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Our Members

The Trust Members bring a broad range of skills and expertise to the strategic leadership of the group of schools.

Fiona Aubrey-Smith

Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching

Fiona is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching, and the former Head of Primary at SSAT, the largest national network of schools. She has also been the Head of Research & Development for an international education technology company. Fiona brings a range of experience, having previously been a classroom teacher, school leader and then consultant. She has undertaken advisory roles regionally, nationally and internationally. Fiona is currently completing her PhD in education, as well as continuing to work with policy makers and influencers.

Alex Brooks-Johnson

Charity Sector Specialist Consultant

Alex Brooks-Johnson spent 7 years as the CEO of Wide Horizons, following 15 years as a fundraising and marketing professional.  Alex held senior roles in national and international organisations, developing some significant partnerships with global companies, before joining the board at Wide Horizons in 2009. As a qualified mountain leader and climbing instructor, Alex has worked with children and young people outdoors, running UK adventure training for inner-city children, and leading overseas expeditions.  He now provides management consultancy support to charities, schools and other not for profit organisations.  He is also a Trustee of the School Bus Project, a charity providing education to migrant children in Europe.

James Mackenzie-Blackman

Chief Executive, Theatre Royal Plymouth

James grew up in Plymouth and South Devon. After concluding his education, he spent two years working overseas in Nepal, Europe and North America.

After University in Liverpool James spent fourteen years working in London at Greenwich Theatre; the Lyric Hammersmith; as Executive Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and then as Executive Director of Sir Matthew Bourne’s award-winning dance company New Adventures. During his time at the company James oversaw substantial growth in participation, audiences and turnover.

James was appointed Chief Executive of Eden Court, Scotland’s largest single-site arts venue, in 2017 and during his tenure steered the company through a period of significant growth and change.

James is regularly invited to speak at conferences and events in the UK and overseas, he is a trustee of Scottish Ballet and the Compass Partnership of Schools.

James took up post as Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal Plymouth in January 2021.

David Mbatha

Director, KPMG East Africa

David is currently Director of KPMG, East Africa and a former governor of Willow Dene School. Over the last 15 years, David has worked in finance roles and professional services spanning various specialisms including audit, financial management, reporting and regulation. He has experience in all aspects of the financial reporting cycle, including complex accounting advice and analysis, regulatory advice, process improvement, financial analysis, risk management and investigations. David holds an MBA from Manchester Business School