Gillian James: Chair of Governors
I have lived in Grindleton with my husband, Steve, since 1995 and our son, Thomas (Tee Jay), now 27, went to Grindleton Primary School. Recently retired, I was a secondary headteacher for 19 years, firstly at Archbishop Temple, a Church of England High School in Preston and then at Ilkley Grammar School, an 11-18 comprehensive school in Ilkley.
Now one of two Churchwardens at St Ambrose and a Foundation Governor, I was elected Chair of Governors in October 2014 and look to work with Mr Holden, the staff, parents and other governors (as well as your children!) to see all our pupils get the very best in learning opportunities and achievement in a caring, inclusive and ambitious school. We expect a great deal of ourselves as governors , although we give of our time and expertise voluntarily and are committed to supporting and challenging the school to be outstanding.
Outside of education, I enjoy attempting water colour painting, travelling, particularly to the Far East, cookery, skiing and jogging - even if it is usually head down into the Ribble Valley rain!
A child of the West Riding of Yorkshire, having taken exams a year early, for six months I worked in a mill and then for six months went on the road, living as a tramp, before going to London University in the late 1960s, which means I can't remember much about my time there, except that I was the entertainment rep, so got to introduce and be on stage with some of the top groups of the time.
Finding myself married with two children I had to get some money, so worked in the city of London for three years, where everyone said I should be a Vicar. Preparing for Vicar school, I taught in a Secondary school in Brixton that made the national news twice for all the wrong reasons. There I started a youth group which started with four girls and ended with 210 teenagers. We only needed police back up twice and the Hells Angels only came once!
Having been ordained, after a time as Curate in Skipton, where I helped with another successful youth group, I became a Diocesan Youth Officer paid for by Bradford Council, whose youth committee I chaired and for whom I worked as a trainer. That job took meall over the world, working with and for young people.
After a time in a parish in Bradford, where I was acting Chair of Governors at a middle school, I was called to Rural ministry which included being the Chair of Governors at one First school and on the Governors of another. Now here in Grindleton, I bring years of experience to my role as Primary Officiating Minister on the Governing body of this school and expect great things.
I grew up in Stourbridge and moved to Lancashire – via a few years in Stoke – in 1990. Started working in the school office at St Saviour’s, Bacup in 1995, developed an appetite for school finance and – a few years and schools later – moved to Bowland High as business manager in 2007. Now, I co-run a regional networking group – www.lasbm.com - providing information, expertise and professional development opportunities for Lancashire school business managers. This is my first appointment as a governor and I am enjoying the challenge.
I live in Grindleton, with my husband Pete – a keen fisherman. Many of you will know my daughter Sarah as “Sunny Owl” from 1st Grindleton Brownies. We enjoy getting involved in village life and find plenty of time for walking with our two yellow Labradors. Since moving to the village in 2008, I have been a member of Grindleton WI and can highly recommend it!
My family home was originally in Clitheroe where I grew up with my elder sister and younger brother. I left my home town approx 17 years ago and re-located closer to my place of work. In the years that followed I got married to my husband Jon and we started a family. In February 2010 we made a leap of faith and opened our own business called Maxmedia Communications Ltd – a marketing and communications agency. The business saw rapid growth and in October 2017 we sold the agency to a large Corporate Group based in Bolton however we still continue to run it. We decided to return to the area when the time had come to decide on a primary education place for our eldest son. Initially renting in Grindleton for a short time and then settled in West Bradford in June 2014. At the time we had a very shy 4 year old (who isn’t shy now) so Grindleton Primary was the perfect choice for him. I decided to become a Parent Governor as both our sons (Max and Sam) attend Grindleton Primary and I am also heavily involved in FOG’s (Friends of Grindleton School) being the secretary. I also volunteer with the Friday club at the pavilion for the children of the school and village.
You will find me either on the school run, any school/church gatherings, FOG’s meetings and dishing out tasty cakes and brews at Friday Club.
I have lived in the Ribble Valley since I was 5 years old. When I was at school I always wanted to be a teacher, which I was lucky enough to achieve. I spent 17 years in schools before joining Lancashire Education Authority as a mathematics consultant. I also worked for the National Strategies as a Mathematics Regional Adviser for the North West of England. During the last 12 years I have been a School Improvement Partner for a number of schools, working with senior leaders in ensuring they provide the vey best education for all their pupils.
In my free time I love playing badminton, tennis and travelling both in Britain and abroad. I also am kept very busy walking my Labrador, who thoroughly enjoys swimming in the River Ribble.