NET Academies Trust

Our Team

CEO & Accounting Officer

Jo Coton



Chief Financial Officer

Moira Cummins



Executive Headteacher, Harlow

Joanne Coton



Board of Directors

Richard Carr (Chair)

Richard Carr (Vice Chair)

Richard is a Management Consultant and has previously managed various educational publishing businesses and served as a primary school Founding Governor. Richard has 10 years’ experience in coaching Board Members, Senior Executives and Middle Managers, specialising in performance improvement, talent and career development, outplacements and high performing teams.

Richard is qualified and registered with the British Psychological Society, a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and certified at Level 7 in Coaching and Mentoring. He has also designed and delivered Leadership Programmes for private and public sector organisations, including a particular focus on judgement and decision making, collaborative leadership, leading change and authentic leadership.


Jane Ratcliffe (Vice Chair)


Jane Ratcliffe is Headteacher of Millbrook Primary School in Grove, Oxfordshire. She has been in post since April 2014, following 4 years as head of another highly successful Oxfordshire primary school. Under her leadership, schools are transformed into innovative and creative places where independence and collaboration are at the centre of an inspiring curriculum.

Jane is committed to values education and has worked with other schools to develop the approach across Oxfordshire. She is interested in developing a thinking education system – from politicians to teachers to children, and speaks regularly on the power of creative learning.

Jane has established an innovative primary-only umbrella academy trust, and is a key headteacher in the Vale Academy Trust, a local multi academy trust, that was one of the first to incorporate faith and non-faith schools. She believes in a school-led system, and values the professional collaboration and trust that such structures offer.

Jane is the Lead Director for Safeguarding.


Tony Ashmore


Tony was Registrar of the Royal Society for Chemistry and is now a consultant in education and organisational development. He has contributed to a number of national and international organisations. Originally a teacher, he has taught in schools and in higher education and has over 20 years’ experience as a school governor, including as Chair and as a founding governor of a new build school. Tony is the Lead Director for Governance.


Sheryl Wilderspin

S Wilderspin2

Sheryl has over 15 years’ experience in education management, specialising in professional education and assessment.  As Head of Assessment for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Sheryl has overall responsibility and accountability to lead the development of CIMA’s examinations.   She has extensive experience in change management and project management and has lead large scale projects to introduce new qualifications, technologies and the organisational structures to support these.

Sheryl has a particular interest in the use of technology to support and improve the learning and assessment experience.  She has previously worked in roles involved in the accreditation of prior learning and student support.

Sheryl is the Lead Director for Pupil Achievement.


Nigel Wyrley-Birch

N Wyrely-BirchNigel is a Chartered Accountant and a partner in Ryecroft Glenton Chartered Accountants in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has extensive strategic experience in the independent and academy sectors of education, and much of his work involves assisting schools with growth and strategy. He is also a member of the Bishop’s Council Durham Diocese, and of the North East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association working on strategic issues including the work those organisations do with young people.


Derek Bell 

Derek is a teacher, researcher, adviser and advocate for improving and enriching education for all. He worked in schools and universities before becoming Vice Principle of Bishop Grosseteste College (now University), Chief Executive of the Association for Science Education (ASE) and Head of Education at the Wellcome Trust. He remains very active in education, nationally and internationally, through his consultancy (Campanula Consulting), committee and advisory work and has a wide range of publications. He has served as trustee for a number of organisations including STEMNET, Engineering UK, Understanding Animal Research and Centre of the Cell, and as an advisory member of the Inter Academies Panel Global Science Education Panel.

Derek is currently a trustee of the IBM Trust UK, a trustee of the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and a judge for the European Union Competition for Young Scientists (EUCYS). He was appointed Professor of Education by The College of Teachers in 2007 and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011. Derek is Director of LEARNUS and a visiting research associate at UCL Institute of Education, London.

Andrew Calderwood

Andrew was a Partner in a leading international law firm, working mainly on the funding of large projects both in the UK under the PFI programme and internationally. He has long-standing experience in finance and corporate law and in dealing with public sector and large private sector organisations. Andrew is currently Chairman of a fishing and conservation association.

Harry Meikle

Harry Meikle is a Member of Advisory Board at Encore Capital LLP. He currently serves as the Chairman of Encore Capital investee company Stagecoach Performing Arts.

He played a pivotal role in the growth of QAS Ltd from 1992 till Experian bought the business in 2004, and successfully expanded QAS into new territories outside the UK (Australia, Holland, USA and France). He was appointed Managing Director of QAS in 2002 and group Managing Director from 2005 to 2007. Since 2007 he has been consulting as a non-exec director and chairman. He was Chairman of Pure360 an Encore backed business from 2008 until the sale of the business in 2013.


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