Alan Ball (Chair)

Alan trained as an engineer and had a number of senior roles in a varied career. Highlights include two successful start-up businesses, divisional management for a multi-national company, project management services for a large transport provider and running change management projects for up 5000 people.

Education has always been a personal passion and Alan has been a governor for over 30 years. He was the Chair at Winhills when it joined the Trust and has been a member of several Local Governing Bodies in the Trust.

Elspeth Bruford 

Originally from Scotland, Elspeth moved to Royston in 2007, and lives here with her two children. She completed a PhD in human genetics at Edinburgh University, and for over 15 years has managed a small team of researchers and developers, initially based at University College London and now at the Wellcome Genome Campus at Hinxton. Currently a Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, her group runs a database and website related to human and vertebrate genetics and science communication, and she is involved in projects investigating the use of genomics in healthcare.

Elspeth's interests in being a governor are based not only on the education and well-being of the children at the school, but also around the key role the school has within Royston, and how it can best work with, and fit within, the local community. She believes strongly that the families of pupils (present, past and future) are a key element of any successful school. Unsurprisingly, she also has a strong interest in the education of science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) and in efforts to bridge the gender gap within these subjects. 

Sarah Harvey

Sarah has been a teacher for over 30 years and has worked in Royston for much of that time, firstly at Meridian and now at King James Academy.  She is currently Head of Humanities and PSHE, teaching History across the age range and some Religious Studies as well.  In the past she has also taught A level Sociology.  As well as being Head of Department for many years, she has also been Head of House and taken the lead with whole-school data.

Sarah has been a governor for many years, representing the interests of her colleagues and the pupils she teaches and will continue to make a positive contribution to the growth and success of King James Academy.

Greg Watson

Greg has been closely involved in education for over 20 years as a governor of two schools and as the chief executive of three educational organisations.

He is currently CEO of GL Assessment, which provides a range of assessments to schools in the UK and around the world to help teachers maximise the achievements of every pupil. His work brings him into regular contact with many schools and multi-academy trusts, plus educational policymakers and the Department for Education. Before GL, Greg led a national examination board and a chain of English language schools.

He is a trustee and director of the Xavier Project, a UK-based charity which supports the education in West Africa, and of the National Youth Choirs of GB.

Lisa Plowman

Whilst studying for her A Levels, Lisa spent a summer working with a group of young people and children in Romania. It was during this time that she realised that she wanted to work with young people to support them to improve their own life chances through education. She went on to study at the University of London and later spend two years as a post-graduate student at the University of Reading.

Wanting to teach and help young people, Lisa completed her PGCE in her second year at the University of Reading and went on to teach in Cambridgeshire. She has held a variety of roles and responsibilities in the educational context teaching across the age range and abilities. Lisa has held a variety of Middle and Associate Leadership positions through to senior positions including Senior Vice-Principal and Partnership Director. Her work over the course of time has been to ensure all learners have the opportunity to benefit from experiences that raise cultural capital and learning regardless of their background.

She is currently Executive Secondary Headteacher at the Diamond Learning Partnership Trust.  Lisa has a range of professional expertise including the delivery of school improvement, organisational change, curriculum leadership, and innovation in teaching and learning. She has conducted staff development and training in a variety of contexts including ranging from new staff to senior leaders in primary and secondary education and has also led staff development with a number of colleagues from Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Estonia.  She currently co-chairs a Schools’ Forum group of headteachers from St Neots Schools & locality team.

James Tanton

James has lived in Royston for most of his life and attended Greneway and Meridian Schools as they were then known during the 1990’s and his eldest son now attends King James Academy.

After leaving Meridian Sixth form, James attended Lancaster University to study history, specialising in the Russian Revolution and graduated in 2005, when he moved to Manchester to start a career in finance.

In 2008, James moved back to Royston to work in London for The Bank of New York Mellon in the client services department. In 2020, James joined wealth tech company Allfunds Bank as a relationship manager and is also a member of the volunteering committee.

In his spare time, James is head coach of the U10’s team at Royston Rugby Club, James also enjoys spending time with his family, walking the dog around Royston and watching sport.  

James McCreath (SEND governor)

James lives in Royston with his wife, two young sons, and dog.  Originally from the Midlands, he is a graduate of Oxford University.  He works as a barrister, specialising in property, pensions, and commercial disputes, and acts for a wide range of clients, from FTSE 100 companies to individuals. 

Coming from a family replete with teachers, he has a keen interest in education, and is keen to support the work of the Head and Staff in delivering the best possible education to the school's pupils.

Marc Neesam (Safeguarding governor)

Marc works in international education reform where he develops and delivers projects to support improving educations systems. He has experience in curriculum development, education policy, educational technology, teacher recognition, teacher CPD, and resource development. He is a qualified primary teacher, a science education specialist and is an active member of the Association for Science Education.

Marc moved to Royston, with his family, in 2019 and he is a governor at Tannery Drift First School. He is interested in joining the local governing board of King James Academy Royston to support its journey in improving educational outcomes and to build dialogue around a coherent education journey in Royston.

Ian Cook

I am very passionate about all aspects of education. As a teacher with 30 years’ experience working in a number of different schools from a small rural Lincolnshire school to a one that was the Sunday Times best state school sixth form.

I have been a staff governor in two different schools. I see this as an important role in bridging the gap between the staff and Governing body to ensure staff welfare and high quality education are to the fore. I have also served as the local area Secretary for the NASUWT for the Isle-of-Ely and acted as a caseworker representing teachers in all kinds of situations.

I have held a number of differing teacher roles from classroom teacher, Head of Geography, Head of House and Assistant Principal in three different schools.

Hayley Mackenzie – King James Parent Member

I have lived in Royston for 16 years and have 4 children currently studying at KJAR aged between 11 and 15.  I currently work as an Operations Manager for a Cambridge based construction company, my role requires me to have excellent organisational and communicational skills.   In my previous job role in early years education I had daily dealings with safeguarding, Ofsted and curriculum.  This insight has placed in me in a good position to support my children educationally. 

I hope that within the role of LGB for KJAR I will be able to contribute to the school in a positive way by supporting the staff and management in their aims, promoting the school in the local community and strengthening the links and clear communication between the school and parents. 

For the structure of the Governing Body  please refer to the Scheme of Delegation document on this page

For the Pecuniary interest  please refer to the Declarations of Business and Pecuniary Interests document on this page

Terms of office

Register of attendance

To contact the Local Governing Body please email