Prof David Vaughan - Chair -

Link Governor Responsibility – Teaching and Learning; Subject Link – Art and Design Technology

David was Principal of Cumbria Institute of the Arts (CIA) from September 1991 until retirement in August 2007, when the University of Cumbria was formed. He previously held teaching and senior management roles in the creative arts at universities in Lancaster, Liverpool, Brighton and Sheffield and at the CNAA as Associate Registrar. He also undertook reviews with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

David was the first Chair of the Management Board of Higher Education Academy – Art Design Media Subject Centre from 1999 to 2007. He established GLAD (the Group for Learning in Art and Design) as a UK wide HE learning and teaching forum in 1989, being Chair from 1990 to 2007. He chaired the Higher Education Art and Design Trust from 1996 to 2005, now leading the HEAD Trust Project to support greater advocacy of the Art, Design, Media schools to HE subject sector as Trustee.

He was a Director of UCAS from 2000 and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009 - a member of the Audit Committee and Chair of the UCAS Pensions Trustees. Vice Chair of GuildHE from 2003 to 2007, Chair of the National Arts Learning Network - a member of the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) Quality Assurance Learning and Teaching Committee, the Quality Assurance Framework Review Group and a member of the committee which established and funded Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs). Until October 2010 (when its work was completed) he was Vice Chair of the Delivery Partnership, set up by government/GuildHE/UUK to make changes to the UCAS applications processes.

David was a member of the Crafts Council and Chair of the Education Committee from 1990 to 1997, a Director of Northern Arts Board from 1993 being Vice Chair from 1998 to 2000 and a member of its successor body Arts Council England, North West Regional Council from 2002 to 2004.

David chaired the Grizedale Arts Trust from 2007 to 2010, seeing through a multi-million pound lottery funded building development programme.

He has also been Chair of Governors of Shankhill C of E School since 2005.

Ben Crystal - Governor -

Subject Links - Science and MFL

Ben Crystal is a Solicitor at Bell Park Kerridge and a former student of Morton School. Ben joined Morton in 2008 as a year seven pupil, leaving after obtaining his GSCE’s in 2013. Whilst at Morton, Ben was a member of the first Joint School’s Council in the city and played Cricket on behalf of the school.

Ben moved to Newcastle to study in 2010 and graduated from the Northumbria University Business and Law School in 2014. During his time at Northumbria he competed in an international Legal competition with over 92 universities in New Delhi and also represented their student law office at Buckingham Palace; where they won an award from the Queen. He moved back to the area to work and joined the Board of Governors this year.

Stephen Higgs - Governor -

Link Governor for Health and Safety/E-Safety

Stephen Higgs graduated in Classics from Birmingham University and completed his teacher training at Exeter University in 1979. As a teacher in Bristol, he took school groups ski-ing in the Dolomites and brought them to explore Hadrian’s Wall (and experience Cumbria’s weather!). After time as a Head of Department and Deputy Head, he moved to Carlisle in 1995 to become the Bursar at Trinity School, where he was responsible for the refurbishment and re-opening in 2005 of the swimming pool as Trinity Leisure Centre. In 2009, he became Finance Director of the Richard Rose Federation until he retired in 2012.

From 2014, he was a City Councillor until local government reorganisation saw the end of Carlisle City Council in March 2023. From 2019 until 2023, he held the portfolio for Culture, Heritage & Leisure as a member of the Council’s Executive. Stephen, who lives in Wetheral, is a parish councillor, a volunteer driver for a community bus service and a governor of two other schools.

Robert Wood - Governor -

Robert is the Regional Product Sales and Marketing Manager for Newsquest/LOCALiQ in the North of England & Wales, he earned his Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications from Newton Rigg/University of Central Lancashire and achieved Chartered Marketer status. His extensive experience in developing and implementing strategic marketing campaigns has resulted in increased audiences, revenue, and brand awareness, earning him numerous awards for sales performance, innovation, and change management over the course of his career. In addition to his professional achievements, 

Robert is a member of the JICREG Technical Committee, which advises on audience measurement in the media industry, as well as the Marketing Working Group and Sales Development Groups, where he leads best practice across the industry. He has also overseen research projects throughout the UK and has extensive general management experience in publishing, sales, marketing, finance, HR, analytics, and mental health awareness. 

Outside of work, Robert volunteers his time to coach Grassroots Sports and serves as the secretary of a local sports club.

Leah Armstrong - Safeguarding Governor -

Parent Governor; Link Governor Responsibility – Safeguarding/SCR

Leah currently works in the finance function of Carrs Group PLC.  She is a former pupil of Morton School leaving in 1998 after completing GCSEs and A-Levels.  Leah then started an accountancy apprenticeship with Cumbria County Council and gained a Level 4 NVQ with The Association of Accounting Technicians.

Leah went on to gain a BA in Business Management at The University of Central Lancashire and Level 1 Quantity Surveying Certificate with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Leah is married and has 2 children who are both students at the academy.

In her spare time she follows Carlisle United and enjoys going to games with her family.

Paul Walker - Governor -

Link Governor Responsibility – CEIAG; Subject Link – English and Science

Paul is a former pupil of Morton School.  Currently he is employed by Cumberland Council in the Thriving Place and Investment team.  He has experience of working in a variety of education settings including schools, colleges and universities. 

Paul is passionate about positive outcomes for young people, and making sure that their voices are heard.

John Marshall - Vice Chair -

Link Governor Responsibility – Disadvantaged/Pupil Premium

Darren Glynn - Governor -

Link Governor Responsibility – SEND; Subject Link – Maths


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