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Trust Team

Our Trust Members

Claire Barnard, Paul Webster, Lesley Ainsworth, Dame Helen Hyde

Our Trust Board of Directors

Claire Barnard - strategic/leadership

Claire Barnard

Vice Chair of Board of Directors  - Standards Committee

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022                               

I have been Chair of Governors of St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) since 2007. In that time STAGS has transformed into an academy and was the sole founder member of Atlas Multi-Academy Trust. I have a vision for educational excellence that is reflected in the values of the schools in the trust. I have strengths in building consensus across stakeholders and developing school-community relationships to help prepare students for the future world. 
I bring knowledge, challenge and enthusiasm to the role.  My approach involves sharing best practice and celebrating achievements, while also monitoring performance and ensuring that we are continuously improving what we do for our students.

I have a wide interest and experience in different aspects of education.  I qualified as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge in the 1980s and developed my teaching career in a variety of roles, in both the private and state sectors.  More recently I have taken on external roles which have broadened my focus to the education system beyond school. I currently sit as an appeal panel member for Schools’ Admissions in Hertfordshire and lead a number of community activities and programmes.

My daughters both attended STAGS.  Through my early involvement with the school, I recognised the importance of teachers, parents and local communities working together on educational issues. I was originally elected as a parent governor in 2001 and then appointed a community governor in 2005.

As a governor, I have worked to establish strong relationships with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise.  I also steer decisions constructively and develop solutions that we all agree on.  I have been involved in many strategic leadership appointments and see my key role as developing strong and united teams with an unwavering focus on educational excellence.

One of my early and most important tasks as Chair was to design and lead the successful interview process for the current Head Teacher of STAGS. I was also responsible for steering the Governing Body through the most recent OFSTED inspection, which judged the school to be outstanding in all areas.  The leadership and management of the school were particularly singled out for praise.

I led the Governing Body to consider, approve and transform STAGS into an academy, working with a wide range of stakeholders who held many different views but who were all committed to making the right decisions. It was a great credit to us all when the DfE subsequently asked us to take responsibility for a number of other schools as a Multi-Academy Trust.

At Atlas we have seen an improvement in the quality of education for the students across all our schools. It has been both enjoyable and rewarding to work with the other board members, who together bring a wealth of experience and share the same vision for excellence.  I am delighted to be a Director of Atlas and look forward to us moving from strength to strength as we continue to make a difference for our students.

Paul Webster - finance/primary

Paul Webster

Board Director  - Resources, Audit & Risk Committee (Chair)

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022

My name is Paul Webster and I have been a Governor since 1996. During the whole of my term of office I have also chaired the Finance and Marketing Committee.  My experience as a School Governor started some five years prior to this date when I became a Governor of my children’s primary school, Oakwood School in St Albans, a position I still hold. My motivation for putting myself forward for the position of Board Director was to bring a more commercial view, which was required with the advent of Local Management of Schools.

By profession I am a Chartered Accountant and recently retired as a partner with Mercer & Hole a local firm based in St Albans.  My responsibilities within the practice not only includes normal professional work dealing with clients but also that of being one of the Managing Partners of the practice responsible for managing 150 members of staff over three separate locations.

My connection with STAGS goes back many years initially with my sister attending the school in the days when it was a grammar school.  Subsequent to this my three daughters have all attended STAGS and as a parent I have always valued the contribution of the school made to their development.

As an employer of graduates and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Education and Training committee I have a vested interest in ensuring that the students coming out of schools and universities are the right quality and aptitude to take their place in the business world and society generally.

In addition to the above I am also a keen golfer, ornithologist and aviculturist. I am also a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

Paul Snook - safeguarding/HR/standards

Paul Snook

 Board Director  - Standards Committee (Chair)

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022

Paul is a former teacher and education consultant now retired. For the past 25 years he has worked on projects in the education sector supporting a number of Department for Education initiatives ranging from developing effective use of ICT in schools, supporting initiatives to promote post 16 education and to building leadership capacity.

He has 17 years experience as a school governor covering both Primary and Secondary education.

Robert Foster - curriculum/employment

Bob Foster

 Board Director  - Standards Committee (Vice Chair)

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022

Service: Estates Committee. Chaired and served on the  Curriculum, Assessments and Standards Committee

I have spent my entire working life as a teacher in secondary education.  I became an Assistant Headteacher in 1989 and worked in a large multi ethnic mixed comprehensive school in Ealing.  In recent years I have taken the opportunity to work more locally specialising in short term contracts and supply.

Margaret Chapman - Executive Headteacher

Margaret Chapman

I began my teaching career in 1988 in north London, becoming Head of Geography and leading assessment in two schools, introducing a range of measures to track student performance and raise standards, prior to my appointment as Deputy Head of The Priory School in Hitchin. 

We introduced the raising boys’ achievement programme and having successfully written Specialism bids in 2003, the school profile and outcomes gained considerable strength, culminating in an Ofsted Good Rating. During this time I began school improvement work with the London Challenge and within the Local Authority which I continue to do today.

I have been Headteacher at St Albans Girls’ School since 2010 and following an Outstanding judgement in January 2013, I led the team to further raise standards and challenge underperformance.  Appointed as a National Leader in Education and National Pupil Premium Assessor, myself and my team have supported a number of schools to raise standards. SEND provision is devolved within Hertfordshire and I lead the Higher Needs allocation for the St Albans and Harpenden areas for all young people aged 0-25. In addition, I am Governor at a Local PRU Academy as well as being a Board Member of the local Teaching School’s Alliance and Education Advisor with the DFE. Most recently, I have become Executive Headteacher of ATLAS MAT. 

Rachael Kenningham - Chair of Directors, standards

Rachael Kenningham

 Chair of Board of Directors

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022           

ATLAS schools are deeply rooted in the communities they serve and work tirelessly to prepare students to thrive in an increasingly complex world. As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I feel incredibly proud to be supporting our schools and families in this important work. 

I am the daughter of two teachers, one who later became Head, and watching them work over the years always gave me an enormous respect for the teaching profession.  As a parent Governor at STAGS, I learned more about what it takes to build and sustain an outstanding school. I have always felt incredibly lucky that my own daughter was able to benefit from such a thorough education and want all ATLAS families to benefit as we have. 

As well as my passion for making world class education, I bring 20 years professional experience in public policy related roles, where I have helped a wide range of organisations understand and navigate Governments, working both at Westminster and Brussels at a senior level.

I graduated with an Honours Degree in French from the University of Birmingham in 1993. 

I will be the Governing Body’s representative for Modern Foreign Languages and Government and Politics and will serve on two committees - Curriculum, Assessment and Standards and Personnel and Student Wellbeing.

Paul Lerwill - land/estates

Paul Lerwill

 Board Director - Resources, Audit & Risk Committee (Vice Chair)

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022

I was born and brought up just outside St. Albans.  I am a qualified teacher and worked for many years teaching students with learning difficulties, eventually becoming Deputy Head and then acting head of a special school.  During this time I completed a MEd. in Special Education. 
For many years I was a member of the St. Albans Community Health Council and was Chairman for three years.
I then worked as a senior manager in the Health Service and at an FE college with responsibility for a wide range of support and premises staff.  During this time I completed a MA in Educational Management.
I finished my career working at St. Albans Girls’ School for 18 years as Business Manager and was acting deputy head for three years.  During this time I completed an Advanced Diploma in School Business Management.
I retired from fulltime work in 2017 and now live in Hemel Hempstead where I have more time to spend with my wife, grandchildren and dog.  

Claire Robins - standards/staffing 

Claire Robins

Board Director - Standards Committee

Appointed: 2nd July 2018

Term of Office:  2nd July 2018 - 1st July 2022

Claire taught at a number of schools in Hertfordshire before becoming head of Sir John Lawes in 2006.  In 2008, Sir John Lawes became a National Support School and Claire was made a National Leader of Education, since when she has led on school to school support work with several local schools, leading to the setting up of the Scholars Education Trust, of which she is CEO, in 2011. 
Claire has sat on the Regional Schools’ Commissioner’s Head Teacher Board for the NWLSC region since its inception and is also on the board of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust, which is setting up a new secondary free school (Katherine Warington School) in Harpenden.  She is a founding trustee of HertsCam Network, a group which aims to improve teaching through teacher leadership and also a member of the Executive Committee of UCET (The Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers).  Claire was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2018 for Services to Education.

Mary Newman - safeguarding/standards

Mary Newman

 Board Director - Standards Committee

Appointed: 1st May 2018

Term of Office:  1st May 2018 - 30th April 2022

My name is Mary Newman, I became a Director of the Atlas Multi Academy Trust on May 1st 2018 with a specific focus on safeguarding and standards.  My passion for quality education for all pupils has been invaluable in this role as it has enabled me to make a real contribution to the wide range of schools in the Atlas Multi Academy Trust.

I am also Governor of Beech Hyde School on May 1st 2018 where I focus on pupil premium pupils and the Science curriculum.  This has been a rewarding role as the School has grown so much within the Atlas umbrella and it has enabled me to give back to the village community which has provided me with support and  friendship for the last thirty years.

I graduated from Birmingham University with a Mathematics degree and gained my MSc in Operational Research and Management shortly afterwards.  I spent eight years working for Cadburys at Bournville in Operational Research, Marketing and Data Analysis. This developed my interest in the use of statistics to inform decisions and my understanding of the importance of accurate, informative data. 

 We then moved south and I spent eight years as Assistant Director Management Services for ManuLife Insurance.  In this role I recruited staff at all levels and, as a result, I have a great interest in the importance of education as a preparation for the real world and the development of the life skills of all pupils.

We had our two wonderful sons and I became a teacher at St Albans Girls’ School where I had a really fulfilling twenty years becoming Deputy Head Teacher before taking early retirement in 2017.   It was here that my love of education flourished and where I learned the true importance of ‘Every Child Matters.’              

Oyekemi (Kemi) Bolarin

Kemi Bolarin. 

 Board Director - Resources, Risk and Audit Committee 

Appointed: 9th July 2020

Term of Office:  9th July 2020 - 8th July 2021

My name is Kemi Bolarin. 

I am a chartered accountant (ACA) and a qualified corporate treasurer (AMCT) with over 25 years’ experience in the banking and corporate sectors, in various treasury and finance roles.

In addition to my corporate experience, I served as a Governor at the Shenley Primary School until my resignation in 2016. During my time as a school governor, a time I thoroughly enjoyed & found rewarding,  I chaired the Resources committee which gave me an insight into the inner workings of school finances & budgeting. 

I’ve been around education all my life - my father was a university professor and my mother was a primary school teacher. My family background ignited my passion for education and the transformation that a good education can make to a person’s life.

My desire to serve has grown over the years and I look forward to contributing as a Director of the Atlas Multi Academy Trust.

I will also be serving on the Resources, Audit and Risk Committee.