Academy Education Advisory Board 2021/2022

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 2021/2022

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 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 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.

  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:

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.

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