The Trust Team
Sharon BurtChief Executive Officer
- Senior Leader Master's Degree MBA, dual accredited with the Chartered Management Institute Level 7 Strategic Management & Leadership Diploma
- National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership Programme undertaken 2018 - 2020
- PGCE specialism in English
- BSc (Hons) Social Policy & Criminal Justice
I wholeheartedly understand the importance of every child feeling safe and happy to come to school. At Solent Academies Trust we proudly place pupils and their families at the heart of all decision making, and our senior leaders facilitate high performing teams to be innovative, courageous, forward thinking, and ambitious for our community, and beyond.
I am passionate about driving high standards in education to achieve the very best outcomes for young people, and I have greatly enjoyed every minute of my 25 years teaching and leading in a broad range of specialist and mainstream settings.
Our executive team and I are unwavering in our expectations for high quality leadership and governance, strong partnerships, effective change management, innovative project developments, and coherent business functions which enable our trust to grow and thrive with capacity and integrity.
Together we promote entrepreneurial challenge and innovation to impact widely on our self-improving school led system, improve equality of opportunity and increase social mobility for all our community. Current projects include establishing a city wide Inclusive Employability Hub, expansion of specialist provision including holistic therapies and services, and extending opportunities for training and employment for young people with complex needs and disabilities.
I have been a Specialist Leader in Education since 2012 (Leadership and Management, SEND and Safeguarding), and place a high importance on using enquiry led learning as the flywheel to accelerating improvement in the classroom.
My experience spans a broad range of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities including Autism, speech, language and communication difficulties, complex learning/ medical needs and social, emotional and mental health needs. Specialist expertise also includes sensory integration approaches, attachment awareness and use of PACE.
Ashley Oliver-CattSenior Director of SEND and Safeguarding
I have been privileged to have spent my entire career in schools for children with learning difficulties and disabilities, aged 2-19 years. I have 25 years' experience teaching and leading in special schools.
I have been a senior leader for 15 years, much of which has been spent within our Trust at Mary Rose Academy as an Assistant Head and most recently, for the last nine years, as Head of School at Cliffdale Primary Academy.
I am entirely committed to achieving the very best that we can for all of the children and young people in our Academies, harnessing the opportunities the pupils deserve to ensure they thrive and make the best possible progress. I am passionate about supporting staff to create a learning environment that drives high standards and has high expectations for our pupils, alongside a personalised, meaningful and creative curriculum which enables them to achieve the very best that they can.
Throughout my career I have gained extensive experience and expertise in a broad range of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), but especially in teaching and supporting pupils with autism. In addition, I have specialist expertise in positive behaviour support (including Team Teach), communication (including PECS and Makaton), sensory integration, TEACCH and Attention Autism.
I have been a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for over 12 years and have taken the lead as the Trust DSL since 2016, placing the welfare and safety of our pupils at the forefront of all that we do.
I have been a Specialist Leader in Education for over six years, supporting outreach work in many of our local Portsmouth mainstream schools.
I am really proud to be in this new role of Senior Director of SEND and Safeguarding which will allow me to work with the incredible staff in all four of our Academies, alongside continuing to support the journey of the amazing children and their families across our Trust.
- National Professional Qualification for Headship - 2017
- BEd (Hons) Primary Education - 1996
Sam GallowayChief Finance & Operations Officer
I entered the education sector nearly 20 years ago, with a passion to make a difference. I have worked in a variety of roles within the sector, including working for Hampshire County Council supporting Schools, Nurseries and Children Centres with strategic management and have worked within other Academy Trusts.
Working in Academies has allowed me to use my creative business flare to maximise income to benefit children and young people. I have a commitment to make effective use of public money and create efficiencies to increase funding available to invest in Teaching and Learning and use my experience to ensure the infrastructure is fit for purpose and an excellent environment to learn. Further, I see my role is to relieve Senior Leaders in schools of the burden of business compliance to release their time to concentrate on the children and education.
Being part of Solent Academies Trust enthuses me and its Vision and Values aligns with my core beliefs, that every child, regardless of background, regardless of skills and interests, should be given every chance to succeed and to work with a team that strives to achieve these values is inspiring.
Darren NashDirector of Communications & Technologies
BA (Hons) Leadership and Management
CMI Chartered Manager
Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership
As Director of Technologies and Communications for Solent Academies Trust, my role is to lead and deliver the IT Strategy, ensuring the Trust has a robust, reliable and forward thinking IT provision to support pupil development and business operations.
I am privileged to hold an exciting post within the Executive Leadership Team which enables me to implement innovative technology and systems across the Trust, as well as actively contributing to the Trust's vision to positively transform the lives of the children and their families.
I have worked in IT Services for over 17 years, harnessing experience from multiple sectors including Legal, Commercial, Pharmaceutical, Higher Education, Secondary Education and for the last 10 years, IT Management for Mainstream and SEND Primary schools.
I have been a member of the Senior Leadership team for both Secondary and SEND Primary Schools in my previous roles which has equipped me with the vital insight on the individual needs of pupils and the significant positive effect technology can have to support their development.
I have recently achieved a degree in Leadership and Management and Chartered Manager status which has enhanced my skills in relation to leading and managing effectively, implementing change, managing strategic direction as well as developing a supportive and effective culture.
Helen WilliamsDirector of People, Culture and Development
CIPD Level 7
Certificate in Personnel Practice Level 5
I began my Education HR career over 30 years ago with West Sussex County Council and, being able to see the impact of HR management inspired me to continue working with schools, and their leaders, across the south of England throughout my career.
Working with schools has always been a privilege and a real opportunity to make a difference by ensuring that school leaders have the tools and support that they need to manage staff effectively, and to plan for the future. I am focussed on ensuring that we have a solid foundation of policies and procedures which create a robust framework to empower senior leaders.
I am committed to fairness and equality for all, and we are actively demonstrating these values by working with partners to attract potential employees from across our community.
Empowerment, Respect and Aspiration truly are the key to HR, empowering everyone to achieve their best, treating them with trust, kindness and respect, and giving aspirational staff opportunities to develop and thrive. This is the vision that attracted me to work for Solent Academies Trust and I am proud to be instrumental in developing the pathways that will enable staff to continue to achieve.
Hayley WoodsExecutive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer
Faye Watton-LawrencePrincipal - Mary Rose Academy
Mary Rose is a very special place. To spend each day working with our exceptional pupils and families, skillfully supported by a dedicated, ambitious staff team, is both a privilege and a joy. I became Principal at Mary Rose in April 2020, having initially transferred over from Redwood Park as Assistant Headteacher in 2019. Having the opportunity to work across the Trust means that the connectivity of our provision, crucially its vision, values and ethos, can be maintained for all pupils and staff. Strong links and relationships within our Trust are established and built upon to make sure that every child receives the very best care and education possible. With this security, I am now in a prime position to ensure that the unique spirit, heart and provision at Mary Rose is both personalised and meaningful alongside remaining part of a dynamic network of support and development.
Being part of the Trust brings so many advantages to all four schools. Our shared vision promises to provide the most meaningful, personalised education possible for each child in our care. Therefore, being surrounded by colleagues with a wealth of varied and specialist knowledge is invaluable. As a result, we are able to share this expertise freely across the Trust, ensuring that we deliver this promise for every child. In turn, this gives outstanding opportunities for professional development for staff, further serving to strengthen our Trust.
Louise Isa-GradaPrincipal - Littlegreen Academy
Education changes lives. I have the privilege to see, every day, the impact of a positive educational experience on the pupils that I work with. This makes me happy and is why I enjoy my job. Littlegreen Academy is a vibrant, energetic and hopeful school. We are a community that works together to be the very best we can be and in doing this we have fun in our learning.
As the Principal I work with a creative and dynamic staff, that place a high value in building positive relationships with the children and their parents.
Littlegreen is old house full of character that sits in the South Downs National park; it is a beautiful place to work. I particularly enjoy my commute, seeing the hare, buzzard, deer and owls. To walk in nature, with my two dogs, brings me great pleasure as I'm a lover of the outdoors. Most weekends, throughout the year I'll go for a sea swim but I must admit that when it gets to December I'm in my wet suit!
I've been part of the senior leadership team within the Solent Academies Trust for six years, where I am immersed in a culture of excellence. For four years I was an Assistant Headteacher at Cliffdale Primary Academy. As part of the SAT I had access to a breadth of high quality CPD, within the school, across the wider trust community and as part of the Challenge Partners network. It is as a result of this experience I developed my leadership skills and used them to make my next step to Head of School at Littlegreen Academy. Being a part of an outstanding multi-academy trust continues to have a positive impact in my own professional development and also to the lives of the children that we serve.
Luci JohnsonPrincipal - Redwood Park Academy
I have been teaching for 15 years. I started my career as a PE teacher for 6 years in East Sussex before joining a Pupil Referal Unit as an Assistant Head Teacher. I then left this role to return to the first school I worked in to run the Additional Needs Department. Whilst here I gained my SENCO qualification at the University of Chichester. I then moved on to Redwood after relocating from East Sussex to join the team as Assistant Head with responsibility for Learning and Progress for Pupils and Key Stage Four.
I am very excited that I have been given the opportunity to be Principal at Redwood. I have worked at the school for 3 years now and firmly believe that the provision for our pupils and families is outstanding. The staff team work very hard to provide pupils with the opportunities to become resilient, mature and independent young people who are confident to move onto further education, employment or training when they leave us.
Being part of the larger Academy Trust also provides me and the school with support to be able to continually grow and develop our practice to positively impact on everyone we work with. Within the trust there is a huge wealth of experience and expertise around SEN and the joint approach to working together is that this expertise is shared across the 4 schools and across the City. The joint CPD day is just one example of how beneficial this collaborative practice can be, seeing staff from across all of the schools working together strengthens the Trust's vision and values and is therefore at the heart of all of the work we do.
Nicola PaynePrincipal - Cliffdale Primary Academy
A little bit about your background and experience:
I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Principal at Cliffdale Primary Academy. It has been a real privilege to work as an Assistant Headteacher at Cliffdale for the past 4 years, with such incredible children, families and staff. I am committed to providing an outstanding and personalised education to every child, whilst ensuring all our children feel safe and happy. I am passionate that every child has amazing opportunities and experiences, helping them to develop their skills and broaden their horizons.
I have been a primary teacher for over 20 years and have specialised in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for more than half of that time. Before I came to Cliffdale, I was a mainstream Deputy Headteacher and SENCO, in charge of SEND in two large schools. I am also a Specialist Leader of Education and have provided outreach support to many schools in Hampshire and Portsmouth
Hobbies and interests:
As a mum of two children with SEND, I don't have a lot of time for hobbies! I do love to walk by the beach and cycle around Southsea. I also really enjoy being able to relax in my garden with a good book. I know it can be very isolating and challenging parenting children with complex needs, so I am dedicated to supporting our families and providing a caring community. I am very grateful to work and learn in such a fun and supportive school.
What excites you about your role:
Every year brings new challenges and fun. I love getting to know all the children at the school, working out what they enjoy, the best way to communicate with them and make them laugh! I am so grateful to work with such an expert and caring staff who work so hard for the children. It is a joy to continue learning with them and help them develop their knowledge and skills. I am very lucky to have an opportunity to get to know so many wonderful families. I love the supportive atmosphere at Cliffdale's coffee mornings - it's definitely good therapy for me!
Eleanor AtkinsFinance Officer
Helen GroveFinance Officer
Michelle IbbotsonSenior Finance and Payroll Officer
Lizzie TapplyHR Advisor
Kelly FloodRecruitment and Admin Officer
Sarah RobbTrust HR Lead
To contact the HR team please call 023 9431 0805
Glen ChiversIT Services Lead
Rob ClaydonSenior IT Technician
Liam MorelloTrust Infrastructure Lead
Amanda WinterTrust Admin Lead
Emma BarrettGovernance Professional to the Academy Governing Bodies
Jessica DaviesTrust Health & Safety Compliance Lead
Julie JenningsData Protection Officer
Jewlee HarrisSenior Site Manager - Cliffdale Primary Academy & Redwood Park Academy
Chandy PuthusserySenior Site Manager - Mary Rose Academy