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Membership of the Interim Executive Board for Heathfield Community School.

Claire Emery – Chair.

As a governance practitioner, Claire has 10+ years’ experience chairing governing boards for a mix of multi-academy trusts, interim academy boards and LA maintained schools serving pupils aged 2 - 19. She has a track record of improving performance and outcomes for pupils in her leadership of, and support for boards facing challenge educationally and/or financially.


Professionally, Claire is the Managing Director of an education support services company, a CIPD qualified learning and development facilitator and an accredited coach and mentor. Claire’s areas of expertise all relate to board governance and compliance. She is skilled in board evaluation; board recruitment, onboarding, and training; board chair induction; change and project management; company secretary and governance professional support.


Neville Coles.

Until March 31st, 2022, Neville Coles was the CEO of a highly successful Multi Academy School Trust in Southwest England – The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) – established in 2015.

In an education career spanning 34 years, he taught a range of subjects in secondary schools in Leicestershire, Hertfordshire and Somerset before becoming the Principal / Headteacher of Priory Community School (Weston-Super-Mare) in September 2007.

The school became Ofsted ‘outstanding’ on inspection in November 2014 following many years of great exam success and through the provision of a diverse curriculum, at times offering Mandarin and Latin, alongside traditional subject that were taught well each day, and extra-curricular offer such as Boat Building. The mantra was always Students First, Cherishing Staff, Serving Communities.

Whilst Neville is a teacher at heart, he has significant expertise in leading and managing highly complex organisations. As of April 2022, TPLT was nine schools, with 5,000 students and 800 staff with an annual grant income of £33million. He has a keen interest in workplace culture, believing passionately in establishing truly great client and staff relationships – what he calls ‘Raving Fans’ – and providing an exceptional ‘world-class’ service.

Neville is one of only 300 ‘National Leaders of Education’ and inspected for Ofsted for five years whilst still serving as a Headteacher. He was the Southwest ‘Teacher of the Year’ in 2006. Neville has significant coaching expertise based around the work of James Kerr (Legacy), Jim Collins (Good to Great) and his own PIGEON thinking. He thinks it is fine to 'dance on pub tables' if you 'sweep the sheds' at the end. He is currently 56 and retired with a very small ‘r’ - he is working part time with a nationwide cost consultancy business based in Exeter (COREUS) and continues to take on interesting education projects both in the UK and more recently in the UAE.

Dave Harvey.  

Dave has worked in education for over 40 years, initially as a secondary teacher, then Head of department, Head of Faculty and SLT positions at different schools.

In the past he was teacher governor at an 11 - 16 comprehensive and governor (including Chair) at his local Junior school. He moved to work for Hampshire Local Authority in 2009 as Inclusion Support Service manager - his specialism being inclusion. This role included managing teams of inclusion staff (exclusion), attendance, Elective Home Education (EHE), Children Missing Education (CME) and commissioning alternative provision. As a senior LA officer, he supported and challenged schools - primary, secondary, and special. This privileged position gave him an invaluable understanding of children, schools, and strategic education policy.

From his education experience Dave has extensive knowledge relating to – Governance, Strategic Planning, Data Analysis, Performance Management, Community Relations, Chairing Meetings, Leadership, Communication, Complaints/Grievance/Appeals, Human Resources, Decision Making, Challenging Procedures, Monitoring Decisions/Outcome/Performance, Safeguarding and Children’s Services. He also brings moderate expertise regarding Financial Management and Health and Safety.

Although Dave retired from Hampshire in September 2021, he remains president of the Association of Education Welfare Managers (AEWM) and on the national executive of the Association of Elective Home Education Professionals (AEHEP), both roles involve monthly meetings with the DfE around attendance and EHE issues.

Andrew Stoodley.  

Andrew is a highly experienced finance director having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1990. Andrew has led large disperse finance functions in several large high-profile public and private companies including Finance Director of the Electrical sector at Kingfisher plc, Group Finance Director at Darty plc, Group Financial Controller at Flybe plc and most recently Group Finance Director at C. & J. Clark International (Clarks) the international footwear brand. All roles have required high levels of commercial insight, leading internal and external reporting and all aspects of corporate finance responsibility as well as driving governance and internal controls oversight for the Boards of Directors.

In terms of Education, from 2009 to 2015 Andrew was a community governor at Princes Risborough School (PRS) an 11 - 18 secondary modern school in Buckinghamshire. Andrew was part of the team overseeing the PRS conversion to an Academy and subsequently a Director of the Academy Trust. As a governor, Andrew was Deputy chair as well as chairing the personnel committee (including the annual performance review of the Head Teacher) and was vice-chair on the finance committee.    

Andrew has recently resigned from Clarks to allow him to take some time out and evaluate future career options which will include voluntary roles to support the local community as he plans for eventual full retirement having relocated back to Taunton in 2016. Andrew is fully available in Summer 2002 while working out future options.  

Catherine Christie.  

Catherine started a career in education and training over forty years ago and has worked in higher education, further education, the department for education (DfE) and its forerunners and agencies including FEFC, LSC, YPLA and ESFA. Roles have included director of finance, clerk to corporation, regional director across three English regions. National responsibilities in ESFA have included heading up the Joint Delivery Unit to implement the government programme of area review for post 16 education and training. Following implementation of that programme, Catherine led the central [national] intervention teams in ESFA to oversee implementation of intervention and improvement in post 16 education and training, largely through collaboration across DfE and agencies to ensure policy translated into effective delivery to benefit students, and for sustainable further education and sixth form colleges in England. 

Special interests have included: funding; land-based provision; governance; leadership and management; risk, challenge, and improvement; organisational change including re-designation, reorganisation and mergers.

Since retiring Catherine continues close connection to education through governor and trustee roles. In 2012, Catherine was appointed as OBE for services to education for young people.


Gail Webb MBE

I have had a long and varied career in education. Starting as a teacher in the North West in both primary and secondary schools, becoming an Advisory Teacher for Science, deputy head teacher and head teacher for Wirral LA before moving to Halton LA to establish the new unitary authority.

Following this moved back to Wirral as Head of School Improvement  from there I became Director of Learning and Teaching for National Strategies before working in Oldham and then Leeds as Head of School Improvement. Throughout this time I was chief external adviser and a member of the BEd steering group for Liverpool Hope University.

I retired in 2015 but it was short lived and after three months I was back working as Interim Head of School Improvement for North Somerset for two years.  From 2017 until 2021 I worked initially as a School Improvement Partner and then as Head of School for The Priory Learning Trust. 

I have had a number of roles during my career and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them but first and foremost I am teacher at heart who strives with passion and commitment to ensure that all children and young people have access to high quality provision and excellent outcomes.

Clerk to the Interim Executive Board - Ros Fanshawe




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