John Tomasevic


John is a National Leader of Education and serves on the DfE Head Teacher Reference Group. He led Toot Hill School from a ‘satisfactory’ Ofsted judgment in 2004, to ‘good’ in 2008 and ‘outstanding’ in 2011.

John provides the strategic lead for the Nova Education Trust, having been instrumental in our formation and growth over the last five years.

After five years as Executive Head Teacher at Toot Hill School, Meden School, NUSA and NUAST, John is now focusing on leading the Trust’s development of infrastructure and educational vision.

Albert Woods

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Albert Woods is a long serving member of the Nova Education Trust Board of Directors who was first appoint in 2013. Albert brings extensive experience of business and entrepreneurial practice through his ownership of a local heating and engineering company.

Additionally Albert has experience of organisational governance at the very highest level through his tenures as Vice President of the British National Olympic Association, President of the European Canoe Association and member of the International Canoeing Federation.

Albert also acts as Health and Safety Director for the trust, drawing on his extensive experiences in the heating and engineering sector.

David Hooker

Vice CEO / Executive Head Teacher (Secondary)

David is currently Executive Head Teacher at our four city secondary schools after leading Djanogly City Academy for two years. Under David’s leadership the academy secured its best ever KS4 results and moved out of special measures.

Prior to his role at Djanogly, David led Meden School in Market Warsop out of special measures, securing an Ofsted ‘Good’ rating in 2014. He was previously Deputy Head Teacher at Toot Hill School.

David specialises in school improvement, curriculum development, appraisal and the use of data to drive improvement.

Ashfaq Rahman

Vice CEO / Executive Head Teacher (Secondary)

Ashfaq is currently Senior Executive Head Teacher with responsibility for Toot Hill School, Newark Academy, The Suthers School and Melton Vale Sixth Form College. Previously, as Deputy Head Teacher at Toot Hill School, Ashfaq led the achievement agenda and the school was ranked in the top 2% of schools nationally. Ashfaq was also a key player in securing the ‘Outstanding’ judgement for the school. He became the Head at Toot Hill School in 2012 and under his leadership the school secured excellent examination results that have placed it amongst the highest-performing secondary schools in the East Midlands. Toot Hill has consistently secured 84+% 4+ and nearly two thirds of the pupils in the school secure 5+. Under his leadership, Newark Academy has also been transformed—progress has improved by +0.8 in the last two years. It is now one of the most over-subscribed schools in the area.

Ashfaq has also developed a strong expertise in curriculum and has strategically led the trust-wide approach to securing high achievement at Key Stage 4 and 5; he also leads on quality assurance across the trust. Ashfaq regularly leads inspections, is a National Leader of Education and works closely with DfE officials in implementing the national strategy around teacher recruitment and retention, in schools out of the Nova Education Trust. He has vast experience in governance and working collaboratively with other local schools and trusts.

Ashfaq is currently a director of The Priestley Academy Trust and the chair of the school improvement committee. He is a National Pupil Premium reviewer. He specialises in leadership, curriculum, personalised learning, staff development, tracking and the use of data, raising achievement, school improvement and school standards.

Helen Duffy

Senior Executive Head Teacher (Primary)

Helen became part of the trust executive team in 2015. She has been responsible for Birklands Primary School in Market Warsop and currently works with Victoria Primary School in The Meadows area of Nottingham, Firbeck Academy in Wollaton and provides support to Robert Miles Infant School in Bingham. In 2016, Birklands Primary School secured its best ever KS1 and KS2 outcomes securing 65% in R/W/M at Key Stage 2 with a progress score for Maths in the top 10% of schools nationally.

In 2017, Helen successfully moved Birklands to ‘Good’ in its first Ofsted as an academy. Helen has recently undertaken training in Pupil Premium reviews and is the Trust Safeguarding Officer.

Prior to joining Nova, Helen successfully led a junior school in north Nottinghamshire, moving it from ‘Satisfactory’ in 2011 to ‘Good’ in 2014.

Victoria Hayles

Executive Head Teacher (Primary)

Vicky has been part of the Nova executive team since joining the trust in 2017. Prior to joining Nova, Vicky had been a successful Head at Westdale Junior School in Nottinghamshire.

Vicky works across a number of primary schools in the trust supporting them with school improvement, quality assurance and providing additional leadership capacity in their bid to ensure the best for children, staff and the wider school community.

Vicky has a wider role across the trust leading and developing a strategy for SEND which empowers all children to reach their potential.


The trust board aims to devolve as much decision-making to each Local Governing Body (LGB) as is possible.

We want schools to belong to their communities and governors to see themselves as major partners in the life of their school.

We support and foster strong links between the LGB and Head Teacher and hope all governors can have a high profile within the school whilst holding the leadership team to account.

Governors receive regular training so they can undertake their duties and enjoy the experience of helping their school move forward. It will be the governors, in partnership with the Head Teacher, that will determine resource allocation and spending priorities.

Central services

Our central services team covers a wide area of school operations:

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Data Services
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Estates
  • Governance

Each area is guided by a ‘Service Level Agreement’ that is their contract to school clients.

The overiding aim of the Central Services team is to allow school leaders to focus on educational matters and provide key services at lowest possible cost in order to enable the school to focus resources in the classroom.

The normal charge for this service is 5% of GAG, however the trust does take into account the financial position of each individual school.