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Learn Academies Trust

Learn Academies Trust

Learn-AT Trustees

The ‍Trust ‍Board ‍has ‍overall ‍responsibility ‍and ‍ultimate ‍decision-making ‍authority ‍for ‍all ‍the ‍work ‍of ‍the ‍Trust and all of its schools. 

The Trustees delegate responsibility for aspects of school governance to Local Governing Bodies through a Scheme of Delegation. 

Local Governing Bodies provide advice, support and challenge to the headteacher in leading the school and ensuring all pupils flourish. They guard the school’s ethos, ensure the school collaborates with other schools in the Trust to share effective practice, resources and experience and manage its relationship with the community. They focus on:

  • Standards, curriculum and school ethos
  • Health, safety and premises, including safeguarding
  • Parental and wider community engagement 
  • Assurance and oversight of compliance and risk, including finance.

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  • Jeremy Benson

    Chair of Trustees

    ‍Educational ‍Management ‍Leadership ‍and ‍Governance ‍Jeremy is a senior civil servant who has spent most of his career working at the Department for Education (DfE) in a range of areas including finance, qualifications, construction skills and further education. He has also worked for the qualifications regulator Ofqual, where he was involved in general qualifications reform, apprenticeships, and regulation of vocational qualifications. He has recently spent nearly three years on secondment to the UK Health Security Agency supporting the Covid-19 pandemic response. Jeremy has been a trustee of Learn-AT since it was formed in 2016, having previously been a local governor at Meadowdale Primary School, where his two children were educated. He is a trustee and fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health.

  • Karen Cooper

    HR Specialist

    ‍Karen ‍has ‍over ‍15 ‍years’ ‍experience ‍as ‍a ‍Human ‍Resources ‍(HR) ‍professional ‍in ‍a ‍variety ‍of ‍industries ‍including ‍healthcare ‍and ‍retail. ‍In ‍her ‍current ‍role ‍at ‍Joules ‍plc ‍she ‍focusses ‍on ‍HR ‍Support ‍and ‍Reward, ‍providing ‍proactive ‍HR ‍support ‍services ‍enabling ‍the ‍business ‍to ‍recruit, ‍retain ‍and ‍reward ‍talent. ‍She ‍has ‍also ‍supported ‍the ‍Head ‍Office ‍and ‍International ‍teams ‍at ‍Joules ‍as ‍an ‍HR ‍Business ‍Partner, ‍providing ‍strategic ‍business ‍support ‍on ‍people ‍matters. ‍Previously ‍she ‍has ‍worked ‍in ‍small ‍and ‍medium ‍sized ‍enterprises ‍(SME) ‍and ‍large ‍corporate ‍environments, ‍mainly ‍in ‍HR ‍generalist ‍roles ‍supporting ‍organisations ‍through ‍change ‍programmes, ‍leadership ‍development, ‍talent ‍and ‍succession ‍planning. ‍As ‍a ‍Chartered ‍Member ‍of ‍the ‍CIPD ‍and ‍a ‍qualified ‍Facet ‍5 ‍coach, ‍Karen ‍is ‍passionate ‍about ‍supporting ‍and ‍empowering ‍people ‍to ‍develop.

  • Sir John Dunford

    School ‍Leadership ‍and ‍Improvement

    Sir ‍John ‍Dunford ‍has ‍over ‍42 ‍years ‍of ‍experience ‍of ‍school ‍leadership ‍and ‍has ‍written ‍and ‍spoken ‍extensively ‍on ‍the ‍subject ‍for ‍the ‍last ‍20 ‍years. ‍He ‍is ‍currently ‍Chair ‍of ‍a ‍number ‍of ‍organisations ‍including ‍Whole ‍Education, ‍South ‍Gloucestershire ‍Education ‍Partnership ‍Board, ‍Step ‍Forward ‍Volunteering ‍(charity), ‍a ‍Director ‍of ‍John ‍Dunford ‍Consulting ‍Ltd, ‍a ‍speaker ‍and ‍consultant ‍on ‍school ‍leadership ‍and ‍pupil ‍premium ‍and ‍has ‍been ‍a ‍Governor ‍of ‍St ‍Andrew’s ‍since ‍2000. ‍He ‍has ‍previously ‍worked ‍as ‍a ‍teacher ‍and ‍Headteacher, ‍General ‍Secretary ‍of ‍the ‍Association ‍of ‍School ‍and ‍College ‍Leaders, ‍National ‍Pupil ‍Premium ‍Champion ‍and ‍Chair ‍of ‍the ‍Chartered ‍Institute ‍of ‍Educational ‍Assessors.

  • Reverend Barry Hill

    Team ‍leader ‍for ‍the ‍Anglican ‍churches ‍in ‍and ‍around ‍Market ‍Harborough, ‍Barry ‍is ‍passionate ‍about ‍local ‍partners ‍(schools, ‍churches, ‍community ‍groups, ‍households ‍and ‍statutory ‍bodies) ‍working ‍together ‍to ‍build ‍communities ‍that ‍bring ‍transformation, ‍so ‍that ‍people ‍of ‍all ‍ages ‍and ‍backgrounds ‍can ‍know ‍the ‍fullness ‍of ‍life ‍God ‍offers. ‍In ‍both ‍his ‍current ‍and ‍previous ‍roles ‍he ‍works ‍specifically ‍in ‍areas ‍of ‍strategy ‍and ‍development. ‍He ‍has ‍lived ‍in ‍Leicestershire ‍since ‍2005 ‍and ‍before ‍being ‍ordained ‍has ‍a ‍background ‍in ‍the ‍commercial ‍flight ‍simulation ‍industry ‍and ‍in ‍youthwork.

  • Natalie Jackson

    SEND Specialist

    Natalie ‍Jackson ‍is ‍a ‍freelance ‍educational ‍consultant ‍specialising ‍in ‍Special ‍Educational ‍Needs ‍and ‍Disability. ‍She ‍is ‍a ‍member ‍of ‍the ‍Academies ‍Enterprise ‍Trust ‍SEN ‍Team ‍and ‍an ‍Associate ‍Consultant ‍for ‍NASEN. ‍She ‍trains ‍for ‍RTA ‍and ‍Osiris ‍and ‍delivers ‍the ‍Outstanding ‍Teaching ‍Intervention ‍in ‍primary ‍schools. ‍Natalie ‍is ‍an ‍associate ‍expert ‍for ‍Optimus' ‍SEN ‍Hub ‍and ‍for ‍The ‍Key ‍for ‍school ‍leaders. ‍She ‍is ‍a ‍consultant ‍governor ‍for ‍a ‍large ‍4-18 ‍school ‍in ‍Dubai. ‍Natalie ‍has ‍had ‍experience ‍as ‍an ‍Interim ‍Executive ‍Headteacher ‍in ‍a ‍Primary ‍School. ‍Prior ‍to ‍that, ‍she ‍worked ‍for ‍the ‍National ‍Strategies ‍SEN ‍Team ‍as ‍a ‍Senior ‍Adviser ‍for ‍Achievement ‍for ‍All, ‍supporting ‍the ‍development ‍of ‍a ‍highly ‍successful ‍programme ‍aimed ‍at ‍improving ‍outcomes ‍for ‍pupils ‍with ‍SEND.

  • Jane Jones

    CEO and Executive Trustee

    A graduate of Law from Cambridge University, Jane had a thriving 18-year legal career in both public and private sectors. Transitioning to the education field six years ago, Jane's passion lies in children's education and well-being. Her goal is to work collaboratively with the Trust's senior leaders to create a positive, nurturing, and inclusive primary school experience for students. Jane is dedicated to challenging and supporting students to achieve their full potential, empowering them to confidently pursue present and future opportunities with courage and optimism.

  • Bobby Thandi

    Bobby is the Deputy CEO of a large Multi Academy Trust operating across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire which consists of 25 academies, and as the Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the strategic financial management, systems and commercial operations of the Trust. He is also the Director leading a commercial trading subsidiary which operates an annual turnover over £2.5m. He has over 20 years’ experience in senior finance roles and overseeing support functions across the NHS, Local Authorities, Education Sector and Police Authorities. Bobby’s areas of professional expertise include strategic organisational change management, charity operations, governance, strategic growth, and developing commerciality in the third sector.

  • Steve Orton


    Steve has been a local governor at Red Hill Field Primary School since 2019 and chair since 2020. He is a qualified CIMA accountant, obtaining Chartered status in June 2009, and has over 16 years of experience of working within the educational and charitable sector. Steve held a senior management position at The Creative Education Trust before joining the NOVA Education Trust in April 2017, initially as Vice Chief Financial Officer and now as Chief Financial Officer.

  • Marie-Claire Bretherton

    Marie-Claire Bretherton has a wealth of experience in the education sector, having started her career as a teacher and then becoming a successful headteacher in Lincolnshire. She has a proven track record of leading three very different schools to secure improved outcomes for pupils, even in the most challenging of circumstances. In 2012, Marie-Claire worked with a group of school leaders in Lincolnshire to establish KYRA, a collaborative community for teaching, leadership, research, and school improvement partnerships that now serves over 60 primary schools. Her leadership was instrumental in developing this thriving community of schools over a 10 year period. From 2016 to 2023, Marie-Claire also served as the Education Director for Anthem Schools Trust, where she was responsible for driving improvements across the Primary phase. She is a published author, and sought after international speaker on leadership and school improvement. Currently, Marie-Claire is serving as the Deputy CEO at Waterton Academy Trust in West Yorkshire, where she continues to make a positive impact on the education sector.

  • Penelope Harris

    Chair's Representative

    Penelope has been a Local Community Governor at Meadowdale Primary School since 2018 and Chair of Governors since June 2022. She is a Professional Gemmologist and Auctioneer, with a BSc (Hons) in French and Spanish with European Studies and an MSc in Management. She also has over 15 years' experience of working in the secondary and higher education sectors, including 10 years as Registrar in a girls' boarding and day school. She is passionate about the importance of education for everyone, recognising and championing the crucial role primary schools play in creating solid foundations for every child's future.