Scroll to content mead-vale-logo-01 reading call-answer small-arrow education search university translate right-arrow padlock phone email locations visions trust-members academy-members mendip locking bourneville mead-vale MEAD VALE Community primary schoolwindwhistle WINDWHISTLEwalliscote WALLISCOTE PRIMARY SCHOOL oldmixon milton banwell

Extend Learning

Academies Network

School Logo

Central Team

Central Team Story


An extraordinary education is not always achieved through radical change but by everyone continually engaging in the pursuit of the small things that together will make the biggest difference.


We work alongside children and staff in schools.  Aiming never to lose sight of our ambition to provide an extraordinary educational journey, we support schools to identify what needs to improve and provide guidance in how the improvements can be made. It is our goal for all schools to deliver an extraordinary education and we recognise that sometimes the improvement journey can be tough and sometimes it can be more straightforward. Because of this, we tailor our support according to need. 

Adam Matthews

Chief Executive Officer

Enter description


Jodi Clark

Executive Assistant

Jodi is a highly skilled and experienced assistant and administrative professional who provides comprehensive and confidential administrative support to the Chief Executive Officer, trust leadership team and trust board, allowing them to focus on the strategic development and leadership of the trust. 

Jodi has years of admin and management experience within the public sector, predominantly the NHS and is well equipped to deal with school partnerships, academy procedures and information handling in a clear and concise way.  


As the Clerk to the Board, Jodi supports the trustees with planning meetings, minutes and providing supporting papers as well as ensuring that the board and its committees function effectively and efficiently.  

Sarah Edwards

Business and Governance Lead

Sarah is a highly skilled and experienced business professional who works closely with the members, board of trustees and chairs of governing bodies to support governance across the trust ensuring that all statutory responsibilities and government-led initiatives are met and of a high standard. 

Sarah supports the school and trust business functions such as contracts, procurement and policies.

Sarah supports the school and trust business functions such as contracts, procurement and policies.


Sarah is essential to the development and continuation of the Strategic Plan.   


Having been a Clerk to Governors for many years, Sarah advises and works with schools on effective governance, statutory requirements, policies and protocol making sure that ELAN remain compliant with all statutory duties and regulatory responsibilities whether this be under charity, company or education law.


She is also very knowledgeable with regards to school admissions having worked for North Somerset Council for many years.

Sarah is very detail oriented and precise with her organisation and delivery of work. 




Penny Boardman

School Effectiveness Lead 

Penny has extensive experience in school improvement spanning over 25 years.  She has worked alongside many school leaders and governors to secure improvement. 

Penny’s specialisms are in English and assessment and her work in these fields is extensive.  She delivers training for schools across the country on all aspects of phonics, spelling, reading, writing and spoken language.


She is the co-author of Extend Letters and Sounds, a DfE validated phonics programme and the author of a spelling curriculum for Year 2-6. 

Kerri McArdle

Innovation and Development Lead 

Kerri is an experienced teacher and leader. She has taught around the country for almost 30 years, been an assistant headteacher and has led a national teaching school.   


Kerri’s experience, knowledge and drive for high standards in teaching and learning and school leadership now see Kerri leading innovation and development across the ELAN trust. She designs, implements and facilitates on a programme of support and Professional Development and coordinates collaboration via networks, pilots, working parties and research projects.   


Kerri facilitates on National Professional Qualifications and the Early Careers Framework Development Programme as well as being the Induction Lead for the trust and an ECT mentor.   

Ali Duffy

Opening Worlds Implementation Partner 

All of Ali’s teaching experience has been within ELAN schools, primarily in upper key stage 2 and throughout this time, she has held leadership positions in mathematics and English.  She has enjoyed researching and evolving her classroom practice, with a particular interest in securing high levels of pupil engagement and independence. 


Ali works with all schools across the trust to support the effective implementation of the Opening Worlds curriculum in history, geography and RE. 

Mahad Ali

Education Welfare Officer 

Mahad is essential to ensuring the best possible attendance in ELAN schools. Mahad has a long history of supporting children and families to achieve change throughout Bristol and North Somerset by developing robust attendance monitoring systems across the area. 


Working with headteachers, school attendance leads and directly with families, Mahad is driven to improving children’s life chance’s but supporting them and their families to improve children’s attendance and subsequent attainment. 

Emma Parkins

Data Manager 

Enter description

Cat Wright

Cognition and Learning Lead – Advisory Teacher 

Cat has extensive teaching and senior leadership experience gained across the primary range.  Prior to working within the ELAN multi-academy trust, Cat had worked as an Advisory Teacher within two different Local Authorities, initially working with schools and vulnerable children toward inclusion in a ‘Behaviour Support’ role in Staffordshire LA and more recently for the North Somerset Vulnerable Learners Service (VLS) where she developed her expertise in cognition and learning, with a particular interest in dyslexia and dyscalculia along with the social and emotional impact learning difficulties can have upon an individual.   

Cat now supports ELAN schools by working directly with staff, children and families.  She also shares her knowledge by developing, training and coaching ELAN staff within school to be curious about difficulties and responses children may experience when learning (and within the learning environment). 


Through a solution focused approach, Cat works to share and develop professional curiosity, knowledge and understanding within our workforce in order to sensitively support students in their access to learning.  

Caroline Cox

Education Team Administrator

Caroline has a wealth of experience in customer service and business administration in both commercial and public sector. Having been a personal assistant (PA) within the Police force and a school receptionist for two secondary schools, Caroline has a strong understanding and experience within the education sector.  

Caroline is an integral part of training and Personal Development for ELAN schools and beyond. Caroline manages the administration requirements of all PD training events, including the coordination and setting up of presentation equipment, administration requirements, liaison with course leaders and refreshments. Caroline identifies appropriate venues for courses and conferences according to financial budgets. 


Caroline works closely with the education team to develop, facilitate and analyse a training and PD programme for each academic year dependent on individual, whole school and trust training needs. 


Human resources (HR)


Heidi  Neal-Millar

HR Lead

Heidi is an experienced HR leader and chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).


Before joining ELAN, Heidi worked for Clarks shoes as Head of HR for their fast-growing Asia Pacific region for five years. Prior to this, she spent fourteen years working for Nike as an HR generalist/Business Partner.  Her final role with Nike was that of the HR Transition Lead driving the HR transition management of a key HRIS initiative (Manager and Employee Self-Service) for the Asia Pacific region. Heidi has lived and worked in the UK, The Netherlands, the USA and Singapore.


Heidi joined ELAN in April 2022 and her experience and deep expertise drive her in developing strategic responsibility for all aspects of trust HR with the ultimate aim of establishing ELAN as an educational employer of choice.


Heidi’s HR passions are Organisational Development, Talent Management and Employee Engagement. She works closely with her central team colleagues and the school leadership teams to attract, develop and retain the best people for ELAN.

Michelle Clarke

HR Operations Manager 

Michelle provides a professional and confidential HR service to the central team and trust schools and works closely with the Head of HR to ensure HR matters are dealt with in accordance with the strategic plan and operating budgets, as well as developing and maintaining effective professional relationships with managers, union representatives, school staff and external service partners in a busy and varied role. 


Michelle ensures the high-quality processing of HR data, administration and supports headteachers with HR procedures and best practice, ensuring compliance with HR policies relating to employment, including remuneration and performance management, ensuring that schools comply with their statutory obligations.   


Michelle’s areas of expertise include data analysis, DBS criminal record checks, safer recruitment, single central record, employee benefits and education specific HR. Michelle makes sure that that accurate contractual documentation is issued to new employees and that all safer recruitment practices are in place to safeguard all children and staff throughout the trust. 

Gemma Richards

Payroll Administrator

Gemma Richards is responsible for processing the payroll across the trust ensuring employees are paid accurately, on time and in line with HMRC requirements. 


Gemma liaises with school administration teams from across the trust to ensure all employee new starters, contract amendments and leavers are actioned, and any exceptions i.e. maternity pay, sick pay, overtime, etc are processed. 

Emily Cornish

HR and Payroll Assistant 

Emily began working in education at Oldmixon Primary School and has brought her experience and expertise to central HR and payroll.  

Emily’s main duties include ensuring the high-quality processing of any HR data that comes in and medical clearances are carried out for new employees, administration which includes writing contracts and letters for any contract updates, updating pensions, DBS application checking, employee absence management from claims to employee support and working with the Payroll Administrator to ensure this is all done in line with payroll.  


Emily is also responsible for people data analysis and creates insightful reports such as the termly Exit Interview Summary and Absence and Occupational Health reporting.  




Clive Farmer

Estates Manager 

Clive became ELAN's Estates Lead in November 2021. With an established track record of working closely with schools and their leadership teams, he has an in-depth appreciation of the challenges facing schools and school environments. He has previously managed the health and safety, and premises portfolios in both the special needs school and secondary education sectors, as well as the private sector, procuring and project managing the construction of school buildings across Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset for over 30 years. 


Clive is responsible for creating and implementing the estate’s strategy and the management of all aspects of ELAN's property portfolio including, its development, maintenance, security, health and safety, facilities management, and advises the trust and our schools on health and safety and statutory compliance.  

Jon Dors

Trust Compliance Officer

Jon has been involved in facilities and compliance for the well lover a decade, both in a prestigious private boarding school and at one of the country’s largest colleges.  

Jon is committed to sustainability and decarbonisation through energy reduction and control within the entire estate. Jon joined ELAN in September 2022. 




Andy Berry

Chief Finance Officer (CFO)

Andy has a BA (Hons) degree in accounting and financial management and an advanced level 7 CIPFA certificate in school financial and operational leadership. Andy is a very experienced finance professional having worked in an educational finance background for over 18 years. He has worked for Gloucester County Council in the education finance team, the City of Bristol College as an assistant management accountant and most recently as CFO at Churchill Academy where he was responsible for the overall direction and coordination of all the financial and business activities of an academy trust.  


Andy joined ELAN in September 2022 and his experience and expertise drive him in developing strategic responsibility for all aspects of trust finance and is constantly looking to achieve value for money in everything that we do. 


Andy plays an integral role in supporting the growth and development of the trust and ensuring it continues to be financially sustainable. His significant senior financial management and strategic leadership experience ensure that finance, audit and risk at both school and trust level are maintained to a high standard and that the trust’s financial resources are directed towards teaching and learning. 

Debbie Johns

Finance Manager

Debbie is  AAT level 3 qualified.  She has an excellent, general working knowledge of school finance at both primary and secondary level having worked in education for 16 years. She has worked with a school throughout its merger to an all through school set over three sites.  


Debbie is experienced with school purchasing needs, managing income and paying invoices. Debbie has worked with department heads on managing their budgets to ensure no overspend.  


Debbie uses her wealth of financial processing experience to process all schools and central team sales ledgers, manage income, reconcile and monitor bank balances. 

Gemma Coyle

Finance Assistant

Gemma has worked in finance her whole career. She has developed a broad, working knowledge of finance, specialising in accounts payable, credit control and sales ledgers in a commercial environment.  


Gemma works in schools with administration teams to run healthy finance checks and works with staff to ensure their process are robust and efficient. Gemma uses her expertise to ensure that all school and central supplier invoices and expenses are processed and paid in a timely manner, leaving schools more time to focus on the families and children’s learning and experiences. 


Hollie Griffin

Finance Assistant

Hollie is AAT Level 3 qualified and working towards her Level 4 qualification. She has always worked in finance roles within different industries, such as insurance and beverages, focusing on accounts receivable, preparation of management accounts and commercial accounting. Hollie’s main duties include monitoring the bank and completing bank reconciliations, utility monitoring, managing income and assisting with the sales ledger.


Marketing and communications


Laura Latham

Communications Lead 

Laura leads communications for the trust and primary schools and is therefore responsible for the implementation of the trust's marketing strategies, communications and public relations activities. Laura brings magazine account management and advertising agency experience to the trust and is constantly striving to keep things moving forward and growing.  


Laura‘s goal is to ensure good marketing practices and aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of all communication channels across the trust.  Laura is an advocate for positive social media and growing online presence. She supports academic staff with social media and website content management within their individual schools.