Governors' Profiles

Nick

Nick Plater
Trust appointed Governor - Chair
Committee: Chair Standards & Learning/Finance, Resources and Personnel /Improving Standards Group

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.

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John Ford

Principal

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.

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Basil Choudhry
Trust appointed Governor Committee: Chair Finance /Improving Standards Group

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

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Jill Bale
Trust appointed Governor
Committee: Standards and Learning /Improving Standards Group/SEND/LAC Governor/Governor Training

I am 45 years old. I have two children at Catton Grove Primary in Year 5 and Year 4. It is possible that they will be coming to Open Academy in the future. I am a parent governor at Catton Grove and I am a director within The Heart Trust.

I enjoy working with children, parents and other professionals with furthering their child's attainment and achievements in school. I am fully dedicated to my governor roles in all of my schools.

Over the last 5 years, I have involved with children's education in Norfolk. I have studied at Open University in Social Care and I am currently studying in senior governance to work further with the schools I work in.  

I am an assistant leader in the local Brownie Unit. I enjoy baking for the local church, Proclaimers.

 

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Mark Hurren
Trust appointed Governor                                                                                                        Committee: Finance, Resources and Personnel, Health and Safety, 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.

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Sue Cant
Trust appointed Governor - Vice Chair
Committee: Finance, Resources and Personnel/Careers /Parent and Partnership Link 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.

 

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Safeguarding Governor                                                                                                                         Committee:  Finance, Resources and Personnel and Improving Standards Group

I am a mum of two students at the Open Academy, one of whom started Year 7 in September 2017 and one who is in the 6th form. I am married to a science teacher which has given me insight into the subject as well as the teaching profession and my background is in general nursing; previously at NNUH. I have also done a degree in history at the UEA as a mature student and after being a volunteer for Norwich Samaritans I went on to do a certificate in counselling and mental health first aid training.

I am committed to removing barriers to education and supporting all students to having the best possible opportunities and education, following a pathway that meets their needs so they may achieve their goals in life.

As a Governor I’m interested in supporting diversity and inclusivity and am involved with the Norwich Opportunity Area Inclusion Project, ensuring our school effectively supports SEND and LAC students those receiving pupil premium. I am also interested in the well-being of staff and students, standards and learning, pastoral care and the opportunities for social, emotional & physical health development learning and enrichment opportunities.

Becka

Becka Pitts
Parent Governor

Committee:  SEND / LAC

Becka has two children at the academy and has previously served as a parent governor at their Junior school. She was involved in the curriculum committee and took part in learning walks, as well as attending open evenings and parent evenings as a point of contact for fellow parents.

Becka is a Speech and Language Therapist working with a range of conditions, with a special interest in children with SEN and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Anthony

Anthony Edwards
Staff Governor
Committee: Standards and Learning /Extra Curricular & visits

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.

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