The Board has two core functions: to set the strategic direction of the organisation and to ensure financial probity. The Board is supported by three sub-committees in addition to the Local Academy Councils: Education, Audit: Risk & Finance and HR & Remuneration.
As a multi academy trust, the Board is responsible for all academies in the Trust. We exercise this responsibility by delegating functions to the Local Academy Councils, Executive Team and Headteachers through the Scheme of Delegation.
Board of Directors
Catherine Canty LLB (Hons) – Chair
Kate is currently the Clerk to the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands which involves working with the business and voluntary sectors across the region, participating in civic activities, acting as liaison with the armed forces and supporting Royal visits to the County.
A qualified solicitor with over 20 years in commercial property law, subsequently becoming a business and property consultant, Kate has a strong background in constitutional law and governance.
Kate has had various voluntary positions in the employment and skills sector in Birmingham and is currently a director of Millennium Point which promotes education in the field of innovation and technology.
Bren leads Link2ICT’s Professional Services providing support for more than 1400 schools nationally, mainly in Birmingham, Staffordshire and West Sussex.
Bren is currently the Chair of West Midlands Regional Broadband Consortium (WMnet), Chair of the National Education Network (NEN) and a director of the Birmingham eLearning Foundation (BeLF). He is also a program committee member for the annual International mLearn conference.
A teacher by trade, Bren taught in Sandwell and Birmingham. During his time at Birmingham LA and with Link2ICT, he also led the Birmingham CLC Service and was a senior advisor to the Birmingham BSF programme. He has also been a facilitator for the National College for Teaching and Learning’s (NCTL) leadership programmes, working for two different licensees, during which time he was certificated in the first ever cohort of the NCTL’s Advanced Facilitator programme.
As a volunteer, Bren has worked in soup kitchens, been a school governor and has contributed as one of a couple of UK representatives to the UNESCO OER programme. His spare time now is often taken up with keeping his classic sports car on the road and taking part in events and rallies across the UK and Europe. Bren is married with two grown up children and his wife is also a teacher in a special education setting.
Patrick Ricketts FCMI, PG Dip
Patrick is accomplished at delivering strategy for sustainable business growth and people/team development. Has a demonstrable proven track record of customer service performance improvement in executive roles, including FTSE quoted PLCs.
Patrick has extensive commercial experience leading account strategy for multi-million-pound contracts and delivering customer service excellence.
Patrick has strong strategic planning, operations, and commercial skills within UK markets in B2C & B2B markets including the public sector and has significant experience in transformation and change management.
Helen has worked both within schools and as a school improvement advisor for many years, supporting schools that need rapid improvement. She has considerable expertise in the evaluation of educational standards across a range of settings, leadership and governance of schools of all phases and types, early years provision and partnership working with local authorities and officers of the DFE.
Helen is currently the Chair of the Education Committee.
Maria Earl BSc (Jt Hons), FCIPD – Vice Chair
Throughout her career, Maria has held senior HR positions across the transport and food industry as well as B2B consultancy, with her last role as an HR Director within Arriva. She has been a non-executive Director / Trustee at FET since March 2019 and chairs the HR and Renumeration Committee as well as sitting on the Education Committee. Additionally, Maria holds a non-executive Director position for Stockport Homes Group.
Maria is currently the Chair of the Audit, Risk & Finance Committee.
Paul Roberts BA, PGCE, M Ed.
Paul was a teacher and head teacher for many years in special schools. Having been a National Leader of Education, he has carried out school improvement consultancy in several special schools and several SEND reviews in mainstream schools on behalf of Brays Teaching School Alliance and the Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP). He served on the BEP School Improvement Advisory Committee for six years. He joined the Hallmoor IEB in 2015 and has chaired the Hallmoor Local Academy Council since 2017. He has also served as a governor in two other special schools.
Paul believes in the values of the Forward Education Trust and want to help it to raise the aspirations of our pupils and their families and to support them in achieving them. He also wants to contribute to empowering staff and governors in our schools.
Susan Mary Casey
Until spring 2022, Sue was the Delivery Lead for Governor Services, at Warwickshire County Council, where she worked with and supported several governing boards. She is now an associate Trainer for WCC and writes and delivers training to governors and trustees. She also offers a consultancy service to multi academy trusts and local authority maintained schools on a variety of governance issues.
Sue has been a school governor since 2005 in both primary and secondary phases and has chaired committees and full governing boards. She was also a National Leader of Governance.
Sue has a thorough understanding of school finances and the difficulties of ensuring that schools and academies remain sustainable whilst driving school improvement and delivering their vision.
She is passionate about the positive impact that good governance can have within a multi academy trust and is looking forward to being part of the Forward Education Trust Board
Mark Morgan MA (Cantab) MRICS
Mark is a Chartered Surveyor with forty years’ experience in the UK and mainland European property industry as both an advisor and principal.
As a board member and senior executive, Mark has been heavily involved in formulating the strategic direction of organisations at both corporate and asset level, implementing business plans, setting key performance indicators, risk control and management as well as managing the process of delivery.
Mark believes strongly in the values and aspirations of the Trust welcomes the opportunity to assist in delivering its vision.
Ian Tuddenham BSC (HONS), MRICS
Ian is an experienced Chartered property professional working in most property sectors over the last 29 years. Ian started his career as a Professional Practice Quantity Surveyor, with experience across the full range of procurement routes including acting as QS advisor on several large NHS schemes. The latter 15 years have been within Project Management and Property Development Management roles. Ian has a strong understanding of construction and property contract and legal matters.
As Development Director/Managing Director of GBP Develop Ltd, the property development division of GB Partnerships Group (GBP), Ian sits on the Executive Team for the Group. GBP work largely within the public/private sector partnerships arena, providing consultancy, health planning, estates management and property development services. GBP specialise in NHS Primary and Community Care sectors.
Ian has a strong can do attitude and believes that with sufficient teamwork and collaboration most things are achievable.
Ian is married with two older teenage boys, his wife being a teacher on the Senior Leadership Team and the SENDCO at a large Birmingham Secondary School. He is therefore cognisant of the current challenges of parents, school children and teachers alike.
Register of Business and Pecuniary Interest
Please see below our Register of Pecuniary and Business Interests for all members of the Board of Trustees of Forward Education Trust (FET), and for the CEO/Accounting Officer.