Our Governors

  • Ania Hildrey, Headteacher
  • Rob Lowe, Chair of Governors
  • Sarah Powell, Vice Chair of Governors
  • Eileen Walsh, Co-opted Governor
  • Tomasz Drost, Co-opted Governor
    Dr Andrew McCaldon, Co-opted Governor
  • Ian Marnell, Parent Governor
  • Alicea Thompson, Parent Governor
  • Jennie Shipley, Staff Governor
  • Vacancy, Co-opted Governor
  • Kim Adair, Clerk to Governing Body

GB Attendance Record 2021-22

ALS GB Online Learning Update January 2021

Contact details for Chair of Governors: robert.lowe@abbotsleaschool.co.uk

National database of governors

Ania Hildrey 

I joined Abbot’s Lea School on 1 September 2016 and became a Headteacher Governor on that day.
I first became a Headteacher Governor in 2009 but I have worked with governing bodies for many more years as a senior leader.
I enjoy drawing on the experience and knowledge of others and I take my role as an educational professional lead on the Governing Body very seriously.
Whether shaping the vision for the school, consulting on policies or considering implementation of strategic changes – I see being a governor as an integral part of my strategic role as our school’s Headteacher.
I have seen many changes in the governance over the years and I can see the value of this accountability structure in every aspect of a school’s development. The challenge and the support that comes with it is invaluable in navigating the ever-more-challenging landscape of education.

Robert Lowe

I am a Co opted Governor and currently Chair of Governors
I am married with three children.
I am a Director of a National Road surfacing company and bring a wealth of business related knowledge to my role as a governor.
I am passionate about supporting the school to achieve the best outcomes for all students.

Sarah Powell

I have been a school governor for over thirteen years serving across two special schools.
During this time I have contributed to staffing, curriculum and finance sub-committees, sat on appointment and disciplinary panels and chaired the full governing body for a number of years.
I have taken part in numerous training courses related to governance to strengthen my knowledge and understanding of the role.
I first became a governor out of desire to contribute to a school based in my community and from my on-going personal and professional interest in education.
Currently I work within education as a Senior Leader but have experience of personnel and financial management from previous areas of employment. I also have extensive experience in child protection and safeguarding.I am also qualified as a Practice Educator and NVQ assessor to assist in lifelong learning for adults, taking students on placement.
I believe that an effective governing body can contribute to the success of the whole school community which is why I continue within the role.
I moved to Liverpool to attend university in 1993 and stayed because of the city and feeling of community. I feel lucky to live and work here.

Eileen Walsh

I have been a Governor at Abbot’s Lea School since 2005. I was asked to join the Governing Body when I was Vice-Chair of New Heys Comprehensive School where I was a Governor for twenty three years.
I am a retired teacher of thirty five years and was a Primary Headteacher for nine.
My daughter was diagnosed with Autism when she was three and a half years old by the Child Development Research Unit at Nottingham University and went to residential Special schools for children with Autism in South Yorkshire and Newton le Willows. She is now in her forties and lives in the adult community of Autism Together on the Wirral.
I am very committed to Abbot’s Lea School, its values and its vision to be the best specialist school in the World!
I want this school to prosper and continue so that children on the Autism Spectrum do not have to leave their families to obtain the excellent, outstanding education and ASD curriculum that is provided by Abbot’s Lea School.

Tom Drost

I live in West Derby with my wife Helen and our daughter who is a student at Abbot’s Lea School. I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my family.
Most weekends consist of bouncing on trampolines with our daughter or seeing how much time we can spend under water at our local pool. When time and weather allows, I enjoy football and golf, but unfortunately nowadays this consists more of watching than taking part.
I currently work for a Global Communications and Marketing Organisation managing the Procurement & Supply Chain department and have extensive experience in managing tendering and procurement activity across many categories including construction, facilities management and professional services.
I am passionate about helping children and young people achieve their potential whatever that may be. I am both proud and privileged to be able to use my personal, professional skills and experience to support our school in its ambitions in becoming a Centre of Excellence.  My aim is to help provide leadership and direction in navigating through these exciting and challenging periods of change, and to work with the children, staff and families within the school community.

Dr Andrew McCaldon

Andrew is passionate about supporting Abbot’s Lea to deliver the best outcomes for all our students and joined the Governing Body in 2021, with 10+ years’ experience of school governance.

A project delivery professional for government, Andrew currently leads a major investment programme in the Home Office and recently completed his doctoral degree, researching the politics of British Protestant unionism in post–conflict Northern Ireland.

Driven by public service and an advocate of enriching the lives of children and young people, Andrew is actively involved in the local community in south Liverpool.

Alicea Thompson

I am originally from Ireland, I came to Liverpool 23 years ago to study at University and fell in love with both the city and a native who I subsequently married. I have two children, My eldest daughter attends a local secondary school and my youngest son is a student at Abbot’s Lea School.
I work part time in the Civil Service in Benefits and Credits sector.
In my (rare) free time I enjoy shopping, writing comedy, crosswords/sudoku and I am an avid reader.
I also collect perfume – at the last count I had 168 bottles.
I have a great interest in the educational, social and emotional development of children on the autistic spectrum. I am passionate about spreading awareness of invisible disabilities and promoting diversity and inclusion.
I am proud of Abbot’s Lea School and the excellent opportunities it offers our children and I feel privileged contributing to the governance and continued development of the school as a Centre of Excellence in specialist education.

  Jennie Shipley

Jennie is an ICT Manager at the school and has been instrumental in helping bring Abbot’s Lea School to the 21st century. She was elected by the school team as the Staff Governor. In this role, she is representative of the staff but not the staff’s representative!

Ian Marnell

I have a son who is a student at Abbot’s Lea School. My goal and passion, which is in line with the Abbot’s Lea School ethos and vision, is that every child should reach their true and real potential both in school and onwards and ensuring the right education and therapeutic services provided are specific and measurable with outcomes.

My aim is to ensure input, transparency and consistency is provided with the involvement of parents to the leadership team and governing body.

I work within the IT sector for a national Retailer, delivering effective cost-based infrastructure solutions that satisfy complex problems, so financial justification on the right decision to meet desired outcomes is key.

I believe my personal and professional skillset will help in the delivery of the future vision for ALS and myself grow to function as a valued member of the collective governing body.

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