Staff and Governors

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The Staff and Governors at Ghyll Royd School and Pre-School are just one of the reasons we have such a wonderful school. Many have been with us for a number of years which provides excellent continuity for the children and our specialist teachers offer a unique learning experience.

Teaching Staff

Mr David Martin – BA (Hons), MA in Business, PGCE (QTLS), PGCE (QTS). National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

After spending thirteen years in the business sector, Mr Martin began his teaching career at Craven College and within Professional Sports Associations where he taught Sports Science. He has been at Ghyll Royd School for eleven years, firstly as a Physical Education Specialist, developing the PE curriculum, then as Form 3 and Form 2 Class Teacher and for the last three years as our Head Teacher overseeing the successful inspection in February 2015 and our school development plan. Mr Martin has led the implementation of the assessment and reporting arrangements for the school and has completed the ‘Senior Leadership Course’ with the National Teaching and Leadership College.

Miss Sarah Gresswell – Form 6 Teacher and SENCO (School) – BA (Hons) in History, PGCE with Teach First

Miss Gresswell has a History Degree from the University of Reading. She completed her PGCE as part of the charity program Teach First. She has worked across a wide range of age groups from EYFS to KS2. Before starting her teaching career, she worked for The University of Cambridge Library, in the manuscripts department. She also enjoys long distance running and rowing and has been a coxswain for both junior and adult rowing teams. Miss Gresswell will be developing the Year 6 and Science Curriculum next year.

Mr Hadley Nicholson – Deputy Head and Form 5 Teacher – BA (Hons) PGCE Primary

Mr Nicholson has a BA (Hons) in Applied Psychology and Philosophy from Liverpool John Moores University. He completed his MA in Education, specialising in ‘Child Development’ and ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’. Prior to teaching, Mr Nicholson worked as an expedition leader in the Colorado Rockies and as a freelance travel journalist. In the past he has also been an England U19s Basketball player and before joining Ghyll Royd taught at Malsis School as a Form and Physical Education Teacher. Mr Nicholson has also completed the MPQ ‘ Leadership Course’ with the National Teaching and Leadership College.

Mr Richard Laycock – Form 4 Teacher – Lower KS2 Phase Leader – Cert Ed, BA (Hons) QTS

Mr Laycock has been a teacher at Ghyll Royd School for eleven years and has taught all classes from Forms 3 – 5.  He is our History specialist and has developed this area of the curriculum over a number of years.  Mr Laycock is currently our Phase 2 Leader.

Mrs Sue Beeson – Form 3 Teacher – Diploma in Teaching (Australia)

Mrs Beeson began her teaching career in Australia and has taught for over thirty years in the primary sector.  During her eighteen years at Ghyll Royd School she has taught Forms 1, 2, 3, and 6 and for seven years she was Head of Key Stage 2 and Deputy Headteacher.

Mrs Claire Neild – Form 2 Teacher – MA (Hons) in Sociology, Higher Level Teaching  and Learning Support Assistant

Mrs Neild started at Ghyll Royd as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant in Key Stage 2. In 2019, she started her teacher training and is now has Qualified Teacher Status and has made the move to Key Stage 1. Mrs Neild is also our PSHE specialist, working throughout the School.

Mrs Rebecca Picken – Form 1 Teacher – BA (Hons) in Primary Education

Mrs Picken qualified as a Teacher from Bradford University in 2003 before going on to teach at Girlington Primary School in Bradford. During her thirteen years at the school Mrs Picken taught from Reception to Year 6, specialising in English in the lower Key Stages where she became the Co-ordinator for this level. Mrs Picken’s role also involved in the development and improvement of Mathematics and Physical Education at the school. Mrs Picken joined Ghyll Royd in November 2019.

Specialist Staff

Mrs Elizabeth Coultas – Music Teacher – BA (Hons)  LTCL (TD)  ALCM

Mrs Coultas has taught music for 27 years. She has a BA (Hons) Degree in Music and also holds a LTCL Teaching Diploma from Trinity College London and an ALCM from the London College of Music. She also plays the clarinet and piano.

Mrs Keeley Smith – Art Teacher – BA (Hons) Art Therapy, PGCE Primary

During her time at Malsis Mrs Smith accepted the role as Head of Art. She has a degree in Art Therapy, later practicing for five years before going on to complete her Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Mrs Keeley Smith – Modern Foreign Languages Teacher BA (Hons) PGCE Primary

Mrs Smith has been teaching for nine years and previously worked at Malsis School for 5 years and prior to that Christchurch C of E School in Skipton. During her time at Malsis Mrs Smith was KS1 co-ordinator and class 2 teacher. Mrs Smith has ‘A’ Level Spanish and spent a year living in Barcelona to further her language skills.

Mr Nicky Wilce – Physical Education Teacher – BA (Hons) Sports Science

Mr Wilce will continue to deliver high quality PE for Ghyll Royd School and Pre-School. He has a wealth of experience teaching PE and Sport in both the US and UK and holds a variety of Level 2 coaching awards, along with a master’s Degree in physical Activity, Exercise and Health.

Early Years Staff

Mrs Helen Hudson – Reception Class Teacher and SENCO (Early Years) – BA (Hons) English with Qualified Teacher Status

Mrs Jennifer Johnson – Nursery Manager – BA (Hons) in Combined Arts which included Early Education, MA in Art History, International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy (Level 5)

Mrs Julia Davis – Deputy Nursery Manager – Level 3 Nursery Management

Miss Megan Lilley – Early Years Practitioner – BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Mrs Julie Tomkinson – Early Years Practitioner – Level 3 Early Years Practitioner 

Miss Katie Barker – Early Years Practitioner – Level 2 Early Years Practitioner, working towards Level 3

Miss Abigail Cowan – EYFS Learning Support Assistant – BA (Hons) Education Studies, working towards an MA in Mental Health in Children and Young People

Miss Lauren Healey – EYFS Learning Support Assistant – BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies, working towards an MA in Psychology

Miss Emeli Mumford – EYFS Learning Support Assistant

Miss Alex Sury – EYFS Learning Support Assistant

Teaching and Learning Support

Mrs Stacey Ellis – Degree in Early Childhood Studies and holds the NNEB qualification

Mrs Sarah Langan – Part Time Early Years Practitioner – NVQ Level 3

Mrs Sally Portz – Higher Learning Teaching Assistant

Mr Jack Hudson – After School Care Assistant

Peripatetic Music Teachers

Mr Liz Coultas – Clarinet

Mr Alistair Pryde – Drum and Guitar – BA (Hons), L.MusLSM, NABBC

Mrs Clare Richards – Violin and Piano

Support Staff

Mrs Gilly Downs – School Secretary/PA to Headteacher – NNEB

Ms Louise Beanlands – Secretary

Miss Rebecca Wilson – Marketing Manager

Mrs Emma Smeaton – Bursar

Mrs Bev Kitching – Finance Officer

Mr Sean Morgan – Chef

Mrs Del Dearing – Catering Assistant

Mrs Barbara Pastuszczak – Part Time Catering Assistant

Mrs Julie Tomkinson – Lunchtime and Play Supervisor

Mrs Maddie Holland – Cleaner

Mrs Zofia Wiacek – Cleaner


  Name of Governor Skills and Experience Responsibilities
Maxine Heppenstall I am a Solicitor who qualified in 2002. My area of specialism is private client work – wills, powers of attorney, inheritance tax, trusts and estate administration. I am the Head of our Private Client department and I am a full member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (a worldwide organisation). I am a Director of, and one of four shareholders in, Walker Foster Ltd. Walker Foster have been established over 100 years and we became a limited company in 2016 (previously a partnership). As such I am used to dealing with day to day management and strategic/business development issues.


Chair of the Finance and Resource Committee
Michael Picken  

As a former pupil and now having a daughter that attends the school, I am passionate about joining the governing body and supporting the school to achieve key objectives to the benefit of all pupils, teachers, staff  and Parents.

My background is in the insurance industry and I run a division within a Global Broker after the previous business I was a Director at was acquired by them in late 2017, I am looking forward to using my skill-set to contribute to the development of the school.

I have 3 children and enjoy various sports such as running and squash and spend my spare time, other than taking my girls to their various activities, by supporting the local community and charity fundraising through Ilkley Roundtable who organise events such as the Ilkley Half Marathon and Ilkley Beer festival.


Finance and Resources and Health and Safety
Emma Usherwood Qualified accountant, worked in private practice for 18 years firstly in audit and accounts preparation then latterly investigating fraudulent company directors and bankrupts.

Since then, I have been working at the Collaborative Learning Trust based at Prince Henry’s Grammar School as the finance manager.


Finance and Resources
Anna Bedford Collins I am a Mother to 2 children who both attend Ghyll Royd. I am a Director at The Purchasing Agency that specialises in the delivery of Purchasing Support Consultancy Services in both the private and public sectors. I have been with the company for 18 years. I shall be working across both areas of the Resource committee and using my experience in Procurement to assist the Finance team. I like to believe that I have developed both robust and lucid management and organisational skills in relating to project work and events.

I am very passionate about my new role as a Governor at such a thriving school and will support the the staff, parents and pupils wherever necessary. As a parent Governor communication between the school and parents I believe is the key and I will offer support to anyone within our school community.

I am also the current Chair of the Ghyll Royd School PTA which was set up in April 2019 – we have hosted a number of fundraising events for the school community and also strengthened our community links with Burley In Wharfedale, along with ensuring the children have some fun too!

Our fundraising so far has funded 9 seats in the Theatre of Dreams, the transporting and installation of the Kiln donated by Ilkley Grammar School and other equipment.


Robert Powls Following a lifetime in the hair and beauty industry Robert found and chaired GHD followed by founding and chairing Cloud Nine. He has been a Non-Executive Director with several companies including major PLCs. Robert now works as a consultant to several companies and is now semi-retired. Robert has two children currently at Ghyll Royd and enjoys serving in the Governing Board to develop the school and pre-school further. Marketing
Anthony Simpson · Education/Safeguarding/Sen
Victoria Wood · Education/EYFS


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