The Primary First Trust was founded in October 2013 at The Barnehurst Federation of Schools in Bexley, South London. Chaired by William Harwood, the current Board of Trustees brings a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of disciplines from both the public and private sectors. Its mission is clear - to ensure that the Trust observes the highest standards of quality assurance and accountability in all its activities.
Bill is one of the founding members of the Primary First Trust and is the Chairman of our Board of Trustees. 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.
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’.
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.
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.
Alison Hales is a Senior Lecturer in primary education at the University of Greenwich.; she also jointly leads the Initial Teacher Education programme working with trainees, schools and settings to develop practice-based learning and partnerships. She also has overall responsibility for the wider curriculum provision and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
After completing her degree with Southbank Bank University, she worked as a primary class teacher and as a member of the senior management team for several years having experience across the primary age phase. Her area of expertise is within humanities and has written and published widely on primary history, in particularly using local people and places as a way to develop historical knowledge and understanding with children.
Alison is currently studying for her PhD and is researching young children’s understanding of controversial issues and is looking specifically at war and conflict. Other research interests include the character education of teachers and children, identity and the use of the local in primary history teaching.
Whole School. Whole Child. At The Primary First Trust, we talk of School Development, rather than the more familiar School Improvement. Why? Because we believe that all schools can develop regardless of where they are on their own particular journey - even 'Outstanding' ones. We look at the whole school to develop the whole child. And this demands more than a narrow focus on academic outcomes - that's a given.
We have an excellent track record of developing and improving primary schools. Since joining us and becoming academies, all our schools have attained the ofsted rating of 'Good with Outstanding Features', or above.