Whitefield Academy Trust’s Executive Team is accountable to the Board of Trustees.  Our Board, which comprises individuals representing the education, business and charitable sectors, is responsible for setting the overall vision and strategic direction of the Trust and ensuring it meets its statutory and financial responsibilities.


The Trustees work closely with the Chief Executive Officer acting as a critical friend in order to raise levels of performance and ensure the Trust’s schools and services properly meet the needs of all those they serve.

Please see link for key information for the Trust:


Chair of Trustees




Amy Maclaren 25 August 2021 17 March 2023

Vice Chair of Trustees




Neil Swift 25 August 2021 15 September 2023





Amy Maclaren

18 March 2019

17 March 2023

Jasvinder Paik

18 March 2019

17 March 2023

Neil Swift

16 September 2019

15 September 2023

Kirstie Fulthorpe 01 September 2020 ex-officio
Jeannette Knights  29 September 2021 28 September 2025
Ken Lloyd  29 September 2021 28 September 2025
Melissa Green 11 November 2021 10 November 2025
Sara Rusling 15 November 2021 14 November 2025
Zakir Karim 25 November 2021 24 November 2025
Rachel Bilson 13 December 2021 12 December 2025
Vicki-Ann Washington 17 December 2021 16 December 2025




Date of Appointment

Neil Swift  25 August 2021
Amy Maclaren  25 August 2021
Angela Barry 25 October 2021


Accounting Officer


Date of Appointment

Kirstie Fulthorpe

1 September 2020


Head of Finance 


Date of Appointment

Paul Lawson

29 November 2021

Governance Professional


Date of Appointment

Mel Brown 

14 September 2021

Our Trust Board delegates oversight of three key areas of the Trust’s work to three committees, who support the full board in maintaining compliance and high levels of standards:

  • Finance, Audit and Risk Committee
    • Chair: Neil Swift
    • Committee members: Rachel Bilson, Jeannette Knights, Ken Lloyd
  • Quality of Education Committee
    • Chair: Ken Lloyd
    • Committee members: Melissa Green, Jeannette Knights, Jasvinder Paik 
  • Safeguarding Committee
    • Chair: Jeannette Knights
    • Committee members: Zakir Karim, Ken Lloyd, Sara Rusling               

Further information about our governance structure is set out in our Scheme of Delegation, our Articles of Association and our Register of Business Interests. You can contact our governors or request copies of the minutes of meetings by contacting

Biographies of Members and Trustees

Angela Barry OBE

Prior to retiring from her full time, permanent role in August 2017, Angela was the founding Executive Head Teacher/CEO of a Multi-Academy Trust in South East London and Kent.  She has been part of the teaching profession for 36 years; twenty five of which have been as either a Head Teacher or as an Executive Leader in a wide variety of diverse schools.  She feels extremely honoured to have been a school leader; a role that she undertook with integrity alongside an incredible sense of being a ‘servant leader’, operating through a moral imperative to improve life chances for young people. 

Angela was awarded an OBE for her services to education in January 2022.

Rachel Bilson

Rachel is currently a senior manager at the University of the Arts London, where she oversees the strategy and operations for surplus generating courses for international students. The surplus generated is used to enhance the learning experience and environment for all students. 

Rachel has over 20 years' experience in a wide range of education settings from teaching English in Asia to coordinating teacher recruitment campaigns for the Department for Education and managing placements for social work students. Rachel intends to apply her expertise in educational management to support Whitefield's visions, values, and ethos. 

Kirstie Fulthorpe BEd (Hons), NPQH, FCCT, FRSA

Kirstie Fulthorpe joined Whitefield Academy Trust as its Chief Executive in September 2020.  In that capacity she also serves as a Director on our Board.  Kirstie has extensive teaching and leadership experience, having worked in education for over 30 years.

Before joining Whitefield Academy Trust, Kirstie was the Director of Education and Children’s Services for the National Autistic Society. Previously, Kirstie was one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors for Ofsted, a Regional Director for Oasis Community Learning and a Principal for the Harris Federation. She has contributed to national and international training and development and has particular expertise in early years education, primary and Special Educational Needs.

Melissa Green

Melissa Green is a parent trustee and a former primary school teacher and worked with children and young people from 1999 to 2015. She is currently an Associate Lecturer teaching undergraduates and a Doctoral Researcher undertaking an EdD at The Open University. Additionally, she is a Trustee at The Limes Community and Children's Centre. She is the mother of two young boys. Her eldest son is autistic. Mel hopes her knowledge of education and Special Education Needs (SEN) will be a useful resource to Whitefield Academy and assist them in continuing to support autistic children and provide educational experiences for all children.               

Zakir Karim

Zakir is the Managing Director at Karim Consultancy, a boutique management consultancy practice. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in the financial services sector. Prior to starting his own practice, he worked in large organisations including EY, KPMG and UBS. His areas of expertise are in compliance, culture & governance, and risks & controls.

Zakir is currently a school governor at a school in Waltham Forest. He was previously the Vice-chair of the governing body and Chair of the Resources Committee at a school in Enfield.

Jeannette Knights

Jeannette has been involved in school governance since 1995 and was Chair of Governors at an outstanding special school for 15 years moving on from that role in February 2021.  She has also been a National Leader of Governance (NLG) and provided support for a number of schools including special, primary and a pupil referral unit, helping schools to move on both their governance and quality of provision after a poor Ofsted inspection.

Additionally, Jeannette was a school business manager in an outstanding special school for 10 years and has since continued to use both her governance and school business experience in a consultancy capacity, supporting schools to define their strategy, structures, health and safety and building requirements for the last 5 years.

Ken Lloyd

Ken is an experienced governance consultant with extensive experience in educational governance and in organisational assessment and improvement. He’s a well-established advisor to trusts and an experienced chair for maintained and academy secondary schools. He is an active National Leader of Governance (NLG) supporting trusts and their chairs.

Ken was previously a local authority chief officer and strategic director and understands in depth the corporate governance and management of public, professional, and educational organisations.

Amy MacLaren

Amy is Director of External Relations at the British Science Association (BSA) where her remit covers PR, digital and social media, marketing, partnerships and fundraising, policy and thought leadership. Her team are responsible for increasing awareness of – and support for – the organisation, its work and impact amongst stakeholders.

Amy has extensive experience in external relations, stakeholder management and partnership building, including working with business leaders, policy makers, opinion formers and VIPs.  She joined the BSA in June 2014 from award-winning communications consultancy Four Communications, where she led the Campaigning division.  There, her clients included a range of management, leadership, employment and skills organisations, science organisations and campaigns, voluntary organisations and women’s and diversity issues.

Amy has previously worked in education (for Pearson Edexcel) and the arts. She is a Trustee of the Daphne Jackson Trust.

Jasvinder Paik BA (Hons), MBA, FFA, FIPA

Jasvinder’s connection with Whitefield Academy Trust stretches back many years when his son joined Whitefield School in Reception.  He became a Parent Governor for Whitefield School in 2012 and joined Whitefield Academy Trust as a Director in 2019.  A retired financial analyst, Jasvinder has over 40 years’ experience of budget setting, monitoring expenditure and compliance with DOA compliance.

Sara Rusling

Sara is currently the Group Head for Africa Climate and Humanitarian at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).  She leads a large team and is responsible for strategy, policy, partnerships and major international aid programmes.

Sara has been a civil servant for over 15 years, working in a range of Departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and Department for International Development.  She has extensive experience of policy and strategy leadership, as well as overseeing major Government programmes including overall responsibility for ensuring robust financial management and safeguarding.

Neil Swift

Neil is currently the Chief Executive at the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO), an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, which plays a key role in the regulation of single source, or non-competitive defence contracts. Neil joined the SSRO in 2015 and was appointed Chief Executive in May 2018 having previously been the Chief Operating Officer.

Neil started his career as an engineer with British Aerospace before changing direction to train as an accountant with KPMG. After a move to the public sector, Neil worked in several frontline operational finance roles including as Deputy Director of Finance at a large NHS Trust in London.  Neil joined the Audit Commission in 2003, initially as a Senior Manager and Health Policy Lead, where he worked on a range of national studies and publications before becoming Head of Technical Support for the Commission’s Audit Practice in 2007. He was appointed Associate Controller Corporate Resources in 2012 and was responsible for the delivery of all support services during the transition to and eventual closure of the Commission.

Vicki-Ann Washington

Vicki-Ann is disabled parent and has two wonderful children who attend specialist and mainstream schools.  Vicki feels lucky that she can see and experience both sides of the educational world.

Being a parent with disabilities and who has a child with complex needs, she understands and appreciates the complexities and the impact it has on families.

Vicki-Ann feels honoured to have been nominated as a Trustee and undertakes to do her upmost to support not only the Trust Board, but the schools, parents and most importantly the pupils.

Vicki’s son joined Joseph Clarke School only a couple of years ago and she appreciates the support and staff dedication that her son has received in school, and for being part of a wonderful school community.

Vicki’s experience and interests lie within Special Educational Needs (SEN) as she knows the SEN world can be a minefield and can be difficult to navigate. Vicki wholeheartedly believes that every child should have the best possible education to be able to navigate their own path in life and reach their full potential.  Vicki has undertaken to do her best in whatever capacity she can to support this.