top of page


Paul Kirkwood 3_edited.png
Head Shot.jpeg
R Aylig.jpg

James Hargrave (Chair of Trustees)

James is the IT Director of St John's College, University of Cambridge. St John's one of the largest of the constituent colleges of the University and James is responsible for the strategic leadership and operational management of IT across the college site and other buildings. He previously held senior IT management positions at University College London and the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. He has a degree in Theology.

James was the Chair of Governors at Stradbroke CE Primary School from 2006-2015 and was chair of the federation between Laxfield and Stradbroke since its creation in 2015 until 2018. He was a National Leader of Governance between 2016 and 2020 and supported Chairs and governing bodies across East Anglia. 

James is heavily involved in the local community in Stradbroke and is Vice-Chairman and Secretary of the Stradbroke Courthouse and Library Trust. He is also involved with a local community radio station Radio Stradbroke, and is Chair of Stradbroke Parish Council.

Nancy Ford (Vice-Chair of Trustees, Chair of HR Committee)

Nancy has a degree in law and following obtaining that qualification went on to work as both a solicitor, where she prepared and reviewed extensive documentation and pleadings, and as a barrister specialising in the fields of domestic abuse and child protection.  Following on from that work, she went on to do tribunal representation and appeals.


She has extensive experience in board level representation and chairing.  She has sat on boards at local, area and national levels and has been both a member and chair of NHS complaints panels.  She also spent a number of years on the board of a not for profit Housing Association spending a lot of that time working in the area of strategic planning.


Nancy is actively involved in the family business and has also supported her local community by serving on the Eye Town Council where she spent a number of years as Chair of the Finance and Governance committee.  She is a past mayor of the town, a trustee of the Grammar School Trust and very involved in a number of other local organisations and charities.

Thomas Jarrett (Finance and Audit Committee member)

Thomas is currently the Business Manager at Thomas Mills High School (TMHS); an oversubscribed, Ofsted outstanding and high achieving 11-18 converter academy. As a member of the Senior Management Team, he is the academies Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all financial matters as well as premises, capital projects, management of support staff and income generation.

Prior to joining TMHS in 2012 Thomas primarily worked in industry within business development and marketing roles. He has managed sales teams, factories and even a winery.

At board level, past experience includes as a trustee of the Suffolk Education Business Partnership, trustee of the Framlingham & District Development Trust and as a member representative on the Suffolk Tourism Partnership.  

Thomas holds a BA (Hons) in Politics, an MBA with distinction and a Diploma in Management Consultancy. Since 2010, he has been a foundation governor at Ss. Peter & Paul Primary School in Eye.

Melanie Barrow (CEO)

Melanie started teaching in 2002 after completing a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, and her PGCE. She became a Headteacher in 2007 and has a sustained, highly successful track record of school improvement. As a National Leader of Education she has worked with vulnerable schools supporting system leadership.

She has a long held interest in special Educational Needs and has a Masters Degree in Special Needs/ Inclusive Education.  Her research focuses included researching effective strategies to cater for Autistic pupils.

Melanie has acted as an Ambassador for Headship for the National College of School Leadership and has a particular interest in Initial Teacher Training, leading in this area and establishing links with various local providers.

She often acts in the Executive Headteacher role across several schools including to support schools in Special Measures.  She was the leader of Stradbroke Primary when it received NTCL Designated Support school status.  She lead several schools to Outstanding judgements.

Melanie passionately believes in the transformative value of education on the life changes of every child.  She strives to develop equality of educational opportunity for all and inclusivity is a central focus of schools she leads.

She was a founder member of the All Saints Schools Trust and has been CEO of the Trust since its inception in 2018.


Jill Wright (HR Committee member)

Jill has an extensive experience of education, from training as a teacher in the 1960s at Bishop Lonsdale College of Education  to 23 years as headteacher of three very different primary schools.Her work on post graduate diplomas in education at the Cambridge  Institute and the UEA led to a secondment across primary schools in Suffolk developing Records of Achievement, training future senior leaders  and chairing a group to produce a curriculum document for teachers in early years settings across the County.

Upon retirement in 2006 her interest in school improvement continued through providing support to acting head teachers and as a governor at three primary schools with six years as Chair of Governors at All Saints CEVAP Laxfield.

Apart from educational interests Jill has a lifelong love of boating on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads and has served  on the Broads Local Access Forum. She enjoys researching the history of Broadland and has an ever growing collection of books relating to this.

As a trustee Jill's  experience would enable her to have  total commitment to help develop outstanding and ground breaking education in the school communities.



Peter Robinson (Finance & Audit Committee member)

Peter is currently a Relationship Director, Real Estate for Barclays Bank in the Eastern region. He has worked in financial services for over 20 years across East Anglia. During this time, he has supported clients starting up in business, acquisition, growth and succession planning. Providing finance and other services across a variety of industries with the last seven years in the real estate sector.


Out of work, Peter has a keen interest in cycling, keeping fit and exploring the Suffolk countryside where he has grown up with his family.


As a trustee, he hopes his business and financial experience will contribute to the trust being successful and forward thinking for the benefit of all pupils across all of the schools.

Paul Kirkwood (Learning & Achievement Committee member)

Paul is a business development professional for a Tier 1 construction company. He manages the new business team across a wide geographic area, which includes East Anglia, and is responsible for building long-term strategic alliances.

He has a degree in English Literature and a background in PR, marketing and communication, which provides a fresh perspective when thinking about the construction industry – and indeed education.

Paul has two children and has been a parent governor for five years, before making the leap to Trustee. He remains enthusiastic in representing the voice of the parent, whilst ensuring that our children are the real driving force behind our ‘why’.


In between undertaking charitable work for the MS Society and Cancer Research UK, Paul enjoys nothing more than a good book and an excellent conversation.

Ben Sear (Chair - Finance & Audit Committee)

Ben is a founder and the Managing Director of a small financial advisory practice working with clients to offer advice and solutions for a wide range of problems looking after clients across England. Ben is responsible for the regulatory and financial reporting, compliance monitoring and training and competence areas of the business.


Ben was Chair of governors at Great Whelnetham Primary before it became an academy and now sits and offers his support as Chair of Finance.




Russell Ayling (Vice Chair of Trustees, Chair - Learning & Achievement Committee)

Russell trained as a secondary school teacher of English and drama in the 1970’s. He has held a number of senior management positions but latterly was the Headteacher of two different secondary schools in London and Essex. He has a Certificate in Education, Bachelor of Arts degree and is a Master of Arts (education). He was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Winchester for services to education.

Russell works as an independent consultant  and school improvement partner. Russell has been chair of a governing body, chair of trustees of a MAT and a member of another MAT. Russell has held a wide range of community positions over the years. He has been a police lay visitor and a member of a prison Independent Monitoring Board. Russell was chairman of a carnival committee in Surrey which raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

Russell is currently a councillor on Stradbroke Parish Council.

As a member of the then, Masque Theatre Company of Surrey,  he performed in many plays raising money for the historic houses in Surrey, including those of the National Trust.




Compliance Information for Members and Trustees

bottom of page