The Symphony Learning Trust - established 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Symphony Learning Trust - established 2016                                                                      

Our Trustees

There are currently no vacancies on the Board of Trustees. If you are interested in becoming a trustee, please contact the CEO, Kathryn McGovern, in the first instance.


Bill Gilmour (Chair of Trustees) - pen portrait on Members page


Nigel Harrison (Vice Chair of Trustees) - pen portrait on Members page



Kathryn McGovern - CEO


Kathryn has been a primary head teacher for fourteen years, thirteen of which have been at The Meadow. She also has experience of leading a school for a short period, which had just been put into ‘special measures’ through a secondment organised by the local authority. Her impact upon the school in a short period of time was noted to be highly effective by HMI. Kathryn is a National Leader of Education and has successfully supported schools in Leicestershire, Leicester City and Northamptonshire, alongside her colleagues at The Meadow, which is a National Support School. She has developed strategies to support leadership teams become more strategic in their school improvement work and how schools can improve quality first teaching. Under Kathryn’s headship, The Meadow has been through two OFSTED inspections, both of which resulted in ‘outstanding’ judgements in all areas.

In addition to being a qualified teacher, Kathryn holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship. At a local level, Kathryn is an executive member of the Leicestershire Primary Heads’ group and also is a mentor to new heads. Nationally, and as a Fellow of the National College, Kathryn has worked with other NLEs to advise Government policy relating to ITT and the recruitment of high quality teachers. She has also supported aspiring heads through the ‘Tomorrow’s Heads’ programme.

Whatever national or local initiatives she is involved with, Kathryn’s core purpose is always to ensure the best possible educational outcomes and well-being of the children in her school and children in the schools she supports.


Alex Smythe (ex-officio Trustee)


Alex Smythe has been a primary head teacher, in 5 different schools (including Executive Headship across a number of schools) for 11 years. As an NLE, Alex provides highly effective, robust and focused School-to-School support for a number of schools as an Advisory Head teacher. As Head of Newcroft Primary School, Alex inspired a rise from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in 12 months in 2014. He has led two other schools to ‘Good’ Ofsted outcomes as a Head teacher and prides himself on never having experienced an Ofsted outcome worse than good; many of those in his 16 years as a senior school leader. As the Chair of the Symphony Primary Schools Partnership, Alex has helped drive the implementation and expansion across the country of the Symphony Assessment System. He provides particular expertise and support to schools in analysing national trends of achievement across the primary age range and in understanding the increased expectations of the new national curriculum. With a passion for mathematics, Alex has written highly effective materials for supporting pupils’ rapid acquisition of number bonds, multiplication tables and related division facts. These are extremely popular with children and are enabling are followed in around a dozen schools in Leicestershire. In addition to being a qualified teacher, Alex holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship. He has particular expertise in assessment, school improvement and change management. Alex is the Executive Head of both Newcroft and Thornton Primary Schools and is also the Head of the Symphony Teaching Alliance, based at Newcroft.

As a consistently effective Head teacher over a significant period of time and in a range of school contexts, Alex is ‘…exceptionally skilled and has extremely high expectations of staff and other leaders…’ (Ofsted 2014)


Tim Sutcliffe (ex-officio Trustee)


Tim Sutcliffe has been a primary head teacher for twelve years. From 2005 onwards, he has been the head teacher of Glen Hills Primary School, a large primary school south of the City boundary. In January 2015, Tim became an Executive Head teacher when he also took charge of Fairfield Community Primary School in Wigston.  In his time so far at Glen Hills, Tim has led Glen Hills to an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grading in 2008 and the school has continued to develop and is still graded as ‘Outstanding’. Recent leadership of Fairfield has seen the school emerge from a period of change and standards are now at an increasingly high level. Fairfield was given a 'Good' grading by Ofsted in June 2016, which demonstrated the significant improvements that had been made in 18 months. In September 2017, Tim also undertook the role as Advisory Head at Old Mill Primary School when they joined the SLT.

At Glen Hills, Tim led the school through the first primary school academy conversion in Leicestershire in 2012 and subsequently led a phase change which involved the year 6 cohort being retained by Glen Hills. Through his work for Leicestershire Local Authority, Tim has also supported and led a number of initiatives of school development at a range of other primary schools. He has also worked for the National College through mentoring colleagues who are undertaking the National Professional Qualification of Headship.

For the past four years, Tim has been part of a core of Symphony schools who have offered mutual support and challenge. The projects undertaken by Symphony has led to their work being used on a national scale. Tim holds the National Professional Qualification of Headship and has particular experience with assessment, curriculum development and establishing high-quality leadership teams.

Tim’s proudest quote from Ofsted is, ‘One has only to set foot inside this outstanding school to see, and almost feel, the exciting and stimulating education that it is providing. The key to this is the dynamic and passionate leadership of the head teacher, extremely ably supported by the strategic leadership team and all the staff’.


Matthew Brookes (ex-officio Trustee)


Matthew has been a primary head teacher for ten years and has worked in many Leicestershire schools since being an NQT. Ashby Willesley Primary School is a vibrant and forward thinking school over 400 pupils in the small market town of Ashby de la Zouch. Matthew has a strong history of delivering school improvement, moving a good school to outstanding in his first leadership post and then a school from satisfactory to good in his second. As well as the headship position at WIllesley, Matthew is currently acting as an advisory head teacher to another Leicestershire school.

Matthew is a founding member of the Symphony Primary Partnership and has been instrumental in the expansion of the Symphony Assessment System into well over 200 schools nationally. He regularly leads assessment seminars to Symphony schools around the country.

Working with the NCSL, Matthew helped to develop the current programme for NPQH, a qualification which he has held since 2006. Matthew’s proudest OFSTED quote is… ‘Determined and energetic leadership has established outstanding outcomes for pupils…The head teacher leads the school very well with dedication and vigour’



Wayne Darwin


Wayne is an experienced senior manager having held a number of senior manager roles in both large and SME sized operations. He has a broad range of management skills including the provision, implementation and management of systems, procedures and policy to provide a mature and robust framework for assurance and governance to take place.

Wayne’s roles have required him to develop through the management of functions teams skills in the area of health and safety, legal and HR framework and financial controls. He is a focused and calcuated leader who is focused on professional development, having recently achieved Chartered status in his field.

Wayne is conversant with assurance and governance frameworks and has the aptitude and objectivty to make coherent, well judged decisions based upon facts available and in the interests of the wider stakeholder audience. He also has experience in management of facilities, contractors and associated project management controls that have enabled him to demonstrate experience in large CDM and smaller scale projects. He has an ability to actively engage with a range of interested parties and form constructive cases based upon an assertive and determined attitude, fully considering the views and values of others. Wayne feels he would bring an open and just approach to the governance process, representing the wider interests of the group



Steve Lilley


Steve currently works for Northamptonshire County Council in Transport and Highways where he is responsible for client management of its Highways Service and Street Lighting PFI Contracts. Steve was previously employed by the National Space Centre as Construction Manager and Leicester City Challenge (Regeneration of Leicester’s West End) as Highways and Transport Manager. In his current role, Steve takes responsibility for all Health and Safety as well as financial matters. In previous roles, Steve was responsible for delivery of the National Space Centre Building and dealt directly with The Millennium Commission on these aspects. He was Client Lead in liaison with Architects, Structural, Mechanical & Electrical and Civil Engineers as well as Project Managers, With Leicester City Challenge, Steve was involved with bid writing, project appraisal and community liaison over transport issues.He was directly involved in Government Office for the East Midlands and Ministerial Reviews.

Steve has been a Governor at The Meadow for over 15 years mostly in the capacity of Chair / Vice Chair. He is strategically focussed and forward thinking. Steve takes a leading role in financial, pay & performance management, Headteacher Performance, policy review, safeguarding and property matters as part of his duties. Steve also has involvement as appropriate in the interview process for teaching staff.

Steve is educated to Degree Level, graduating from the University of Southampton (Civil Engineering) in 1985. He has five children who have all been educated in Wigston (two who have graduated from university, two at university and one studying for GCSE’s at Wigston College). Steve is committed to delivering high standards of education to children within Leicestershire and recognises that for children to achieve highly (whether that be a vocational or academic route), education must be an enjoyable and exciting experience.


Chris Stevens


Chris has over 20 years’ business experience in operational management and leadership and was one of the founders of a start-up business with exceptional growth, turning £1m profit by year 3.This included creating, developing and leading teams initially from a single base to multi-site, multi-channel UK wide remote sales operation turning over £200m.Responsibilities covered HR, finance, Health & Safety, building development and refurbishment programmes, developing leadership teams and appraisal were all extensively covered in this and previous roles.

Chris strategically led and managed the integration of this business into a multi-national and worked within the European Group Board of this organisation and then resigned to make sure he saw his children grow up!Subsequently, Chris spent two years as partner of a local business, again covering many of the areas detailed above.In 2012, Chris became a governor at Ashby Willesley, taking various responsibilities, including the role of Chair; driving strategic direction, supporting high standards and managing change.After enjoying this involvement, he decided to change roles.

Since 2014, Chris has been working as a Business Manager in a Nottinghamshire Primary School.He hassupported Ashby Willesley’s governing body and been integral in the transition from being a maintained school to becoming part of a Multi Academy Trust (Primary based).

In his current role, he is experienced in safeguarding, policy writing and has recently been part of a bid writing scheme gaining £10k lottery funding.Chris gets a great deal of pleasure from supporting the development and progression of young people.As a qualified FA coach, he also manages a local grassroots community football team.He has been doing this for the last 5 years and serve on the committee of this club - one of the largest FA charter standard clubs in Leicestershire.


Lauren Charlton


Perhaps the key area of Lauren’s relevant experience is largely based around her knowledge and skills in the field of promoting and supporting equality and equal opportunities. This field in particular is one that she feels passionate about and has led her in the past to seek specific opportunities and development in this area. During her last employment in a college of further education, Lauren completed a key qualification which meant that she could work more effectively with young people under her supervision on work experience. This enabled Lauren to ensure that they were fully supported in the workplace, regardless of their diverse needs, and allowed her to guarantee that they could gain full benefit from access to any support services they may need allowing them to fully exploit the learning  opportunities presented. Key to this process was an on- going assessment and appraisal of the individual through her completion of a range of media which was then communicated to key stakeholders. On-going assessment was crucial to the success of particular aspects of the learners’ course and led to better outcomes for all involved in the process.

Lauren believes that skills in this area and attention to such considerations translate directly to the role as a member of this board. She passionately believes that ensuring all children have access to quality education, regardless of their individual needs, ultimately leads to better outcomes for all, not only the children but the establishment concerned.


Tony Burgess


Tony is a fully qualified ACA chartered accountant with 20 years experience in Audit practice and industry. In his day-to-day, Tony tends to get pulled into a whole raft of tasks in his working life, including legal, personnel, property, taxes (VAT,  PAYE/NI, PSA, P11d, CT), statutory accounts, audit, cash flow management, budget planning and control, monthly reporting etc..etc..

Tony is currently No2 to the FD of a company with a turnover in the UK of £700m, and he manages a team of 20 staff covering financial accounts, payroll, accounts payable, treasury and more recently a new team to manage the extra work for logistics review / strategy.  Tony obviously has to performance manage the team, giving them SMART targets, and working with them to meet the objectives of the business.

Tony designed and rolled out the operational and financial authorities across the business, which is an extremely complicated business, which also involved establishment of a tender board process.  The compnay has since put out one very large tender for our MHE across the whole business, and achieved savings of £2.8m over 7 years.

Tony has only been a governor at Thornton since July 15, but he has enjoyed the experience so far, and the amount Thornton has achieved in a very short period of time. Tony only got involved due to the poor OFSTED rating the school received back in April 15, and thought he could help influence the improvements required to turn the school around.


Joanne Small


Jo has been a Governor at Glen Hills Primary School since 1991 and Chair of governors since 1995. Jo has also been a governor at South Wigston High School since 2000.

At Glen Hills School, Jo is a member of the Finance Committee, Management Committee, Pay Committee and she is the nominated Governor for Literacy.Jo has  a current on line safer recruitment training certificate and has overview of safeguarding at both schools. Jo is also a Member/Director of the Fosse Trust Academy.

Jo has participated in a number of OFSTED Inspections and undertaken a number of school based/curriculum themed visits across a variety of areas.   She regularly attends  meetings at school and she is actively involved with the selection and recruitment of staff, in liaison with the Senior Leadership Team. Jo attends  regular training events too. Jo maintains regular contact with the Executive Head and Head of School on day to day school matters and  produces a termly newsletter to parents outlining the work of the Governing Body.

More recently, Jo has met with Governors from Fairfield Primary School as part of the ongoing joint working arrangements between both schools.

She is employed full time as a manager at Glen Parva Parish Council and this requires a lot of community based work, government legislation, community engagement as well as general administrative and financial duties.


Chris Kingsley-Mills


Chris has two  Masters degrees (Education – Human Relations; Science – Psychotherapy) and has been a school governor for 20+ years (Director Governor - Fosse Trust; Vice Chair, Governors – Glen Hills Primary school; Chair Curriculum Committee, involving writing and reviewing school policies; safeguarding; disciplinary; and Head Teacher Performance Management procedures).

Chris has an interest in Educational Research, and before developing her private Psychotherapy practice in personal and organisational development (UKCP accredited), she taught in secondary school (20 years) holding senior management roles in curriculum and Pastoral Care. As an Advisory Teacher (5 years) for Leicestershire LEA,Chris trained teachers in PSHE, Equality and in Safeguarding. She continues to have particular interests in developing teaching and learning; equality; safeguarding and the wellbeing of children and adults in learning organisations and environments.


Ellena Walshe


Ellena is a CIMA qualified Management Accountant, having worked in the Retail Industry for the last 8 years. She has commercial finance experience, working within a very large organisation in an extremely fast moving industry. Ellena is currently seconded to the Sourcing team working on relationships with suppliers and the management of the supplier portfolio where she has to assess the financial viability of and make recommendations for those suppliers the company should enter a working relationship with. For 2 years, Ellena was responsible for a £15m turnover business division, and had to complete all of the forward 3/ 5 year forecasts and monthend processes reporting directly to the Finance Director.

Trustees & Members - Pecuniary Interests
SLT pecuniary interest summary for websi[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [63.9 KB]


For details of pecuniary interests for governors of Local Governing Bodies, please refer to the individual school websites


Trustee Skills Audit 2016
SLT Trustee Skills Audit 2016 v1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [182.6 KB]

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