Peter Martin - Chair
Peter is the Chair of Fortis Trust as well as The Thinking Schools Academy. He has a wide level of experience as a Trustee. He is also Chair of Medway's School Forum, which is the vehicle that the authority use to distribute cash from Central Government, and this gives him a very practical insight into the finances of schools as well as the authority. Peter is Chair of Medway Youth Trust, which aims to transform young people’s life chances through IAG and training. As a final note he is Chair of a local Charity called Halpern Charitable Foundation which is focused on the promotion of arts within the community. Peter works as a Business Consultant and as such has excellent financial and auditing skills, HR management and Business Development expertise enabling him to provide robust strategic leadership and challenge.
Mark Gedye - Vice Chair
Mark Gedye, Vice Chair of the Trust Board. Mark has worked in the printing and publishing industry for over 30 years in general management, commercial, project management, consultancy and marketing roles. He has experience in all forms of business change, e-commerce, publishing, data and project management. He enjoys developing, testing and implementing solutions, data management and processes to improve profitability, productivity and accountability. Mark provides objective views and advice based upon his commercial and personal experience, on governance, constitutional and procedural matters. He has three adult children, a primary school teacher, another works in procurement for a major retailer and a trainee optician who has ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia which helps in his understanding at Bradfields Academy and Fortis Trust.
Marie Sweetlove – Principal, Trustee and CEO of Fortis Trust
Marie is CEO of Fortis Trust and Executive Principal overseeing Bradfields Academy and our Specialist Post 16 Institution Forward2Employment. Marie has worked in education for over 15 years, working in both Primary and Secondary mainstream provisions, and providing school improvement support across the South East as SSAT Lead Practitioner before joining the Bradfields Academy family in 2011 as part of the Senior Leadership team. Prior to gaining her teaching qualifications, she worked as a Press & Marketing Officer for Unicorn Children’s Theatre, in London.
Marie feels extremely privileged to lead the Trust as she gets to ensure that the children, young Adults and staff can excel in a fully supportive environment which values all. She passionately believes in ensuring all children and young deserve outstanding education and support and supported on their journeys into adulthood.
Marie is mum to three children, Katie, Adam and Millie. Marie believes in always being a learner and as such is currently studying for her National Professional Executive Leadership Qualification, having already gained a Masters Degree in Effective Learning and the NPQH. These enable her to drive forwards the trust successfully.
Emma Chamberlain – Clerk
Emma started her career in charity administration and then spent ten years working in payroll for the Church Commissioners for England, before becoming a full-time Mum in 2010. Emma became a clerk for The Education People’s clerking service in 2017. She provides advice to the governing body on governance, constitution and procedural matters and provides administrative support to the governing body and its committees.
Not a Member, Trustee or Director - No voting rights.
Paul Coyne - Community Director and Chair of Finance, Staffing and Buildings Committee
Paul Coyne is a Community Director and is Chair of Finance, Staffing and Buildings Committee. He has had various roles in the UK and overseas in the publishing, technology and learning sectors. He is currently working for Pearson, an educational publisher as the Lead for the digital systems and operations teams. He has a Masters in Business a doctorate from the Swiss Management Centre. He is a Chartered IT Professional (CITP), a member of the British Computer Society. Paul's extensive business and IT experience positively impact the board’s ability to oversee the development of Fortis Trust.
Marian Wheeler – Community Director, Chair of Student Needs and Curriculum Committee and Board Training & Development Lead
Marian Wheeler is a Community Director. Marian has worked in Education for almost twenty years, having first served as ICT Officer to the Education Directorate of Medway Council; as well as working on the Medway Grid for Learning project delivering Internet and Email connectivity into Medway schools. Marian then took a role with responsibility for IT at a Medway Pupil Referral Unit where she implemented the Management Information System (SIMS) and acted as Data Manager. During this time, Marian gained the COMPTIA’s A+ Technician qualification. Throughout her career she has undertaken a range of activities such as implementing Management Information Systems (SIMS), Data Management and analysis, and data / IT led school support to promote school improvement through strategic projects. Marian's wealth of experience ensures the trust data is highly scrutinised.
Marian’s experience with data and MIS led to a role in Kent County Council’s SIMS Support Team, where she spent ten years working with schools across Kent and Medway. She held a senior role, focussed on supporting schools to exploit their MIS to promote school improvement through strategic projects that embed the use of data across the whole school workforce. Whilst in this role, Marian gained the ITIL Foundation Certification, an internationally recognised qualification based on a framework of practices that enhance the quality of IT service management within an organisation.
Marian’s latest role is acting as Senior Data & Timetable Officer for an independent Girl’s Day School in the London Borough of Greenwich. This gives her insight into the needs of students within Greenwich and the local region and live knowledge and understanding of the issues facing schools.
Ian Chappell, Community Director
During Ian’s business life he has worked for a large retail company called Halfords where he worked up to management and became a branch manager for the company. He moved throughout Kent in this role and then moved into the motor trade at a dealership in Dartford, becoming the IT manager for the group. He was head-hunted and became a parts manager of a large Land Rover and Jaguar dealership in London. At this point he became self-employed, owning a retail business. Due to his disability, he had to give this up in 2000.
He has been a governor for over 26 years within Medway and Kent; during this time, he has held the position as chair of governors for a large primary, as well as being part of the creation, for what is now, Rivermead School within Medway, where he is chair. He has also been Vice-Chair of the Hundred of Hoo secondary school, as well as chair of Kingfisher Primary school in Chatham, vice chair at Thomas Aveling, chair at Chalk School in Gravesend and Vice-Chair at Cuxton Academy.
He was until 2021 chair of Hoo Primary school and Marlborough centre which deals with children with special needs, as well as chair at Rivermead Inclusive Trust, again which deals with complex and challenging pupils due to health and mental health implications. Whilst being a governor he has appointed a number of heads to schools within Medway and been on many staff selection and interview panels as well as disciplinary both for staff and pupils. He has undergone about 18 Ofsted inspections and mentored a number of chairs of which governance has always come out to be good to outstanding.
Since leaving his business he has become a magistrate and has enjoyed this role. He has also become a mentor with the Princess Trust as well as a trustee for Compaid in Tonbridge. He is trained in restorative justice and has also undertaken training to resolve family matters, as well as becoming a counsellor in supporting complex families and challenging situations, such as abuse financial and drug related matters.
On a personal note, he has been married to Jackie for 39 years and has a daughter, who 6 years ago gave them the gift of a granddaughter. They have lived in their current location for over 30 years and have no plans to move. Ian has a number of hobbies which include music, photography, reading, cooking, computer work, watching documentaries, as well as just sitting and reflecting on the day.
Patrick Drumm, Co-opted Director
Patrick Drumm is a co-opted Director and is our Boards Lead for Rights Respecting School Award. He currently works at Latymer Upper School in London, where his responsibilities include being Head of Extended Projects, Head of STEAM, and Teacher of Music. He has been instrumental in redesigning the new sixth form course which, alongside the standard A-Level program, also requires KS5 students to undertake a range of different electives (such as International Relations and Mandarin for beginners), develop their critical thinking skills, undertake service in the community, as well as developing a number of other soft skills (managing a budget, cooking). Patrick is responsible for the numerous Saturday school STEAM programs that run throughout the year for local primary and secondary schools, embracing a range of disciplines such as coding, robotics, jewellery making, and Maths.
Patrick holds a DPhil from Sussex University in Music and Literature, as well as an MA in composition from York University. His extensive experience in managing a department, designing and implementing new curricula, involvement in STEAM activities in the community, and passion for the creative arts.
Matthew Hull - Community Director
Matthew Hull is a Community Director. He currently works for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as Senior Host Government Services Lead for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. He has worked in DCMS and the Civil Service since 2003, taking up a range of roles including across major sporting events, regional devolution and HR. Matt is a CMI chartered manager and is a member of the Government Project Delivery Profession and is a Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner. He brings a wealth of skills and experience to the board.
Gill Williams – Community Director
Gill has been the Student Council Co-ordinator at Bradfields Academy for the past 13 years. Gill taught at the Academy for 20 years before her retirement in 2013, firstly at the Gillingham site moving to the Churchill Avenue site in 2009. Prior to this Gill worked at a London bank in her role as Private Secretary to the Deputy Chairman.
In her role as a Community Director, Gill’s duty is to ensure that the students receive the best education and welfare. Through her work with the student council, she is able to bring the student voice to board meetings. Gill is also the lead board member for Careers and Education Guidance.