Governors' Profiles


Nick Plater

Trust appointed Governor
Committee: Chair Standards and Learning/Finance, Resources and Personnel


Currently Co-Curricular Deputy at Norwich School, with responsibility for all extra-curricular activities, sports and games, music, drama and the creatives, Nick spends the majority of his time watching lessons being taught, tracking pupils' performance through observation and assessing teaching. He retains much of his previous brief as Academic Deputy Head, a role he fulfilled for twelve years. His experience as an inspector is now applied beyond the classroom as well as in it. He was appointed to Norwich School as Head of History, from Bristol Grammar School where he taught History and was in charge of all games. Nick has been an A Level examiner and local coordinator and has also taught Politics to A Level and English and Geography to GCSE. Always involved in sports, especially cricket and rugby, he ran cricket at both BGS and Norwich.

His wife works as a Deputy Head in one of the city Academies; his elder son is at Exeter University and younger just going through the upper sixth. Apart from sports his interests lie in music and the environment being involved with conservation projects and beekeeping.


Sue Cant

Vice Chair
Trust appointed Governor
Committee: Finance, Resources and Personnel / Standards and Learning

Website Compliance and Careers Governor

Sue was mostly born and bred in Norfolk in the Norwich area, apart from seven years spent in Australia from the age of seven to fourteen. Prior to joining the Academy in November 2008 as the Futures Co-ordinator, she held various roles at what was then known as Norwich Union, and is now Aviva. These roles were in a variety of different areas including staff development, project management and consultancy.

Sue has previously been a Parent Governor at Little Plumstead Primary School and Clerk to the Governors of Hemblington School. She has a strong interest in the role of Governor and its importance in supporting and challenging a school to continuously improve and inspire young people to be the best they can.

Sue is pleased to have the opportunity join a great team at the Open Academy in this new capacity.

Sue has one son, the first in her family to attend university, who studied at the University of Kent and has a Masters degree in Philosophy. He now works at a local solicitors’ firm. Many of the students at Open Academy are not dissimilar, in that, they have the potential to forge new territory in their families and also be the first to attend university. Sue’s previous role at the Academy means that she has as strong interest in developing ambitious career aspirations in the students and ensuring they are given opportunities to experience the world of work through as many types of experience as possible. She is keen that they are made aware of the opportunities available to them now and in the future and to strive towards their goals.

Sue has volunteered as a Norwich Magistrate since 2005. She enjoys gardening, reading, walking her dog, the theatre, ancestry research, learning Italian and travelling around Italy as much as possible.


John Ford


Committee: Standards and Learning/Finance, Resources and Personnel

I had a range of work experience on leaving school including restaurant, bar and factory work, before returning to education with a desire to teach in my early twenties.

I used my initial experience in teaching to take the opportunity to travel, training science teachers in Asia for a couple of years, before returning to lead science departments in two schools.

I moved into senior leadership in 2001 and I have been part of four senior leadership teams as both Assistant Head and Deputy, covering all responsibility areas.

I became a Headteacher in a large Norfolk secondary school in 2011 for almost six years before moving on to work as an educational consultant.

Missing the excitement of school life, however, has driven me back to seek the challenge of school leadership once again and I am delighted to become part of the value-driven, inspirational team that is Open Academy.


Basil Choudhry

Trust appointed Governor Committee: Chair Finance, Resource and Personnel

Safeguarding Governor

Basil originally moved to Norwich to study law at UEA, however, soon fell in love with the city and has never left. He has worked for a variety of software companies in Norfolk in senior marketing roles, with responsibilities for multi-million pound budgets. Currently he is the Vice President of Growth for digital staffing startup Pickr. Basil is a practicing born-again Christian and attends the Potter's House Church on Dereham Road.


Mark Hurren

Trust appointed Governor
Committee: Finance, Resources and Personnel

Health and Safety and Pupil Premium Governor

I have always been local to the area, though from over the county border in Beccles. Having studied Mathematics at UEA, I went on to qualify as an accountant working as an external auditor based in the Ipswich office of KPMG. After a brief spell at Larking Gowen in Norwich I took up my current role at Aviva Investors in the city centre, which involves analysing commercial and public sector real estate tenants as part of direct property investments and commercial mortgages.

Being married to a primary school teacher has given me good insight into the education sector and I recently spent just over a year as governor at a small rural primary school before that came to a natural conclusion. I was keen to get back into a new governor role and was delighted to take up a vacancy on the Open Academy governing body.

Much of my time (and energy!) outside of work is currently taken up looking after my new son, Blake, born February 2017. Beyond that I follow a range of sports and am a keen runner having completed marathons in London, Paris, Berlin and New York


Anthony Edwards

Staff Governor
Committee: Standards and Learning

Attendance Governor

I was keen to become a Staff Governor at Open Academy because I wanted to be involved in the Open local community. I hope to get a better understanding of the students and their needs through closer contact with their parents and local issues.

I bring 20 years of full time English teaching experience to the role of Staff Governor, working over the years at three secondary schools. I have held responsibility positions both academically (as Head of Subject - Media Studies) and on the pastoral side – as Assistant and Deputy Head of House. I am interested in forming links between local business and the Academy.

I look forward to building relationships with members of the Open Academy staff and bringing their ideas and inspiration to Trustee committee meetings.

I moved to Norfolk 20 years ago (from London, where I worked as an Editor in magazine publishing – titles included Rugby magazines, Television Advertising, London and Health). I live in a rural village, and regularly let the community down in the local football and cricket teams. I am married with two children, two Border Terriers (Roseberry, pictured) and one Labrador.


Charlotte Land

Trust appointed Governor

Committee:  Standards and Learning

I am, a committed, proactive, highly skilled and knowledgeable Independent Chair of Governors on the Local Governing Body of a Multi Academy Trust. Prior to this, I served on the board of City Academy Norwich from January 2010-June 2014.
I believe that strong and effective Governance can transform the educational opportunities and outcomes for every student, at every stage of their education. I believe that every student deserves the same educational opportunities thus enabling them to achieve their aspirations. School should be: a calm, happy, safe and stable environment where each student’s achievement is celebrated and valued.
In education, I am an approachable, collaborative forward thinking classroom practitioner who works well within a team and in leadership roles.  An adaptable, confident, resilient individual, capable of inspiring, motivating and challenging young people to achieve their aims and aspirations.
I look forward to using my experience to support Open Academy in order to meet the expectations of all its stakeholders.

Peter Whear

Peter Whear

Trust appointed Governor

Committee:  Finance, Resource and Personnel and Standards and Learning

RSHE Governor

Originally from London, I spent my childhood in Sussex before studying Italian and German at Leeds University. Following a brief career in banking, I taught French and German before moving to Norfolk as a headteacher. I now run a successful education consultancy, developing leadership in schools and across academy trusts. Alongside this, I have extensive experience of leading school inspections for Ofsted.
An interest in mental health has led to me working with schools to develop strategic approaches to enhance well-being. I am also a director of a local charitable concern called ‘MensCraft’, that provides men and boys with secure opportunities to re-engage positively with society.
My amazing wife and four wonderful children keep me fully-grounded at home. Walking our dog Rashi gives me the opportunity to pursue my interests in ornithology and the natural environment.

AR photo

Astra Richardson

Trust appointed Governor

Committee: Finance, Resources and Personnel 

I grew up in Hong Kong and then Norwich and following a few years living elsewhere , ended up returning to this lovely part of the country. My professional experience includes working in recruitment and photography before entering the education sector. I work at the University of East Anglia and my role involves working with schools Norfolk-wide to broaden access to higher education (university and higher/degree level apprenticeships) by ensuring students understand their progression options and have the highest aspirations for themselves.

I am especially keen to support equality of opportunity, wellbeing amongst students and staff and support for those with disabilities. A previous job in which I supported young people with learning difficulties and disabilities enter employment taught me a huge amount about diversity and the resilience young people can have, and I am still inspired by this on a daily basis.

In my spare time I enjoy travelling, gardening (in good weather!) and running – I can often be found at one of Norwich’s many Parkrun events on a Saturday morning.

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