NET Academies Trust

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.


Gene Ashe

Gene Ashe

Gene has recently retired after 30 years with the Fire Service. During this time Gene represented the Fire Authority in England and Wales in both an operational and strategic capacity. Gene led the Learning and Development function and had responsibility for Leadership and Development of both uniformed and support staff. This experience has supported Gene as an Interim Executive Board member at Battle Academy and continues to support his commitment to education through his role as governor at a rural school. Gene is the Lead Director for HR.


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.


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.


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