Tel: 01606 853005

Academy Governance

Our Local Governing Committee (LGC) is made up of parents and expert members of the local community and work in Partnership with The Russett Learning Trust Members and Trustees. All members of our LGC are committed to delivering the best possible educational opportunities and outcomes for all pupils at the Russett School.

The role of the Local Governing Committee is a strategic one, its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the academy
  • approve the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the academy is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • be a source of challenge and support to the Executive Headteacher (a critical friend)
  • Oversee the financial performance of the academy and make sure its money is well spent

The LCG also work in partnership with parents, senior leaders, all staff, other schools and colleges in the area and by maintaining close links with the local authorities who serve our pupils.

Meet the Governors

Dr Caroline Rowley

Chair of Governors, Parent Governor

Joined: 02/04/2015

After completing my PhD in mechanical engineering I have spent 15 years working in the nuclear industry performing hazard assessments on nuclear facilities, ensuring the safety of the workforce and the public.

My daughter, Nia, joined the school in February 2015 and I became a Parent Governor in April 2015.  My motivation is to help the school with the amazing work they do to maximise the potential of every pupil.  I will be working hard to ensure that all the pupils get the best possible opportunities to succeed and really enjoy being at school.

I am Chair of the LGC and link governor for maths and science.

Currently I have no financial business related involvement with the Trust.

Cheryl Booth

Vice Chair of Governors, Co-Opted Governor, Chair of the Pay Committee and Safeguarding Link Governor

Joined: 26.01.2017

My professional qualifications include:  Bachelor of Education with Honours, Master of Education and the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination.  I have worked in education for 31 years – as a mainstream teacher, college lecturer for early years, a Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) and more recently I began my own business, offering music and movement classes for 0-4 years called Rucks of Fun – Musical Merriment!

I moved to Weaverham when I married my husband Mike in 1993 and we have a daughter Rebekah and a son Joshua.  We are members at St Mary’s Church Weaverham and I enjoy supporting the morning worship, playing my flute. My other interests include: crafting, bringing music to Care Homes with a group called ‘In Harmony’ and going to the theatre.

As an educator, my philosophy is to provide a safe, caring, stimulating and happy environment in which children will develop educationally, socially, emotionally and spiritually.  I endeavour to ensure that every child will have equal opportunities to achieve their full potential, experience success and develop confidence and a positive self-image.  I am dedicated to the development of the ‘whole child’ into a fulfilled and responsible member of society.

My aim is to find a way for every child to ‘sparkle.’

Currently I have no financial business related involvement with the Trust.

Frances Beck

Co-Opted Governor

Joined: 04.11.2012 - Term of Office Completed: 21.07.2021

I began my teaching career at Hartford Hill School a large Special School and the forerunner to the Russett School .I became Deputy Head and followed that to become a Headteacher in a Liverpool Infant and Nursery School. An interesting school as we acted as an assessment unit for Alder Hey Hospital placing children with learning difficulties at special  and mainstream schools.

After staying at home with my son I worked for Chester Social Services on the Children’s Team, registering and inspecting Nurseries and Childminders throughout the District. I then set-up the Infant and Nursery at Cransley School before moving to the south-west with my family.

The later part of my career saw me lecturing in Education at colleges of Further Education, training and assessing on the NNEB course and NVQs for mature teaching assistants. I became Deputy Divisional Manager and an Advanced Practioner inspecting standards of teaching at various colleges throughout the North-west.

I am passionate about Special School provision and obtaining the best possible provision for our children.

Currently I have no financial business related involvement with the Trust.



Rebecca Gussow

Staff Governor

Joined: 17.01.2014

I came to The Russett School 23 years ago as a supply teaching assistant and I’ve never left.

I worked part time whilst my daughters were little and as they became more independent I was able to take on a permanent full time teaching assistant role.

I have worked in all areas of The Russett School and I currently work as an Educational Instructor.

Link Governor for Health & Safety

Business Interests/Conflicts of Interest: Employee of the Russett Learning Trust.

Gillian Latham

Co-Opted Governor

Joined: 27.04.2018 - Term of Office Completed: 26.04.2022

I am currently working for an organisation that is owned and governed by the Cheshire West and Chester that is contracted for the provision of residential and day services for adults with a learning disability.

I also have a role in licenced ministry in the local Ecumenical church (Anglican and Methodist) at St Mary’s in Weaverham so I have a strong local link within the community which brings me into contact with lots of different groups.

One of my very keen interests is a Coffee Shop style drop I run for adults with a learning disability which we run out of The Lighthouse, the church hall.

Currently I have no financial business related involvement with the Trust.

Jannette Cameron

Co-Opted Governor, Member of the Pay Committee

Joined: 14.03.2019

My professional experience is varied having worked in the public, private and voluntary sector. My most recent employed position was as Head of Business & Marketing for a charity for 14 years, which required me to have a vast range of knowledge across marketing, fundraising and commercial ventures working with both volunteers and employees. Currently I am an owner/director of Cameron Wilson Project Services.

My personal interests and activities include being a member of the Guide Association for over 30 years.

My link to the school is through my grandson and by becoming a co-opted governor at the Russett School my aim is to support the school in the amazing work they do in any way possible.

Currently I have no financial business-related involvement with the Trust.

Paula Tankard

Co-Opted Governor, Member of the Pay Committee

Joined: 15.10.2020 - Resigned: 08.11.2021

I have been a teacher for over 25 years, the last 10 years I have been headteacher of two different mainstream primary schools in Greater Manchester. I have a BSc in biology and have completed my PGCE, in 2002 I completed my NPQH (National Professional Qualification in Headship) and more recently my NPQEL (National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership). In October I began my Masters in Education Leadership, where I will be studying how different styles of leadership are influenced by neurotypical and neurodiverse brain functions.

My education principals are based on my unwavering belief that every child deserves the very best education and opportunities. I put the child at the heart of all decisions I make as a leader and teacher and am looking forward to doing the same as a governor at The Russett School.

I have recently moved to Cuddington with my partner and our two boys, who both attend schools in Weaverham. I am keen to support my local community and look forward to my role as a governor.

Currently I have no financial business-related involvement with the Trust.

Rebecca Dyson

Parent Governor

Joined: 10.02.2017 - Term of Office Completed: 09.02.2021

My son Ben started at the Russett School in September 2016. Since Ben joined the school I have seen the quality of education he has received and the effect it has had on his development. I am keen to become more involved in the school and help support the excellent work that they do. For this reason I have volunteered to be parent Governor.

Currently I have no financial business-related involvement with the Trust.


Catherine Lewis

Trustee and Governor on the Local Governing Committee of The Russett School

Joined: 01.09.2009 - Term of Completed: 31.08.2021

I started teaching in 1984 and have worked in a range of Special Schools in London and the South East.

During this time I completed a Masters Degree in Education with SEN from the Institute of Education in London.

In 2004 I completed my NPQH and in September 2006 I became Headteacher at Heathfield School in Stoke-on-Trent, moving it to Outstanding within three years.

In September 2009 I became Headteacher at The Russett School moving it to Good with elements of Outstanding in 2011 and then gaining an Outstanding in 2014.

On 1st September 2015 the Russett Learning Trust was established with Russett School.

In October 2015 the Trust was approached by the DfE to apply to become a Sponsor and we were approved in March 2016.I became the Chief Executive Officer of The Russett Learning Trust and Executive Headteacher at The Russett School.

In March 2018 the Russett School was designated by the DfE as a National Support School and I became a National Leader of Education.

In May 2019 become a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching

Business Interests/Conflicts of Interest: Employee of the Russett Learning Trust.

Michelle Phelps

Parent Governor


My husband and I own a wealth management practice in the local village of Hartford where we help people with all areas of financial planning.  We use cashflow modelling to help people with retirement/pension planning, intergenerational/estate planning and help put financial plans in place for those just starting out on their financial journey.

Our son, Sebastian, joined the school in September 2019 and I became a school governor in March 2021.  As a governor I aim to support the school in their mission to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.  I see how hard the teachers and staff at the school work to support our children and want to volunteer to help with the excellent work that they do.

Currently I have no financial business related involvement with the Trust.

Emma Leach

Executive Headteacher


I started my career within SEND in 2001 when I came to the Russett School to complete a two week placement as part of a Higher National Diploma in Early Years. I discovered my vocation in supporting the teaching and learning of children and young people with additional Needs. I enjoyed 17 years happy at Russett undertaking a variety of roles including Deputy Headteacher and later Acting Head of Academy. I taught across all key stages completing an FDA in Supporting Teaching & Learning, BA Hons in Teaching, Learning and Mentoring, QTS with Cumbria University and finally NPQH in 2018.

In 2018 I left to take on the role of Deputy Headteacher in an Outstanding primary academy for pupils with ASC, SLD and Complex Needs. The school is situated in the borough Halton and is part of a large Multi Academy Trust.  During this time I benefitted from a range of enriching experiences offered across the trust including studying for a Masters Level Diploma in Education Management and Leadership.

Business Interests/Conflicts of Interest: Employee of the Russett Learning Trust.

Previously SEN/ Pupil Premium Governor at St Nicholas Catholic High School

Current Vacancies

Please see our current Local Governing Committee Vacancies.

We currently have a vacancy for a Co-Opted Governor.  For further information about the post or to apply please send an email FOA: Clerk to Governors to

The following information is also available on request from the Clerk to Governors:

  • Meeting Agendas from the Local Governing Committee and Trust Board.
  • Signed Minutes (part 1).
  • Any papers, documents, reports considered in part 1.