Governance and Directors
Christian has over 30 years of commercial experience gained within the professional services and property sectors with a focus on business development, innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and media. Within these sectors he has held senior operational and leadership roles holding full P&L accountability, strategic development and delivery, business development and financial budgeting and accountability. His leadership skills were developed in early career as an army officer and have been enhanced in other leadership roles within the charity, NFP and public sectors.
Christian is also Chair of the Wave Multi Academy Trust, a Member of the Marine Biological Association and Academic Mentor with the University of Exeter Business School.
Ian has been closely associated with school governance since 2010, having specialised in holding leaders to account for academic results and ensuring school finances are deployed to provide the best possible outcomes for children. During this period, he has held the position of Chair of Governors for one of our Trust’s schools. Ian has fully embraced the role and spent a considerable amount of time in schools with head teachers, teachers, business managers and children. This has given him a comprehensive understanding of how schools are run. Through owning his own business and school experience, he has strong strategic planning skills and likes to look at the bigger picture. Ian is the link trustee for disadvantaged pupils.
Both of Ian’s daughters attended a primary school within the Trust. He started his own estate agency and lettings business 20 years ago and he now employs 21 local people, his award winning business is regarded as one of the market leading property businesses in the South West. Ian is a member of the Plymouth Area Business Council, the Plymouth Area Property Professionals Association, a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents and a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor. Ian gains great satisfaction from supporting schools and finds it very rewarding giving some of his free time to an organisation that’s sole purpose is to provide children with the best education and childhood experiences possible.
CEO and Director
Stuart has been involved in education for over 20 years, starting as a teaching assistant in Shute village primary school in Devon. He then qualified as a teacher in 1998 and has taught in schools in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire. Stuart started his first headship in 2006 at Beaminster St Mary’s Primary School, which had a special needs base for children with moderate learning difficulties attached to it, before being promoted to Blackbrook Primary School in Taunton. From 2014-2016, he worked for Ofsted as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) in the South West and Midlands. In 2016, he began working for E-ACT, a Multi Academy Trust with 28 schools across England, becoming a Regional Education Director based in the Midlands working closely with 11 primary and secondary schools.
Having worked in the Midlands for 4 years, Stuart was keen to secure a leadership post closer to home in Devon and was delighted to be appointed as the CEO of Connect Academy Trust in 2018. During his first year, all 5 schools had highly successful Ofsted inspections, ensuring every child in the trust receives an education which is at least ‘good’. In addition, the pupils and teachers achieved some fantastic outcomes and readiness for secondary school in 2019. Connect Academy Trust enjoys working with a number of other local schools and organisations and has a clear ambition to further improve the education at their existing schools and grow the Trust, by welcoming other schools to be part of the successes already achieved.
Giles was a Specialist Leader of Education at Sir Robert Geffery’s VA C of E Primary School, Cornwall and is currently working as a consultant and lecturer at the Learning Institute. He is also East Cornwall Hub leader and steering committee member for the Learn, Teach, Lead RE (LTLRE) project. He has collaborated for five years with academics at Exeter University on two projects for ‘RE-flect: A program to foster metacognition in the RE classroom’ (Funder: The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation) at the University of Exeter (www.re-flect.org.uk) and the RE-searchers project (a research-led curriculum development project funded by Culham St. Gabriel’s Trust). As the co-creator of the RE-searchers approach he is interested in promoting critical, dialogic Religious Education which re-conceives pupils and teachers as co-researchers into the nature of religion/s. Giles is the chair of the Standards Committee.
Sam grew up in Bristol but studied Law at Plymouth University. After graduation he returned to Bristol and worked as a Marketing Manager for NatWest. He retrained as a teacher in 2000 and trained, and subsequently worked at, Thornbury for 6 years. He then worked as a Business Analyst at the Land Registry for 5 years and is now the Managing Director and owner of a small photography company.
Lee has worked in the education finance sector for the last 8 years, having previously worked in other local authority finance teams for 3 years including the Children's social care accountancy team. His specific education knowledge began when he became a Plymouth City Council Schools Finance Officer, supporting Plymouth schools with their finances, a role which he had for 4 years. This role gave him a vast knowledge of education finance and school budgeting and monitoring. He left Plymouth City Council for Plymouth CAST, a multi-academy trust of 35 Catholic schools from Penzance to Bournemouth, where he undertook the role of Finance Manager and was heavily involved in the transfer of 35 schools to academy status - the biggest one-off transfer in the country. In June 2015 he took up the role of Business Manager for Sir John Hunt Community College. He sits on the Senior Leadership team for Sir John Hunt where he oversees most of the non-educational running of the school and ensures the educational needs of pupils and well resourced. Lee is chair of the Audit and Operations Committees.
My background brings with it a high degree of customer service and support skills gained over years of working in service based industries. Other roles included the management and interpretation of legal documents (land registration) requiring attention to detail and a high regard for data protection. Facilities, Health, Safety, Environmental and Team Management skills are backed up by relevant qualifications including NEBOSH General Certificates in Occupational Health & Safety (NGC1, 2 and 3 all with distinction), NEBOSH National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management (FC1 and FC2 with distinction). I currently hold a Technical Membership in the Institute of Safety & Health (Tech IOSH) which will be upgraded to Graduate membership as I am working towards a Diploma in Occupational Safety & Health. This in turn will meet the academic requirements of Chartered status (CMIOSH). Andrew is the link trustee for safeguarding.
Tom is the CEO of YMCA Plymouth and Director of Education at Discovery College, both of which operate as charitable social enterprises in their locality, based in Plymouth. Tom has also been the Lead Safeguarding Officer for the YMCA for the past 10-years, networking with the Local Authority and the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board. He is a member of the Plymouth Area Business Council (PABC) and Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on a Local Governing Body for 11-years (4 years as Vice-Chair) prior to joining the CONNECT Multi-Academy Trust Board. Tom has successfully won many grants and tenders over the years to improve the educational provision in the local community, including establishing Discovery College in 2010, a sustainable Post-16 academic model which supports vulnerable young people in our city, demonstrating a track record in community investment and social impact.
Tom's main role within the Connect Board is to oversee Safeguarding and Staff Health & Wellbeing.
Photo and pen portrait to follow