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Local Governing Body

Topcliffe are proud to be part of the educational vision for Elevate Multi Academy Trust whilst retaining our own strong identity.  The Trustees have allowed its Academies to retain the same composition for their local governing bodies, which is set out below. 

The three core functions of the local governing board are:

To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.

To hold the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the Academy and its children.

To oversee the financial performance of the Academy and make sure its money is well spent.


Chair of Governors: Richard Tindall

Contact:  or

Topcliffe C of E Academy, School Lane, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 3RG


Together, the Governors are responsible for:

  • Setting aims and targets for the academy and checking the academy’s progress towards attaining these.

  • Monitoring how well the Academy’s policies and plans are working.

  • Accounting for the performance of the Academy and the Governing Body.

  • Working with the Head teacher to make sure that teaching at the academy is effective and good quality and the children are making the best possible progress.

  • Taking general responsibility for the Academy and its budget.

  • Challenging and supporting the senior management team and taking opportunities to show interest in and appreciation of staff and children.

  • Promoting the interests of the Academy and its children in the wider community.

 Types of Governors 

There are several different types of Governor:

  • Parent Governor

    Elected from parents at the school by parents at the Academy.

  • Staff Governor

    Elected from staff at the school by staff at the Academy

  • Co-opted Governors

    Appointed by members of the Local Governing Body. They are intended to be representative of the local community and may add particular kinds of expertise.

  • Foundation Governor

           Foundation governors are representatives of the Church of England. 

           The local vicar is normally appointed as the 'ex-officio' foundation governor;

           The other foundation governor will usually be appointed by either Leeds or York Diocese, following consultation with the local PCC.


Elevate Governance:

As a multi-academy trust, Elevate is a charitable company limited by guarantee. This means that Elevate is a single legal entity, but it has several Academies within its family. Currently, Elevate has 14 Primary Academies. These are mainly situated across North Yorkshire with 1 Academy in West Yorkshire.


Elevate and their Academies work in collaboration with a single shared vision. The governance structure is designed to reflect the overall responsibility of the Board of Trustees, the (operational) leadership of the CEO supported by the School Improvement Team for education and the Operational Team; for the day to day running of the Academies by the Executive Head Teachers (EHT) and Head teachers coupled with the value of local experience and understanding of the LGBs in assessing the performance of our Academy and their interaction with the local community.

Elevate has established 3 key layers of governance: 

  • Members
  • Trustees
  • Local Governors 


Although Elevate’s Trustees are accountable for all of the Academies within the Trust, it highly values the work undertaken by local governors in supporting, and challenging, our Academies and senior leadership teams to deliver high quality and inclusive education.


Elevate LGBs have a pivotal role in the overall framework of the Trust by having:

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of their Academies;
  • Sustaining uniqueness of their Academy whilst aligning with Elevate’s educational vision;
  • Forging and maintaining links with their community;
  • Providing the vital governance link between themselves and Trustees to enable the Trustees to carry out their responsibilities as leaders of the Trust.

The different responsibilities overseen by Trustees and Local Governors are set out in the Scheme of Delegation, which is reviewed on an annual basis.


Link to Scheme of Delegation

Link to Articles of Association





Local Governors

Therefore, each academy has a Local Governing Body (LGB) that meets on a half-termly basis.

To find out who the governors are, please see the ‘governance’ areas on each academy website.





Governing Body 2022-23






Abi Clay


Head teacher




Sophie Howard



 22.09.2020 to 22.09.2024



Simon Park






 Finance H&S


Eric Robertson







Rev. Dawn Ward




Ex officio








Richard Tindall


Co opted





 Bev Southwell


Co opted









In Attendance





Dianne Mousley









Rev Terry Dyer Ex officio 31.08.2022 resigned
Nicola Knowles parent 11.07.2019 resigned
Amy Binks co opted 30.06.2019 end of term
Andy Fyfe co opted 30.06.2019 end of term
Emily Shaw staff 25.09.2018 end of term
Stephen Bissett Foundation 26.08.2019 resigned
Rebecca Kaufmann Staff 24.04.2020 left post


Pen Portraits:

Abigail Clay - Headteacher

Abigail became head at Topcliffe C of E Academy in September 2015. Prior to becoming a headteacher she was an assistant head at an outstanding school where she taught across the primary age range from reception to year 6. Abigail has also worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher supporting modern foreign language development across the county. Abigail has written a book to support teachers in delivering languages to young children. Abigail enjoys sport, reading and spending time with her husband and three children.



Richard Tindell - Co Opted Governor

Richard is thrilled to be able to take the role of Chair of Governors. Being a pupil himself in 1987, Richard is driven to make sure high standards are maintained and to help the school grow and evolve. Making sure that pupils of all ages and backgrounds have access to the same opportunities to achieve their full potential. 

Having worked for the Police for 12 years in different forces Richard has particular experience in risk management and safeguarding. Being on the Governing body enables him to assist the school offering support and advice.

 Simon Park: Parent Governor

Simon is delighted to take up his role as Governor at Topcliffe, being an ex-student and now proud father of 2 currently attending. He is keen to assist the school continue their fine work. Richard is passionate about helping young people achieve their potential through education and have access to resources to help them go above and beyond their own expectations.

Simon hopes to bring experience from his background in I.T, Recruitment and Finance to ensure the school achieves the high standards it strives towards. He am really looking forward to working with the children, staff and families within the community.

 Bev Southwell: Co opted Governor

Bev is delighted to have the opportunity to be a governor at Topcliffe Academy and hope to use her 30+ years experience of education in a range of North Yorkshire secondary settings to support the school.

Her particular interest is in helping students with special educational needs, their parents and teaching staff access the support and guidance needed to ensure every child reaches their potential. Bev is also keen to promote inclusion in our increasingly diverse community.

 Rev Dawn Ward: Ex Officio Foundation Governor

 Dawn is excited to take up the role of Temporary Ex Officio Foundation Governor at Topcliffe C of E Academy.  Before Ordination in the Church of England she worked for 40 years as a Community Pharmacist, and Dawn is passionate about Church in the wider community.  Dawn is hoping to build strong links between school, the local church in Topcliffe and the communities both serve. 

 Dawn feels strongly that all pupils regardless of age and background should be able to access every opportunity to learn and to participate in the life of the school.


Register of Interest:                                                                                                                                                                      

Topcliffe C of E Academy 2022-23


Name of Business

Nature of Business

Nature of Interest



Abi Clay


Topcliffe Academy


Head teacher




Sophie Howard


Topcliffe Academy






Richard Tindall


Cleveland Police


Police officer




Eric Robertson


Thirsk Surgery








Foundation Governor at








Simon Park


Foundation Resourcing Ltd






Bev Southwell







Associate Members