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Christ In All We Do

Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors are responsible for making strategic decisions about the running of the Trust. They play a critical role in accountability, effectiveness and standards and have duties as both directors (under company law) and trustees (under charity law).


The day to day running of the schools within the Trust is delegated to the local governing body and regularly monitored to ensure high educational standards.


Our Directors bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Trust.


Our Current Directors


Dr Sean Sweeney - Chair

Sean has a PhD in educational assessment from the University of Bath and he has 20 years' experience as a principal in secondary and residential special schools. He is an Associate Governor at Tavistock College, Director of Music at Tavistock Parish Church and a Director of the Tavistock Music and Arts Festival.


Andrew Bailey

Andrew originally trained as a mining engineer at the University of Nottingham and Bolsover Colliery and also worked in civil engineering, mainly involving the structural inspection, investigative testing and maintenance of high rise concrete structures.  Since the closure of the Selby Coalfield, where he held a management position, he moved to Devon with his wife and children where they run a small farm and holiday cottage business. He has been a Governor at the Ilfracombe Academy since 2012 and a Director of St Christopher’s (secondary) MAT since 2013. He has developed a keen interest in education and utilising his skills, knowledge and experience to help the local community in the improvement of educational provision for all.


Fr. Paul Jones
Fr. Paul qualified as an accountant and worked in local authorities before joining the priesthood.  He is the Priest of All Saints Church in Babbacombe, Torquay and a Rural Dean. He is the Chair of Governors at All Saints CofE Academy and Vice Chair of Governors of St Cuthbert Mayne Secondary School, a church school jointly sponsored by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.


Leo de Sousa

Leo is the Training Manager at the University of Exeter, for C-CASCADES, a major EU Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network funded project focusing on climate change and training the next generation of young scientists in Europe.
Leo is genuinely passionate about volunteering in the community. Within school governance, his main interests are safeguarding, finance and training. Previously, Leo was an Associate Governor and later Community Governor in St James School, Exeter, where he was the Devon Association of Governors (DAG) Link governor and member of the Finance Committee. He was also elected as a DAG Board Member and used to be one of the DAG representatives on the Devon Music Education Hub Steering Group. Leo is also the DAG Communications Officer and one of the DAG representatives on the Contract Oversight Group for the Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing service in Devon.


Julia Croughton

Julia qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1994; having worked in practice for many years, specialising in the not for profit sector, Julia escaped to the other side in 2013 to work for a charitable trust in the leisure industry, before deciding to move the St Christopher's to work as part of the central team supporting the strategic aims of the MAT and individual academies. As part of a previous role in practice Julia supported a number of academies in their earlier days of conversion.


Jo Evans

Jo Evans is CEO of St Christopher’s Multi Academy Trust, currently 15 primary schools across Plymouth, Torbay and Devon Local Authorities. Although established some three ago, the Trust has recently been through a period of rapid growth alongside a complete change of leadership and governance.

Jo has been re-energising the organisation to work collaboratively, operate effectively and continue to grow in a sustainable way. Jo has a very strong research informed background, being part of the Cambridge Primary Review Board of Directors. She has been a leader in a range of rural and city schools, in the last seven years taking one school from Special Measures to Outstanding and the most recent from Good to Outstanding. This has been achieved through her resolve to provide a principled approach to education.

Jo has recently written a book chapter for Routledge, “Aims into Practice” and has been involved in the creation of the Church of England Professional Qualification for Headship.


Brenda Steel

Brenda is an education consultant with a specialism in school leadership and governance. She has 16 years' experience in this field having previously worked in local authority governor services in North Tyneside and latterly in Somerset. She was also the lead officer for Somerset Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) and for the schools involvement in Community Cohesion. Brenda chaired the National Service Improvement Group on behalf of National Co-ordinators of Governor Services (NCOGS). This group focused on providing quality services to school governing bodies. It also developed tool kits for officers supporting governing bodies through Trust status, Academy status and Federations. In November 2013, she was elected as a Trustee Board Member of the National Governors Association.


Canon Philip Mantell

Philip enjoyed a successful career in education, latterly serving as Head Teacher of St Marychurch Primary School before joining the Diocese of Exeter in 2011 as the Director of Education. He retired from this post in 2016.


Contact our directors:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love that you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10