Members & Directors

Trust Members

Steve Denton

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 800 staff.

Steve has a law degree, and worked in local government.  Steve was Registrar and Secretary of Leeds Metropolitan University, Pro-Director and Chief Operating Officer (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 was a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of University Administrators.  Most recently, he was a key member of a national group which produced the CUC HE Code of Governance.

Eve Trayler-Wilkinson

Eve is Director of Wilkinson’s Estates.  She is a self-made businesswoman with a strong local connection to Newham and a keen interest in local schools.

Steve Cameron

Steve was formerly Director of Newham Community Education and Youth Service.  He is now retired.

Jan Tallis (See below)

Trust Directors

Jan Tallis (Chair of Trust Board)

Jan was previously CEO of School Home Support Charity and was the former Chair of Governors at FGCS.  She is a Chartered Director with over 15 years’ experience of leading service delivery organisations run on strong business principles, with 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 has restructured and reorganised the governance at FGCS and is a National Leader of Governance.

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. Forest Gate Community School has consistently placed in the top 50 schools in the UK for the last three years.

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”.) 

Since Simon’s arrival, Forest Gate Community School has become Newham’s most improved school 2012-2018 with year on year results increase for last 5 years. Simon is now working closely with The Cumberland School to create a similar success story there. 

Phoebe Clapham

Phoebe works for the Department for Education, as Team Leader for Kent in the Regional Schools Commissioner's Office for the South East and South London. Her role involves working with academy trusts in Kent on academy conversion, trust growth and oversight, and significant changes to open academies. Phoebe also leads a legal aid policy team at the Ministry of Justice. She previously worked in the South West London team in the same office, and before that in roles with the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions. Before joining the civil service, Phoebe worked as an editor in non-fiction book publishing, focusing on politics and economics.

Tony Scawthorn

Tony Scawthorn is the Chief Operating Officer and Board Member at Liberum Capital.  With over 30 years of financial services experience, Tony is an executive director and performs a FCA significant influence function for Liberum. Tony has extensive experience of managing and developing business infrastructure, utilising internal and external resources and overseeing IT systems, project management, HR, compliance, legal and support services.  In particular, Tony has had involvement at hands on and board level with respect to the strategic development of growing financial businesses within a regulated framework of governance and control.

Chris Rutt

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 corporate finance transactions including a $250m disposal and the $1.6bn acquisition of GLG Partners. 

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.  He is currently at River and Mercantile Group PLC as Deputy CFO.  Thus, he has strong experience in financial control, reporting and analysis.

Alison Burns

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.

Zain Iqbal

(Experience statement to follow).

Supporting the Board

Peter Mellon
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.