Headteacher: Karl Russell

Silsden Primary School
Hawber Cote Lane
Silsden BD20 0JJ
T: 01535 653 290


Silsden Primary School Governing Board Members



Head teacher                                              Karl Russell

Local Authority Governor                     Richard Moore

Co-opted Governor                                  Jane Ogston

Co-opted Governor                                  Susan Griffiths

Co-opted Governor                                  Lynda Whitton

Co-opted Governor                                  Neil Whitaker

Teaching Staff Governor                       Rob Peat  

Parent Governor                                      Claire Bland 

Parent Governor                                      Louise Hughes

Co-opted Governor                                 Fiona McQuillan

Co-opted Governor                                 Sarah Newton

Co-opted Governor                                 Daniel Siggins

Co-opted Governor                                 Diane Broadhead

Associate Governor                                Michelle Freebury

Associate Governor                                Sally-Anne Boyes 

Associate Governor                                Alison O’Hara

Associate Governor                                Jennie Hudson

Associate Governor                                Jennifer Whytock

Associate Governor                                Alison Gornall

Associate Governor                                Carol Patefield   

Clerk to Governors                                  Rebecca Lee


Governor Pen Portraits

 Alison Gornall – Associate Governor

I moved to Silsden nearly 30 years ago and both my children have been through Aire View and Hothfield schools – which provided excellent first steps into their education. My son went on to Ermysteds and a career in Banking whilst my daughter to South Craven and Midwifery. They have both been successful and I want others to reach their potential and do the same. My own career has been varied – 13 years spent working in Podiatry for the NHS, 8 years in Pre-school education, the past 18 years at Hothfield and this year working across both sites of SPS.

I have held various Governor roles – Parent, Community and now Staff Governor; been an active member of committees – Premises, Pay, Personnel, Health and Safety, Food in Schools and now Resources and spent time as Chair of Personnel and Premises. I ran 3rd Keighley Beaver Scout Colony for 12 years and was Group Scout Leader. I find time for bellringing, enjoy family time, travel, and reading. I am dedicated to SPS and the education of children. I want them all to do the very best they can, achieve their goals and want a school that can provide this.

Rob Peat – Staff Governor

After completing a degree in International History & Politics, I trained as a Secondary Teacher in the 1990s but opted not to teach after qualifying. Instead, I worked in a variety of roles ranging from working in a South Leeds lighting factory to having grandiose but vague titles such as Head of Client Management and Strategic Client Director. Whilst some of these roles paid very well, I found them increasingly unsatisfying. I moved from Leeds to Cononley in 2014 and decided that, for me, fulfilment could only really come from helping others and ‘putting something back’.

Becoming a Primary Teacher seemed to offer this, so I spent six months in 2015 volunteering in local schools to gain experience and then took a fixed term role in Skipton, where I taught a mixed age class of Year 5 and 6 for a year. After that, I came to Hothfield Junior as a Teaching Assistant and then became a Class Teacher in 2018. I’ve taught Year 4, then 5 and now back to 4. As well as Class Teaching, I lead Computing in KS2 and am currently in the process of training to be the School’s Staff ‘Mental Health Champion’.

I’m incredibly lucky that I have (finally) found my dream job and am thankful for every day. I love working with children and seeing them learn, grow and mature. Taking on a Staff Governor role is an extension of this. It allows me to see and share the tremendous work that goes on in school. I am a member of the Resources Committe allowing oversight of the financial management and decision making of the school.

Away from school and work, I am an avid Leeds United fan and make no apologies for this!

Carol Patefield – Associate Governor

I was appointed a Parent Governor of the newly formed Silsden Primary School in October 2017, when I joined the Resources Committee. I am currently vice chair. I have worked at Skipton Building Society’s Head office for the past 24 years. I am an Underwriting Leader and look after a large team of people who process and complete mortgage applications, helping people to own their own homes.

I have lived in Silsden nearly all my life and also attended both Aire View and Hothfield Street schools. I enjoy running and walking with my family we are all members of the local Wharfedale Harriers running club. I am a Mental Health First Aider and have a genuine interest in people and their well-being.

 Jane Ogston – Co-opted Governor

In January 2013, I was elected to be a Parent Governor at Aire View Infant School, as it was then and have been Chair of the Resource Committee, for almost all of my time as a Governor, since then. I have lived in Silsden for over 10 years and have one child, who attended Silsden Primary School and is now at South Craven School. My background is in Financial Services and IT. I have worked in this industry for 25 years in a variety of roles and am currently the Company Director of a Project Management Company.

I believe the skills and experience I have gained over the years have proved invaluable in my role as a Governor, particularly in financial management, project management and planning. I am committed to ensuring Silsden Primary pupils receive the best possible all-round education to enable them to reach their full potential and giving them an excellent foundation for secondary school learning.

Claire Bland – Parent Governor

My name is Claire Bland and I am excited to be joining the Board of Governors at Silsden Primary School. I am specifically joining the Standards and Pupil Welfare Committee. I have two children of my own at Silsden Primary School , work locally as a SENDCO at a local primary and I and have recently completed an MA in Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

My focus as a governor will be to promote the child’s voice and encourage a holistic view of all children. Whilst academic focus is important for our students, I am keen to ensure that we continue to monitor their mental health and wellbeing. I feel that nurturing social and emotional wellbeing of our youngsters is vital to their educational experience, especially given the challenging times that we have all endured recently throughout the pandemic.

Lynda Whitton – Co-opted Governor

 I have 3 children, all who have attended the then Aire View Infant, and Hothfield schools. They now all attend South Craven. My middle child has Cerebral Palsy and was brilliantly supported by all staff, ensuring his physical restrictions did not hinder him accessing the full curriculum. I worked closely with school and when it was time for him to transition from Aire View to Hothfield, the Head at the time asked if I’d consider putting myself forward for an open governor’s position. I did so and was voted into the post as parent governor. 8 years has passed since then and I’ve seen/been part of significant changes in both the schools, having been heavily involved with the merger to Silsden Primary.

I’ve worked in IT for my entire career moving to IT Project Management just over 12 years ago.

I’ve performed many roles as a governor over the years but due to work commitments I tend to be able to commit more time to tasks requiring blocks of time such as recruitment and governor days, rather than being able to be in school during the day regularly. I’m currently link governor for Safeguarding, SEND and Science. I’m also a member of the PPW committee.

Having seen the ups and downs of the schools, and single school, the dedication of the entire GB is a must to ensure we give the best school we can to our students, school colleagues and community. I’m committed to give as much time as I can to meet the needs of our school.

Susan Griffiths – Co-opted Governor

My name is Susan Griffiths and I am one of the Ministers at St. James Church in Silsden. I share the position with my husband David. We have lived in Silsden since July 2010 when we came to work, from September 2010, for the Church and Parish of Silsden. We have three children – Matthew (19), Andrew (17) and Hannah (15) – who are at University and South Craven School. All three of our children attended Hothfield School.

I have been ordained within the Church of England since 1994 and have worked at churches in Ingrow, Wyke and Wibsey before moving to Silsden. Before ordination I worked for the Inland Revenue for around 13 years, latterly as an Inspector of Taxes.

 Neil Whitaker – Co-opted Governor

I am a solicitor

I have lived in Silsden since 1995

Our three children have all been through SPS (when Aire View Infant School and Hothfield Junior School)

Governor at Hothfield Junior School (Silsden Primary School legacy school) from 2008

Chair of Hothfield Junior School Governing Board – 2011 to 2017, Chair of Silsden Primary School 2017-2018

Covered Ofsted Inspections 2012 (Good), 2014 (RI) and 2016 (Good)

Chair of Standards Committee – Hothfield Junior School – 2015 to 2017

Chair of SPW Committee – Silsden Primary School – 2017/18

Richard Moore – Co-opted Governor (Chair of Governing Board)

 Following retirement from a successful career in banking finance I looked for something where I could use my skills, experience and energy. What could be better than to support schools and children’s education. I have been a governor at Sandal Primary & Nursery School in Baildon for around 11 years and have been Chair for over 7 of those years. During this time I have been through difficult times with Ofsted rulings but finally in June 2018 our hard work was rewarded by an award of Good overall with Outstanding in Personal development, behaviour and welfare and also in Early Years.

I have been deeply involved in the restructure and appointment of the Senior Leadership Team and new teachers and taken decisive action on underperformance. Through all of this my focus has been to make sure that the best possible people joined our team to give the children first class teaching and support in their learning. During this time I have also been a governor at two other primary schools as well as Mentoring other Chairs. I also was honoured in 2018 to be nominated for Bradford Schools Governor of the Year.

My outlook has always been positive and there is nothing more rewarding than to see children start school in Nursery and leave in Year 6 knowing that you have done something to provide the best possible education and help them grow and develop. I was delighted to be asked to join Silsden’s Governing Board and feel that my experience, skills and commitment can support Silsden Primary School in the exciting times we have ahead.

Daniel Siggins – Co-Opted Governor

Originally from The Wirral I moved to Yorkshire almost 20 years ago to study at Leeds Trinity University were I studied History and then trained to be Secondary School teacher. After graduating I got my first job in an inner-city school in Bradford, I have now been a teacher for 15 years and now teach at a Secondary school in Cullingworth. I believe that working within Secondary education has provided me with a wealth of skills that I can use in my role as a governor at Silsden Primary School.

I have one child who attends Silsden Primary School and have been pleased with the learning journey he is on. I look forward to committing my time and expertise to help drive the school forward. As a secondary school teacher I am aware of the importance of primary foundation on setting the scene to develop children as they move onto secondary education.

Diane Broadhead – Co-Opted Governor

I was appointed as Co-opted Governor in January 2020 and feel I have several skills that can be of value to the Governing Board.

I work as a Chartered Financial Planner in Ilkley, having been in the Financial Services industry for the past 22 years.

I grew up in Silsden and have lived in the village most of my life. I attended both Aire View and Hothfield Street Schools.

I have two Children at Silsden Primary School, in years 6 and 2. I would like the school that my children attend to thrive and provide them with the best education and opportunities possible. If I can contribute to the school’s success it will of course benefit my children and all others that attend the school.

In my spare time I love spending time with my family and going on holiday when possible. I am a member of Wharfedale Harriers running club and love nothing more than heading up onto the fells for some fresh air.

Fiona McQuillan – Co-Opted Governor

I grew up in Sutton in Craven and went to South Craven School to study my GCSE’s and A Levels. I then went to Lancaster University to study Law and I completed the Legal Practice Course in Leeds to enable me to qualify as a solicitor. I am now a qualified solicitor in a law firm with offices in Bradford, Bingley, Ilkley, Otley and Leeds. I am the Operations Manager of the firm meaning that I am responsible for overseeing the staff and managing ongoing projects for the firm. I am also a shareholder and Director in a company that specialises in Health and Safety and Employment Law/HR advice.

I have lived in Silsden since 2016 and my daughter is currently at SPS. I applied to become a Governor as I am a strong believer in the education system and believe that every child/student should be given the opportunity to become the best they can be. I believe every day is school day, even when you’re an adult; there is always something new to learn. As such, I am determined to support the school to provide the best education possible to their students.

Sarah Newton – Co-opted Governor

I am a teacher at Keighley College where I have taught for nearly 18 years, I have had first hand experience of the ups and downs within an educational setting.
Working in an ever changing educational environment, I fully understand the pressures placed on educational establishments, staff, children and parents.
I have always lived in Yorkshire. We moved and finally settled in Silsden 6 years ago.
I have 2 children who both attend Silsden Primary School.
I enjoy spending time with my family, walking with my dogs and running with my husband and friends. I am a member of the school PTA and provide admin support for both my sons’ football teams (Silsden Juniors).
I am pleased to have been appointed as a co-opted governor and I am looking forward to my role where I feel I can bring a variety of skills and experiences to SPS’s Governing Board.​


Michelle Freebury – Associate Governor

I moved to Silsden 7 years ago and even though I have always lived close to the area and attended local schools I actually knew very little about the school itself.  Last year my daughter joined Reception and this gave me the ideal opportunity to get more involved. I joined the newly formed PTA in 2019 and have helped to organise a number of fundraising events, shortly after I put myself forward to represent the school as a Governor.

Having qualified as a primary school teacher myself just over 11 years ago and I have a good understanding of the primary education system. I am passionate about education and I believe that it is the responsibility of primary school teachers to inspire and motivate young people, equipping them with the skills to become lifelong learners!

I look forward to continuing my journey with the children, staff and Governors of this fantastic school!


Louise Hughes – Parent Governor

I moved and settled in the vicinity of Silsden 9 years ago. Both of my children have been born and raised here and have attended Silsden Primary School since the age of 3 in the nursery provision. As such I have a vested interest in supporting the school in ensuring the best possible start for them and the generations of children that will form the local community in years to come.

Since qualifying to teach in 2007, I’ve gained experience working across the primary age range in several authorities. For the past 7 years I’ve been employed as a SENDCo (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator) within the Bradford District, most recently also acquiring Accredited Teacher Status for supporting learners with Dyslexia, and as such have gained valuable experience of working collaboratively with a number of specialists and agencies to support children (and their families) in overcoming barriers to accessing school life. My passion lies in ensuring that the school environment is inclusive for all children and I look forward to supporting to school through my role as Parent Governor in their vision of offering all of our children the opportunity to succeed.