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Strive4 Academy Trust

Striving for excellence...

Who's who at the Trust

Sagacity...      Tenacity...       Rigour...       Integrity...     Vision...        Excellence...


'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,

do more and become more,

you are a leader.'

John Quincy Adams



Jon Drane 

As the senior pastor at the church neighbouring Ray Lodge Primary School and a trustee of the local community centre, Jon provides very close links to the community the school serves. His responsibilities as pastor and Chair of the Governing Body, allow Jon to advise the school on a range of aspects from management and recruitment, to marketing and mediation. Jon joined the Ray Lodge governing body in 2011 driven by a real desire to see all aspects of the school improve, especially the level of teaching and learning - for the benefit of the children. Under Jon’s tenure as chair of governors, the school improved its Ofsted rating to Outstanding.


Michael Duffell

Michael is a Financial Services professional working in Regulation, Culture and Governance. He has wide experience in policy, governance and project management and offers to use these skills in order to help build on the success of the Trust. Michael lives locally and has a keen interest in social mobility.




Caroline Roberts

Caroline is Global Head of People and Talent at Zaha Hadid Architects.  Previous roles included the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, where she was Director of HR and Marketing and HR Director, Europe and Africa, at Fox International Channels.  She began her career at the BBC, as a studio manager, making radio programmes for a worldwide audience.  She is  a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and studied post-graduate conflict resolution and mediation studies at Birkbeck, University of London.  She is qualified in various psychometric tools, including MBTI and Firo-B.


Joanne Coton

Jo Coton is an Executive Headteacher of three Academy schools (Latton Green, Abbotswold and Longwood Acadmies in Harlow) and is the Chief Executive officer of the National Education Trust Academy Trust with a proven track record of effective and rapid school improvement. She has a breadth of leadership and strategic experience across the primary phase, with additional experience in leading school improvement initiatives nationally as an associate of the National Education Trust. Jo's career as a teacher has been predominantly based in London before moving to Essex two years ago when she joined NET. Jo is currently working on a RSC funded 'Mat2Mat' project to assist local CEOs that are new to post by establishing local support networks and provide training. She is also a qualified Ofsted inspector.




Alex Macneill - Chair of Trust

For the past year Alex is employed by the Department of Transport as an accountant. Prior to his current employment, he worked for the National Audit Office He was responsible for the audit of the Department for Education’s Academies Sector Annual Report & Account, so he has excellent knowledge of the operating environment that academies and public services work in. He has served as a school governor in LB Redbridge since 2007, and has helped to guide two schools from unsatisfactory to outstanding. As well as financial management, his knowledge and interests are in data analysis (especially assessment data to ensure all pupils are achieving their full potential), risk management and staff well-being. His full CV can be found on LinkedIn.


Paul Canal - Vice-Chair of Trust

Term of office: 1-9-17 to 1-9-21

Paul was the Managing Director of a Recruitment and Exhibition Company and has extensive experience both as a Charity Trustee and Chair of Governors in a London Primary School. A former Director of Regeneration body Stratford City Challenge, and Adult “Back to Work” training company Newham Wise, his commercial experience encompasses insurance, sales and marketing, “Search and Selection”, logistics and Social Media. Paul is also a London borough councillor.



Steven Hogan

After many years impacting on the lives of the young people around the Woodford area, Steven Hogan is the headteacher at Woodbridge High School within the London Borough of Redbridge.  Steven is an experienced leader of school strategy and direction, manager of systems and finances, student welfare and conduct and is fully committed to catering for all students' needs and ambitions, whatever their background.  He believes that being part of  schools with a child-centred approach is the very best way to increase life chances for young people and to help them learn about the world around them. He believes children and young people should have every opportunity to achieve the very best that they can.



Chris Curtis

Term of office: 1-9-17 to 1-9-19

Chris retired as Headteacher in December 2017 with over thirty years experience of working in good and outstanding schools. She also worked as a mentor and Local Leader of Education supporting schools in experiencing difficult times. She was an active member of the Diocese of Brentwood as well as the Redbridge Education Partnership working with Headteachers on various projects in schools.




Megan Searson

Being a lawyer, Megan has a number of skills including exercising sound judgment, living up to professional ethical standards of objectivity, honesty and integrity and upholding the rule of law. In her day to day work, she develops contracts for clients which address particular risks and issues identified. Having been a qualified lawyer for over three years now she enjoys a certain level of responsibility – supervising juniors, managing transactions and relying on her judgment to make decisions. She understands the importance of reasoned debate and is not afraid to voice her opinion and to challenge others.  Having studied at Cambridge University and having enjoyed a successful academic career, Megan’s main driver for becoming a governor is to develop keen intellect, hard work ethics, dedication and also enjoyment of and interest in education.


Momtaz Begum

Momtaz is the Head of Law for London Boroughs of Newham and Havering.  She is a solicitor specialising in Contracts, Procurement, Construction, Pensions, Academy Transfers and Company Law.  Momtaz sits across a variety of shareholder and project boards including mixed use developments, in/out-sourcing, complex transitions and multi site education expansion schemes.  Momtaz has a keen interest in corporate governance and has experience of local democracy including supporting various decisions making bodies in local government.


Justine LesForis

A finance professional having worked in the Education, Charity and private sector most of her career. Justine also has an interest in HR & People development. Justine is a Mentor, life coach, Charity Trustee & Diversity champion.

Justine has won an award for her contribution in STEM and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in a range of areas but one of her main passions is having an input in enriching all children's school/ learning experience.


Amanda Jennings

Amanda is CEO of Strive 4 MAT. Amanda has been a head teacher for 13 years and for the past 5 ½ years she has been the headteacher of Ray Lodge Primary School. In March 2017 she became the executive headteacher of Ray Lodge Primary and Farnham Green Primary. Ray Lodge Primary School was awarded the judgement of outstanding in June 2016. She was the headteacher of John Bramston Primary School between 2005 – 2012; by 2010 the Local Authority judged the school outstanding and the school was an Ambassador school for the National Education Trust. Amanda has supported a number of schools across Redbridge  and in Essex in their journey in leadership and teaching, learning and assessment from requiring improvement to good.


For information regarding the Local Governing Body of a school, please click here.

Strive4 Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee in England and Wales registered number: 10863245.
Registered Address: Strive4 Academy Trust, Ray Lodge Primary School, Snakes Lane East, Woodford Green, IG8 7JQ