Nigel Johnson Chair of the Trust
Nigel Johnson, a retired executive director, has experience of developing and managing strategic change in national organisations in the public, commercial and charity sectors. In addition to his broad ranging business experience he was also a practising corporate lawyer.
Chris Berry Vice Chair of Trustees
Chris feels privileged to have been appointed to the SGS Academy Trust.
Chris is a solicitor by profession. Until his retirement from private practice in late 2017, he was a partner at a global City law firm specialising in real estate finance. As such, he has first-hand experience of staffing, resourcing and strategic planning for the longer term.
Having relocated with his family to South Gloucestershire, Chris divides his time between working as an independent legal consultant, supporting young carers in the local community and tutoring maths in-school (though on a voluntary basis) to GCSE level. For relaxation, Chris enjoys walking, gardening, reading and cooking.
Phil Eames Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee
Phil now works in internal audit governance and risk management at Bristol City Council, having previously been a freelance assurance and audit consultant after taking early retirement from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) where he was Head of Assurance. He worked for the EFA and its predecessor funding bodies for more than 20 years in assurance and audit roles, dealing with colleges and academies and other education providers. Prior to that he worked for Ernst & Young and the Audit Commission. He was a student at the former Filton College and prior to that at the Royal Forest of Dean Grammar School.
Lynne Craig Trustee
Lynne has been involved in FE for more than 25 years, beginning as a part time lecturer teaching computing and office studies progressing to a full time post teaching on management and teacher training courses. A variety of posts focusing on quality and improving teaching and learning led to her appointment as Vice Principal for curriculum and quality at Gloucestershire College. During her time at the college she helped to improve standards and develop curriculum. Lynne became site Principal for the Royal Forest of Dean College when they merged with Gloucestershire College. As part of this role she led the initial design of the new college campus in the Forest.
As part of her involvement in improving quality Lynne has been an inspector with ALI and Ofsted. Other posts include the chair of the South West Peer Confederation, a member of the LSIS Council and a school governor. Lynne has also been a Trustee for Young Gloucestershire.
After leaving Gloucestershire College Lynne set up her own business as an educational consultant and she has carried out several independent curriculum projects for colleges. Alongside this business Lynne spent five years as an FE Adviser working for the FE Commissioner helping to improve performance in colleges across the country. Since leaving the Commission she has taken on interim senior management roles.
Julie Buckland Trustee
Julie is an Associate Head of Department for ITE in the dept of Education and Childhood at UWE Bristol that covers cover’s the Early Years, Primary and Secondary phases.
Julie has over 25 years’ experience in a variety of schools nationally and has held various leadership roles within these schools. Her expertise lies in strategic development and curriculum design
Gareth Reynolds Trustee
Gareth’s career has been immersed in education and learning since completing a PGCE Physical Education in 2005. Working across a range of settings, he spent 13 years working as a lecturer and then Head of Department with Trust sponsor SGS College. During that time, during 2016, he also worked as an operational lead with focus on teaching, learning and assessment at one of the Trust schools.
Since 2019, he has been a Curriculum Development Manager operating in South West England, South Wales and the Channel Islands supporting Further Education Colleges, University Centres, Local Authorities, Sixth Forms, University Technical Colleges and Institutes of Technology provision. Now Sector Manager for Sport at Pearson with an applied, technical and Specialist (including Work based Learning and End Point Assessment) UK portfolio. Combining a number of his passions of Sport, Health and Wellbeing with learning.
Gareth lives in Cardiff and is a former international Karate athlete and coach.
Jane MacFarlane Trustee
Jane is a qualified solicitor and teacher and has had a varied career ranging from the entertainment industry to senior leadership roles in the education sector. She has taught at secondary schools in London and Bristol and for 10 years lectured in law at the University of the West of England. Whilst here she was involved in the development of online learning for the Legal Practice Course and led the establishment of a Charity Law department. She was also appointed as an examiner for The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.
Practising in Bristol as an education and charity law solicitor, Jane specialised in governance, operations and strategic planning for schools and charities. She has served on the governing bodies of schools and charities and was Chairman of Governors at the Redmaids’ High School in Bristol from 2010 to 2018.
With an MA in Science Education and a career centred round delivering education, Jane has a sound knowledge and understanding of the issues in this area. She has lived and worked in and around south-west Gloucestershire for more than 30 years and is keen to use her experience for the benefit of the young people of the area.
Jennie Richards Trustee
Jennie has worked primarily in Human Resources across both the private and public sector in the Hospitality, Cosmetics, and Diagnostic Pharmaceutical industries as well a decade in the executive agency of the Welsh Government responsible for the economic development of Wales. She also has experience working in Marketing and Communications roles.
Jennie’s most recent and relevant role was as Vice Principal (Human Resources and Organisation Development) in Coleg Gwent. Coleg Gwent is a large Further Education College, in South East Wales, with five campuses across five Local Authorities and delivering A Levels, Higher Education, Vocational, Specialist and Adult Education. After 16 years in the role, Jennie changed her professional focus and since then has undertaken a number of Interim assignments predominantly in the Further Education sector, mainly in London and the South East of England. She has also designed and delivered management development programmes in Engineering and high technology companies in Wales.
Jennie has been involved as an Enterprise Advisor for GFirst LEP in Gloucestershire and is a volunteer for FRED, a charity in the Forest of Dean improving Adult Literacy.
Andy Downing Trustee
Andy has 48 years experience across a range of school improvement related posts. As well as having been a class-teacher, deputy and headteacher of two primary schools he has also been an adviser and Ofsted inspector. He lead school improvement teams in three local authorities and was a Senior School Improvement Officer with the National Strategies. His last substantive role as an employee was as the Director of Schools for Nottingham City. Since then Andy has worked as an independent consultant undertaking a range of contracts including adviser, interim headteacher and most recently coaching support to leadership teams.
His particular skills centre around building leadership capacity to enhance school self-evaluation, management of performance and improvement planning.