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

I have worked within the primary sector for 37 years 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 (Interim Accounting 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.

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.