Introduction from our Chair of Governors

Governors at The Farnley Academy come from many different walks of life – some of us are parents, with children at the school, some are members of the local community whilst others have professional experiences that can be of use to our students and staff. Together, we have a range of complementary skills that enable us to fulfil our role as critical friends of the Academy. We are united in our determination to support and encourage the further development of the academy.

We have a significant role to play in this development, through our scrutiny of the Academy’s plans for future improvement, our understanding of the needs of the community and our commitment to remain at the forefront of educational thinking. We support a wide range of extra-curricular initiatives, including careers, advice and guidance. Most importantly, we aim to ensure that all students fulfil their potential and are able to experience a wide range of academic, social and cultural activities in a caring and stimulating environment.

I feel privileged to be Chair of Governors at this exceptional institution. I have been personally involved with Farnley since 2009 and I am proud of the incredible journey the school has been on since then. Moving rapidly from a low base to being judged as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2013, the school has not rested on its laurels. The Leadership Team and all staff are innovative and focussed upon further improvement. A brief inspection of our results bears witness to their success. Most importantly, students are well prepared for the world of work and their role in our ever changing society. Our Governing Body will continue to challenge and support the academy to the best of our ability.

Mrs Anne McAvan
Chair of Governors

About our Local Governing Body

Together with the Executive Principal and Principal, the Local Governing Body is responsible for the internal operation, management and control of The Farnley Academy to ensure that it is highly effective in delivering the best outcomes for young people.

Under the excellent leadership of Chair of Governors, Mrs Anne McAvan, and Vice Chair of Governors, Mrs Sarah Atkinson, the Local Governing Body makes decisions about:

  • Priorities for academy improvement;
  • The Academy’s budget;
  • Teaching and learning strategies;
  • Policy-making;
  • The appointment of senior staff;
  • Student behaviour and attendance;
  • The Academy’s aims, ethos and vision.

Members of the Local Governing Body bring skills from a wide range of professions including finance, law, industry, construction and education. This experience is crucial to effective decision-making in the Academy.

Our Governors

Name Category End of Term of Office Committee Membership Voting Rights Business Interests Other establishments they govern Any relations within the academy
Sarah Atkinson
Vice Chair


Yes Head of Services – Children & Families, Leeds Counselling John Smeaton Academy, SCITT None
Gemma Eastwood Parent 31/12/2022 Yes None None None
Justine Clark Community 31/12/2022 Yes None None None
Colin Fisher Community 31/12/2022 PP Yes Manager of Wortley Girls U13 Football Team (Uses Sports Facilities) / Teaching Assistant at Bruntcliffe Academy BA None
Chris Graves TGAT 31/12/2020 Yes None None None
Louise Greatrex Community


PP Yes None Lighthouse School None

Leanne Griffiths

Executive Principal: 11-16 Education

n/a Yes None


Sue Hawkshaw


31/12/2022 PP Yes Owner: Leeds Governance for Growth TSLA None
Karl Horan Parent 31/12/2022 Yes None None None
Lesley Jones


31/12/2022 PP Yes None TSLA None
Karen Lawson TGAT


Yes None TMA, SCITT None
Anne McAvan
Community 31/12/2019 PP Yes None EHC None
Paddy Moore Staff


Yes None None None
Chris Stokes Principal n/a Yes None SCITT None
Sir John Townsley

Chief Executive Officer


Become a Governor

Becoming a governor is one of the most important ways to help your local academy.

Being an academy governor can be very rewarding and a good way of helping your local community, as well as having a positive influence on the quality of children’s education. The Farnley Academy’s Local Governing Body welcomes people from all walks of life as each person brings their unique experience and talents to the work of running an academy.

Company Documentation

All company documentation relating to The GORSE Academies Trust can be found on our Trust website at