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Governing Body

Here at Mercia School, we believe in strong systems of governance. It is vital that the school's leadership team is robustly held to account, in the interests of the school's pupils. 

We are delighted with the individuals who have joined our Governing Body. Please find their individual profiles below. Please note that the Chair of Governors can be contacted using the school's address. 

Mercia School is part of the Mercia Learning Trust. To learn more about how the Trust is governed, please visit:

Jackie Arundale - Chair and Curriculum/Teaching 

Jackie Arundale has extensive experience in schools, both as a teacher and senior leader. In 2018, she retired from her role as Associate Headteacher at King Ecgbert School, having served in the role of Deputy Headteacher since 2007. Mrs Arundale holds extensive qualifications, including the coveted NPQH, and played a vital role in King Ecgbert School’s journey to an outstanding judgement from OFSTED in 2014. 

Mrs Arundale has been a teacher since 1986 and has worked in a broad spectrum of schools including those with a majority of children experiencing disadvantage. From 2002-2007, she worked for Sheffield LA as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, supporting schools across the city to develop more effective practices. She holds extensive experience in dealing with the Department of Education and OFSTED.

Mrs Arundale has been involved with the development of Mercia School almost from its inception and has read widely around the methodologies to be employed. She strongly supports the idea of a rich and wide knowledge-based curriculum for all students as a key driver for social mobility.


Rhona Dodds - SEND

I was chair of governors at Nether Edge Primary School and joined the Mercia Trust Board when the school joined the trust in 2015. 

My background is in the health sector and I had a varied career in the NHS spanning more than twenty years.  I initially trained as a technician in hospital and research laboratories.  I later moved into Clinical Audit, a field that became part of the emerging Clinical Governance framework, the aim of which was to ensured a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality of care throughout the NHS.  My experience in this area has been particularly beneficial in my role as a MAT Trustee and School Governor as there are many parallels with current initiatives in the education sector, for example in encouraging professionals to use research to inform practice, to assess and monitor their own practice and to lead improvements.

After a short spell in IT working on a Trust wide short term project I moved into NHS Management as head of the hospital Trust's administrative department of approx 200 staff across six sites.  Major challenges included preparing for relocation of a major hospital to a new site and the introduction of new Trust wide IT systems.

I have three children.  My youngest is disabled and I became his carer, prompting a reappraisal of career and life goals.  Leaving work meant I was able to volunteer with disability charities and sign up for an archaeology course at Sheffield University – a long held interest that I had never had time to pursue.  That short part-time course eventually led to a BSc and I graduated in 2018."

Michael Farrelly - Assessment 

Michael Farrelly is a Senior Lecturer in English Language at the University of Hull with experience of curriculum and module design at University level, of delivering high quality teaching and learning, and of assessment of student work. He has experience of validating the degree programmes and governance structures of Higher Education institutions as an external reviewer.

At the University of Hull, he also has experience of being on the Learning and Teaching Committee of the Department of English. In this role he oversaw programme redesign of the degrees on offer in the department and reviewed the process quality of module assessment and delivery.

Dr Farrelly’s extensive experience in Higher Education settings qualifies him entirely to support Mercia School’s drive for social mobility and to see its pupils attend the very best universities in the world.

Ash Khan - Behaviour and Inclusion

Ash Khan is currently Assistant Headteacher at Sheffield Inclusion Centre which provides a structured and stable environment for students who have found school challenging. He works with a team of committed and highly skilled professionals to re-engage students in education and enhance their emotional and personal development. Mr Khan believes in creating strong links with families and the wider community and sees this as key to helping pupils achieve their potential.

Mr Khan has been a teacher since 2007 and recently completed his NPQH. He has extensive experience of governance. He has been a governor at Nether Edge Primary School since 2012 and is in the process of taking over the role as Chair.

Mr Khan fully supports the ethos of Mercia School and its drive for academic excellence and hopes to use his experience and skills, particularly in the areas of community liaison and parental engagement, to contribute to the growth of the school.

Jane Bell-Cole

Awaiting Bio

Emma Smith

Emma Smith has worked within NHS for the last 16 years, within both commissioning and provider services within the community and acute areas. Her current role of Contracts and Bid manager at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust covers all aspects of Contracting, Performance Management, Financial monitoring, Business Development and Tendering Processes.

Emma has extensive experience in contract management from negotiation to performance management against key outcomes and financial plans. Her work within the complex funding of the NHS has left her with a highly proficient knowledge of public sector finance.

Mrs Smith’s son will be attending Mercia School from September 2018. She is committed to ensuring their education is robust, challenging, engaging and enriched. She is a firm believer that a child’s education is not only the responsibility of the school, but also parents and guardians. She is looking forward to contributing to the success of Mercia School.