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Hello from our 2021-2022 Governing Body!

Chair of Governors Gemma Berry

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Here is Gemma, looking very youthful! Did you know Gemma used to come to Kirkburton First School when she was a child? She remembers loving reading, especially, when the teachers read to the class each day. What a happy memory!


My name is Gemma Berry and I am the Chair of Governors. I became a Governor in May 2016 because I wanted to understand how the school works and to try and help out in any I can. I have two children Charlotte and Evan, who is in Class 2. So will have one of them in school for a few more years to come. 

I really enjoy being a governor and working with the other brilliant governors and teachers to make the school so good. I really love the time I get to go into class and see the children at work. It such a lovely atmosphere in school. 

In my free time, I like to read, go for walks and occasionally bake.


Vice Chair of Governors Jean Selbie


This picture shows Jean, when she was just 4 years old, proudly giving her new baby sister a cuddle. Jean has very Happy memories of being at her Infant School in Fordington , Near Dorchester Dorset. At the time she was at school breaktimes included a little bottle of milk, and she could buy a couple of chocolate biscuits. No wonder Jean is a regular at the dentists!!


Our Staff Governor, Helen Campbell


I was born in Nottinghamshire and went on study at The University of Reading to train to be a teacher. I moved to Yorkshire in 2007 where I worked at an Infant and Nursery School in Dewsbury before accepting a post at Kirkburton First School in 2015. 


I have lived in Highburton since 2009 with my husband and two young children, Jack and Albie, and although lots of my spare time is taken up with my children's activities I enjoy family days out, music and socialising with friends. 


When the position of staff governor became available on the Governing Body. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to get involved and support the school in another capacity.

Sue Taylor


I have worked in education, teaching and lecturing all my professional life. I took time out when my two children were small and enjoyed spending time with them. I equally enjoy spending time with the children at Kirkburton First and watching them grow and learn.

My hobbies are cooking, gardening and a range of crafts as well as taking in the beautiful Yorkshire scenery through walking,generally with my husband as he has the sense of direction I lack.

I have been a Foundation governor for about 7 years. I enjoy working with the staff and children at Kirkburton First School because everyone is so enthusiastic. It is good to feel a part of such a caring family, and I also enjoy using my experience to support the children's learning, and to try to ensure that the school run's well. 

I have lived in Kirkburton for 25 years now, and think it is a great community in which to live. I don't seem to have much spare time since I also help with the Church4All and have recently started volunteering at the library to try and keep it open. Still, I do prefer to be busy. I have realised what I don't like is to have my photograph taken, so this one of me taking part in a school visit will have to suffice. It did make use of one of my interests, sewing as I made the skirt apron and mop cap.

This happy photo shows Sue as a young child. Sue has vivid memories of her time at school- one memory is asking her Mum to come to school, and tell her teacher that she didnt like custard!

Andy Sansom

Hi. My name is Andy Sansom. I’ve been a parent governor at Kirkburton First School since October 2019.

I’m a local father of two, with two daughters at Kirkburton First School since September 2019. 

I grew up in Birmingham and spent about 15 years in London before moving to Kirkburton with my wife, Simone, in 2012.

I’ve spent most of my career working my way around various departments in the Civil Service and am currently in the Department for Education. I’m also a mental health first aider and a development coach working with children as part of the Sheffield Hallam University South Yorkshire Futures project.

I like reading, travel, cricket and rugby. In my spare time I’m an keen social supporter of the Kirkburton Liberal Club and Kirkburton Cricket  Club. On a dry day you may even spot my attempting to jog around the village!

Fun fact: I’m colour blind!



Paula Gray


I have lived in Kirkburton for quite a few years, my two daughters both attended Kirkburton First School and they really enjoyed their time here. I work in training and drama and I also teach youth theatre classes at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. In my spare time I enjoy running and creative writing.

I became a governor in September 2014.

I wanted to get involved and help in some way at school and I have friends and family who are school governors. They told me how rewarding they found governing so I decided to become a governor.

Colette Kitson

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Hello- my name is Colette Kitson. I am married to Stuart, we have two grown-up sons and two rather gorgeous granddaughters.  Since taking early retirement we have been fortunate to spend more time doing the things we enjoy - like everyone else who has retired we wonder how we found time to work.

During the last 37 years of residing in Kirkburton I have been in a privileged position of having a connection with Kirkburton CE First School in different capacities.  Our first contact was taking our boys to Sunday School which was held in the school building and I remember thinking ‘what a lovely little school’, it really is at the heart of the village.  That viewpoint has not changed over the years through being a parent, treasurer of the PTA, as a teacher, a teacher governor, latterly as a volunteer and returning as a Foundation governor is a real privilege.  

I have always held the school in special regard and as part of the school community will endeavour to ensure Kirkburton CE First School continues as an excellent learning environment where everyone can thrive.

Rachel Straughan

This picture of Rachel as a child, suggests a great sense of fun!

I am Rachel Straughan and I became a Parent Governor in November 2017.  I have lived in Huddersfield for most of my life.  In April 2017 I moved to Kirkburton as had heard lovely things about the village and school and, moving from the Lindley area, was keen to have Joseph attend a smaller school with a family atmosphere.  I went to a school with 117 pupils and can honestly say those were the best years of my life so I am keen for Joseph to have a similar experience.  Joseph started reception in September 2017 and I also have a step-daughter, Ellenor, who is 17, who has done some work experience at the school as she is hoping to become a primary teacher.

I work as a Solicitor in a busy Conveyancing department in Holmfirth and my work commitments don’t always allow me to get involved with the school as much as I would like.  I thought it was important that I had some input and understanding of the school system and a chance to hopefully continue the great work that the teaching and non-teaching staff do at the school, so to become a governor seemed like a great idea.  I am looking forward to my time as a governor in this lovely school.

In my spare time I enjoy Zumba, reading and walking with the family.  Oh, and sunny holidays of course!


Chris Watson


Hi, my name is Chris. I am a Local Authority Governor for the school and have been since September 2019.

I was born here in Huddersfield and studied Business Studies & Spanish language at the University of Huddersfield with the original aim of becoming a translator, however I found surveying instead! I am a qualified surveyor and environmental consultant working for Kirklees Council. Before joining Kirklees I was lucky enough to have worked and lived all over the UK, but found that coming back to my roots in Huddersfield was the best place for me. There really is no place like home!!

I currently live in Honley, having moved here in 2007 with my wife Leanne, and my dog Milo. I grew up in Lepton so know the Kirkburton area really well, so it's great to volunteer in this area. In my spare time I enjoy either biking or walking my dog.

I joined the Governing Body in order to give back to the community and provide help where I can as a volunteer. I really enjoy working with such a fantastic and talented team and look forward to supporting our school in the years to come!

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