close arrow-right twitter
School Logo

Leiston Primary School

Local Advisory Board

The Trust

Avocet Academy Trust was founded in 2014 with the shared belief that collaboration is the key to success. This belief is adopted at all levels throughout each of the Academy schools.


Our vision centres on the child. The way we ensure everything centres on the child is through our core values:

  • Collaboration
  • Diversity
  • Responsibility
  • Enrichment
  • Inclusion.

We believe that this enables children to excel in whatever they do.


Avocet MAT is based on a set of values that determine all actions and decisions made throughout the Trust. All of these values are centered around the children to ensure that they have the perfect platform from which to grow.

With all decisions and actions based around these core values we are able to deliver an education which takes into account the needs of the different pupils, schools and communities in which they serve.

Avocet Academy Local Advisory Boards


Each school within the Academy has an Advisory Board. 

The Avocet Board has established five key roles for Advisory Boards:

  • To advise/act as a critical friend to the school leader;
  • To advise the Trust Board about local issues they need to consider that affect the school;
  • Represent the interest of the school community in the running of the school;
  • Represent the school in it's community;
  • Provide support to the school leader in undertaking appropriate day to day procedures that are essential in the life of the school.


The five roles translate specifically into the following tasks that the AB undertakes: 

  • it acts as a key link between the school, parents and local community;
  • it supports the work of the school in the community;
  • it supports the school leadership team in the development and implementation of the school development plan and other relevant plans, ensuring that the Avocet ethos remains at the heart of the school community; ​​​​​​
  • it helps on the ground with the implementation of certain whole Academy and school policies;
  • it offers challenging by positive and proactive support to the school leader;
  • it regularly reviews the schools performance in relation to the Key Performance Indicators.


For further information relating to the Governance structure at Avocet Academy Schools then please follow this link for further information about the following:


Terms of Reference

Avocet Governance Structure

Advisory Board Handbook

Members of our Local Advisory Board


Melissa Geater

Position and Responsibilities: Headteacher


Brief Biography: Melissa has worked within Avocet Academy since its inception. Initially as Class Teacher and Assistant Principal at Easton Primary School before being seconded to work at Leiston as Head of School. She has a passion for curriculum development and teacher development and has been teaching for 15 years. Melissa is an accredited Maths Specialist Teacher and a Specialist Leader in Education with a particular focus on teacher development and teacher training. From September 2020 Melissa will become Headteacher.


"Living in the local area I have a true passion to make sure that the children of the community get a premier quality education both through academic achievement and wider curriculum enrichment which leads to positive development for the whole child."



Lesley Cassie

Position and Responsibilities: Chair of the Governing Body, Community Governor


Brief Biography: Lesley’s professional background is in education – teaching and leading a range of schools as well as advising schools on leadership and governance. Her background in educational research supports the Board in thinking through how to address the challenges facing the School and build further on Leiston’s successes in preparing young people for the future.


"I applied to be a governor at Leiston for two main reasons. Firstly, having moved to the town in 2014, I wanted to get to know my community and contribute positively to it. What better way to do that than support the institution which lies at the heart of it? Schools are always tied deeply within the fabric of their community and part of the role of being a governor is to ensure the school is accountable to the area it serves. Secondly, being a governor at Leiston is a fantastic opportunity for me to have an impact on education by helping to ensure that all children at Leiston Primary have every opportunity to excel and succeed."

Dan Cordice

Position and Responsibilities:

Staff Member 


Brief Biography:

My name is Daniel Cordice and I have been working at Leiston Primary School since January 2020. I am a year 6 teacher and have been working within upper ks2 since I qualified from the University of the West of England over 5 years ago.

 It hasn’t been the most ordinary of starts to a school for me due to the change to schooling recently, but it has been the most welcoming. Leiston primary school is lucky to have a friendly, strong and supportive team which I am proud to be a part of. I am excited to working alongside the Local Advisory Board and ensuring that the children continue to receive the best possible education through our broad and balanced curriculum.

I have three young children who keep me busy outside of school and who I love spending time with. In my spare time I enjoy cycling, running and keeping fit. I enjoy reading children’s books and love cooking (mainly eating).

Pete Kyle

Position and Responsibilities

Community Member


Brief Biography:

“I was brought up in Leiston attending Leiston Primary, Middle and High schools. I studied Photography, Film and TV in Bournemouth for 4 years and have subsequently worked as a freelancer in the media industry since the late 80’s. I have been lucky enough to travel to many developing countries and see the problems that people face around the World. 



I live in Leiston and am on the board of Leiston Youth Club as well as being on the committee of Leiston Event’s Group.  


I want to be able to help and support the school wherever possible.










Gayla Rowling

Position and Responsibilities

Community Member


Brief Biography:

I moved to Leiston in 2013 and have worked as Leiston Library’s manager since.  I’ve previously worked as a Children’s Librarian, and as a Surestart Children’s Centre Manager. 


I’ve always been interested in how we learn, develop and get along with each other throughout life.  Our early and lifelong education plays such a huge part of this and by being part of the Advisory Board I hope to support the school’s aims to provide the best possible learning environment and opportunities for the children, and to ensure children’s confidence and wellbeing at school, within the community and later in life.


Working in the local library has given me the opportunity to get to know this community and engage with the school.  By being part of the Board I’d like to make a positive contribution to the future of both.

Jessica McKenna

Position and Responsibilities

Parent Member


Brief Biography:

After graduating from the University of East Anglia, I went on to do my teacher training in Post 16 education.  My specialist area is literacy and I have spent many years teaching out in the community, more recently at a supported college in Ipswich for 16–24-year-olds.  In the last few years I have become very interested in mental health and mental health law.

Although I am from Suffolk, I have only recently moved to Leiston with my family.  My son joined the school in September 2020, so I applied to join the LAB!  I wanted to be able to have a proactive part in his education and to meet new people.  I was pleased to be able to offer my support to such a lively and welcoming school.  I hope to bring my expertise of working within education and mental health to the LAB from a parent's point of view. 








Esther Hurrell


Position and Responsibilities

Parent Member


Brief Biography:

I have spent most of my career in the nuclear industry at Sizewell B in HR & Finance, but for the last few years as a Subcontractors & Project Manager.  I have recently given up this full-time role to run my own business. 


I wanted to join the LAB as I have fond memories of my childhood education at Leiston Primary School and with 2 daughters at the school I am keen to get involved, to help and support Leiston Primary School in continuing to offer a positive and happy environment for children to thrive in.


As a born and bred local and parent, I hope to bring my varied skills and experience to help support the school in the LAB role.



Membership of the Local Advisory Body


In this section you will find details relating to members of the LAB who have served over the previous 12 months, any pecuniary interests, if they hold a governance role in any other educational institutions and their attendance record at meetings over the last academic year.

Please note this information also includes members of the LAB whose term has ended within the last 12 months.


Name Date of appointment and term of office Any relevant business or pecuniary interests Governance roles in other educational establishments (if any) Any material interests
Lesley Cassie


4 years

None None None
Melissa Geater N/A - ex officio None None Head teacher
Dan Cordice


3 years

None None Staff
Peter Kyle


3 years


Crank Films

Pete's Pizzas

None Associate of the Chair
Lucy Melton


3 years

None None Staff
Gayla Rowling 26/11/2020 None None Manager at local library
Esther Hurrell 26/11/2020


Funky Fit

None Parent
Jessica McKenna 26/11/2020 None None Parent
Kelly Fellowes



Katie Merrett

Resigned 14/02/2020

Katie Anderson-Cousins Resigned 14/02/2020      







Attendance Record

Date of meeting 19.9.2019 7.11.2020 13.2.2020 24.9.2020 26.11.2020 25.2.2021
Lesley Cassie Y Y Y Y Y Y
Melissa Geater - - - Y Y Y
Pete Kyle - - Y Y Y -
Dan Cordice - - - Y Y Y
Gayla Rowling - - - - Y Y
Esther Hurrell - - - - Y Y
Jessica McKenna - - - - Y Y

Katie Anderson-Cousins

Y Y N -    
Kelly Fellowes N Y - -    
Katie Merrett N Y - -    
Lucy Melton (Acting HoS) Y Y Y - -  
Mia Chadwick (Acting HoS) Y Y Y - -  


Local Advisory Board Attendance 2020/2021

All agendas and minutes are available upon request (excepting confidential documents). 

Please contact stating the documents you are requesting.

Financial Information


Please follow the following link for audited accounts for Avocet Academy Trust.


Account information


Funding Agreement

Avocet Academy Trust does not currently have any employees earning over £100K