Full Governing Body

Katie Parlett MBE – Chair of Trustees

Katie Date of Appointment – November 2012

Date of Appointment to Chair of Trustees – October 2019 for four years

Appointed by - Academy Members

Roles & Responsibilities – Vision, Values and Strategy, Post 16

Sub Committees – Teaching, Learning & Assessment Committee, Finance Committee,Chair of Student Family & Staff Support Committee.

I am one of the Founders of Lighthouse driven to bring about change and provide families in the area a greater choice of provision, one that is destination based and one that strives to do its absolute best for each and every student. I have a strong belief in fairness and ensuring that every single child and young person has a personalised journey that is right for them and draws out their abilities, talents and interests and helps them build emotional resilience and self esteem. From the moment they arrive we are preparing them for adulthood.

I have a background in starting and building successful multi-million pound businesses in IT Training and Software Engineering since the age of 19. I studied Marketing and Engineering at Huddersfield Polytechnic and through running successful businesses I have developed many key skills including leadership and development, finance, marketing, project management and general emotional intelligence and resilience.

I have been a Governor and the Chair of Governors at a local primary school from 2006 to 2010 and I have been acting Principal for one year at Lighthouse which gave me a true insight into the educational and operational aspects of running a school. I had the privilege of leading the school building project and worked with a strong team from within the school and collaboratively we have the best environment for our students despite huge financial constraints. The building has transformed behaviours, reduced anxiety and has a sense of purpose, calmness and happiness!

I have a child with special needs so I understand parents’ journey and parents’ need for support.

Emma Sullivan – Principal

Emma Sullivan Ex Officio Trustee

Date of Appointment – September 2018

Appointed by - Ex-officio by virtue of office as Principal

Sub Committee – Student, Family & Staff Support Committee

I have worked in education for over 20 years in schools, further and higher education. I have a wide portfolio of experiences which includes SEMH provision, inclusion, GCSEs, post 16 study programmes, vocational and functional skills and High Needs.

In 2013 I successfully established a new secondary school provision for 130 young people. I led the development from the initial planning to Ofsted grade “Good with outstanding features”.

I was a senior director at the 3rd largest college in the country prior to joining Lighthouse. I am a governor for a local secondary school and served as a governor for over 5 years on the Pupil Referral unit board. I have a degree in communication arts and I am a qualified teacher. I am passionate about changing young people lives and believe only the best is good enough.

Matt Cryer - Vice Chair of Principal

Matt Cryer Date of Appointment - March 2021 for four years

Date of Appointment to Vice Chair of Trustees – March 2021

Appoined by - GB/board

Sub Committee - Chair of Teaching, Learning & Assessment Committee

I began my career in Education teaching English in Indonesia for 5 years. On returning to the UK, I worked for 16 years in Further Education, first as a Literacy, GCSE English and ESOL teacher, then as Curriculum-Coordinator for Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL and finally as Curriculum Area Manager for ESOL at Leeds City College. I hold a BA in Social Policy and Administration, Cert Ed (FE), Trinity Diploma in TESOL and the Training the (ESOL) Teacher Trainers Qualification. I am currently a stay-at-home dad for our 2 teenaged sons. I love the great outdoors and getting away to music festivals in our trusty VW campervan. I am proud to part of a Lighthouse School team that I believe is leading the way in giving young people with ASC real opportunities to grow and develop themselves to their highest potential.

Ian Hughes - Co-opted Trustee

Ian HughesDate of Appointment - March 2021 for four years

Appointed by - GB/board

Sub Committee – Chair of Finance and Resources Committee

I am Head of Democratic & Partnership Services at Calderdale Council and also Solicitor to the Council; responsible for governance, legality and probity. I have a busy family life with my partner Jo and our four sons between us (two each!), although only the youngest remains at home. I love getting out in the Fells either walking or cycling. I have a strong commitment to opportunity for all and to the removal of barriers preventing that and am proud to be associated with Lighthouse School.

Alan Dunwell - Co-opted Trustee

Alan Dunwell PhotoDate of Appointment: - October 2020 for four years

Appointed by - Academy Members

Roles & Responsibilities: - Finance and Internal Scrutiny,

Sub Committee: - Finance and Resources, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

A long time ago, before computers were invented, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a local independent firm. I recall that the decision to remain in practice was straightforward, the variety of work and opportunity afforded to meet interesting people being important factors.

As an Audit Partner my portfolio consistently included a mixture of private and public sector organisations. Latterly, having enjoyed volunteering experiences as a charity trustee, chair of governors and free school director various opportunities arose which ultimately led to my providing audit and advisory services to over 60 schools (inc single and multi-academy trusts); in 2011 I was appointed as RSM Tenon’s National lead for the Academy sector.

Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, I retired from RSM at the end of 2016. I continue to act as trustee for a number of local charities.

Matthew Hirst - Co-opted Trustee

Date of Appointment – July 2020 for four years

Appointed by - GB/board

Roles & Responsibilities – School Finance, Health & Safety

Sub Committee – Finance Committee, Audit Committee

I work as a construction project manager for a consultancy on a variety of public and private sector projects. I come from a practical background and have a specialist interest in the schools facilities and maintaining high health and safety standards but I am able to apply the same approach to wider aspects of governance. I enjoy spending time outdoors with my partner and our labrador. I am also a member of the Army Reserves so like to spend my weekends dressed in green!

Adele Darlington - Co-opted Trustee

Appointed by Governing Body for four years.

Term Started - 28th March 2022

Term Ends - 27th March 2026

Daniel Cohen - Co-opted Trustee

Dan's photo for the websiteAppointed by Governing Body for four years.

Term Started - 28th March 2022

Term Ends - 27th March 2026

Sub Committee – Teaching and Learning Committee

I have over 25 years’ experience of working with schools and school governance and am a trustee/governor at four other local schools. I am a lawyer by profession and former SME Managing Director,

I am a father to four children and am fully committed to ensuring that the young people in the Leeds and wider community have access to high quality local Jewish education. In 2001 I was elected as the Leeds City Councillor for Alwoodley. I am the Shadow Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture and the Scrutiny Board Chair for Children and Young Families.

Rebecca McDonnell - Co-opted Trustee

Rebecca photoAppointed by Governing Body for four years.

Term Started: 5th October 2022

Term Ends 4th October 2026

My background has been predominantly in HR where I’ve worked in Recruitment, Employee Relations, Operations and latterly as Head of Talent and Head of HR Operations in the Utilities sector. In 2020 I set up my own HR consultancy and Executive Coaching business. I have a degree in Business and Technology, I am a chartered Fellow of the CIPD and an ILM level 7 Executive Coach.

I enjoy sport and spend most of my weekends coaching junior netball or transporting my children to various other sporting events.

I am very proud to be part of such an inspirational school that is continually working to ensure the best opportunities for its students. I have a particular interest in supporting student and staff wellbeing.

Our Governing Body at Lighthouse School

Our Governing Body at Lighthouse School is made up of a group of skilled individuals who are passionate about the students, highly engaged with the school and totally bought into the vision and values for the school and all within it. They are generous with their time and bring experiences to support and challenge the leadership and staff of the school.

Our skilled professionals bring a breadth and depth of experience and includes Educationalists, Finance, Legal, HR and Leadership Development, Business and Enterprise. They also share their network of contacts to further community and business partnerships. We are all on the same journey of great outcomes for all continues improvement and a strong sense of team!

Please see the Funding Agreement (including Memorandum and Articles of Association) for full details of the school’s governance arrangement.

2023 to 2024 Table of interests

Attendance record at board meetings over the last academic year 2020/21:


Matthew Cryer 100%

Jamie Darby-Vinci 100%

Alan Dunwell 100%

Rada Grknic 100%

Matthew Hirst 80%

Ian Hughes 60%

Katie Parlett 100%

Emma Sullivan 100%

Jeremy Tuck 100%


The Trustees of the school believe it is important that boards reflect the diversity of the school communities they serve. Diverse boards promote inclusive school environments and provide diverse role models for staff and young people.

The governors have collected data on the diversity of the board, including data on age, gender and ethnicity. They will use this data to inform their recruitment and training needs and ensure there is always a diverse range of perspectives around the table to support robust decision making.

Due to our relatively small governing board we do not publish this diversity data online as individual governors could be identified and we have a legal obligation to protect their personal data.