Our Local Governing Board


Hill Top Primary Academy is part of the Leodis Academies Trust. The Trust Board is the Governing Board for all Academies within the Trust. For further details on our Trustees and access to the Trust documentation, please visit the Leodis website here. The Trust Scheme of Delegation can be viewed here.
Hill Top Primary Academy has a Local Governing Board (LGB) which supports the work of the Trust and the Academy. With detailed local understanding and experience, the LGB focuses on challenging and supporting the quality of provision and educational outcomes for young people at academy level. 

Sharon Wilkinson (Chair of the Governing Body)

I have been a Governor at Hill Top Primary Academy for 4 years now. I am the Vicar of the local church St Mary’s and it is lovely to be involved with the Staff and Children at this school. I am the Governor responsible for Safeguarding.


Karen Renshaw  - Co-opted Governor

As a Governor at Hill Top Primary Academy, I use the skills I acquired as a Nursery Nurse, allowing me to deliver the best foundations for children’s education. I am up to date with all safeguarding policies and undertake regular training as a Governor, which is enhanced by my role on Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Board. The children’s progress and education are paramount when decisions are made, and this school is inclusive, giving opportunities to all.

Jennifer Cowey - Parent Governor

I have a background in teaching and have a degree in child psychology. I also have additional qualifications in counselling and children's mental health, including overcoming barriers in education. I currently work as an early years gymnastics coach and volunteer with Yorkshire Ambulance Service as a community first responder during evenings and weekends. I currently have three children who attend HTPA I have enjoyed seeing first hand the dedication and hard work that all the staff at Hill Top have put in to make the school a wonderful and inclusive educational setting.



Varinder Phull - Parent Governor

As a Parent Governor and research neuroscientist passionate about teaching pedagogy, I aim to contribute my expertise to ensure our school fosters inclusive learning environments and evidence-based practices. I am committed to prioritising student well-being and fostering an environment where every child has the opportunity to thrive and excel.


Joanne Lancaster - Principal

Joanne joined Hill Top in September 2014 as an Assistant Headteacher moving up to Deputy then Principal in September 2021. She began her teaching career in Durham after receiving a B’Ed degree with Honours at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. Joanne has also achieved the National Award for SEND in 2020 and achieved the NPQH qualification in 2023. Joanne has a keen interest in supporting children with SEND and ensuring they receive the best outcomes whilst in school.

Throughout her career she has taught in a range of primary schools and has loved every second of it. Seeing children learn and develop has led her to develop a strong belief that children learn best when they are having fun and are engaged in practical, real-life activities. She also believes that strong relationships with parents and the wider community are vital in ensuring that children are supported as they move through their school life. Teaching is her passion and to see children explore and thrive as they learn new knowledge and skills is what drives the continuous improvement of Hill Top.


Tracy Nicholls - Staff Governor

I Have been part of the Hill Top family for over 20 years as a parent (all 4 children attended HTPA), volunteer and employee. For the past 12 years, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant in every class across KS1 and KS2 building strong relationships with both children and colleagues. This has given me a deep understanding and knowledge of the Hill Top ethos. I am passionate about seeing each child as an individual and preparing them for the next steps in their journey by creating a positive, supportive yet challenging learning environment.


Mike Cook - Co-opted Governor

Mike has a first-hand understanding of school leadership and the local educational landscape, as a former Headteacher of a large secondary academy; one of the first 32 outstanding convertor academies in England and the first in Kirklees. He was vice-chairman of the Kirklees Schools’ Forum and a member of the Kirklees Place-Planning and Admissions committee prior to his retirement in 2016.

Alongside his day job he also worked as a Research Associate for the National College for School Leadership, and contributed to the development of the Framework for Exceptional Education, a programme operated by the Schools, Students and Teachers Network (SSAT) Leading Edge group. He has prior experience as a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate and more recently five years’ experience as a contracted inspector participating in Ofsted inspections of maintained schools and academies. He has also recently returned to marking summer examinations for one of the awarding bodies.

Mike holds a Science Degree from the University of Durham and a Master’s in Science Education from Sheffield Hallam. Unsurprisingly, therefore, his 34-year teaching career was primarily focussed on teaching physics to GCSE and A level, but also included chemistry, mathematics and IT.

Mike has a strong conviction that schools can transform lives and strives to do whatever he can to support and sustain the highest standards of educational provision.


Colin Stribley - Co-opted Governor

Colin joined Leodis Academies Trust at the formation of the MAT in 2016 and is now Chair of the Standards Committee.  Before joining the Trust, Colin was a governor at Westerton Primary School from 2000 where he was joint Chair of the Resources Committee, a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee, ICT Lead and also a key member of the PTFA during his early years as a governor.

Colin has spent his whole career working in IT where he has held various management and director roles working in engineering, service delivery, sales and contract management.  He also spent 21 years as Chair of Trustees for a final Salary pension scheme.

Colin is married with two daughters who both attended Westerton Primary and Woodkirk Academies before going onto University.

Outside of work Colin enjoys gardening, football, skiing, hill walking and keeping fit.


Register of Business Interests 2023-24 and Attendance 2022-23