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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.


Governing Body 2019- 2020






Abi Clay


Head teacher




Rebecca Kaufman







Richard Tindall







Eric Robertson







Rev Susanne Jukes




Ex officio



 Stephen Bissett






 Simon Park


Co opted





 Bev Southwell


Co opted




Amy Binks

Associate Member





Andy Fyfe


Associate member



30.06. 2020


In Attendance





Dianne Mousley









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


Pen Portraits:

The Rev'd Susanne Jukes - Foundation Governor

I have been Vicar of the parishes of Topcliffe, Baldersby with Dishforth, Dalton and Skipton on Swale since February 2014. As such, I have an ex-officio place as a Foundation Governor on each of the three governing bodies in the benefice: at Topcliffe, Baldersby and Dishforth Church of England Primary Schools.

I was ordained in 2001, having been a primary school teacher for twenty-odd years before that. Both prior to ordination and since, I have served on the governing bodies of a number of primary schools both in the West Midlands and in North Yorkshire - as teacher, parent and foundation governor.

The care and nurture of young children has been at the heart of my ministry as a parent, a teacher and a priest. It is a privilege to be able to serve with fellow governors in supporting the school in helping children to grow to their full potential, and, as part of that, to explore the meaning of faith for life today.


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.


Rebecca Kaufman - Staff Governor

Becki joined Topcliffe in May 2017 after working as a Y6 teacher in St. Helens for 10 years. She studied at St Martins College, Ambleside with a PE specialism and then continued her further education by gaining a MaST degree in Specialist Maths Teaching in 2012. Since then, Becki has continued to work in a maths team and lead on the subject throughout the school. More recently, Becki has taken on the role of Senior Teacher at Topcliffe. This role involves close work with the headteacher. Furthermore, she is lead teacher for KS2; Maths; PE; OAA and Computing. Outside of school, Becki is a keen swimmer, in 2000 she was a national swimmer in numerous events; she uses her 15-years’ swim teaching experience to weekly coach county level swimmers at Ryedale. In addition to this, she enjoys running, walking, cycling and spending time in the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.


Richard Tindell - Parent Governor

I am thrilled to be able to take the role of Chair of Governors. Being a father of a child at the school and a pupil myself in 1987, I am 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 I have particular experience in risk management and safeguarding. Being on the Governing body enables me to assist the school offering support and advice.

 Simon Park: Co opted Governor

I am delighted to take up my first Governors role at Topcliffe, being an ex-student and now proud father of 2 currently attending I am keen to assist the school continue their fine work. I’m 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.

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


Bev Southwell: Co opted Governor

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

My 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. I am also keen to promote inclusion in our increasingly diverse community.


Stephen Bissett: Foundation Governor

I have been on the senior management team of various manufacturing businesses for a number of years, specialising in finance and also being jointly responsible for health and safety.  Naturally, I take an interest in these areas of the school, especially to ensure our staff and children operate in a safe environment.

I have two children at the school.  I have seen how well both of them have developed since starting school and can see how hard the staff work.  As a governor at the school, I am keen to do all I can to support the school in continuing the great work that they do.


Amy Binks: Associate Member

I was new to the Governing Board in July 2015, when I was co-opted through the governor recruitment process.

I am a chartered member of the CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development), with a BA (Hons) degree in Human Resource (HR) Management. Prior to starting a family, I worked as an HR Manager for a global automotive company, operating at a strategic and operational level within a heavily unionised environment. I aim to use my skills to strengthen the work of the Governing Board in achieving its objectives and vision for the school.

I have four children at the school, across three classes. I studied English Literature at A Level and I am the link governor for literacy. I have undertaken governor training and am already putting this training into practice. I am looking forward to working closely with the school.


Andrew Fyfe: Associate Member 

I am an experienced Senior Leader and currently Vice Principal at a large Academy in West Yorkshire, I joined the Governing Board in July 2015. I have worked in education for 16 years and have gained a wide experience of the education sector across the different phases. In particular I was a Vice Principal at a large all through Academy, and as a result gained a wealth of knowledge of the issues facing primary schools today.

As a senior leader in a vibrant and diverse school, I am aware of the importance of oversight and accountability. Topcliffe CE school is led by a determined and experienced leadership team and as a governor it is my role to ensure that they are supported whilst also being held to account. My knowledge of data and the changing education landscape will ensure that we are able to support the school on its journey forward.

I am a member of a number of educational organisations including Future Leaders, Headship Now, and Talented Leaders. All of these groups focus on tackling educational disadvantage in schools across the country. I have worked with a number of education providers over the years and been responsible for leading achievement, safeguarding, teaching and learning, pastoral care, staff development and appraisals.

I have 2 children in the school, and believe that the exciting lessons and support that the staff provide on a daily basis, has made them settle in very quickly. My children couldn’t be happier and are proud to be members of the school. I too am proud to be a member of the governing body. I am determined to ensure that my knowledge and expertise can be put to good use so that every one of the children we serve has the best start in their academic life.

Governor Attendance at LGBs:

 LGB Attendance
Showing 1-1 of 1

Register of Interest:                                                                                                                                                                      

Topcliffe C of E Academy 2019-2020


Name of Business

Nature of Business

Nature of Interest

Date of Registry Entry



Abi Clay


Topcliffe Academy


Head teacher






Rebecca Kaufman


Topcliffe Academy







Richard Tindall


Cleveland Police


Police officer





Eric Robertson


Thirsk Surgery







Rev Susanne Jukes




Foundation Governor at

Baldersby CofE Primary since Sept 2014

Dishforth CofE Primary






Stephen Bissett


TMD Friction


Commercial Controller





Simon Park


Foundation Resourcing Ltd







Bev Southwell









Associate Members







Amy Binks









Andy Fyfe


Eskdale School


Head teacher




                                                                                                                                                                                                   Checked 17.09.2019