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

Meet our Governors

David Gravells
David P A Gravells JP, MSc, Chairman
Year of appointment: 1995

David is a company director and holds an MSc in Management Sciences from the University of Durham.  He is currently chairman of a venture capital trust, a non executive director of The Student Loan Company and a business consultant of three other businesses. He is a Justice of the Peace on the North Yorkshire LJA.  He was Chairman of the Harrogate Magistrates Bench and his other ‘not for profit roles’ have included being Chairman of the Association of MBAs, sometime visiting professor at the University of Durham Business School and church warden of All Saints’ Church Ripley. David and his son are both alumni of LGS.  His grandson is in Rose Court.

David is Chairman of the Governing Body and Business & Management Committee.  He also serves on the External Relations Committee.


Elizabeth Bailey
Elizabeth E Bailey BChD, LDS, RCS, DOrthRCS
Year of appointment: 1990

Liz was very much involved in the move to Alwoodley and subsequently as Chairman of the Foundation in the merger of LGS and LGHS and has special responsibility for Rose Court. Liz retired after forty years’ service in the NHS, in practice and at St James’ Hospital.  Liz is interested in her local community, chairing the Residents’ Association and Friends of her local park.  With business interests in property and a keen DIY expert, Liz is currently doing up a third French farmhouse.  Her children attended LGS and LGHS.

Liz chairs the Corporate Governance Committee, serves on the Curriculum & Learning Committee and is a Foundation Trustee.


Sir Stephen Brown KCVO
Year of appointment: 2013

After Sandhurst, Sir Stephen served with the Royal Artillery in the UK, Germany and Oman. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1976 and served in Nicosia, Paris, London, Melbourne and Beijing. He was British Ambassador in Seoul and High Commissioner in Singapore before becoming Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment. He has a BA from Sussex University. He is co-founder of The Ambassador Partnership and involved with UK-Australia and UK-Korea associations. Sir Stephen was educated at LGS and has two granddaughters at GSAL.

Sir Stephen serves on the Corporate Governance and External Relations Committees.


Jeremy Cross
Jeremy Cross BA (Oxon), MA, ACA
Year of appointment: 2012

Jeremy has special responsibility for Years 10 & 11 and is the governor representative on the PFA. 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, together with some consultancy work.  In addition, Jeremy is a director of three Leeds based charities. Jeremy is married to Anna, and Philippa their daughter, is greatly enjoying her time at Junior School.

Jeremy is chairman of the Audit & Risk Committee, he is a director of GSAL Transport Ltd and a Foundation Trustee.


Ian Jones MA, ACA, MBA
Year of appointment: 2006

Ian has worked in the private equity industry for over 25 years, the majority of that time with the international firm Apax Partners based in London. A qualified accountant, he holds an MA from King’s College, Cambridge and an MBA from Warwick Business School. Ian has four adult children, all of whom were educated at GSAL or its predecessor schools.

Ian serves on the Audit & Risk and External Relations Committees.


Deborah Kenny
Deborah Kenny BEd Hons
Year of appointment:  2011

Deborah is the governor with special responsibility for Junior School and Safeguarding, Wellbeing & Child Welfare.   Deborah has been involved in primary education for 31 years, six of which were spent as headteacher in an affluent outer area school and as executive headteacher to an urban school in challenging circumstances. From 2006 she was employed as a School Improvement Adviser for Education Leeds, a consultancy role which involved challenging and supporting headteachers and governors of inner city schools to raise standards, address issues in terms of leadership and to provide advice on strategic planning. In September 2010, Deborah returned to headship at Carr Manor Primary School, a large multi-ethnic school in Leeds. She has retained a small amount of school improvement work, including headteacher performance management and partnership working with primary schools across the city. In addition, she supports the governors and headteachers of an independent school outside the local authority.

Deborah chairs the Curriculum & Learning Committee.


Hilary Luscombe
Dr Hilary Luscombe MB, BS & MRCGP
Year of appointment: 2008

Hilary has special responsibility for Sixth Form and Health & Safety.  Hilary is a GP and has been a partner with a local practice for 23 years.  The practice also teaches undergraduates and trains newly qualified doctors.  In addition to her standard GP work, Hilary also works for the GMC and NHS Leeds. Hilary’s son attended LGS and went on to read medicine at Oxford University and  her daughter, who attended GSAL, also went on to Oxford University to read economics and management. Outside medicine, Hilary’s interests include sailing, cycling and ski-ing.

Hilary serves on the Business & Management, Audit & Risk and Health & Safety Committees.


Charlene Lyons BA Hons
Year of appointment: 2016

Charlene is 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 property knowledge is extensive and as the Commercial Director of a property company for six years, she was involved with strategy, feasibility studies and land acquisition deals. 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. 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 serves on the External Relations Committee and is a director of GSAL Enterprises Ltd.


Angus Martin MA, FCA, Vice-Chairman
Year of appointment: 2014

Angus was educated at LGS and then Christ Church College, 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 parent schools. Outside work, Angus’ interests include cycling, skiing, and gardening.

Angus serves on the Business & Management and Corporate Governance Committees.


Richard Obank
Richard Obank LLB
Year of appointment: 2009

Richard is a partner in the global law firm of DLA Piper and is the Location Head of the DLA Piper Restructuring team based in Leeds.  He is a law graduate of the University of Manchester and attended Guildford College of Law.

Richard serves on the Business & Management and Corporate Governance Committees.


Jo Semple, BSc, 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 Rose Court. They are both now in Senior School. Jo’s family has a long and close connection with the school.


Sue Solyom
Sue Solyom BA, ACA
Year of appointment: 2014

Sue has special responsibility for Years 7, 8 and 9.  She is a chartered accountant and has worked in small and medium sized businesses in the Leeds area since returning to work after bringing up her three children.  She is currently Head of Finance in a manufacturing company.  Sue’s eldest son attended LGS, was Head Boy in 2006 and went on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Magdalene College Oxford.  Her second son who attended LGS/GSAL recently qualified as a junior doctor, while her daughter who attended LGHS/GSAL is currently studying Medicine at St Andrew’s University.  Sue has a particular interest in the development of the bursary scheme.

Sue serves on Audit & Risk Committee and is a director of GSAL Transport Ltd.


David Sugden
Professor David Sugden PhD
Year of appointment: 1997

David was involved in leading the board during the merger of LGS and LGHS.  David is Emeritus Professor of Special Needs in Education at the University of Leeds and in the Childhood and Inclusion Group in the School of Education. He has worked in special and mainstream schools as well as clinical settings in hospitals.  His roles at the University of Leeds have included being Dean of three different faculties, Pro Vice Chancellor and Acting Vice Chancellor. Outside of his academic work he keeps active by cycling, running, skiing and playing tennis and is an art and music lover.

David serves on the Curriculum & Learning and Corporate Governance Committees.


Tony Walsh DSC_4556
Tony Walsh ACIB
Year of appointment: 2014

Tony has special responsibility for risk management.  He has worked for Barclays for 34 years and is a former board member of the Global Corporate Bank, responsible for UK business. Tony has worked in relationship management, strategic planning, HR, risk management and operational management roles within the Global FTSE 100 business. Tony is married to Keren and their two boys both attend GSAL.  Out of work, Tony enjoys football, cricket and golf.

Tony serves on the Business & Management and Audit & Risk and Risk Management Committees.


John Woodward
John Woodward MA
Year of appointment: 2009

John is a director of several companies which export agricultural commodities. He is married to Rachael and has three children who all attend or have attended GSAL. He studied history at Oxford University and his interests include art, landscape and local history, golf and running.

John chairs the External Relations Committee and serves on the Business & Management Committee.  John is a Foundation Trustee and Chairman of GSAL Enterprises Ltd.


Edward Ziff
Edward Ziff OBE Hon DBA
Year of appointment: 1998

Edward was appointed to the Governing Body of LGS in 1998.  Edward is Chairman and Chief Executive of Town Centre Securities PLC.   He is Chairman of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation. Edward previously was a member of the Advisory Board of Leeds University Business School and recently retired as President of the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board and the Leeds Jewish Blind Society. He was a non-executive director of Leeds Building Society and the Leeds Apprentice Training Agency. All three of Edward’s sons attended LGS and GSAL.

Edward serves on the Business & Management and External Relations Committees.  Edward is also a Foundation Trustee.

“Excellent governance supports the school’s aims highly effectively, demonstrating through successful self-review a strong awareness of the school’s needs.”


Independent Schools Inspectorate 2011

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