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Our Trustees

Gavin Collins

In his day-to-day job, Gavin works in a governance and strategy role, primarily with young adults and children, focusing on multi agency working in safeguarding, diversion and risk management. Gavin is heavily involved in local youth activities with Barming Youth Football Club. He supports Barming Primary School in his role as a Parent Governor and is the PE monitoring Governor. He sits as Vice Chair on the Finance and Premises Committee of the trust and trust-wide Safeguarding lead.

Ashley Crittenden

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.

David Johnson

Chris Knight

Chris is a Regional Sales Manager with a nationwide company, having worked in Sales and Marketing for most of his career.  A resident of Barming all his life, he attended Barming Primary school himself, as do both his children now. Chris also manages one of the Barming Youth football teams. He sits on the Trust Pay and Personnel committee. 

Anne Mailing

Anne is Co Chair of the Trust Board, Chair of the Pay and Personnel Committee and a member of Allington Local Governing Board (since 2010). Anne has been involved with Education in one form or another for the majority of her working life. More recently she was Head of a Local Authority’s Governor Services Team so has in-depth experience of governance, legislation and procedures relevant to both maintained schools and academy trusts, as well as staff management, finance and budgeting. 

Lynn Salter

Lynn has had a long career in education with a specialist focus on SEND. She has recently retired as a headteacher of a local Special School which achieved an Outstanding judgement from OFSTED under her leadership. Lynn has had a role on the executive board of Kent Special Educational Needs Trust (KSENT) which works across all Kent special schools. As a Kent Leader of Education (KLE) she has supported and mentored headteachers both new to post and through identified school projects around improvement. Lynne remains passionate about all children receiving the best possible education as a foundation for life's journey. She is the Chair of the Finance, Premises and Audit Committee.

Lucy Shimmin

Lucy is an accomplished educational professional with 14 years of experience, currently serving as a leader in a secondary school. Her areas of expertise include staffing, timetabling, and school leadership. Known for her strategic approach and effective management skills, Lucy has made significant contributions to the operational excellence of her institution. She is currently enhancing her leadership abilities by completing an NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship), underscoring her commitment to excellence in educational leadership.

Nigel Smetham

Nigel is a retired water industry professional and senior manager with skills in staff management, budget planning and monitoring, leadership and chairing.  He has specialist expertise in management of compliance, governance and assurance procedures.  Nigel is also a Trustee and has been Chair of Trustees since 2013. Previously an experienced National Leader of Governance, Nigel continues to support governing bodies at other local schools as a Local Leader of Governance.

Ben Stepney

Ben is a solicitor with skills and experience in change management, corporate governance, education law, monitoring, negotiation, HR and risk management.  He has knowledge and experience of multi-academy trusts from a work perspective.