Chair of Governors – Review of the Year

Chair of Governors, Mr David Cunningham, delivers a speech at the End of Year Service giving a review of the year.

Friday 14th July 2023

Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a real honour to be talking to you all at today’s End of Year Service. Since taking over the Chair of Governors role from Phil in September, it’s been quite the year!

Review of the year

In October, we had a full inspection of the school by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. As you’ll all know – and no real surprise – thanks to the fantastic work of Mr Martin, Mr Nicholson, all the staff and pupils and my fellow governors, we received an “Outstanding” rating in all areas.

And if you didn’t know…there’s a nice little sign on the A65 pointing it out which I believe can be seen by plane leaving Leeds Bradford Airport, but not quite from space!

But in all seriousness, speaking as a parent to Jessica who left Ghyll Royd last year, I can honestly say that the inspection result is no surprise to me as I experienced the amazingly positive environment of Ghyll Royd during Jessica’s years as a pupil.

I now follow the school as a Governor and, from the newsletters to frequent updates on social media, I’m amazed and really proud of what the school has achieved in the last year.


The school had its Silver ‘Artsmark’ accreditation for its dedication to teaching the Arts across the school and the positive impact that this has on Arts in the community.

We won the ISA National Art Competition in November with three 1st place prizes. All the children played their part in creating a self portrait for the King’s Coronation. The portraits were printed on tea towels, mugs and decorations, bringing a smile to those who have purchased and been gifted them.

Recently some children were involved in the Wharfedale Speech and Drama Festival, representing themselves brilliantly by reciting poems, with medals awarded to each of them. Well done all.

The end of year production “Pirates of the Curry Bean” was another superb show. Thanks to the fabulous cast for making the show so spectacular, and thank you to the crew of staff for their hard work and effort in making that happen.

Exam results

It is also with great pride that in this year’s SATs (National Standard Assessment Tests) all the children who took part in the Year 2 and Year 6 SATs have achieved and exceeded the standard required.

100% of our children achieved the required standard in Maths, Reading and Writing against a National Average of 73% overall. A massive thank you and congratulations to you all. Some of the teachers here today have played a part in the children’s education since they were two. Thank you to our outstanding Year 2 and Year 6 teachers, Mrs Neild and Mrs Woodham.

Nursery and Pre-School

The Early Years team continue to excel with exciting plans which will lead to full Reception classes each and every year moving forward. The weekly newsletters highlight all of the great things the children are involved in from learning about Earth Day, dressing up as Kings and Queens for the Coronation, and welcoming special visitors including Rhubarb the hedgehog.

We will begin the school year in September with our highest ever number of pupils in the school and nursery.


Ghyll Royd is a Gold ‘Activemark School’ in Sport and that is reflected in the sporting events we are involved in and the achievements that result.
Mr Martin has developed and improved the sport offering even further and this year the sports calendar has included orienteering, table tennis, cheerleading and alphabet yoga, to name a few.

In November, we were triumphant in the West & North Yorkshire U11 Tag Rugby Championship for the second year in a row.

In January 2023, our Year 3 Boys qualified for the Cross Country West Yorkshire Finals.
And then in March, following on from winning the Northern tournament, our outstanding football team became National winners in the U11 ISA Football Championships at St George’s Park. I highly recommend you to read Cameron’s blog on the website to get an immersive run down of the day. Well done to Eliott, Cameron, Joshua, George, Henry and William, and coach Mr Nicholson.

Sports Day 2023 was another huge success made possible thanks to our incredible teaching staff and the fabulous PTA. Our wish was granted and there was no thunder and lightning this year!

Outside of school we have pupils excelling across a whole range of sports including gold and silver medals in Taekwondo; debuts at equestrian events, and swimming success for the City of Leeds Swim Club.

PTA & Community

A huge thank you once again to the PTA for all of the work you do. The events that you put on throughout the year really display the true community spirit of all of parents, grandparents and friends of the school. We’ve had fantastic events – Quiz nights, the Summer Sizzler, a Peaky Blinders Summer Party and, of course, the end of term Discos. The events this year have allowed the PTA to raise enough funds for our new Nursery sheds.

The children have been involved in some fantastic local projects too: sprucing up the planters in Burley; and working hard in Mrs Woodham’s gardening club, plus taking care of the new planter at Ilkley station.

Lots of money has been raised for charitable causes through individual themed days and in May the children raised £410.00 from the King’s Coronation Big Lunch celebration which will go towards UK skills and employment opportunities.

Staff and teacher thanks

Sadly we say goodbye to Zofia who, after 17 years of keeping the school and hall clean, is retiring.

We also say goodbye to Mrs Johnson who has been crucial in setting the Nursery up as an all year round provision who has decided to follow her interest by becoming a Safeguarding Officer at Ilkley Grammar School.

Best wishes for the Summer

We’ve had letters from Buckingham Palace; Grandparents back to school; the Little Adventurers baking and decorating poppy biscuits for Remembrance Day; school trips to Harrogate Theatre and Jorvik Viking centre; residentials to Nell Bank, Dearne Valley, Robin Hood’s Bay; and a series of wonderful Music concerts.

Thanks to teachers, Mr Martin and Mr Nicholson, support staff, pupils, parents grandparents and everyone associated with the school. I hope you all have a truly enjoyable, safe and healthy Summer.

I’ve seen first-hand the effect that this school has had on my daughter. Never a week goes by without her saying “I miss Ghyll Royd”, so much so that I might get it printed on a t-shirt.

So finally, I want to wish the best of luck and good wishes to all of the Year 6 leavers in their new schools from September and thank you to your parents for their support over the years. You truly do have a “foundation for life”.

Thank you

David Cunningham