The Learning for Life Proud to be part of The Learning for Life


Our local advisory board (LAB) is made up of 9 members which include the Principal, a minimum of two parent LAB members and a minimum of two community members.  No more than a third of the board will be staff members. All members are appointed by the board, including parents where applicable and are enrolled for a term of four years.

Should you wish to contact our chair of the board please do so in writing via email at -

For details of the Trustees and Directors of the Learning for Life Partnership please visit the Learning for Life Partnership website

Chair of the LAB

Diane RidingsDiane Ridings  Term of Office - March 2015 ongoing - renewed in February 2020 (Community LAB Member)

I retired from teaching in December 2012 but continued to do some part-time work for 12 months in my area of expertise which is Special Educational Needs. I was the SENCO and Assistant Head at a local Secondary School where I worked for 25 years. Having lived and worked in the Crewe Community since 1989 I am delighted that I have been given the opportunity to be a LAB member at Leighton Academy, where I was appointed in March 2015, and I will support the school in any way I can. My personal interests include reading, film, theatre, walking, cycling and I am a member of a local spa and health club.


Mrs j young principalJoanna Young  Term of Office - September 2014 ongoing

I have worked at Leighton since 2001; as a teacher, foundation stage coordinator, vice principal and now as principal. I am also the director of primary for The Learning For Life Partnership. I live in the local community and my passion is providing the best education and prospects for the children in this area. I am so proud of the Leighton community and the behaviour and attitude of our pupils. I am lucky to work with a dedicated team of both staff and LAB members.

Staff LAB Members

Mrs S Thompson   Head of SchoolSamantha Thompson  Term of Office - September 2014 - Ongoing

I have been a teacher at Leighton Academy since 2008 and staff member of the LAB since September 2011. I was appointed as Vice Principal in September 2014 and became Head of School in January 2018. I have a particular interest in sport and PE at the academy as I lead this subject within school. I am also actively involved with community projects and PTA events organised by the academy.

Mrs M SpeakeMarie Speake  Term of Office - November 2015 - ongoing (renewed October 2019)

I have been a teacher at Leighton Academy since 2002 and have worked across both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. I am currently a Year 2 teacher, as well as being Key Stage 1 leader and the literacy lead. I have two children who both attended the academy before going on to high school and was appointed as a LAB member in November 2015.

Community LAB Members

Ian BaxterIan Baxter Term of office - November 2018 - October 2022

Awaiting pen portrait


Emma Allen

Emma Allen term of office - July 2019 - June 2023

I became a LAB member in 2019 whilst studying Fine Art and English Literature BA at the University of Chester. I am local to Crewe and Nantwich, having a shared desire with all LAB members to see the community within and around the school thrive. Whilst at the university I worked with different schools including a local school for children with special needs and a local high school. I have since completed my undergraduate degree and look forward to getting further involved in the creative curriculum during my time as a LAB member.

Parent LAB Members

Su HawkesSusan Hawkes  Term of Office - November 2014 - October 2022

I became a parent LAB member last academic year, November 2014, and have one child attending Leighton and one who has gone on to high school. My background is both practical and academic; first as a chef then following my passion for psychology as a mature student and presently within play work. Within the governing body I sit on the teaching and learning committee, with particular interest in Special Needs and IDSR.

Nicola KayNicola Kay  Term of Office - November 2015 - October 2023

I have been a LAB member since November 2015 and as well as being a member of the LAB I am also an active member of the school PTFA. I live in the local community and have one child who has left the school and another in key stage two.  I have worked for a global company in the IT industry for the past 14 years, most recently as a Problem Manager.

Shelly DanielsShelly Daniels Term of Office - October 2019 - October 2023

I became a Parent LAB member in October 2019. I live in the local community and have three children. Two of my children attend Leighton Academy one has just left to go to high school. I am a Primary School Teacher and I currently work in an Alternative Provision Primary School within the Crewe area.

Rachael DeanRachael Dean Term of Office - October 2019 - October 2023

I became an Associate Parent LAB member in October 2019 and I have been assigned the role of parental engagement which ties in perfectly with my existing role as a leading figure within the schools PTFA.  I live within the school community and have two children who currently attend the school in year 5 and year 3. I work from home for a builder's merchants; running their website and assisting with other admin work.

Register of Interests

Business Interests

          No LAB members have any business interests with any companies associated with Leighton Academy.

Personal Interests

The following LAB members have children at the school - 

          Su Hawkes; Nicola Kay; Rachael Dean; Shelly Daniels 

The following LAB members have a family member as a member of staff or as a director  - 

          None at present

LAB Members that are members of staff - 

          Samantha Thompson; Marie Speake; Joanna Young

LAB Members with no personal interests in the school - 

          Diane Ridings; Ian Baxter; Emma Allen

LAB Members that have roles in other educational establishments - 

          Su Hawkes is a member of staff at Terra Nova School

          Joanna Young is a governor at Sir William Stanier Academy



LAB Documents Date  
LAB Members - Outgoing 18th Sep 2020 Download
LAB Attendance 2019-20 18th Sep 2020 Download