Ralph Thoresby School

Ambition and Achievement for All

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Simon Deacon- Chair (Parent Governor)

Simon Bannister- LA Governor

Emma Butler- Chair of Student Welfare (Parent Governor)

Michelle Lofthouse- Chair of Curriculum & Standards (LA Governor)

Neil Martin- Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of Resource (Parent Governor)

Dorothy Powney- LA Governor

Anna Wood- Parent Governor

Mary Wood- LA Governor

Shirley Marsland- Co-Opted Governor

Chair of Governors

Simon Deacon

I have been involved in maths and English tuition for 16 years and developed a strong commercial awareness of customer service and product development. I feel that the combination of academic knowledge, and business enthusiasm, provides a firm platform to ask challenging and informed questions.

As my business has grown, I have gained a good insight into pupil’s abilities as they progress through the school years. I’m particularly interested in maths teaching and have gained excellent experience with a wide range of related topics. Open University study has enhanced my knowledge and I feel I can offer enthusiastic practical assistance and suggestions as required.

After a successful 7 years at Ralph Thoresby, our daughter recently left to pursue a career in the legal profession. We’re delighted with the progress she has made, and are looking forward to a long association with the school. Our son will soon be starting year 9 and our youngest daughter will be joining in 2020!

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.

Vice 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 co-opted governor. I am Vice Chair and chair of the Resources Committee.

My son was a student at the school and my daughter is in Year 11. I am delighted with her progress. She thoroughly enjoys being at Ralph Thoresby and takes advantage of the opportunities available to her, including: field trips, international trips and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

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. And as a parent the school show, Christmas concert and cultural event, 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 am also a board member of Future Years, the Yorkshire and Humber Forum on Ageing, which focuses on the other end of the age spectrum.

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

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.

Foundation Governor

Dorothy Powney

I have lived in the area since the early 1980’s …and my son attended Ralph Thoresby before going on to University.

Up to the time of my retirement, I worked in the Financial Sector.

I now have lots of interests and attend as an invigilator, when needed.

My interests are many and varied, amongst which, I enjoy walking, Pilates, music (I have a very eclectic taste), reading, and I’m an active member in my local church.

I joined the Governing body at Ralph Thoresby in 2008, and am extremely proud and privileged, to be part of such a forward thinking and caring school.

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.”

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.

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