Governing Body

Deborah Cooke 2022_web (Small)

Deborah Cooke

Chair of Governors 

I currently have a child in year 5, my son also attended Aston Hall and is now at Aston Academy in Year 8.  My eldest daughter is at Nottingham Trent University.

I have worked for many years in the private sector for a variety of companies in business administration for the first part of my career, moving into accounting and finance.  I trained in business accounting and finance whilst I worked and attended university part time.   I now work for the family business and manage the accounts and a small accounts team.

I have seen through my employment how a good education gives the basis for so many opportunities. I am passionate about education and believe that every child should have access to good quality education.  I want to be involved in ensuring that all the children at Aston Hall are happy and flourish with the best opportunities regardless of their ability.

James Sharman

Parent Governor

I have been a governor at Aston Hall since 2019. My children are currently in Year 5 and Year 2. Previously, I was a LA governor at Aston Academy and supported establishing the Aston Community Education Trust, where I continue to be a Trust Member, setting the strategic direction for the multi-academy trust.
I attended Aston Springwood and Aston Academy as a student prior to studying Law and Politics at Manchester University. Following graduation, I have worked for a large international bank for the last 18 years, holding a variety of roles, including branch and project management. I currently support commercial customers as a resilience risk manager, specialising in risk governance and operational and cyber security. 
I am passionate about the power education and skills development has to unlock opportunities for all and believe in driving the highest standards to ensure all pupils realise their full potential. I’ve always lived in Aston and want to support providing the best possible start for young people in our local community. 
Kay Woodcock (1) (Small)

Kay Woodcock

Staff Governor

As a caring, highly-motivated, enthusiastic Year 5 Teacher, I feel I have a great understanding for providing a supportive, highly motivational curriculum for children and young people. I have enjoyed teaching at both Anston Hillcrest and Aston Hall – From the Early Years foundation stage to year 6. I have worked at Aston Hall school for 4 years and I am passionate about providing our children with the best possible education so that each individual reaches their true potential.

I thoroughly enjoy my role at Aston Hall, and working with the governing body supports, myself and the school, to embrace new experiences, where I can continue to share a lot of my positivity, passion, and values. My classroom offers an inspiring, safe, creative, highly motivating curriculum and immersive learning environment with a real mix of SEND children, which I support daily, reflecting on the opportunities to support and maintain the focus of a quality, individualised curriculum. I work to a high standard, in partnership, with the whole staff team to maintain and achieve outstanding practice and my role as Staff Governor, provides me with further opportunities to work alongside staff, families and our community to ensure our pupils receive an enriching and inspiring curriculum.

Before gaining my teaching qualification in 2018, I worked as Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (Over 15 Years) working throughout a number of specialised primary settings with children aged from 4 to Year 8 years including, Wales Primary PRU, Thorogate PRU and Broom Lane – Primary/ secondary (Y5-Y8) Provision for permanently excluded primary aged children and those at risk of exclusion. I had to be extremely flexible and adapt to changes quickly, dealing with a variety of complex behavioural problems. Leading whole classes teaching, interventions and multi-agency meetings. Within the role I gained valuable experience of SEND children of a variety of different ages and complex needs, as well as working alongside the SEND leads, from many different schools, with an aim to reintegrate back into a mainstream or specialised provision. It’s so important to work closely with a team of professionals and families (as equals) to ensure each child’s needs are met.

I am really looking forward to working with the children, staff, and families within the school community this academic year.

Captain Neil Thomson

Vice-Chair of Governors 

I have been a governor at Aston Hall since 2016 and am stepfather to two children in school in years 4 and 5. I have previously served as a governor of a small church school in Lincolnshire (it was quite different 25 years ago) and sat on the Education Committee of an LEA as the Church of England Representative for a Church of England Board of Education.
I work as Marketing Manager and Head of Communications for Church Army – a charity which is part of the ministry of the Church of England, where I oversee the fundraising and communications staff for the UK and Ireland. Through my work I see many instances of how working with schools and communities can make a positive difference to the lives of those involved, and want our school community to be the best it can be.
As Chair of Governors I aim to support the head, staff and children in all they do and be an advocate for the school with the Trust and other bodies we relate to in a constantly changing world of education and governance.

Paul Hanks

Co-Opted Governor 

I have a varied work experience having initially spent almost 20 years in Project Management roles within the Construction Industry specialising in Project Planning as well as commercial management for major and specialist projects across the country.

I attended Sheffield Hallam University as a mature student to study History, before being offered a funded place at University of Sheffield Town and Regional Planning Department to Undertake an MA and PhD.

In 2007 I was recruited by the Learning and Skills Council to work as a research and data specialist, Economic Development Advisor in South Yorkshire. In 2010 I joined Doncaster Council as a 16-19 Manager, and provided specialist funding support to Post 16 institutions across South Yorkshire.

In 2013 I established a specialist nationwide Post 16 funding consultancy, which now provides support to around 10% of the Sixth forms across the country and works with many of the large Multi Academy Trusts.

I strongly believe that education and personal skills development provides an opportunity to, in the words of the mantra that I have adopted, “Achieve Your Possible”. My hope is that I will be able to assist in supporting Aston Hall to enable many young people achieving their possible.


Louise Worn

Co-Opted Governor

I am a newly appointed Governor, only starting my role as Governor in November 2021. I decided that now both my children attend Aston Hall, I would like to support the school in any way that I can, ensuring that our children get the best start to their education. My children are currently in FS2 and Year 3, which provides me with a good understanding of the different key stages that Aston Hall teaches and the support that is required from both the school and parents.

My professional background is not in Education, having spent most of my career working within the Facilities Management sector. This means that I have approached the role of Governor with very much a parents view to the role. This enables me to provide a voice for the parents, whilst supporting the school with their visions and ambitions for the future.

What does the Governing Body do?

The work of the Governing Body is carried out for one purpose only and that is to give the children the best possible start in their school life by providing the very best in terms of the education they receive. The Governing Body is made up of the Headteacher, and members of the school community and wider Wickersley Partnership Trust where possible. The position of school governor is a voluntary one, but it demands a high level of commitment, both in time but also responsibility as the decisions made directly affect the children.

The Governors work closely with the Headteacher and meet regularly. Decisions are democratic, with all governors being given as much information as possible to aid them in that decision-making process, ensuring lively often lengthy and healthy discussions prior to decision making. Their work is focused around teaching and learning and in ensuring the school is offering the best possible values for its pupils.

The Governors have legal duties, powers and responsibilities, they can only act together, they cannot act as individuals.

Governors are appointed to help:

  1. Decide what is
  2. Set standards of
  3. Agree targets for continual school
  4. Interview and select
  5. Monitor and engage with teaching and learning

School Governors can be:

  1. Parents
  2. WPT members
  3. Community

Become a School Governor

Do something inspiring today – become a school Governor. Make a difference and develop your own skills!

Wickersley Partnership Trust consists of a group of thirteen Primary and Secondary schools predominantly in Rotherham. The children and young people it serves are aged from three to eighteen and total almost seven thousand! Each school is supported by its own community based Local Governing Body made up of parents/carers, local community representatives and businesses.

Schools across the country require people to volunteer as Governors on their Local Governing Bodies. Despite the fact that an estimated 250,000 people volunteer in this way each year, there is still a shortage.

So, why not give back and help give children and young people the best start in life, whilst developing your own skills in a way which can benefit your career. We like to think of it as a win-win situation!