The trust has three clear layers of Governance:

The legal accountable body for Nova Education Trust is the board of trustees. They are responsible to the Secretary of State for Education for the effectiveness of each of the trust schools. Trustees have established one local governing board for each school, with a key role to provide local input into school plans, budgets, community and stakeholder engagement and to review alignment with Nova strategy, approach, ethos and vision. This approach enables schools to still belong to their communities and for governors to be significant and valued partners in the life of their school.

All those involved in the three layers of governance are provided with regular access to continual professional development through our membership of The Key for Governors, The National Governance Association and Trust Governance Professionals.


Richard Flewitt


A graduate of Creative Arts, Richard enjoyed a 20-year career in television production with a focus on current affairs. As a mature student, Richard undertook a Masters in Investigative Journalism which ultimately lead him to set up his own Marketing and Communications business with clients spanning the corporate world, public and third sector including the National College for School Leadership.

Richard has been involved in school governance for over 20 years, taking responsibility for safeguarding at both primary and secondary levels and supporting the Nova Trust as a director from the its inception. As a MAT trustee, he brings a wealth of experience from his time as school governor, his work in communications and brand identity and latterly his role as business leadership facilitator and mentor.

Richard’s primary focus is now on strategic leadership and helping to establish organisational culture and change that is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

Richard is currently Chair of Trustees.

Lucy Burrow

With a career background rooted in senior leadership roles in technology and digital, as well as across shared/ corporate service functions in various sectors including construction, manufacturing and engineering, consumer goods, higher education, research, health and financial services Lucy brings extensive experience and expertise. Lucy has also worked through acquisitions, divestitures and mergers as well as start-ups with various assignments being based overseas.

Lucy is people centric, focused on enabling people to be their best and combines excellent relationship and management skills with proven ability in managing and communicating large programmes and budgets. Prior to becoming a trustee Lucy was previously an active school governor for many years and the specific skills she brings to the NET Board include: change management, compliance, corporate governance, leadership, entrepreneurial and business management, technology, organisational development, programme and project management, risk management, stakeholder engagement, strategic leadership, succession planning and transformation management.

Lucy is currently the Chair of Remuneration Committee.

Steve Crawford

Prior to retirement, Steve worked in the food industry for his entire career after graduating from the University of Sheffield with a Biochemistry degree.

Steve held various technical, operations and commercial roles before becoming Managing Director of one of the manufacturing divisions while also guiding his organisations personnel and health and safety strategies.

After retirement, Steve continued to provide development and consultancy support for an independent, privately owned project management company.

Prior to becoming a trustee Steve was, for many years, Chair of Governors at one of the trust’s primary schools.

Robert Dowling

Robert’s career was mostly spent in higher education administration after spells in the Civil Service and teaching. After four years at the University of Bradford, Robert spent nearly 25 years at the University of Nottingham; rising to the post of Academic Secretary. After retiring from Nottingham in 2019, Robert has retained some involvement in the sector, including being the current Chief External Examiner for the University of Worcester.

Robert brings the following skills and experience to the Board: Educational Performance Monitoring and Enhancement; Quality Assurance; Student Complaints and Appeals; Educational Strategy and Planning; Regulatory Compliance; Organisational and Information Governance; National Policy Development.

Emily Fleming

Emily was educated in Southwell, where she lived before attending Essex University in Colchester to study language and linguistics, and Loughborough University where she completed her master’s in risk management.

Emily moved back to live in Newark some 20 years ago and has lived and worked in the East Midlands region since then. Emily has two children, one who attends a Nova Education Trust school. Outside of family, Emily works for a global environmental consultancy where she specialises in governance, safety and quality management.

Emily has worked for a variety of organisation types within this area, including with local NHS organisations over a number of years and has also worked extensively in the industrial utilities sector and construction, looking after quality, safety and environmental management. Emily has also worked with smaller organisations locally to achieve or maintain standards and industry-specific accreditations to help their business.

Emily has skills in risk management, internal and external audit and strategy development. In the education sector, Emily is also a governor at a primary school located in the Newark area.

Natalie Gasson-McKinley

Natalie has built an extensive career over the last 20 years working as a strategist and lobbyist to cultivate prosperous and sustainable communities that work for all. As Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, she has been instrumental in delivering positive change to protect and strengthen small businesses in regional ecosystems. Her previous roles as Midlands Engine Strategic Lead for MHCLG and Head of Operations at D2N2 LEP, mean that she has a solid understanding of financial oversight, risk management and building collaborative and productive teams.

Natalie is an expert brand ambassador with television and radio experience and an accomplished relationship builder with a broad UK network spanning other senior, community and civic leaders. She is a firm believer in lifelong learning and in 2021 became alumna of Lord Simon Woolley's Operation Black Vote leadership programme – a ground-breaking initiative to equip British Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals with the tools and knowledge to take up leadership opportunities across society.

Natalie is a Board Trustee for Nottingham Playhouse, leading as Chair for its Diversity in the Workforce Group. She is also Entrepreneurial & Innovation Lead at Nottingham Growth Board.

Tony Glover

Tony, now a retired National Leader of Education and Head Teacher, graduated from the University of Manchester and subsequently achieved a PGCE from the University of Leeds and MA from the University of Kent. After working in schools in Liverpool and in Bexley London Borough, in January 2000 Tony was appointed as Head Teacher of The Becket School in Nottingham and led the school to its highest Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’. He worked with Browne Jacobson lawyers and the DfE to develop the Multiple Academy Trust model and, under his leadership, The Becket School with its feeder primaries formed the first Catholic MAT in the country.

Tony has continued to be involved in a variety of educational projects, particularly with regard to school improvement and academy conversion. He has worked as an Educational Consultant with Browne Jacobson, in conjunction with the DfE, and he has also been an external education consultant, especially with the Diocese of Nottingham. He has also regularly presented to international educators in Ontario, Canada, and he has had papers published on approaches to learning, on school collaboration and on the connections between creativity, wellbeing and learning.

Margaret Monckton

Margaret is a qualified chartered accountant with a breadth of experience across the private sector (at PKF and The Boots Company) and the public sector (the National College for School Leadership, Nottinghamshire Police and Staffordshire University).

Margaret has led teams across all resource areas and has particular experience in business change, collaboration and corporate planning. Margaret was appointed to the Board of Office for Students Audit and Risk Committee in June 2018.

Margaret is currently CFO of The University of Nottingham and heads up the Financial and Business Services Team, which includes Financial Management, Financial Operations, Information Services, Internal Audit Service, Procurement and Research and Innovation. As a member of the university’s executive Margaret contributes to the corporate and strategic leadership of the University as well as taking the lead on the financial management and sustainability of the University. Margaret also leads on delivering the infrastructure that will realise the digital and research strategies across the University.

In addition Margaret also brings to her role a trustee experience in business change, collaboration and corporate planning.

Margaret is currently Vice-Chair of the Trust and Chair of Audit Committee.

Karen Riley

Karen has extensive experience as a senior leader in the public and private sector. Having begun her career in a number of fast-moving business to business sectors, she became a director of a growing private business in Derby until the birth of her son in 1995.

After a short career break, she returned to work as a Business Adviser working with high potential SME business owners helping them to optimise their plans for growth. Her career in the post-16 skills sector began with the post of Regional Director for Ufi learndirect – the government’s flagship online learning platform – and then joined the Learning and Skills Council as Policy Director in 2007.

Karen has served in a number of senior civil service roles, notably as the Territorial Director for Further Education provision with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (part of the Department for Education) and currently as the national policy lead for Quality in Apprenticeships. She has a thorough knowledge of the education sector and its actors, and extensive experience of leading diverse and dispersed teams. Her time with the ESFA has included supporting a considerable number of colleges in difficulty and facing the need for change, whether it be structural, financial or cultural.

Born and brought up in Nottinghamshire, Karen now lives just outside Melton Mowbray with her husband, daughter and four dogs. Both her children have thoroughly enjoyed their time at Melton Vale Sixth Form College (a Nova Education Trust college) studying A-Levels. Her youngest daughter is currently studying in Year 12 and her son is thriving in his career as a chef in Nottingham.

Adrian Stephenson

Adrian has had a career in education with 20 years as a secondary Head Teacher in Leicestershire. Since retirement, he has worked as an education consultant focused on providing support to Leicestershire Secondary Education and Inclusion Partnership. These bring schools in the county together into collaborative partnerships to meet the needs of children and young people who are at risk if exclusion. He also serves as Member of another education trust, Governor of a secondary school (external to NET) and is the member of a Management Committee of a Primary PRU.

Adrian brings the following skills and experience to the NET Board: education leadership and management of change, broad experience of school governance, knowledge of SEN and the application of the Code of Practice in schools and LAs, and of the range of successful approaches used to support vulnerable children and young people in schools. He continues to work directly with young people.

Adrian is currently Chair of Education Committee.

Janice White

On graduating from London University: Bedford College, Janice worked for several years in a managerial position for Marks and Spencer across a number of UK stores.

Janice has been an active and enthusiastic community volunteer for a great number of years supporting a wide variety of organisations which includes serving as a governor of Toot Hill School for over 34 years.

In addition to being a trustee, Janice provides volunteer support to Year 12 pupils at NUAST helping them to achieve LCM Grade 4 Oral Communications as part of their enrichment programme.


Nicola Morrison

Nicola currently works within the further education sector as a Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development and has held a successful and wide-ranging job profile across the commercial, not-for-profit and healthcare sectors. Nicola has over 20 years experience of working as an HR professional and has a significant track record of introducing strategic and operational change within complex and multi-disciplined environments in order to achieve business resilience, efficiency and continuous improvement. Over the past two years, Nicola has also developed her professional portfolio to include Marketing and Public Relations.

Nicola is a fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and regularly provides support to other professionals through teaching programmes and coaching. Nicola’s specialist areas of interest include employment law, cultural and behavioural change, equality, diversity and inclusion and workforce wellbeing.

Nichole Munro

Nichole is an experienced Principal and COO, who has worked internationally as a Senior Education Consultant. Nichole joined Ofsted as an Inspector of Learning and Skills in 2010 for four years, and was also a Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at Edge Hill University. Over the last five years, Nichole has founded six educational start-ups to date across the Middle East, from International British Schools to MENA University Technical Colleges. Nichole designs bespoke improvement frameworks to raise standards and target problem areas within educational contexts. Nichole advises on strategic planning, school improvement and technical and vocational education and training.

Nichole brings the following skills and experience to the NET Board: change Management; Teacher Education; Quality Assurance and Improvement; Strategic Leadership; Leadership Development; Technical and Vocational Education and Training; International Education; Post-16 Training and Development; T- Levels; Female Education.

Jonathan Sims

Jonathan has 25 years of experience in the construction, engineering and energy sectors. Jonathan originally qualified as a development surveyor and brings significant knowledge of asset management, land acquisition and commercial property development. Jonathan has worked for two of the largest privately-owned construction and engineering groups in Europe, in varied roles from strategic business projects, human resources, procurement and business transformation. Currently, Jonathan works as the CPO for the French company ENGIE/EQUANS where he manages an annual spend of £1.2bn on goods and services with a team of 65. In this capacity, he holds expert knowledge in risk management, people development, zero carbon solutions, due diligence and responsible business practices.

Jonathan has a strong connection with academia and holds four university degrees, including an MBA and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA). Jonathan is very well versed in delivering cultural change programmes and managing transformations within organisations. Jonathan has been an external advising practitioner to Nottingham Business School for the past nine years. Jonathan is also a guest lecturer at Durham Business School on the executive MBA and DBA programmes.

Local Governing Body Chairs

  • Birklands Primary School: Mr Tim Gibbon
  • Firbeck Academy: Mr S Crawford
  • Kirk Hallam Community Academy: Ms M Lawson
  • Meden School: Mr C Callaghan
  • Melton Vale Sixth Form College: Mr John Walker
  • Newark Academy: Elaine Rossall
  • Nottingham Free School: Acting Chair of Governors - Mr Gurnaik Rakkar
  • NUAST: Mr John Saunders
  • NUSA: Mr Michael Sanderson
  • Robert Miles Infant School: Mr Kausor Amin-Ali
  • The Garibaldi School: Mrs Cate Hunt
  • The Suthers School: Mrs C Kavanaugh
  • Toot Hill School: Ms Sarah Szulczewski
  • Victoria Primary School: Mrs Sarah-Jane Latus
  • Westdale Junior School: Mrs A Yates