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Meet our Governing Body

Welcome to the West SILC website which describes the wonderful practice in our school for children and young people aged 2-19 with learning difficulties and disabilities.

All the staff at the school, led by our dynamic Headteacher, Michelle Wilman, firmly believe that each pupil is able to achieve regardless of their special educational need, and our vision is very simple – 'work in partnership to make a difference.’

West SILC makes provision for children and young people on five sites across the west of Leeds and we are very proud of the fact that we are a large, diverse and inclusive organisation.

We have a multi-talented staff team who work in partnership with a range of therapists and the staff of our partner schools to provide a relevant, contemporary and individualised curriculum for each pupil thus ensuring that they all make outstanding progress.

The Governing Body works alongside the Headteacher and her staff, supporting and challenging, in a constant search for improvement and development of the whole school. I have been Chair of the Governing Body since 2010 and I am very ably supported by a talented group of Governors who all work closely together at a strategic level as the critical friend of the school.

The task of the Governing Body is to govern the school by providing strategic leadership, holding the Headteacher to account and making sure the school’s money is well spent. We do this by meeting at least six times a year and also by delegating specific tasks to individual or groups of Governors who then report back to the Governing Body. A strategic leadership group also meet regularly.

If you would like to know more about the role of Governors or would like to discuss any aspect of West SILC, please do not hesitate to contact me via the School Office on 0113 3862450 or by email on governors@westsilc.org marked for the attention of the Chair of Governors.

Shelley Robson

Shelley Robson - Co-opted - Chair

Shelley Robson(3)

I have been a governor at West SILC since May 2012.  Prior to this, I was a parent governor at Pudsey Greenside Primary School for 12 years.  During my time as a governor I have been involved in recruiting staff at all levels,  and have worked on the Resources, Teaching and Learning, Strategic and Performance Management committees.  I have held special governor responsibility for literacy, special educational needs, inclusion and head teacher performance management.  I have also contributed to numerous working parties and initiatives to drive school improvements.

In my professional life, I am a motivated, adaptable and accomplished senior manager.  My key skills include but are not limited to: leadership, business development, communication, change management, learning and development and presentation skills.

My most recent positions have been at Leeds Community Healthcare Trust as a business consultant and member of the Children’s Services senior management team.  Before this I worked for Cool2Care, a social enterprise that provided care-workers for disabled people and disability awareness training throughout the UK.  I also run my own Learning and Development Consultancy and have designed and delivered various training and development courses for organisations throughout the UK.  

Michelle Wilman - Headteacher


I was born in Leeds.  From 16, I did my work experience and community service at John Jamieson school in Leeds.  I was a volunteer at the PHAB (Physically Handicapped Able Bodied) youth club and undertook many residentials with them.  I have been a teacher all my working life.  I began my career as a Food Technology teacher in secondary schools.  I always wanted to work in a special school but wanted to be a good teacher first.  I moved to Victoria Park (as was) in 1995 to undertake my Food Technology to students with special educational needs.  I was the first teacher to introduce Entry level certificate courses and was responsible for ICT and assessment across the school.  I became an Assistant Headteacher in 2001.  In 2007, I became the principal for the SILC and consequently joined the governing body.  I am a single parent with two school aged children.  I particularly enjoy gardening; when I have the time!

Kate Robinson - Co-opted

Kate Robinson(1)

Kate is a barrister based in Chambers in Leeds who specialises in criminal and coronial law.  She was called to the bar in July 2009 and worked exclusively in law across different fields before settling into her present specialisms.  She hopes her experience in a variety of legal specialisms will be beneficial to West SILC (though hopefully not in a criminal law capacity!). Outside of work, Kate is a proud stepmother and mother, a keen dancer (usually very badly) and baker of novelty cupcakes.

David Pearson - Co-opted

David Pearson(2)

I am a parent of three children, one of whom attended West SILC for seven years. During his attendance, I have been a parent governor and active member of the sub-committees for over six years which has seen many changes, including a school move. Overall, there have been many improvements to the school and this is reflected in a continuous improvement in Ofsted inspections. My occupation is as a commercial insurance broker where I deal with both national and international companies across a broad range of industries. This has included line management with responsibilities for performance management and recruitment.

In addition, I am a qualified junior football coach and have worked with children from 7 to 16 years old. This position entails having to undertake safeguarding training on a three yearly cycle.

Julie Heselwood - Local Authority Representative

Julie Heselwood(1)

Julie is a Labour councillor for the Bramley and Stanningley ward within Leeds City Council and joined us in June 2016.  Julie brings a wealth of experience to the governor role and was excited about West SILC from her first visit to the school. 

Sam Schwab - Co-opted

Sam has worked for ten years in a range of roles across local and national government and is currently a senior manager in the Central Strategy Team at NHS England.

He has a range of transferable skills in the areas of policy, strategy, finance, procurement and people management, and particular expertise in the social care system, including young people transitioning to adult service provision.

Sam is passionate about the provision of highly performing and efficient public services that put the person at the heart of their delivery and hopes to support West SILC in their journey of ongoing improvement.

Jacque Simpson - Co-opted

Jacque Simpson

Following my training to become a registered general nurse, I worked as a staff nurse in hospital settings and then the private sector.  My experiences lasted for more than a decade and have proved invaluable. 

Following a change in circumstances, I swapped nursing for childcare, starting with pre 5s and working my way up the ages to teenagers!  I have worked in nurseries, children’s centres, main stream schools and residential settings prior to my role at West SILC.

I have now worked as an HLTA at West SILC for almost 6 years. I have had the privilege of working at three sites across the SILC with dedicated staff teams. Currently I work with students accessing the semi-formal curriculum and our CCA (Complex Communication and Autism) students. I have a good working relationship, knowledge and insight of the students with whom I work, as well as many of our staff team.  I feel therefore, that I can contribute positively as a governor.

I live in Bradford with my husband.  We have 5 children (3 boys and 2 adopted girls) 2 dogs and a guinea pig who moved in after his retirement from West SILC!

Sam Wilson - Co-opted

Samantha Wilson (002)

Sam joined West SILC in 2015 and qualified as a teacher in 2016.  Sam has a wealth of knowledge and experience of our complex communication and autistic students, working as the class teacher in Opal Class.


Governor Vacancies

We currently have a number of co-opted vacancies on our governing body and 2 parent governor vacancies.  For the co-opted vacancy we are particularly looking for (but not limited to) those who have experience in HR, finance, marketing and building/construction.  Being a governor is a very rewarding role, helping to shape the future for our students.

If you would like to learn more about the governor role, please contact Alison Kirby, Business Manager on 0113 386 2452 for an informal chat or email alison.kirby@westsilc.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Governing Body Skill-Set

It is important that the governing body, as a group, has the capacity to lead, monitor, evaluate, challenge, understand data, make financial judgements and decisions, communicate, appoint senior staff etc.  To ensure that all these skills are represented on the governing body, it is important to recruit people who have these skills, or to ensure that existing governors access appropriate training. 

Members of our governing body have the skills needed to make an active and useful contribution and in the current climate of rigorous inspection and high demands on governing bodies, they work incredibly hard together to provide the very best environment for all our stakeholders.

Governing Body - Register of Interests & Attendance Record 21-22

Please click to see our Governing Body Register of Interests.  If you have any queries or require further information, please contact the Governor Support Service on 0113 3782469

The Governing Body Purpose

Strong governance is essential for good schools.  Governing bodies hold important strategic responsibilities for the development and improvement of the school.  A key role of governing bodies is to support and challenge headteachers in order to ensure pupils receive the best possible education. Governors are not expected to be routinely involved in the day to day activity of the school, but they do visit and their purposes are understood by school staff.

The Governing Body Committees

The Full Governing Body meet 3 times per year (i.e. once per term).  In addition to these meetings, we have a number of sub-committees taking place throughout the school year:

  • Strategic Committee - This committee is responsible for the longer term strategy for the school, its vision and what is needed to meet its goals and objectives.
  • Pupil Support & Achievement Comittee -  This committee is responsible for teaching and learning matters including target setting, standards and achievement, monitoring teaching and learning and curriculum provision.
  • Resources Committee -  this committee is responsible for staffing, equality and diversity, finance, property management, health and safety and nutritional standards.
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