All of our Directors are volunteers and really care about education. They offer a broad range of skills and expertise to our trust. They’re down to earth, diligent and supportive of the trust’s aims and values, and always push us to improve for the sake of the children we serve.
Jan Tallis (Chair of Trust Board)
Jan was previously CEO of School-Home Support, a children's educational charity, and Chair of Governors at FGCS.
She qualified as Chartered Director and has over 20 years’ experience of leading service delivery organisations, giving her extensive expertise in strategic and financial business planning and key skills in organisational development and growth, income diversification, complex change management and service innovation.
She restructured and reorganised the governance at FGCS and set up the board of the CST. She is a National Leader of Governance and is also a trustee and member of the Lubavitch Multi-Academy Trust and was a trustee of the charity UP - Unlocking Potential.
Tony Scawthorn (Deputy Chair of Board)
Tony is the Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Board member at Zeus Capital, an Investment Banking firm based in London, Manchester, Birmingham & Edinburgh.
Tony has over 20 years experience in project and strategic management at board level within financial institutions and has a proven record in the growth and development of successful businesses, most recently being Liberum Capital of which he was a founding Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.
Simon Elliott (CEO)
Simon is a Dynamic CEO with an outstanding track record of success in leading schools in challenging circumstances. He has a proven ability to develop leadership and is highly successful at talent management and staff development. Simon helped Forest Gate Community School to outstanding success and a consistent place in the top 50 schools in the UK.
Simon has achieved numerous awards both personally and for the schools he oversees, including an Ofsted "Outstanding" judgement in 2016 at FGCS, NACE Challenge School Award 2017 for work with more able students, Evening Standard Secondary School of the Year 2017 Award, and the 2017 Progress 1000 Award (named amongst London’s most influential people as a “social pillar of education”.)
Kevin is Global Director of People and Culture at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, a leading global law firm. He has over 30 years’ experience in human resources, predominantly in the professional and financial services sectors, including as Global Human Resources Director at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Managing Vice President, European Human Resources, at Capital One, Human Resources Director at Ernst & Young LLP and Divisional Human Resources Director at Abbey National PLC. Kevin has deep expertise in talent management, organisation development and business transformation.
Kevin served for nine years on the Board of Governors at Nottingham Trent University chairing the Remuneration and Employment Policy Committee. During his fourteen year involvement with Scope, the leading disability charity he chaired the Remuneration Committee, the Nominations Committee and the People Committee. Kevin is now a Trustee at the Community Schools and the Lubavitch Multi Academy Trusts.
Kevin holds a BA in Politics from the University of York and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Alison Burns is a solicitor specialising in employment law and governance. Since 2009 she has worked in the local government sector. Prior to 2009 Alison was in private practice, and between 1991 and 2004 she was the Chief Executive of the Mary Ward Legal Centre in Holborn. Alison moved to Forest Gate in 2014.
Chris qualified as an ACA in PwC's audit practice, then joined Man Group where he held various roles there including UK Financial. He undertook various systems implementations and process improvement projects, and worked on deal and due diligence teams on most of the Group's during that period.
Chris has also run his own business and worked for NASDAQ where he worked on the launch of the NLX interest rate derivatives exchange as head of finance and a member of the management committee. Following five years as deputy CFO of River and Mercantile Group PLC, Chris is currently the EMEA CFO of Tradition. Thus, he has strong experience in financial control, reporting and analysis; and governance of large organisations.
John believes that lifelong learning and education makes a real difference and schools play a key part in providing that to young people. Clearly what happens before, outside and after school also matters. He is delighted to be a trustee with the CST - as we strive for excellence in our community.
He worked for ten years in education - as a secondary school teacher; in a Further Education College and in a University. He then shifted and spent 25 years with a large company working in many parts of the world – hopefully working to improve the overall impact and value to society of the investments made.
More recently he works as a consultant and non-executive director - including being on the Board of Ofsted and the London School of Economics. He tends to work on issues to do with strategy, risk and governance.
Meena is an experienced Managing Director and Board Advisor with experience in the Wholesale Banking and Retail Banking, Shared Services, Publishing and not-for-profit sectors. She has operated at the c-suite level for over a decade for some of the best known FTSE 30 organisations. A truly global executive with experience across many of the world’s emerging markets. Meena has held several significant Chief HR Officer positions, most recently overseeing the people transformation of a c.30,000 strong shared service centre across 18 locations and 4 countries.
In addition to her Trustee role she has also previously served as a board member with the City HR Association - an HR trade organisation in London - as their international lead and is currently an Advisor with Human Resources Online - an HR magazine dedicated to the HR industry across Asia.
A passionate disruptor often sought to write, speak and comment upon next-gen HR. Her articles have recently been published in several magazines.
An alum of the London School of Economics and has recently completed the first module of a 6 month board readiness programme which concludes March 2020.
Dr. Zain Iqbal, JP has been a director of the trust since 2018 during this period he was Chair of Governors at The Cumberland School.
Zain has a range of experience in the private and public sector having worked across several financial institutions and government departments including the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice. He is currently a Strategy Director at one of the world’s largest healthcare companies.
Zain holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and a medical degree from the University of London. In his spare time he is an avid reader and keen contributor to several voluntary initiatives in the education space.
Phoebe works for the Ministry of Justice, leading a policy team which is delivering a review of the legal aid means tests. She previously worked for the Department for Education, serving as Team Leader for Kent in the Regional Schools Commissioner's Office for the South East and South London. In this role she worked with academy trusts in Kent on academy conversion, trust growth and oversight, and significant changes to open academies. Before joining the civil service, Phoebe worked as an editor in non-fiction book publishing, focusing on politics and economics.
Eve is Director of Wilkinson’s Estate Agents. She is a self-made businesswoman with a strong local connection to Newham and the community and a keen interest in local schools.
Steve worked, for 40 years, across a broad range of educational services for the London Borough of Newham before retiring in 2017. He worked as a teacher at Eastlea Community School for 13 years and played a leading role in developing it as a community education facility for residents of Canning Town. From the early 1990’s he led the newly established Community Education Service for the Borough developing a large Adult Education Service as well as managing Newham’s Youth Services and Enrichment Learning for children and young people. In the latter part of his career he was also responsible for Newham’s School Improvement Service and supported the development of the new school funding structures . In all this work Steve actively promoted strong partnerships between schools, colleges, other education providers and the Local Authority.
Steve is currently Chief Operating Officer and Registrar at Nottingham Trent University, where he has responsibility for all University professional and support services, including finance, estates, HR, IT and legal and governance matters. He is responsible for an annual budget of c£80m and leads a team of over 1000 staff.
Steve has a law degree, and started his career in local government. Steve was University Secretary at Thames Valley University, Registrar and Secretary of Leeds Metropolitan University and Pro-Director (Strategy and Organisation) at the Institute of Education, University of London, where he led the merger of the IOE with University College London in December 2014. Steve has served on many national committees and working groups, including the Board of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, as Honorary Treasurer of the Association of Heads of University Administration and the Board of Trustees of the Association of University Administrators. He is currently a member of the UK Higher Education Standing Committee for Quality Assessment.
Supporting the Board
Director of Finance and Operations
Peter has over twenty years of experience in finance and resource management at senior management level in large public sector organisations. He has extensive experience in leading the finance function and developing robust systems for the preparation and monitoring of budgets and reporting of year-end accounts. He has successfully worked with governors and senior colleagues developing financial governance and risk management arrangements. He has wide knowledge and experience of procurement process and managing outsourced service contracts. He has a comprehensive knowledge of human resource management and advises and guides colleagues providing personnel management advice and systems including Health and Safety. He has led and managed several major building projects including the £12m refurbishment of Forest Gate school.
For the last 15 years he has been a member of the senior management team at Forest Gate Community School holding the post of Business Manager. Peter joined Forest Gate after 6 years with the Metropolitan Police Service where he held the post of Finance and Resource Manager for the L B of Newham where he led on amalgamating the finance and resource functions of two distinct policing divisions during the introduction of borough policing. Prior to this Peter gained a broad range of commercial experience across a diverse range of roles from Quantity Surveyor to Marketing Manager. Peter holds the following qualifications: BA (Hons) Business Studies; Diploma in School Business Management; Advanced Diploma in Administrative Management.