Board of Trustees

Mark Whitby


(SEN & Pupil Premium)

I am 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. I was for 12 years Principal at The Alternative Centre for Education (ACE), a 5-16 Special School in Brighton and Hove, where I also worked as an interim head of three mainstream secondary schools. In 2012 I set up my own business – Acuity Education Ltd – and have 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. I am a qualified leadership coach and  my current contacts include being a Specialist Adviser for New Schools Network and co-ordinating the start-up of two new free schools.

Mr Mark Anderson
Vice Chair

I worked as a lawyer in London for 20 years. I now work part time as a garden designer and own a small holiday house business in the Scottish Highlands. I have 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

I have been a school governor for many years, serving both as chair of governors at a primary school and the chair of trustees at a secondary academy. I am 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 I now work on a freelance basis providing a range of services and have also trained and practise 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.

Mrs Ann Mee


I have 30+ years’ experience as CEO/COO and I was a Partner/COO with two strategic consulting firms. My reputation and experience was developed in banking and insurance. In recent years I have applied embryo board remits and specialised in drafting operational frameworks. My strategic understanding has successfully implemented projects in start-up and long established organisations where constitutional governance and compliance need to run through decision making, execution and communication to multiple stakeholders.
I am highly credible with senior colleagues and stakeholders and drive change through insight, influence and cultural awareness through the engagement of staff. By default, I have considerable experience in managing conflict and resistance as an ingredient in many change leadership programmes/projects, at all levels. Frequently I have mentored key individuals towards a different leadership style.
I have a track record of supporting companies who are required to correspond with regulatory entities, on a range of issues.
I am a highly articulate and effective communicator.

Miss Natalie De Silva


I have served in the education sector in London for two decades, initially as a secondary History and RE teacher, and then as a primary school teacher, headteacher and executive headteacher. I have created over-subscribed primary free schools, achieved successful Ofsted inspections, and been part of teams to turn around underperforming schools. In 2016, I established my own education consultancy to support schools in the UK and abroad and I derive great pleasure from helping other school leaders develop their schools.