Academy Education Advisory Board 2022/2023

You can find the full list of AAB members on our Statutory Information page here.

To make contact with Mrs G Young, Chair of the John Whitgift AAB, please contact Mrs B Allison, Personal Assistant to the Principal or email directly using:

John Whitgift Academy Advisory Board 2022/2023

Rob Spendlow, Principal of The Academy:

Rob grew up in Hull and graduated from Hull University.  He then went on to complete his teaching qualifications in Greater Manchester. 

He started his career teaching History and Philosophy in Solihull, West Midlands, before moving with his family to Leicester for a promoted position.

His next move was to Barnstaple, North Devon when he was promoted to Assistant Principal.

In 2013, he was given the opportunity to move North to join the SPTA, now Delta, as Vice Principal of John Whitgift Academy.

Rob was appointed as Principal of John Whitgift Academy in 2016.

Gail Young, Chair of the John Whitgift AAB:

39 years in the teaching profession;

Head of Year, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Senior Teacher, Assistant Head, Deputy Head;

Experience in all aspects of secondary education;

Principal of The Vale Academy, Brigg (successful Ofsted led to National Leader of Education status);

Executive Principal (both Secondary and Primary);

Regional Director of Education, variously overseeing 14 academies, 9 primary academies and 7 secondary academies;

Have served on 7 governing bodies over the years in NE Lincs, N Lincs, Hull, Doncaster, Notts.;

Served on AAB Permanent Exclusion / Independent Review Panels in NE Lincs, N Lincs, Doncaster, Notts, Teeside.


Di Casajuana, Vice-Chair, John Whitgift AAB :

After completing a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Sheffield, Di commenced her teaching career in 1975 at the Whitgift School in the Modern Languages Department. During her career she also worked in a number of other schools locally, including when she became an Advanced Skills Teacher and did outreach work for one day a week in liaison with the local authority. After a period of teaching in County Durham, she returned to the area and held various senior leadership and management roles, always with a keen focus on Teaching and Learning. She ended her career as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, supporting the improvement agenda in schools in Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. She became a Governor at the John Whitgift Academy upon her retirement in 2016.

Helen Barrass, Chair of the Finance Committee:

  • Parent Governor for 2.5 Years at JWA with son in year 10
  • Currently Finance Manager for a Freight Forwarding Company
  • 15 years accountancy experience within practice and industry
  • Prior to the 15 years I was an Administration Manager for an Accountancy firm
  • Qualified to Level 4 NVQ in Business Administration and also Level 4 Customer Service
  • Qualified to AAT level 4 (Association of Accounting Technicians) 

Peter Kennedy

Degree from the University of York with a degree in Cell Biology & Biochemistry;

Toured the UK and Europe in a Comedy Showband, The Superheroes for 2 years;

Taught mainly ‘A’ Level Biology at Sheffield College;

Senior A level examiner for over 10 years, writing the A level Biology Specification and co-authoring the associated Text books for the 2008 AS/A level syllabus;

Was part of the founding management team responsible for setting up the Longley Park Sixth Form College in North East Sheffield which opened as a new-build College in September 2004;

Peter has wide-ranging skills and expertise in recruitment, HR, laboratory design and staff management.

In a challenging and economically deprived setting, Peter was responsible for supporting Oxbridge and Medicine applications, securing a 50% conversion rate for applications taking up a place at Oxbridge, the highest in the Region;

Working closely with Sheffield University Medical School, Peter taught on the Foundation Medicine programme briefly and took part in the 2009 General Medical Council Inspection of the School;

Deputy Principal at Huddersfield New College in 2009;

Masters Degree in Education Leadership in 2010;

Peter’s tenure at Huddersfield New College, he was nominee in 2016 when it became the first Ofsted Outstanding Sixth Form College under the current framework. The inspection report remains the only post 16 institution example where inspectors found there were ‘no weaknesses worthy of comment’. As a Leader in Diversity institution, the College achieved the status of the best institution in the country for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, awarded by the National Centre for Diversity in both 2015 and 2016;

Peter has spoken at numerous regional and national conferences on subjects including Coaching in Education, Inspection Preparation and Curriculum & Quality Development in Post-16 Settings;

His absolute belief in the power of education to change lives, and the importance of changing the lives of the young people within the communities we serve remains the same as it ever was;

As principal of Franklin College, Peter has ambitions for the College to become the best Sixth Form College in the country, supporting and inspiring the community in North East Lincolnshire.

Andy Rouse:

 CEO of Fusion Interactive Corporation which is a global technology corporation listed on the US stock market

CEO of UK based business accelerator Pinnacle London

 Chief Strategy Officer for One HE which is a global EdTech platform based out of York St John University

 Board member of Humber LEP business development Board

 Andy is a proud alumni of Whitgift School as it was then, upon leaving school he joined his family transport and forwarding business in Africa to work with his father, being one of the largest freight forwarding companies in North Africa they distributed the bulk of food aid for Live Aid and various aid agencies and governments, returning back to his home town of Grimsby Andy took up his passion for cue sports and became Lincolnshire`s first ever professional pool player with a top 16 world ranking and opened Cue World in Grimsby and then had a short period in the leisure / hospitality sector opening various places locally, from there Andy moved into the property industry being based in Cheshire and helped develop a portfolio of former supermarkets in the UK, moving to London Andy had the progression into commercial finance and running the private equity business for Mayfair based brokerage. Andy is still based in Mayfair and splits his time between there and his base in Cleethorpes with his various business interests and roles.

Helen Ruddle:

17 years’ experience in Human Resources

Group Training Officer, HR Advisor, HR Manager, Regional HR Manager and Director of HR

Experience in a range of organisations and across sectors including both private and public sector

Qualifications: BSc Hons Psychology; Post Graduate Diploma in HR Management and MSc in Human Resource Management; ILM Equity, Inclusion & Organisational Diversity

Professional memberships: Associate Member of CIPD & Fellow Member of Institute of Leadership & Management

Experience within the Education sector:

  • Regional HR Manager, overseeing HR service provision for 16 academies (1 AP, 11 primary academies and 4 secondary academies)
  • Director of HR, leading HR service provision for 52 academies (including 1 PRU, 2 APs, 1 all-through academy, 15 secondary academies and 33 primary academies) plus central Head Office (c.3500 employees)
  • Have served on 3 governing bodies over the years in Doncaster, NE Lincolnshire and Hull

Steve Ryder, Community member:

Stephen was born in Grimsby but grew up overseas living in Japan, Thailand and Korea before returning home to boarding school at 9. He was educated at St Olave’s and St Peter’s Schools in York and then at the University of Leicester, reading English and Philosophy.  After a series of injuries playing Rugby he decided not to take up his commission in the British Army and instead went to the University of Durham to take a PGCE in English and PE.

He worked at Trent College for 13 years where, as well as teaching English, he coached games and was Master in charge of Rugby Football for five years. He was part of the SMT as Senior Boarding Housemaster.

In 2004 Stephen left teaching to become a cricket correspondent, writing for All Out Cricket for two years.
Later that year, he also took an 18 month contract with the Grimsby Telegraph as an editorial consultant. This ultimately led to him forming CPO Media (now CPO) in 2006; he is the Managing Director. CPO offers a range of services including print, design and publishing but is now primarily a training and education provider. CPO works with those who have not succeeded in mainstream education or employment. They have previously been an alternative education provider but now focus more on those aged 16 and over ensuring that as many local people as possible achieve positive outcomes in adult life.
Stephen sits on the MACE (multi-agency child exploitation) panel, has chaired the Children’s Trust and is a Director of NEL VSCE Alliance, an organisation that promotes the voluntary, community sector in North East Lincolnshire.

 John Thornley, Health & Safety:

John has served as a governor for the past 36 years since 1983 and on 6 different governing bodies. Committees have included Permanent Exclusion, Staff Discipline and Capability, Finance, Quality Assurance, Personal, and Health and Safety.

John has attended many governor training courses over the years.

John was employed in education for 39 years from 1974 to 2013 at The Chelmsford School, The Hereford School and Franklin College.

Now retired.

Paul Tuffnell: Learning and Consequences Manager / Careers leader / Humanities Instructor, John Whitgift Academy.

Paul’s role at JWA has encompassed all aspects of student welfare, including safeguarding, student discipline, the promotion of student achievement and student support. Currently employed as a Humanities teacher, Paul also hold the roles of Operational Lead CEIAG and The Duke of Edinburgh Manager.

Out of the academy, Paul is currently supporting Grimsby Town Football Club in the delivery of The Holiday and Food programme and The National Citizen Service programme, alongside being a registered football referee.

Previous roles:

Police Officer;

Mentor Youth Offending Service & Care Officer with Looked after Children;

Employment Support Key Worker on the Change Programme;

Royal Air Force Steward;

Registered Foster Carer;

Qualifications: BA Hons : History – National Professional Qualification in Leading Behaviour and Culture.

You can find the full list of AAB members on our Statutory Information page here.