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Meet Our Governors

Ewan Cochrane – Chair of Governors.
(Link Finance Governor) (Link EYFS / KS1 Governor)

My wife and I have lived in Strensall for over 10 years and have 3 kids.

Our daughter is in Year 1 and both of our boys are now at Secondary School having attended Robert Wilkinson.

I have a keen interest in rugby and running.

My background is in finance and I currently work at Homes England, a Government Agency providing residential development finance to house builders across England.

What I enjoy about the Governor role is the chance to make a difference and use my experience and knowledge to contribute to the successful running of my child’s school.

Ian Davidson – Vice Chair (Link PP/Service/Vulnerable Pupils Governor)

I have lived in York for over 15 years and in Strensall for 3. My wife and I are parents to 3 girls (two currently at RWPA in Year 2 and Early Years). One of the key reasons for moving to Strensall was because we heard fantastic things about Robert Wilkinson and the opportunities it provided to the pupils.

My professional background is in change management and consultancy in financial services and I currently work in an IT role. Outside of work and family I love all sports, and particularly playing golf.

Despite not having a background in education I was keen to become a parent governor to try and use my experience to support and develop the school. After a year of working remotely since joining the governing body I am looking forward to getting into the school to see all the good work first hand.

Sarah Lord – (Link Safeguarding Governor)

I am a mum to 2 girls and a part-time Radiographer. We moved to York over 11 years ago following my husband’s army posting and chose to stay after he retired from the Army.

Both my daughters attended RWPA and I have been involved with RWPA since my eldest started in Early years in 2011. I can often be found volunteering in the pool on swimming days.

I have been fortunate enough to have been involved as a governor for the last 6 years and enjoy the challenge. My background is not in education and learning how things are done within a school is a huge learning curve and a real eye opener to the work teachers do.

In my spare time I can be found in my sewing room designing and creating bags and memory cushions which I sell through my Etsy business.

Amy Holden (Wilkinson, Cobb and Hodgson Trust governor)
(Link SEND governor)

I am a Wilkinson, Cobb and Hodgson trust representative governor.

I have been a governor at Robert Wilkinson for around 3 years and have previously been a staff governor in a school. I have been a primary school teacher for over 13 years with a specialism in early years and special needs. I have two children attending Robert Wilkinson one in pre-school and one in year 1 and they both love coming to school.

I adore the outdoors and spend a lot of time with my children on Strensall common or at the beach with picnics. We also grow our own vegetables and have pet chickens.

I wanted to become a staff governor, a position which I have held for the past two years, to support our governing body in any way I can. As a local lad (my family moved to Sheriff Hutton when I was 10 – I even had primary school swimming lessons in our pool!), I take a great amount of pride in being a teacher here and working with our governors to continue developing engaged, enthusiastic and hard-working young adults of the future.

Jessica Haigh Link (KS2 Governor)

I am originally from Cumbria and lived in another area of York for 8 years prior to moving to Strensall in 2014 with my husband. The village has brought a welcome change to our lifestyle with a friendly community which we love. I have 2 daughters one of which is in year 2 and the other who has just started in preschool. So far the school has been fantastic in offering a great learning environment for both my children to flourish and achieve. My background is in education and studied for my Post Graduate Certificate at Loughborough University. I have been teaching now for 16 years and I currently work as a secondary school PE teacher in a North Yorkshire school. At the beginning of my career, I had experience of working in local primary schools helping to support teachers in coordinating and delivering their PE curriculum. I am very much looking forwards to my role as a parent governor and as we return to normality, I am hoping to visit the school soon to see all the fantastic work that is going on behind the scenes.


Phillipa Dunford-Jeffs (Health & Safety Governor) (Link KS2 Governor)

I returned to York after a number of years to be close again to family and friends and my husband and I chose to live in Strensall for its proximity to work and the reputation of RWPA. It has been wonderful to have such a supportive community around us throughout lockdown.

Our son is in Year 3 and I hope through this role I can help make a difference to the future of RWPA, bringing a different slant with my background and work experience. I work in the independent school sector for St Peter’s School, York, though I am responsible for fundraising and maintaining contact with former pupils, so this will also be a great opportunity for me to learn more about the educational aspects of the school.

I enjoy regular bootcamp sessions and undoing all the hard work with baking! I can often be found cheering at the side of the football pitch on the weekend.

Mel Clark (Staff Governor)

I am in my ninth year as a teacher here at RWPA and am the team leader for year 2 having spent several years teaching in year 2.  I am also the lead teacher for wellbeing and behaviour in school and pastoral care is something I am very passionate about.
Teaching has always been the job that I wanted to do and I feel privileged to be able to be a part of the primary school journey for so many children within the local community here at RWPA.  Ensuring children have the skills and confidence to fulfill their potential and creating opportunities for children to completely engage with and love learning in a safe and happy environment are key for me.  I am proud to say I am a teacher at RWPA and have joined the governing body as a staff governor to support in any way I can so that the children in our care can continue to thrive, now and in the future.


I moved to York with my husband in 2017 and this will be my fourth year working at Robert Wilkinson Primary as Deputy Headteacher and Safeguarding Lead. Prior to this role, I was part of the Ebor school improvement team leading on maths across the 23 schools in the Trust and in October 2018 was lucky enough to visit Shanghai as part of the Ebor maths team.

I am proud to be a member of the Robert Wilkinson team and part of the governing body, striving to reach the best outcomes for our children whilst having staff and children’s wellbeing also as a priority.

Kelly Dale (Link EYFS / KS1 Governor)

You may recognise me as your local Library Manager at Strensall Library, I have worked for the Library service in York for 8 years, it goes without saying that I am an avid reader & have a keen interest in Children’s Literacy.

Outside of my day job I also run my own small business, whilst also getting stuck in with endless home improvements! As a former pupil of Robert Wilkinson it is great to be able to give back & be a part of the wonderful School community once again.

Daniel Pillai

I am the founder of several companies and groups developing and promoting new sustainability technologies in industry. I have held senior international roles in buildings systems, business development, strategy, general management and sales and marketing. I have a wealth of experience in the international business world which will enable him to challenge and support the Senior leadership at RWPA. I am currently a Member of The Oak Learning Partnership a multi academy trust.

Hannah Gains

I grew up in Strensall where I attended Robert Wilkinson Primary along with my two siblings. My partner and his brother were also pupils here, so our families have a long history with the school and the community. Since leaving Strensall, I have returned on various occasions, spending my work experience at the school and more recently, bringing my two children here on a weekend for their swimming lessons.

I work full time as the Education Business Development Manager for Portakabin across England and Wales, covering all education establishments from early years to universities and everything in between. This enables me to gain a lot of insight into the sector, the challenges it faces and the fantastic work which goes on within it. I am passionate about improving outcomes for young people through the improvement of their education environment.

With my son starting school last September, I have seen from a parents perspective (along with hearing it direct from many of my work connections) just how important and valuable Governors are to the pupils, staff and parents. This is my first Governor role and I can’t wait to be part of such a brilliant school.

Governing Body Structure

Governors Name
Type of Governor
Term of Office
From To
Donna Bedford Headteacher 18/09/19
Jo Evans Staff
Mel Blackburn Staff 12.10.22 12.10.26
Daniel Theivanantham Pillai RW, C, H Trust 08.04.2022 08.04.2026
Amy Holden RW, C, H Trust 21.11.22 20.11.26
Ewan Cochrane (Chair) RW, C, H Trust 18.09.19 18.09.27
Sarah Lord Ebor Appointed 01.12.20 30.11.24
Kelly Dale Ebor Appointed 09.12.20 08.12.24
Ian Davidson (Vice Chair) Parent 16.12.20 15.12.24
Jessica Haigh Parent 16.12.20 15.12.24
Phillippa Dunford-Jeffs Parent 16.12.20 15.12.24
Hannah Gains Ebor Appointed 03.05.23 03.05.27

Committee Groups

Committee Groups

Curriculum Committee

Standards Committee










Link Roles Current

  • SEN – Amy

  • Leadership – Ewan

  • Safeguarding & PHSE – Sarah

  • KS2 – Daniel & Ian

  • EYFS & KS1 – Kelly & Hannah

  • Finance – Ewan & Daniel

  • H&S – Phillipa

  • PP, Service & Vulnerable Pupils – Ian & Phillipa

  • Governor Comms & Events – Kelly & Hannah

  • Sport Premium – Jessica

Additional Information

You can download a copy of the Governors poster Governors OCT 2023

Governor Attendance at meetings 2023 / 2024

Governors Name
Type of Governor
Cycle 1.1 Cycle 1.2 Cycle 2.1 Cycle 3.1 Cycle 3.2 %
11th Oct 2023 29th Nov 2023 28th Feb 2024 8th May 2024 3rd July 2024
Donna Bedford Headteacher P 100%
Jo Evans Staff P 100%
Mel Clark Staff A 0%
Daniel Theivanantham Pillai RW, C, H Trust A 0%
Amy Holden RW, C, H Trust P 100%
Ewan Cochrane (Chair) RW, C, H Trust P 100%
Sarah Lord Ebor Appointed P 100%
Kelly Dale Ebor Appointed P 100%
Ian Davidson (Vice Chair) Parent P 100%
Jessica Haigh Parent P 100%
Phillippa Dunford-Jeffs Parent P 100%
Hannah Gains Ebor Appointed P 100%
Present: P
Not Present/ Absent: A

Governor Attendance at meetings 2022 / 2023

Governors Name
Type of Governor
Cycle 1.1 Cycle 1.2 Cycle 2.1 Cycle 3.1 Cycle 3.2 %
12th Oct 2022 30th Oct 2022 1st Feb 2023 3rd May 2023 5th July 2023
Donna Bedford Headteacher P P P P P 100%
Huw Hodges Staff A P A P A 40%
Mel Clark Staff P P A P A 60%
Daniel Theivanantham Pillai RW, C, H Trust P P P P P 100%
Amy Holden RW, C, H Trust P A A P P 60%
Ewan Cochrane (Vice Chair) RW, C, H Trust P P P P P 100%
Sarah Lord- Chair Ebor Appointed P P P P A 80%
Kelly Dale Ebor Appointed P P P P P 100%
Ian Davidson Parent P A P P P 80%
Jessica Haigh Parent P P P P A 80%
Phillippa Dunford-Jeffs Parent P A A P P 60%
Hannah Gains Ebor Appointed P P 100%
Present: P
Not Present/ Absent: A

Governor Attendance at meetings 2021 / 2022

Governor 22/09/21 10/11/21 12/02/22 02/03/22 18/05/22 29/06/22 %
Donna Bedford X X X X X X 100%
Sarah Lord X X X X X X 100%
Ewan Cochrane X X X X X X 100%
Kelly Dale X X X X X 83%
Ian Davidson X X X X X 83%
Phillipa Dunford-Jeffs X X X X X 83%
Lizzie Fowler (Arnold) X X X X X X 100%
Jessica Haigh X X X X X X 100%
Huw Hodges X X X X X 83%
Amy Holden X X X X X X 100%
Daniel Pillai First Meeting


Governor Declarations

Robert Wilkinson Governors Declaration of Interest and Declaration of Eligibility 2023-24 (Responses) – Form responses 1

Further details are held on file