Meet our Governors
Angus Martin MA, FCA, Chair
Year of appointment: 2014
Angus was educated at LGS and then Christ Church, Oxford where he read geology. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and was a partner for twenty years until his retirement in 2013. Whilst at Deloitte, he specialised in business restructuring/insolvency, pension advisory work and risk management. He is currently working for a number of not for profit organisations. His family has a long connection with the school; his father, brothers, cousin and three children were all educated at GSAL or the predecessor schools. Outside work, Angus’ interests include cycling, skiing, and gardening.
Angus is Chair of the Board of Governors and serves on the Business & Management and Corporate Governance Committees.
Charlene Lyons BA Hons, Joint Vice-Chair
Year of appointment: 2016
Charlene is the CEO of Black Sheep Brewery and a management consultant and founder of Lyons Consultancy, a company that works nationally across many business sectors to deliver various solutions from change management and business restructuring to business strategy and marketing engagement. Her work within the public sector to date has largely entailed governance restructure, support and evaluation and working with many boards of trustees from charities to hospitals. Charlene is passionate about education and alongside her career, Charlene is married to Ben and together they have three children. As a family, they enjoy socialising, holidays, sport, nice food and most importantly having fun.
Charlene chairs the External Relations and Fundraising Committees and serves on the Business, Audit & Risk Committee. Charlene is also a director of GSAL Enterprises.
Philip Britton MBE, MA, Med, FInstP, FCCT
Year of appointment: 2022
Philip is Head of Foundation at Bolton School, an HMC and GSA school of some 2,500 boys and girls from nursery to 18, having previously been Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division. He was brought up on Tyneside, gained a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge, where he was awarded the Charles Fox Prize. He worked as a physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics, where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to inspire the next generation of physicists. He was Vice President (Education) of the Institute of Physics from 2012-2016 and is Chair of Trustees for the Institute of Development Professional in Education and Chair of the HMC Communications Committee. He still enjoys scouting having been a member since 1980 and is currently Assistant Group Scout leader.
Philip serves on the Education and Fundraising Committees and chairs the LGS & LGHS Foundation.
Jeremy Cross BA (Oxon), MA, ACA
Year of appointment: 2012
After studying philosophy, politics and economics at Magdalen College Oxford, Jeremy qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers. He has been a director at Asda, and more recently at Lloyds Banking Group, and now has a number of non-executive roles. In addition, Jeremy is a trustee of various charities including Chair of the board at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield. Jeremy is married to Anna, and they have a daughter, Philippa, who is now in the Senior School.
Jeremy serves on the Business, Audit & Risk Committee and is also a Director of GSAL Transport Ltd.
Mark Curle LLB, Chartered MCSI
Year of appointment: 2018
Mark holds an LLB from the University of Leeds and is a graduate of the College of Law. He is an English qualified solicitor specialising in financial services and governance matters, having worked in both private practice and most recently, in-house roles. Mark is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and has previously served as Vice Chair of the board of trustees at the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Mark’s wife was educated at Leeds Girls’ High and their two children now attend GSAL.
Mark is chair of the Corporate Governance Committee and is also a trustee of the LGS & LGHS Foundation.
Jacqui Harper MBE MA Hon Fellow
Year of appointment: 2018
Jacqui has an MA in journalism is a visiting professor at INSEAD in Paris where she teaches Leadership Presence to MBA students and executives. She was previously a TV news anchor and has presented several news programmes for BBC TV, Sky News and ITV including a chat show on BBC 2.
Alongside business school teaching Jacqui runs Crystal Business Coaching – a consultancy specialising in communication coaching for executives. She has worked on Executive Presence for over fifteen years and her clients include many CEOs of global corporations and senior staff at the Foreign Office. She also has a passion for writing and her latest book on Executive Presentations was published in 2018.
Born in Ilkley, Jacqui is married to Peter, a former LGS student. Their son attended GSAL. Jacqui’s free time is spent walking in the Yorkshire Dales or behind the lens of a camera.
Jacqui serves on the External Relations Committee and has special responsibility for Senior School. Jacqui is also a trustee of the LGS & LGHS Foundation.
Prof Abigail Harrison Moore MA (Hons) AGMS Dip. PhD
Year of appointment: 2017
Abigail Harrison Moore is Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds. She developed the University of Leeds’ very successful master’s programme in Art Gallery and Museum Studies, and co-developed its sister programme, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies. Abigail was a founding member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, and the Centre for Collaborative Heritage Research, and she has supervised a large number of PhDs in these research areas.
Her research focuses on art and design history of the late c19th, particularly the Arts and Crafts Movement, and she is currently leading an international project on the histories of women in energy transformations in the home. Her most recent publication is ‘In a New Light: Histories of Women and Energy’ (MQUP, 2021) co-edited with Prof Ruth Sandwell. She was awarded an AHRC Fellowship in 2023, ‘Empowering Women: Co-producing Histories of Women and Energy in the Home’, which sees her working with Leeds Museum’s Preservative Party of 14 to 24 year olds. Abigail also runs a national programme for art and art history teachers, Plan, Prepare, Provide, which includes a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teachers Research and Practice. Her work since joining the University in 1996 has been consistently focussed on widening access to the arts, humanities and creative subjects.
Abigail’s research focuses on the art history of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, particularly the Arts and Crafts Movement, and her last monograph, Fraud, Fakery and False Business (Continuum, 2011), considered the social, legal and political dimensions of the art and antiques market in 1920’s England. She has more recently been working on an international project on the histories and cultures of energy supply, with collaborators from Canada, Austria, Sweden and the US. In the UK, she is very focused on creative education in schools, has helped develop the curriculum in her subject areas and has written widely on the educational challenges for young people from low social and economic groups.
Abigail serves on the Education Committee and has special responsibility for Sixth Form.
Dr Almas Khan FRCSEd(Tr&Orth)
Year of appointment: 2018
Almas was educated at Westminster Under School and Karachi Grammar School prior to reading medicine at Newcastle. He specializes in orthopaedics and complex spinal surgery in adults and children, with a special interest in spinal deformity correction and minimally invasive spine surgery. His practice is based at Leeds General Infirmary and the Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital. He has worked in Leeds since 2010.
Almas’s wife is a consultant in clinical genetics, having read medicine at Cambridge and Newcastle, and their three children currently attend the school.
Almas serves on the Audit & Risk and Health & Safety Committees.
Jo Semple BSc (Hons), MSc
Year of appointment: 2017
Jo is a company director and holds an MSc in applied psychology from Cranfield University. With a design and creative career spanning 20 years Jo has run her own digital agency for 17 of those. She assists a wide range of companies with her wealth of experience and knowledge of creative strategy, vision, communication and management.
Jo is married to Rob and together they have two boys who have attended GSAL since they were 3. They are both now in Senior School. Jo’s family has a long and close connection with the school.
Jo serves on the External Relations Committee and has special responsibility for the PFA.
Claire Vilarrubi BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, cPsychol
Year of appointment: 2018
Since completing a psychology degree at Brunel University, Claire has spent over 20 years working in the criminal justice system as a forensic psychologist and prison governor. She’s worked in various prisons including HMYOI Feltham and Leeds and was also the Deputy Head of Women and Young People’s Group, where she was responsible for the co-ordination of operational support to prisons holding women and young people under 18. During this time, she also completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology and an MBA at Imperial College.
More recently, Claire has been an Associate Professor at Leeds Trinity University, co-leading on the design and delivery of the MSc Applied Custodial Leadership Programme. This masters is a key element of the Unlocked Graduate Scheme; a pioneering leadership programme which recruits graduates to work as Prison Officers become outstanding leaders in rehabilitative practice. Claire is the Chair of the Trustee Board for two other charitable organisation; Inspire North (who deliver mental health and supported housing services across the North of England) and Together Women (who support women and girls with complex needs to move onto positive futures).
Claire and her husband, Toni, have two daughters who attend GSAL.
Claire serves on the Corporate Governance and Safeguarding Committees and is a LGS & LGHS Foundation trustee. Claire has special responsibility for IN.
Tony Walsh ACIB
Year of appointment: 2014
Tony worked for Barclays for over 37 years, 20 of which were as a Senior Executive including being a member of the Corporate Bank’s Main Board. He is an experienced chair who delivers across Strategic Management, Business Growth, Risk Management and People Development.
Tony was actively involved in the Northern Powerhouse initiative working with Government and Regional stakeholders.
In 2021, he helped HM Treasury set up the new UK National Infrastructure Bank, headquartered in Leeds, in his role as Strategic Banking Advisor. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of NIC, a fast growing UK Facilities Management business and a senior Advisor to LHH ( a subsidiary of Adecco ) where he coaches C Suite Executives on career planning
Both of Tony’s children have been educated at GSAL and away from work he and his wife enjoy travel and sport.
Tony is chair of the Business Audit & Risk Committee and also serves on the Corporate Governance Committee.
Pat Sowa BA (Joint Hons) PGCE, NPQH
Year of appointment: 2023
Pat graduated from Bath University in European Studies. She is a Pastoral Consultant with a wealth of expertise in mental health and wellbeing in schools. Previously, a Head of an outstanding independent preparatory school, she now works as a Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Leadership Coach and Conference Speaker in both the independent and state sectors.
Prior to teaching, Pat spent 16 successful years working in Brand Strategy Consultancy, blending this commercial perspective with her education sector knowledge.
Pat loves living in Yorkshire and is determined to make the most of every day. She enjoys walking with her family, friends and dog, cooking, and music of (almost) all genres.
Pat is chair of the Education Committee and sits on the Safeguarding Committee. Pat is the designated governor for safeguarding and is also the governor with special responsibility for EYFS.
Bev Ashby Chartered Fellow FCIPD
Year of appointment 2023
Bev commenced her HR career in the NHS in the Acute and Mental Health Sector and then joined BUPA where she worked for over 26 years. She was HR Director for its Hospitals Division and latterly the UK Care Homes Division. She is an experienced HR director working at board level in a highly regulated environment. Bev was involved in many business acquisitions and divestments and led a number of major change management programmes.
As a qualified executive coach and accredited mediator Bev set up her own consultancy business in 2014 working across a number of different sectors, including further education, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing focusing on executive coaching, workplace mediation and outplacement support.
Bev is an experienced governor, having been Chair of Governors at two primary and a senior school in Harrogate. She was Trustee and Vice Chair with Northern Star Academy Trust consisting of nine schools and lead Trustee for Safeguarding and SEND. She is currently a Member with NSAT.
Bev serves on the Education and Safeguarding Committees.
Rob Howse MA (Cantab), CEng, MIET
Year of appointment: 2023
Rob read Engineering at Downing College, Cambridge and then spent his early career as an Officer in the Royal Navy specialising in Submarine Weapon Engineering and qualifying as a Chartered Engineer. Since leaving the Navy his career has been focussed on Technology and Transformational Change initially as a management consultant, and more recently in Financial Services at the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, where he held a number of senior technology and transformation roles. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer and one of the Executive Board Directors at Leeds Building Society. He also chairs UK Finance’s Digital, Technology and Cyber Board.
Rob is married to Anna and both of their children have been educated at GSAL.
Rob serves on the Business, Audit & Risk and the Fundraising Committees.
Our governors and their responsibilities
We focus on the strategic direction of the school. We have overall responsibility for delivering the mission, strategies, values and objectives of the school. We are responsible for ensuring the school’s long-term financial security
We provide leadership in delivering the internal controls, risk management, equality and diversity of the school, ensuring it complies with its regulatory, fiduciary and legal responsibilities and obligations and delivers its planned outcomes
We regularly review and appraise our own effectiveness as a board: we are committed to constant renewal, recruitment of people with the appropriate and necessary skills, and the creation of a cohesive but challenging and candid culture
We compose and organise ourselves to discharge our responsibilities effectively: as trustees our individual duties include providing information and advice, skills and experience and the development of and support for the senior leadership team
We clearly set out the functions and responsibilities of our own sub-committees, the Principal and other members of the senior leadership team and we monitor their performance
We aim to be be open, responsive, and accountable to all stakeholders through good communication and consultation though we are careful not to involve ourselves in the day-to-day executive and operational management of the school
We always act in accordance with the highest standards of ethics, probity and corporate governance to eliminate risk of personal benefit or conflict of interest
We take advice from such bodies as The Independent Schools Council on what is best practice for schools such as GSAL and also complying as appropriate with the principles of CC30 and SORP 2005
To contact one of our governors please do so via the Clerk to the Governing Body, Mrs Elizabeth Carruthers, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 0113 229 1552, or by post to: The Grammar School at Leeds, Alwoodley Gates, Harrogate Road, Leeds LS17 8GS.