Board of Trustees

Mark Whitby


Mark Whitby is a former Head Teacher of Alternative Provision, Special Education and Mainstream Schools, with particular expertise in Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, leadership coaching, staffing and finance. He was for 12 years Principal at The Alternative Centre for Education (ACE), a 5-16 Special School in Brighton and Hove, where he also worked as an interim head of three mainstream secondary schools. In 2012 he set up his own business – Acuity Education Ltd – and has been working as a freelance consultant ever since, starting out as Executive Head of the West Sussex Alternative Provision College (WSAPC) and Associate CEO of Orchard Hill College Academy Trust. Mark is a qualified leadership coach and his current contacts include being a Specialist Adviser for New Schools Network and co-ordinating the start-up of two new free schools.

Mike Atkinson
Finance Trustee

Mike Atkinson is a qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience. Mike has worked for large National accountancy firms such as Baker Tilley and now runs his own accountancy firm specialising in small and medium sized enterprises. Mike has successful experience across all areas of accountancy and finance from audit to compliance and production of company accounts for a wide variety of businesses.

Ann Dempsey

Ann Dempsey has over 30 years’ experience in the education sector. She also has 20 years’ experience of working as a senior leader in schools. Throughout this time her expertise was student welfare and safeguarding. Ann is trained to the highest of education safeguarding practices. She brings this experience and expertise to E21C, ensuring that safeguarding our students is at the heart of our work.

Mr Mark Anderson
Vice Chair

Mark Anderson worked as a lawyer in London for 20 years. He now works part time as a garden designer and owns a small holiday house business in the Scottish Highlands. He has been a Governor of several schools in Bromley over the last six years, gaining particular experience in governance and improving standards in teaching and learning.”

Mr Paul Featherstone

Mr David McKivett

A school governor for many years, who has served both as chair of governors at a primary school and the chair of trustees at a secondary academy, David is committed to comprehensive education as the best way to maximise the potential of all pupils.  With a legal background and many years experience in the travel industry negotiating and drafting contracts, dealing with intellectual property matters and managing both corporate and financial services compliance he now works on a freelance basis providing a range of services and has also trained and practises as a lay funeral celebrant.

Mr Richard DeFriend


Until I retired in 2013 I spent my whole career in higher education, firstly at the University of Kent where I was, successively, a senior lecturer in law; then head of the law school, and finally Pro Vice Chancellor with responsibility for, among other things, establishing links with secondary schools and tertiary colleges across the whole county. From 1998 till my retirement I was a member of the College of Law’s executive board on which I was responsible for academic standards and quality assurance,  Director of its largest centre in Bloomsbury, and Professor of Legal Education. On my retirement, the College (now University) of Law awarded me an emeritus professorship. I have also served on a number of non-executive boards, including the governing bodies of Thanet and Mid-Kent Colleges; and the Kent Institute of Art and Design, where I was chair of governors. In that capacity I helped to lead KIAD’s merger with its counterpart in Surrey to create what is now the University for the Creative Arts. From 2014 until I stepped down in July 2018, I was chair of governors at Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton which is part of the Ark Academy chain.

Mrs Claire Singleton


I qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and worked for two well known regional firms.  I specialised in employment law and, in time, took on the roles of staff partner and managing partner.  During the course of my career, I advised and worked with a wide range of clients including small and large businesses, charities and educational establishments. I developed and presented many training courses for HR and line managers. I retired in April 2015.I have served as a longstanding governor at Coopers  and more recently at Mead Road Infant School. I was a trustee of the William Willett Learning Trust.During my spare time, I sing in a local choir, enjoy walking and spending time with my grand daughters.