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Trustees' Information and Duties


                                          Stephen Bradshaw (MSc in Education; BPhil in Autism)

Chair of Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust and a Member.

Committees: Chairs Committee and able to attend all Trust Committees and Academy Councils

Married with five children and nine grandchildren. He has dedicated his life to education and opened the first specialist College for Asperger's Syndrome at Farleigh Hungerford in September 1996, and followed this with the first specialist post 16 FE College in 2000. He has since been the Director of Schools Development for the Priory, where his success led to him being offered a seat on the Board of Priory as Director of Education and Development and later Managing Director of Priory Education Services. He went on to lead them in opening special schools around the world, including Boston, the USA, and Singapore. After being the Managing Director of the Cambian Schools between 2013 -15, he was a co-founder of 'The Aurora Group', and built it up to 13 provisions by 2018. He has since stepped down from this demanding work and offers coaching to school leaders.  His book, 'Asperger's Syndrome, That Explains Everything', was published in 2012 and highlights his model of successfully running schools for young people with Autism.


Ray Moorcroft

Chair of Finance and Audit Committee 

Committee: Audit, Finance and Resources. Chairs Committee

Married to his wife Jan. He has two daughters and six grandchildren. Retired in 2013 after 40 years of service with an International Company based in Bristol where he gained a depth of financial and procurement acumen.

Now enjoys playing snooker, holidays, going to the gym and childminding.

Ray is the Chair of Lansdown Academy Council


Andrea Wills

Chair of Quality and Standards Committee and Whistle-blowing Trustee

Committee: Quality and Standards

Andrea worked for the BBC for 25 years, starting as a journalist with Radio Bristol and then making television programmes for the Natural History Unit and Bristol Features.   As Chief Adviser, Editorial Policy she was one of the BBC’s most senior editorial managers and in 2005 revised its Editorial Guidelines.   

Andrea is a highly respected and skilled investigator of broadcast complaints and was an independent editorial adviser to the BBC Trust.  She is an experienced broadcast trainer and has worked for the BBC’s College of Journalism and spent a year in Sydney in 2012 launching the ABC’s Editorial Leaders Programme.

Andrea is on the Appeals Panel for the Video Standards Council Rating Board.


Eileen Flynn (M Ed 'Raising Attainment in Inner City Schools')

Safeguarding Trustee 

Committee: Quality and Standards and Chairs Committee

 Eileen has been a qualified teacher since 1978 gained her Master’s Degree in ‘Raising Attainment In Inner City Schools at the University of the West of England and has taught chemistry and science in secondary school for almost 40 years. For the last 3 years, Eileen has been teaching in a primary school. Eileen was on the leadership team of an inner-city comprehensive school for over a decade.

The Director of Inclusion and the designated Safeguarding Officer. Eileen has managed  Special Educational Needs, ‘English as an additional language’ department and learning mentors. Eileen led her school to be one of the first two secondary schools in Bristol to be awarded the Inclusion Standard and also to achieve the Healthy School’s award. She also led the Aiming High project to support the achievement of African Caribbean students. Eileen has worked with colleagues across the city (Bristol) to avoid the permanent exclusion of students and was a member of the Fair Access Panel. Eileen has also taught in Japan and worked with colleagues in Canada and Jamaica.  

Eileen has been on the Academy Council of St Matthias Park Pupil Referral unit for over a decade, her ambition is to ensure that all children receive the support and care that they need without having to go through the damaging process of permanent exclusion.

Julie Atherton

Julie Atherton

Committee: Audit, Finance and Resources

Founder and Managing Director of Small Wonder a marketing consultancy specialising in the education sector. After over 20 years working at a Board level in commercial businesses and agencies, Julie has a breadth of strategic experience delivering leadership, business transformation, integrated marketing, and brand development. A digital and social media expert, Julie currently works with many organisations, schools and universities, in content marketing, brand development, recruitment, fundraising, CRM, digital and data, and social media. An industry leader and trainer, Julie creates and delivers digital and direct marketing training for the IDM and universities, regularly judges awards, and chairs the DMA Social Media Council. Julie is a co-opted member of the University of Gloucestershire Council sitting on the Finance and General Purposes Committee, a Trustee of Learn@ MAT and an Academy.


Toby Kempster

Toby is a practising barrister and has for over 25 years specialised in employment and personal injury law. He is presently a deputy head of Old Square Chambers which is based in London and Bristol.

He lives in Bath and is married to a solicitor and has two adult children.

In his spare time, and amongst a number of mainly sport related hobbies, he has for more than 10 years been involved as a volunteer with Keynsham Mencap.


Gus Grimshaw

Gus is a proud parent of two sons and five grandchildren now living back in the Cotswolds where he was born in a cinema!  After a career of 40 years teaching in Bath, South Glos and Bristol now leading a much easier life as a dog walker and a Chair of Governors at a local primary school.

Thirty years as a Headteacher and even longer as a long-suffering Bath Rugby season ticket holder Gus describes himself as an eternal optimist.



Desmond Brown

Desmond is the Independent Chair for the A&S Lammy Review Group, providing strategic direction and coordination across partner agencies to reform racial disparity in Avon and Somerset criminal justice service.  He was previously the first chair of the Commission for Race Equality and sits on independent scrutiny panels engaging with police, Crown Prosecution Service and Bristol City Council. Desmond is one of the architects of Bristols VRU (Violence Reduction Unit) and worked operationally in its introduction in 2019.

In 2014, he created Growing Futures, a community interest company that provides mentoring and educational programmes for young people at risk of exclusion or becoming victims and/or perpetrators of serious violence and Criminal Exploitation. 

The Avon and Somerset  Lammy Review report will be published this Summer.


Helen Bond

Helen is a mum to two boys and has lived experience of neurodivergence, including autism and ADHD.  She understands the world of Special Educational Needs first-hand.  Having spent years working in the oil industry and local authorities, Helen took a career break to raise her boys.  Once they were old enough Helen went back to education gaining a FdA in Therapeutic Counselling, a BSc in Applied Social Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. 

Helen is currently the Coordinator of her local Parent Carer Forum and is actively involved in working with families whose children have SEN or disabilities.   Helen has a particular interest in supporting families whose children are not currently in formal education.  Helen has been Chair of a small charity in the past and hopes to bring some of her experience from that role along with her interest in Special Educational Needs to the role of trustee. 

 At home, she enjoys spending time with her family and her chocolate Labrador.  Helen likes to read, knit and spend time with friends.


Paula Young

Paula is married with 2 children and 2 young grandchildren. She has recently retired from a career in education which included teaching in primary schools in UK and USA. Whilst living there and helping her husband to run a large dairy farm, she was SenCo and a class teacher in a nursery run by the Astor Head Start Foundation which provided early years’ opportunities and experiences for disadvantaged children and their families.

Returning to the UK and taking several years off to raise her young children, she then became a Portage Home Visitor in South Glos, supporting children with a variety of significant SEND needs and their families. Paula has always believed the child must be at the heart of any education planning.

Other career opportunities arose within a rapidly growing South Glos  Early Years Inclusion Support Service, and she worked with schools and early years settings in the north of the authority to provide planned transitions into mainstream school for children with a variety of SEND needs. She has worked closely with other services for many years and has also delivered a well respected and extensive Early Years Foundation Stage training and conference programme with colleagues. This provided much-needed support for the sector covering SEMH, Communication and ASC in particular. She was a licensed Early Bird trainer and delivered the Autism Education Trust Early Years programme in South Glos. She eventually managed the Service for several years.

Following a review in 2014, she has been an Early Years Advisor for schools and her SEND expertise has been in demand.

She loves crafts, particularly sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet – she will try anything! She has played various sports but now just plays tennis and watches a lot of sports.  She and her husband love travelling, walking and gardening and are kept on their toes with regular childcare for their grandchildren!


Avril Marshall

Avril has lived in Hartcliffe for 34 years and has been involved in the Regeneration for 28 of those years.  She has worked on /with many projects and energetic individuals in the local community, to make Hartcliffe and Withywood a place of choice to live and bring up their families, with many business and employment opportunities.

As the parent of children who have been Permanently Excluded and gone through the Pupil Referral system Avril has waited for an opportunity to actively get involved in the development of Pupil Referral Unit across Bristol and is really excited that that time has come.

Avril is especially looking forward to an opportunity to be part of a dialogue with the City of Bristol College, and for the local BAME community in particular by expanding the chance to learn about BAME Hair and Beauty. This will enable students from Hartcliffe (and South Bristol) to reduce their carbon footprint rather than be referred to the Ashley Down site.

Avril was the first person from her family to go to University and obtain a Degree in Business and Finance, at the University of the West of England (falling pregnant with each of her sons, while still working full time),

Avril is the founder member of Vision (Visual Society in One Network) Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), which is a support group for local BAME residents living in Hartcliffe and Withywood.  They meet on a monthly basis to discuss issues that affect local residents, such as Education, Health, Housing, Criminal Justice system and access to traditional Food i.e. local Morrisons to name a few. 

Avril believes that she has a role to play with her skills and experience being a different angle, to assist the Academy Council in building resilience and combatting the many challenges ahead for society as a whole.


Jen Southall

Chief Executive Officer

Jen is extremely proud to have joined the trust in August 2021. Her vision is that across our academies we provide high-quality learning opportunities and individualised therapeutic provision for children and young people who have been identified as having social, emotional, mental health (SEMH), social, language and communication needs (SLCN) and autistic spectrum condition (ASC). By doing so, provide our children and young people with the best possible education and secure for them a positive and fulfilled future.