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Welcome to Governors Page and Pen Portraits


"Governors play an important role in our school. They support and challenge the School Leadership Team to ensure we provide our children with quality teaching within a secure environment in which all pupils have the opportunity to develop and achieve their full potential.  Governors act as a critical friend.

Governors are dedicated to supporting the school in achieving its strategic objectives. As well as attending meetings and monitoring standards, Governors regularly attend Unit and Celebration Assemblies.  Unit visits take place termly to ensure Governors build links with individual classes and teaching staff and get to see at first hand how the School Development Priorities are being actioned and the impact of these changes on progress and attainment.

Our Chair of Governors is Mr Leigh Blanchard. Amongst our team of governors, we have a mix of parents, staff,  Local Authority and Community representatives. This allows our Governors to bring a huge range of skills to their role.

The Governors and the Head Teacher work closely together to ensure that we offer opportunities and experiences to support all children and each child is treated equally. The Governors endorse the Kirklees admissions policy."

Governor Pen Portraits

Leigh Blanchard (Chair of Governors)    

Leigh is enjoying an extensive career in Communication and Marketing Services. He has held various positions within Xerox Global Services currently being a Service Delivery Leader with accountability for managing the largest European Retail account.

Leigh was born in Lincoln in 1972 relocating to the Huddersfield area with his wife Nicola in 2001, they have 2 daughters in school Zara is currently in Year 4 and Amber in Year 1.  


Gillian Starke (Vice Chair)

Both our children, who are now grown, went to Kirkheaton Primary and we all have fond memories of their time here.  I was a governor at Kirkheaton whilst our children attended and went on to be a governor at their secondary school.  Having had many and varied jobs over the years, I now work as a Clerk to Governing Bodies across Kirklees.  Both my time as a governor and my work with other governing bodies give me a broad experience of school governance which I hope to put to good use at Kirkheaton.  I am passionate about children achieving the very height of their potential whilst remaining happy, grounded and nurtured and I hope to contribute in a small way to the development of all the pupils at our wonderful school.


Diane Baldwin     

My name is Diane Baldwin and I am one of the school’s parent governors. I live with my partner Rob and our children Isaac, Jake, Casey and Faith.  We live in Kirkheaton and Jake is in Year 4 and Casey is in Reception.    

Having lived locally all my life and having attended this school myself I have a real interest in the school and the local community.  I thoroughly enjoy being a governor as it means I have input and insight into the school and can support it wherever I can. 

The majority of my working career has been in Financial Services, during which time I attained several qualifications in financial planning, taxation and other relevant subjects.  This has put me in good stead not only for my career but all other walks of life such as managing home finances and historically running a self-employed business.  I enjoy working with finances, managing budgets and balancing resources.  My role as a Data Analyst expanded my skills to be able to work logically to identify spending anomalies, trends and overspending. 

I am currently on maternity leave but the last few years of my career has been in Medical Education working for the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust.  This role entails managing the successful education and training of Junior Doctors across Wakefield, Barnsley, Calderdale & Kirklees in Psychiatry, with a small team of 3 people reporting into me.  I very much enjoy working in education and intend to undertake qualifications to expand my knowledge in the management of education.

Adam McNeely

(Parent Governor)

I have been a manager in the leisure industry for over 17 years with a focus on facility management.  I am currently a senior operations manager working for Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) who are a charitable trust that manage thirteen leisure facilities accross the Kirklees area.  I manage the day to day operations of four leisure centres & I am responsible for all aspects of these facilities from health and safety to financial management.  I am  

I believe that my work managing these facilities has given me some transferrable skills that could contribute to the school govenor team.  My centres promote a healthy lifestyle & create opportunities for people to get active.  My role also involves working in partnership with Kirklees council, sports clubs & schools for education swimming lessons. 

More than two thousand children attend the swim schools I operate at my sites each week and hundreds more attend public swimming sessions & coach led sports sessions.  Providing a fun, safe environment & safeguarding is at the forefront of everything I do.  Over the past few years I have helped to manage budget cuts, implemented new ideas to drive my business & create plans to improve efficiency.  I sit on several strategic boards within KAL to help guide the decisions about products, workforce & services.  I manage the performance of over fifty contracted staff and many more casual employees.

I have one child currently in year one with another due to start reception in September 2017 and as such I have a vested interest in the performance of Kirkheaton Primary School for several years.  I would be happy to lend my time and experience to help the school in any way I can.

Mrs Samantha Gallant

I have been head teacher at Kirkheaton since September 2008.  I am very proud of our school and love our fantastic children.  We are working really hard to take the school forward and give all the children the best start in life.  Above all, we want them to enjoy their childhood as this is so short in the 21st Century!  We want our children to leave our school with a wealth of happy memories but also equip them with life skills for their future.  Being a positive British citizen alongside using literacy and numeracy skills fluently is our main aim.

Our governing body is a passionate set of people who work tirelessly to drive our school improvement work.  They offer challenge and support and keep a close eye on all the statutory requirements of a school too.  I am privileged to have these people on board who support our school and ensure our work is the best it can be.

Sarah Bevan

I have worked at Kirkheaton Primary School for the past 8 years and absolutely love it! I currently am one of the Assistant Headteachers responsible for improving standards within Key Stage 1, parental involvement and developing Maths throughout the whole school. I also teach year 1 and love watching the children learn new things and grow in confidence.

I have two boys aged 8 and 4 so my spare time is filled with football, swimming and having lots of fun outdoors! 

I enjoy being part of the Governing Body and working alongside a great team who all work incredibly hard to continually improve our school.

Molly Daniel     

I moved to Kirkheaton in 2012 to be nearer to my family after retirement and my two grandchildren attend Kirkheaton school; Rory (Year 3) and Rowan (Reception).  I recognised as soon as I came to look round the school prior to my older grandson starting Nursery that this was and is a friendly, welcoming, happy school.  As a volunteer Reading Friend, helping in Reception on Friday afternoons, and assisting in model making and the like with my grandson, I have got to know many teachers and support staff. 

In my last job I worked as a PA to the Operations Director and Senior Managers at Quorn Foods in North Yorkshire.  The nature of my work required absolute confidentiality, discretion and honesty when liaising between the Board, other employees and outside companies.  I maintained good working relationships with all staff and enjoyed social occasions with them too. 

I have a sense of fairness, I am friendly, patient and I have a keen eye for detail, qualities which I believe are important in my role as a School Governor.

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