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The Vale Academy Trust has a multi-tier governance structure, consisting of Members, Trustees and Governors.  All of these positions are voluntary and unpaid, and we are extremely grateful to the highly skilled group of people who commit their time and expertise to our Trust and schools.

Trustees sit on the Board of Trustees, which is the body with legal responsibility for the governance and performance of the Trust and all of its schools and operations; the Trustees are also 'directors' under company law.  Their biographies can be found on the Our Trustees page. The Board is accountable to the Secretary of State for Education, and is composed of twelve Trustee positions, of which nine are appointed by the Members and three by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE), reflecting the blend of community and church schools in the Trust family. 

The Board assigns local governance responsibilities to the Local Governing Body (LGB) of each school, in accordance with the Scheme of Delegated Authority and the LGB Terms of Reference (see documents below).

Each LGB has between eight and twelve Governors, dependent on school size, composed of Board-appointed Governors, elected Parent and Staff Governors, and the Headteacher (by virtue of the office they hold).  LGBs for Church of England schools also have Foundation Governors, appointed by the ODBE.

The LGB provides oversight of the school's management, performance and finances, in line with the development plan for the Trust.  The LGB also ensures Trust-wide and local policies are implemented and monitored, and that meeting and reporting structures are aligned with those of the Board.



Our LGB (Local Governing Body)

Tim Benbow: Chair, Parent Governor, Safeguarding, Teaching & Learning

Tim joined the governing body as Chair in 2021, having previously served as a member and vice-chair of the LGB at Millbrook.  He is a university lecturer at King’s College London, where he teaches history and politics.  He lives in East Challow and has two daughters who attend St Nics.

Rev. Alec Gill: Foundation Governor, Ethos & Values, Pupil Voice

Alec became part of the LGB following his move to the local area in September 2016, taking up the role of Associate Vicar for the Vale Benefice. Alec has been a Church of England minister for 4 years, previously working as a church youth worker. As one of our local vicars, Alec’s concern is for the school to achieve the best outcomes for all its pupils and staff, through its identity as a Church of England school.

Anne cheeseman

Anne was appointed as a Foundation Governor in September 2023 and is the link governor for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). She has worked as a primary school teacher, children’s centre manager and, most recently, as Training and Development Manager for a charity supporting families with young children. Anne lives in Grove and is a member of the PCC at St John’s Church but also worships at St Nicholas’ Church from time to time. She is keen to support everyone in the St Nic’s community to enjoy life in all its fullness and help the school be the best it can be

David Leonard

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Michelle Rooke: Headteacher

Michelle joined as Headteacher at St Nicholas CE Primary in March 2023 and has many years of experience teaching and leading in primary and secondary schools in Oxfordshire. 

Lisa Speakman: Parent Governor, Special Needs & Pupil Premium

Lisa was appointed to the role as Parent Governor (June 2021).  She has two children at St Nicholas and works as a P.E teacher in a secondary school. She is looking forward to supporting the school in her new role over the coming years.


Trevor Hayes, Director Appointed Governor

Trevor is a retired Civil Engineer who spent 25 years building bridges on motorways before taking up a post at Culham Science Centre. He retired in 2020. Trevor follows all types of sport in particular Rugby Union. He has travelled extensively and enjoys going to the theatre. He is a Parish Councillor and lives in the village.

Richard Hornsby, Director Appointed Governor

Richard joined the governing body in 2022.  He is a retired local solicitor who wanted to put to good use the experience he has gained as a governor at two other nearby primary schools .  He lives within walking distance of the school and hopes to help support the excellent work of all the staff at St Nicholas in providing the best possible education and opportunities for the children.  His responsibility within the governing body is to work in partnership with the Headteacher to ensure the children are taught an outstanding and varied curriculum. 

Jazmin Riggs, Staff Governor

Jazmin was appointed as staff governor in October 2022. Jazmin has previously worked within the public sector and has experience in relation to dealing with complex and sensitive cases often linking to the safeguarding of others. Jazmin is keen to listen and support others especially within the St Nicholas community. Jazmin has three young children and lives within the local area.

Lottie Smith: Clerk

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For more information about the role of LGBs within the Vale Academy Trust  please refer to the documents below.



St Nicholas C of E Primary School
Sarajac Avenue
East Challow
OX12 9RY


01235 763858