Bill is one of the founding members of the Primary First Trust and is the Chairman of our Board of Directors. He has a background in effective governance and as a governor worked with the local authority and other stakeholders to establish a successful school partnership model to enable schools that were struggling to succeed. Bill has professional qualifications in portfolio, programme and project management and a breadth of experience in managing large budgets, building high performing teams and developing strategic vision. He has expertise in leading business change at scale and is an Academy Ambassador. Bill is probably best known, however, for his passion to improve outcomes and life experiences for children.
Justin Smith - Chief Executive Officer
Before joining The Primary First Trust, Mr Smith was the Executive Head Teacher of a Federation of Schools in South London. One of the schools has gone from Special Measures to Outstanding and another reversed a three year falling trend to become the highest performing school in its borough and was also graded Outstanding by Ofsted. Mr Smith has a history of managing change in difficult circumstances both in new schools and schools in challenging circumstances. In 2010 he led the Most Improved School in the Country, a school in an area of high social deprivation. He is a published author in the field of Behaviour Management and currently works very closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Department for Education on MAT development. He is a mentor for MAT CEO's and is part of the pilot project on evaluating the effectiveness of Multi Academy Trusts. He is currently undertaking a doctoral study in educational leadership.
Andrew is a qualified solicitor and is a Partner and founder of a niche City law practice. He leads their Family & Private Client teams, but has been distinguished in the sector for his specialism in international surrogacy law and modern family structures. He is frequently in the High Court and Court of Appeal on cases and representing clients for their children.
Andrew has experience as a governor for two primary academies and was appointed by the Secretary of State of Education to be the Chair of an IEB for a school in difficult circumstances, overseeing public consultations, OFSTED inspections and rapid improvement drives to raise standards in primary children’s education and their accelerated progress.
Steve has spent almost 30 years of his career working in the financial services industry both for BlackRock and T. Rowe Price (2 large US investment management firms). He has also owned his own business for 3 years offering his pensions knowledge on a consultancy basis. Steve has held various directorships including BlackRock’s Life Company (over 10 years) which is responsible for managing £70+bn of client assets.
Chris was the School Business Manager at the Barnehurst Federation until August 2016. Chris also served as a Staff Governor on the Full Governing Body and Finance Committee of the school. Chris was instrumental in the setting up of The Primary First Trust and, now retired from The Barnehurst Federation, continues as a Director of the Board.
Sandra is an experienced human resources professional working at senior and board level positions within the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She held an HR Director role within a large exam board and also brings a wider business perspective through working with many differing sizes and types of organisations dealing both with UK and International teams. As a human resources consultant Sandra supports and advises small to medium sized businesses, schools and academy trusts in the south east of England. She has experience as a chair of governors and governor for two local authority primary schools in Thurrock. She was an IEB Board Member for a local school that was judged to be in urgent need of improvement and oversaw plans to raise standards and progress, Ofsted inspections and parent engagement resulting in the school now being graded as ‘good’.