Board of Trustees
The Trustees bring a wide range of skills and experience from a range of backgrounds. They have extensive experience of education and corporate governance and a shared ambition and commitment for high standards, excellence and personal development of our students across all our schools.
Gaynor BullTrustee and Chair
Originally qualifying as an engineer in 1983, I changed to the finance industry working in a large retail bank in many different roles including business and personal banking, research, development and electronic payment systems.
My interest in the educational sector flourished as my three children began and progressed through the school system. I worked as a Pre-School Bursar for 10+ years and became a school governor in 2000.
I have 20+ years experience of primary governance, 8 years experience of secondary governance and have been the Chair of Insignis Academy Trust since July 2016.
We are a recently formed Multi Academy Trust with high aspirations for all our schools and students. My ambition for IAT is to be known as the trust that has made a difference to local education in the Aylesbury area.
I trained classically as an actor and as a speech and drama teacher at the Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin. The teaching element of my course really inspired me, in a way I had not expected. Following some time travelling and working in industry, I decided to move to the UK, become a teacher and in 2000, I started my career as a Drama teacher in Luton. This move was necessary as unfortunately, Drama is not a subject in Ireland. In 2001 I took on the responsibility of leading Media Studies, which became my primary subject from 2004 when I moved to a large Bedfordshire Upper School.
In my career I have been Head of Media and Film Studies, Faculty Leader of Creative Arts and Deputy Director of Training School. In 2011 I became Deputy Headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning at a large Catholic School in Luton working with the Northamptonshire Diocese. In 2015 I began my headship at St Michael's Catholic School, a through school in High Wycombe. I thoroughly enjoyed working with children and school staff in an educational environment that covered the ages 3 to 18. I am very proud of the achievements of the school and in particular the design, build and opening of St. Michael's Aylesbury Campus, a brand new Catholic School in Aylesbury.
My interest in education and supporting pupils learning has gone far beyond my classroom and managerial roles. I was the vice chair of governors at a Cambridgeshire lower school for a number of years. I have also been very committed to teacher training and professional development. Working with a number of key organisations to undertake, facilitate, and deliver teacher training, including a spell as a visiting lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire.
I passionately believe that education should provide opportunities for all wherever they may be and my career in higher education at the Open University enabled me help provide those opportunities for a diverse body of students. I chaired the production of an innovative introductory level science module (Questions in science), studied online by over 2000 students a year, wrote for human biology, paramedic and plant biology courses and jointly edited �Why people need plants� published by Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, 2010. I managed a team of around 40 Associate Lecturers and led faculties through two large change management projects before retiring in 2018
Mark HardyTrustee and Vice Chair
After graduating from Kings College London I qualified as a Solicitor and worked in private practice in Jersey and London before moving into the pharmaceutical industry in 1992. I worked in a number of roles in this industry and travelled extensively throughout the USA and Canada as well as in Europe. I was involved in mergers and acquisitions, litigation of all types, especially product liability and intellectual property, pensions and corporate governance.
I now work as a part time consultant managing various pension schemes as well as being a non-executive director of a number of start-up companies. The rest of my time I devote to work for charities, educational and sporting organisations. I am Vice Chairman of the British Safety Council and chair the Audit and Investment Committees; President and a director of Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club; and a Past Master and trustee of the Worshipful Company of World Traders Charitable Trust. I am also a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.
I was previously a Governor of Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School and chaired the Audit and Curriculum Committees.
My career has been spent in Human Resources and I have operated in a range of environments from large scale FMCG, food and technology businesses to software consultancy/professional services and smaller organisations in manufacturing. My last role was as HR Director in FMCG.
Both my two children have been through secondary education in Buckinghamshire and I am very aware of the need to provide all children, of whatever ability and background, with exposure to the full range of opportunities secondary education can and should deliver.
Ensuring we enable our students to find their place in society as well rounded, confident individuals who are equipped to reach their potential, is one of my key drivers in joining the Insignis Academy Trust.
Paul R Thomas CBE
Having joined the Royal Air Force as I entered University, I eventually retired locally in 2007 after a very varied 32-year career, initially in administrative support roles and latterly as a station commander in West London and in other senior defence appointments as an Air Commodore, some in Whitehall.
Within only a few weeks of retirement from the military, I was tempted into higher education as the Chief Operating Officer at Brunel University London, retiring for the second time in the Summer of 2020. As a consequence of my nomadic Service career, my five children attended a range of educational institutions, including boarding schools, and my youngest moved up to the 6th Form at PRS in September 2020.
Education has been a constant presence throughout my life and the importance and availability of a high-quality provision for all is something that I have always valued. I very much hope to be able to be able to draw on my experience to contribute to the work and development of the Trust. It is very pleasing to be able to do so in and around the Aylesbury area where my family lived for many years.
Twenty five years of secondary headship (and forty years in teaching) have NOT dimmed my belief in young people: their collective potential to shape a better world is at the heart of my interest in contributing to the work of IAT.
Previously a member of the National Executive of NAHT (2009-11) , including Chairing their Secondary Committee, and Chair of the Bedfordshire Upper School Heads (2002-08), I believe that sharing best practice, knowledge and values are pivotal to enhancing the opportunities of every student. I relish the prospect of IAT contributing to the evolution of all schools in the Trust in the years ahead.
John HuskinsonCompany Secretary
I am a CPFA qualified accountant with over 20 years experience in public sector. Before joining IAT in early 2018 I was the Finance Director Education at Buckinghamshire County Council and a relative expert on the school funding formula.
I joined IAT as I share the values that the IAT Board and CEO, Stephen Box have, in wanting to make a difference to the education and outcomes of pupils in Buckinghamshire.
Now that the IAT journey has properly started and one school has become two (hopefully soon three and more) being part of IAT is even more exciting and the opportunities to support more pupils even greater.