Robert has been the Chair of the Academy Council since January 2019. Robert has lived in Sutton since 2011 after qualifying as a Science Teacher and has taught in two secondary schools in the London Borough of Sutton. Robert brings a wealth of strategic leadership experience to Wandle and is currently an Assistant Headteacher and SENDCo in a Surrey secondary school. Alternative education is extremely important and personal to him as Robert’s younger brother has Asperger’s Syndrome and was educated in a special provision which enabled him to flourish.
David is the Vice Chair of the Academy Council with experience in the corporate sector. As Principal, ESPN Solutions at The Walt Disney Company, David leads a strategy consultancy that works with global sports organisations to develop content, marketing and monetisation strategies. Prior to joining Disney, David worked at Bain & Company, a leading global strategy consultancy, where he supported executives across industries, including in the education and education technology sectors. David graduated with a BA Economics & Management from the University of Oxford.
Natalie is an Academy Council Member with experience in the Financial Services sector, currently working for Legal & General. As a qualified actuary Natalie has led large teams responsible for pricing insurance products and financial reporting. She has been part of a number of senior leadership teams and also has experience establishing new operating models and working in collaborative teams on transformation projects. Natalie is originally from Sheffield but has been living in Sutton for almost ten years. Outside of work Natalie is attempting to learn Latin and Ballroom dancing - which is made much harder during a pandemic. Natalie feels fortunate to have had a wonderful school experience herself and would love to play just a small role in helping children have a similarly positive experience.
Anna has over 10 years experience in the Education Sector as a School Business Manager/Bursar and holds a Certificate in School Business Management and a Diploma in School Business Management. Prior to this Anna worked as a Facilities Manager for a Charity (Livability – previously known as The Shaftesbury Society/ John Grooms) that delivers a wide range of services for disabled people including Education, community projects, care homes and residential care. Anna is looking forward to working with the Wandle Valley team and playing a part in ensuring pupils meet their full potential.
Stephen Simpson has worked for over twenty years with 3‑18 year olds in creative indoor and outdoor learning environments. He runs a SEMH-focused Forest School with Alternative Provision at a primary school in South West London. He is a passionate believer in using alternative learning methods with children who need help coping with the pressures of the modern curriculum and that the environment plays a crucial part in being able to access successful learning. Stephen has a son at Wandle Valley Academy.
Anne has been in education since 1988 and has been a member of the Kennington Park Academy team (part of PLT) since 1998 – 19 years in a leadership capacity. Anne has led the team through 4 successful Ofsted inspections. She has extensive experience of supporting pupils, families, colleagues and primary schools in the area of SEMH and for 18 years was part of the KPA behaviour support advisory team –which also included delivering CPD to schools, SenCos and NQTs.
Alexis Bull has worked in Education for over 20 Years with 8 years in SEMH as a senior leader and Headteacher. Alexis is currently Headteacher of Sutton House Academy in Southend-on-Sea. Alexis is absolutely committed to ‘getting it right’ for every child and has spent significant time developing and improving an educational offer for those pupils who need it most! Originally a drama teacher with a passion for performance, Alexis continues to provide a creative and innovative approach to her work and dedication to others.
The main focus of the Academy Council meetings are Academy Improvement and Teaching & Learning. The function of the Academy Council is to support the Headteacher and staff, in maintaining and developing the Academy’s vision. Academy Members need to play the role of a friend, but a critical one challenging where necessary, but always remembering that the Headteacher is responsible for the day to day running of the school.
Key responsibilities of Academy Council Members
Appointing senior staff
Budgeting and managing finance and resources
Setting aims and objectives of the academy
Setting policies for achieving the aims and objectives of the academy
Setting aims and objectives for pupil attainment
Monitoring and evaluating a academy’s progress
Being a source of challenge and support to the Headteacher
Benefits of being an Academy Member/transferrable skills that Academy Member develop
Ability to provide challenge
Ability to analyse data
Good communication skills
Budget setting and procurement
Knowledge of recruitment procedures
Knowledge of safeguarding and health and safety
Knowledge of educational policy
Performance management and review
The Academy Council members for Wandle Valley Academy
Robert Brooks Chair of Academy Council
David White Vice Chair of Academy Council
Natalie Bentley Academy Council Member
Anna Howell Academy Council Member
Stephen Simpson Academy Council Member
Anne Sturman Academy Council Member (Executive Primary Lead)
Alexis Bull Academy Council Member
Wandle Valley Academy
Declaration of interests and Attendance