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Meet our Governors

Mrs Jane Connor - Chair of Governors

I was born and brought up near Leeds in a Christian home, was educated in Christian schools, and have very fond memories of all my schools, but particularly my first, in the village hall attached to the Church for which my father was a Church warden and a Patron. 

I have lived in or near Bishop Thornton since 1988. I joined the Board of Governors of the School as a co-opted Governor in February 2017.

The skills I bring to the team were gained through my career as an in-house lawyer for companies operating in competitive conditions. Providing a wide range of legal support and working with multi-skilled teams and services, gave me experience of building relationships, customer focus, commercial awareness, finding practical solutions, and being able to focus on detail without losing the bigger picture.

It has been very special to be part of the team which moved the school to its new premises in Burnt Yates in 2019. These offer spacious and inspiring facilities for our children, present and future.

I am honoured to be part of a team of Governors and Staff who are dedicated to providing great education to the children in our locality.

Mr Mark Reeves - Vice Chair of Governors

 Originally from Cheshire, I grew up in a small village environment not dissimilar to Burnt Yates, where the school and church were central to the community. Part of my role as   Governor will be to help maintain and promote the important connection between the Admiral Long School and St Andrews Church.

 The majority of my professional life has been spent working in the private sector, employed by companies supplying into the health care and hospitality markets. During my career, I   have covered many disciplines including warehousing, business unit management, ISO9000 auditing and sales. I became Director of a Harrogate based business in 2014, which   prompted my move to the area from Northamptonshire.

I live with my partner Ira in Burnt Yates, where we regularly attend St Andrews Church. We also visit the churches at Bishop Thornton, Ripley and South Stainley. Leisure interests include cycling, swimming, gardening and motorsport.

I am proud to have the opportunity to work alongside such a committed and experienced team of governors and hope to use the experience I have gained to help Admiral Long School to continue providing quality, community focussed education.

Mrs Fiona Roberts

I was born in Germany and spent my primary years both there, attending a large international school, and in the south of England at a small C of E school. I was also fortunate to spend a few months in Singapore at another international school before we finally settled back in the UK and I joined the local grammar school where I completed my education, then headed off to Vancouver with my family when they emigrated.

Not surprisingly, having had the privilege of growing up as part of so many wonderful school communities, I decided to become a teacher! I have a degree in Psychology and German and a PGCE in Primary education and have been teaching for over 20 years, initially in West Yorkshire, and moving to North Yorkshire in 2013.

When not at school, I enjoy spending time at the coast with my family, playing tennis, walking, learning (albeit badly!) to play the ukulele and I am one of the leaders of the local Beaver Scout Colony, which I absolutely love.

I joined the Governing Body in October 2019 as a parent governor. I have been on the governing body of 3 different schools as a teacher governor for the majority of my career which I hope will serve me well as I work to support Admiral Long in the provision of high quality education for the community. We have one son who has attended the school since he started in reception in 2015.

Mr Robert Stevens

I live in Bishop Thornton with my wife and 3 children. Our youngest child currently attends the school, our 2 eldest previously attended and are now at Nidderdale High School.

I spent 25 years working for the Ministry of Defence, alongside working for our successful family business a children’s day nursery located in Harrogate as Financial Director.  We sold our business in 2019 to enable us to spend more time with our children.  This has also meant I have time to contribute to our school as a Governor, which I joined in September 2020.

Mrs Katie Ward

I have worked as a teacher in Class 1 at Admiral Long (Bishop Thornton) for 14 years. I love the family feel of the school and the close relationships that develop between the staff and children here. It is a school like no other!

I am a teacher governor in school and have held this role for several years. I enjoy providing a link between the governors and the children and having the opportunity to talk about and show what is happening in our classrooms every day.

My time outside of school involves being a busy Mum to two sporty boys, a member of a choir and a thriving book group. I try to pass on my passion for singing and books to the children as I feel they are both wonderfully creative and life enhancing hobbies.

I hope in my role as teacher governor that I can help put faces and stories to data and continue to support links between governors, children, parents and staff within the school.

Mrs Victoria Kirkman

Following completion of her Honours degree, QTS with specialism in Music, Victoria’s experience in education has spanned from Nursery to Adult education: Local Authority Maintained schools, Independent schools, Service Children’s Education, Ministry of Defence Army Education (Royal Engineers) and as part of a highly successful Multi-Academy Trust. Victoria’s previous roles have included Lead Teacher, Curriculum Development Manager, Head of External Communications, Assistant Headteacher, Acting Headteacher and Principal. She has led training for Senior Leaders in IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) on Assessment for Learning and was part of the LEAF Leadership Trust (Love, Enterprise, Aspiration, Faith) completing research projects regarding the tracking of pupil progress in order to secure improved outcomes.

Victoria has had extensive leadership training including: From Good to Outstanding – The Essential Leadership Steps, Outstanding in Leadership and Management, IAPS Aspiring Senior Management Team, Moving into Headship, Managing Change in Difficult Times, Leadership – Managing performance, capability and conduct, Managing Teams and Women in Leadership.

As Executive Headteacher at Admiral Long and Birstwith C.E Schools, Victoria plays a leading role in the continued development of not only the schools but their communities also.

The Governing Body

Admiral Long School is a maintained school and this means that it is funded and controlled by the Local Education Authority (LEA). The LEA funds the school, employs the staff and provides support services and controls the admissions process.  The school is also designated as a Voluntary Controlled (VC) school by being a Church of England Primary School, and the Diocese of Leeds appoints two members as Foundation Governors who have links to the benefice and the vicar.

Admiral Long generally has 8 members of the Governing Body and they represent different parts of our school and wider community.

These are:

  • Two Parent Governors
  • One Local Authority Governor
  • Two  Foundation Governors, appointed by the Leeds Diocese
  • One Co-opted Governor, appointed for their specific skills
  • Two Staff Governors, one of whom is the Headteacher.

Key Areas

Governance reflects the following three key areas:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school
  • Holding the Executive Head Teacher to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

The Governing Role

The Full Governing Body meet regularly, a minimum of 6 times a year, and the focus of these meetings is always endeavouring to ensure that children of all abilities receive the best education possible, in a safe and supportive environment. Their function is always to be mindful of the available resources in order to deliver best value for money, and this includes such things as oversight of the impact of pupil premium and other targeted funding streams.  All school policies are agreed at these meetings.

Through careful monitoring governors act as a critical friend by asking searching questions, whilst respecting the position of the Headteacher as the professional leader of the school. The Governing Body employs a professional clerk to record their meetings as well as offer advice across the year, and their governor approved Minutes are published on this website.  The Headteacher and the Governors work closely with the School Bursar, retained on a full-service contract by the school to provide profession advice regarding financial forecasting and precise, accurate presentation of all revenue and expenditure.

Particular governors are charged with being linked to key areas such as Safeguarding, Health & Safety and the all-important Christian faith that underpins the whole school structure and ethos.  Thus, Governors are a familiar sight in and around the school, playing an active part, wherever circumstances allow, in order to be conversant with daily school life and for staff, pupils and parents alike to be reassured by the governing role within the school structure.  The governing body’s relationship with the school’s collaborative partner, Birstwith C of E Primary School, is a positive one, with both governing bodies seeking to make sure that there is an even closer collaboration going forwards.

Business Interests

There are no interests declared by the current Governing Body.

Governing Body Members

Governor’s Name Representation Date of Appointment Appointed By Date Present Term Expires
Miss Victoria Kirkman Executive Headteacher September 2021 Ex Officio N/A
Mrs Jane Connor (Chair) Co-opted Governor February 2017 Full Governing Body January 2025
Mr Mark Reeves (Vice) Finance Governor November 2019 Full Governing Body November 2023
Mrs Fiona Roberts Parent Governor October 2019 Elected October 2023
Mr Robert Stevens Parent Governor  September 2020 Elected August 2024
Mrs Katie Ward Staff Governor September 2011 Elected August 2024
Mrs Debbie Allen BA Hons Clerk to Governors March 2022 Full Governing Body March 2026

Past Governors

Retired Governor’s Name Representation Date of Leaving Governor Body
Mrs Caroline Smith Ex Chair of Governors February 2022
Mrs Liz Bedford Headteacher August 2021
Dr Weem Whitaker Foundation Governor August 2021
Mrs Helen Workman LA Governor April 2022

2021/22