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The Board

We are proud to work with 'Inspiring Governance' and 'Academy Ambassadors' to recruit our Board members. 

Our current serving Board members are;

Jane Edwards - Chair and Deputy Head (Retired)

Jane has recently retired following some forty years in education, in both mainstream secondary schools and most recently in a special school. She was fortunate to be able to maintain some classroom experience whilst also moving into middle and then Senior Management. She has thoroughly enjoyed working in all the schools that she has worked in, her last years in a special school have been the most rewarding and enjoyable. Jane was also an Ofsted inspector and an advanced skills teacher. Jane is very active in challenging to enable focused school improvement.

Jane is now able to spend more time cooking, reading, walking and going to the gym, and has plans to travel further afield including visiting her son in China. Meanwhile, she has her daughter's wedding to help plan!

John Chadwick – Vice Chair (Retired)

John qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (now the Chartered Governance Institute) and has over 30 years’ experience in financial and governance roles in industry and the charity sector. As the Finance and Regulation Director for a UK-based group in the water industry, John’s responsibilities included IT, procurement and transport as well as leading on the company’s relationships with insurers, credit rating agencies, banks and the industry economic regulator (Ofwat). Previous roles included responsibility for a finance team of over 100 qualified and part-qualified accountants.

John has always provided professional support to local and national charities, including being a Trustee of Keep Britain Tidy and over 25 years as treasurer and trustee of his local church. Since retirement from full-time employment, John has taken on roles as Chair of the Audit Committee of a major UK denomination as well as providing financial consultancy services to charities across the country.

John has lived near Wantage for over 30 years and is delighted to be able to serve schools in the area through his role as Vice Chair of the Trust.

Tom Pegler - Chief Executive and Accounting Officer

Formerly as a Director of Education at I CAN, Tom was successful in leading the organisation’s strategic and operational plans, for the full spectrum of educational and therapeutic programmes offered by their schools, under the I CAN’s umbrella (SEND schools ranging from 5-19). Recent work has focused on the curriculum development, ensuring schools have a sharp focus on establishing vision led curriculum offers that meet the needs of the young people and families they serve. Tom has also been a successful Headteacher of a large SEN school in Hampshire.

Tom prides himself on establishing outstanding working relationships with all stakeholders. He can demonstrate Headteachers meeting performance objectives whilst developing high performing senior teams that can lead strategic and operational developments within budget. Headteachers are coached to become reflective leaders, highly proficient in self evaluation to guide ongoing school improvement.

Tom believes in leaders being role models and uses coaching and professional CPD tools to develop robust teams. This approach is reflective in his collaborative nature. Tom can demonstrate to teams, that understanding the impact of activities is key to measurement and assessment of value and impact.

Tom has worked with a variety of trustees, local governing bodies and understands how fundamental these teams are to supporting a focused monitoring and challenge approach to School improvement

Tom has a record of delivering ‘outstanding’ education Ofsted 2019, whilst also developing an estates strategy for aspirational curriculum, through successful bidding in the CIF process.

Tom was a mentor in Hampshire’s highly successful ‘change makers’ scheme, mentoring potential new Head teachers. He was also the Chair of the Executive Board for the SCITT program in Hampshire. His passion for supporting new teachers into the industry is paramount as is retaining them in the sector to enhance the quality of education. Tom has frontline experience of successful Headships and has led an alternative provision from special measures to good.

Tim Hodgson – IT Specialist

Tim is an IT Professional with over 20 years’ experience, encompassing Product Development & Lifecycle (Hardware and Software), Project Management, Service Operations and Manager roles. For the last 15 years he has worked for a global company, planning, commissioning and supporting international locations from Spain to Russia and from Norway to Cape Town.

Sarah Mitchell - Managing Director

Sarah has been in the Recruitment Industry for over 20 years, most recently as the MD of a Supply Teaching agency in London. She is passionate about developing a culture of high performance through the development of people to enable them to reach their full potential. She has worked with businesses to enable them to create and deliver a strategy, scale up, improve performance and develop a strong and successful leadership team.

Debbie Buckley-Golder – Independent Consultant – Business Skills

As a physicist by training, Debbie sent some 30 years in the public and private sectors, advising UK and European governments on energy technology and environmental policy development, analysis and implementation, and gained substantial experience in working with senior influencers across academia, business, charities and the public sector. She has developed and led the delivery of multi-million-pound, national programmes on behalf of government and has held business board-level positions with responsibility for technical, financial and operational delivery. Latterly, Debbie has spent 10 years with the UK national innovation agency, providing strategic leadership for knowledge exchange, research commercialisation and skills. Debbie is now an independent consultant working in the area of innovation and emerging skills. For ten years Debbie was on the Board and Deputy Chair of Governors of Fitzwaryn School, Wantage; from 2006-2010 she was a visiting Industrial Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

Elaine Ricks-Neal - Independent Consultant - Education

Elaine started her career in education, which spans over 40 years, as an English teacher in Oxford, progressing to secondary school leadership, and then to school inspection and LA advisory work. Elaine has held a range of senior educational positions including Principal Adviser for School Improvement and Governance for West Berkshire, Senior Regional Adviser for the National Strategies, and County English & Secondary School Adviser for Buckinghamshire.

Elaine is also the joint author of the National Association for Able Children Challenge Award which has been awarded to 450 schools across England, Wales and internationally. Elaine now works on a part-time basis as Director of the Berkshire Leadership Development Partnership and as an independent School Improvement Consultant. Elaine is also a school governor in an Oxfordshire primary school and remains driven by a passion to ensure that every young person, irrespective of their background, achieves the best education possible.

Clare Winch

Clare’s current portfolio with the NHS includes, corporate risk management and assurance, corporate governance, accreditation and regulation, legal services, health and safety, and the subject access request teams. She has worked at board level for the past ten years. Her role involves her being the organisational point of contact for over 90 regulatory bodies. Prior to joining her current employer, Clare was Deputy Director of Audit for Audit Southwest, an NHS Internal Audit provider covering NHS organisations across the Southwest of England.

 Her career started with KPMG, and she had commercial experience prior to joining the NHS, with a range of accountancy and consultancy firms. Clare has over 20 years of NHS experience, spanning a range of NHS organisations. Clare is an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualified accountant and a member of the National Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Governance and Audit Committee. Clare has a master’s degree in business administration from Oxford Brookes Business School.