The Sussex Learning Trust aims to play an integral part in providing the highest possible educational opportunities for children and young people in Sussex via a network of Academies committed to partnership working for the benefit of pupils and students

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GCSE results 2018: The proportion of students who achieved both English and Maths at grade 9-4 is a truly impressive 79%!GCSE results 2018: 30% of grades achieved were the top 9-7 grades!OUTSTANDING: Personal development, behaviour and welfare (Ofsted, 2017)“Governors and staff promote positive relationships combined with high aspirations for themselves and pupils” (Ofsted, 2017)"The behaviour of pupils is outstanding" (Ofsted, 2017)GCSE results 2018: English, 90% / Maths 82% achieved a grade of 9-4OUTSTANDING: Effectiveness of leadership and management (Ofsted, 2017)..the school's culture of respect for all and positive relationships, summarised succinctly in "do your best and be nice" (Ofsted, 2017)

Jonathan Ash-Edwards


Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

I was a founding member of the Trust and currently serve as its Chair. I have over ten years of school governance experience across primary and secondary phases. As a former Warden Park student, I know the Trust’s academies well and am committed to ensuring the Trust offers young people the very best opportunities in life.

I led the Board’s decision to convert Warden Park to academy status, establish the Trust and sponsor what is now Warden Park Primary Academy, leading to a transformation in educational outcomes. During my time as Chair, I have been involved in four Ofsted inspections, all of which have judged the Trust’s governance as being ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. In April 2016, I was appointed by the Department for Education as a National Leader of Governance, a role which involves supporting Chairs of Governors in other schools and carrying out external reviews of governance. This role is part of the Government’s drive to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school led system.

As well as experience running a small business, I am Deputy Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, where I have responsibility for giving strategic direction and leadership to the local authority. My portfolio responsibilities include financial management, budget setting, performance management and estates.

Simon Watt


Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

With a background in Human Resources I built my career helping organisations to change – supporting Individuals and Leaders to succeed by fostering a culture of constructive challenge, innovation, learning and growth. This experience has been invaluable during my 5 years with Warden Park as the school converted to academy status and in its sponsorship of the Primary.   I feel honoured to share in the Trust’s continued successes - not only the obvious achievements of the students but also the growth of the organisation as it reaches out to other schools in pursuit of its aim to provide the very best educational opportunities to children and young people through Sussex.

I am married with 3 children and after 10 years overseas we re-located back to UK for our eldest daughter to start secondary education in Year 7 of Warden Park. 

My interest in contributing to the school coincided with a Parent-Director vacancy and I can honestly say that every minute of my time with both the Primary and the Secondary has been a pleasure and a true learning experience for me.

Pete bradbury

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

I am the Mid Sussex District Councillor for Cuckfield and a Member for the Leisure and Communities Scrutiny Committee.  I am also a West Sussex County Councillor for Cuckfield and Lucastes, having been first elected in 2007. A former Cabinet Member, I am the current Chairman of the Central Mid Sussex County Local Committee.

I chair the  Building Heroes Education Foundation, the Mid Sussex Science Week and the Big Bang @ Mid Sussex.

In addition to my role as Director of Warden Park Academy I am a Trustee of Brantridge Special School and have previous Governor experience at St Marks School, Staplefield and Bolnore Village Primary School, where I was a founder Governor. My roles have also included the past Chairmanship of Ansty & Staplefield Parish Council.

I enjoy cricket and am  Chairman of Staplefield Cricket Club.

mike caidan

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

Currently Director of Global Banking Relationships for Allianz, my background and expertise is in building and leading high performing teams across the Financial Services sector both in the UK and globally. My career has been spent mainly in commercial roles working with clients who are typically blue chip national and/or global organisations.

Both my children attend Warden Park Academy and I was keen to apply my skills and expertise in mentoring, coaching, commercial expertise and profit and loss ownership for large and complex projects and/or clients to support its development.

I also have experience in mergers and acquisitions and general management,  having sat on Executive Boards in my various roles.

Outside my working day I’m an Assistant Coach for Cuckfield Cosmos Football Club.

esther gunter

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

During my career as a legal recruitment manager and trainer I have developed a commercial skills set, enabling me to analyse individuals’ potential and skills, coach and support staff and clients/candidates to identify career desires and  support them through interview preparation and allowing them to be career ready. Commercially I  consult and advise businesses on employer branding, candidate attraction, interview processes and recruitment market intelligence. 

During 15 years with Search Consultancy, I have managed teams, passionate about nurturing youthful talent, developing   graduate or “first job” staff to be successful innovative employees.

Since 2012, when my daughter started school at what was Heyworth now Warden Park Primary, I have taken  an active part in the development of the school as a Director of the Trust. I have found this experience hugely rewarding and now am getting involved in more opportunities  to support young people in securing the best life outcomes through inspirational learning, youth mental health support and career coaching. 

joelle Packham

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

i have worked internationally in marketing and communications for a global engineering and energy firm for nearly 20 years, most recently focusing on recruiting communications. This experience, in addition to having a daughter, has fostered my interest in promoting non-traditional careers and opportunities for young people, particularly girls. I introduced internships and work experience placements and enjoy mentoring young people. I became a Trust Director to help further links between business and local education and have been involved in various initiatives.

I moved to the Haywards Heath area ten years ago. I have a Bachelor’s degree in French and Communication and a Master’s degree in Media and Communications and am married with a young daughter.

Jenny Pearman

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise:

It’s my belief that all children have the potential to achieve anything they set their mind to; fundamental to this is access to an education that allows them to grow and develop their abilities.  My daughter joined Warden Park Primary at the end of her reception year in 2014 when we relocated to Haywards Heath and has flourished.  I am passionate about the school and the goals and aspirations of the Sussex Learning Trust.

My role as Head of Client Services for a London based Software Services Company working in the Broadcast and Music industry means that I am skilled in managing complex relationships across a wide variety of clients, balancing the clients’ needs against the company’s policy and growth.  Over the past 15 years I have helped the company grow from a start-up with one UK client to a globally recognised solutions provider that is driving the industry standards in an ever changing and diverse market.   My job means that I work with a diverse range of people from the creators of programming and music through to legal and technical teams effecting business change and ensuring compliance obligations are met.

I am keen to help support the trust in its growth and development whilst ensuring that it continues not to lose sight of its core values and continues to ensure the best possible education is provided for all students.

roger tapping

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

I applied for the role of Parent Director following the excellent all-round education and experience afforded to my two sons at Warden Park.

As a serving teacher for 36 years my roles have included:

  • Boarding Housemaster
  • Head of Department
  • Head of Sixth Form
  • Director of Studies
  • Academic Deputy

My experience has involved:

  • Management of Departments to include Learning Support.
  • Management and analysis of performance data.
  • Relevant training in Compliance, Safer Recruitment, Child Protection, Prevent, Safety Management on Educational Visits

In addition to this, I have been an Independent Schools Inspector since 2003 and hold the National Professional Qualification for Headship.  I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Chartered Geographer.

Having retired in December 2015, I am now able to focus on Consultancy and have qualified as a Lead (Reporting Inspector) for the Independent School Inspectorate.

I have served as Chair of the Pastoral and Safeguarding Committee and I am the nominated Governor for Safeguarding and, in this role, monitor the Academy’s regulatory compliance with respect to Keeping Children Safe in Education July 2016 and future changes or updates to legislation.

I now serve as a Member and Trustee for the Sussex Learning Trust, Vice Chair of the Warden Park Secondary Academy Local Governing Body and sit on the Audit Committee. 

phil todd

Experience, Skills Set and Expertise

As a degree qualified Chartered Engineer and Managing Director for a pioneering Building Services Engineering Company with offices in England and Ireland,I have designed and delivered world class schools and education facilities and have over 20 years’ experience in the industry. 

I am a STEM ambassador and run a business locally in Haywards Heath. I have worked with councillors and several schools in the community and was invited to join the board in 2014. I have taken on various roles for the school including procurement advice, Health and Safety management and improvements, development of the facilities and support in the IT and computing departments.

I am married with two children.