Much like a Governing Body, the Academy Council’s role is to ensure your children learn in a safe environment and to the maximum of their ability.  Begbrook Primary Academy council typically meet once a term.  There is a standard agenda for each meeting which includes reviewing data on quality of teaching and learning, progress, school budget, attendance, behaviour and safety.  We have also helped to feedback on numerous policies and procedures.

Through ‘Learning walks’ we have been able to see firsthand what happens during the school day and see the children’s learning in action.  Each learning walk is focused on a specific area (eg. Mathematics, reading) and it really helps to bring alive what is actually going on during the day, rather than just reviewing reports and statistics.

We attend Cabot Learning Federation board meetings to keep up to date with the Federation’s overall strategy, achievement and performance and discuss Council roles and responsibilities with council members from other Schools.  The CLF have also provided a training programme which has helped in developing a better understanding of our roles on the academy council, what we should expect to understand and how we should be supporting/challenging the Leadership team.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Academy Council please contact the school who will put you in touch with us, or email us on  (Su Coombes)

Record of attendance at meetings and our register of pecuniary interests can be found below.


Academy Councillors

Duncan Cruickshank – Principal
Su Coombes – Chair – Contact

Matt Gould – CLF Rep

Joanne Lark – CLF Rep

Tony Mooney – Parent Rep

Jess Smith – Parent Rep

Sara Sansom – Support Staff Rep

Shashi McGregor – LA Rep

Catherine Brennan – CLF Rep

John Israel – Staff

Florence Earle – Student Voice

Amanda Vinall – Clerk

Pecuniary Interest of the above – Nothing to declare

MATT GOULD :  I have worked in the primary sector for 13 years as a youth worker, English teacher and Teacher trainer. I am now a Learning Mentor at Bristol Metropolitan Academy. As well as working with students, I am responsible for in-year admissions, negotiated transfers and attendance.


JOANNE LAMB: I am a fully qualified UK solicitor with over ten years experience. I was a student at Begbrook. In taking up this role I am hoping to give something back and at the same time use my skills in more of a governance role. I am enjoying learning more about the literacy aspect of primary education and spending time with the team.


TONY MOONEY:  I have always been actively involved in school life, helping with reading, school trips, PTFA and talks to early year’s children. I want all Begbrook pupils to have the best start in life, to enjoy going to school, make positive friendships and gain the knowledge and skills to help them thrive. I hope to make a positive contribution to the school.  I am supporting the Principal and his team to take the school from being ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’, by drawing on my experience and constructively challenging the senior leadership team. Begbrook is a great school, has a great staff team, fabulous kids and parents and I am doing my part in helping it grow from strength to strength.


JESS SMITH: I am a mother and step-mother to four children at the Academy. I have been an active member of the PTFA and helped to set up several initiatives at the school. I’ve been working and training in education since my youngest started school. I am currently employed at another CLF school running intervention groups and helping with SMSC provision. I have a particular interest in SMSC  in schools following my degree in the study of religions and hold this responsibility at Begbrook.


SHASHI MCGREGOR: I retired from Bristol Children’s Services four years ago. During my 35 years in Education I have worked across most of the Education Sectors from Infant and Nursery through to Secondary and 10 years in FE at the City of Bristol College. On retirement I was an employed consultant for Bristol  advising and supporting the delivery of the Foundation Stage in East Bristol. As a BPA Councillor I have responsibility to support the Nursery and Reception units. I am a member of an Ethnic Minority. My first language is Punjabi and so have worked extensively in Education to support learning and development of black and Asian children.


CATHERINE BRENNAN: After several years as a Primary class teacher, I have since worked in London, Bristol and BANES for almost 20 years as a specialist teacher and consultant focussed on Ethnic Minority achievement. I am passionate about ensuring that all Black and Ethnic minority (BME) pupils, including children who learn through English as an Additional Language (EAL), are enabled to optimise their attainment, in collaboration with schools and settings. I am delighted to be responsible for this area of work through my academy councillor role at BPA.