Our people

Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

Joanne Olley

Chief Finance Officer

Jo Olley qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the provincial firm Bird Luckin in 1993.

Jo remained in practice specialising in small and medium size corporate finance and audit until 2004 when she moved into industry, leading the finance function in a multi million pound IT business.

Having been part of the governing body of an EdisonLearning partner school, Jo joined EdisonLearning in 2005 in order to combine her career in finance with a love of education. Jo is one of the few staff members to have a unique perception of the difference EdisonLearning makes, having been both a parent of children influenced by the good practice it champions and a Governor on a governing body of school that went from ‘at risk’ to ‘outstanding’ with the support of the EdisonLearning models.

Jo joined CAT in August 2012 to lead the set-up and financial organisation of the Trust and is currently the CFO.

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Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

Stephen McShane

Director of School Improvement

Steve is an ex-HMI and was the national lead for SEND at Ofsted. He has been a teacher, a senior leader in mainstream and special schools. He has held a number of different positions in education as an educational psychologist and local authority principal adviser. He was a senior adviser for inclusion for the National Strategies and led training and developed publications.

Before joining CAT Steve was Director of Quality for Priory Education and Children’s Services and oversaw the rapid improvement of their schools and children’s homes.

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Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

Liz Lay-Flurrie

Finance Officer

Liz initially worked within the accountancy profession for Pannel Kerr Forster and then moved into industry where she completed her qualifications in 2001, becoming an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Having worked within industry for a number of years Liz was promoted to Group Financial Director and successfully steered the group through financially challenging times.

With this experience and knowledge, Liz has now moved to the role of Finance Officer with The Collaborative Academies Trus, providing key technical advice and skills to the finance function within the Trust.

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Caroline Roberts

Maggie McConnell

Operations Officer

Maggie is an Associate Member of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

In her role as Operations Officer, Maggie undertakes the role of Clerk to the Board, provides executive support to the CEO and CFO, and heads up the Trust’s administrative function to ensure good communication with our schools and associates.

Prior to joining CAT in October 2015, Maggie worked for EdisonLearning between 2003 and 2013. Initially as Office Manager, then later as Global Business Support & UK HR Manager.

Maggie has extensive HR generalist experience and will use this knowledge and experience to support the Trust and schools.

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Jane Ralphs Academy Learning Adviser

Jane Ralphs

Academy Learning Adviser

Following her degree studies in Science and Nursing, Jane initially had a successful career in the NHS, latterly working at a senior level in HR. After having her family, she trained as a teacher in Bedfordshire on the Registered Teacher Programme whilst obtaining a first class honours degree in Educational Studies.

Teaching initially in EYFS and KS1 for two years, Jane’s previous management skills were quickly recognised and she was appointed as Deputy Head of a brand new school opening in Milton Keynes in September 2005. During her time at the school, Jane taught across KS1 and latterly in Year 6 before becoming Head of Educational Standards, assuming responsibility for the quality of teaching and learning and achievement across the 530-place school. During her time as Head of Educational Standards, Jane played a key role in developing a personalised approach to education through person-centred practices, and assumed additional responsibility for inclusion across the school.
In 2009, Jane was awarded the National Teaching Award for Primary Teacher of the Year in the Eastern region, and also completed her NPQH qualification.

Jane was appointed as the second Academy Learning Adviser for the Collaborative Academies Trust in 2014 and currently works with academies in Northampton and Essex.

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Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

Angie Hicks

School Improvement Partner

Angie’s teaching career encompassed widely varying school contexts across Essex, ranging from an area of significant urban deprivation to a semi-rural village setting. After fifteen years as a successful Deputy and Headteacher in separate primary schools, she joined the Local Authority as a School Development Adviser and, subsequently, an accredited School Improvement Partner.

From 2012 Angie became an independent consultant, supporting school leaders and governing bodies in Essex and beyond. She continues to work with schools with very different needs, from those that are vulnerable and facing challenging circumstances, to those seeking to maintain and enhance their outstanding practice. Since 2014 her role has included working as a School Improvement Partner with the Collaborative Academies Trust.

School governance is a particular interest. Angie has extensive experience as a governor in both primary and secondary phases, and is a director of a Multi-Academy Trust. She holds the BTEC Advanced Certificate in School Governance, leads governor training and has recently completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Cambridge in Educational Leadership and School Improvement, with a particular focus on school governance and managing headteacher performance.

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Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

David Herd

School Improvement Partner

David Herd was Headteacher at St Luke’s C of E Primary School between 1998 –2006. He then took on the role of School Development Adviser at Leicestershire County Council between 2007-2013. This included work as a School Improvement Partner and a special interest in special educational needs and disabilities.

From 2011 to the end of August 2015 David has had a range of experiences as a Primary School Inspector, being both team and lead inspector for this phase. In May 2013 he completed the SEN course so was able to undertake inspections in Special Schools or Resource Provision (Units).

Accurate analysis and judgements have led to improving or maintaining outcomes in all the schools he has worked with. His specific expertise is in data analysis, school self evaluation, the inspection of schools and in special educational needs.

David joined the team in June 2014 as a School Improvement Partner working with primary schools in Northampton.

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Kevin Crossley CEO Collaborative Academies Trust

Chris Hilliard

Governance Support

Chris began his career as a secondary school geography teacher in Essex. He was a secondary Headteacher in Peterborough. Chris worked in Local Authority (LA) settings with Hertfordshire County Council, Bedfordshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.

From 2005 Chris was the Director for Children and Learners and senior regional Department for Children, Schools and Families official. In 2009 Chris was appointed Director of Children’s Services with Bedford Borough Council.
Chris joined the Collaborative Academies Trust as an Associate in November 2012. He supports governing bodies and headteachers on issues needed to help build a strong governing body as part of the school’s leadership and management. He also works for the University of Essex and recently for the Local Government Association on a Safeguarding Children Peer Review. He has been a Governor for 19 years and is Chair of Governors of a federation of two primary schools; for seven years has been a School Improvement Partner; has recently been appointed to the Diocese of St. Albans Education Trust.

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