent most of my working life in secondary education both in the UK and Africa. My qualifications are in English, Education, Outdoor Education and the Humanities. I was at one time head of an independent school and have wide-ranging experience as an examiner and moderator in History.

I am volunteer manager/secretary of Boroughbridge Community Library and on the ministry team of All Saints, Kirby Hill. I’ve been chair of the parish council and the Safer Neighbourhood Group in the past; also heavily involved with Scouting.

My wife, Ros, is an ex-Maths teacher. We have three very grown-up children and eight grandchildren, scattered throughout the world which has created numerous travel opportunities over the years without necessitating joining the septuagenarian child-minding fraternity! My interests include running, hill walking, reading and writing.

David BarleyDavid Barley Co-opted Governor 
Special Responsibilities: Mathematics and Health and Safety
Committees: Premises and School Improvement.
Pecuniary: None

I was delighted when I was asked to be a Community Governor at Kirby Hill Church of England Primary School. I attended Kirby Hill Primary School myself starting in 1945 and progressed to Ripon Grammar School and Leeds University where I gained an Hons Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I then spent seven years on Teeside working in heavy engineering design and manufacture. In 1968 a career change was made and I returned to the family business at Langthorpe, producing eggs. Here I stayed until retirement.

I have been an active choral singer for 30 years and at present sing in two choirs. I enjoy social golf, supporting Boroughbridge Football Club, and four years ago I joined Boroughbridge and District Historical Society.
I have always had an interest in education, a long association with Kirby Hill School, and hope that I can contribute, in some way, in my new role. 


Rachel MackayRachel Mackay Co-opted Governor 
Special Responsibilities:
Committees: Finance and School Improvement.
Pecuniary: None

 I qualified as a teacher with a BA (QTS) Hons in English from Ripon and York St. John in 2001 and taught in a large primary school in Northallerton for three years.  I then took time to develop the dance school and day nursery that I owned with my sister, gaining Early Years Professional Status through Leeds Metropolitan University as well as leadership, budgeting and decision making experience. I continued to teach in schools on supply in both key stages and returned to full time teaching at Kirby Hill, to follow my passion, in 2009.

I am the English Subject Leader and also the SENCo, and gained the National Award for Special Needs Coordination through Leeds Metropolitan University.  Prior to this, I studied a PGCert in Educational Improvement, Development and Change through York St. John University.  I have been both Assistant Head and a school governor since 2014.


Jennie WiddowsJeni Widdows - Foundation Governor
Special Responsibilities: R.E., SMSC, PSHE (inc British Values) & Collective Worship
Pecuniary: None

I completed my education at Art College in Dress and Design followed by a short time working in London in the dress trade. In 1975 I started a totally new career as a Residential Child Care Officer in a Residential Assessment Centre for children up to the age of 18 years and later gained my Social Work Qualification. I chose to stay in the residential sector and held the post of Deputy Manager at Holly Bank Children’s Residential Home in Knaresborough. Then as  Manager at Leadhall Lane, Respite Centre for Children with Disabilities in Harrogate.

Outside of work I have run Brownie and Guide units and was a Guider trainer for many years. As a puppy walker for Guide Dogs we enjoyed 11 puppies through their first year of life, and I am still currently a speaker for Guide Dogs.

Since retiring, I have developed my involvement at Kirby Hill Church as Children's Lead and more recently as Lay Worship Leader.  I continue my interest in art and design and am actively involved in Textile and Embroidery groups.


Nic LyddonNic Lyddon - Staff Governor
Special Responsibilities:
Pecuniary: None

I grew up in the Midlands and moved to North Yorkshire in 2003.  I trained as a nurse and then became a teaching assistant in Solihull then moved to Kirby Hill.  I have worked at the school for 10 years and am currently training to be a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, working towards a qualification from Leeds Trinity University.

My children are now at university and high school and I continue to enjoy working in a primary school where the daily challenges vary and I can support groups and individuals in their learning.  I enjoy leading a Read Write Inc group and turn my hand to anything that is required to enable each day to run smoothly, from working in the classroom to the playground, and the dinner hall to after school club.

I became staff governor in January 2017 and look forward to being a member of the governing board for future years.


James Cunningham - Parent GovernorJames Cunningham - Parent Governor
Special Responsibilities: Teaching and Learning & Science
Pecuniary: None

I grew up near the town of Malton in North Yorkshire and joined the Army Air Corps at the age of 21. I spent just over 23 years serving in the forces initially as a soldier and towards the end of my career as an Officer, including a period as the Squadron Commander of 150 personnel. During 2014 I achieved an MBA with distinction. I am currently employed as a manager and senior investigator specialist with the Home Office. My wife Ellen is a teaching assistant and we have two children at Kirby Hill School, Cameron in year 5 and Paige in year 3.

I believe that if education is appropriately challenging and most importantly fun children will strive and crave to learn thereby taking ownership of their journey through school and beyond. I have a particular interest in service children and the challenges service life presents for families. I also have a personal interest in learning difficulties.


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