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Welcome to our Governors’ section.

Who are we?

Who are we? 1 Dave Colley: Vice Chair of Governors
Who are we? 2 Barbara Cotton: Governor
Who are we? 3 Jane Friend: Governor
Who are we? 4 Clare Gill: Governor
Who are we? 5 Gemma Haynes: Governor
Who are we? 6 Laura Poulter: Governor
Who are we? 7 Tim Smith: Staff Governor
Who are we? 8 Liz Watson: Chair of Governors
Who are we? 9 Anna Weeks: Governor
Who are we? 10 Mandi Wilson: Headteacher

Dave Colley

Co-opted Governor (Vice Chair of Governors)

I was proud to have been elected as a co-opted Governor at Sharp Lane Primary School, having seen at first hand the effort, care and dedication that all the staff put in to making sure my daughter received the best well rounded education possible, helping her to grow with high expectations and achieve aspirational targets. Within my role as a Governor I am the designated Governor for Child Protection and Safeguarding.

I started work as an apprentice trained Mechanical Engineer and retrained later on to work with toxic solvents and chemicals. Whilst working as a Coating Manufacturing Technician, I trained as a company health and safety rep with TUC courses and COSHH course at Bradford College. I have also attended numerous training courses run by the Leeds governor support unit with particular emphasis on Child Protection and Safeguarding.

I believe that, with the skills I have learnt in the work place, I can help and support the safety and wellbeing of the children and their learning environment. From my experience of being a governor and visiting school, I believe that primary education should be engaging and memorable for all children and based on their first-hand experiences. We, as governors, should be challenging the Senior Leadership Teams to ensure that the children receive high quality teaching throughout the curriculum and develop as independent learners.


Barbara Cotton

Local Authority Governor

I have been a governor at Sharp Lane Primary School for over twenty years. I have seen many changes to the school during that time and changes to the inspection regime, not all of which I like. I work in the school as a volunteer and as a governor, drawing on a range of experiences to support and challenge a school that I respect and staff that I have grown fond of.

In my work life, I was a financial auditor. That meant I was responsible for auditing stock control and ensuring financial probity. As the business I worked for grew, I found myself responsible for making checks across businesses with very different financial structures in place. It was work I enjoyed and a skill I could transfer into the school sector. I now chair the Resources Committee at this school.

I am also the Health and Safety governor and was a member of the Health and Safety committee throughout my working life, regularly attending courses to ensure that I remained up to date with current expectations.

When I was young, I studied catering at college and I have always been interested in gardening. I support a gardening club at the school and used to run a small cooking club. That, understandably, has had to stop now because of restrictions on available space but I always felt that it was it reflected the values of this school. I was helping children to think creatively about how they could use the fruits and vegetables they grew to prepare food many of them had never eaten before.


Jane Friend

Co-opted Governor

I first became a volunteer at Sharp Lane Primary School in 2006 when I took early retirement. In 2013, I was elected as a parent governor and re-elected in 2016 as a co-opted governor so, for the last 5 years, I have combined a volunteering role with the role of governor.

I ran my own business successfully for over 30 years - responsible for stock control, accounts, networking, marketing and dealing on a daily basis with members of the general public. The skills that I developed in my business life are the same skills that underpin what I now do in school. The contacts I made during those years are contacts I still call on when I organise an event on behalf of the school.

As secretary of our Parents’ Group (Sharp Lane Friends), I play a role in organising events to raise funds and we have had considerable success over the years. We have bought numerous items to benefit our children including a muga, spotlights for the hall, PE bags and a dividing door for the hall. I am currently collecting quotes for microphones for the hall. I have also organised a number of special events for our children, funded through the efforts of Sharp Lane Friends. These include, for example, a circus day, a football show, a beach day, a roller skating derby.

I value partnership working, which is why I commit my time to working closely with parents in support of the school and why I work with Asda’s officer in the community to secure funding and learning experiences for our children. As a governor, that interest in partnership working has led me to take on two significant roles. I am our school’s representative in our local Learning Alliance. I am also the governor responsible for handling complaints and helping to make sure our partners are happy with what we offer.


Clare Gill

Parent Governor

I became a Parent Governor at Sharp Lane in July 2017. My responsibilities at the school are for Early Years Foundation Stage, attendance and I also chair the Pupil Support Committee and attend the Teaching & Learning Committee. I decided to apply to be a governor because, with my eldest starting Sharp Lane reception in Sept 2017, I wanted to make a positive impact on his and his younger brother’s education, and because I believe primary education sets the foundation for a love of lifelong learning.

In my professional life, I have gained an English Language and Linguistics degree and now work across Yorkshire and the North East for a national construction company in Community Investment. I work part-time, look after my two sons and in my spare time I like cake decorating and gardening. Having moved to Belle Isle from York 10 years ago, I see a wonderful community spirit in the area and we have some amazing facilities on our doorstep. I feel that with my skillset and fresh eyes on the area, I’ll challenge Sharp Lane to ensure we continue on the path to success as the school grows further in coming years. I’m excited to be part of Sharp Lane’s journey and my hope is that every single child has the aspirations, self-confidence and enthusiasm to be whatever they want to be – the sky’s the limit!


Gemma Haynes

Parent Governor

I am delighted to offer a parent’s perspective in the governance of Sharp Lane Primary School, having lived in South Leeds all my life. I have two children, both of them now at Sharp Lane and it really is a lovely school.

I have worked for Leeds Local Authority for 15 years in a variety of roles: several years in housing; a couple of years in Children’s Social Care where I became familiar with key safeguarding matters and the importance of the wellbeing of children; now I am the Projects and Programmes Manager within Employment and Skills, promoting attractive career paths and opportunities for young people as well as overseeing and commissioning adult and family learning provision and tutors in the City. As I work to ensure that young people, at the end of statutory education, have opportunities for personal advancement, I am reminded of the importance of what children learn in their early years. am a Governor to help ensure that the children at Sharp Lane Primary have the opportunities and provision to help them to achieve their maximum potential. My vision for an excellent Primary School is one that gives children real joy from learning so that they continue to learn and develop throughout their lives. I firmly believe that children learn best when they are happy, feel safe and understand the purpose behind their learning.

My professional career in Project Management gives me the skills to analyse, understand and interrogate performance to ensure Sharp Lane Primary is managing its resources and budgets well, to best meet the needs of our children. I understand the importance of agreed timescales and expect interim progress reports at governor meetings.

I am accustomed to external evaluation as Ofsted inspects our service. I am also familiar with new national guidance and expectations linked to the apprenticeship agenda.


Laura Poulter

Parent Governor

I have lived in South Leeds since 2004, since meeting my husband. Prior to having a family, my career consisted of office administration at various levels, including middle management. My field of expertise was in service design, contract writing and contract negotiation, firstly on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and then with a Borough Council. To further this career, I took the opportunity to study, to degree level, at Leeds Metropolitan University, obtaining an Law Degree (1st Class Hons) in 2001. Since 2004 I have had three children all of whom attend Sharp Lane Primary School and during this period I have been very fortunate to have been a stay at home mum.

I believe that all children should be given the opportunity to reach their potential, as this is key for them to be happy and productive within society and their local community. Education is the primary force for realisation of this opportunity. There must be partnership and understanding between the educational establishment and the home and this in turn makes the Parent Governor essential as a conduit between the two environments, which informs and influences at a strategic level. As such I am proud to represent my family, my community and Sharp Lane Primary School as a Parent Governor.


Tim Smith

Staff Governor

I have been a member of the Sharp Lane team for just over two years and have taught in Years 3 and 2 in that time. Prior to arriving at Sharp Lane I taught at another Leeds school where I started as an NQT and left as an Assistant Headteacher. Whilst at my previous school, I taught across Key Stage 2 spending two years in year 6 and was the subject leader for PE. Since starting at Sharp Lane, I have taken on the role of Key Stage 1 Leader; I am also responsible for English across school.

I am a passionate and driven person who enjoys working with pupils, staff and parents to achieve the best outcomes for pupils. I am a member of the Teaching and Learning team and feedback regularly in these meetings. In addition to this, I am responsible for the training of governors and organise suitable courses and development opportunities for governors at Sharp Lane.

Away from school, sport is my passion. I play Rugby Union for a team in the North of Leeds but will happily participate in any sport and have played for cricket and football teams in the local area in the past and, although not very good, enjoy playing golf. I have two young children and feel that I have become a better teacher since the arrival of my boys. I am able to relate to parents’ concerns and suggestions as a result of this.


Liz Watson

Co-opted Governor (Chair of Governors)

I have spent all my working life in education, most of it as an English teacher and then a headteacher in secondary schools. For many years, as a young teacher, I worked in a South Leeds Secondary School, and I am happy to be here again, working with others to ensure that this community continues to be served by a good primary school.

Since 2002, I have worked as a regional adviser for the Department of Education and then as a School Improvement Adviser for Local Authorities in this region and for academy chains. I have, therefore, considerable experience of analysing a range of data, identifying areas for development and monitoring progress against agreed action plans. I have also served on School Improvement Boards during this time, working with senior leaders and holding them to account to ensure rapid improvement in the face of significant weaknesses.

As a headteacher, I worked closely with colleagues in primary schools so understood that many of the issues to be tackled, successes to be earned and pleasures to be gained are the same in any school, whatever the age of the pupil. Before coming to Sharp Lane, I was a governor at another primary school for three years and there I became more familiar with requirements of the National Curriculum in primary schools and with a whole new set of data. One thing I am certain of is that nothing stands still in education and there will always be something new for me to learn. That suits me well and is why school governance attracts me.


Anna Weeks

Co-opted Governor

This is my first Governor role and I'm extremely excited to be involved at Sharp Lane Primary. Leeds has been my home for the past 7 years and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with a school just down the road!

I currently work for a large transport firm, with bus and train operations across the UK and Europe. My experience ranges from operational, staff and financial management of bus depots, managing the customer and staff operations at London Paddington station and my current role as a Commercial Manager in the country's largest rail franchise, involves budget setting, financial reporting and sometimes even working on trains!

This background puts me in a good place to support Sharp Lane Primary in their financial structures, accountability, management and resourcing. My family background has always made me hugely in admiration of the hard work and commitment teachers put into their roles, with my Mother having been a primary school teacher and early years advisor and my brother a headmaster. I am really looking forward to supporting the headteacher and all the staff in delivering their vision to nurture, encourage and support all the children at Sharp Lane.


Mandi Wilson


I am very proud to be the Head Teacher at Sharp Lane Primary School and am now in my 6th year of headship. It is a real privilege to work in such a special school with a dedicated staff team and supportive Governing Board. I am committed to ensuring that our school can provide the very best education for all our children. I believe everyone, young and old, who comes to Sharp Lane Primary School, should have the opportunities and experiences to reach their potential and leave us ready for their next stage in learning and achieve their future hopes and dreams.

I began teaching in Leeds in 1988 at Temple Newsam Halton Primary school, when it was 3-form entry. Under the re-organisation, in 1992, I joined Brownhill Primary School. In 2005, I joined Sharp Lane Primary School as Assistant Head Teacher, with the responsibility for leading Assessment, Mathematics and Upper Key Stage 2. Mathematics was a key priority and, during my period of leadership, standards of progress and attainment increased significantly.

I completed the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) in 2011 and took up the post of Deputy Head Teacher. In May 2012, I became the Head Teacher and Ofsted came in the next morning; when we were graded Good. In the July, the Governors agreed to us becoming a 3-form primary school and the building of six new classrooms began. We began our expansion in September 2014.

My vision is to carry on building on the strengths of the school and work closely with the governors and the community to provide the best possible education through a broad and balanced curriculum for our wonderful pupils. I look forward to continuing on this journey as we grow and move from Good to Outstanding.


Mandi Wilson (Term of office: 08.05.12-08.05.20)

LA Representatives:

Mrs Barbara Cotton (Term of office: 01.09.10-01.09.18)

Parent Representatives:

Mrs Clare Gill (Term of office: 19.07.17-18.07.21)

Mrs Gemma Haynes (Term of office: 19.07.17-18.07.21)

Mrs Laura Poulter (Term of office: 21.12.17-20.12.21)

Co-opted Representatives

Mr David Colley (Term of office: 11.02.14-06.12.21)

Ms Elizabeth Watson (Term of office: 07.12.17-06.12.21)

Mrs Jane Friend (Term of office: 08.10.15-08.10.19)

Vacancy (with Financial experience) X1

Staff Governor Representative

Mr Tim Smith 



Mr James Garden (Term of office: 24.09.17-24.09.21)


Debra Missett (Term of office: 31.07.17 - 30.07.21)



Area of Responsibility Lead Governor
Pupil Premium Liz Watson
Sport Premium Tim Smith
Child Protection / Safeguarding Dave Colley
Health & Safety Barbara Cotton
Attendance Clare Gill
SEN Jane Friend
Children Looked After Laura Poulter
Standards Liz Watson
Training Tim Smith
Complaints Jane Friend

Chair of Resources Committee: Barbara Cotton

Chair of Pupil Support Committee: Clare Gill

Chair of Teaching & Learning Committee: Gemma Haynes

Year Group Responsibility Name of Governor
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Clare Gill
Year 1 Jane Friend
Year 2 Liz Watson
Year 3 Gemma Haynes
Year 4 Laura Poulter
Year 5 Dave Colley
Year 6 Barbara Cotton


The role of a governor is to contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school. It does this through;

  • providing a strategic overview
  • acting as a critical friend
  • ensuring accountability


The day-to-day management of the school is the responsibility of the headteacher and staff. Rather than manage, governors are there to help shape the school's future direction and focus.

Governors work as a team. Individual governors have no power or responsibility. It is only the full governing body which has legal duties and powers and all governors share in that corporate responsibility.

Forthcoming dates for governor meetings:


Full Governor Meetings

Monday 1st October 2018 1pm
Autumn 2 TBC  
Spring 2 TBC  
Summer 2 TBC  


Committee Meetings

Pupil Support  4pm Tuesday 9th October 2018
Teaching & Learning 4pm Tuesday 16th October 2018
Resources 4pm Thursday 25th Ocotber 2018
Finance    TBC
Pupil Support    TBC
Teaching & Learning  


Resources   TBC


Good schools have strong governance

The National Governors' Association has produced this short film with ITN to showcase what outstanding school governance looks like. For more information and to find out how to join the NGA visit our website: