Senior Executive Team

Below is the Senior Executive Team of Acorn Education Trust.

Senior Executive Team

Sara Edwards

Chief Executive Officer

I started my teaching career in 1988 in Bristol. Within a few years I became Head of PE and then Head of PE and Performing Arts. I moved to Kingdown School in 1995 as Head of PE. In 1998 I took up the position of Assistant Headteacher and shortly afterwards became Deputy Headteacher. I held this post from 1999 until 2010 when I was then appointed Headteacher. I have never felt ambitious; I just feel I have been in the right place at the right time. I love my job and have never wanted to do anything else. From the day I started secondary school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I loved school, but particularly the sport, so becoming a PE teacher was in many ways inevitable. I have always had a natural leaning towards leadership. During my school and college days I held a variety of roles which helped to develop my strengths and skills as a leader. These included captaining the school's hockey, tennis and rounders teams, captaining the county netball team and holding the position of Head Girl during my Upper Sixth year. My own leadership style has been influenced by my own Headteacher from school. I have never forgotten her, as she had the ability to both lead and care. Her leadership style has certainly influenced my own. My Dad was also a huge influence. He was an Architect and his style and devotion to his work, have also been huge influences on my approach to work. This is particularly evident in terms of my creativity, work ethic, attention to detail and organisation. My vision for Acorn Education Trust is to provide a local solution to a national strategy and in doing so, ensure that the young people in our care are prepared for their world, in their time.

Anna Williams

HR Director

I came into teaching in 1995 with a passion for languages and a desire to promote education as a means of changing lives. I spent several years as a Curriculum Leader of German then Modern Foreign Languages, before entering senior leadership in 2007. As Deputy Head, my many roles have included: initial teacher training, staff induction and recruitment, teaching and learning and the line management of middle leaders. These varied roles, have all had one common theme, which is the management of people and the joys and challenges that brings. These roles, coupled with an understanding of how schools are led, managed and operationally organised, has led me into working in Human Resources across Acorn Education Trust.

Max Burr

Primary Executive Head

I began my career as a History teacher in East Oxford. Subsequently, I moved into middle and primary schools in Wiltshire, where I have held Headships in three schools, which have ranged in size and location. These have included a village Church of England primary school and a large garrison primary school. I joined Acorn Education Trust in 2016 as a Headteacher of an outstanding primary school. I now hold the position of Executive Head within the Trust and oversee the West Wiltshire cluster of primary schools. I came into teaching not having had the best experience of school myself. This has fed my own passion for education to be a transformative experience for every child. I sincerely believe that Acorn Education Trust's values are the ones that enable every adult working in our schools, to have the self-belief and support to make a massive difference to children's lives.

Stuart Porter

Primary Executive Head

I am the Executive Head for five of the primary schools within the Acorn Education Trust. I also lead on aspects of the primary curriculum and training across all of the primary schools. I have an extensive background in both primary and secondary leadership. This has included roles of Faculty Lead, Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head within secondary schools. In 2011, I then moved into primary Headship and successfully led a large primary school within the Multi Academy Trust. My career has been varied and fulfilling. I have never once regretted entering the teaching profession and my own personal experiences within school, prepared me well for the challenges and fulfilment that the profession has brought me.

Jo Ronxin

Head of Communication and School Support

I lead on Marketing and Communication across Acorn Education Trust, as well as School Support in terms of Continued Professional Development, Attendance and Safeguarding. I have over twenty years experience across a number of schools. Having started my career as a Science and Mathematics teacher, I then moved into middle leadership and pastoral care. I have an extensive background in senior leadership and have led pastoral care as a Deputy Head in a large secondary school and then held the position of Headteacher within one of the Acorn Education Trust primary schools. I am passionate that every child should have access to the very best quality education and a breadth of extra curricular activities. This ensures development of the whole child, so that they lead happy, successful lives, and contribute positively to society.

Sue Fulbrook

Head of SEND

I am the Head of SEND across Acorn Education Trust. I have a real passion for inclusion and SEND across the board, at every level. I am ambitious to develop the SEND provision within Acorn Education Trust, to make sure that children and young people with SEND have a very positive experience of school and leave prepared for the next steps. My teaching career started in 2000 as a teacher of MFL. I was inspired to teach by my Mum, who was a Teaching Assistant within a special school. Initially, my career took me down the pastoral route as a Head of House, then I undertook Post Graduate Certificates in dyslexia and autism, which ignited my passion for my career to move in this direction. Subsequently, I became the SENCo at Kingdown School and qualified with the NA SENCo award. I am now the SENCo across a number of the Acorn Education Trust primary schools, as well as my wider leadership role within the Trust. I am a parent to two children; who both attend Acorn Education Trust Schools, where I enjoy being involved as a parent.

Karen Bannister

Primary School Operations Manager

I have always worked in business and finance. I started in banking and then joined Consortium in its very early days, as a Project Officer. I spent time working in London as a Product Development and Marketing Director, for a company in the business services sector. Following a long career break to bring up my children, I began volunteering in the office of my children's school. I became the Clerk to the Governors; where I learned a lot about the day to day running of a school and following this, I was appointed School Business Manager. I focused my professional development on strategic school leadership, and achieved the professional DSBM qualification. Since joining the Acorn Education Trust my role has developed. I now support other primary schools within the Trust to standardise their operational and administrative systems, as well as supporting them to achieve efficiencies in their working practices.

James Evans

Head of School Services

As Head of Support Services for Acorn Education Trust, I am responsible for: the site teams across the schools, operational catering and cleaning, school building projects, health and safety, due diligence and PE and Sport within the primary schools. I started my teaching career in schools within Reading and Kingston Upon Thames, before moving to Kingdown School in 2000. During my time at Kingdown School, I held positions of Head of PE, Director of Sport and Head of Sixth Form. In 2017, I took on the Headship of one of the Acorn Education Trust primary schools and subsequently became Executive Head, overseeing a number of schools within the Trust. I grew up and was educated in Sherborne, Dorset and was inspired to take up a career in teaching by my PE teacher. To this day, I remain passionate about sport and the importance of sport in young peoples lives.

Fiona Simpson

Head of Finance

Rob Knott

Head of IT

After studying Computer Science at college, I started work at Kingdown School as a Junior ICT Technician. In 2004 I became the Network Manager and since the formation of the Acorn Education Trust, I have had responsibility for all aspects of ICT. I have now spent 17 years working in education and within that time, I have gained and in-depth knowledge of ICT within the education sector, as well as a good understanding of the unique pressures that schools face day to day. I always adapt to the specific requirements of each school and focus on delivering ICT services, which are pupil centred. As Head of ICT across Acorn Education Trust, I am responsible for: managing the secondary schools support team, ensuring ICT can be utilised to enhance teaching and learning, and to support the administrative functions of the Multi Academy Trust and its schools.

Elaine Fullick