Knavesmire Primary School

Trafalgar Street, York, North Yorkshire YO23 1HY

01904 806545


Welcome to the section of the website where you can find out more about the school’s governors and what we do.

At Knavesmire Primary there are 13 governors who together make up the ‘governing body’. The governors come from different backgrounds and include parents, teachers, members of the local community and specialists appointed by the Local Authority. As a group we are responsible for the major decisions about the school and its future, and work with the Headteacher and School Leaders as partners in the leadership of the school.

Find out more about:


Our school’s Vision and Aims 

What the role of the governing body is 

The school’s policies and procedures  


We welcome feedback from anyone involved in the life of our school. If you would like to know more about the school’s plans, the role of the governors within our school or are interested in becoming a governor yourself please contact us care of the School Office.

Governing Body Agendas and Minutes

You can find the agendas and minutes by clicking here


Governing Body Information:

Contacting the Governing Body

All correspondence should be directed to the school email or postal address, and be clearly marked 'For the Attention of the Governors'.



 Knavesmire's Governing Body



Adam Cooper's place on the Governing Body is part of his role as headteacher of Knavesmire Primary. Adam has been at Knavesmire since September 2007, and was appointed in the role of headteacher in January 2012. In his previous teaching posts he has taught in schools across York including Clifton Without, Robert Wilkinson and at Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire. He has also worked as lead teacher in Maths and data across the two Local Authorities. Since joining Knavesmire Primary, the school has undergone considerable change including the expansion to a two-form entry school.  

Adam Cooper
Executive Headteacher

Term - Post holder 


Edwin was a parent at Knavesmire from 2012 until 2021, and originally joined the LGB as elected parent governor in 2013. He stepped down in 2016 to join the board of the South Bank MAT as founding Chair, and served in that role until March 2021. He remains a MAT trustee, and has rejoined Knavesmire LGB as interim Chair of Governors.

From 2018 until 2021, Edwin was designated a National Leader of Governance. In his day job he is the author of sixteen thriller and adventure novels published in twenty languages worldwide

Edwin Thomas
Chair of Governors




David has been a governor of Knavesmire since 2010 and has previously served as a governor of a primary school in London.  David is Chair of Knavesmire’s Finance, Staffing and Premises Committee, and also represents the governors of all local authority schools in York on the citywide Schools Forum.  David works for a government agency that provides data and technology for the health and social care sector, but he was previously a senior manager of local authority children’s services, including education and schools, in North Yorkshire.  In that role David’s duties included co-ordination of Ofsted inspection activity, management and analysis of exam results data for more than 370 schools, and leadership of the countywide governor support service. 


David O'Brien
Co-opted Governor (Vice Chair)
Term - February 2019 to February 2023 



 Joe was elected at a parent governor in 2017. In his day job, Joe is a solicitor at a law firm based principally in Leeds and specialises in Commercial Property law (having previously gained a degree in Philosophy before converting to Law).
Joe is passionate about state education generally and the role that school can play in helping to ensure that all children get the best possible start to life that they can. He hopes to help promote both of those concerns through his work as a governor at the School.
 Joe Maitland
Co-opted governor
 Term - March 2021 to March 2025




Abigail has numerous years of experience in Education, including being on the leadership team of a large secondary school and sixth form centre as well as working on school improvement teams across schools. Prior to joining the leadership team, Abigail gained experience in curriculum and pastoral leadership roles and has observed jointly with Ofsted on numerous occasions. As part of leadership teams, Abigail’s main focus has been on improving Teaching and Learning alongside Data and Progress. This has included leading on staff development as well as the training of new teachers and NQTs. She has a keen interest in making sure the needs of SEND and Pupil Premium students are met and leads on these areas for the governing team . Abigail is passionate making sure education meets to needs of all learners, and that all students should hold high aspirations and be helped to meet their potential no matter their background or starting point. Abigail has two children at the school.


Abigail Gaines
Co-opted governor (Vice Chair)
Term - March 2021 to March 2025



Mr Bentley has been a member of the teaching staff at Knavesmire since September 2011, having previously taught at New Earswick Primary School. Over the course of his teaching career, he has taught across every phase throughout the school. His other responsibilities include leading P.E. and supporting the Maths and Community Cohesion teams. In his spare time, Mr Bentley plays a variety of sports and enjoys playing both the guitar and piano with varying degrees of success!

Paul Bentley

Staff Governor

Term - July 2019 to June 2023


Mrs Gould has been a member of the teaching staff at Knavesmire Primary School since 2016 and a governor since 2018. She has previously taught Year 5 and is a current Year 3 teacher. Her other responsibilities include being a member of the PE, Maths and Arts subject teams, alongside liaising between KCKC and school. In her spare time, Mrs Gould likes to keep fit and spend quality time with her family.  

Rachael Gould
Co-Opted Staff

Term - July 2019 to July 2023


Jennifer is in her eleventh year of teaching and has worked in a variety of roles in York and London, including Year 6 class teacher, phase leader, leading practitioner, designated safeguarding lead, and now as pastoral leader in a local York school. She is also set to embark on the SENCo qualification. Jennifer recently completed a Masters by Research in Education at York University, focusing on how primary schools can support the emotional regulation of children with complex needs. She is passionate about providing effective and timely support for children’s mental health and wellbeing and hopes to use her experience to promote these areas as a governor at the school. Jennifer has a two-year-old son who attends a local nursery setting.  

Jennifer Mitchell
Co-opted Governor

Term March 2019 to March 2023


Vanessa has lived in York for 25 years and was co-opted as a governor in January 2022. She has twin girls at Knavesmire.

Vanessa has a wealth of educational experience from 16 years of teaching including 9 successful years in Headship in two schools. She has worked at Local Authority level leading School Improvement in Leeds until 2011 and now works as a freelance education adviser working independently across the UK and internationally (Scandinavia) supporting and coaching school leaders and teachers.

“Being invited to join the team of dedicated colleagues at Knavesmire Primary has been a privilege. I am very committed to this role; bringing my energy, enthusiasm and passion to the school community continuing to ensure that all our children get the best possible life chances we can offer.

Vanessa Huws-Jones

Co-opted Governor

Term November 2021 to November 2025


Olivia was elected as a parent governor in 2021 and has two children at Knavesmire.
In her professional life Olivia works as a Librarian at the University of York, specialising in the Humanities.

Olivia is passionate about education and the vital role that schools play in their local communities. She is a strong supporter of Knavesmire Primary and feels it is already a very good school, but also recognises that there is always room for growth and improvement. She hopes to play a part in driving positive change at Knavesmire in her role as a school governor.

Olivia Else

 Parent Governor

Term April 2021 to April 2025




John has lived in York for nearly 20 years, while working at University of Leeds, where he is a Professor in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Previously John worked at the University of Cambridge where he obtained his PhD and then worked as a Fellow at Selwyn College. John has a daughter at Knavesmire and two other children who have attended Schools in the MAT (Scarcroft and Millthorpe). In his spare time he enjoys music and singing in local choirs. 

John Cunningham 
Co-opted Governor

Term May 2022 to May 2026




Jackie Gray
Co-opted Governor

Term May 2022 to May 2026


Paula Webster 


Paula is passionate about education and has built a career in Higher Education management following a brief period as a secondary school History teacher after graduating from the University of York.  Paula has returned to York to work as the Head of Planning Services at Durham University and in her role manages the University's Integrated Planning and Strategic Review processes – making sure that colleagues have the resources they need to deliver the University’s strategic aims.  Paula is looking forward to contributing to the governor team and the local community the school serves.

Paula Webster 
Co-opted Governor

Term May 2022 to May 2026




Kay was elected as a co-opted governor in May 2022.
I am retired and currently care for my 3 grandchildren whilst their parents work. They have all attended the nursery at Knavesmire Primary School. I had a teaching career of over 35 years in the primary sector, specialising in early years education, and was a headteacher and children's centre leader for the last 7 years.
I am a passionate supporter of high quality early years education and the benefits of developing strong home/school links — both of which provide the firm foundations necessary for each child to make the most of all the further educational opportunities provided and enabling each child to reach their full potential.

Kay Roantree
Co-opted Governor

Term May 2022 to May 2026

Jon was elected a parent governor in 2022 and currently has 3 children at Knavesmire Primary school.

Jon is a Detective Inspector who specialises in Fraud and Money Laundering investigations.

Having lived in York since graduating from the University of Newcastle Jon was struck by the role Knavesmire primary school plays in the wider South Bank community. He is passionate about high quality early years education, and in particular the provision offered to SEND pupils.

When not working Jon is a keen sportsman and enjoys playing rugby with his 3 girls.

Jon Hodgeon

Co-opted Governor

Term June 2022 to June 2026