John has been involved in school governance for over fifteen years. After primary experience, he became a governor at a local secondary school, Archbishop Holgate’s, where he was elected Chair in 2008, a position to which he has held since then. In the last few years governors at the school have successfully dealt with the challenges of a local secondary school closing, school expansion, the growth of a new sixth form, the appointment of a new Headteacher and two major new builds as well as deciding to become an academy and more recently a Teaching School. The school continues to self-evaluate as “outstanding”, the judgment it received at its last OFSTED inspection. He has been asked by two local authorities to work as an additional governor in some very different school contexts. This has included the huge satisfaction of working with the GB and Heads at two primary schools, one in serious weaknesses and one requiring improvement, to achieve “good” judgments in both cases. He also delivers training courses, licensed by the National College, for the National Governors’ Association for current and aspiring GB Chairs. He is passionate about outcomes for children, believing that one of governors’ key roles is to work with the Head and SLT of schools to build aspiration and create “other tomorrows” for pupils. There is a well evidenced link between the quality of governing bodies and the outcomes for learners and he believes that governors need to focus limited resource on things that drive outcomes and “make the boat go faster” ; not just in academic attainment (although this has to be non-negotiable) but also in educating the whole child. Since August 2016 he has chaired the Board of the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust, a MAT of nine schools based in York now with around 350 staff, more than 3000 young people and an eight figure turnover.
John spent the first half of his working life in various senior sales, marketing and operational roles working for a number of companies including Sainsbury and Nestlé. Since becoming self-employed in 2006 he has built a successful consulting business in both the private and public sectors. He also works as a trainer and specialises in delivering training on leadership and negotiation to more than a dozen blue chip companies in the commercial world in the UK and overseas, as well as working in the education and health sectors. Until resigning in October 2014, he sat as the senior non-executive director and deputy Chairman on a local NHS Hospitals Trust with a £480m turnover where he also chaired the Performance and Finance committee. He runs his own wine importing business.