John was elected as MP for Weston, Worle and the Villages in 2005 and again in 2010 and 2015. He is involved in many local community initiatives and campaigns for local people on Drugs & Crime, Local Health Funding, Local School Funding and Regenerating Weston.
John is the son of two teachers and attended a Church of England Primary school before winning a state scholarship to Ipswich School and then a place at Cambridge University to study law before doing his MBA at Columbia University. Before Parliament John had an extensive and successful business career working for a variety of large, blue chip companies starting with J P Morgan (risk management on a bank trading floor); then McKinsey (strategic management consultancy); Thompson (academic book publishing) culminating at Pearson PLC (Managing Director of Longman’s schoolbook publishing operations) before striking out on his own in a Management Buy-Out of Logotron (educational software for schools), later adding Widget (special needs software for children with dyslexia). He also helped found Credit Market Analysis (publishing credit data for financial firms) which was sold to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and is now part of Standard & Poors. After becoming Weston’s MP in 2005, John served on the Work & Pensions Select Committee, where he was sole author of an annexe to the Committee’s report on Benefits Simplification, outlining a radical new structure for the benefits system which largely matched the Coalition Government’s new Universal Credit a few years later. He also contributed to the Welfare Reform Bill and Finance Bills. John then became a shadow business minister, his ideas of ‘one-in, one-out’ regulatory budgets and regular reviews of all quangos are now making a profound and continuing impact on the way Whitehall works. From 2010 to 2012 John was Tourism & Heritage Minster, covering the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. During his tenure the Tourism industry was one of the fastest-growing sectors of Britain’s economy, and John also wrote and implemented the Government’s Tourism Strategy; began a process to turn English Heritage’s properties (Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Tintagel and many others) into a second National Trust; removed silly red tape licenses on live entertainment; sold the Tote bookmaker; protected the Lloyds of London building with a ‘Grade 1’ listing and much else.
After being re-elected for the third time in 2015 with his largest majority to date, John was promoted to the high profile role of Minister for Constitutional Reform, helping to devolve more powers to the Scots, Welsh and Irish Governments, English Votes for English Laws, and organising the ‘In or Out’ EU Referendum before leaving the role in July 2016. He is married to Dido Harding, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, the broadband firm, and they have two young daughters. His hobbies are fishing and beekeeping.
Paul lives locally is married with three children and six grandchildren. He held a variety of teaching and senior management posts in schools from 1972 to 1984 in Bucks, Berks and Herts. The next ten years he spent in the administration of education – 1984 – 1986 Assistant Education Officer responsible for staffing and governance with Essex CC; with Cleveland CC from 1986 – 89 as Education Officer for Post 16 and HE; from 1989 – 91 as Education Officer for Milton Keynes; then as Education Officer responsible for Policy & Planning with Bucks CC. He became Director of Education Arts & Libraries with Beds CC from 1994 – 2000 then Strategic Director responsible for establishing SERCO Learning. From 2002 to 2007 he was CEO of Alpha Plus Learning; 2006 to 2010 Chairman of the Bristol and Irish Institute of Modern Music (BIMM). From 2007 to 2014 he was Chairman of Greenwich School of Management and from 2014 and currently is the Chairman of the International Schools Partnership. Since 2010 to the present he is a principal investor in a number of small and medium sized businesses in the Bristol and Bath area.
Pen portrait - I was appointed to the staff of Priory Community School in 1977 as Head of the Social Education Faculty. Over the following 30 years I was a Senior Teacher, Deputy Head and at my retirement in 2007 Head of the school. I had served on many Local Authority groups including the Schools Strategic Forum and ICT Steering Group. I was latterly the Chair of the North Somerset Secondary Heads Association. During my time as Head I was a passionate advocate for schools working together in the Weston Federation and in the WASPs Cluster. More recently, I have been the Head of the Virtual School for Looked After Children in North Somerset and a School Improvement Partner in Somerset and BANES. My role as an E-Safety Consultant for the SW Grid for Learning provides huge pleasure as I am able to visit and work with schools across the UK. I believe strongly in working collaboratively in the best interests of the families and children that we serve.
Jonquil Brooks was previously Chair of the Board of Governors at St Anne’s Church of England V A Primary School with sites in both Hewish and West Wick. She has substantial prior governance experience including 3 years as diocesan nominated Foundation governor at St Andrew’s School, Congresbury (2003-2006); 4 years as Business Governor at Tiverton High School (2002-2006) and was elected as staff governor at several FE colleges (1990-2000).
Her special interests as a governor include curriculum development and maintaining standards of teaching and learning, fund-raising and nursery provision.
Jonquil trained as a designer and worked for several years in London as a practising designer. When she entered the post 16 educations sector she undertook in service teacher training to post graduate level, and holds a Masters degree in Educational Management. She has worked in the Further Education college sector first as a lecturer and then as a senior manager for over 30 years including 8 years as a College Principal, following a successful career in the Fashion industry as a Head Designer for one of Marks and Spencers main suppliers. She is now retired and has been a governor at St Anne’s since 2011. Having had experience of new build projects in the college sector, she Chaired the New Build Task Group during the process of obtaining and building the new St Anne’s at West Wick school site.
Outside her voluntary work as a governor Jonquil is a Trustee of North Somerset Arts and enjoys designing and producing artwork and creative textiles in her spare time. She is a member of a local gym and keeps fit through swimming, yoga and Pilates. She is married and has two adult children both in their early 30s.
John has spent his whole working life in education - some 43 years - in a variety of teaching posts in secondary schools and FE colleges in West Yorkshire and Somerset. Beginning as an English teacher in a Secondary Modern School in 1966, he progressed to FE where he spent 29 years. He started at the bottom as an Assistant Lecturer teaching English, History and General Studies. Moving jobs, he progressed to Senior Lecturer responsible for Curriculum Design and Development as well as managing the department timetable across a federation of three colleges. Finally, he moved to the South West to become Head of Department then Assistant Principal of a successful FE college. A member of the senior management team among other things, he managed the staffing changes (TUPE) when colleges moved to being centrally funded independent institutions. Since then, a number of part time and supply posts and some consultancy work gave experience of a number of schools. He has been a school governor since 2006 (currently vice chair) and has been a member of School Appeals Tribunals for school admissions for six years for two local authority areas.
Prior to my early retirement in December 2015 I was a director of John Moores (Bristol) Ltd, a SME owned by Systems Group UK Ltd, a mechanical services provider supplying all types of pipe work, steel fabrications and commercial boiler installation, maintenance and repair to a wide range of organisations including MoD, Food processors, Industrial manufacturers, Health Services, Local Authorities and many leading consultancy groups. My primary role was managing the Bristol operation requiring me to work with clients from project conception to completion whilst ensuring the business operated in a safe, legal and financially prudent way. Before commencing work at John Moores in 2002 I was the Facilities Manager a Westlands in Weston-super-Mare for 15 years before the site was closed. In that role I was responsible for site facilities and services, site capital development, site maintenance, transport, energy management, site security, HSE, site fire service and staff security approvals for the MoD including establishing associate budgets and cost control.
I am a self-motivated person with more than 30 years management experience in facilities and project management and bring to the table my experience and expertise in financial planning and control, health, safety and environmental risk management, problem solving skills and man management skills.
I applied to and was elected as a Parent Governor at Priory in November 2000 I when my son started at the school. I served to 4 year terms as a Parent Governor and have since remained as a Co-opted Governor. I currently chair the Business and Site, and the Learning sub-committees and also Chair the meetings of the Priory Enterprise Ltd and carry out the duties of the Responsible Officer as required under the rules and regulations in place for an Academy. Until August 2016 I was a Director of PCSA until it was absorbed into the PLT MAT. I remain a Director of Priory Enterprise Ltd.
I became a Governor so that I could be more involved with the decisions that would affect the education my son received. At the time Priory was one of the poorer performing schools in the area and I believed the best way to change things was from the inside. With the dedication of the Staff supported by the Governing body Priory is now an OFSTED Outstanding school and one of the best performing schools not only in the local area but nationally, a trend that we wish to maintain. I continue to offer my support to the school not only as a Governor but as a Trustee of the MAT and a critical friend of the schools within the MAT as it develops.
I enjoy working with highly motivated, professional and passionate people employed by the Trust and with other Governors and Trustees who will help manage the development of the MAT into the future to provide local children with the best education we can provide. It is also my way of contributing to society and the local community where I live.
I have been a parent Governor for approximately six years and have two children who have transited successfully through Priory School. I am a Police Officer of twenty eight years’ service. The last eighteen years have been spent in the public protection arena and I have worked with various partner agencies including NOMS, UKBA and various Home Office departments. I have good links with the various Avon & Somerset Constabulary Safeguarding teams and keep myself up to date with the latest issues, such as WRAP, CSE, FBV, FM, FGM etc. I am also a member of Avon & Somerset Constabulary FGM Forum which gives me valuable insight into this and associated safeguarding issues. Although I am a Police Officer, for the last four years I have worked primarily as a trainer in my department and I run regional courses in legislation, investigation techniques, interview skills and other associated issues regionally and nationally.
Dr Barry Wratten
Recently retired Headteacher (Churchill Academy – rated Outstanding by Ofsted) who has been in education for 35 years. Initially working in London, I have worked in a variety of urban and rural settings, starting as a teacher of History and rising to lead two schools as Head. My time in senior leadership has coincided with local management and I have been involved in budget setting and monitoring in two LAs. I led Churchill into Foundation status prior to conversion to an Academy. Originally from Kent, we (wife Ruth and two now grown up daughters) have settled in this area; we ‘technically’ live in the Priory catchment. I am an advocate of MATs as an important way forward in raising standards and rationalising resources at a time when LAs will play less of a role in managing schools.
A Cambridge graduate who has spent a lifetime in education! Started out as teacher of Modern Languages in Dorset, promoted to Head of Department before moving as Deputy Head to the King’s School, Rochester. Then 15 years as Head of Birkenhead School which included overseeing the conversion of the school to full independence after the abolition of the Assisted Places scheme, a move to co-education and growth ultimately of a 4-18 school to over 1,000 students. Then 6 years as Head of the English School, Nicosia- an English medium school for Greek Cypriot students who were then joined by Turkish Cypriot students after the re-opening of the border in 2003. Considerable experience therefore in dealing with issues of integration and minority rights. Before moving to Cyprus worked as ISI inspector for 10 years and then, after retirement, conducted OFSTED style inspections in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Retired since 2009 in Congresbury, but still working part time as Senior Compliance Inspector for Cambridge International Exams which has included some 15 visits to different countries, as well as trouble shooting within UK institutions. Now Chairman of the Friends of St. Andrew’s Church, Congresbury and a Foundation Governor at St. Anne’s since 2012- further village involvement with the cricket club and as Library volunteer which has –to date!- prevented the closure of the facility by the Local Authority, and allowed its increased exploitation as a community asset.
I read law as an undergraduate at Reading University upon leaving school. On graduating, I studied at the Inns of Court School of Law in High Holborn attaining the Bar Vocational Qualification and thereby undertook pupillage in London having been called to the Bar in 1996. I have since practised both in private practice and then subsequently with the Royal Air Force commissioning, as a legal officer in 2000 until March 2016. I have practised in a great variety of legal disciplines from criminal and family law to international and operational law. During this time, I gained a Masters Degree in international laws at Bristol University, which I undertook in my spare time. Recent relevant experience has been in the area of health and safety law and administrative law in a governance and regulatory role at the Military Aviation Authority. This role also involved training wide internal and external audiences in the legal aspects of the above and delivering presentations. I am currently taking a sabbatical to support my family whilst considering a future career for which I hope the first stage of which will be to undertake a PhD programme with a view to refining my skills to become a university lecturer and consultant. My special interests include history (including military history; WWII), reading, public speaking, amateur dramatics, government and politics, sport and the law. Having enjoyed the challenges of all of the education I have received and experienced and having been supported by the state school system to achieve what I have been able to, I am passionate that all children should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, without limitation. As a parent governor, a trustee of the PLT, and a proud mother of three children, I hope to be able to contribute to this in whatever way I can.
Ian is an experienced chartered accountant and during his career has held a number of senior finance and business management roles.
Ian is currently working as Financial Controller at County Contractors, a £50m+ turnover company specialising in refurbishments and fit-outs of hotels and retail spaces.
His key skills lie in redesigning systems and processes to maximise efficiency and output as well as building and leading strong teams to enable change whilst keeping a tight control on business as usual. Having operated at board level for a number of years, he is well versed in developing the organisational strategy and direction.
Ian is married to Ali and they have 2 children, Zoe and Josh who are in year 2 and reception respectively at Castle Batch. He is an active and regular member of Worle Baptist Church and gets involved in many of the events and activities throughout the year and can be seen playing drums in the worship band from time to time.
Michelle Michael MBE is a qualified commercial lawyer and has been a director of the Grand Pier in Weston super Mare since 2008 when it was acquired by her family. Currently an executive member of the board of Visit Somerset, Michelle is also a member of the management committee of The British Association of Leisure Parks Piers and Attractions and is regularly involved in lobbying Parliament to improve trading conditions for tourism businesses across the UK.
Michelle has also been involved with recruitment, HR, PR and Social Media for a broad range of businesses, both not for profit and in the private sector over the last ten years predominantly in Wales and South West England.
Michelle is a trustee and joint chair of Income Generation of Weston Hospicecare specialising in palliative care, with an in-patient unit of ten beds. The Hospice in Weston super Mare looks after several hundred people in the community through a skilled network of nurse specialists and companions.
A freelance organisational development specialist. Previously CEO of the Royal Life Saving Society UK, the Drowning Prevention Charity. Before taking the role of CEO Di spent 3 years as the RLSS UK Corporate Director. Di has an MSc in Strategic Personnel and Development and is also a Fellow of the CIPD where she is a registered Coach and Advisor. Her HR consultancy experience is wide ranging with many high profile clients.
Di has more than 20 years' past experience in public sector HR management.
Organisational Change and transition
Equality and Diversity
Performance and Reward
Organisational Restructuring and Management
Neville Coles studied Physical Education, Sports Science, History and Education at Loughborough University before entering teaching. He holds a MA in Education and NPQH. Since 1988 he has taught in Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Somerset schools. Neville became Principal at Priory Community School in Weston-super-Mare in 2007. Priory gained an OfSTED ‘outstanding’ grade in 2014. It became an Academy in August 2011. Neville is now the Executive Principal of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) - formed November 2015. He works as a National Leader in Education and occasional consultant across the UK. The ‘strap-line' of PCSA and now The PLT is, ‘Students First - Cherishing Staff’. TPLT became a Teaching School Alliance in 2016. TPLT is now a MAT of six academies; three secondary schools - Priory Community School Academy, Worle Community School Academy both in WSM and in October 2018 The King Alfred School Academy an 11 – 18 school in Highbridge, Somerset, joined the Trust. In April 2018 two primary schools also joined the Trust, Castle Batch School Academy and St Anne’s Church Academy. In April 2019 Pawlett Primary School, a small primary academy near Bridgwater also joined TPLT. There are now 5,000+ students currently in the Trust.