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Our Leadership Team

Ashley Crittenden - Executive Headteacher/CEO

Ashley has 28 years of experience working in education, having taught and been a leader in several primary schools.   She was Deputy Head at a large primary school before becoming Headteacher at West Borough Primary School in 2006. Ashley is an experienced coach and has supported leaders in primary schools in Kent and other Local Authorities.  Ashley is currently Chair of KALE (Kent Association of Leaders in Education) and took up the position of Executive Headteacher for the Orchard Academy Trust in September 2023.

Carina Cuddington - CFO

Carina began her finance career in private practice, obtaining her AAT and ACA qualifications. Now an FCA with over 12 years experience in the Academy sector, there's not many situations that she hasn't seen or had to manage. Carina holds the CFO role in multiple Trusts as well as providing adhoc support and guidance in all areas of Academy Finance and Operations.

Jo Wimpenny - HR Officer

Jo has worked within the education sector for over 17 years. She spent 4 years as a Family Liaison Officer for a large Primary School in Medway, followed by 9 years as an Education Welfare Officer for both Kent and Medway Council, before returning to working within in a school office setting in 2017. She has skills and knowledge in people management and law as well as many years experience within education. She was appointed to the post of Trust HR Officer in April 2023. 

Carolyn Howson - Headteacher, Allington Primary School

Carolyn has worked in Primary Education for over 20 years. Before joining Allington she was Acting Deputy Principal at Meopham Community Academy. Carolyn has experience teaching across both Key Stage 1 and 2. She considers it a privilege to work in a profession where we witness first hand the children's amazing capacity for growth and are responsible for moulding the next generation.

Chris Laker - Headteacher, Barming Pre-School and Primary School

Chris has 20 years of experience working in education.   During this time, he has worked in several schools as a teacher and a leader.   He became a Deputy Headteacher in a small village school and was later promoted to Head of School when his school federated with another small village school.   In September 2016, Chris joined Barming Primary School as Head of School on its journey to becoming a ‘Good’ school.   In May 2019, the Barming Primary School Team were successful in achieving an Ofsted grading of ‘Good’, in all areas.   In January 2021, he became Headteacher.