Our Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees comprises people that have been chosen for their extensive skills and experience in areas such as education, finance and asset management, some of whom may also be a member of a Local Advisory Board of one of our family of schools.

Barry Nolan

Chair of Board of Trustees & Member

Barry has over 30 years’ experience in Retail and Corporate Banking and has been involved in mainstream and special school governance for the past 10 years. (Read more)

Jamie Clarke

Deputy Chair of Board of Trustees

Jamie is a Chartered Director and Chartered Management Accountant; his past career of senior finance positions spanned various industry sectors, both here and overseas.  Jamie has specific responsibility for Finance within the Trust. (Read more)

Mari Ladu


Mari currently works as Director of Operations within the Healthcare industry and has over 20 years of experience in senior roles in both the private and public sector and across highly diverse industries.

Mari specialises in transformation, streamlining corporate services and leading cross-functional teams and she is also a Chartered Fellow of the Charted Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Mari is responsible for overseeing safeguarding across the Trust's schools.

Helen Milner MBE


Helen has been acting for disabled people for over 30 years, having founded and run two charities supporting parent carers and serving as a governor of Hexham Priory School since 2001.
Helen is responsible for overseeing standards across the Trust's schools in the North. 

Helen received an MBE in the 2019 New Year's Honours list in recognition of her services to education and to the community in North East England.

Karen Deacon


Karen Deacon is the Chief Executive of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) and as such provides strategic and operational leadership to the organisation which includes two registered Rehabilitation and Care Services, Mobility Services, the Retail Trading division and QEF's Family of Charities. (Read more)

Victoria Collis


Victoria is Managing Director of River Path Associates, a strategic consulting firm that works across the spectrum of international relations. Victoria supports governments in developing countries to transform their ability to deliver a range of public services in education and health more effectively. (Read more)

Angela St.John


Angela is a former Assistant Director of Children’s Services in a London Borough. She also sits on the Local Advisory Board at Pentland Field School. Angela is on the Trust’s IT strategy group and the asset management group. (Read more)

Brian Eaton


Brian Eaton is Associate lecturer in cultural tourism and events at Edinburgh Napier University and at Hong Kong University. His stepson was a pupil at James Rennie Special School, Carlisle and Brian was previously Chair of Governors there. He has also been a member of Children's Services Scrutiny Board of Cumbria County Council for the past four year where he has contributed to policy formulation and has been an expert witness relating to special needs on more than one occasion. 

Mary Canavan


Mary is an experienced Executive Director, and award winning HR Director, with a career firmly rooted in the public and not for profit sectors, building organisational capability to deliver high performing services.
Mary is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an Employer Member of the Central Arbitration Committee, an independent body with statutory powers to resolve collective disputes in the workplace.

Susan Douglas

CEO of the Eden Academy Trust

In addition to the Trustees Susan attends Board meetings in her capacity as CEO, to provide advice and take part in discussions. (Read more)