Meet the Directors


Peter Marples (Owner of 3AAA Ltd). Chair of Directors (September 2017 onwards)

Pete Marples

Peter is one of the leading practitioners of education strategy in the UK. He trained as an Accountant in the Public Sector, joining as an Apprentice at aged 16 and qualified at aged 21. He was head hunted by KPMG and quickly rose to partner, one of the youngest in the country- ultimately leading their education practice in the UK and beyond, both in audit and consultancy. He built this practice to be the largest in the UK and renowned for its pioneering work on College mergers and strategic advice to Government. 

In 2002 he decided to leave and led an MBO of a small Apprenticeship training business in the North East. He grew the business and it was successfully sold in 2005. He then took a leading role in a consortium to purchase his local football club which they successfully took to the premier league in the first year.  

In 2008, he established his current business with his business partner. Aspire Achieve Advance (3aaa) now is the largest provider of Apprenticeships in the UK to the 16 – 21 year old age group with 41 centres in England and one recently opened in the USA.  Peter brings considerable insight into education policy, finance, strategic development of businesses and how a business can grow rapidly whilst maintaining quality (3aaa is an OFSTED Grade 1 Outstanding rated provider). 



Paul West Photo - Edited

Paul West, Chief Executive Officer

Paul joined The Spencer Academies Trust as Chief Executive in September 2017. Paul was previously the Executive Director of Education for Delta Academies Trust. Paul's career covers significant experience in school and system leadership as a Principal, Executive Principal and CEO in a range of schools in the UK and internationally, Paul has also been a registered OFSTED Inspector and in 2011 was recognised as an outstanding system leader through his designated as a National Leader of Education. In 2012 Paul was invited to participate in the National College for Teaching and Leadership's flagship Fellowship Programme. 





Geoff Weightman

  • Director of The Spencer Academies Trust and Chair of Governors at Wyndham Primary Academy

  • Former Vice-Principal of George Spencer Academy

  • Associated with George Spencer for over 40 years

Geoff has been involved in school governance since 2009 and was part of the governance team that secured an outstanding judgement for George Spencer in April 2010 and again in May 2015. He has supported many of the Trust schools with various building and renovation projects and written bids to secure significant funding for several of the Trust Academies.





Michelle Thompson

Michelle has been a Governor of George Spencer for around 9 years and chairs the Personnel Committee. Her background is in HR and she is employed as a Senior HR Business Partner for Dairycrest. She became a member of the Trust when it was first established in August 2010.








Donna Kinderman, Chair of Governors (Fairfield Primary Academy & Inkersall Primary School)

  • Chair of Governors since 2012
  • Former Extended Schools Coordinator for the George Spencer Family of Schools
  • Currently working in education in a school in Long Eaton.
  • Donna has 4 children, of which 2 attend George Spencer Academy. She has a passion to see that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential and that Fairfield is equipped to deliver the best education we possibly can for the children.




Malcolm Batchelor, Chair of Governors (Chetwynd Primary Academy)


  • Parent Governor at Chetwynd for three and a half years

  • Chair of Governors since 2014

  • Taught in Secondary Education for 7 years and in Further Education for 4 years

  • Worked in Higher Education for 25 years at 3 Universities in a variety of areas including IT Manager and on National Programmes of Curriculum Development and E-Assessment





James Smith, Governor (George Spencer Academy)

James has worked in property development and construction for 20 years and is a Director of a regional housebuilding company based in the East Midlands. He brings to the Board his experience in property planning, development, investment and law.


Born in Leicestershire (in the 70's), he read Estate Surveying at Nottingham Trent University. He has lived in Chilwell and Toton for over 16 years, married with two children who both attend Chetwynd Primary Academy.






Toby Preston, Governor (George Spencer Academy)

  • Toby is a corporate lawyer and partner in a law firm.

  • Having been brought up and lived for a number of years in Sydney, Australia, he has been based in Chilwell for over 14 years.

  • He is married with two children, who both attend Chetwynd Primary School. 




Kelly Vere


Kelly Vere

Kelly Vere is the Technical Skills Development Manager at the University of Nottingham where she began her career as a trainee research technician in 1999. She leads an award-winning programme to enable the strategic and professional development of the University's 700+ technical staff across the UK and Asia. Kelly has written for the Guardian and Times Higher Education on the role of university technicians. She has given a number of invited talks in this area, both nationally and internationally, and recently featured in the Department of Work and Pensions' #NotJustForBoys campaign, encouraging girls to explore technical careers in STEM. She is researching the roles of university technicians for her professional doctorate in education.


Kelly is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Registered Scientist (RSci). Kelly is currently on secondment with the Science Council where she leads on engagement with the higher education sector to increase visibility and recognition of technicians. Key areas of progress to date include the expansion of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers to include technical researchers, the inclusion of technical teaching in the Teaching Excellence Framework and her work with the Research Councils to ensure career development opportunities for technicians (recently featured in Nature).


In 2015, Kelly conceived and hosted the inaugural Higher Education Technicians Summit and Papin Prizes that recognise technical excellence in academia. This biennial event will next be held at the University of Warwick in May 2017. In 2014 she was awarded "STEM Technician of the Year" by the Higher Education Academy for her "outstanding contribution to the work of all technicians in higher education".


You can follow her on Twitter @kellyvere





Nicky-Jane Kerr-Gilbert (BEd Hons, MA, PGHCE, NPQH)

Nicky-Jane has sixteen years' experience of teaching and leading in primary education in Nottinghamshire schools. She draws on this to teach in a variety of contexts in Higher Education. In the last 5 years at Nottingham Trent University in her role as senior lecturer, she has supported the development of outstanding primary practitioners across postgraduate and undergraduate routes including teaching and supervising at Masters' level study. Alongside this, she has delivered regional Continuing Professional Development for existing primary practitioners in aspects of primary English and also in Mentoring and classroom observation.

She is actively engaged in partnership research projects with local primary schools and presents at NTU conferences. As course leader of the NTU and Inspiring Leaders primary SCITT collaboration, she has engaged in working collaboratively to design a bespoke academic course leading to the qualification of Primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education and based on flipped learning; utilising technology in teaching is an area of personal interest. She also supports professionals moving into teaching in Higher Education, leading on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

Her skills in course design and analytical approach to using data have secured improvement in outcomes across courses. In 2016 she was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching.


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