The Trust Team


Jennese Alozie

CEO, University of Chichester Academy Trust










Jennese is passionate about the power of education to cause positive ripples across society and empower learners to take an active role in their lives and that of others. She started her career as a secondary school English teacher in the South West and South East of England. She has also worked within a Local Authority with groups of secondary and primary school Headteachers to improve standards and create opportunities for greater cohesion between both phases through national and local government programmes as well as practitioner led research. Having taken on a range of Senior and Executive leadership roles Jennese embarked on an MA Inclusive Education to further explore how education affects lives and our society. For several years she has been a Lead Ofsted Inspector and sits on the Board of two Multi Academy Trusts (MAT) and a Teaching School Hub. Jennese is the mother of two boys and has fuelled their enthusiasm for literature and the power of storytelling. She is also an amateur ceramist and volunteers for a local theatre. Most recently she has been part of the executive team leading a successful MAT operating across London and East Sussex. She has had the privilege of playing an active role in the Department for Education Trust and School Improvement Review and support programme and has used her extensive sector knowledge to support Trust growth, including leadership development.

Education and School Improvement

James Humphries

Director of Standards and Effectiveness

As a secondary school teacher and leader, working in education for over 25 years, James has spent his career in a wide range of challenging urban settings. He is an Ofsted Inspector and has extensive experience as a secondary subject leader for English as well as a local authority curriculum adviser.  His senior leadership has focused on the curriculum as Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher, with staff development around teaching and learning as a particular strength. Before joining the Trust, James had two Headships, one of a large inner-city secondary school and another as an interim Head in a special school.


Cate Worrall

Head of Training and Development

Having worked in education for over 25 years, Cate has held a range of senior leadership roles. She is a graduate of University of Chichester, gaining her BEd Hons in English. After being awarded her AST and NPQH, Cate became interested in developing people, as well as her love of teaching across the primary phase. During her time as Principal at Portsmouth SCITT, she has successfully retained 2 OfSTED Outstanding grades. Cate understands the importance of championing teaching and pedagogy. Her new trust role, Head of Training and Development, allows her to share her commitment to train and retain high quality teachers.

Sam Parkes

School Improvement Specialist - Mathematics
University of Chichester

Sam teaches on the primary undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, contributes to secondary subject knowledge enhancement courses and designs and delivers masters-level programmes in mathematics. Previously a mathematics leader and assistant head teacher, Sam has undertaken CPD with a number of schools focusing on topics such as: mathematical reasoning; questioning; developing good quality mathematical activities within an investigative approach; working with parents; curriculum delivery; and AfL. Her research interests lie in the field of collaborative professional development, leading and managing sustainable change and developing an effective school culture in mathematics.

Kirstie Hewett

Kirstie Hewett

School Improvement Specialist - English
University of Chichester

Following twenty years' experience as a Primary school teacher Kirstie joined the University’s English team, teaching on both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Previously a Deputy Head and Co-Head teacher, Kirstie has a BEd (Hons) in English and an MA (Ed) in Leadership and Management as well as the NPQH and National Award for Special Needs Co-ordinators. Her research interests lie in the field of the leadership and management of change and in developing outstanding leadership of and learning in English throughout the Primary phase. She has recently led CPD focusing on all aspects of English including Guided Reading, Talk For Writing, raising attainment in Phonics and developing middle leadership 

Debra Laxton

Early Childhood Lead & Senior Lecturer in Education

University of Chichester

Debra has spent the whole of her career, spanning over thirty years, involved in the care and education of young children. She worked in schools and nurseries within the London Borough of Hounslow before moving to West Sussex and working in a Nursery School and Children Centre. She then moved to the Further Education Sector within the Childhood Studies department and now works at the University of Chichester as Early Childhood Lead & Senior Lecturer.

Debra is passionate about the importance of reflective practice and supporting trainee teachers and education studies students to develop the knowledge, skills and experience to develop practice and improve the experiences and outcomes for children in their care. Debra takes a keen interest in the areas of attachment theory and engaging all parents and carers, aware of the positive impact this can have on children and families.

Also working within the Academy Trust’s School Improvement team

Our Leaders of Academy Improvement 

Alex Maxted

Leader of Academy Improvement

Alex has worked in education for over 20 years, starting as a university outreach mentor and PRU volunteer as an undergraduate. Alex then spent 11 years as a Humanities teacher and leader in a range of secondary and FE settings, developing particular expertise in inclusive curriculum development< providing stretch and challenge and teaching emotive or controversial topics. 

Having enjoyed studying for a leadership and coaching focused PGCert alongside teaching, Alex later undertook a full-time MA in International Education and Development. She also spent time in Sierra Leone, developing coaching and mentoring approaches with local Teacher Trainers.

Alex joins the Trust from her role as Strategy, Policy and Delivery Adviser in the Department for Education, where she led a range of high priority projects and managed key stakeholder relationships. Alongside this, she maintained involvement in strategic school improvement work as a regional governor in a large MAT, with responsibility for 7 schools (infant – secondary).

  • Laura Turvey

    Leader of  Academy Improvement 

    Laura has worked in secondary and further education for 15 years in a range of curriculum and pastoral leadership roles. Within secondary middle leadership Laura has been Head of Faculty, Head of Year and Head of Sixth Form. She is passionate about breaking down barriers to enable all students to have access to further education and proudly supported the setting up of a new sixth form. Within her secondary senior leadership career, Laura has led teaching and learning, ITT and ECT programmes, continuous professional development, performance management, internal and external quality assurance, curriculum leadership and safeguarding. She is passionate about supporting colleagues in advancing their leadership careers and, throughout her time in secondary education, has mentored and coached new middle and senior leaders. Laura has the NPQH and an MA in Education and Leadership in which her research focused on implementing leadership development programmes to support students in underprivileged areas.

Professional Services​

Talha Khan

Director of Finance 

Talha joined the Trust in August 2022. He brings with him an extensive financial background in the public and independent school sectors with strong knowledge of the charities framework. He is a chartered certified accountant with a degree in accounting along with masters in educational leadership (school business management). Talha’s career started in London as a trainee accountant with varied roles of overseeing different clients. His first public sector experience was at a newly established London academy as management accountant, where he addressed funding, procurement and cost management challenges. Following that Talha worked in the private school sector, holding the position of finance & resources manager for an all-through school in Surrey, managing budgets and funding for multi-million pounds projects. He also worked as a bursar & clerk to the governors. Talha is also a keen cricketer and has experience of coaching.  

Frances Stroud 

Financial Controller

Frances joined the Trust in April 2023. She is a qualified accountant with over 20 years of experience in various sectors.  In her role as Financial Controller she is looking forward to working with the team to fulfil all financial reporting requirements as well as providing support to all the finance functions within the Trust’s Academies.  As a mother of two teenage boys, she is aware of the challenges that education is facing not just from a financial point of view but also with engagement. Frances is looking to find ways to help provide as wide a range of opportunities for the children in our academies as possible that work financially for the Trust but also with parents in mind, so everyone can benefit from our collaborative way of working.

Kyle Ball 

Senior Finance Manager

Kyle is currently working across three schools as a Senior Finance Manager, having joined the Trust in March 2023. Kyle is also heavily involved in projects within the Trust, such as budget creation, process review, troubleshooting, balance sheet and Department for Education (DfE) returns, to name a few. 

Kyle has over 13 years’ of experience working in Finance, with 7 years being in schools, colleges, universities and academies and has a real passion for the public sector. He really enjoys the challenges that working for the Trust brings, especially looking at strategy and enhancing current practices across schools. 

Chris Dawson

Finance Business Partner

Chris joined the Trust team in September 2022. Chris has been working in the finance sector for the past 8 years. Before joining the Trust, he worked for a large international manufacturing company where he was responsible for a wide variety of financial functions as well as project management and systems implementation.
Within his role as Finance Business Partner, Chris is responsible for the training and ongoing support of the School Business Managers’ and Finance staff, in addition to supporting the schools with a hands-on approach when needed.  Chris' areas of expertise are streamlining and improving processes as well as producing and analysing financial reports.  An aspect of the role that Chris really enjoys is visiting the different schools and liaising with the staff to help foster a Trust-wide collaborative approach to problem-solving.







Debi Haddleton 

Senior Finance Officer 

Debi 's career in Finance started as an Accounts Junior over 20 years ago in a manufacturing company, where she gained her AAT Qualification. She progressed to many different roles, through to Purchase Ledger Controller, which included assistance with Management Accounts.  Having a good eye for detail, she also assisted with some key Analysis projects.  Debi brings a variety of finance experience to the education sector, since joining the University of Chichester Academy Trust in February 2023. She undertakes a wide range of financial management duties and acts as the first line support to academy finance staff in relation to financial queries and management of central accounting records and banking. She is passionate about supporting the academies to ensure that they each run smoothly.

Keith Blow

Head of Trust Academy Estates 

Keith has 50 years of experience in the construction industry and has extensive knowledge of all types of buildings and construction types in all sectors. Qualifying with an honours degree in Building Surveying, he is a Chartered Building Surveyor, Builder and Building Engineer at Fellow level.  Keith has a number of ‘specialist’ areas which include Project Management & Cost Control, Contract Administration & Specification compilation, Construction Health & Safety, Defect Diagnosis, Condition & Dilapidation Surveys, Fire Risk Assessment, Disability Auditor, Site Development and Design, Planning and Listed Building applications and Building Control administration. He is proficient in CAD drawing, qualified in Commercial and Domestic Energy Assessments as well as Party Walls. He is also a qualified Mentor, Adjudicator, Mediator and has appeared as an Expert Witness.  As part of his Building Surveying role, he has developed as one of the country’s leading experts in Asbestos Management and Surveying and is co-author of the redeveloped MDHS 100, (retitled as HSG 264) and sits as an examiner for the BIOH Qualification in asbestos, setting papers for cohorts and marking these accordingly. Keith has also mentored young Surveyors on behalf of the RICS and sits on interview panels for qualification to become Chartered.

Anne Canning 

Health and Safety Consultant 

Anne joined the University as Health, Safety and Environmental Manager in 2004 and has been working with the Trust since 2014.  Anne is a Chartered member of The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.  Her career began in the military before moving into manufacturing as Risk Manager for Bacardi-Martini. With the closure of the manufacturing plant, Anne began her teaching career and was awarded the Dame Judith Kilpatrick award for her innovation in teaching NEBOSH Diplomas and Certificates in Health and Safety, Security, Fire and Environmental Management and First Aid.  Anne works part-time for the Trust and supports all Academies in Health and Safety.  

Elspeth Monk 

Premises Health and

Safety Manager 

Elspeth Monk




Louise Birch

Director of Operations & Company Secretary

Louise joined the Trust in 2012, having originally been seconded from the University of Chichester to establish HR provision, whilst contributing to the shaping of the Trust.  Today, Louise leads and maintains strategic oversight of HR, whilst acting as project lead when schools join the Trust family.  Contributing to the development and continued strengthening of governance, Louise is the Trust's Company Secretary and Data Protection Controller.  A member of the Executive team, Louise contributes to the strategic development and oversight of the Trust, to deliver the Trust's vision and aims. Living the Trust values of lifelong learning, this culminated in Louise achieving two Pg Dip in Business Management and HR, and in 2018 she was awarded a distinction on completing a Masters focused on recruitment, retention and wellbeing.  Louise is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, and believes that everyone's voice counts and should be heard.

Phil Matthews

HR Manager

Phil previously served for 22 years in the Royal Air Force, in the HR trade as both an advisor and manager employed in Employee Relations, Recruitment, Facilities Management, Career Management and generalist HR. As an additional duty he was also an Equality & Diversity Advisor. In 2018, he joined the Environment Agency (EA) as an Enforcement Officer. 

Phil joined the University of Chichester (Multi) Academy Trust in June 2022 as the HR Manager, where he is responsible for the management of all HR functions across the Trust and ensuring that they mirror the Trust’s People Strategy and Priorities.  Phil leads and directs the routine functions of the Human Resources (HR) department, including talent management, hiring and interviewing staff, administering pay, leave, compensation and benefits, while enforcing company compliance, policies and practices.    Phil, along with the Central HR team, ensures excellent HR support is provided to the staff across all 15 academies within the University of Chichester Academy Trust.  

Susan Slade

HR Business Partner 

Sue has spent all her career working within Human Resources, and brings with her over 40 years of professional Human Resources experience and skills to the University of Chichester Academy Trust.  An HR generalist with a specialism in recruitment and selection of staff at all levels, and employee relations.  
As an HR Business Partner, Sue is responsible for providing high level and proactive HR Business Partner Support across the schools in the Academy Trust and within the Trust Central Team in all areas of HR management.  The HR support provided enables both our managers and staff within our academies to deal and work professionally with all HR related matters. With an HR background and experience in both the private sector and the education sector, Sue enjoys seeing and enabling the positive impact that HR can make to the Academy Trust through the development and support of our staff, which enhances the pupil experience within our academies.

Emily Norris

HR Business Partner 

Emily is an experienced HR professional who has spent her career working in the public sector; she previously worked for West Sussex County Council across a variety of areas, mostly within Children’s Services and Education. She holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Chichester and completed her CIPD Level 7 in 2018 with Portsmouth University. Emily joined the Academy Trust in September 2022 and, as an HR Business Partner, provides support and guidance on a range of HR matters to the staff and leaders within our academies. She is experienced in a range of areas, from managing employee relations, to job evaluations, to managing change. Emily is passionate about fairness and equality within the workplace and has a particular interest in Neurodiversity. 

Laura Wall

Senior HR Advisor

Laura joined the trust in September 2023 as a HR Advisor. Laura has spent the last 6 years within HR within the private sector working within the recruitment team, moving into central HR with a strong focus on employee relations, training and upskilling management.  She gained additional experience moving into HR consultancy, supporting a variety of organisations in both the public and private sector with a focus on complex employee relations cases and specialising in helping organisations create a company culture that reflects its values, that is beneficial to both management and employees.

Laura works in the Central Team now as an HR Advisor, concentrating on employee relations matters.  Her strengths are her knowledge of employment law, her people skills and the ability to be empathetic. She enjoys the ability to be able to support others, ensuring they feel valued, safe and able to feel fulfilled within their roles. A highlight for Laura is working in an environment which supports and promotes the vision to inspire young people and enabling them to succeed. Working alongside passionate employees who share the same goal is incredibly fulfilling for her.

Laura completed her CIPD level 5 in 2019 at Chichester College and more recently became a Mental Health First Aider in 2022.

Leanne Knappett

Senior HR Systems and Pensions Administration Officer 

Leanne became a valued member of the University of Chichester Multi Academy Trust in December 2022, bringing with her a wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of payroll and pensions.  Leanne's dedication to staying well-informed about current legislation, coupled with her proficiency in managing various data systems, highlights her expertise in this area. Her membership as an associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) underscores her recognition of the synergy between technology and human resources.  Her primary focus is on identifying strategic opportunities to fully utilise HR technology in enhancing our workforce's capabilities and optimising their overall performance.

Jake Whittle

HR Administrator 

With an extensive passion for sports and developing others Jake started his professional career at Southampton Solent University, where he would ultimately obtain his Certificate in Sports Science and Coaching.  With continuing his professional development always at the forefront, Jake searched for an employer who would enable him to pursue an apprenticeship upon starting his new job. Now in his second year with the Academy Trust, Jake has completed his CIPD Level Three in People Practice.

In his role as an HR Administrator, Jake plays a pivotal role in overseeing every aspect of the candidate's journey, from recruitment through to the onboarding phase. On multiple occasions, Jake has taken sole responsibility for orchestrating and conducting recruitment events across various academies within The Trust. Subsequently, in an efficient and timely manner, Jake ensures that employment contracts, DBS checks, and staff badges are processed well in advance of the employee's commencement of service. Furthermore, Jake collaborates with various leaders to craft a comprehensive staff survey, with the objective of gaining a deeper understanding of the current feeling within The Trust.

Teely Webb

Higher Executive Officer 

Teely Webb joined the University of Chichester Academy Trust as Higher Executive Officer in May 2023.  As HEO, she supports the CEO, the Executive and Central Teams, and wider Trust colleagues. From her varied career, over many years within the education sector, Teely brings a deep knowledge of the profession of academic administrators, conveying significant contributions to internal and external stakeholders, to ensure the Trusts academic year goals and objectives are met in a timely manner by delivering support across the full range of policy, governance and administrative matters.  Teely is aware that within the Academy Trust, effective collaboration to share information, resources and support is key.  Teely holds an NVQ Level 3 in Customer Service, and is proud to be an award-winning EA, winning ‘PA of the Year’ in the newcomer category 2013 for the Executive PA Magazine/Hays award, and as a ‘Super Achievers’ PA of the Year 2014 top three finalist.  She is now delighted to be a contributing member of the Central Team, and hopes to make a positive impact at work.

Jo Halfpenny

Central Team Administrato

Jo is the Central Team Administrator for the Trust, having joined the Trust in June 2023.  Prior to taking this role, Jo worked in a local West Sussex primary school as an Administration/Welfare Officer for over 10 years.  She also has a banking background, having worked as a Personal Banking Officer for a bank for 12 years.  Jo holds a BA (Hons) Business Studies Degree (specialising in Human Resource Management) from Nottingham Trent University and a Diploma in Financial Services Management from the Institute of Financial Services (London).