Trust Members & Directors


The ACE MAT Trust was founded in 2015 and accredited as a DfE Sponsor in 2015

ACE MAT was originally founded under the control of the Kernow Collaborative Trust with two sponsored academies.

Members (6): Amarjit Basi, Steve Dunn, Daniella Glynn, Tarn Lamb, Phil Mason and Elaine Williams

Directors (9): Phil Mason (Chair), Tanya Ovenden-Hope (Vice Chair), Daniella Glynn, Dave Hobbs, Jennie Walker (Executive Principal), Antus Phillips (Elected Headteacher - employee), Gordon Seabright, Mark Smith and Holly Sykes.

Phil Mason

Chair of Directors (Member & Director)

Director and Chair of Atlantic Centre of Excellence
Director of Newquay Education Trust
Director of Planning and Sustainable Development, Cornwall Local Authority

Mr Steve Dunn


Currently Vice Chair of Newquay Educational Trust.
BEd University of Sheffield
MEd University of Exeter
35 years teaching experience in secondary schools
Member of SLT for 15 years, Deputy Head for 10 years
Experience as chair of a local IEB
Director of two other local trusts
Wide experience of project management and fund raising eg Newquay Sports Centre £3.5 million, All-weather pitch Newquay Tretherras £350,000, Drama building Newquay Tretherras £800,000, All-weather pitch Newquay Junior £300,000 and new hall Newquay Junior £550,000.
In the past have been chair and secretary of Newquay Hornets RFC, President Newquay Sports Centre, Past President Newquay Rotary Club

Tarn Lamb


A principled, strategic and respected leader in the learning and third sector able to drive national, regional and local networks to deliver quality assured services with strong outcomes for people and planet. A change innovator with a passion and track record of finding solutions to the complexities of multiple deprivation. An effective and persuasive communicator with a broad range of audiences. Strong financial and business development acumen.

Currently Chief Executive Officer at Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change and a Member of the BIG Lottery England Committee.

Daniella Glynn

Member & Director

Human Resources Consultant at Brown Jacobson Solicitors
Specialises in consultancy, advice and support to schools and academies on all HR management issues across Somerset, Devon & Cornwall
Previously  Head of HR, University of Chester Academies Trust
Previously Head of HR for a national organisation offering numerous services to young people, including 15 independent schools across the UK.  

Amarjit Basi

Chair of Members

Formerly CEO and Principal of Cornwall College
Formerly Principal and Chief Executive of New College Nottingham
Founding member of the 157 Group of Colleges
Formerly Principal and Chief Executive of Walsall College
Lead role in creating Gazelle, a movement of UK colleges committed to transforming FE through a focus of Entrepreneurship.
Inspector, chief moderator and consultant on curriculum and quality matters for key national development and quality agencies over the past 20 years
City & Guilds Fellowship, for services to vocational education and training.

Elaine Williams


Owner and director of First Steps Pre-school
Owner and manager of Porthleven First Steps Nursery
Owner and manager of Out of School Club Archbishop Bensons School in Truro
25 years of experience in Early Years

Jennie Walker

CEO, Executive Principal and Accounting Officer

Principal of St Columb Minor International Academy (11 Years)
Director of Atlantic Centre of Excellence (4 years)
Director of Kernow Collaborative Trust (4 years) – An umbrella Trust that is now dissolved
Ofsted Good with Outstanding Features (x 3)
Academy converter July 2011
545 pupils on roll Largest 7-11 Primary in Cornwall
3rd Headship, 22 years of Headship
Previously LA School Improvement Officer & Ofsted Inspector (now undergoing reaccreditation)
Local Leader of Education (6 years)
School Improvement Partner (6 years)
Featured in the recent Ofsted Music report: Music in Schools – Sound Partnerships
NPQH Leadership Development School
National Ashden Award winner for Sustainable Education 2010

Dr Tanya Ovenden Hope


Tanya is Professor of Education at Plymouth Marjon University (the University of St Mark and St John). A senior academic leader with innovative scholarly engagement in educational improvement and effectiveness at a national and international level, she has 29 years of cross-sector educational experience and was awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014 and Enterprise Educator of the Year in 2014. She is a published author of academic texts and research and holds an associate role with the Department for Education, an Adjunct Professor in Education at Cape Breton University, a Member for three Multi Academy Trusts, a co-opted executive committee member of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) and Special Interest Group (SIG) Convenor for the British Educational Research Association (BERA). Tanya is committed to education for transforming lives and has held roles as Head of Sociology (Wheatley Park School, Oxford), Programme Team Lead for Education and Higher Education (Truro College), Additional Inspector for Ofsted, Head of the School of Secondary and Further Education Studies (Plymouth University), Director of Education (Cornwall College). Tanya’s current research is in school improvement, with a focus on socio-economically deprived coastal regions in England and educational isolation.

Mr Smith


Executive Director of Business Engagement at Aston University
Formerly Director of Enterprise and Employability Birmingham City University
Extensive knowledge of UK public sector environment and strong commercial acumen
Personal specialties: Marketing, Relationship Management, Government Liaison, Business Process Re-engineering, Programme and Project Management. Shared Service Architecture
Formerly Executive Director ‘Unlocking Potential’ Plymouth University
Formerly (Interim) Director of the Cornwall Enterprise Institute Plymouth University
Formerly Director of Business Development CPR Regeneration Limited
Formerly Chief Operating Officer AIDC UK Limited
Formerly Head of Business Development Renaissance South Yorkshire
Formerly Deputy Director (Strategy) Small Business Service (DTI London) , London

Mr Seabright


Gordon is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of The Eden Project in Cornwall.
Before joining The Eden Project, Gordon was the Chief Executive Officer of The National Cycling Charity, Acting Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society, Managing Director of the Company of Cooks and Commercial Director of English Heritage
He has non-executive or trustee experience at Newquay Community Orchard, Five Talents, Visit Cornwall and Project Urbivore and undertakes voluntary work at Newquay Community Orchard and Art8 Newquay.

Mr Hobbs


Dave Hobbs resigned as a Director on 29 March 2019.

Dave started his teaching career in Cornwall at Tywardreath Primary school and went on to teach at Threemilestone Primary, St Columb Minor Junior and St Columb Major Primary. He was seconded from his last position to become an Early Years Adviser for the Local Authority (LA) and charged with setting up Wraparound Childcare throughout Cornwall. At the end of this secondment he was appointed as a Continuing Professional Development Adviser for the LA with initial responsibility for Teaching Assistant and Governor Training. He went on to develop Initial Teacher Training for the LA, heading up the Student Associate Scheme and Graduate Teaching Programmes.
Upon leaving the LA Dave was appointed SW Regional Adviser for the Training and Development Agency (TDA) for Schools and given national responsibility for the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group, this involved training both Teaching Unions and Local Authorities and arbitrating associated disputes. He was also charged with delivering Government Education policy to the SW LAs as well as overseeing all aspects of teacher and teaching assistant training across the region.
Dave's next career move saw him setting up his own Educational Consultancy advising Teaching Unions, Local Authorities and individual schools. He also set up, and was a Director of, the Learning Institute which piloted Foundation Degrees for Teaching Assistants across the SW, this was developed through to an Honours Degree programme and a forerunner of School Direct which has seen hundreds of Teaching Assistants become teachers.
Away from his teaching career Dave has been both a magistrate and youth magistrate. He is also a member and past president of Newquay Rotary Club.
Upon retirement Dave was approached to become Chair of The Learning Academy Trust a position he held for four years. He has been an active member of the SW MAT Chairs Committee and has worked closely with the SW RSC team.

Antus Phillips


Deputy Executive Principal ACE Trust
Headteacher of St Columb Major Academy (11 Years)
Director of KCT (4 Years)
Ofsted Outstanding
Academy converter July 2011
356 pupils on roll 7-11 Primary
3rd Headship, 17 Years of Headship



Holly oversees and delivers the Internal Audit Service for Cornwall Council. In addition she is the lead for the Internal Audit Service for Corserv, which includes Cornwall Housing Limited, Cornwall Airport Limited, and Cormac, as well as for a number of Multi Academy Trusts.

Holly previously headed up part of the audit service for the Ministry of Defence, with over 15 years experience in central Government from Internal Audit, transformation to working behind the scenes of Typhoon and Tornado fast jet projects.

Previous experience includes auditing Housing Associations, local authorities, the NHS and education sectors as well as delivering external audit in the private sector.
She specialises in Audit, Risk Management, transformation and leadership development.

As a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors South West Committee she facilitates and leads conferences having also been an examiner for the Institute on the risk management qualifications.
In her spare time she is a Trustee and Treasurer for Newquay Surf Life Saving Club, based at Fistral beach.

Key Changes to Director/Member Composition in 2017-18
Mark Smith was appointed to the Board of Directors in December 2017 having previously been Chair of Members, he ceased his membership as a Member at this time, and in March 2018 Mark was appointed as Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee.
Amarjit Basi, who was already a Trust Member, replaced Mark as Chair of Members.
Dave Hobbs was appointed as a Director in March 2018. Dave brings with him a wealth of educational experience.
Chris Boarland was a Director and Chair of the Local Advisory Board (LAB) at Upton Cross ACE Academy, however he resigned from his post as Director in May 2018. He also resigned from his post as Chair of the LAB at the end of the academic year.
The Members resolved in June 2018 following a recommendation from the Board of Directors in May 2018 that the representation of LAB Chairs on the Board of Directors should remain in the Articles of Association, but that it should not be used. Therefore the remaining Director, Derek Rushton, with a joint role of Director and Chair of the LAB at Beacon ACE Academy, ceased his Directorship at the end of the academic year. Derek agreed to attend future meetings of the Board as an observer, with the exception of the first meeting of the new academic year 2018-19, where it was agreed he would attend for a final time as a Director due to the important business being discussed.