Academy Governance Summit: Delivering resilient governance in academy trusts

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.

Richard Amos, Strategic Lead Officer, The GORSE Academies Trust

Richard joined The GORSE Academies Trust in Leeds in 2018. Prior to this, Richard held several roles within Leeds City Council, including Sufficiency & Participation Lead, responsible for ensuring sufficient and appropriate learning provision across Leeds. In his role, Richard is the Strategic Lead across the trust for areas including Admissions, GDPR compliance and Governance. Further to this, he plays a key role in any additions or changes to the academies within the trust. Richard has over 20 years’ experience in the education and training sector covering areas including school place planning, SEN provision, Early Years Provision, Post 16 learning, Apprenticeships and CEIAG. Richard is also the Chair of Governors at a local authority maintained Secondary School in Kirklees.

Rachael Bailey, Trust Governance Professionals

Rachael brings many years' experience in education and charity governance, in both professional and voluntary roles. As a practitioner, Rachael works as a consultant in the academy sector, delivering governance reviews, developing processes and resources, and also running training - this builds on extensive experience in broader consultancy work in the public sector. Previously, she was a member of the governance team for Ark Schools and has provided governance support and expertise for a number of schools in both the academy and maintained sector, as well as being a school governor for many years. Rachael combines her work in education with work in charity governance and is also a trustee for a grant-giving charity.

Rachael co-founded Trust Governance Professionals, who are partners for The Governance Summit, to deliver effective training and support to those working in governance in school trusts. TGP runs Trust Governance Insight, an annual programme of training and support tailored for academy governance professionals. The programme combines training sessions, bulletins and one-to-one mentoring. It offers practical guidance and resources and a much-valued peer network accessed by governance professionals across the sector and from around the country.

Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, Department for Education

Baroness Berridge of The Vale of Catmose was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System at the Department for Education and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) at the Department for International Trade on 14 February 2020. She was a Government Whip (Baroness in Waiting) from 29 July 2019 to 19 March 2020.

Sanjay Bhandari, Chair, Kick it out

An active and recognised leader of equality, diversity and inclusion practice, Sanjay was a member of the Premier League’s Equality Standard Independent Panel for four years and is part of the Government-sponsored Parker review into the ethnic diversity of UK boards. Sanjay also enjoyed a 29-year career in professional services, spending 15 years as a lawyer specialising in fraud and white collar crime at a leading international law firm. He then held a number of leadership roles at KPMG and EY, where he was a Partner for 12 years, before taking up a portfolio career as an independent board member, adviser and charity trustee.

Samira Chambas, Assistant Company Secretary, Diageo Plc

Samira is an Assistant Company Secretary at Diageo plc. With over six years in industry, Samira’s previous experience includes regulatory compliance as well as subsidiary and corporate governance work in professional services and in house roles including Intertrust Group and Aviva plc. Samira is an advocate for The Chartered Governance Institute and is the founder of the Black Governance Professionals Network, a network to empower, support and amplify the voices of aspiring and existing black governance professionals in the industry.

Clare Collins

Clare leads and manages NGA’s consultancy service which undertakes external reviews of governance for all types of schools and academy trusts including MATs, as well as providing specialised consultancy support and bespoke support, training and development for MATs. Clare works alongside NGA’s Head of Training Development recruiting, training and managing NGA’s team of consultants, developing the training offer, and ensuring effective delivery. Clare also contributes to NGA publications, speaks at events and represents NGA.

Clare’s background is in governance and trusteeship. She has chaired the governing board in a number of schools in different phases and in varying stages of their development. Clare has also chaired her local authority Schools Forum, and her trustee experience includes chairing the NGA trust board from 2008-2011.

Leora Cruddas, 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.

Jonathan Daniels, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Education

Jonathan Daniels is the Head of the Faith and Academies legal framework Unit at the Department for Education. His teams are responsible for leading relations with faith communities and policy on Church and Faith Schools along with the academies legal framework which includes academies governance documentation (the model articles), all contractual documentation between the Department and Academy trusts and primary legislation relating to academy status. He has worked in the DfE in its various guises for over 30 years and previous roles have including leading on the Schools spending review settlement, Free Schools policy and delivery and for the last six years varying aspect of school intervention and academies policy.

Sara Drake, CEO, The Chartered Governance Institute

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.

Charis Evans, Business Development Director, The Chartered Governance Institute

Charis Evans is the Institute’s Business Development Director. In this role, she is responsible for marketing, membership and outreach as well as leading the digital and IT teams.

Charis joined the institute in 2013 as Head of Marketing. Her previous in-house and consultancy roles have been with educational publishers, Collins and Granada Learning, heritage organisations including the V&A and the Imperial War Museum and digital business, principally recruiters and start-ups in the creative industries.

Charis began her career lecturing in English and Communications in a Further Education college. She has continued to participate in education through governance roles; as Chair of Governors in a maintained primary school, and as Chair of Trustees of a school charity.

Dave Fergus, Trustee, Rodillian Multi Academy Trust

Dave is a commercial specialist from an entrepreneurial private sector background who works as an independent interim director, business consultant / mentor and non-executive director.  He is an expert in public sector commercialisation including effecting culture change and implementing alternative models of service delivery.  Expert in the creation, management and oversight of local authority trading companies including related governance and risk management aspects.  Trustee and Board member of the Rodillian Multi-Academy Trust including membership of the Risk & Audit Committee. 

Mandy Garnham

Mandy is the learning support manager at The Institute. She manages and delivers a range of study support activities for students taking the qualifying programme and short course qualifications, including the delivery of study skills and exam preparation tuition. She deals with all student enquiries regarding study and assessments.

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. .

Tracey Goodsell, Clerk to the Board, Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust

Tracey has worked in governance roles for over 30 years. The last nine years Tracey has held the role of Head of Corporate Governance at Orchard Hill College Academy Trust which is a Special Needs Trust for fourteen school across London and surrounding boroughs. Tracey has been instrumental in establishing the governance structure for the MAT and setting up systems and processes to ensure the structure is fit for purpose, including a comprehensive and clear scheme of delegation, which ensures each tier of governance provides clarity about the role.

Tracey is committed to ensuring that governors, trustees and members feel supported in their role.

Roma Grant, Deputy company secretary, Wellcome Trust

Roma is Deputy Company Secretary at the Wellcome Trust, a philanthropic charity whose mission is to support science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. She drives improvement in corporate governance at a time of significant change for Wellcome, as it develops a refreshed and focused vision in an increasingly regulated environment.

Working with UK and international organisations, Roma has supported boards to embed frameworks and behaviours, enabling robust systems and culture to deliver the non-profit mission. She is experienced in the recruitment, induction and on-going learning of trustee directors, challenging them to look beyond current practices, and forges trusted relationships with both executive and non-executive teams.

Emma Gregory, Head of Academy Ambassador programme, Academy Ambassadors

Emma joined the Academy Ambassadors Programme as NED Recruitment Manager in 2019, a role which combines her knowledge of executive search and corporate recruitment with school and trust governance. After graduating from the University of York, Emma joined Marks and Spencer’s graduate training programme as a merchandiser, before moving into executive search and recruitment at consultancy Penna, followed by corporate recruitment roles at global engineering firm Siemens and, later, the HR SaaS company Lumesse.

Discovering a passion for education governance when volunteering as a Chair of Governors, Emma joined Buckinghamshire Learning Trust where she led the governance development programme for c.3000 governors across the region. She went on to work for eTeach, the global recruitment platform, engaging with the largest school trusts in England.

Stewart Harper, Trustees, Rodillian Multi Academy Trust

Stewart Harper ACG is a Chartered Company Secretary, and freelance governance professional, working across different sectors but especially within the education sector. As a Director of two Schools Trusts in Yorkshire, over the last ten years he has developed a range of experience in academy governance, including as Chair of Audit & Risk Committees and in undertaking governance reviews. He has managed institutional risk within large universities in the past, and has advised clients inside and outside of education on how to utilise an effective risk management framework to drive forward improvements in outcomes.

Judith Hicks, Head of inspiring governance, National Governance Association

Judith has worked as an HR professional within the retail & logistics sector for fifteen years, working for Tesco, Pets At Home & Booker. She has held a variety of national roles focusing on recruitment, talent management, performance management, organisation design and learning & development.

She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

In 2008 Judith became a parent governor at a school in Warwickshire and was elected vice-chair and then Chair of Governors, a post she held until 2018. Judith now governs on a local academy committee for a secondary school within a Multi-Academy Trust. Judith has worked for Warwickshire County Council as a consultant within the governor development service, where she has worked with maintained schools, academies and Multi-Academy Trusts to design & deliver bespoke interventions, mentored chairs and conducted external reviews of governance.

Judith joined the NGA in September 2016 as Head of Inspiring Governance; the governor recruitment and support service.

Steve Hodsman, Chair of Trustees, Delta Academies Trust

Following a successful career in the police, Steve retired in 2016. Involved in school governance since 2010, he was appointed to the Board of a large MAT in 2014. Becoming Chair of his MAT in 2015, Steve led major changes in Trust development, successfully re-structuring both Trustees and Members at the Trust. Having undertaken a complete re-focussing of Trust governance and leadership in 2016, he continues to deliver long term Trust educational and financial sustainability.

Chair of one of the highest performing Multi Academy Trusts in England, Steve delivers impactive school and MAT leadership. Steve is actively involved in working with Regional Schools Commissioners and Academy Ambassadors to promote Trust governance at national and regional levels. Heavily engaged with the Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Steve is currently engaged in the creation of Chairs Forum’s that will bring together MAT Chairs at the regional level to promote collaborative system leadership across Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Regularly working with the Ambition Institute and the Confederation of School Trusts, Steve engages in support to System Leaders at the highest levels. An Associate of the Association of Education Advisers, a member of the Large MAT Chairs Group, Steve plays an active role in promoting work on policy, system collaboration, executive pay, financial sustainability and future MAT assessment. This national group created and overseen by the National Schools Commissioner, works to ensure that MATs are part of a system lead solution for educational improvement that delivers real and sustained improvement for pupils across the country.

Steve provides system leadership support to senior leaders, and governors, through which ethical, effective and accountable governance drives school improvement.

As an NLG Steve undertakes external reviews of School and MAT governance. With a proven record of coaching and support to system leaders at every level, he enables leaders to drive change to create rapid school improvement. Providing system leadership support to senior leaders and governors, Steve promotes ethical, effective and accountable governance that helps drive school improvement. Working closely with local authority colleagues, Steve is actively engaged as a member of the North Lincs Education Standards Board. He undertakes peer reviews on behalf of the local authority aimed at supporting school leaders to improve outcomes for children.

As a specialist school and MAT governance adviser, Steve is vastly experienced in leading system improvement through collaborative governance and leadership. Steve continues to promote system leadership at national and regional conferences and round-tables. Currently mentoring both MAT Chairs and CEO’s in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Lancs and West Yorks RSC Regions, Steve continues to actively support system improvement at the national level.

Roger Inman, Partner and Head of Education Sector, Stone King

Roger Inman leads Stone King’s national Education Practice.

He specialises in school governance, re-organisation and development, in particular the development of Multi Academy Trusts. Roger is also nationally recognised as an expert in special educational needs and other aspects of educational provision for students.

Roger is a frequent speaker at Education Events. He regularly writes on education law issues for a range of titles including Academy Magazine. Roger is also a member of the Executive of the Education Law Association.

Outside work Roger commits to a number of education projects and has been a governor for numerous schools in both the maintained and independent school sectors. He is currently a Trustee of a Special MAT and a member of the Corporation of a Further Education College.

Roger had a lead role advising Cambridgeshire secondary schools on a proposed application for judicial review of funding for English local authorities which helped to generate an additional payment of £23.2 million for Cambridgeshire Schools in 2015-16 and a promise by the Government to consider permanent fair funding.

Nabil Jamshed, Consultant, Good Governance Institute

An experienced corporate governance lead, company/trust secretary, a seasoned facilitator with senior-level experience in developing and implementing corporate governance and risk management systems and policies in the national and international health and social care sectors.

A professional leader with over fourteen years in international and NHS (U.K) and abroad delivering high quality and award-winning programme and project management, strategic risk management and corporate governance development, quality review and improvement models, strategy development and business development. Some notable achievements include the development of risk management frameworks across Qatar for its first stateowned primary care organisation, development of an award-winning national health strategy for the State of Qatar, establishing various national governance and risk frameworks in the U.K and development of corporate governance and risk management structures for the first integrated care provider organisation in the U.K.

With a track record in relationship management and developing innovative systems for the effective use of resources, I take pride in adding value and delivering efficiencies. I like to inspire and empower people to deliver excellent results through motivational leadership, coaching and mentoring, and creating an environment based on honesty, openness, trust, and integrity. I specialise in engagement and co-producing assurance frameworks to meet service objectives, supported by sound qualifications and experience.

Ruth Jesson-Smith, Head of Governance Strategy and Capacity Unit, Department of Education

Ruth Jesson-Smith is the Head of the Governance Strategy and Capacity Unit at the Department for Education. Her team is responsible for governance development programmes, governor and trustee recruitment, the publication of the Governance Handbook and wider policy on school and trust governance. Previous roles at the DfE have including the development of the Early Career Framework for teachers, children’s social care funding and academy sponsorship.

Darren Kulesza-Smith, Director of Data and Compliance, University Schools Trust

Darren began his career in education as a teacher in 2005, specialising in physics and working in large comprehensive and inclusive schools for 11-19 year olds in areas of East London with high social deprivation. In 2013, Darren was appointed as Assistant Headteacher and then subsequently in 2016 as Deputy Headteacher with his responsibilities including compliance, school operations, data and sixth forms. In September 2018 Darren was appointed to the UST central team with strategic and operational responsibility for the areas of Governance, Compliance, Data and Information Governance for the schools within the UST.

Darren has also worked for 10 years with the Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) providing support and knowledge enhancement for teachers early in their careers. In addition to this role with the PTI he is also their Associate Department Co-ordinator for Science where he oversees the PTI’s national programme supporting science education research projects.

Anna Machin, Governance Professional, Kensington Aldridge Academy and Reach Academy Feltham and 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. This includes acting as governance professional for Reach Academy Trust and Kensington Aldridge Academy. 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.

Anna co-founded Trust Governance Professionals, who are partners for The Governance Summit, to deliver effective training and support to those working in governance in school trusts. TGP runs Trust Governance Insight, an annual programme of training and support tailored for academy governance professionals. The programme combines training sessions, bulletins and one-to-one mentoring. It offers practical guidance and resources and a much-valued peer network accessed by governance professionals across the sector and from around the country.

Adam Marham

Adam Marham is the Head of Governance and Compliance at the Rodillian Multi Academy Trust and is the Trust lead for developing its Risk Register and Board Assurance Framework. He is working with the Trust's Audit and Risk Committee to refine its risk register and has started to develop its Assurance Framework. Prior to joining the Trust in 2020, he was a Partner in a firm of solicitors.

Lizzie Oliver, Governance Professional & Executive Clerk, Northern Star Academies Trust

Lizzie joined NSAT in January 2020, having previously supported several of its schools as a clerk to governors for several years. Prior to this, she specialised for 15 years in qualitative research and analysis across the education and training sector – working on a wide range of projects that informed national policy, including: teacher workload, flexible working, recruitment and retention, and wellbeing. For NSAT, Lizzie is responsible for supporting and guiding the work of Members, Trustees and local governors across the Trust, managing statutory governance documentation and processes, and fulfils the role of Company Secretary. Lizzie also works closely with the Trust’s Executive and central teams in relation to strategy and policy

Katie Paxton-Doggett, Company Secretary, School Academy Trusts

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 School’ (2nd Edition published September 2016), ‘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 a trustee of the National Governance Association. She is the Chair of Governors of a maintained Voluntary Aided primary school in Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Emma Perkin, Trust Governance Professionals

Emma is an expert in academy trust governance working with a vast array of education sector clients including delivering governance reviews, mentoring and development of governance teams. Emma is a highly experienced governance professional and prior to setting up her consultancy was Head of Governance for Ark Schools. Emma is a trainer in academy governance for The Chartered Governance Institute and mentor for the CST Governance Leaders Programme.

Emma set up and runs the MAT Governance Group for governance professionals in the largest Trust across England, and co-founded Trust Governance Professionals (TGP), who are partners for The Governance Summit. TGP runs Trust Governance Insight, an annual programme of training and support tailored for academy governance professionals. The programme combines training sessions, bulletins and one-to-one mentoring. It offers practical guidance and resources and a much-valued peer network accessed by governance professionals across the sector and from around the country.

Deborah Perry, Director of Governance Hub, Sixth Form Colleges Association

Deborah is Director of Governance at Sixth Form Colleges Association, co-founder of management consultancy Community Sense and former Director of a leading education marketing company.

Her experience includes overseeing the establishment and growth of multi-academy trusts across the college and school sector, providing expert governance advice on mergers and developing and delivering training to governance professionals and boards, with a particular focus on strategy, vision and growth. She is author of several governance publications including The MAT Governance Handbook, and is currently vice chair of governors in large secondary school.

Claire Robson, Head of Governance, Great Ormond Street

Claire has worked for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity since February 2016. Claire acts as the Company Secretary and Data Protection Officer and is their appointed Head of Governance, Legal and Compliance. Prior to that, she spent 11 years in the health sector specialising in Information Governance. Initially starting her career as a Chartered Secretary, qualifying with the The Chartered Governance Institute in 2003, Claire first started specialising in Data Protection around 2000, implementing the Data Protection Act 1998.

She completed a specialist Masters Degree in Information Rights Law and Practice in 2008 and has qualifications in Computer Forensics and Information Security. In December 2010, Claire had a Case Study Article published called “FOI Requests at an NHS Trust” in PDP’s Freedom of Information Journal. In June 2017, Claire completed the Institute’s Certificate in Charity Law and Governance and joined the Chartered Secretaries Charitable Trust as a Trustee in May 2019. Claire has wide and extensive knowledge within the field of governance and is leading GOSH Charity in their Governance, Legal and Data Protection Programme.

Samira Sadeghi, Academies Governance Manager & Clerk to Trustees, Academies Enterprise Trust

Samira is Head of Academies Governance and Clerk to Trustees at Academies Enterprise Trust, a multi-academy trust with 58 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.

Tracy Terry, Governance Manager, Cambridge Cluster of United Learning

Bio coming soon

Louise Thomson FCIS, Head of Policy (Not-for-Profit), The Chartered Governance Institute

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.

Harry Turner

Harry has extensive experience of NHS providers, having served as a Non-Executive Director and then Chairman of Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust between 2008 and 2016.

He is currently Chairman of the John Taylor Hospice in Birmingham and is now Chair of Birmingham St Marys Hospice, he is currently leading on the merger of the 2 organisations, and additionally he is Vice Chair and Senior Independent Director at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt FT.

Prior to his current role as Chair of ICP, he was Chair at Dudley and Walsall Mental health Trust.

Harry has also been a Justice of the Peace in Worcestershire Courts for more than a decade. He is a presiding Magistrate in Adult Criminal Courts and Vice Chair of the Worcestershire Bench.

He has previously worked at Board level in the Hotel industry, working for businesses, including Premier Inn, Marriott International and Travelodge, where he was involved in a number of acquisitions and mergers including in 2006 the £1bn private equity backed takeover of Travelodge. His employment experience was enhanced by attending Harvard business school in USA for 2 programmes focussing on leadership.

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Monday 25 January 2021


8.30am - 3.45pm GMT



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Bookings will close at 5pm on Friday 22 January

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