Summary of relevant business and pecuniary interest of directors at The Link Academy Trust

Directors Attendance Record 2017-18

Directors Attendance Record 2016-17

Board of Directors – Committee Membership

Audit Committee
Chair – Vacancy 
Peter Bethel
Note – the Chief Executive Officer attends as an officer
Finance and General Purposes
Chair – Roy Gillard
Isabel Cherrett
Nicola Dunford
Cheryl Mathieson
Fiona Walters
Remuneration Committee
Chair – Isabel Cherrett
Roy Gillard
Cheryl Mathieson
Note – the Chief Executive Officer attends as an officer.
Standards and Curriculum 
Chair – vacancy
Tracey Cleverly
Nicola Dunford
Jason Hayward-Jones
Simon Niles
Representatives of the three Local Boards attend the Committee as follows:
Newton & Teign – Lynda Cooper
Totnes – Anna Neville
Woodleigh – Alexis Saffin/Jo Carter

Audit Committee Constitution and Terms
Finance & General Purposes Committee Constitution and Terms
Remuneration Committee Constitution and Terms
Standards & Curriculum Committee Constitution and Terms


Chair: Isabel Cherrett

Foundation Director – End of term 12 April 2020

After three years at the Home Office, Isabel moved to Chichester in West Sussex and worked for the County Fire Officer, supporting a number of national projects.  In 1987, she was appointed PA to the Director of the former West Sussex Institute of Higher Education with the role of Clerk to the Governors and Trustees being added in 1995.  The institution transferred to a private company limited by guarantee in 2003 when Isabel was appointed Company Secretary, adding the role of Freedom of Information Officer three years later.  A Member of the Chartered Management Institute, Isabel has upheld the highest standards of good governance, supporting senior management of what became the University of Chichester in 2005.

She and her husband moved to Devon in 2015 to spend more time with their two daughters and four granddaughters and to enjoy the benefits of retirement.  The University of Chichester has a long and successful history of widening participation; the creation of the Link Academy ensures that primary schools can retain and enhance their child-focused approach whilst benefiting from the breadth of staff experience and skills.


Nicky Dunford – CEO

Non Foundation Director – End of term 5 June 2020

Nicky Dunford returned to education after 15 years of running her own highly successful manufacturing business to take up the headship of Hennock Community Primary School in 2006. The school was operating as a ‘satisfactory school’ when she accepted the post, with significant changes made it was subsequently judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2008.

Nicky received the NCSL Regional Primary Head Teacher Award in 2009

In 2010 Nicky was asked to take up the role of acting Head Teacher at Bearnes’ Voluntary Primary as it joined Hennock in Management Partnership; the school had been operating well below DfE Floor Standards for a long period of time at this point and was in danger of closure. Requiring robust and rigorous leadership, including major building changes, alongside considerable development of staff and leadership the school moved to a judgement of ‘good’ in 2012. While she has been leading the school the number of children on roll has increased from below 30 children to in excess of 100 pupils.

Since September 2012 the two schools, together with Hennock Foundation Stage Unit and more recently Bearnes’ Foundation Unit have operated as Newton and Teign Federation with Nicky as the executive Head Teacher. Both schools have (April 29/30th 2015) been judged as ‘good’.

Nicky has a degree in Education, NPQH qualification and many training qualifications associated with the role of Head Teacher. Living on the edge of Dartmoor, Nicky has 2 grown up daughters, 2 horses and a large garden- all of which keeps her busy, alongside the demands of being a Chief Executive Officer.


Vice Chair:


Fiona Walters

Foundation Director – End of term 2 May 2020

Fiona Walters is a non practising solicitor who qualified later in life after working in music publishing and property development.  She won an RDS Conservation Award 1994-2004 for outstanding building.  Although she practised law in Exeter as a criminal defence specialist, she gained distinction in the Law Society final exams in property, private client and family papers.  She has lived on Dartmoor for 33 years and as a confirmed Christian has contributed to the local church community by singing in choirs, playing the organ and arranging church flowers.  Throughout her life she has worked for a number of charities, notably the British Olympic Appeal and NSPCC Full Stop campaign.  She is a Patron of Devon Opera and believes exposure to all the Arts is a vital part of education.  She is married with a daughter.


Simon Niles

Foundation Director – End of term 2 May 2020

Simon has worked in the public sector for 20 years, the majority in Education including finance, capital strategy, strategic planning, SEN and Admissions/Inclusion. He currently has a leadership role in DEVON County Council and is a parent governor at his son’s school in Torbay with a pupil achievement portfolio.

Simon was asked to join the Link Academy having worked closely with a number of the schools in the MAT over the years and hope’s that his broad range of experience and skills will support the MAT’s future success.


Roy Gillard

Foundation Director – End of term 9 Oct 2020

Roy became a Civil Servant in 1980 and in his 30-year career, has held many senior Finance Director roles in the Ministry of Defence (MOD), including at the MODs university situated at the Royal Naval Engineering College at Manadon, Plymouth. Roy has an excellent depth of knowledge and experience in detailed business administration processes, financial budgeting and project management skills.

Roy is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and is also a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Roy left the MOD ten years ago to become a CIMA Member in Practice and became the Managing Director and Company Secretary of his own Management Accountancy Practice. Roy has recently achieved an MSc in Strategic Business Management from Manchester Metropolitan University and is also a Member of the Chartered Management Institute.

Roy has been a governor of various schools in the South Hams for the last 34 Years and a governor at Dartington C of E Primary School and Nursery for the past 17 years. He joins the Link Academy Trust as Finance Director.


Peter Bethel

Non Foundation Director – End of term 1 Oct 2021

Peter is a Chartered Accountant.
He was born and brought up in Totnes attending The Grove School and The Church School (now closed) and still lives in the town.
Peter qualified with a local, medium sized accountancy practice retiring in 2001 as senior partner having acted for a large range and size of businesses.
He carried on working for 3 accountancy practices until fully retiring in 2017.  He has always been involved with, and supported, many local organisations and charities.
Clerk to Totnes  Municipal Charities for 50 years, 10 years as secretary for Totnes & District Chamber of Trade, Trustee of Dart Valley Medical Trust, 15 years a Special Constable, 14 years Governor Dartington Primary School, currently Treasurer/Director/Trustee Totnes & District Show, Trustee Totnes Museum (retired as Treasurer 2017), active member Totnes Rotary Club and Civic Town Sergeant to mention a few.
Peter has 2 grown up children and 3 grandchildren all living in Totnes and all attended or attending the local schools.
Cheryl Mathieson
Non Foundation Director – End of term 1 Oct 2021
Cheryl is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel & Development and a UK Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management. She lives in Diptford with her husband and two young children, who attend Diptford Primary School.

Following her career as a Secretary and Personnel Administrator at an international chartered accountants in London, Cheryl moved to Hong Kong to become Human Resources and Administration Manager for an international strategy consulting firm. She then moved on to be Head of HR in Asia for the international law firm, Clyde & Co.


Jason Hayward-Jones

Non Foundation Director – End of term 9 Oct 2022

Jason is an agriculturalist by education and profession. Having studied at Seale Hayne Agricultural College in the 1980’s Jason spent over 20 years working for various government, not-for-profit and businesses around the world. He settled in Australia for 10 years, got married and had two children, before returning to Devon with his family to set up an agritech consulting business, in collaboration with local research and education institutions. Jason is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants. Jason’s children attend Stoke Gabriel Primary School, and he is Chair of The Friends of Stoke School.


Tracey Cleverly

Foundation Director – End of term 31 January 2023

Tracey has a had a career in education for over 20 years and currently holds the position of Director of Education in a Devon based Multi-Academy Trust which is an inclusive hub of both church and community academies. Tracey has had a career rooted in school improvement and she has held various leadership positions in a number of schools.

Tracey began her career in a small infant school in Brixham and from there went on to work as an education consultant in the local authority, supporting schools to develop teaching and learning as part of a DFE pilot programme.

After a post as an Assistant Head in a large primary she went onto a Deputy then Head role in a school in Special Measures. It is from here that she was part of the leadership team that established a multi-academy trust, which has a Christian Foundation. Tracey also leads a Teaching School and has led numerous region and authority wide projects to raise standards for disadvantaged pupils. Tracey is also a governor at a secondary school.


Sue Howard

Clerk to the Trust