Quality Assurance & Accountability
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.
Steve has spent almost 40 years of his career working in the financial services industry both for BlackRock, T. Rowe Price and Legal & General Investment Management. He has also owned his own business for 9 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.
Steve recently retired from full time work to focus on his Trustee and Non-Executive Directorships.
Andrew is a qualified solicitor and Partner at a busy City practice and is Head of Family Law. He is best known and distinguished in the legal 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 been a Trustee of the PFT since 2014, with previous experience as a governor for two primary academies and an appointment by the Secretary of State of Education as the Chair of an IEB for a school in difficult circumstances with responsibility for overseeing public consultations, OFSTED inspections and rapid improvement. He champions the continued rise in standards of primary children’s education and 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.
Alison is an Honorary Fellow and a Quality Mark Assessor in Primary History for the Historical Association, working across schools in South East England.
Steve is a founding member of The Primary First Trust and was previously a Member. He has a background in Local Governance with over 12 years experience, holding both Vice Chair and Chair roles in that time and is passionate about educational development and equality.
Professionally Steve is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and is a Programme Manager leading delivery of large, complex infrastructure programmes in the transport sector. He has significant experience in managing large budgets, building, developing and leading teams and loves to combine his professional and voluntary roles by engaging in STEM ambassador activities with schools.
Juliet Thorburn is Group HR Director for Scott Bader, a speciality chemicals company based in Northamptonshire. Juliet has held a variety of HR Director roles in the manufacturing, engineering, construction and chemical industries over the past 20 years and has worked for large multi-national organisations as well as SME's with responsibility for HR Teams in the UK & EIRE, Benelux as well as globally.
Juliet holds a BA (Hons) Degree in Business Studies, an MBA and an ILM Level 7 in Executive Coaching. Juliet is a member of the UK Association of MBA's. In addition to her HR experience, Juliet has served as Chair of Trustees of numerous pension schemes.
Soumaya is the Head of HR and Operations for the Whitehall and Industry Group in London. Her passion is cultivating a culture of lifelong learning, education and inclusion. Over the last 5 years, Soumaya has worked across the consulting, tech, hospitality and education sectors, embedding HR practices in start-up/scale-ups and partnering with founders, entrepreneurs and C-suite leaders to facilitate leadership and organisational development to drive business growth and expansion. She has held director-level roles and was responsible for overseeing the operational and HR expansion of teams across the UK, SSA and Europe.
To contact the Chair of Trustees, please email Sarah Phillipson, Trustee Clerk, on email@example.com marking FAO of Mr William Harwood.
Alternatively you can write to:
Mr W Harwood
Chair of Trustees
The Primary First Trust
Clifton Marine Parade
Gravesend DA11 0DY