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Thorner C of E

Primary School

Proud to be a part of the Elevate Multi Academy Trust

0113 2892541

Kirkhills, Thorner, Leeds LS14 3JD

Mrs G. Whawell - Headteacher

An inspirational place to learn and play, helping us make the most of everyday “All things are possible to those who believe.” (Mark 9:23)



Thorner C of E Primary School has been part of Elevate Multi Academy Trust from July 2018 and is happy to be part of the educational vision of the Trust, whilst retaining it's own strong identity.   


The core functions of the local governing board are:

  • To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • To hold the headteacher 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.

To ensure the Christian ethos is upheld and taught to its children. 


Chair of Governors: Dawn Scargill

Contact:  or Thorner C of E Primary School Kirkhills, Thorner, Leeds LS14 3JD



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 Headteacher to make sure that teaching at the Academy is effective and good quality and the children are making the best possible progress.

  •  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 Academy by parents at the Academy.

  • Staff Governor

    Elected from staff at the Academy by staff at the Academy.

  • Co-opted Governors

    Appointed by members of the 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.


Elevate Governance:

As a multi-academy trust, Elevate is a charitable company limited by guarantee. This means that Elevate is a single legal entity, but it has several Academies within its family. Currently, Elevate has 14 Primary Academies. These are mainly situated across North Yorkshire with 1 Academy in West Yorkshire.


Elevate and their Academies work in collaboration with a single shared vision. The governance structure is designed to reflect the overall responsibility of the Board of Trustees, the (operational) leadership of the CEO supported by the School Improvement Team for education and the Operational Team; for the day to day running of the Academies by the Executive Head Teachers (EHT) and Head teachers coupled with the value of local experience and understanding of the LGBs in assessing the performance of our Academy and their interaction with the local community.

Elevate has established 3 key layers of governance: 

  • Members
  • Trustees
  • Local Governors 


Although Elevate’s Trustees are accountable for all of the Academies within the Trust, it highly values the work undertaken by local governors in supporting, and challenging, our Academies and senior leadership teams to deliver high quality and inclusive education.


Elevate LGBs have a pivotal role in the overall framework of the Trust by having:

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of their Academies;
  • Sustaining uniqueness of their Academy whilst aligning with Elevate’s educational vision;
  • Forging and maintaining links with their community;
  • Providing the vital governance link between themselves and Trustees to enable the Trustees to carry out their responsibilities as leaders of the Trust.

The different responsibilities overseen by Trustees and Local Governors are set out in the Scheme of Delegation, which is reviewed on an annual basis.


Link to Scheme of Delegation

Link to Articles of Association


Parent Governors: 

Beth James: 
Beth was very pleased to become a Parent Governor in January 2021.  She has one child at Thorner and is also the Treasurer of the PTA.  Beth does not have a background in education, however through her job as a team leader in the Home Office she does have significant experience of managing staff, leading projects and is very familiar with the importance of safeguarding, having undergone significant training as part of her job.  She is committed to working with the other Governors to make sure the Academy continues to be an inspiring and wonderful learning environment for all children attending Thorner.

Dr Anna Mather:

Anna lives in Thorner with her husband and 2 children, who attend Thorner School.

Anna moved to Leeds in 2001 after medical training in Oxford and has been working in Children’s Services ever since, first Paediatrics, then Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – initially General CAMHS/Neurodevelopmental Disorders, later specialising in Eating Disorders as a Consultant (2009 onwards). She sat on the Citywide Strategic Leadership Group from 2013-2018, developing relationships with commissioners, stakeholders and service users to help shape Leeds CAMHS’ response to national guidance and local need.

Outside work, she enjoys writing, ballet and walks – balanced with an increasingly demanding role as CEO of “Mum Taxis”.

She looks forward to using her experience to help keep Thorner the superbly nurturing environment for young minds she already sees every day.


Head teacher 

Gemma Whawell:  

Gemma joined the team at Thorner C of E Primary School in September 2013. She feels extremely fortunate to work in her role as Headteacher, with such wonderful children, staff, parents and governors. Gemma enjoyed her school days so much and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher. Gemma finds it both a pleasure and privilege to work with children. Since qualifying as a teacher in 2007, she has taught in almost every year group across the Primary phase. Gemma previously worked as Class Teacher and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Harrogate and was a Leading Teaching for Early Years in North Yorkshire. Gemma feels that living and working in the community of Thorner is such a privilege. She is incredibly proud to be part of a hard working team who are dedicated to making Thorner Primary School the best it can possibly be for the children at the Academy. She always seek to make school a positive and enjoyable experience for the children that she works with and does all that she can to support each individual in overcoming any barrier to learning. Gemma is passionate about enabling children to reach their full potential and helping them develop the values and skills to support them in their future life.



Foundation Governor 

Susan Graham:  Foundation Governor 
Susan has been associated with Thorner School since her child started here in 2006. She worships at St Peter's Church and has been a foundation Gov for 12 years. She is a chartered accountant by background with over 15 years experience in advising businesses and organisations, large and small, in both the private and the public sector. All 3 of her children have now passed through the Academy and benefited tremendously from all that Thorner has to offer. She is committed to helping to make the Academy the best it can be for the benefit of all our children, whilst also ensuring that Thorners distinctive Christian ethos is developed and encouraged through links with St Peter's.


Co-opted Governors

Dawn Scargill :Chair of Governors

Dawn is privileged to have become a Parent Governor and Chair of the Governing Body at Thorner in November 2014. Her background is in commercial property law where her work often involves making challenging decisions, finding consensus and understanding/interpreting legal documents. Dawn's reason for becoming a governor was to try and give something back to both the Academy and community, and to contribute some of her own work experience/skills to the local governing body. As a governor, Dawn's duties involve supporting the Headteacher and staff, in our vision to provide an inspirational education for all the children at Thorner, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to be the best they can be, each and every day.

Roger Kaye

Roger comes with a wealth of experience of life and enthusiasms including a career as a teacher, university lecturer, army officer, barrister, judge (both secular and ecclesiastical), parole board and member of St Peter’s Church choir. Now retired, he is committed to putting back into the community the benefits of a lifetime of experience of dealing with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Katie Haynes:

Katie's background is in asset management where her work involves providing strategic advice as well as project and risk management. Alongside this Katie coordinates a reading/writing partnership with an educational charity enabling financial professionals to volunteer as reading/number/writing partners with primary schools. 

 After moving to Thorner during the covid-19 pandemic, Katie became a school governor to contribute back to the welcoming local community. She is passionate about education and helping to create an environment where all children can learn and develop.

Staff Governor
Chloe Davies:  

In 2016, Chloe was thrilled to be appointed as class teacher at Thorner to start her teaching career and from then has taught in both Year 3 and Year 4 as well as engaging with children across school. She has developed effective relationships with children and families and loves watching children develop an excitement and love for learning across the curriculum. Chloe has developed her leadership skills over the years by attending courses and leading subjects in school such as Science, MFL and supporting the leadership of English. She has supported staff with the implementation of new approaches within these subjects and has carried out monitoring in these areas of the curriculum too. She believes she has developed trustworthy and positive relationships with staff across school which has enabled these approaches to be successful. Chloe is dedicated to the children’s learning and well-being at Thorner and delivers lessons which allow them to thrive, be challenged, develop their knowledge and skills whilst demonstrating the school values. She is proud of the children’s achievements in and out of school and is delighted to be a member of staff at Thorner.


Associate Member

Sam Capstick: 

Sam, Assistant Headteacher, began her teaching career as an NQT at Thorner School over 20 years ago and throughout the years has accumulated a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience. She has taught in years 3, 5 and 6 and is currently teaching in year 6. The children at Thorner matter to Sam. She cares about their learning, their welfare and their entitlement to enjoy their time in our school. Sam believes it is her job to make a difference to their lives. Sam has been on the governing body since 2010 and during this time she has been involved in the recruitment of staff and been on both the Teaching and Learning Committee and Resources Committee. She has enjoyed working closely with members of the governing body when recruiting and selecting new members of staff, short listing, interviewing, observing lessons as part of the process and helping to make an informed decision. As an experienced governor and member of staff, Sam believes that maintaining high quality relationships with a local governing body that continues to offer challenge and support is a vital component for the long-term success of the Academy.


 Local Governing Body

Our Local Governing Body is made up of the following members: 




Link Governor


Name of Business

Nature of Business

Nature of Interest

Gemma Whawell

Head teacher







To 26.03.2023


Chloe Davies 





Beth James



To 14.09.2025


Susan Graham


SEND & Finance

To 06.11.2022


Treasurer of 1st Thorner Scouts




Ex officio


Roger Kaye QC

Co opted


To 14.11.2025


Katie Haynes

Co opted


To 14.11.2025


Dawn Scargill

Co opted


To 18.09.2026




In Attendance





Anna Mather



To 14.11.2022

Mather Field Medical (partner)

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

Dianne Mousley


Head of Governance & Safeguarding




Sam Capstick






Paul Spurrier co opted governor resigned on 28th June 2021

Rev Andy Foundaiton governor resigned 26th April 2021

Michelle Manson resigned 16th January 2021

Sue Hayward Giles resigned 18.07.2022


Governors Attendance:

Governor Attendance 2022-2023

Governors Attendance 2021-2022

Governor Attendance 2020-2021

Governor Attendance 2019-2020

Governor Attendance 2018-2019