Our Staff and Governance

The quality of learning at Ipswich High School is a testament to the expertise and commitment of all the staff at the school. Our teachers, Heads of Department, members of the leadership teams along with Support Staff are able to share ideas, experience and best practice with fellow colleagues, feeding into and enhancing the learning experience at Ipswich High School.

Senior Leadership Team

Nicola Griffiths, Acting Head

Mrs Griffiths gained her Masters degree in Biological Sciences and PGCE in Science from Oxford University. She has worked in both co-educational and single-gender schools, most notably Rugby School and Benenden School. Prior to Ipswich High School, she was Head of Science where she led the development of STEM. Throughout her career, Mrs Griffiths has been very involved in both GCSE and A Level examining.

Lisa Finch, Head of Prep School

Mrs Finch joined Ipswich High School in Spring 2019 as Head of the Prep School. With substantial and varied experience as a primary head, her leadership has been described by an external review as inspirational and dynamic. Previously, Mrs Finch was Headteacher of Stanway Fiveways Primary School in Essex.

Rob Hastings, Head of Sixth Form and Head of Boarding

Mr Hastings joined Ipswich High School in Spring 2016 as Head of Sixth Form. Mr Hastings gained his PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge after previously studying English at De Montfort University, Leicester. Mr Hastings was Head of Sixth Form at Bloxham School, Oxfordshire, teaching English and spending four years as an Assistant Housemaster.

Kaye Extance, Assistant Head (Co-Curricular)

Ms Extance joined Ipswich High School as Director of Music in September 2009, creating and developing our unique enrichment offer before taking on her current post of Assistant Head Co-Curricular and Enrichment in 2014. Having trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she completed her PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, and began her teaching career in Dorset, before taking on a post at Kesgrave High School. She is also an accomplished cellist and conductor, running a number of music ensembles both in school and within the wider community.

Elizabeth Hill

Elizabeth Hill, Head of Finance and Operations

Mrs Hill was delighted to be appointed to Ipswich High School in August 2019, at such an exciting time in the school’s development. Having spent over 20 years in retail banking as a Bank Manager and a Financial Planning Manager, Elizabeth transferred these skills to another independent school in 2013 as the Business Manager. Elizabeth enjoys the diversity and challenges of everyday school life at Ipswich High School and is thrilled to be part of the school’s continuing history.

Michelle Emmerson-Grey, Director of Marketing and Communications (Maternity Cover)

Ms Emmerson-Grey joined the school in 2019 as Maternity Cover for Lucy Beavon. She has worked in marketing for over twenty years in the arts, education and commercial sectors and was previously Head of Communications at the New Wolsey Theatre. Ms Emmerson-Grey gained her degree in English and Drama from the University of Surrey and holds a professional marketing qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Contact our Senior Leadership Team
Download our staff list
Our Vision, Aims, Ethos and Values


The Key Roles of the School Board and its Members

Ipswich High School is a proprietorial school owned by Ipswich Education Limited whose Board has a legal responsibility to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met. This means that the Board of Local Governors (BLG) has a role that is different from many independent schools. It is the role of the BLG to act as ‘critical friend’ to the school and to provide it with strategic guidance and oversight. This means that Governors have powers of scrutiny and are enabled to make recommendations to the Ipswich Education Ltd Board (IELB) for change and improvement. Governors’ meetings are held every term.

The key roles of the Board of Local Governors include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and proposing the strategic direction;
  • Proposing and monitoring the school’s aims and policies;
  • Holding the Head to account for the educational performance of the school, its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent;
  • Monitoring the School’s safeguarding policy and procedures;
  • Drafting and monitoring the School’s Health & Safety policies and procedures;
  • Setting standards for pupils’ behaviour and discipline;

In addition, the BLG support the IELB and the school in:

  • Forming and reviewing policy on the school’s curriculum;
  • Hearing appeals and grievances;
  • Making sure school buildings are welcoming and safe

Governors aim to ensure that the standards of education offered at Ipswich High School are of the highest quality consistent with the school’s human and physical resources.


The Chair of Governors can be contacted via the school. Please address all correspondence to:

Chair of Governors
C/O Ipswich High School


Ipswich High School governor Gavin Devereux

Dr Gavin Devereux

Acting Chair

Gavin Devereux is an Associate Professor, and the Director of Sport Sciences and Coaching at the University of Suffolk. Following his PhD in the physiology of blood pressure regulation, Gavin has gained extensive experience in clinical exercise science research and has applied sport science support in a number of professional sports. He has held lecturing positions at a number of universities and now lives in Suffolk with his family.

Ian Parke

For the past 30 years, Ian has worked at BT and currently heads the team which undertakes the design and development of BT’s TV service platform. His first degree was from Durham University in 1981 in Applied Physics and Electronics. Once Ian graduated he studied for a Master of Science degree at Heriot Watt University in Digital Techniques which was completed in 1988. He is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Outside of work he likes to scull and has completed the Boston Sculling Marathon a number of times.

Ipswich High School governor Lesley Watt

Lesley Watt

Lesley has worked in the NHS for most of her working life, a career in which she has been involved in constant change, challenges and re-organisation. She has worked at the Ipswich Hospital as a Manager in Surgery and for the last 18 years has been a Practice Manager running two general practices in Ipswich. Lesley has a daughter and son, and her daughter was a pupil at the High School.

Emma Blaylock

Emma is Company Director at Optalysys Ltd, a technology company building groundbreaking optical AI chips and previously held senior positions at Sony, Amazon and Deloitte. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in the U.S. and a BSc in Computer Science from Nottingham University. Emma lives in Ipswich and is a former pupil of Ipswich High School.

Jo MacKenzie

Jo MacKenzie has been in education for over 35 years and is currently Head of Bedford Girls’ School, previously being Deputy Head and Head of Sixth Form at Ipswich High School. She left Ipswich High in 2010 but has a strong affiliation with the school and the Suffolk landscape, recently buying a house on the Suffolk/Essex border. She has a Masters in Education and Leadership and is an experienced ISI inspector.

Neil Tyler

Neil has worked in finance for his entire career. After qualifying as a chartered accountant at KPMG, he has spent the last twenty years working as an investment analyst. Having held positions at Credit Suisse and JP Morgan, he currently works at Redburn, a leading independent equity research firm. Neil holds an MA in Modern Languages and European Studies from the University of Edinburgh and has three daughters who all attend Ipswich High School.

Contact Details for Ipswich Education LTD:

C/O London & Oxford Group

Registered in England and Wales No. 2816999. Registered Office: 5 Frederick’s Place, Old Jewry, London EC2R 8JQ.

Tel: +44(0)20 77969083