Academy Governance Summit: Dynamic governance in policy and practice

Take a look at who will be joining us on the day


Ruth Agnew, Head of Governance, Co-op Multi Academy Trust

Ruth Agnew has worked supporting school governance since 2006, firstly as the manager of a local authority governor service, then as a consultant, supporting a range of local authorities and trusts, and taking up her current role as Head of Governance for the Co-op Academy Trust, a trust of 26 schools including primary, secondary, special and a sixth form college, in September 2019. Ruth is a long-serving governor herself, and a National Leader of Governance, and has recently completed an MA in Educational Leadership and the ICSA Certificate in Academy Governance.

Craig Alderson, Financial Governance Frameworks Manager, Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Chairperson, The Dove Academy Trust

I joined the Frameworks Team in September 2019 and my main role and responsibility is the production and review of the academy trust handbook which describes the financial and governance responsibilities for academy trusts.

I joined ESFA in October 2017 and have worked in pre 16 assurance where I was responsible for conducting assurance and funding audits, reviewing financial statements and related party transactions, I also led on a review of internal scrutiny arrangements in academy trusts. I spent 6 months in post 16 carrying out and reviewing control visits and funding audits of Independent Training Providers. Prior to joining the ESFA I was an internal auditor for a local authority for 21 years which included the auditing of schools, providing financial and governance advice and drafting procedures and policies for schools. I also led on several financial and governance investigations in schools, which all led to successful conclusions. I have been a school governor since 2005, became a director of a small MAT in 2016 and since 2018 the Chair of the trust which has allowed me to see things from the other side of the fence. Currently I am facilitating my trust merging with another trust.

Rachael Bailey, Director, Trust Governance Professionals

Rachael brings many years' experience in education and charity governance, in both professional and voluntary roles.

Rachael is a founding director for Trust Governance Professionals, who are delighted to be partnering with The Chartered Governance Institute for the Academy Governance Summit. Their flagship programme, Trust Governance Insight, provides training, expert advice and support for academy governance professionals to help strengthen the effective governance of their trusts. Trust Governance Insight provides ongoing support with training sessions, resources, bulletins and one-to-one support to help meet compliance requirements, share good practice, and develop skills and expertise. There are over 140 academy governance professionals already on the programme and collectively they work with over 1,000 schools, from standalone academies through to some of the largest trusts in the country.

To find out more Trust Governance Insight, please email come along to one of the Partner Briefing sessions or message Rachael through the networking hub or at

Rachael has extensive experience in governance. She currently undertaken work as a consultant in the academy sector, delivering governance reviews, developing processes and resources, and also running training for the Confederation of School Trusts. This builds on extensive experience in broader consultancy work in the public and charity sectors. Rachael has provided governance support and expertise for schools in the academy and maintained sectors, she was a member of the governance team for Ark Schools, and was a school governor for many years. She combines her work in education with work in charity governance and is also a trustee for a grant-giving charity.

The Baroness Barran of Bathwick MBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System

baroness Barran

Baroness Barran MBE was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education on 17 September 2021.

She was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 26 July 2019 to 17 September 2021.

Phil Beecher, Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary, Boudica Schools Trust

Initially qualifying as a chartered accountant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Phil spent 3 years working as a senior manager in the NHS before joining the education sector as Director of Finance and then progressing to Chief Operating Officer.

As well as having executive responsibility for all non-education functions within the Trust and the designated CFO, Phil is also the Trust’s Company Secretary, ensuring that effective arrangements for governance, risk management and compliance are in place. Working together with stakeholders and the Trust’s governance manager, Phil has been part of the team that have developed innovative and value add governance structures suitable for multi-academy trusts.

In addition to his full time role, Phil is a Trustee and chair of the audit & risk Committee at a 10 school multi-academy trust and provides support as a subject matter expert to another large trust’s audit & risk committee.

Phil has presented at a number of different regional and national conferences on subjects ranging from use of the apprenticeship levy to achievement of value for money through service re-design. He has also spoken as part of panel discussions on trust mergers and central service efficiency. Always keen to collaborate, Phil has shared his innovative approach to appraisals and professional development with a growing number of other trusts and schools adopting this.

In terms of his own professional development, after completing his senior leader apprenticeship at the University of East Anglia in July 2022 Phil will be starting the Chartered Governance Institute’s level 7 programme, aiming to become a chartered governance professional.

Cathy Brown, Director of Governance, The Mead Educational Trust

TMET is a well-established and growing Trust based in Leicester, currently comprising 13 schools (8 primary and 5 secondary), a Teaching School Hub and a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) programme.

As TMET’s Director of Governance since 2016, Cathy is part of the Trust’s Executive Team and is responsible for developing effective governance across the Trust at Board and local level. She also delivers governance training, project manages schools joining TMET and is both the Trust Company Secretary and Data Protection Lead. Cathy uses her extensive understanding of governance to provide support to a wide range of schools and trusts.

Cathy’s original career was as a mechanical engineer, subsequently a chartered engineer, in industry. She then went on to work in the education-business links sector, providing opportunities for young people to engage with STEM activities and role models. Alongside this, Cathy gained extensive voluntary experience of governance in primary and secondary schools and as a Trustee of an academy trust.

Kate Brunt, CEO, Rivers CofE Academy Trust

Kate is the CEO of The Rivers CofE Academy Trust, a primary specialist MAT which was created from her vision for a culture of collaboration and her passion to create inspiring learning opportunities and improve life chances for all. The trust started with three founding schools in 2014 and currently has fifteen good and outstanding primary, first, pre-school and nursery settings together with the Rivers Teaching Alliance. Kate is also leading on a project to open a brand-new, purpose-built, alternative provision primary school in Kidderminster which will open in 2023 for pupils and families across Worcestershire.

In addition, Kate is also a member of the West Midland’s Advisory Board, a member of the Department of Education’s Headteacher Reference Group, a National Leader in Education (NLE) and a lead Ofsted Inspector. She is a driven individual who thrives on challenge and believes that school leadership and school-to-school support are essential to drive school improvement and ensure better outcomes for children. Kate has an ethos on ‘always learning’ and is a School Improvement Partner for several MATs/SATs across the Worcestershire area and beyond and she is also a coach/mentor on the DfE’s Trust to Trust Development programme.

Kylie Burgess, Governance & Compliance Manager, Dunraven Educational Trust

Kylie Burgess is the Governance & Compliance Manager for Dunraven Educational Trust. The Trust was established in 2016 and now has 5 schools based in South London offering primary and secondary provision and an all-through (4-18) school. Kylie’s early career was in administration for a conference and hospitality company in Australia, followed by a move to the UK in 1996 and a career in financial public relations. Kylie has now worked in the education sector for 16 years, originally in the role of PA to the Principal, she has had responsibility for teaching school administration and has extensive experience managing school admissions. Kylie took on the role of Governance & Compliance Manager for the Trust in September 2020.

Jill Cameron, Trust Lead for Governance, Risk and Compliance, Eko Trust

Jill Cameron is the Trust Lead for Governance at Eko Trust - a seven school Trust with schools in London and Suffolk. She first became involved in school governance when she began clerking to earn a bit of additional income in the early 90’s. This led to an interest in both governance and education that became a bit of a passion.

She went on to work in schools for 15 years, always with governance as part of her remit, and was a governor herself for 12 years. In 2012 she joined a governor services team based in Newham before moving to her current role. She has extensive experience of both academies and maintained schools and continues to find educational governance endlessly fascinating.

Sir David Carter, former National Schools Commissioner

Sir David was the product of a comprehensive school in South Wales and was the first member of his family to go to university where he studied for a Music degree at Royal Holloway College, London. Making a difference to the lives of children has been a huge motivation to him throughout his career. He began his career as a music teacher in 1983 and went on to become a Local Authority music advisor, a headteacher, an executive head and the CEO of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi academy trust in Bristol.

In 2014 Sir David was appointed to be the first Regional Schools Commissioner in the South West and took up the position of National Schools Commissioner (NSC) in December 2015. As NSC, his focus was firmly on building capacity so that the trusts that run our most challenging schools can sustain improvement over time. From 2018 to 2021 Sir David was the Director of System Leadership at the Ambition Institute and now works with a number of schools and trusts advising them on their strategy. In August 2020, Sir David published his book “Leading Academy Trusts-why some fail but most don’t” with the book having hit the target of 4000 sales in the summer of 2021.

Sir David is a trustee at several charities including Centrepoint, the charity that is aiming to eradicate youth homelessness, a trustee of the charity that oversees the annual Teaching Awards as well as being on the board of the Talent Foundry Trust, a charity creating new opportunities through wider enrichment and support for dis-advantaged children. Sir David also chairs the Tim Henman Tennis Foundation.

Sir David continues to place family, music, golf and Cardiff City FC at the heart of his relaxation time and continues to be very proud of being awarded a knighthood for his services to education in the summer of 2013.

Fiona Chalk, Founder, Governance4FE and The Chartered Governance Institute Champion of the Year 2020

As an award-winning alumnus of the Strategic Governance Leadership Program through The Chartered Governance Institute, Fiona works as a dynamic influencer and supporter of educational governance. She is an experienced board member, board consultant and board trainer and an accomplished presenter and speaker on governance issues, a published researcher through the Further Education Trust for Leadership, (FETL), and a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD). Having spent 20 years working with Boards in corporate settings, in local government and in the third sector (with the last 15 years primarily working on governance in education), Fiona has a considerable understanding of what effective governance looks like, as well as excellent strategic leadership skills to deliver such and support all those operating in the governance space.

She works collaboratively with those tasked with the responsibility for governance, confidently and comprehensively transforming governance through the delivery of board reviews, governance support, resource development, and training, to ensure the provision of effective governance and leadership to improve outcomes for young people and adult learners.

Anna Chambers, Trust Executive Officer, Brooke Weston Trust

Anna is the Executive Officer for Brooke Weston Trust (BWT) which includes leading on all aspects of governance across the Trust and our ten schools in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. As with many roles in education, her role is broad and extends into other aspects of the Trust’s operation including admissions, policy management, communications and compliance.

After having worked at BWT for several years in administration-based roles, Anna focused her career on academy governance. Following a two-year part-time programme, in January 2021 Anna completed the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme through the Corporate Governance and Leadership MSc at the University of Northampton. Anna is looking forward to implementing what she has learnt through this programme and from collaborating with other governance professionals to further enhance and improve BWT’s governance processes.

Siobhan Chester, Senior Governance Advisor, Reach2

Siobhan began her governance career as a staff governor in the FE College she worked in over 20 years ago, having trained to be a lecturer in the post-16 sector. Switching careers after maternity leave, Siobhan began clerking two local primary schools and then returned to the College where she had been a lecturer as the clerk to the Board of Governors. She gained the ICSA Certificate in FE Governance and was an active member of professional networks run by the Association of Colleges, spending two years as chair of the London Region Clerks’ Network.

Having relocated, Siobhan moved to a fresh challenge working for the largest primary-only multi-academy trust, REAch2, in 2016. Her role there involves supporting all layers of governance, providing training for local governors and other non-executives, advising on the conduct of complaint and exclusion panels, recruiting non-executives, serving on intervention boards and facilitating communications between non-executives and the Trust.

Siobhan enjoys the fact that, in governance, no two days are the same – activities range from writing a weekly newsletter through advising on recruitment to delivering training sessions – and conversations with her governance colleague can range from what’s next on the to-do list to how to ensure that our LGB agendas reflect the strategic direction of the Trust.

Outside of the working environment, Siobhan is also involved in governance, serving as the Chair of the Standards and Student Welfare Committee on her local secondary school’s Board of Trustees.

Leora Cruddas CBE, CEO, Confederation of School Trusts

Leora Cruddas is the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts – the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England.  She has advised successive governments and sits on several DfE Advisory Bodies. She is the vice chair of the Head Teacher Standards Review Group. Prior to establishing CST, she was Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Leora has six years of experience as a Director of Education in two London Local Authorities. She believes in education for the common good.

Leora was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours, 2022.

Dame Kate Dethridge DBE, Regional Schools Commissioner with responsibility for Governance, Department for Education

Dame Kate joined the Department of Education in 2016 as Deputy Director in North-West London and South-Central England region. She became Interim Regional Schools Commissioner of the same region in August 2019, securing the role in the Summer of 2020.

Prior to her appointment, Dame Kate had a varied career within the education sector:

  • an early years teacher, additional Ofsted inspector and headteacher for 18 years
  • National Leader of Education, running an outstanding school and a teaching school
  • an Associate Director of the National Education Trust
  • as chair and a member of departmental boards and review panels

Her work on school improvement led to her being made a Dame in the 2015 New Year’s Honours for services to education.

Sara Drake, CEO, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland

Sara studied law at the University of Cambridge and has spent much of her career working in the media sector for both publishing and television companies and as a writers’ agent. In recent years she has worked with professional bodies in the built environment and construction sectors as managing director of the Homebuilders Federation and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

She was appointed Chief Executive of the Association for Project Management in 2015, which was awarded a royal charter in 2016 and launched its new chartered standard for the profession in 2018. Sara is an Honorary Fellow of Kingston University, a board member of the Quality Assurance Agency and holds non-executive directorships in the private and charity sectors.

Patrick Dunne, Author of 'Boards'

Experienced Chair with extensive experience of working with boards in Europe, Asia and North America. Currently Chair of board consultancy Boardelta, the charities The EY Foundation and ESSA- Education Sub Saharan Africa as well as Chair of the oversight board for the Chartered Management Consultant and trustee of the Chartered Management Institute.

Executive experience with Air Products and FTSE 100 3i Group plc where he was Communications Director, a member of its Operating committee and Chairman of its Operational Risk forum.

He has also helped Chairs across a wide range of sectors to transform the effectiveness of their boards through Boardelta and is the author of the award winning “Boards” and three other successful books on the subject.

Patrick was member of the Higgs Review and has helped to establish many successful courses on board skills over the last twenty years including for the BVCA, Invest Europe and the Financial Times.

He has a passion for education and was a member of the General Council of the University of Warwick from 2006 to 2015. He is a Visiting Professor at Cranfield School of Management, and an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School.

Patrick also has extensive experience of developing social enterprises, most notably with Leap Confronting Conflict where he is Patron and was Chairman, from 2006 to 2015, with ESSA- Education Sub-Saharan Africa, the EY Foundation and with Warwick in Africa which he founded in 2006. Warwick in Africa has now benefitted over 750,000 young Africans with transformed Maths and English teaching.

Rod Findlay, Business Services Director, British Cycling

Rod Findlay is a 25+ year qualified Solicitor and an experienced Company Secretary. Having moved from private practice into the not-for-profit sector in 2005, Rod has gained 17 years’ experience in sport law/senior management at senior Executive, CEO and Board level.

Rod is Business Services Director at British Cycling, with responsibility for Legal & Integrity, Finance, Governance, HR, IT/Digital and Strategy/Business Transformation. He is Company Secretary for British Cycling and its commercial subsidiary British Cycling Events Ltd and was previously a Non-Executive Director at the Mountain Training Trust, the Ladies Golf Union and Badminton England.

Stuart Gardner, CEO, Thinking Schools Academy Trust

I have had the privilege to be the Trust Leader for Thinking Schools Academy Trust since 2016. Our Trust is driven by our belief that every young person in our community deserves the best opportunities at life regardless of their individual circumstances. We believe that schools are one of the last social safety nets in our society to ensure that children and young people are not trapped by the circumstances they are born into.

In my role as Trust Leader we have had enormous success in supporting schools to improve. In 2016 only 1/3 of our schools were Ofsted Good or better, today 94% of our schools are Good or better.

This success is based on our focus on pedagogy and the effective use of metacognition in the classroom. We are the only MAT committed to all schools being accredited by Exeter University as Thinking Schools and make up 1/3 of currently accredited schools in England. The Thinking approach provides for a common language of learning across our community, reduces cognitive load and supports the development of effective habits.

During this time our Trust has also doubled in size and we now work in three main Hubs across the South Coast stretching from Rochester in the South East to Plymouth in the South West. I am delighted in the way our Trust has been able to deliver school improvement, enhanced student outcomes and increase the number of students benefiting from being part of our Trust.

Helen George, Chair, Dunraven Educational Trust (DET)

Helen has been involved in school governance for 25 years and is currently Chair of Trustees at DET, a trust of 5 schools situated in south London that comprises both primary and secondary provision. Helen retired from London South Bank University in 2013, having joined in 1991 as an academic specialising in Organisational Behaviour to teach on undergraduate and postgraduate Business and Management programmes. She subsequently held a variety of management roles at the University including leading on learning and teaching enhancement and the strategic development of both e-learning and student services. She also served on the University’s Governing Board for six years.

Since retiring Helen has concentrated on supporting the development and growth of DET as well as serving on the Governing Board of the Walcot Foundation, a grant making charity in Lambeth, where she chairs the Grants Committee.

Karl George, Director, The Governance Forum Limited

Dr Karl George is a thought leader and internationally established consultant in governance. He is the Managing Director of the governance forum, working with boards and senior executives in the private, public and voluntary sectors with over twenty five years’ combined experience in accountancy, business and strategic development. He is one of the founders of the Association of Corporate Governance Practitioners (ACGP) and has developed a unique governance framework and kitemark that was endorsed by the late Sir Adrian Cadbury.

Karl created The Governance Framework, a governance assessment service designed for private and public sector organisations of all sizes. It combines self-assessment with expert independent facilitation and review to help boards, and the governance professionals that support them, to ensure that their governance systems are effective. He is the creator of Effective Board Member Programmes which have been delivered across the world in partnership with organisations including the Association of Corporate Governance Practitioners (ACGP), The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), The Football Association (FA), Edinburgh Napier University, The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and RSM UK. The Programmes have been developed specifically for women, young professionals, footballers, cricketers and other sports people, senior executives and CEOs.

Karl is a visiting professor, established author, conference speaker and community champion. His latest book, The Effective Board Member immediately went to number one in the Best Sellers list for Management and Leadership on Amazon Kindle. Karl is a Fellow of both the global accounting body ACCA and of international body for governance professionals ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute. Karl is the author of the tgf Governance Code – principles of governance for organisations of all sizes, sectors and geographical jurisdictions. .

Emma Hughes, Chair, Rivers CofE Academy Trust

Emma has been a trustee at Rivers, a primary school Trust comprising sixteen academies, since 2018. Until recently she was chair of the board and prior to that vice chair. Emma remains a trustee and am now chair of the people, pay and performance committee. It was whilst she was chair that the CEO and her embarked on a project to review governance structure and create a new approach to governance that delivered purpose, impact and value.

Professionally, she leads the HR practice at Browne Jacobson and have done since 2017. During her time with the firm Emma has advised many boards across the country and recently collaborated with CST on the launch of the sector’s first executive salary benchmarking survey in 2021. She regularly contributes to articles, thought leadership, conferences and events in the education sector.

Emma has over 15 years’ experience in generalist HR in both the private sector and the public sector. She was HR Director and regional HR business partner at two large, national school trusts.

Anna Machin, Director, Trust Governance Professionals

Anna is an experienced governance professional and chartered company secretary, and is an Associate and trainer for The Chartered Governance Institute. She works with a number of academy trusts both in the company secretary role, and advising on governance and technical compliance matters.

Anna is a founding director for Trust Governance Professionals, who are delighted to be partnering with The Chartered Governance Institute for the Academy Governance Summit. Their flagship programme, Trust Governance Insight, provides training, expert advice and support for academy governance professionals to help strengthen the effective governance of their trusts. Trust Governance Insight provides ongoing support with training sessions, resources, bulletins and one-to-one support to help meet compliance requirements, share good practice, and develop skills and expertise. There are over 140 academy governance professionals already on the programme and collectively they work with over 1,000 schools, from standalone academies through to some of the largest trusts in the country.

To find out more Trust Governance Insight, please email come along to one of the Partner Briefing sessions or message Anna through the networking hub or at

Anna works as a governance professional, including for Kensington Aldridge Academy and Reach Academy Trust, and also undertakes a range of consultancy projects and training with academy trusts and charities, including through the Confederation of School Trusts. She previously worked at Ark Schools delivering the full range of corporate governance activity across board and committee secretariat, risk, audit, policies, compliance and data protection. Anna has a Masters in Corporate Governance, Certificate in Charity Law & Governance and is a certified GDPR practitioner and Associate of The Chartered Governance institute.

Maria Maltby, Head of Governance and Company Secretary, David Ross Education Trust

Maria brings many years' experience in governance in local government, NHS and Education. Maria joined the David Ross Education Trust in August 2018 as Head of Governance and Company Secretary and oversees the Trust level and local governance for the Trust and advising on governance, policy and compliance matters. Maria was formerly Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs for both Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group and Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group accountable for a range of corporate functions for two organisations and delivering the full range of corporate governance activity across board and committee secretariat, information governance, risk, audit, policy, compliance, complaints, and HR.

Maria has experience of working in the private sector, local government and the NHS in both senior project management and corporate governance roles.

Zoe Noble, Governance Manager, Boudica Schools Trust

A decorated Civil Servant, Zoë joined the Trust in 2015 as clerk to the Board of Trustees, before becoming the Governance Manager and the Trust’s designated governance professional. Prior to this, she spent 27 years working for HMRC where her work included attending and providing legal guidance at the HMRC's public Outreaches, providing guidance at HRMC Retirement Training sessions as well as being a Tax Credit Specialist for Norfolk.

At the Trust, Zoë’s main duties involve ensuring governance at all levels is functioning effectively, managing and coordinating the delivery and ongoing improvement of governance support across the Trust and providing advice to Trustees, Members, Governors, Executive team and Heads on constitutional and procedural matters.

As well as attending and minuting all Board and Committee meetings, she ensures that the Board is compliant with the Trust’s Articles of Association, the Academy Trust Handbook, Company law and Charity Commission guidance. She also manages the Trustees’ and Governors’ professional development training programme.

Previously Zoë had been a Governor for 10 years at a local school and had supported the Head through several Ofsted Inspections and Governor Hearings.

In terms of her professional development, Zoë obtained her full accreditation as a clerk with Hampshire Governor Services in September 2021 started working towards her Level 4 Certificate in Academy Governance with the Chartered Governance Institute.

Jamie Otter, Partner, Stone King

Jamie Otter, from Stone King LLP, has acted on over 850 academy projects, including advising on the establishment and restructuring of single and multi-academy trusts as well as the transfer of academies between trusts. Jamie is one of the UK’s leading authorities on academy trust mergers, having supported academy trusts on over 300 transfer projects.

He is also interested in school governance (notably multi academy trusts), school finance and compliance. Jamie has advised many growing and emerging MAT (having worked with the majority of them since inception) on the development of their governance. This has included providing high level strategic advice, giving training on governance structures, compliance issues and facilitating trustee away day sessions on effective governance. He has also worked as a trustee and governor for over ten years and currently sits on the audit committee of a leading multi academy trust in the North West.

Katie Paxton, Company Secretary, School Governance Specialist & Author

Katie Paxton is a governance professional specialising in academies. She is the author of books published by the Chartered Governance Institute including ‘How to Run an Academy Trust’ (3rd Edition due January 2022), ‘ICSA Certificate in Academy Governance' (published 2018) and ‘Handbook of Academy Governance’ (published 2019).

Dual-qualified as a Solicitor and Chartered Company Secretary, Katie has significant experience in providing specialist governance support to academies and multi-academy trusts. She advises on a range of issues relating to corporate governance, the role of the board of directors and members as well as providing specific company secretarial guidance.

Katie is also a Local Leader of Governance in Oxfordshire and provides support to a wide range of schools and academies. Until recently she was Chair of Governors of a Voluntary Aided Primary School taking the school from Requires Improvement to a Good Ofsted grading.

Katie is shortly joining the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education as Governance and Admissions Adviser.

Emma Perkin, Director, Trust Governance Professionals

Emma is an expert in academy trust governance with many years’ experience working with a vast array of education sector clients.

She is a founding director for Trust Governance Professionals, who are delighted to be partnering with The Chartered Governance Institute for the Academy Governance Summit. Their flagship programme, Trust Governance Insight, provides training, expert advice and support for academy governance professionals to help strengthen the effective governance of their trusts. Trust Governance Insight provides ongoing support with training sessions, resources, bulletins and one-to-one support to help meet compliance requirements, share good practice, and develop skills and expertise. There are over 140 academy governance professionals already on programme and collectively they work with over 1,000 schools, from standalone academies through to some of the largest trusts in the country.

To find out more Trust Governance Insight, please email come along to one of the Partner Briefing sessions or message Emma through the networking hub or at

Emma was Head of Governance for Ark Schools, she is a trainer in academy governance for The Chartered Governance Institute, and she is part of the consultancy team for the Confederation of School Trusts where work has included governance reviews, supporting the development of Boards and governance teams, and helping develop and run their training offer. Emma set up and runs the MAT Governance Group for governance professionals in the largest trusts across England.

Steve Rollett, Deputy Chief Executive, Confederation of School Trusts (CST)

Steve Rollett is Deputy Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England. Before joining CST, he was Curriculum and Inspection Specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders.

Steve has contributed to a range of advisory panels, including Ofsted’s curriculum advisory group, Oak National Academy and the Department for Education’s remote learning advisory group. Originally trained as a history teacher, Steve was a Vice Principal of one of England’s most improved secondary schools before moving into a career in education policy.

Sam Sadeghi, Academies Governance Officer, Academies Enterprise Trust

Samira is Head of Academies Governance and Governance Professional to Trustees at Academies Enterprise Trust, a multi-academy trust with 57 schools. Prior to that, she served as Regional Governance Officer at Ark Schools for four years. Before moving to the UK with her family in 2010, she was a criminal defence attorney and spent 12 years representing clients on California's death row in their post-conviction proceedings.

Louise Thomson FCG

Louise has extensive knowledge of governance issues garnered from her 20+-year career in the not-for-profit and public sectors, including education and the NHS, complemented by her experience as a school governor, pension and charity trustee.

Her work has covered the development of the code of governance for charities and voluntary organisations, board training, reviews and development, research into sector governance and the production of over 100 guidance notes aimed at the sector.

Claire Timmins, HR Director, Ipsos MORI

Claire Timmins is HR Director for Ipsos MORI in the UK and Ireland. She joined Ipsos MORI in 2016 with 20 years HR experience with major multinational companies including Marks and Spencer and Compass plc. Her focus at Ipsos is on creating an organisation where people can be themselves and reach their full potential. This has included working with the business to develop an Inclusion and Diversity strategy and this year sees Ipsos MORI become the first market research company to report their ethnicity pay gap.

She has also been responsible for the development and implementation of the employee value proposition and the launch of a global wellbeing strategy which resulted in Ipsos MORI being awarded the coveted Grand Prix title at the Employee Benefits Awards 2020 for their approach to mental wellbeing and the overhaul of its defined contribution pension scheme strategy. Claire volunteers with the charity Pilot Light which offers strategic business support to charities and social enterprises to enable them to become more efficient, effective and sustainable. She also mentors the founder of a community enterprise organisation which provides food parcels to children and their families in Lewisham. Claire is an Economics graduate, has an MBA and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.

Lynsey Tweddle, Strategic Lead, Governance, Sport England

Soon after joining the organisation six years ago she was tasked with developing and implementing the Code for Sports Governance, a joint initiative with UK Sport.  Lynsey recently led the project to review and revise the Code on behalf of Sport England.  The Code set world leading standards for governance in sport when it was introduced and has effected significant change within the sector.  Recent revisions seek to ensure the Code remains world leading, with improvements related to diversity and inclusion, environmental social governance and the promotion of strong people plans.  Lynsey works with Sport England’s partners and the wider sector on projects and initiatives promoting good governance and is responsible for leading the good governance catalyst in Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy.

Prior to that Lynsey’s career has been predominantly in the public sector, including on the executive team of an NHS Trust and at the BBC where she spent eight years running the private office for the Director-General and supporting the BBC Board through some high-profile challenges.

She is a Mental Health First Aider and passionate about incorporating wellbeing in the workplace.

Nicole Wicks, Trustee, Stowe Valley MAT & CST Governance Advisory Service Consultant

Nicole has over 20 years’ experience in the education sector, with a particular focus on ensuring structures and processes are enablers to effective management and governance.

Since 2013, she has worked with multi academy trusts nationally, successfully leading teams on operational aspects including creating effective trust processes, governance, academy conversions, regulatory compliance, risk management, contract management and building maintenance planning.

Nicole has extensive expertise in supporting maintained schools and academy trusts with complex governance matters, including delivery of bespoke governor training courses and undertaking external reviews of governance.

Nicole is part of the consultancy team for the Confederation of School Trusts and is currently vice chair of Trustees with Stowe Valley Multi Academy Trust, a nine academy primary and secondary trust in the Midlands.

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Thursday 20 - Friday 21 January 2022



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