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The Governing Body

The Governing Body consists of eight individuals representing different parts of our school and wider community. There are:

2 Parent Governors
1 Local Authority Governor
2 Foundation Governors, appointed by the West Yorkshire and the Dales Diocesan Board of Education
1 Co-opted Governor, appointed for their specific skills
2 Staff Governors one of whom is the Headteacher.
The Governing Body agrees policies and has a shared ownership for the development and strategic direction of the school. It acts as a ‘critical friend’ by asking searching questions whilst at all times respecting the position of the Headteacher as professional leader of the school.

As a full governing board we meet regularly, endeavoring always to ensure our children receive the best education possible, in a safe and supportive environment.

Governing Body Minutes


23rd September 2020        21st October 2020


 24th June 2020      27th November 2019       15th October 2019         18th September 2019


 26th June 2019      19th June 2019       5th June 2019   8th May 2019    27th March 2019       13th February 2019           16th January 2019      21st November 2018        19th September 2018 


27th June 2018             9th May 2018               21st March 2018           21st February 2018           24th January 2018         22nd November 2017

18th October 2017       20th September 2017

Governing Body Members 19-20

Governor’s Name Representation Date of Appointment Date(s) of Renewal Date Present Term Expires
Mrs Elizabeth Bedford Headteacher January 2011    
Mrs Katie Ward Teacher September 2011 September 2020 August 2024
Miss Caroline Smith (Chair) Foundation Governor March 2013 March 2017, March 2021 March 2024
Mr Mark Reeves LA Governor November 2019   November 2023
Dr Weem Whitaker (Vice Chair)

Foundation Governor

(Parent Governor from Feb 2016)

February 2016 September 2017 August 2021
Mrs Fiona Roberts Parent Governor October 2019   October 2023
Mr Robert Stevens Parent Governor  September 2020   September 2024
Mrs Jane Connor Co-opted Governor February 2017 February 2021 February 2025

Retired Governors

Retired Governor’s Name Representation Date of Appointment Date of Leaving Governor Body
Mrs Fiona Stevens Parent Governor April 2018 September 2019
Mr David Roberts Parent Governor January 2019 May 2019
Mrs Jacqueline Gant LA Governor September 2000 November 2018
Mrs Jenny Daly Parent September 2017 August 2018
Mrs Lynn Hutchison Parent July 2016 March 2018

Meet our Governors

Miss Caroline Smith - Chair of Governors

I joined the governing body of Bishop Thornton School in February 2013 as Foundation Governor, acting as a link between the school and the church, and I subsequently became Chair of Governors in 2015.   

I am a self employed Shiatsu practitioner and work locally from my home.  Prior to this I worked for ITV with responsibilities for regional programme sponsorship across the northern broadcasters of Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Granada TV.  As my own boss, I’m able to become involved in a number of voluntary roles and being a school governor is an important focus for me, as I believe in the provision of a nurturing, village school environment in which children can learn and develop, within the framework of Christian values.

My interests include health & nutrition, the countryside, walking, tennis, yoga and of course my Christian faith is of great importance to my life.

During 2019 the school was enabled to move to the larger and better equipped premises in Burnt Yates, and subsequently renamed Admiral Long, and I am proud of being part of a hard working, committed team with a keen vision for primary school education in lower Nidderdale.

Dr Weem Whitaker - Vice Chair

I have been a governor since Autumn 2015, first as a Parent Governor, and then, since 2017,  in the role of Foundation Governor. 

I grew up in the area and attended a small village school; I enjoyed this thoroughly, and it gave me an appreciation of the importance of good rural education.  I went on to study Classics at Cambridge, where I also completed a PhD and research fellowship.  During this time I gained experience in teaching, examining and course planning at university level.  Since leaving academia and moving back to North Yorkshire, I have been a full-time writer of novels for both children and adults. 

I am delighted that my children have been able to attend the school, and I have seen the huge benefits it has brought them, in terms of confidence, happiness and educational attainment.  They have both now moved on to the next stage of their education.  In the time I have been connected with Admiral Long School (including, with its former location and name, Bishop Thornton School), I have seen the wonderful effect the school has had on a whole succession of children, and I have witnessed the enormous dedication of the school staff as well as my fellow-governors.  I am firmly committed to supporting Admiral Long School in its work.

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 a 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.

Mrs Jane Connor

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

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.

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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 five 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 Liz Bedford

Mrs Liz Bedford has been the Headteacher at Admiral Long (Bishop Thornton) since 2010. She had previously been headteacher at Birstwith CE Primary since 2000 and developed her joint leadership role over the two schools from January 2010. She splits her time between the two sites ensuring the collaborative work extends positively the experiences of the staff and pupils. Before her headship roles she had a number of years experience as a teacher in Lancashire as well as other schools in North Yorkshire.

Under her leadership the school is maintaining its numbers  and the school building has undergone a refurbishment to update the interior as well as develop the outside area for the Early Years children and the sporting provision for the rest of the school. She is proud of the staff team that work at Admiral Long with her, knowing that all members ensure an exciting and challenging learning experience for the children in their care as well as supporting pupils' personal and social development. The supportive and challenging Governing Body work with Mrs Bedford to develop the strategic direction of the school.