The Trust team are committed to supporting all schools within the trust in areas including: budget setting, procurement, strategic financial planning, assessment data, governance, communications and management. We support and celebrate the uniqueness of all of our schools while providing them with the professional support to achieve their potential.  

Jo Appleyard
Chief Executive Officer (Accounting Officer)

I have worked within the primary sector for thirty 37 in a variety of roles, which has added greatly to my understanding of the educational system. I have been the Headteacher at Elmridge Primary for twenty years. I am passionate about primary education offering wide and balanced experiences for our young people. The role of the school is pivotal in enabling the individual to challenge themselves, support their endeavours, culminating in an independent, courageous young person ready to face the challenges of life.

Elmridge became a standalone academy in September 2012 and an academy sponsor in 2013. I became a National of Education in 2008. As a cohort one Teaching School, Elmridge has been a t the forefront of educational change ensuring that the child is at the centre of everything we do. We have been privileged to support a number of schools as a National Support School and have learnt so much in our association with others.

Acre Hall Primary became part of the Trust in June 2013. The Orchards Free Special School opened in September 2016, Lime Tree Primary, an outstanding Teaching School, joined the Trust in July 2017.

There is much to be developed but these are exciting times.

Simon Beswick
Executive Principal

Throughout my career I have actively chosen to work in schools where I felt I could make a difference: environments that offer both intellectual and creative stimulation. As a teacher and now as a leader, I have fervently believed that high quality education should seek to uncover the uniqueness in all children: it should not attempt to box, label or pigeonhole. Instead, it should strive to deliver a curriculum that fills the child with wonder and awe, be rooted in real life and always motivational, stimulating and exacting. It must seek to find a place in learning for all children ensuring they are ready to face the ever-changing demands of their individual futures. Without exception I have always maintained a zero tolerance to underachievement at any level.

Having spent some of my early, formative years in Canada I have always had a passion for travel. As a family we enjoy the excitement of visiting new places and enjoying the diverse cultural heritage of the World.

In the little spare time I have, I enjoy oil painting, football (watching now, not playing) and reading.

Jayne Carmichael
Chief Operations Officer

I combine my role as Chief Operations Officer for The Trust with leading Elmridge Primary's Teaching School alliance.  My day to day role as Head of Operations includes supporting Trust schools with assessment and target setting support as well as policy development.  I attend all Trust school Local Governing Body and Teaching and Learning Sub-committees as an observer.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my role is combining the resources Teaching School alliance and with those of The Trust by providing and coordinating professional and leadership development across The Trust and the Teaching School's alliance partners. Delivering NCTL accredited NPQ programmes for senior and middle leaders is a key role in supporting The Trust's succession planning as is leading 'Initial Teacher Training' across The Trust.  Supporting the development of trainee teachers, for the duration of our School Direct programme, is particularly rewarding.  

As an SLE, leading on Early Years and Assessment, it a privilege to support other schools and work alongside middle and senior leaders to enable all learners to achieve their full potential, in the classroom and beyond.

Nicola Toop
Finance Director

As chief financial officer, I am responsible for financial and regulatory reporting across the Trust, along with supporting trustees, senior leaders and local governing bodies with management information reports, KPI’s, budgeting and forecasting.  A key aspect to my role is also identifying value for money, cost-savings and income generation opportunities.

I also take responsibility for monitoring internal controls and adherence to frameworks and schemes of delegation across the Trust and work with finance staff in academies to ensure a comprehensive and effective financial support service is in place.  I have supported schools and academies through a number of academy conversions, along with major building projects and other significant legal changes.

I am a chartered accountant, having trained with a Big 4 firm, and have over 20 years experience working at a senior leadership level in a FTSE listed financial services company, University and most recently the Primary School sector.  I enjoy the challenge and variety of the work and am proud of the fact that, by carrying out my role, I am having a positive impact on the education of our future generation.

Mark Creighton
HR Director

I joined The Dunham Trust in June 2018 and bring with me a wealth of human resource management experience to the role, gained at a senior level across a number of local authorities, in the North of England, most recently Trafford, where I successfully led the schools HR team,

I am committed to delivering a flexible, responsive and high quality service-centred approach to human resource issues across the Trust. I am fully CIPD qualified, a member of the CIPD and has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management.

My role supports the senior leadership teams across the Trust, by building strong people management systems and processes which will encourage staff to grow and develop in their roles, with the ultimate aim of improving the education and life opportunities for the children that we support. This is most effectively achieved through stable, committed and motivated staff groups who benefit from being part of a striving multi-academy trust. I see my role as supporting that vision and along with the support of my colleagues, bringing it to fruition.

Prior to developing my education sector focus, I also provided human resource support to an emergency service organisation and prior to that worked in the private sector, having initially trained as an engineer. I will endeavour to apply all of this experience to the role, believing that we are all very much the sum of the experiences that bring us to the present.

My personal interests include all sports, although sadly less so participating and more from a spectator perspective, in recent years. I am also a keen cinema goer.

Libby Basnett
Communication and Administration Manager

I joined The Dunham Trust in September 2017.  My career so far has included work in a wide range of marketing, communications and event management roles within the education sector. Most recently I spent seven years working in Higher Education where I was responsible for managing multi-channel marketing campaigns and large-scale events. 

My role includes developing the brand and identity of The Trust and managing external communications such as websites, newsletters and social media. It also includes developing robust internal communications and processes to support schools, which will enable us to succeed as we grow.

I have a passion for working in education and I enjoy helping to showcase the success stories of children and staff across The Trust.

In my spare time, I am an avid gardener and regularly attend music events.  

Cheryl Binns
Trust Finance Manager

I have worked in NHS public sector finance for over 20 years in a variety of interesting and fulfilling roles. I joined Lime Tree Primary Academy in 2014; initially as a member of a very busy school office, then I was rewarded with the role of Office Manager whilst also taking on the function of Teaching School Finance Officer.

I joined the Trust Finance Team in June 2018. My current role includes supporting the Head of Finance with budget monitoring, management information reporting and mandatory external reporting, whilst taking the responsibility for Trust wide funding and payroll postings and recharge monitoring. I also support Finance and HR officers across The Trust.

I have always enjoyed working in the public sector as it is a rewarding way that I can contribute to society. I am especially proud to work in the education sector and contribute to the ethos of The Dunham Trust. I hope that my role in finance has a positive impact on The Trust as a whole and the resources available to educate our children.