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:

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

Acting 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

Useful information for LAB Members

Members of the Local Advisory Board

Name Date of appointment Date of resignation 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)

Partner worked with Simply Education

Vice Chair of Governors at Whitegate C of E Primary

Since June 2017

Between October 2018 and August 2019

Since March 2019

Mr Stuart York 1-9-2021   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 Sara White 14-3-2018   13-3-2022 Staff      
Mr Simon Dodd 11-6-2018   10-6-2022 Parent      
Dr Audrey Skidmore 11-6-2018   10-6-2022 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 Term of office Membership Specific role Pecuniary interest Date of involvement
Mrs Angela Clyne 30-6-2016 29-6-2020   Staff      
Mr John Harrison 16-11-2017 31-8-2020   Parent   Assistant Head at Malbank School & Sixth Form Since 2007


Attendance at meetings 2020 to 2021

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


Meeting Schedule 2020 to 2021

4pm Thursday 17th September 2020

Meet our Local Advisory Board Members

Mr James Bancroft - Principal and Staff LAB 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. 


Simon Dodd - Parent LAB 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 - Co-opted LAB member and Acting Vice Chair

My name's Mike Finnigan and I was delighted to be co-opted onto the Governing Body of Wistaston Church Lane Academy earlier this year and 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 26 years. both on a professional and 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, focussing on candidates in the School's Direct Salaried Programme. This latter 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 or "treading the boards" in Musical Theatre productions, I have a great interest in Lifelong Learning and Languages in particular ,spending  a great deal of time in Wistaston Memorial Hall, attempting  to improve my knowledge of French and French culture with Crewe and Nantwich U3A.

The school has had many challenges recently but I look forward to being part of a 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 Lesley Meaney - Co-opted LAB 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 LAB member & Acting 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.


Miss Sara White - Staff LAB member

I am a proud Yorkshire girl, now living in Nantwich! 
I have been teaching for seven years, and am proud to now be the Early Years Manager 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 have a responsibility for phonics across the school. This is something I am passionate about, and absolutely love teaching. Helping children to read is one of the highlights of my job, and it is those light bulb moments that make me love what I do!

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 - Co-opted LAB 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 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


Minutes of Meetings 2019 to 2020