Governor Profiles

Richard Bridgford – Co-chair of Governors


I moved to the Island in 2017 after a long career in financial services where I led the UK crisis risk management function of a major retail bank, involving responsibility for liaison with the Bank of England. As part of my work I regularly took part in crisis activities involving the financial authorities.

On a personal level I am married with 5 children and 7 grandchildren. One of my daughters is currently at the Island VI form. I also have a dog which provides me with the opportunity for plenty of walks in the beautiful island countryside and lovely beaches. I am glad I moved to the Island as it was always on the list of my favourite places from as far back as a childhood holiday in the 1960s.

Prior to moving to the Island I had spent 8 years as a Governor in the Midlands, including 5 years as a Chair of Governors. After a short break while I settled in I then decided it was time to become involved in supporting the education of children again, joining our Governing Board in 2018 and becoming Co-Chair in 2019. I am committed to meeting the challenge of ensuring the Isle of Wight Education Federation’s schools provide the best possible education for the Island’s children.

Jenny Hastings – Co-chair of Governors


I moved to the Island in 2013, having lived and worked as a teacher and education inspector/adviser in the South, then the Midlands and, in recent years, around the country.  I taught in secondary schools in Berkshire, Hampshire and the Midlands, holding middle and senior leadership positions before becoming a local authority inspector/adviser. As principal secondary adviser, I led a team supporting rapid improvement in schools in challenging circumstances, also working across the region and country as an Ofsted inspector, School Improvement Partner and National Challenge Adviser. I became a DfE Education Adviser in 2008, joining the City Challenge Programme as Secondary Challenge Adviser to the Black Country. I continued to work as a DfE Education Adviser until my retirement in 2015, monitoring underperforming academies, particularly in urban and coastal areas. I was appointed as a governor of the Isle of Wight Education Federation schools in 2015, became Vice Chair in 2017 and Co-Chair in 2019. 

I’m married with three children and four grandchildren who do not live on the Island, but wish they did! We love the island and are very glad we decided to move here, spending as much time as possible outdoors: walking, horse riding, kayaking and sailing.

Mike Hayward – Vice Chair of Governors


I have lived on the Island since birth and attended Carisbrooke when it was the Carisbrooke Grammar School. After leaving school I joined Plessey Radar (now BAE Systems) and was sponsored whilst studying Electronics before being appointed as a Design Engineer then progressing my career through various roles. I left the company in August 2017 to enter semi-retirement and I now work part time for the NHS as Emergency Ambulance crew.

I became a Governor at the end of October 2016 to seek new challenges after a 25 year period of volunteering as a Special Constable attaining the rank of Special Chief Inspector, so I’m no stranger to giving time for worthy and deserved causes. I try to devote my personal, business and community experience to helping the Governing Board progress the colleges to deliver the very best possible service to the students attending each of the three establishments.

I have been married to Monica for 38 years and we live in Wootton and enjoy travelling for holidays.

Matthew Parr-Burman – Executive Headteacher


I have been teaching in state secondary schools since September 1987. I started as a history teacher and I still love history. I have worked in schools in Purley, Cheam, Peterborough, Kettering, Fakenham and Wisbech. I have been a Headteacher since 2007 and Medina is my fourth school where I have been trusted to be in charge. Being a Headteacher is the greatest job in the world and I basically love every day, even when it is tough like on Ofsted days! I want to make the Federation schools great for all the young people and the staff who work here.

I have been married to Sarah since 1990 and we have three daughters who live all over the country. They are all in their 20’s. We have a black standard poodle (Pablo) who occasionally comes into work with me to be spoiled by staff and he loves walks on the beach.

I have been taking part in Triathlons since 1991 and since then I average about 5 a year and I have done around 150 or so, mostly small events but I have represented GB twice a few years ago. My job tends to get in the way now though (!) so it is more of a fun thing and to relieve stress and keep the weight off. We moved to The Island in December 2017 for this job and we have now bought a VW campervan and enjoying the chilled life when we can.

Shaun Arnold – Governor


I was born and have lived on the Isle of Wight all my life. I attended Grange Road Primary School and Osborne Middle School both in East Cowes which lead to Medina High School I  was part of the second intake with the school still being built around us.

In my spare time I spend a lot of time learning, researching and reading. I spend a lot of time coding trying to automate activities I’m involved with. I enjoy walking and taking pictures.

I became a School Governor due to all the support and guidance the school gave my Autistic son and us. The school turned his education around from a possibility to him being removed from mainstream schooling to succeeding, doing well to leaving the school in Year 6 to join a secondary school and be part of their Grammar Stream program. My Autistic son now again enjoys going to school and life. He looks forward to facing every challenge now before him and with the strategies he has and is being taught by the incredible team working with him he has learnt to cope and overcome the difficulties he must face each day.

I wished to give back to the school for everything they have done for him by supporting the school by using the skills and qualifications I have collected over the years. I wish to aid the school to achieve its full potential so every student within the school reaches their full potential by having the same opportunities and support given to my son.

Claire Caddick – Governor


I am originally from a small village in Gloucestershire and moved to the Island in 1998 after finishing a BSc Hons in Sport and Fitness Science.

It was after 5 years working at Little Canada in Wootton, as an outdoor adventure and watersports instructor, that I decided I’d like to become a teacher. I returned to University in Southampton in 2002 on a PGCSE course. During this time my two teaching placements were at Medina High School and Carisbrooke High School.

My first teaching role was at Osborne Middle School in East Cowes where I was also a Staff Governor. Just prior to the school reorganisation I was offered a job in the PE department at Medina High school, where I have worked until present.  

It will be of no surprise that as a PE teacher I enjoy sport and represent the Isle of Wight in the Ladies Hockey 1st team. I also enjoy snowboarding and am looking forward to going on the next school ski trip.

Teresa Harris – Governor


I was born in and grew up in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. I attended Oakfield Primary, Bishop Lovett Middle and Ryde High school. I was a member of St John Ambulance for a number of years starting as a cadet and worked my way up to running a cadet division in Bembridge. I met my husband Neil in St John Ambulance and we got married in 1995. We have one son, Michael who attended East Cowes Primary, Queensgate Foundation Primary, Medina College and the Island VI Form. Michael is currently studying Graphics Design at Solent University. I work for Charmes Care as a home carer. I originally became a parent governor at East Cowes Primary school in 2005. During school reorganisation I became a member of the community group which successfully won the bid to run Queensgate Foundation Primary school, (the new school that was formed as a result of the amalgamation of East Cowes Primary and Whippingham Primary school during school reorganisation). I then became and still am a governor at Queensgate. I joined the federation as a parent governor in October 2013. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku and suguru puzzles.

Sara Higgs – Governor


I was born in South Harrow but spent much of my childhood on the Island where I attended Carisbrooke Primary School, Nodehill Middle School and Carisbrooke High School. After reading Law at university I returned to the Island to begin my training contract to become a solicitor with RJR Solicitors. I am now the Managing Director of RJR Solicitors where my focus is on residential and commercial property. My husband and I are also Foster Carers for the Isle of Wight Council and we specialise in long term placements. In my spare time I enjoy meeting up with friends, reading and travelling.

Joanne Lawlor – Governor


I became a parent governor for the Isle of Wight Education Federation in April 2019. I decided to become a governor, with a firm belief that schools need as much support as they are able to get. I work for the Isle of Wight’s parent carer forum for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disbabilities, this group’s main purpose is to ensure that parent carer’s views are considered by the local authority, NHS and Clinical Commissioning Group when they are developing strategies and services that support their families and young people. With that in mind I felt it important that there are real parents of real children on the governing board to ensure that parents’ views are an important part of the federations decision making processes.

Being a governor is interesting and there are plenty of opportunities for self-development and support from other governors to do this. I have had no previous experience at being a governor but have been welcomed and supported by the Federation. I have two daughters that attend Medina and two sons that will attend in the future, so I have a very real vested interested in doing my bit to make sure that the Federation is as great as it can be.

John Littleton – Governor


I am a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years’ experience working in industry – for the most part in RADAR development, but more recently in Naval Command and Control systems. I was brought up in Leicester and, after leaving school, was sponsored by Marconi Radar to study Electronics and Computer Engineering at Birmingham University. A few years after graduating, I left Marconi and came to the Island for a six month design contract; I met my wife Carolyn at a fitness class; settled in Newport and, ‘The rest’, as they say, ‘is history’.

Carolyn and I have two sons both of whom were students at Medina/VI form and have gone on to study at university. For ten years, I was both a parent governor and community governor at Summerfields Primary School and served as Vice-Chair and Chair. I have been a governor with the Isle of Wight Education Federation since May 2013. I hope I am able to bring some of my previous experiences as a governor to the federation. I enjoy armchair F1, hill-walking, sailing and running.

Jan Tuck


I am a retired Primary school Headteacher. I moved to the Island in 2013, but had been a constant visitor for many years. I was born and brought up on a council estate in South London, probably alongside “Dell Boy”. I went to St Mary’s College Twickenham, where I gained my Degree in geography and sociology. I did not train as a teacher until after my own children were born and have had many occupations over the years such as child minder, cleaner and Civil Servant. 

I passed my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) at Roehampton University and taught in Primary Schools in Kingston upon Thames for 25 years. I moved into senior leadership as the time progressed. I was an Executive Headteacher, leading two federated schools, in Kingston and then came over to the Island to take up Executive headship here. I retired in 2017. During this time I was able to work as a team member in many different types of schools. Being classified as being “Inadequate” to “Outstanding” has been an interesting experience. In all cases, it has been an honour to work alongside some extraordinary and committed people, from whom I have learned many skills and alternate ways of viewing life. 

I have experienced many changes and challenges during my career but still hold tight to the principle that all children and young people deserve the best start to their lives we can give them. All adults are teachers, but perhaps in different ways, so we need to approach this as a partnership. Our young people need to learn more than English and math, they need to become resilient and resourceful lifelong learners. This will fit them for all the challenges life can throw at them. Education is for all, not just for the academically talented, and there are many different types of intelligences which all contribute to a healthy and happy community. We need to celebrate all achievements and value them equally. 

Apart from this, I have been married for 40 years. I have four children and three grandchildren, (soon to be four) and hopefully many more to come! My husband and I enjoy walking and exploring (with the dog) and we are also keen runners (he is much faster than me!). We are supporters of the Parkrun and often volunteer to help with the Junior Parkrun. We love being part of the Island community and I would like to share my education experience in a new way, as part of the governing body for the IWEF. 

Vanessa Whitewood – Governor


I have been a Governor since May 2016. Before becoming a co-opted Governor I was Chairperson for Carisbrooke College Parents Voice which I had been involved with for 4 years, and really enjoyed. Since being a Governor I have learnt so many new skills.  I am involved with monitoring SEND, Behaviour and Welfare and also connecting with Parents and Carers by attending Parents evenings and Parents Voice meetings. Being a Governor is an extremely rewarding role.

I was born on the Island and attended local Schools including Carisbrooke College. I have always lived and worked here. Before having our son, I worked in retail management for 10 years. My husband and I now run a gardening business. I have been involved with volunteering, including Cubs/Scouts, and also as a Child Welfare Officer for a Youth Football team. I am a busy person, and when time allows, I enjoy walking, meeting friends and spending time with my family.


We are currently welcoming new governors to the team.