Central Team

Nav Sanghara
Chief Executive Officer

Nav Sanghara

Before joining the Trust in January 2021, Nav was an executive leader of a nine-school trust founded in Greenwich. She has gained significant experience in the UK education system beginning her career as a teaching assistant, experiencing school leadership in a range of contexts and becoming a Headteacher in 2012.

Throughout her career, Nav has been driven to serve schools with ambition, equity and excellence firmly at the heart of her vision for children and communities. She is passionate about high-quality professional development and building inclusive, learning communities that are underpinned by relationships and connection.

Nav is recognised as National Leader of Education, working with schools to drive forward improvements in challenging contexts. She is a member of The Headteachers’ Roundtable-a non-party political headteachers’ group operating as a think-tank providing a vehicle for the profession to influence national education policy. She is also a trustee for STEP Academy Trust.

Nav hugely enjoys speaking publicly on a range of educational themes including curriculum, leadership development and diversity and inclusion.

Sue Ashton
Chief Finance and Operating Officer

Sue Ashton

Sue has achieved a range of professional qualifications related to her CFOO role including BTEC Level 4 Management, an OU Professional Certificate in Management and Accounting and a CIPFA Certificate in Financial Reporting for Academies. Her early career experiences included 3 years with a property investment company, 5 years as a HMRC tax officer and working as a bookkeeper for a local accountants.

Her career in education finance really kick started when she joined Bexley Council in 1991, initially as a recoupment administrator for further education and schools, then progressing to a variety of roles in Education Finance, Property Management and promotion as the Funding Manager for Bexley schools where she led the Bexley Bursarial team to support schools financial management and in determining the annual Bexley funding formula for both schools and academies in Bexley.

Sue joined Woodland Academy Trust in 2012 as the Finance Director the Trust bringing with her this wealth of experience. For Sue this launched the most rewarding stage of her career and she is proud that she is able to contribute value to the trust’s education journey and witnessing the schools and pupils thrive and develop is immeasurable to her in terms of job satisfaction.

As Chief Finance and Operating Officer, Sue provides a strategic lead in all operational areas of our educational offer including financial management, best value and statutory reporting, estates management, compliance, HR, technology, governance and marketing and communications. Her strategic aim is to ensure that the trust generate and apply resources in the most efficient and effective way possible to ensure that the schools remain financially viable whilst having access to the resources that they need to deliver excellent educational experiences for the pupils.

Julie Carson
Director of Education

Julie Carson

Before joining Woodland Academy Trust in 2017, Julie had been a Headteacher for 11 years in Salford, in the North West of England. In her role she led a group of schools on curriculum design, working across different local authorities; chairing a cluster of 7 schools to improve outcomes in the geographical area; and being the Primary Headteacher representative on the Local Safeguarding Children Board. She made effective use of strategic leadership to lead an opening of a children’s centre and worked with the local authority in supporting schools and in setting up a school improvement system.  After relocating, she joined Woodland Academy trust as Headteacher of Peareswood Primary before taking on the role of Executive Headteacher and then Director of Education. She strongly believes in continued self-development and holds a distinction for an MA in Educational Leadership and Improvement and has achieved her NPQEL.

Julie’s passion for social justice is her drive in ensuring that all children have the same opportunities in life, regardless of their starting point and she also strongly believes in the benefits of collaboration to ensure best practice inside and outside of the classroom. She is also committed to ensuring that our approach to mental health is the right one for the pupils, families and staff and is delighted that this has been recognised through each school being awarded their Wellbeing in Schools Award.

In her role as Education Director, Julie is accountable to the outcomes of our schools, along with the Headteachers of those schools. She works in partnership with the trust’s Executive Team and leads on the strategic developments of education and inclusion  as well as ensuring that the quality of education leads to the best outcomes for the pupils. This includes ensuring that the structure of the curriculum is appropriate for each school and meets the needs of the schools communities and that the trust’s educational staff receive continuous professional learning to ensure high standards and best practice. Underlying all this is her drive for wanting every child, through the trust’s educational offer, to find that hidden talent that no one knew they had, and develop it into a clear strength for their future selves.

Claire Ingrams
Executive Headteacher

Claire Ingrams

Education is Claire’s second career following success as a Wish Coordinator for a children’s charity, which granted wishes to terminally ill children. This role involved meeting with children and their families and inspired her to pursue a teaching career so that she could continue giving children wonderful memories of their time in school, whilst preparing them academically and socially/emotionally for their futures.

Claire started her teaching journey in 2005 at Northend Primary (now known as Peareswood Primary) and has had the opportunity to teach children across EYFS, KS1 and KS2. During her teaching career, she developed her leadership experience, specialising as an ‘Every Child Counts Teacher’ and a ‘Making Good Progress’ tutor as well as taking on the role of SENDCo.  Claire also led inclusion across the trust and played a significant role in improving outcomes at Northend in her roles as an Assistant and Deputy Headteacher. Claire has also provided leadership at Willow Bank Primary ensuring leadership capacity was developed and that the best outcomes were achieved for all children. She has successfully completed an NPQ as well as being accredited with the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.

In her role as Executive Headteacher, Claire works in partnership with the Director of Education to support and lead on the trust’s vision for education. Her main focus is developing leadership capacity, improving teaching and learning and ensuring the best possible curriculum opportunities are in place for all the children. She also leads the Trust Development Team who work across the trust to develop our staff practise in a range of key areas.

Claire is committed and passionate about the communities that the trust serve – children, parents and colleagues alike, and strongly believes that she has stayed true to her initial dream of being someone that can work with a fantastic team to make a difference to the lives of children that we teach.

Dawn Sydee
Executive Officer (Compliance and Estates)

Dawn Sydee

With 40 years’ experience in Business Management including Finance, HR, Construction and Education, Dawn now focuses on Compliance and Estates for the Trust.  

Her journey within education started in 2003 as a secretary at a primary school in Welling. After completing her CSBM she joined Northumberland Heath Primary School as the first School Business Manager in a Primary School in Bexley in 2008.  

Dawn is especially proud of being part of the journey of federating with Peareswood Primary, the redevelopment of Willow Bank Primary and the formation of a Multi-Academy Trust.  She thrived on the challenges from these key changes and her role develop alongside this.  Dawn played a key role in setting up the Trust which was formed in 2011 and over the years Dawn has delivered numerous projects for the schools and Trust; from new builds to refurbishments and maintenance works, through to community-based projects.

After careers in for-profit organisations her role within education allowed Dawn to be able to serve communities where she could make a difference to the life chances of children. Drawing from her own childhood experiences she is passionate that all children have the opportunity to learn in a caring, nurturing environment where moments of awe and wonder fill a child’s face as learning comes alive. She is honoured to be part of a Trust that strives to do this each and every day.

As Executive Officer Dawn undertakes a full range of strategic delivery and operational activities to ensure the success of the Trust with a specific focus on compliance, growth and estates development. Her role encompasses: Company Secretary, Policies, Governance, GDPR, Health and Safety, Estate and Risk Management in addition to project management, Condition Improvement and Free School Bids. Currently Dawn is excited to be involved with the building and launching of our new school- Lime Wood Primary School.

Karys Eagle
Human Resources Manager

Karys Eagle

Having been born and raised in Bexley, Karys has always had a passion about the local area and wanting the best for its communities.  Before joining the Trust, Karys worked for Bexley Children’s Services working with families living in the local area who benefitted from additional support.  When the opportunity arose with to work with Woodland Academy Trust, Karys jumped at the chance to work with the schools she had built relationships with and had grown to care for through her work with the local authority.

Karys joined Woodland Academy Trust in 2016 and has thoroughly enjoyed her time working in the role of HR Assistant, Recruitment Manager and now as our Human Resources Manager.

Karys is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is qualified in HR practice and management as well as ILM leadership and management.

Karys’ focus within the Trust, centres on the people working within the organisation, ensuring that the teams across trust have the knowledge, tools and skills to function effectively, feel supported and provide the best possible education for our children.  A key driver for the Trust is focusing on equality, diversity, recruitment and retention of our staff.  Kary’s main ambition for the Trust is to become recognised as an employer of choice, where the culture is strong and shared across all staff and all schools in our small but ambitious Trust.

Chloe Cunningham
Trust Business Manager

Chloe Cunningham

Chloe joined our trust in 2013 as the Finance Manager at Northumberland Heath Primary School, progressing to School Business Manager on completion of the Level 4 Certificate in School Business Management. Chloe has extensive experience of school office operations and financial management and works alongside the Central Team to support the Trust in their operations.

Chloe thrives on working in a fast-paced environment with a wide range of jobs and responsibilities and enjoys working in a constantly evolving profession which allows for career and professional development. Working in education gives the opportunity to positively influence children and staff and support in the shaping of a child’s future.

In her role, Chloe has a focus on delivering on financial management and procurement, budgets, internal audit, compliance with the Financial Academies Handbook and supporting the School Business Managers across the Trust.

Paul Anderson
IT Manager

Paul Anderson

Paul joined Peareswood Primary School in June 2007 as a Teaching Assistant/IT Technician when the school was known as Northend Primary School. On federating with Northumberland Heath Primary school, Paul shared the journey as the school became renamed as Peareswood Primary through to the set-up of a Multi Academy Trust when Willow Bank Primary came on board in September 2011. With an increase in IT demands across the Trust, and having achieved Higher National Diplomas in computing, Paul became a full-time IT Technician for the Trust in 2012.

Having attended Peareswood Primary school as a child (under its former name of Northend) Paul has always felt a strong link to the school and as the Trust formed, the schools within. He enjoys seeing how IT is evolving across the Trust and the role he plays in ensuring that the systems the Trust have ‘just work’.

As the IT Manager, Paul is responsible for the computing infrastructure of the Trust to ensure there is high quality information technology, computer literacy and computer studies through high-functioning requisite hardware and software resources.

Joanne Ashton
Marketing and Communications Officer

Joanne Ashton

Joanne has worked in primary education since completing her Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 2006. She has had the privilege of teaching across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 and in leading on various roles in different schools across Bexley and Medway for a multi academy trust and has experience in teaching English as a foreign language to primary and secondary age pupils in Turkey.

She joined Woodland Academy Trust in 2019 supporting initially with Human Resources and Trust research. She then went on to become a Strategic Coordinator for the Trust supporting the Trust’s Core Strategy Group. In this role she was able to transfer the skills that she had developed from her teaching career and thrived on the new challenges and in being able to support and contribute to the Trust's developments from various perspectives.

Joanne now leads on the Trust's marketing and communication as our Marketing and Communications Officer and is responsible for coordinating and delivering effective marketing, communication and social media strategies. Her role also supports the Human Resources Manager with the HR functions of the Trust and in supporting the Chief Executive Officer in developing key Trust wide improvements and in delivering the strategic vision of the Trust.

Gillian Vieira
Data and Administration Officer

Gillian Vieira

Educated to degree level, Gillian has more than 15 years experience in working in the retail and food-manufacturing sectors, both for large multi-national companies and smaller growing businesses. From these roles she brings a wealth of data handling and administration experience. Gillian joined the Trust in January 2022 and looks forward to developing in her role here.

Gillian has a passion for education, both for her own improvement and to facilitate others to achieve the best that they can. She has grown up in Bexley and Dartford areas and is now raising her own family in the area. Having worked mainly in the private sector, she was looking for a way to make a difference. She hopes that working in an education setting she will be able to transfer some of the key skills she has learned in her previous experience and in some way make a difference to the children and the community.

As our Trust Data and Administration Officer, Gillian supports the team with key administrative functions and to aid with data management.