Academy Advisory Body

Academy Education Advisory Board 2020/2021

You can find out more about our AAB 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.

John Whitgift Academy Advisory Board 2020/2021


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, overseeing 14 academies, 9 primary academies and 5 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.

Steve Ryder:

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.

Jenny Vincent:

An ex-student of John Whitgift Academy, Jenny has 25+ years’ experience in employment and skills through central and local government organisations. Jen began working with John Whitgift again when she delivered some inspirational assemblies in 2016 to the students and was asked to join the Academy Advisory Board.

As a real partnership worker, Jenny is now working for the Careers and Enterprise Company covering North and North East Lincolnshire through the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, supporting all secondary schools and colleges in the Humber region to promote apprenticeships, employability skills, and the local labour market. This work ultimately bridges the skills gap between local industry and our local people.

Jenny is a member of the CBI and NGA, and sits on many skills boards and working groups throughout the area. She is Chair of Trustees at St Lawrence Academy and is on the governing board of CPO Media.

  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.

 John Thornley. Governor John Whitgift Academy AAB.

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.

Iain Elliott

Chief Executive, Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA). Iain joined HETA in July 2014 as Chief Executive and is focused on developing the business and shaping the future of HETA.

Iain grew up in East Yorkshire and then served in the British Army. His career has consisted of working in Media and Information companies and latterly Further Education.

He began working in regional newspapers in Hertfordshire and Sussex moving across into trade magazine publishing. Before moving into education, Iain worked for the Press Association in London and East Yorkshire.

He changed career in 2003 when he took up a post in Further Education at colleges in Oxford and London and then moved onto HETA in 2014.

“I am passionate about vocational education and the impact it can have on the lives of young people and those already employed. The attraction of working for HETA comes from a desire to promote the high quality education and training that the company is renowned for combined with a strong sense of contributing to the Humberside region achieving long term economic prosperity.”   

Iain has worked with children for over 16 years.

Polly Griffin:

Polly’s career started in a day care setting supporting 2-5 year olds with their development and many other things.  She then moved on to work in Children’s Centres.  She is a Family First Practitioner and works with 0-19 year olds and their families.  She offers support for many, many things including financial support, parenting, aspirations, the list is endless.

Both of Polly’s children attended JWA with differing outcomes and she is passionate that every child, regardless of where they are from or their abilities, have the same opportunities to learn and become well rounded adults with the world being their oyster.

Matt White, Associate Vice Principal, John Whitgift Academy.

Sept 2004 – Aug 2006: Teacher of Science, Ossett High School and 6th form College, Wakefield;

Sept 2006 – Aug 2009: Assistant Head of KS4 Science, Hanson School, Bradford;

Sept 2009 – Dec 2014: Head of Science and STEM Co-ordinator, Whitgift School/John Whitgift Academy, Grimsby;

Jan 2014 – Dec 2016: Assistant Principal and Acting Head of 6th form, Havelock Academy, Grimsby;

Jan 2017 – Dec 2017: Assistant Principal Science, JWA, Grimsby;

Jan 2018 – Present: Associate Vice Principal, JWA, Grimsby.


BSc Biological Sciences, University of Birmingham;        

PGCE Science, University of Leeds;      

NPQSL started in Sept 2014 and completed in July 2015;

Future Leaders/Ambition School Leadership Cohort 2015 (3 year leadership programme which started in June 2015 and finished in Aug 2018).

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, and the promotion of student achievement and student support.

Out of the academy, Paul is currently the Secretary & Welfare officer for Grimsby & District Intermediate Football League and 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;

Catering / Restaurant Manager;

Royal Air Force Steward;

Registered Foster Carer;




BA Hons: History.


John Whitgift Academy Advisory Board 2018/19

Full Name

Committee Membership

Appointed by


Date of Appointment


Declared Business and/or Pecuniary Interest

Attendance at Meetings 2018/19

Other EABs/Governors Committees/ educational institutions


Mrs Gail Young

Chair AAB

AAB – Chair;

Standards (Chair);


Delta Appointed 26.4.2016

4 Years



Occasional educational consultancy work


Full AAB – 3/3


Standards –2/3



Mrs Jennifer Vincent





Delta Appointed 14.1.2016

4 Years




Board Member CPO; Employee NELC

Full AAB – 3/3

Finance – 1/1

Chair of Trustees St Lawrence Academy

Mr Robert Spendlow







Ex Officio


Full AAB – 3/3

Standards – 3/3

Finance – 1/1


Vice-Chair Wybers Wood Academy

Miss Helen Ruddle


Human Resources

Delta Appointed


4 Years






Full AAB – 3/3



AAB Member – Craven Primary Academy

Mr John Thornley


Health & Safety;


Delta Appointed 29.09.15

4 Years




In receipt of East Riding of Yorkshire Pension

Full AAB –3/3


Standards – 3/3



Mr Paul Tuffnell






Staff elected


4 Years




Full AAB – 2/3



Mrs Polly Griffin





Parent Governor


2 Years


LA Child welfare & early intervention

AAB – 2/3



Mrs Diane Casajuana

Vice-Chair AAB





Teaching and Learning


Delta Appointed


4 Years




Full AAB – 2/3

Standards - 2/3

Finance – 1/1


Parent Vacancy





2 Years





Mr Peter Kennedy



Delta Appointed



4 Years




Principal Franklin College

Director VENN SFC Partnership


Full AAB – 3/3

Standards – 2/3


Mr Matt White



Staff elected

October 2017


4 Years

Oct 21

Associate Vice Principal JWA

Full AAB – 3/3

Standards – 3/3



Governor Great Coates Primary

Mr Iain Elliott


Finance (Chair)



Delta Appointed


4 Years


CEO-HETA Training Provider

Full AAB – 3/3

Finance – 1/1


Mr Steve Ryder






Delta Appointed


4 Years


Managing Director – CPO (AEP)

Trustee NEL VCSE


Full AAB – 3/3

Standards – 3/3


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