The Learning for Life Proud to be part of The Learning for Life

Local Advisory Board

Wistaston Church Lane Academy is a member of The Learning For Life Partnership, a local multi-academy trust. As part of this trust, the school retains a local advisory board which focuses on the needs of the children, the staff, the school and its community. It operates under the scheme of delegation set by The Learning For Life Partnership.

Structure of the LAB

Key roles:

Chair of the Local Advisory Board: Dr Audrey Skidmore (from 28-11-2019)

Vice-Chair of the Local Advisory Board: Mr Mike Finnigan (from 26-3-2020)


The constitution of the LAB is:

3 staff members

3 parent members

3 co-opted or community members


Terms of Reference

Members of the Local Advisory Board

Name Date of appointment Term of office Membership Specific role Pecuniary interest Date of involvement
Mr James Bancroft 13-2-2017 Ex-Officio Staff Principal

Governor at Wimboldsley Community Primary & William Stockton Primary (Federation)

Vice Chair of Governors at Whitegate C of E Primary

June 2017 to July 2021


Since March 2019

Mr Stuart York 30-6-2016 31-8-2024 Parent      
Mrs Lesley Meaney 19-10-2020 18-10-2024 Community Safeguarding    
Mr Mike Finnigan 25-4-2017 25-4-2025 Community Vice Chair Trustee of Merseyside, Cheshire & Greater Manchester TTC Since Sept 2007
Miss Laura Baugh 19-5-2022 18-5-2026 Staff      
Mr Simon Dodd 11-6-2018 10-6-2022 Parent      
Dr Audrey Skidmore 11-6-2018 10-6-2026 Parent Chair Employed at Keele University and husband employed at Keele University  
Mrs Steph Watson 1-4-2021 31-3-2025 Staff   Brother is Managing Director of Armstrong Projects Since 1st April 2021
Mrs Joanna Leach 1-4-2021 31-3-2025 Community   Headteacher of Oakhill Primary School Since Sept 2007

Former LAB members (within last 12 months)

Name Date of appointment Date of resignation Membership Specific role Pecuniary interest Date of involvement
Sara Booth 14-3-2018 13-3-2022 Staff      
Simon Dodd 11-6-2018 18-5-2022 Parent      


Meeting Schedule 2021 to 2022

4pm Thursday 30th September 2021 (in school)

4pm Tuesday 30th November 2021 (virtual)

4pm Thursday 27th January 2022 (in school)

4pm Monday 21st March 2022 (virtual)

4pm Thursday 12th May 2022 (in school)

4pm Monday 27th June 2022 (virtual)

Meet our Local Advisory Board Members

Mr James Bancroft - Principal and Staff Member

I am proud to be the Principal of an academy with an exciting future. I believe that Wistaston Church Lane is a wonderful place to learn and a great place to work. I have been Principal since March 2017. Before that I was the Acting Headteacher for a while and prior to that I was the Deputy Head for nine years. I am married and have two young children and a cat called Gizmo. I am a governor at a local federation of two primary schools, and also the Vice Chair at a small village school. I am lucky to be working with a Local Advisory Board who place the children at the heart of what we do. In my spare time I love to go for walks and watch films. I have been known to build with Lego. I love Star Bars and Creme eggs but detest mashed potato.


Simon Dodd - Parent member

My name is Simon Dodd and my two sons Alex and Jack both enjoy the learning environment created at Wistaston Church Lane Academy and have thrived since starting at the school.

During their time at the school, I have had opportunities to sit in on lessons and even read stories in class and have been able to see first-hand the enthusiasm of the staff and the brightness that the pupils bring to these lessons.

Professionally I am a Sales Manager for an advanced ceramics manufacturer based in the North East of the UK. My responsibilities include setting the sales budget, making sure that targets are being met and ensuring that sales are profitable. I am also responsible for the company’s marketing and website updates. Exporting around 60% of what we manufacture, I also have to visit other countries and so have to ensure that I understand other cultures and their ways of doing business.

As a Parent Governor, I look forward to helping the team of Wistaston Church Lane Academy maintain its high standards, meet future challenges and shape the future of both the school and the future lives of the children.


Mike Finnigan - Community member and Vice Chair

I was delighted to be co-opted onto the Governing Body of Wistaston Church Lane Academy in 2017 and to have subsequently accepted the role of Vice Chair. Although I'm not a "Wistonian" by birth or residence, I've had and continue to have close connections with the school and community for the past 30 years, both on a professional and also personal level.

Professionally I was a Primary School Head Teacher for 27 years, having experience of Headship in three very different Cheshire Primary Schools. After "official" retirement in 2007, I continued to work as a consultant in the recruitment and retention of senior leadership candidates including Head Teachers for Cheshire County Council and until 2016 was the Lead Primary Quality Assurance Tutor for a local Teacher Training Consortium of which I remain a Trustee. This role brought me great satisfaction and enhanced my experience in visiting and supporting teachers in training in a very wide range of schools in Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, including Church Lane.

As a neighbouring Head Teacher, I worked closely with the school on a number of projects over 16 years and was always struck by the sense of community, the excellent staff commitment and the welcoming supportive ethos which the school provides for its young people.

On a personal level, when not out walking , touring in our caravan, "treading the boards" in Musical Theatre productions or playing in our ukulele band, I have a great interest in Lifelong Learning and Languages in particular , attempting  to improve my knowledge of French and French culture with Crewe and Nantwich U3A at Wistaston Memorial Hall.

The school has developed significantly over the past years and I look forward to being part of it's bright and exciting future, working with a highly committed Principal, Senior Leadership team, staff and Governor colleagues to ensure that the young people of Church Lane Academy have all the opportunities and experiences they deserve to enable them to achieve their dreams.


Mrs Joanna Leach - Community Member

My name is Joanna (Jo) Leach and I have lived round the corner from the school in Wistaston for 11 years. I joined the Local Advisory Board earlier this year, because I wanted to contribute to my local community.

I am currently a serving Headteacher in Stoke-on-Trent, but I started my teaching career in Cheshire 20 years ago. I taught in a local Crewe school when I was newly qualified, before being seconded to teach art, dance and drama at Tattenhall Residential centre. After two years in this role I returned to mainstream teaching in Northwich. Following 2 years teaching in Northwich, I accepted a leadership role in the school I currently work at and worked my way from Key Stage Leader to Assistant Head, then Deputy Head, before becoming the Headteacher in September 2016.

On a personal level, I live in Wistaston with my husband and two dogs and have grown up step-children. I am a football fan and have had a season ticket at Manchester United for 30 years. I love to spend time with family and friends and I love to read. I recently joined the newly formed WI group, the Wistaston Swans, and I am enjoying being part of their book club and walking sub-groups.


Mrs Lesley Meaney - Community member

I currently have 2 boys  - one who attends Wistaston Church Lane Academy and one who is now at high school.  I decided I wanted to become involved with the governors as the school plays a large part in my sons' life.  The school, I believe, can have a very positive impact not only for the children who attend but also the wider community. 

In my day job, I am currently employed as a paediatric sister within the major trauma centre at the Royal Stoke Hospital.

It is very rewarding to be part of the governing body, responding to the challenges involved and working alongside the staff in partnership to ensure the children receive the best start in their academic career.


Audrey Skidmore - Parent member & Chair

My name is Audrey Skidmore and although originally from France, I settled in the UK 13 years ago whilst undertaking graduate studies. After obtaining a doctorate from the University of Manchester and practising as a research scientist for over 4 years, I decided to focus on teaching in higher education. I now teach first and second year medical students at Keele University, where I am also charged with organising practical classes and clinical skills examinations. I am also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

I am the proud mum of 2 boys who are currently happily attending Wistaston Church Lane Academy. They have come on leaps and bounds as individuals thanks to the inclusive, stimulating environment and fantastic staff at Wistaston Church Lane Academy. As a governor, I have a special interest in the wider curriculum: I am keen to ensure that our children develop a broad range of knowledge and skills, encompassing a variety of subjects, so they become well-rounded learners. I am excited to be a parent-governor and I am hoping to help Wistaston Church Lane Academy be the best that it can be, now and in the future, for the benefit of all the pupils and the wider community.


Mrs Sara Booth - Staff member

I am a proud Yorkshire girl, now living in Nantwich! 
I have been teaching for ten years, and am proud to now be the Early Years Lead and part of the senior leadership team at Wistaston Church Lane. Prior to teaching here, I taught at a large primary school in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.  I have taught across all key stages, and have a good understanding of the curriculum and current educational issues. As well as my role in early years, I also assist with special needs work across the school. This is something I am passionate about, as I believe that every child deserves the best education. 

I believe that all of us at Church Lane have a passion for, and a love of, learning. I am excited to join the Local Advisory Board and look forward to working with the team to continue to ensure that Church Lane is a place where children can achieve anything they set their mind to!


Stuart York - Parent member

Since June 2016 I have been a co-opted governor at Wistaston Church Lane. I am fortunate to have 3 children at the school. One of the reasons I chose the school for my children was that it felt warm, friendly, with committed staff and happy, polite and confident children. Since I have been a governor I have been impressed with the level of devotion the staff give to the school in making it a place children can learn, develop, have fun and meet their potential.

I am the Governor responsible for maths which is a real passion of mine. Fortunately, and with some relief, I can still check my children’s maths homework. The challenge no doubt awaits at secondary school!

Professionally, I have been a police officer for 19 years. I am a Detective Inspector with responsibility for Strategic Public Protection, CSE and online offending, ensuring that children are protected and safeguarded. In addition to this role I am a trained negotiator and respond to people in crisis in an effort to prevent harm coming to them.

Attendance at meetings 2021 to 2022

Name Meetings attended Out of a possible...
Mr James Bancroft 4 4
Mr Simon Dodd 3 4
Mr Mike Finnigan 4 4
Mrs Joanna Leach 4 4
Mrs Lesley Meaney 2 4
Dr Audrey Skidmore 4 4
Mrs Steph Watson 4 4
Miss Sara Booth 2 3
Mr Stuart York 3 4

Minutes of Meetings

Please find the minutes of meetings in the documents below

Attendance at meetings 2020 to 2021

Name Meetings attended Out of a possible...
Mr James Bancroft 6 6
Mr Simon Dodd 3 6
Mr Mike Finnigan 5 6
Mrs Joanna Leach 1 2
Mrs Lesley Meaney 3 6
Dr Audrey Skidmore 6 6
Mrs Steph Watson 2 2
Miss Sara White 4 6
Mr Stuart York 6 6


Attendance at meetings 2019 to 2020

Name Meetings attended Out of a possible...
Mr James Bancroft 6 6
Mrs Angela Clyne 4 6
Mr Simon Dodd 5 6
Mr Mike Finnigan 6 6
Mr John Harrison 1 6
Mrs Lesley Meaney 3 6
Dr Audrey Skidmore 6 6
Miss Sara White 6 6
Mr Stuart York 4 6



Page Downloads Date  
Wistaston Church Lane LAB Autumn 1 17 09 2020 09th Sep 2021 Download
Wistaston LAB Autumn 2 Part 1 26 11 2020 09th Sep 2021 Download
Wistaston LAB Spring 1 28 01 2021 09th Sep 2021 Download
Wistaston LAB Spring 2 Part 1 18 03 2021 09th Sep 2021 Download
Wistaston LAB Summer 1 Part 1 13 05 2021 09th Sep 2021 Download
Wistaston LAB Summer 2 Part 1 17 06 2021 09th Sep 2021 Download
Membership Declarations of Interest 2021 05th Nov 2021 Download
LAB Visits to Schools 2021 04th Jan 2022 Download
LAB Visits to Schools 2021 RECORD OF VISIT FORM 04th Jan 2022 Download