Deidre has over 40 years’ experience as an education and leadership expert, with a skill set including Teaching and Learning, Educational Leadership, Performance Management, Recruitment and Safeguarding. Deidre served as a head teacher in Worcestershire and Birmingham for many years before becoming a school improvement advisor in Sandwell and Birmingham. During this time she worked with various primary schools and in particular supported the development of senior leadership teams. More recently, she worked as a leadership consultant, supporting a number of schools, academies and local authorities having completed a Chair of Governors’ Leadership Development Programme with the National College. In this role, Deidre mentors and coaches other governing bodies. Deidre is currently a trustee on the Victoria Academies Trust in the West Midlands. Deidre challenges and champions educational achievement for every child in our trust.
Gayle is a Partner at Pinsent Masons LLP, an international law firm, specialising in advising the higher education sector on commercial projects, corporate governance and constitutional affairs. With responsibility for managing a large team of lawyers, Gayle’s experience has been particularly valuable to the Board in the area of Company Law, Risk Management, Employment Law (including Recruitment, Performance Management) and Legal/Compliance. The board also benefits from Gayle’s knowledge of Corporate Governance in the context of charitable organisations. Gayle sees her role on the Board as providing strategic oversight of the Trust underpinned with legal expertise and commercial acumen.
Through his work within the church organisation and in the wider community, Revd. Peter brings a wealth of experience and skills, both in running a complex organisation and in pastoral care. He has handson and leadership experience in Facilities and Premises Management, Personnel, Planning and Budgets as well as a leadership role in the broader community. Revd. Peter also has experience of working in primary and secondary schools and other children’s organisations. He is committed to lifelong learning and has undertaken post-graduate research at Master and Doctoral level. The knowledge and experience that Revd. Peter brings to the Board is underpinned by his commitment to the safety, wellbeing and happiness of all children.
The Diocesan Board of Finance is a corporate member representing the interests of the Church of England and it ensures the school retains its Christian ethos and character.
Sarah Smith has been Birmingham Diocesan Director of Education since February 2015. She took up this post following her time as Executive Head Teacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Sparkhill, which she led successfully for eleven years. The school was rated ‘outstanding‘ twice under her leadership, by Ofsted. In that role she was a National Leader of Education, and has been involved in supporting schools on their journey of school improvement. During her headship Sarah served as Chair of Birmingham Local Authority Primary Forum and sat on Birmingham Schools Forum. She was a founder member of Birmingham Education Partnership. Since leaving headship Sarah has made a successful application for a secondary CofE free school, and set up and now chairs the Birmingham Diocesan Academy Trust. Sarah has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the importance of good governance in MAT’s.
Nishat is a qualified accountant who now lectures in Accounting at the University of Birmingham Business School, where she has worked for over ten years. Her role at the University builds on the experience she has gained working as an accountant in both industry and private practice. Nishat has also been a trustee for a charity for the last eight years. Nishat combines in-depth knowledge of education and finance, making her an invaluable member of the Board of Trustees. She brings a wealth of educational and governance experience, along with a commitment to financial rigour and a passion of education to her role.
Our Chair of Trustees, Giles, is an expert in Change Management, Strategy, ICT and Communications and is currently a partner in the Nicholas Allen Partnership. Giles specialised in strategic finance as
part of his MBA, and brings this strength to our Board, particularly in the areas of Financial and Budget Management. Giles has worked with management teams from organisations including Royal Bank of
Scotland, Rolls Royce, HBOS, Interserve, Cadbury, nPower and BT on Strategy Development and Presentation and on Stakeholder Engagement. Giles is currently studying for a masters in Systems Thinking in Practice, where he is developing his knowledge of techniques to solve complex problems and bring about change. Giles brings extensive experience of working with senior management teams to the role of chairing and to the development of people and systems across the Trust.
The Archdeacon of Birmingham is a corporate member representing the interests of the Church of England and it ensures the school retains its Christian ethos and character.
Georgina Edgar is an Associate Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Consultant at AECOM, an international environment and engineering firm, and has twenty years’ experience of health, safety and environmental compliance and Due Diligence in both private and public sector organisations. Georgina provides technical and management support to a range of clients across many sectors. Georgina brings a wealth of experience and skills with regard to EHS legal compliance and has a working knowledge of development and implementation of effective EHS programmes which underpin strategic direction and facilitate continual improvement. Georgina is delighted to share her skills and experience to support the Trust in the development of policies associated with our activities, premises, land and buildings.
Claire Cowlard has been a head teacher since 2007 and is an expert in Educational Leadership, Teaching and Learning. She has led three primary schools with varied communities in rural and inner-city locations in both the South West and West Midlands. Claire has been a Local Leader of Education since 2010 and previously, she was an active member on the SACRE board for 13 years. More recently, she was invited by the local authority to be a member of an Interim Executive Board (IEB) for a Secondary School, which including chairing the School Improvement Committee. As an LLE, Claire has supported a number of schools, particularly with raising attainment in Early Years and Phonics. Claire also works in partnership with the Bournville Teaching School Alliance, mentoring newly appointed head teachers and helping them implement operational systems, such as school self-evaluation and monitoring plans. Claire has also worked to establish the SSP (St Francis & Stirchley Partnership) which develops continuous improvement strategies focussing on Peer-to-Peer reviews, moderation and effective collaboration. Claire combines ongoing, hands-on experience as an Executive Headteacher with a passion for improving leadership in education.