North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020


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, telephone 0113 229 1552, or by post to: The Grammar School at Leeds, Alwoodley Gates, Harrogate Road, Leeds LS17 8GS.

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, Chair of the Business & Management Committee and also serves on the Corporate Governance Committee.

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

Liz was very much involved in the move to Alwoodley and subsequently as Chair 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 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 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, together with some consultancy work. In addition, Jeremy is a director of three Leeds based charities. Jeremy is married to Anna, and they have a daughter, Philippa, who is now in the Senior School.

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


Mark Curle
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 serves on the Corporate Governance and the Audit & Risk committees.


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 Business & Management Committee.


Deborah Kenny
Deborah Kenny BEd Hons
Year of appointment:  2011

Deborah is the governor with special responsibility for Junior School and Safeguarding, Wellbeing and Child Welfare. She has been involved in primary education for 35 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 Deborah was employed as a school improvement adviser for 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 Manor Wood Primary, a large multi-ethnic school in Leeds. In November 2019 she was also appointed as Executive Principal to the Khalsa Science Academy (KSA) in Leeds.

Deborah is a National Leader of Education for the DfE and Manor Wood is a National Support School delivering school to school support across the city.  Deborah advises Governors on headteacher performance management within Leeds and at an independent school outside the Local Authority and she is the strategic leader of the Noctua Teaching School Alliance.

Deborah is chair of the Education Committee.

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 Health and Safety Committee. 

Charlene Lyons BA Hons, Joint Vice-Chair
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 is chair of the External Relations Committee and serves on the Business Management Committee.  Charlene is also a director of GSAL Enterprises Ltd.


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 joined GSAL in Year 4 and now attends senior school. 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.

Professor 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 masters 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.

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.


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.

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.

Claire is now a lecturer 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 Programme; a pioneering leadership programme which recruits graduates to work as Prison Officers and become outstanding leaders in rehabilitative practice.  Alongside this, she is also undertaking a PhD (exploring the identification, development and maintenance of Personal Agency among young women and girls identified as at risk of offending) and is a trustee for two other charitable organisations; 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 into positive futures).

Claire and her husband, Toni, have two daughters who attend Rose Court and Junior School.

Claire serves on the Corporate Governance and Audit and Risk Committees.


Mark Waldron MA (Cantab)
Year of Appointment: 2019

For the last seven years, Mark has been Head of Ryde School with Upper Chine, an independent day and boarding school for children aged 3-18 on the Isle of Wight. Prior to this he spent four years as head of the English College in Prague, a British style grammar school established in the aftermath of the Cold War predominantly for Czech students. Following his graduation in history from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Mark has worked in several schools in the UK and overseas, including Campion School, Athens; Radley College, Oxford; the Leys School, Cambridge where he was housemaster and head of history; and five years as Academic Deputy at Sherborne School in Dorset. He got the best start in life he could with a Yorkshire grammar school education, having studied at Crossley and Porter’s, later Crossley Heath, in Halifax. Interests beyond education include travel, especially central and eastern Europe, theatre, politics, US history and food and he is happiest when on the ski slopes of Austria or the racing courses of England.

Mark serves on the Education Committee.


Tony Walsh ACIB
Year of appointment: 2014

Tony has worked for Barclays for over 35 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 Committee.


John Woodward MA, Joint Vice-Chair
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 serves on the External Relations and the Business & Management Committees. John is also a Foundation Trustee and Chair of GSAL Enterprises Ltd.




Or, if you prefer to chat with someone please call our admissions team on 0113 229 1552