St. Mary's Menston Academy Council

Last updated: 24/07/2019

Photo: St. Mary's Menston Academy Council

St. Mary's Menston, a Catholic Voluntary Academy was founded by and is part of the Catholic Church.

“Governors are jointly responsible for the conduct of the school, ensuring that the best possible Catholic education is provided for the pupils attending the school. This means ensuring the school is run according to its Articles of Association and the Diocesan Trust Deed, that its religious character is preserved and developed, and that pupils obtain high standards of academic achievement.”
— Diocese of Leeds Office for Education and Schools

The Academy Council at St. Mary’s currently comprises 12 members, including the Headteacher, foundation, staff and parent councillors. The Academy Council meets six times a year and the admissions committee meets annually.

The Headteacher provides the Academy Council with regular updates concerning Progress towards Whole School targets, which are linked to the School Development Plan.

The Academy Councils of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust schools work closely with the Trust Board, through the Headteacher, and Mr Nightingale, Trust Chief Executive Officer to ensure good communication, maintain high standards of teaching and learning, and ensure implementation of statutory requirements and good financial management.

The Academy Council at St. Mary’s currently comprises 12 members:

  • At least 7 Foundation Councillors

  • 2 Parent Councillors

  • 2 Staff Councillors

  • Headteacher

Contact Information

Any queries to the governors should come through the Clerk to Academy Council, Mrs A Tindall at school

List of Councillors

Foundation Councillors

  • Mr Pete Booth

  • Mr Eddie Diamond

  • Mrs Diane Gaskin (Chair)

  • Mrs Linda Hook

  • Mr Andrew Price

  • Mrs Catherine Vincent

Parent Councillors

  • Mr Dominic Adams

  • Mr Chris Billington (Vice Chair)

Staff Councillors

  • Mr Darren Beardsley

  • Mrs Julia Findlay

  • Mrs Jo Hings

Clerk to Academy Council

  • Mrs A Tindall

Chair of Academy Council:


Photo: Working together with the headteacher

Photo: Working together with the headteacher

Diane Gaskin was born in Armley, Leeds and educated at St Joseph’s Primary School, Otley and Notre Dame Grammar School in Leeds before going on to study modern languages (French and German) at the University of Liverpool. After a spell with a building society and the tax office Diane trained as a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor with the Leeds office of Price Waterhouse before a career establishing in-house tax functions in Leeds Permanent Building Society, Halifax plc and running a large multi-site tax function for HBOS plc in Edinburgh. Whilst on a career break in 2006 Diane became a governor at St Joseph’s, Otley where she is currently Chair of the Academy Council and a governor at St. Mary’s, Menston where she has chaired Finance Committee and Standards Committee and played an active role in the set up and governance of the Bishop Wheeler Academy Trust.

Diane is currently Vice Chair of The Bishop Wheeler Academy Trust and Chair of the Finance Committee for The Trust.

She works as the Group Tax Manager for Vp plc- an equipment hire company based in Harrogate.

Diane lives in Otley, is married to Martin who is a chartered accountant and they have three children all of whom attended St Joseph’s, Otley and St. Mary’s, Menston.

The Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee reports to the Academy Council.

Admissions Committee Membership

  • Mr Darren Beardsley

  • Mr Chris Billington (interim chair of committee)

  • Mrs Linda Hook

In attendance: Miss Anderson

Clerk: Mrs Davis

Lead Governors

  • Standards (to include attainment and progress data):

    • Mr Chris Billington

  • Catholic Life and Enrichment (the day to day life and activities in school, community engagement):

    • Mr Andrew Price and Mr Pete Booth

  • Resources (to include pupil numbers, staff leavers and starters, budget on track or not, capital bids, H&S action plan progress):

    • Mrs Diane Gaskin

  • Pastoral (safeguarding, welfare, attendance data, exclusions, racial incidents):

    • Mr Dominic Adams

  • Training, Performance Management, Staff Welfare:

    • Mrs Linda Hook

  • Special Educational Needs:

    • Mr Andrew Price

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection:

    • Mr Dominic Adams and Mrs Julia Findlay

  • Children who are looked after:

    • Mr Dominic Adams

  • Appraisal:

    • Mr Chris Billington

    • Mr Pete Booth

    • Mrs Diane Gaskin

  • Disciplinary Board:

    • All Academy Councillors

  • Interviews:

    • All Academy Councillors

How Academy Councillors are Appointed

  • Foundation councillors are appointed by the Diocese of Leeds, following recommendation from the parish priests.

  • Staff councillors are appointed through a process of election by the whole staff of the academy.

  • Parent councillors are appointed through a process of election by the parents of students at the academy.

  • The Foundation Priest maintains their post for a fixed term.

  • The Headteacher maintains their post for as long as they are in role.

Code of Conduct for the Academy Council

All members of the Academy Council sign the code of conduct at the first meeting of each school year.

Code of Conduct for the Academy Council 2018–19 (PDF)

Attendance at Academy Council Meetings and Committees 2018–19

Name Academy Council and Committees Meetings Admissions
Mr Dominic Adams 4 of possible 6
Mr John Barnes 1 of possible 2 1 of possible 1
Mr Darren Beardsley 6 of possible 6 0 of possible 1
Mr Chris Billington 5 of possible 6 1 of possible 1
Mrs Julia Findlay 6 of possible 6
Mrs Diane Gaskin 6 of possible 6
Mrs Linda Hook 5 of possible 6 1 of possible 1
Mrs Jo Hings 5 of possible 6
Mr Andrew Price 5 of possible 6
Mr Peter Booth 5 of possible 6
Mrs Catherine Vincent 0 of possible 1
Mr Eddie Diamond
2 of possible 3

St. Mary’s is indebted to all Academy Councillors, who dedicate considerable time and energy to supporting the running of the school on an entirely voluntary basis.  Even when they are unable to attend meetings, their contributions are noted.  We are very privileged to have such a dedicated Academy Council.

Details of the members of the Academy Council

Mr Peter Booth
Date of current term: 01/09/17 – 31/08/21
Declared business interests: none

Mr Eddie Diamond
Date of current term: 01/03/19 – 28/02/23
Declared business interests: none

Mrs Julia Findlay
Date of current term: 22/4/15 – 21/04/19
Declared business interests: none

Mrs Diane Gaskin
Date of current term: 10/12/12 – 19/12/15
Declared business interests: Company Secretary Goodison Ings Associates Ltd

Mrs Linda Hook
Date of current term: 07/03/18 – 06/03/22
Declared business interests: none

Mr Chris Billington
Date of current term: 03/05/19 – 02/05/23
Declared business interests: Wrigleys Solicitors - Partner, High Royds Sports and Social Club, High Royds Sports and Social Club, High Royds Residents Association

Mrs Catherine Vincent
Date of current term: 28/05/19 – 27/05/23
Declared business interests: none

Mr Jo Hings
Date of current term: 27/04/16 – 26/04/20
Declared business interests: none

Mr Andrew Price
Date of current term: 29/03/16 – 28/03/20
Declared business interests: Partner - Milners Solicitors, Director Rags Properties Ltd

Mr Dominic Adams
Date of current term: 29/4/14 – 29/4/18
Declared business interests: Network Design and Marketing Ltd, Director

Mr Darren Beardsley
Date of current term: 01/09/14 –
Declared business interests: Member of Trust Intervention Board – Blessed Peter Snow Academy Trust, Director High Royds Sports Association, Trustee Bambisanani Partnership

Former members of the Academy council who have served within the LAST 12 months:

Mr John Barnes
Date of last term: 15/01/15 – 14/01/19
Declared business interests: none


“Governance is about not being neutral about the Catholic faith and Catholic teaching and learning institutions

Governance is about understanding and supporting the Church’s mission in education: we evangelise through proclamation, formation and implementation

Governance is about recognising and affirming that Catholic teaching and learning institutions exist in important faith partnerships - with the Diocese, with the deanery and parishes, with the family of Catholic schools, colleges, academies and university.

In the context of a distinctive vision and practice, governance is about appreciating collaboration with Local Authorities, other educational bodies and community groups and initiatives.

Governance is about encouraging excellence in everything; educating the whole person - respectfully, justly, and compassionately; having concern for the weak, the poor and the marginalised.”
— Mgr John Wilson Homily, Governors’ Mass, November 2013

Relationship between St. Mary's Menston Academy Council and The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust

The Directors of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust are drawn from all our schools and include foundation councillors, parent councillors and staff councillors.

One of the founding principles of our trust is subsidiarity; that all decisions are made at the most appropriate level, rather than being imposed from above. In practice, therefore key to the work of the Trust is our Headteachers Group.

The Heads of all 10 Trust schools meet on a regular basis. As well as sharing good practice, they offer mutual support and development, peer review and develop and oversee the implementation of Trust wide policies.

Each school has an Academy Council with councillors appointed by the Diocese or elected by parents and staff. They oversee the strategic direction of each school and scrutinise standards, finance and admissions. Councillors work with staff to continually monitor and develop the school’s achievements and direction as outlined in the School’s Development Plans.

The Trust Directors meet as a Board supported by Trust Finance and Audit committees. They receive regular updates on progress within all the schools and have overall legal responsibility for standards, finance and admissions. They work closely with the Headteachers Group, many of whom are Trust Directors.

Everyone who works in our schools are employees of the Bishop Wheeler Trust and the Directors are responsible for developing and ensuring implementation of policies across all our schools to support this.

The work of the whole Trust is underpinned by and focused on our values which are based on the Beatitudes and are reflected in the promises made by each school at our Inaugural Mass. First and foremost we are a Catholic Trust and our role is to provide and safeguard the future of a World Class Catholic education to all the young people within our area. The Directors are responsible for the strategic direction which drives this forward.

Articles of Association

Articles of Association (PDF)

St. Mary's Menston Scheme of Delegation

St. Mary's Menston Scheme of Delegation (PDF)

St. Mary's Menston Supplemental Funding Agreement

St. Mary's Menston Supplemental Funding Agreement (PDF)

For additional financial information please follow this link:

The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust Annual Report and Financial Information