Meet the Governors


Jill Houlbrook (Vice Chairman)

I have been the Local Authority Governor since 2007 and the Chairman for three years. This is a role which means a great deal to me as the Governors are responsible for ensuring we do the very best for our pupils, our staff and our parents. Westlea is an inclusive and community minded school which fits well with my other role as a Borough and Parish Councillor for Upton. It is always a delight to be in school working with Kath and her team and the children. My own children grew up in Upton and my brother is a former pupil of Westlea, although that was some time ago!
I'm afraid I cannot compete with Adrian's marathon running although I do enjoy walking and I try to fit in regular visits to the gym. I also enjoy baking and reading and I share my home with my two cats and a hen.

Dr A Thorp (Chairman)

I have been a Governor at the school for the last 3 years and I have the same ethos as the school, which is to do the best for the children attending the school. I have supported the head and staff over these years so that they can provide the best education for the children. I am always thinking of ways to improve and develop the school further.

I have two children in the school and therefore the making sure that not only my own children but all the children in the school receive an excellent education is paramount.

Out of school I work as a Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Dental Practitioner. I am also current undertaking a Bachelor of Law degree. Socially I enjoy keeping fit and running. I have taken part in the London Marathon five times and each time I do I usually state, "never again!"

Mrs K Carruthers (Headteacher)

I have been the Headteacher and a member of the Governing Body at Upton Westlea Primary School since September 2015. I take an active role in all the sub committees and am accountable to all the others members of the Governing Body.

I believe that every child should have the opportunity to develop his/her potential in a happy and safe environment which equips them for all future needs and instils a want for life-long learning through imaginative, creative, enjoyable and practical opportunities. High quality learning and teaching experiences are the right of every child. All children are entitled to a broad, balanced, stimulating and enriched curriculum with a mixture of teaching and learning styles. All of which as Headteacher and a member of the Governing Body I endeavour to provide at Upton Westlea.

On a personal note I am married to Jimmy who is a builder (very useful around the house!!) and I have two wonderful children, Joe and Abi.

Mr D Spruce (Staff Governor)

I have been the staff governor since becoming the Deputy Headteacher at Upton Westlea in January 2014. I am part of all sub-committees and, first and foremost, work hard to represent the best interests of the children in our meetings. As a Staff Governor, I also aim to put forward the feelings, thoughts and ideas of all whom work here in order to constantly strive to improve the education we offer.

I strongly believe that every child deserves to be given the very best chance to achieve their potential. For me, this starts with consistently strong teaching that meets the children’s needs. I feel Governors play a vital part in supporting and challenging the school to make this happen which is why I wanted to be part of the Governing Body team.

I really enjoy learning; I have recently completed a Masters in Education and am currently halfway through my NPQH Headteacher course. Outside of school, I play football, occasionally snowboard (when I can make it to Chill Factore), listen to new (and old) music and spend time with friends and family. I also like to cook and try out new recipes.

Lisa McCluskey (Co-opted Governor)

My name is Lisa McCluskey and I have been a  governor at Upton Westlea for 5 years. I am married to Iain McCluskey who is a parent governor and we have 4 children aged 17, 13, 8 and 7 months.

I am a Teaching Assistant at Upton Westlea in year 2 and I absolutely love my job! I find it so rewarding when I teach a child something new.

I enjoy being on the governing body as I want to help make a difference to the children’s learning as well as giving them new experiences. I feel being a governor helps me in my day to day job as it gives me a deeper understanding into school life.

Iain McCluskey (Parent Governor)

My name is Iain McCluskey and I am married to Lisa McCluskey who is also a governor at Upton Westlea. I am currently studying a degree in Physics combined with being a stay at home dad to my 7 month old son.

I am interested in space, science, computing and all things considered ‘geeky’.

I have been a parent governor for 2 years and have learnt so much about the education system and how the school is run.

I am actively involved in Upton Westlea’s school life in many ways, such as updating photos in the school entrance, being involved with the website to helping out at PTA events, helping with sports day and much more.

Mark Williams (Co-opted Governor)

I have been a Governor at the school for the last 6 years after someone I knew asked if I would do it. So I said yes not quite understanding what it all involved! Being a governor is an important voluntary function. We give up our time because we care about the community, the school and the children. The governors ensure that the school is giving you the best educational experience it can.

I do not have any children of my own but I do have four cats, two of which are very playful kittens that we adopted from a rescue centre after hearing that one of them had been found in Hoole where I live.

I work in Information Technology as a software tester for a parcel delivery company. I have an allotment and enjoy growing my own vegetables there.

Sarah Cocks (Parent Governor)

I have been a parent governor at Upton Westlea since 2008 and have two children, one in year 5 and the other in year 7. I took on this role because I wanted to support the staff and school in order to provide the best education possible for the children. I believe that all children should have equal opportunity to learn and develop and that the main role of the governing body is to ensure this is achieved.

I also work in the education sector and have been a lecturer in Animal Management at Coleg Cambria for almost 15 years.  I am passionate about wildlife and have been lucky enough to take some of my students to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador.

I have lots of pets including cats, rabbits, snakes, hermit crabs and a hedgehog. I am also a keen horse rider and have my own horse, Ruby, as well as looking after a pony ridden by my daughter. In my spare time I work as a volunteer for Chester Kitty Cat Rescue; this usually means that I have a house full of foster kittens!

Lt Col Ben Wilde (Associate Governor)

Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wilde was born in 1975 in the Countess of Chester hospital (when it was the West Cheshire), but being from a military family, though one that is from Cheshire, spent much his young life all over the world.  He went to school in Dorset and gained his degree from Durham University before going to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1998.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilde commissioned into the Cheshire Regiment in 1999.  Early years of regimental duty were spent in Cyprus, Belize, Jordan, the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Northern Ireland.  He served as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Company Second-in-Command, Intelligence Officer and Close Observation Platoon Commander.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilde has served as a staff officer in Germany, at the Ministry of Defence and around the UK.  In recent years he has completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan; the first in command of a Rifle Company in the Upper Gereshk Valley, and the second at Task Force Headquarters in Lashkar Gah.  On return from this second tour he was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and to attend the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy.  On finishing this demanding but rewarding course, he spent 9 months as a teaching instructor at the Defence Academy before assuming command of 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, based at The Dale Barracks, in May 2015.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilde has served on operations extensively in Northern Ireland, was Battlegroup Intelligence Officer in Basrah, Iraq in 2004, and has been decorated twice for operational service in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilde holds a BA in Combined Arts (English Literature and Philosophy), and a Masters in Defence Studies.  He is married to Victoria, a nurse, and they have three young children, who take up most of his spare time.  However, he runs regularly (more out of necessity than enjoyment), is out on his mountain bike whenever possible, and is a lifelong wildlife and bird watching enthusiast.

Sue Hodkinson (Co-opted Governor)

I am the Executive Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and as one of the largest employers within Chester, I am keen to support the school and all of the team in providing the best education, leadership and development to inspire  the children’s future.  I joined the Countess in February 2011 and was appointed to the post in November 2014.   As a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), I  have worked in a number of senior HR management posts in the NHS for over 10 years, I bring extensive healthcare and private sector HR, leadership & project management experience & knowledge to the school.

I grew up in Chester and now live locally in Ellesmere Port and my husband, who runs his own business, and I are active in the local community with our son’s football team, who is 8 years old and loving his time at Whitby Heath Primary School.  I am a passionate Liverpool Football Club supporter, regularly attending games as well as enjoying time in North Wales with our Miniature Schnauzer, Poppy.  I am also active on Twitter and you can follow me on @SueHodkinson.

Nicola Buckley (Co-opted Governor)

I am delighted to be involved in the governance of Upton Westlea Primary School, working alongside the other governors and the school staff. I hope to contribute to the improvements made by the school so far, and assist wherever possible, in the drive to ensure that the children reach their potential.

My background involves 8 years of development and delivery experience in environmental education and community involvement, most recently at Chester Zoo where I manage the team of visitor engagement volunteers within the Discovery and Learning department.

I was born in Chester but I now live in Middlewich with my husband and two year old daughter. We love the outdoors climbing, walking and of course visiting the zoo.

I joined the governing body of Upton Westlea in March 2016 so I am very new to the role but I am totally committed to providing the best possible education for each and every child at the school.

Brendan Crilley (Associate Governor)

I am married to Rachael and we have three brilliant children, one being a thriving student in Eden Class at Upton Westlea School.

I am a Northumbrian in exile, with 23 years service in Cheshire Police, formally serving for two years as a Special Sergeant in West Mercia Police. This is split between 10 years of front line uniform service, including a 12 month stint within a Dedicated Riot and Public Order team and the remainder as a Detective working in various roles, including murder investigations, but primarily within Child Protection and the investigation of paedophilia. I am currently attached as a Detective within the county wide Dedicated Rape Investigation Unit, but I have over ten years safeguarding experience and qualification within Child Protection, Forced Marriage & Honour based violence (including FGM) and Domestic Abuse to partners and children. In 2015, I was one of the 'pioneers' relating to the Pan-Cheshire response to the Jay Report (Rotherham) and the Coffey Inquiry (Greater Manchester) Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiries as a Detective Sergeant within the multi-agency Cheshire West and Chester Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Team. I was a sitting member of the Pan-Cheshire subcommittee and contributed to the writing and delivery of Awareness Training and multi-agency Risk Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation to professionals.

On a personal note beyond work and family, I have two great interests. I am a Geordie and follow, at great pains, Newcastle United and I have a passion for Boxing. I am a Boxing Coach, Safeguarding Lead and formally recognised Club Welfare Officer (Registered Nationally by England Boxing) for a community based club called Chester Police ABC (Amateur Boxing club) in Lightfoot Street, Chester.

My motivation for becoming a governor is so that I am able to offer any professional or personal assistance to the continued improvements and huge strides already taken in ensuring that this school becomes an example of good working practise and which is recognised within any future OFSTED inspections. I want to learn from the professionals with regards to the management and teaching of children with special needs and I hope to offer some support by contributing in as many ways as possible. Despite my Safeguarding knowledge, I recognise that I am a novice when it comes to day to day understanding and methodology of individual needs management and so I look forward to the challenge.

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Contact the School

Upton Westlea Primary School

Weston Grove
Upton by Chester

Main Contact: Mrs Kath Carruthers

Tel: 01244 981215
Fax: 01244 380081

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