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Our governors

The governing body

School governors fulfil a vital role in improving our school. Working closely with the headteacher, they:

  • ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • hold the headteacher to account for the performance of school and pupils and
  • oversee school finances, ensuring best value.

Orford's governing body consists of seven foundation governors, chosen by the local church, a Link governor who acts as the main contact between the governing body and the local authorities, a staff governor, two parent governors and the headteacher. The term of office for each governor is four years from the date of appointment.

The full governing body meets four times a year while committees covering Resources, School Improvement and Ethos each meet once a term.

Mike Bradshaw (Vice-Chair)
Foundation governor since October 2014

This is my second spell on the governing body, having been Chair from 2000 to 2005. Both of my children went to Orford School and received an excellent education and I am very committed to ensuring that this continues to be the case for current and future pupils.

I have recently retired from full-time work, having been involved in education and social-work management for over 40 years; this means I am able to devote more time to Orford School.

I am the numeracy governor and a member of the Resources Committee as I have some expertise in budget management and human resources.

Committee membership
Resources committee, Finance committee, Pay Appeals committee, Headteacher Perfomance committee.

Register of interest

Rev David Murdoch
Ex-officio governor since August 2005

As Rector of Orford and most of the other parishes the school serves, I am an ex-officio member of the governing body, and very pleased to be so. 

There has been a church school – and therefore I have been an ex-officio governor – in each of the three parishes of which I have been a Rector/Vicar since 1989 and therefore have a lot of experience and training. I was Chair in my first parish and for the first few years at Orford. 

I have a particular concern for collective worship, RE and the distinctive character of church schools: also to maintain good relationships between the school and the churches and communities it relates to. I have been married to Christine, who does care work from home, for 33 years and we have two grown-up children who themselves attended church schools in my previous parishes.

Committee membership
Admissions committee, Ethos committee, School Improvement group, Headteacher Performance committee.

Register of interest

Anne Radley
Foundation governor since September 2010

I became a foundation governor in September 2010. My son attended Orford School leaving in 1997 and his daughter was a pupil until recently transferring to high school. I was the Chair of Orford Shrimps playgroup for nearly four years so many of you may know me from there. I believe Orford School offers its children a unique learning environment with its warm, friendly atmosphere, its teaching kitchen offering practical opportunities to apply maths, science and life skills in a totally new way.

My background is varied, mainly in the area of disability and benefits as I worked in this field for eight years. I recently completed an NVQ in Managing Community and Voluntary Organisations. From my time with Shrimps I gained many skills and an understanding of Ofsted's work, standards in education and safeguarding children. Being dyslexic I have an interest in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. I enjoy my role as governor, having helped the school through many changes during the last few years. I now look forward to helping Orford School develop, build on its strengths and continue to educate local children for many years to come.

Committee membership
Resources committee, Pay Appeals committee, Health and safety/Premises group, School Improvement group.

Register of interest

Vanessa Wells (Headteacher)
Ex-officio governor since April 2016

Vanessa was appointed as acting headteacher of Orford Primary School in January 2016, taking on the role permanently in April that year.

She arrived in January 2015 for her second spell at Orford, having spent two years here in the 1990s.

Vanessa is a vastly experienced teacher, having taught all over the Farlingaye pyramid of schools including Rendlesham, Melton and Grundisburgh.

Committee membership
School Improvement group, Ethos Committee

Register of interest:
PeterWells Architects - 

Charlotte Pratt
Parent governor since March 2016

Charlotte has 13 years’ experience in primary education and currently teaches part-time at Snape Primary School. Her farming family also owns and operates a busy lamb-box business.

Charlotte is one of two parent governors elected by the school’s stakeholders and has a son and daughter in Class 1 at Orford.

As a governor, she has responsibility for monitoring the Early Years Foundation Stage and provides a valuable link between Orford Shrimps pre-school and the school. 

Committee membership
School Improvement group

Register of interests

Rebecca Connell  
Parent governor since October 2016

Rebecca was born and raised in Suffolk. After graduating from Performers College, Essex as a qualified teacher of dance she enjoyed a varied and rewarding career in professional theatre. 

In 2006 Rebecca returned to Suffolk to open her own Stage School which she ran for almost 10 happy years.

Currently Artistic Director for the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company which is the largest youth theatre company in the UK, Rebecca is responsible for producing and directing several major productions each year, including the Christmas Spectacular at Snape Maltings. She also works as a freelance Theatre Director and also runs a busy programme of introductory musical theatre classes for pre-school children in the local area. 

Rebecca is married and lives in Tunstall with her husband and their 2 children who are both currently benefiting from their time at Orford. 

Register of interest

Gemma Cannon
Staff Governor since September 2016

Gemma started her teaching career as an NQT at Orford in September 2013. She is a Maths specialist, currently leading the school in Maths Mastery. She was made a member of the Senior Leadership Team in September 2016.

Register of pecuniary interest


Sue Snowdon (Chair)
Foundation Governor since June 2017