Welcome from the Chair of Governors 

I was appointed as Chair of the Governing Body at Wilsthorpe in September 2019 but have served on the Board for some fourteen years.  Over that time there has been a marked change in the way the school operates and meets the aspirations of students, parents and carers and the wider community.  We are committed to continue to encourage the school to move forward to meet the ever-changing expectations of students, staff, parents and carers, the community and the external authorities such as the Multi Academy Trust and the Department for Education. 

To face those challenges, it is encouraging that we have a strong Governing Body made up of people with backgrounds in education, business, health and social services and community engagement.  We all give of our time and energy as volunteers.  School governors have been described as ‘critical friends’ so we aim to challenge and question at the same time as being caring and supportive. 

Governors have to take a very strategic view of the running of the school and it is very seldom appropriate for us to be involved in specific issues, whether they are about school or about specific students or staff members.  It is a lot more useful for everyone if specific issues are handled through the relevant member of school staff.  However, if you do need to contact us this is best done in writing by letter to the Clerk of Governors at the school address or by e mail to clerktogovernors@wilsthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk. As the clerk is not a full-time member of staff it may not be easy to contact her by telephone, but you can leave a message for her with the receptionist. 

Brian Parker 

Chair of the Governing Body 

Governor Pen Portraits

Amanda Soloway MP

I have been a School Governor here at Wilsthorpe School for over 20 years now and have always cared passionately about young people, their education and mental health.  

Wilsthorpe holds a special place for me as I really believe in what they do and all they have achieved over the years and it really is a pleasure to be a part of their journey and see their success grow.  

My background – I started working at 16 behind the counter of an off-licence before working as a management trainee at Sainsbury’s where I stayed for 13 years. I then went on to work in a regional training role at Help the Aged before working for Baird Clothing as head of training in 1998 where I then founded my own consultancy business in 2008.  

During this time, I have had a family of my own, been a Girl Guides and Brownie Leader which I absolutely loved doing, stood as a Member of Parliament between 2015 and 2017 as well as 2019 until now, and since February 2020, have been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science, Research and Innovation in Government.  

Brian Parker

I’m Brian Parker and I’ve been happy to be supporting Wilsthorpe as a School Governor for nearly 17 years, initially as a Parent Governor and then a Community Governor.  I’ve lived in Long Eaton since 1992 when my job in the Civil Service was relocated to Nottingham.  Since retiring ten years ago, I have kept myself busy with a number of voluntary roles. 

I believe that it is important for the Governing Body to have good link with the students and families at Wilsthorpe so perhaps it will soon be time make way for others. 

Claire Howard

I am a Chartered Accountant and have experience of running my own business for over 15 years.  I have two children at Wilsthorpe School and volunteered to be a parent governor when they joined the school.   

I am now a co-opted governor, and I am pleased to use my professional and business skills to support the school.  Outside of school I enjoy gardening, reading and following cricket. 

Gill Cort

My name is Gill Cort, I am currently the vice chair of the board of Governors.

In 2016 I retired from the NHS, my role in the NHS has given me 20 plus years experience of governance,  at a local, strategic and national level.  I am married whilst not having any children myself I do have 4 nieces and nephews and 2 great nephews.  

After retiring I wanted to utilise my governance skills and was looking for a challenge so I decided to become a school governor. The change from health to education has been an interesting journey, but I have found that my skills are transferable and I have enjoyed working with the school and the other governors. I believe that the role of a governor should be supportive whilst at the same time challenging practice, thus ensuring that the students of  Wilsthorpe can achieve the best outcome in a supportive environment, so that they can look forward to a good future.  

My hobbies include walking my two springer spaniels and gardening.

Jason Wright

With a daughter at Wilsthorpe, and another at University, I am keen to contribute and help support their education (other than being their personal taxi and bank of course!).  I was pleased to become a parent governor in January 2020. 

I currently manage a software business, and having been in the industry for coming up to 30 years, I’ve seen the huge changes that technology has brought to all sectors of life, and the challenges of educating our children in its application.  Good IT skills are now essential for those entering the workplace and navigating the world. 

I would like to see where I can use my experience to support the school in their aim to deliver the best education to its pupils, and especially how we adapt to the changing world. 

Julie Nall

I have worked in education all my life originally starting at a Deputy Manager of a private Day Nursery to currently working as a Student Welfare officer at Wilsthorpe School. I have worked in many different settings including Private Day Nurseries, Special Schools, Primary School, and various Secondary Schools. 

Within these, my Roles have been very different: Teaching Assistant, an Assistant SENCO, HLTA, and currently Student welfare Officer dealing with the pastoral issues at Wilsthorpe School for the past 15 years. 

I have various qualifications for my current role including NNEB, HLTA, and a BA Honours Degree in Educational Studies. 

I have four children who have all left home working on their chosen careers with two of them being teachers. 

I very much enjoy being part of the governing body at Wilsthorpe School. 

Katie Godber

My name is Katie and I am a Parent Governor. In this role I hold a Unique position of having a parental viewpoint and first-hand experience of the delivery of the curriculum and how the school is perceived from the ‘consumers’ point of view and I help influence the direction the school is taking for the best outcomes for all children. 

I became a Governor because I am passionate about children’s Mental Health. I wanted to ensure that our children’s voices are heard, listened to and acted upon.

Steve Holland MIExpE FRGS

My day job is running an engineering company that specialises in explosive blast protection systems and testing. I have also worked extensively in the technical support of ground-breaking expeditions from Pole to Pole.  I started as a Parent Governor to support the school during a period of rapid change. I had previously helped out with specific assemblies on the wider applications of the sciences in the real world. As a governor, I have supported the school as a whole, but still focus on using engineering sciences and an extensive expedition background to widen the horizons and aspirations of the students.  I have also led periodic assemblies around key anniversaries to add context outside of the normal curriculum – the bicentenary of Waterloo being one example.  The Year Nine ‘Expedition Planning’ day that I organise will continue after Covid and has proved to be an interesting teamwork exercise with a challenging public speaking role for the team leaders. After two terms as a ‘Parent Governor’ I am now a ‘Co-opted Governor’ and look forward to helping Wilsthorpe evolve further. 

Valerie Hines

Becoming a school governor has given me the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young people and to give something back to the local community. I was brought up and educated in Long Eaton and, following my graduation from The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, completed a master’s degree. I then trained as a teacher and have spent 32 years working at secondary schools as both Head of Religious Education and Head of Humanities. During my career I was awarded a Farmington Fellowship and this enabled me to complete a research project on teaching and learning at Oxford University. Although I am not teaching in a school at present, I have maintained my links with education by working with PGCE students at the Institute of Education, University College, London. I continue to be a member of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education.  

Management Responsibilities

Agree constitutional matters. 

Appoint Chair and Vice Chair of the Governing Body. 

Establish terms of reference. 

Appointment of clerk. 

Decide which functions of the Governing Body will be delegated. 

Consider all delegated decisions. 

Approve the first formal budget of the financial year. 

Appointment and suspension of governors. 

To ensure Health and Safety is maintained. 

Pupils and Personnel responsibilities: 

Staff consultation. 

Discipline and grievance. 


Staffing structure. 


Admissions and exclusions. 

Financial responsibilities 

School budget and financial management. 

Financial regulations and procedures. 

Contractual arrangements. 


To maintain the principles of Best Value. 

Fire Evacuation. 

Critical Incident and Disaster Recovery plan 

All governors are appointed for a term of four years. 

Please note: If you are interested in becoming a governor, either as a parent or a member of the community, please contact the clerk to the governing body in the first instance by emailing:  clerktogovernors@wilsthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk or telephoning the school on 0115 9729421.