Oakfield Lodge School – Local Advisory Board

On 1st September 2022, OL was officially integrated into the Manor Hall Academy Trust. The benefits to OL have continued to develop over the last academic year: collaboration with the wider federation of AP settings within the Trust is helping to develop staff knowledge and morale and the opportunity to share best practice on educational provision ensures that we maintain the highest standards for our pupils. As a member of MHAT we will conform with the Trust Terms of Reference, which define the  basis of engagement with the Trust Directors.

The roles and responsibilities of the Oakfield Lodge LAB committee are very similar to those of traditional school governing bodies. The LAB has a strategic focus in monitoring the aims and objectives of the school. The LAB both supports and challenges the Headteacher, the Leadership Team and staff through our role as a ‘critical friend of OL. We acknowledge we have overall responsibility for ensuring that Oakfield Lodge School has an effective and appropriate system of controls, financial and otherwise.

OL continues to develop in an upward trend, as validated by independent external school improvement audits. The LAB is confident that the whole OL team (LAB committee, Leadership Team and staff) is committed to providing an environment where our students feel safe and have access to an education that will develop them academically, socially and mentally and prepare them for future career and life challenges. It has been rewarding to hear from students that they feel they can trust staff at OL.

At the heart of the OL mission is a well defined school development plan, which targets concrete and measurable outcomes. Some notable successes over the past 12 months have been:

  • strengthening of the senior LT with clear focus on successiuon planning and staff personal development
  • curriculum development: our curriculum has been completely reviewed to meet the changing needs of our children in a post-pandemic world. The implementation of a more clearly defined curriculum pathway to bring more clarity to the learning journey for students is a significantdevelopment.
  • exam results: we are proud to have provided a wider range of GCSE choices for children in 2023, linked to career aspirations and destinations. 92% of students who sat exams achieved at least one GCSE grade between 1-9.
  • implementation of a refreshed attendance strategy with focus on whole staff responsibility (OL compares very favourably with the best PRU’s nationally)
  • strengthening of contacts and collaboration across the Trust, including the establishment of core subject area networks.

The LAB has been rebuilding, with the goal of balancing educational and non-educational experience, in order to achieve balance in its’ review of and challenge to the school’s development. Finding a parent governor remains a challenge and we appeal to any parent who might be interesting in joining our LAB to get in touch (see below).

The LAB committee is proud to represent OL parents and students in the pursuit of the best educational practices and outcomes. We value observations from both students and parents about ways we can improve. We can be contacted via the OL administrative office or by emailing John Edmonstone, LAB Chair, directly at

Minutes from Governor Meetings


Dates of upcoming governors meetings

5th March 2024

30th April 2024

25th June 2024

All meetings take place at the school and start at 3.30pm

The membership of the Management Committee of Oakfield Lodge consists of:

John Edmonstone Chair Appointed by Governing Board  13/11/23 03/10/27
Gemma Bailey Head Teacher Elected by school staff 23/4/18 N/A
Vicky Diamond Community Governor Appointed by Governing Board 04/09/23 04/09/27
Claire Howarth Community Governor Appointed by Governing Board 25/11/21 24/11/25
Michael Taylor Community Governor Appointed by Governing Board 16/09/20 15/09/24
Jamie Light Staff Governor Appointed by Staff                     05/12/23 04/12/27

Management Committee individual pen portraits

Mr J Edmonstone

I have worked for over 35 years in international business, mostly in sales management roles within multi-million dollar corporate organisations. My key business disciplines include: defining business case, recruiting and developing international teams, influencing resources within matrix structures, delivering on defined targets.

Having retired at the end of 2018, after years of travelling around, I’m very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the local community. I have lived in Sandbach off-and-on since coming to England from my native Scotland at the age of 10. I am an active member of Sandbach Rugby Club, Crewe Golf Club and Sandbach Cycling Group. “


Having gained a degree in Japanese, French and Business Studies; I qualified as a teacher in 2001. I spent thirteen years teaching in mainstream education, seven of them as a senior leader for behaviour, inclusion and SEND. Most recently I spent four years working in two local authorities, managing a variety of teams who support vulnerable learners. I have also been a school governor in two local primary schools. As a mum of three I lead a very busy life. I enjoy long walks with my dog, especially in the lake district. I’m an avid theatre goer and enjoy reading when I have the time.

Vicki Diamond

As a commercially driven and results-focused Resourcing Leader, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to extend my expertise to a school governor role. My diverse corporate experience equips me with invaluable skills to contribute effectively to a school governor role. My background in Health and Social Care, emphasising coaching and high-performing team development, can enhance the school community.

With a strong understanding of substantive recruitment and temporary staffing, onboarding, and workforce planning, I appreciate the significance of recruitment and employee retention, crucial in an educational setting.

My robust management and leadership skills thrive in high-pressure, changing environments, crucial for impactful school governance. I am a confident advocate for continuous improvement, ensuring the school consistently aims for excellence.

My experience in crafting strategies aligned with organisational goals and my data-driven decision-making approach directly supports school governance’s mission of strategic planning.

As a parent to three school-aged daughters, I’m deeply committed to creating a thriving educational environment, actively contributing to the school’s growth and success.


Age 58. Retired. Keeping myself active with running, cycling and pandering to the needs of my six-year-old border collie.

I am originally from Leicester but arrived in Sandbach about 12 years ago via Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Education wise, I attended a wonderfully ethnically and socially diverse comprehensive school in Leicester where I scraped together enough A level points to take me to Hatfield Polytechnic to study Business and Finance. Career wise, aided by post graduate studying at Croydon College I joined the (then) Institute of Personnel Management, and spent around 20 years in a variety of HR roles, predominantly in Local Government.

My HR experience was quite broad, I held generalist, departmental (business partner) type roles, so had lots of exposure to resourcing activities such as recruitment and reward management and Health and Safety and Risk Management but my specialism was Employee Relations and Diversity.

About 15 years ago, I took the opportunity presented by my husbands “early retirement” to give up life in the “real world” and fulfil a long-held ambition to travel and work “abroad”. So, my more recent working life has been in the tourism industry; everything from running ski chalets to holiday repping.

Why am I a Governor? I believe wholeheartedly that education is the key to so many problems at individual, community and society level but I know that many young people enter the education system in circumstances which hinder their access and ultimate performance. Whilst it is always important, I consider education to be a much broader concept than exam performance alone, and recognise that sometimes our successes as a school are concealed behind statutorily driven key performance indicators. I am learning all the time about the work that Oakfield Lodge undertakes with young people who are facing barriers to inclusion and engagement, developing skills and perspective which will allow them to reach their full potential. As a governor I try to give support to that work.


I have been a science teacher and now a teacher trainer for 13 years. I have led whole school improvement projects in my specialist area of assessment. I have completed Postgraduate research at the University of Oxford and Glasgow University for my PhD in education. I have a big interest in SEND and equity in education.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time in the Cheshire countryside with my dog.


I have worked for Oakfield Lodge for just over ten year.

My current role is Administrations Officer and Exams Assistant, which I have been doing for six years.

However, my background is in fashion, which is slightly different from education. I studied at the London Collage of Fashion Central St Martins where I got my degree. Then worked for a top retail fashion company in virtual merchandising.

In my free time I like to go to the theater and take in a show. I love to spend time with my friends and family.

Declarations of Interest