Learn-AT Trustees

The Trust Board has overall responsibility and ultimate decision-making authority for all the work of the Academy Trust, including the establishment and maintenance of the Academies.


Non-Executive Trustees:

Executive Trustees:

Gill Weston (Chair of Trustees)

School Leadership and Improvement

Gill Weston is a freelance education consultant with over 30 years’ experience in education. She works predominantly with leadership teams in schools to support collaborative learning and development. She was previously Assistant Director for Education, Learning and Skills at Leicestershire County Council with strategic oversight of 0-19 education, Early Years provision, school organisation and admissions, governor services, school improvement and SEN and alternative provision.


Jeremy Benson (Vice Chair and Chair of Finance)

Educational Management Leadership and Governance

Jeremy was a governor at Meadowdale Primary for fifteen years, stepping down in Summer 2016 at the same time as his son finished Year 6. He is a lifelong civil servant working on education. He enjoys spending time with the family, listening to music and watching football, sometimes all at the same time.


Mark Christison


Mark is a Chartered Accountant and senior, experienced Finance Director with Prestige Park Homes, based in Rushden, Northants. Experienced in the finance and commercial sectors, he has a wealth of experience in mergers and acquisitions and the fiscal management of large, complex, multi-site organisations. He sits on the Finance and Audit Committee.


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 Packer

SEND Specialist

Natalie Packer 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.


Peter Rowbotham 

Finance and Governance

Peter has a background in Local Government (including Partnerships). He has been a Governor of Ridgeway Primary Academy for 17 years, recently as Chair. He has also been a PTA member at Meadowdale Primary School and Club Secretary & Safeguarding Officer for Market Harborough Rugby Club.


Carolyn Sanders 

Chair of the Local Governing Body Chairs' Group

Carolyn Sanders is retired but has a professional background in business having been a director of sales and marketing. She is the Chair of the Local Governing Body of St Andrew’s CE Primary School in North Kilworth. She has been elected by the Chairs of the Local Governing Bodies of Learn-AT Academies and will serve a two year term as the Chairs’ representative on the Trust Board.



Stef Edwards (Learn-AT CEO)

Stef Edwards was Headteacher of Great Bowden Academy for eleven years and is a designated National College of Teaching and Leadership National Leader of Education which involves working with colleague school leaders to support school improvement.  Stef is a primary English specialist. She is a strong advocate for the use of evidence from educational research to support high quality professional learning for teachers and school staff - to secure the best possible education for all pupils in our schools. She has a Masters degree in Education Research and Inquiry and is studying for a professional doctorate, investigating the leadership of professional learning to support the development of research-informed teaching across a network of schools. 


Emma Tayler (Chair of the Head’s Group)

Emma Tayler has worked in education for 30 years, starting her career in Milton Keynes. She ran a large, successful designated special unit for children with moderate learning difficulties for 10 years in Northamptonshire before moving to Germany to the role of Deputy Headteacher in a British Forces School. Since returning to the UK in 2010, she has been Headteacher of Cottingham CE Primacy School in Northamptonshire for 6 years and is currently the Headteacher of Market Harborough CE Academy. Special educational needs has always been an area of interest, in which she holds a Masters Degree.


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