The Trustees are ultimately accountable for the standards of education in each of the academies in the Trust and also hold responsibility as Directors of the company. The trustees are currently Julie Fletcher (Chair), Paul Bunn (CEO and Accounting Officer), Kath Dunning and Nick O'Dell.
Julie has been a parent governor for Bunwell Primary School since June 2018 and was previously a governor for four years at a primary school in Northamptonshire. She was appointed Trustee of Cooperative Education East in June 2019 and became Chair in February 2020. She has worked most of her career in the financial services industry across business research and HR roles. She is currently working for Norfolk Police in a specialist HR Reward role. Her skills and experience include research and analysis, project management, communications, recruitment, employee pay and benefits and HR policies.
As a father of three children at one of the schools in our Academy I have a personal interest in making sure the schools are the best they can be, both now and into the future. There is no better feeling than seeing the children in our schools try new experiences as they learn and grow through their time with us. Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and this helps to inspire you to do the best you can to make sure they all achieve their full potential and have a positive time with us. I try to bring my experience and skills from my work as a solicitor practicing within the NHS into being a Trustee. As well as providing in-house legal advice in all it shapes and forms I’m also privileged to be an honorary lecturer at the University of East Anglia where I teach law to the medical students. When work and school stuff is finished I retreat to the garden to relax and unwind, or I drag the kids on a long walk with the dog!
Kathryn has been a primary school governor in Norfolk for over 15 years, with her expertise lying in finance. She worked and trained at a regional firm of Chartered Accountants where she gained the ICAEW Chartered Accountant qualification, in a role which included business advisory services, predominantly working with owner managed businesses and charitable organisations in the Norfolk & Suffolk area. Kathryn then joined the Corporate Finance team, specialising in Due Diligence, Business Plans and financial projections. Having been a school governor for a number of years, she has carried out various of school governor roles including Chair of Governors, Vice Chair, Chair of Finance Committee and Head Teacher Performance Management. Kathryn currently works in both the finance and agricultural sectors, having left her Corporate Finance Manager role to spend time with her young family. In her spare time Kathryn enjoys spending time with her family, going swimming or bike riding in the forest.
Nick has a strong track record of business management in the commercial sector having worked for a number of leading media and publishing companies. He has extensive experience in business strategy, planning and development and now dedicates his time working in the non-profit management sector.
The purpose of our Trust is to run a lean and efficient back office staff. We charge a central contribution from each school but they are in charge and responsible for their own budgets, which is central to our principle of autonomy which is key to what we do. Our central team are there to facilitate discussion and provide day to day support with back office functions including: finance, budgeting planning and processing, HR and payroll administration, supplier services and procurement. Our central back office functions run smoothly and efficiently allowing our head teachers and senior leaders to focus on driving education forward through solid teaching and learning. These central processes are regularly audited and have recently been confirmed to be examples of ‘industry leading best practice’.
Simon has worked as a school business manager for over 9 years, after previously working for over 20 years in the public sector for Aviva. He worked in a variety of roles including product and proposition development, sales and marketing and project management. He has experience managing the central function in a primary school Multi Academy Trust and holds a Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management, as well as the CIPFA Financial reporting for Academies qualification. Simon is married with two daughters and likes to spend his spare time socialising with friends and family, gardening, watching sport and attending concerts.
Michelle works on a day-to-day basis to support the finance and admin function for all of the schools in the Trust. She has a background working for over 15 years in schools’ finance, and before that in the banking sector. Michelle provides a valuable additional operational layer between the schools, suppliers and customers. In her spare time she loves to read, going for long walks and enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles.
We enjoy the benefit of professional clerking services supplied by 'Entrust' (entrust-ed.co.uk). We value the expertise, advice and guidance which they provide to the Board on all governance matters which ensures all our schools comply with the law and statutory guidance. Their support helps to safeguard the welfare of your pupils
Being in a MAT means our schools can make limited budgets go further, especially when it comes to staff recruitment and we have developed several shared posts across the Trust. In the past our schools have found they may have the budget to employ someone one day per week, but that is not attractive employment offer. Therefore, we have seen by pooling resources we have been able to take on the following staff who provide valuable support across our schools.
Natasha joined our trust as a support for our three Head teachers and to help steer our trust with its cooperative values. She endeavours to ensure the holistic needs of all of our children are at the heart of all decisions to enable them to thrive in life after Primary school. Natasha champions Early Years and is developing a strong Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) team across the trust where our children are able to secure the strong foundations needed to build future learning on. She helps to guide and advise our EYFS staff in creating environments to encourage curiosity, enjoyment and self-initiated learning.
Phonics has been an area of development across the trust and one in which Natasha has introduced a successful new synthetic phonics system where children are engaged and enthused by regular phonics sessions. Training for all staff members, advising on learning and guiding the embedding across the trust has led to successful phonics mornings for staff and an improvement in phonetic knowledge of our children.
Natasha also leads Special Educational Needs (SEN) at Banham as their SENCO and works alongside our SENCOs Mrs K.Brookes and Mrs J. Jarrett to ensure we provide for all of our children to succeed and thrive. She is also working to create a SEN working team with local Primary schools to ensure we are providing the best possible practice.
Our schools have been there for around 150 years and have been extended and added to over time. We are custodians of the buildings which are central to their communities and villages, and want to ensure they remain in good repair and order, not only for the current cohort of children who enjoy them but for future generations too. Steven, who came to us from another local MAT, therefore spends his time managing the ongoing maintenance of the Trust's buildings and is never happier than with hammer and screwdriver in hand fixing things so that the schools can keep being used safely. He does the unglamorous jobs so that staff can just focus on delivering outstanding lessons. Steven also performs regular statutory checks such as legionnaires testing, fire alarm testing and PAT testing. His input and skills mean we have made financial savings when compared to contracting this service out, which has allowed us to reinvest money back into the schools.