Mark Coppel – Chair of Governors
Mark has worked in education since 2006 and is a National Leader of Governance (NLG) and is an experienced chair, trainer and consultant. He has worked with a vast number and variety of schools and trusts and has successfully chaired several Interim Executive Boards (IEBs) taking schools out of ‘Special Measures’. He has experience working with a number of Local Authorities and Multi-Academy Trusts.
As a Governor, he believes in making School Improvement the focus of Governor activity and setting high expectations for the other Governors and Trustees through example and discussion. He has a strong belief in a child-centred approach.
He currently works as a governor trainer and consultant for the National Governance Association (NGA). He also conducts External Reviews of Governance for maintained schools, academies and MATs. In addition, he delivers a number of governor training courses in Sheffield for a teaching school alliance and the local schools’ company.
His previous work included facilitating and evaluating Creative Partnerships projects in schools under the previous Labour government’s flagship creativity and culture programme for education.
Debbie Granger-James – Vice-chair
I am married to Rob and we have two daughters, Ellie and Abbie. Abbie attended Talbot Specialist School and now goes to Sheffield College.
I have a great passion for education! Following a four-year course at North Riding College, Scarborough, I gained a BA(Hons) with Qualified Teaching Status. I have been a Primary Teacher ever since!
I was so impressed with Talbot Specialist School when Abbie started here in 2013, I soon felt I wanted to be part of this brilliant setting and play a more active role, so I applied to become a Parent Governor in 2014. I still feel very new to the role and have lots to learn but I am enjoying every minute of it!
Outside of education, my interests include – family days out, reading, music, films, Sheffield United FC, socialising with friends, shopping and dabbling with interior design.
I worked as a Clinical Scientist in both the NHS and at Sheffield University up to my retirement in 2011. I continue as an Emeritus Professor of Molecular Medicine with ongoing part-time research interests. During my career, I have gained considerable experience in higher education.
I have also held senior management positions within Sheffield Medical School and University as department deputy head and University director of medical research. I have considerable experience of committee work and practice which I believe I could bring to a governing body.
During my career I have I believe developed people skills which have allowed me to interact effectively at many levels including senior academics and recent school leavers. I have also been a committee member and chaired committees and councils of national and international groups and societies.
Matthew Lawton – Parent governor
My name is Matthew. I am married to Amanda and have a son called Bradley who started year 7 at Talbot in September and a daughter Molly who is in year 5 at Bankwood Primary School.
I have been a governor for 4 years at Mossbrook Special School and for the last 18 months, I have been chair of governors. I applied to be a governor at Talbot in September and joined as a parent governor in October this year. I’m really passionate about special needs education and looking forward to working with the school using my previous experience.
Kathy Wedell – Parent governor
I’m Kathy, a parent governor, mum of Isaac. There are three strands of my experience that I feel contribute to my work as a governor. The first is being a parent of a young person with additional needs. Our family’s experience has included the vertical learning curve of trying to understand our son’s needs; it’s also included his bumpy ride out of mainstream and later another special needs school before coming to Talbot. We know first-hand what a difference school can make when you’re juggling lots of different services and life outside school doesn’t generally get inclusion.
The second experience is having been a teacher, thinking about different learning needs and how learners make progress. I found out a lot more about this when Isaac was diagnosed with complex needs.
The third experience is having been a trustee of a charity run by and for people living with our son’s condition – helping to set up the organisational structures of the charity, as well as learning about governance: how to ask the questions that enable the charity to reflect on its work.
I’m delighted to be able to serve our young people and support the school by being a governor.
I became a governor of Talbot in November 2017. Although I had worked in education in the secondary and tertiary sectors for over 20 years, this was to be my first involvement with special education.
After working in education, I established a company that has now grown to be a medium-sized funeral provider in Sheffield. I still oversee the management of the company where I continue to work part-time.
I currently chair a fundholding trust and was chair of the trustees of the Natural Death Centre charity for three years.
I strongly believe in supporting people, of all ages, to meet their full potential and I am pleased to be part of the team at Talbot.
Sue leads on Online Safety, RSHE and Primary Computing as a Learning Consultant for Sheffield
City Council based at Learn Sheffield.
Sue is a teacher with 20 years of experience in the classroom both in subject leadership and a variety of whole school middle leadership roles. Beginning as a secondary Physics teacher in a large 11-18 school Sue always had an interest in cross-phase work and she has worked extensively in primary and in special schools in her consultancy roles. She co-wrote the Sheffield Computing Scheme of Work for primary schools and the Sheffield Online Safety Curriculum and is currently leading the work on Relationships Sex and Health Education for all sectors of education in the city.
Sue has a national profile in Online Safety and children and young people’s use of data and speaks regularly at events around the country.
Sue enjoys spending time with her family, singing in a women’s barbershop chorus and following her favourite football team Manchester City.