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Meet our Governors

Sarah Lord – Chair of Governors. (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.

Ewan Cochrane – Vice 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.

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.

Ian Davidson (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.

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.

Lizzie Arnold (Staff Governor)

As a teacher I’ve had the privilege to teach and be part of the wonderful Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy community. This has allowed me to develop strong bonds with children, parents, staff and the local community. I’ve been an active staff governor for over two years and I’ve led local community projects such as renovating outdoor learning areas, leading the school choir at Strensall carnival and even teaching funkasize classes! My passion is to be part of an incluse, progressive and vibrant governing body where we support all children to achieve and thrive.

Huw Hodges (Staff Governor)

I have been a primary teacher for 7 years, having trained through the School Direct program run through York St. John and Ebor Academy Trust, and have taught at Robert Wilkinson since qualifying in 2014. Throughout these 7 years, I have taught in Years 4 and 5 and am very excited to be heading to Year 6 for the new academic year. For the past four years, I have been the Maths Subject Lead for school and was Team Leader in Year 5 last year; I will continue in this role for Year 6 this year.

I care deeply about the way children feel about coming to our school, the experience they have whilst they are pupils here and how they will feel when they leave and my passion for providing the children with a quality education as well as support in their wellbeing is driven by the desire for them to have a positive experience at Robert Wilkinson.

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.

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.

Governors SEP 2021

Governing Body Structure

20201 2022 RWPA Local Governing Body Structure & Declaration of Interests

Additional Information

You can download a copy of the Governors poster Governors MAY 2022

Governing Body Meeting Updates

Governing Body Update May 2022

Governing Body Update March 2022

Governing Body Update Jan 2022

Governing Body Update Nov 2021

Governing Body Update Sept 2021

5th May 2021

5th March 2021

13th January 2021

11th November 2020

23rd September 2020


Governor Declarations

Robert Wilkinson Primary Register of Business Interests 2020-21