Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Our Members & Trustees

Advantage Schools is fortunate to have a strong set of people to help us fulfill our legal and moral responsibilities.

Pen portraits of our Members & Trustees can be found below. A full list of Members, Trustees and people on our schools' Local Governing Bodies can be found here.

LYNNE  FAULKNER (Member only)
BA Hons (Lond)  MBA  Chartered Fellow CIPD
Experienced Board Member, global HR Manager and European political leader with a strong public service record as a member of the UK judiciary, local councillor  and  school governor for 25 years in seven schools - Elstow, (Vice Chair), Priory School, Hitchin (Chair),  Pirton JMI (Vice Chair), John Bunyan  Upper School (Parent), Abbey Middle, Lakeview and Brickhill Lower. Worked for Universities of Bedfordshire, Luton and London.  Was a UK Member, EU European Economic & Social Committee British Chairman of the European Union of Women, Vice Chair of Bedfordshire County Council and Children's Services Committee (220 schools) and Chair, Bedford Borough Council Policy & Resources Committee and Personnel Appeals Panel.  Chartered Fellow and Graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and Employment Tribunal Member in Bedford and London for 22 years.


Michelle Barnes is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant. She has worked for fifteen years for a specialist practice in London, with a focus on theatre production accounting. A founding Member and Trustee of the BFS, she played a major part in the original campaign, drawing on her community links to raise awareness of the school, and maintaining an oversight of the financial elements of the project. Having overseen the opening of the Bedford and Kempston Free School Trust, she has stepped back from the Trustee role to be an independent Member of the Trust.

JOANNE MOREY (Member only)

 A founder and parent Governor, with significant prior experience of school governance at two local middle schools. She is Business Manager ( Level 4 Diploma)at a local primary school, and having taken up this post soon after it opened she has extensive experience of the particular financial and operational opportunities and challenges that come with opening and growing a school.
She previously sat on BFS committees, including the Inclusion Committee with specific responsibility for oversight of the school’s Pupil Premium strategy.

LIZ ARDEN  (Member & Trustee & Chair of MAT)

Liz Arden has a BA hons degree in Law and Politics from Keele University and is  a qualified solicitor. She currently works part time for LGSS Law Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation now owned by three Councils. Her specialism is commercial property but she also deals with education work relating to academy conversions. Liz also spent 12 years in higher education teaching the Legal Practice Course and therefore has considerable experience of the practical side of teaching.
Liz was appointed as  a co-opted governor at BFS in December 2014  She is a member of the  Staffing and resources Committees Chair of the Inclusion Committee and is BFS ‘s  Safeguarding Governor.  She is also Vice Chair of  Governors at Goldington Green Academy, ( Having been Chair for four years previously ) a high-performing local lower school, recently judged again by Ofsted to be good with outstanding features. Liz has considerable experience of school governance and was heavily involved in GGA’s successful conversion to an Academy. She has recently been appointed by Bedford Borough Council as a Bedford leader of Governance She therefore knows and understands the demands of running an Academy and how to lead and drive effective governance, and has recently been asked to support another local school in this regard. Since joining BFS, Liz has been influential  in shaping the strategic planning and  priorities of the BFS Governors and has added considerable experience to the already diverse skills of the BFS governing body She will use these skills to help develop and shape good and effective governance across Advantage Schools.  

RYAN TOBIAS (Member & Trustee/Vice-Chair of MAT)

Certified NLP Practitioner (ABNLP). Experience of running own business for 8 years which has ensured a broad and diverse exposure to people and industries. Experience both leading and working in a team.  Ability to see the bigger picture and comfortable working at both strategic and operational level.  Ability to communicate at a range of levels appropriate to the audience’s needs and level of understanding. Proven problem solver, focusing and directing efforts towards achieving the required outcomes. Governor – Chair and Vice for 4 years. Good knowledge of  Key Stage 1 & 2 curriculum, Personnel Management, Finance, Budgeting, analysing strengths and weaknesses, assessment and monitoring. Produced the schools online tracking and data handling system to meet the needs of the new National Curriculum.


Liz Arden – details as above

Ryan Tobias – details as above

Ian Redpath has been a Governor of Elstow School since 2012. He is Chair of the facilities committee and Responsible Officer for Assets and Health and Safety since 2010. Ian has Royal Society of Arts certificate in supply and distribution management, RAF trade certificates in supply, distribution and air movements, studied through RAF supply & purchasing with the institute of purchasing and supply. He has good working knowledge of procurement, contracting services, financial planning, project management, performance management, recruitment, school buildings and maintenance, Health and Safety both legislation and policy.

Emma Abbey has been a governor since July 2015. She is the Governor responsible for Safeguarding and is also one of the Appraisers for the Head Teachers performance management. Emma is a qualified Secondary School teacher and hold a BA (Hons), she is a visiting Moderator for GCSE examinations and she owns her own business. She has good knowledge of marketing and public relations, project management, Key Stage 3 curriculum, equal opportunities and diversity, personnel management, safeguarding, special needs and the Ofsted process.

Lorna Godden has been a Trustee/Governor of BFS since November 2011, and a Member of the Trust since 2013. She has sat on the BFS Staffing and Resources committee as well as chairing the Exclusion panel. Lorna is a qualified secondary school teacher with 10 years’ experience working within teaching, training, learning & development and Human Resources. Roles in HR have included HR Adviser for Argos Retail Group; Training Specialist for Accenture HR Services and Training and Development Manager for The Harpur Trust. More recently Lorna was the 16-19 Education Commissioning Officer within Bedford Borough's School Improvement team.
Lorna has a BA (Hons) Business Studies with HR degree, QTS, is a Paralegal in Employment Law and has been a serving Magistrate on the Bedfordshire Bench since January 2008.

Nigel Syson FCA , BSc  has been the Chair of Governors of BFS  since 2012.  He was heavily involved in the pre-opening phase of the school, including managing aspects of the relationship with Bedford Borough.
Prior to joining BFS Nigel was a Governor at Wootton Upper School for 12 years where he was Chair of Staffing & Resources and was involved in the school’s conversion to academy status. Given his significant professional and school experience, Nigel was involved in the implementation of the BFS accounting systems and sat on the BFS Staffing & Resources and Teaching & Learning Committees, as well as the Discipline Committee.
In his day job Nigel is an advisor to family businesses with turnovers up to £25 million.  This work deals with all aspects of companies business lifecycles and Nigel is heavily involved in succession planning. Previously a Director with Baker Tilly, a national firm of Chartered Accountants, Nigel is currently employed as a Director with Haines Watts, a top ten firm of chartered accountants.

David Hill has been a Governor of Bedford Free School since November 2011. He is Vice Chair of the BFS LGB and previously chaired its Teaching and Learning Committee. David is both a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and a Chartered Wealth Manager and has worked in the financial industry since he began his career at NatWest Stockbrokers in 1987.
In the mid-90s he was recruited by Standard Chartered to run a derivatives trading desk in Hong Kong and before setting up David Hill Wealth Management with the backing of St. James’s Place, he worked as a stockbroker with Charles Stanley for ten years looking after investment portfolios for individuals, trusts, companies and charities.
David is involved with a number of local charities through his membership of the Rotary Club of Bedford and has recently been co-opted onto The Harpur Trust’s Endowment Committee, which has overall responsibility for the charity’s property assets and a £75m investment portfolio.

John Guthrie is a self-employed management consultant and specialises in employment, educational and organisational issues affecting Britain’s Hospitality and Tourism sector. He is now concentrating his work on the resourcing challenge for the sector which has become reliant on employees from the EU. This involves working with major employers, key government departments and the Careers Service.
Having read Law at University, he moved into Industrial Relations (which became HR in the 1980s) and gained 25 years’ experience working for Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo and Hilton in senior executive roles. His most recent corporate role was to be in charge of Resourcing, Learning and Development for the Hilton hotel business which, at that time, employed over 75,000 people in 80 countries around the world. John was responsible for the design and implementation of a global learning platform - a corporate University – which provided multi-language options in personal development for thousands of people. Within the sector, this was a revolutionary innovation and became the template for other organisations to follow. John also has very detailed knowledge about performance management.

Mick Marsh is a recently retired, experienced Headteacher, most recently of the very popular Castle Lower School (Rated Ofsted “Outstanding” since 2008 under his leadership.) He still provides school improvement support for a number of local schools, through his work with Bedford Borough Council.

Richard O’Quinn brings to the Board significant experience of being an executive and non-executive director, consultant and Trustee, across a range of  sectors and organisations, including the Harpur Trust and Society of Homeopaths. Between 1999 and 2008 he was marketing Director for Dial-a-phone, and between 2011 and 2014 he was a governor at Bedford Modern School.

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