Stronger Together


Steve Ward, Director (Chair)

I have been a Governor at Irthlingborough Junior School for many years and I am also a Director/Member of Huxlow Science College where I was Chair for 19 years. Before retiring, I was an Electrical Distribution Engineer.

I am a DfE designated National Leader of Governance Advocate NLGA and through this I have supported many Local Authority governance support teams, Governing Bodies and Multi Academy Trust Boards.

I first became a parent governor when my two daughters attended school and this fueled my passion to continue supporting the education of all our children. Through my experience in primary and secondary education together with my engineering background I strive to contribute to the vision and driving principles of the Trust.



Joanne Sanchez-Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Accounting Officer, Executive Headteacher

It's been my pleasure to be Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer of the Trust since September 2016.

It's fantastic to be able to work with so many committed and talented staff across our schools, so that our children can get the very best education and experiences.

I have a very wide range of experiences working in education over the past 30 years: I have worked in eight different schools in the UK and the US and taught every age group from Reception to sixth form. I have been headteacher of 2 schools, worked as a local authority school improvement partner and as an independent education consultant, and have the privilege of visiting schools on inspection. I have been a school governor in three schools before joining the Trust. 



 Paul Bedwell, Director

I grew up in this county, am married and now live in Rushden with my wife, a Teaching Assistant, and my teenage daughter.

I became a Director to support the education of our next generation. I have worked voluntarily to develop the confidence and life skills of young people for many years, as an Expedition Leader for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and World Challenge; as a youth mentor for the Tall Ships Youth Trust; as a trustee for The Challenger Trust; and as an Advisory Group member for a local government Outdoor Education Centre.

I work in Human Resources, Learning and Development and Change in corporate organisations, advising Chief Executives and senior leadership teams on strategy, people and change issues. I have led improvement projects in public and private sector organisations, big and small, and hold qualifications in business mentoring, project management and a Masters degree in Organisational Development and Change.


Sandy Hoyland, Director

I have spent more than 30 years in financial services and I’m currently a senior manager for  Lloyds Banking Group, working in investment governance and with a background in financial services Risk and Regulatory Compliance.  

I was also a parent governor during the early 90's when my three children were in primary school.






Jan Marshall - Director

I have been the Head Teacher of Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School since 2012 and have worked at the school since 2002.

I believe in delivering the best education for all our children locally. By working closely together as part of our Trust, we are achieving this through being “Stronger together”.

Working closely with the other schools in the Trust is enabling us all us to deliver an engaging and relevant curriculum for the children, ensuring they reach their potential and are ready for the world beyond school at every stage. 




Abhijit Pani, Director

I joined the Trust as a Director in September 2017.

I am passionate about education to the point that I have two masters degrees from the University of Oxford and am currently contemplating a third. My favourite place on earth is a library. If I ever retire from the corporate sector you would find me teaching mathematics to young children. I have volunteered for the United Nations, Greenpeace and Red Cross.

I am an experienced Business Change and Strategy professional. I specialise in working with Tier 1 banks advising them on successfully running large scale transformational programmes. I also have a keen interest in working with technology start-ups both in the UK and overseas. 


Penny Reading, Director

I am the Diocese of Peterborough representative on the Board of Directors which is a great honour. I have been involved with the Church of England for many years and am a regular worshipper at St. Mary’s Higham Ferrers. 

I became a governor of Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School about 15 years ago and I am now the Chair of Governors. As Vice Chair, I was responsible for Safeguarding and Special Educational Needs. I have also taken on these responsibilities as a Director. I thoroughly enjoy my roles within both the Local Governing Body and the Board of Directors.

I work part time as a Registered General Nurse. I am married to Anthony, who is a Master Mariner, and have three grown up boys. Anthony and I spend our time travelling the country in our MG when time allows. 



Janye Clancy, Director

Education has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember; I have been professionally engaged in the teaching profession for the last 35 years. Prior to taking early retirement in 2017 I was the headteacher of an “outstanding” primary school. During this time the school achieved consistent success not only academically but also in the range of broader opportunities offered to all children, something which I am very passionate about.

My mantra has always been “what you expect is what you will get” I therefore expect the highest standards from myself and all those with whom I work; our children only get one chance and we owe it to them to always offer the best. Since retiring I am involved in working as a consultant for a Teaching School Alliance supporting the improvement process in schools.

Becoming a Director allows me to continue to support teachers and leaders within the trust to grow and develop and to find ways to enable every child to shine.




Peter French

I am the Assistant Director of Education at Peterborough Diocese and have joined the Learning for Life Education Trust board as one of the schools in the trust is a Church of England School.

I have been involved in Governance for over 30 years and am a national Leader of Governance so I hope my experience will support all of the schools in the trust.


Contact the Directors:

If you would like to contact the Board of Directors, please email: 

Governance documents:

Committee Terms of Reference:

Please look at the Director Committee page to see the membership of each committee.

    Our members: 

    Terms of Office & Register of Interests: