Mr Malcolm Pike, joined the School’s Board of Governors in 2009 and took over as Chair in September 2017. He is a partner at fast-growing, AIM listed, legal and professional services business, Knights plc and specialises in Employment and Trade Union Law, acting for many national and international household name companies as well as local businesses. He is a member of the ACAS panel of Independent Arbitrators, chair of the Rugby Football League’s Independent Employment Tribunal and a Director of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Mr Pike is married with two daughters, both of whom were educated at Withington: Eleanor who left in 2007; and Lucy who left in 2009.
Mr Chris Poston joined the Governing Body in August 2019 as Finance Governor and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. Chris is a Director at Royce Peeling Green, Chartered Accountants with responsibility for a varied portfolio of audit and non-audit clients. He served as an Independent Member of the Audit Committee for Turning Point, the UK’s largest social care charity, for six years. A former parent, Chris is very much looking forward to taking on the role of Finance Governor at the School.
Dr Jane Allred has recently retired as a GP from a practice in Altrincham and is a former pupil of Bolton School for Girls, and studied at Manchester Medical School from 1973 – 78. After working in a number of Manchester hospitals she entered general practice and took up her present post in 1999 after her youngest child started school. Her medical interests include children’s and women’s health. Married with two sons and a daughter, Dr Allred lives in Bowdon and lists tennis, running, skiing and sailing among her favourite pastimes. Her daughter, Katie, is a former Withington pupil.
Mr Andrew Chicken joined the board in September 2018. He retired from his position of Headmaster at Stockport Grammar School at the end of August 2018 after 13 years in post. He had previously been Head of Colfe’s School in London. Mr Chicken is a Team Inspector for the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate and has served as Chairman of the North-West Division of HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) which is a professional Association of heads of the world’s leading independent schools. Mr Chicken has a long association with the School through his wife, who taught French at WGS for 22 years and set up the School’s Learning Support Department.
Dr Rashmi Dev-Jairath is Chair of the PTA and joined the Governing Body in 2020. She has three daughters at Withington, in years 6, 11 & 13. Dr Dev-Jairath is a GP in Salford & a lecturer at the University of Manchester Medical School. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, music, cinema & keeping fit.
Miss Malak El-Gonemy, a former pupil, joined the Board in January 2020. Malak studied English Literature & Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds, followed by a Master’s in Modern & Contemporary Literature, before embarking on her career in TV Production. She has worked as a Researcher on a range of Factual Entertainment programmes for the BBC, including CBBC’s Blue Peter and BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live. Malak then went on to pursue a career in Scripted TV Drama Development, working with new and established writers to bring untold stories to the screen. She is now part of the Drama Development team at FilmNation Entertainment UK, a leading independent entertainment company focused on the production and distribution of feature films, television and theatre. Malak is also a freelance writer for an arts website, where she offers written commentary and nuanced observations on scripted film and television. Having left Withington in 2012, Malak is able to provide a valuable perspective to the Board, not only from the world of the Media and Performing Arts, but also as a young alumna.
Mr Martin Griffin joined the School’s Board of Governors in June 2021. He has run his own battery business since establishing the company at the age of 21 and is a Founder Member and former President of the British Battery Industry Federation. Mr Griffin has recently sold his battery business and now runs a property and equity portfolio. Mr Griffin served on the board of a government regional regeneration scheme from 2003-2011 and was a Trustee for the charity Cameo Aid from 2000-2004. He is currently a governor at two state primary schools and has spent much time volunteering over the years through a homeless outreach programme, several youth clubs and children’s charities. Mr Griffin has recently started volunteering at a local food bank. He has also fostered children. Mr Griffin and his wife Jing have two children, a son and a daughter, and are former Withington parents; their daughter Shamae was Deputy Head Girl and left in 2020.
Mrs Diane Hawkins, a former Withington pupil, joined the board in September 2017 and is the representative of Withington Onwards (the Alumnae Body). Mrs Hawkins was Joint Managing Partner of a firm of lawyers in Manchester specialising in Occupational Disease litigation. She is now a Justice of the Peace on the Bolton Bench and sits in the Family Court in Greater Manchester. Mrs Hawkins is a member of the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund panel, Trustee of the Manchester Guardian Society Charitable Trust, Chairman of Fortalice, the Bolton Women’s Refuge, and is the Chairman of Bolton Scout Trust. In 2008, Mrs Hawkins was made a Deputy Lieutenant and was installed as the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester in April 2021.
Professor David Leigh joined the board in January 2020 continuing the School’s link with the University of Manchester. Professor Leigh took up his role as Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Manchester in 2012 and, in 2014, became Sir Samuel Hall Chair of Chemistry. A former parent, Professor Leigh is passionate about encouraging young people to learn about science and spends much time visiting schools throughout the country speaking to pupils. An eminent scientist, Professor Leigh has won a number of major international awards including the 2007 Izatt-Christensen Award for Macrocyclic Chemistry, 2007 Descartes Prize and the 2007 Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology. He appeared in the 2019 Guinness Book of World Records for tying the world’s tightest knot! He currently heads up a research team with laboratories in both the UK and China.
Ms Melanie Michael is the Head of St. Luke’s Church of England Primary School in Bury and joined the Board in January 2018. Ms Michael, a former pupil of Bury Girls’ Grammar School, has twenty-one years of experience working across the primary education sector in three local authorities. Ms Michael was awarded the designation of Local Leader of Education by the National College in 2012 and has extensive experience of leading successful change in driving school improvement. As a former Deputy Head of Old Moat Primary School, Ms Michael has excellent knowledge of the School’s local area.
Mr Ashvin Pathak is a former managing and divisional director for Misys PLC. He is an independent director for 3i, YFM and the North West Fund chairing several technology businesses. His role as chairman is to develop businesses and develop senior management teams. Ashvin joined the governing body in 2013 keen to play a small part in helping shape the leaders of tomorrow. He has been involved in the Withington 100+ bursary appeal and is a former parent.
Mr Howard Sinclair joined the Governing Body in 2014. He has been Managing Director of Copysoft Ltd, a software duplication company for the past 25 years. He has a son, Tom, who left The Manchester Grammar School in 2009 and three Withington daughters: Kate [2015 leaver], Olivia [2011 leaver] & Ella [2012 leaver]. He was involved in the Withington 100+ bursary appeal. Howard is a keen snow and water skier and has been a Manchester United season ticket holder for 40 years.
Mrs Sally Stuffins (nee Whitehead) joined the Board in January 2018 and is a former Withington pupil. Following her first degree in Geography and Masters in Construction Project Management, Mrs Stuffins became a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 2008. She worked for Laing O’Rourke as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor on major capital projects, including Manchester Town Hall Extension and Central Library refurbishment, and now works as Commercial Manager for the family plumbing and heating distribution business. Mrs Stuffins has a passion for sport and during her time at School, played on all sports teams, becoming School Lacrosse Captain in her Upper Sixth year during which time she represented Lancashire and the North of England. At university she was Club Captain when the team won the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) Championship. Mrs Stuffins is also a keen golfer.
To contact Mr Malcolm Pike, Chair of the School’s Governing Body, please send a letter to:
Mr Malcolm Pike
Chair of Governors
c/o Mrs Anna Cohen
Clerk to the Governors
Withington Girls’ School
100 Wellington Road
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