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YCAT Governance Structure


The members of YCAT bring a wealth of experience from education, legal, business, banking and HR. Their role is to hold Trustees and schools to account.

Our members meet twice a year and their key role is holding the Trust to account.

  • Peter Laurence
  • Stephen Root
  • Georg Grodzki
  • Jan Linsley


At the heart of YCAT are the trustees who are the custodians of YCAT’S vision, values and are responsible for planning the trust’s strategic direction.

Trustees provide the passion and drive to promote the values and working practices that will ensure YCAT’s strategic planning raises standards and progress for all pupils throughout our schools.

  • Ian Moore
  • Jo Robinson CEO
  • Jenny Baynes (Chair)
  • Neil Lancaster
  • Denise McConnell
  • Emma Nicholson
  • Nikola Idle

The Trust has two Trustee vacancies  - contact us for more information

Local Governing Bodies

The local governing bodies undertake a vital role ensuring children receive a safe and high quality education that meets the needs of all children and their local community.

Please visit the school sites to find out more about the crucial work of our governing bodies and their individual membership.

Our Trustees and Members


Jenny Baynes - Trustee

Jenny’s early career was in the education sector implementing policy in schools to improve pupil outcomes and teaching practices harnessing the potential of developing technology. She then went on to qualify with the CIPD and, with an honours degree in post 14 education and training, she established and led training departments and development services in the public sector.


Denise McConnell - Trustee

Denise is a qualified chartered accountant and brings over 30 years of experience of working in the private, public and charitable sectors. Since 2011 she has worked in higher education where she was interim chief financial officer for a number of universities, including Hull and Durham. Denise is a non-executive director of York and Scarborough NHS Foundation Trust


Ian Moore - Trustee

Ian Moore is an architect working as a partner in a private practice, specialising in the field of education and health for the last 28 years. He has served as a governor at a local Primary School for 16 years and for the last five years as Chair of Governors. He is married with four children all of whom attended local primary and secondary schools.


Emma Nicholson - Trustee

Emma also supports YCAT with marketing. She is a STEM Ambassador and is currently a Board Trustee with the Women’s Engineering Society. Emma has over 23 years Built Environment and Infrastructure experience, and has worked on the consultancy side in project management and sustainability roles.


Neil Lancaster - Trustee

Neil is an experienced HR Director, Executive coach and consultant, speaker, a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel, Fellow Chartered Institute of Directors. He has over 10 years non-executive experience, has chaired a Theatre Production Charity and been a Trustee of a disability charity.


Nikola Idle - Trustee

Nikola is a Project Manager by trade, having worked on and around school building projects in both the private and public sectors for 15 years. This included a stint with the Department for Education, working on the Priority Schools Building Programme and before that with Hull City Council on their Building Schools for the Future programme. During her time with the local authority, she also project managed the formation of the city’s first Academies, and the city’s first local MAT.


Jo Robinson - Trustee

Jo is an experienced headteacher who is committed to collaborative working. Her focus is developing joint practice development across schools to strengthen leadership and she has acted as an executive headteacher for schools facing difficult circumstances. In 2015 she became a National Leader in Education and since this point has supported a range of primary schools, most recently through the Covid Recovery Fund. Jo is the CEO of YCAT



Get in contact for more information

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Get in contact for more information

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Peter Laurence - Members

Peter Laurence retired from full-time work at the end of December 2018, following a forty-year career in education in three different local authorities, as a teacher, senior leader and secondary head, after which he led the creation of a cross-phase co-operative trust and its successor organization, The Brigshaw Learning Partnership MAT, in 2016. He also worked extensively as a regional adviser with national bodies advising on workforce reform, extended services and succession planning, for two years as a seconded head to a large local authority, and provided consultancy support to a range of individual schools, school partnerships, governing bodies, and local authorities.

Jan Linsley

Jan Linsley - Members

After a career teaching English in secondary schools, including 10 years as part of a school leadership team, Jan became a school governor to make a contribution in her local community of Richmond, North Yorkshire. As she commented, “I wanted to make sure that all children get the best education they can, and that they enjoy their time in school!” Between 2004 and 2014, Jan was a Regional Adviser for the Department for Education and its partner agencies. Since 2014, Jan has worked as an independent education consultant. Jan was designated as a National Leader of Governance (NLG) in July 2017, and it was through this that she became linked with Hawes Primary School as Chair of Governors.


Stephen Root - Members

Stephen is a solicitor and has practised in Harrogate since 1986 dealing mainly with family work. He particularly promotes collaborative law a non-confrontational approach to dealing with issues that arise on divorce and separation. He is also a member of the management committee of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade. All of his three children have attended local state schools and he lives in Harrogate.


Georg Grodzki - Members

Georg has a wide range experience in international banking and business.