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Our Leadership Group

Our Leadership Group, comprising of the Central Trust Team and Headteachers, work together to drive improvement for the mutual benefit of all the member schools of Equals Trust.

The Leadership Group meet regularly each term to discuss education and learning across the Trust and to prepare proposals for the Trust team and Board of Directors for the development of the Trust. This working group is crucial in delivering the Trust ethos, vision, values and maintaining the principles of equality and working collaboratively.

Katie Smith
Headteacher - Tollerton Primary School 

Originally from South East London, I moved to Nottingham in 2000 to attend The Nottingham Trent University where I studied a BA(Hons) in Primary Education.  I started my career at Abbey Road Primary School in West Bridgford, before working in Carlton, Toton, and then Ilkeston in Derbyshire for 11 years as the Deputy Head and SENCO of Dallimore Primary School.  As part of my role I trained as a Thrive practitioner, Thrive family practitioner and more recently I have qualified as a Thrive trainer enabling me to train colleagues and settings across the country.  Thrive is an approach to supporting children’s social and emotional health.  I feel passionately that we do not support emotional well-being as an intervention, it is the responsibility of every member of school staff to be playful, accepting, curious and empathic in order for children to feel safe, special, seen and understood.  It is vital for children to feel secure and valued in order for them to develop their capacity to learn. 

I was appointed as Headteacher at Tollerton Primary School in September 2023.  I am excited to take the next step in my career, and work alongside the staff, children and families to provide the highest quality education built on high quality communication and relationships.

I live locally in Radcliffe on Trent, am married and have two children who are primary school age.  I feel strongly that I want to provide a school experience for all children that is good enough for my own.  My weekends are spent watching them playing football, rugby and cricket in the summer season.  I love being outside, holidays, socialising and am currently learning to play the piano.    

Jenny Cook 
Executive Headteacher - Burton Joyce Primary School and Cropwell Bishop Primary School 

I studied for a Degree in Fine Arts and English Literature in Liverpool, before moving to Nottingham Trent University to complete my PGCE.  I took up my first teaching position at Brookhill Leys Primary School, in Eastwood in 1999. 

In 2001, I moved to Cropwell Bishop Primary School, where I took on subject responsibility as English Leader.  Over time, my responsibilities grew as I was given the opportunity to become the SENCo, and then, assistant headteacher.  Through an LA school improvement initiative, I supported a number of schools across Nottinghamshire with writing development.  When Cropwell Bishop became a Local Leader School, as a member of the senior leadership team, I worked with Phil Palmer to provide support to other schools in need.

As Cropwell Bishop Primary School gained National Leader School status, we provided further support to schools in difficulty and in 2012, I moved to Burton Joyce Primary School as acting head of school to help bring about rapid and sustained improvement, which has endured to make it a school to be proud of.  I was appointed as permanent headteacher in 2018. 

I live in Nottinghamshire with my husband, 2 children and a chocolate Labrador!  In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit – Insanity and Kettlecise.  I also enjoy running and recently completed a half marathon. To relax, I love reading and enjoying going for long walks!

Peter Cresswell
Executive Headteacher - Crossdale Primary School and Keyworth Primary & Nursery School 

I was appointed Headteacher of Crossdale Drive Primary School in 2008 and have enjoyed working with the Governing Body since then to maintain and improve the excellent reputation enjoyed by the school in the local community. In 2015 I was appointed as Executive Headteacher across Crossdale Drive and Keyworth Primary Schools – this new challenge has proved to be very rewarding and extremely interesting! Helping establish Equals Trust and working with the other Headteachers in the Trust is already bringing about change and innovation to the practices in our schools.

I have 3 children and am married to Alison, who has been very active on the Governing Body of the school our children attended. Governance and education is often a topic of conversation in the Cresswell house! Free time is taken up with sport, both participating myself and watching my children.

James Evelyn
Headteacher - Robert Miles Junior School 

I trained to teach in the Bath/Bristol area before starting my career in Hackney, east London. Most of my teaching career has been spent in London schools and I have also led primary maths across the four regions of the Ark Schools network before becoming Headteacher at Ark Atwood Primary Academy in north Westminster. I joined Robert Miles Junior School as Headteacher in April 2023 having relocated to the Nottingham area.

For me, primary schools should be positive, nurturing and focused on excellence as we seek to provide the best possible education for children setting them up for secondary school and beyond. One of the things I love about working in education is the opportunity it provides to develop people.

Away from school, I can be found out on my bike, running and playing racquet sports.

Lynda Noble
Headteacher - Heymann Primary & Nursery School 

I have been a head teacher since 2000. My first headship was in a Nottingham City School and I joined Heymann in 2005. I am also a Local Leader of Education which means that our school gets the opportunity to work closely with other schools which require support and with HMI.

I am looking forward to working with other schools and leadership teams in Equals Trust to make sure that all of our children develop to be the best that they can be in all aspects of life and have a school environment which is a supportive and happy place for them to learn.  Being part of Equals Trust is an exciting time for our school.

I have two children who attend The West Bridgford School. My eldest son is just going to university to begin his teaching degree. When I’m not working, I enjoy going to the gym, swimming and going to the theatre.  I also enjoy watching my children playing rugby and football and taking part in drama performances.

Lindsey Jamson
Headteacher - Willow Farm Primary School 

I began my teaching career in 1996 after completing a degree in English and education. My first teaching position was in London where I taught for two years before taking a career break to go travelling.

I returned to Nottingham and worked in three schools before taking a position at Willow Farm primary school in 2007, initially as a part-time teacher while my children were small. As my children grew up, I became assistant head before moving to Greasley Beauvale primary in 2018 to be the deputy.  I returned ‘home’ to Willow Farm to be the head in January 2021 – on the day that the schools were closed by the government so it was quite an unusual start to headship!

During my teaching career I have taught across the primary age range and have led many different curriculum areas, although my passion will always lie with English and Music. I am passionate about teaching and learning and worked as a Specialist Leader of Education supporting schools and individual teachers to improve their practise. I am always learning and amongst other studies, I have completed advanced education courses to become a specialist dyslexia assessor and teacher.

I live in Nottingham with my husband and 2 children. When I’m not working I enjoy travelling, reading, walking and music.

Gary Kenny
Headteacher - Brookside Primary School 

I entered into my career in teaching after initially serving an apprenticeship as a furniture maker and then as a middle distance haulage driver.  Both experiences were rewarding and memorable, but served to pave the way for one of the happiest decisions I have ever made – that of becoming a primary school teacher.

My teaching career began in schools in Northampton before transferring to Brookside Primary School in East Leake, Nottinghamshire, first as Deputy Head Teacher and then as its Head Teacher.  Brookside is a school and community in which I feel very proud to serve.

Working within a primary school continues to be as fulfilling today as it did on the day it all began for me.  Brookside’s integration into the collective of schools that make up Equals Trust presents exciting ways for our children and staff teams to collaborate and learn together. 

Outside of the world of work, my wife and I have three children – the oldest of which has followed the family trade by also becoming a primary school teacher.  Diversions include spending time with the family’s much loved border terrier, Ezra, cultivating a garden, music – I’m better at listening than playing – and visiting sunny places.

Janette Dunderdale
Headteacher - Flintham Primary School 

I came to teaching later in life after managing the village pre-school and childminding for approximately four years, whilst bringing up three children.  Once my children had started school I returned to education, gaining my degree in Science and Education Studies & PGCE at Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln in 2006.

I have worked in three very different primary schools since qualifying.  My first position was in a small primary school, very similar to Flintham, with mixed aged classes where I taught from Nursery to Year 4 over six years.  My second school was a large primary school in Grantham, where I was appointed as Early Years Lead, responsible for Nursery and Reception.  During my time there I worked as a specialist leader in education, supporting other schools with their early years practice and I gained my Masters of Arts degree, studying the effects of playground games on behaviour in and out of the classroom in 2014.  My most recent school was a successful Infant School, where I was the Deputy Head Teacher for seven years and acting Head Teacher for extended periods of time throughout the past three years.  In 2017 I achieved my National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).  My project focused on developing children's learning and life skills.

My philosophy is very much if we get it right in the foundation stage where the building blocks are laid, this sets the strong foundations for all children's future education to build upon.  To support other teachers to do the same, over the past two years I have worked with Year 1 teachers in all of the primary schools in Bermuda to help implement Early Years into schools, as this isn't currently the common practice.

Personally, I live at home with my husband and our dog Willow.  As well as my three children, I also have one granddaughter.  My family and I are very active, I personally enjoy dog walking, mountain walking, skiing, running, working out and I love a bit of DIY as well.

Ly Toom                                                                                                                                                                Headteacher - Abbey Road Primary School

I have been in primary education since qualifying as a teacher in 1994 and I like to think I can remember the name of every child I have ever taught! I first became a headteacher in 2009 at Willow Brook Primary School in Keyworth and then moved to Abbey Road in West Bridgford in 2017. While the job of headteacher has taken me away from the classroom a little, I still make sure I get to know every child in school as it is time in their company that makes the job such a happy and rewarding one. 

I have been incredibly fortunate during my career to work with many dedicated and talented practitioners, who have inspired and helped to shape me as a teacher and a school leader. Being part of the Equals Trust provides a great opportunity for collaboration and continued professional development, working together with and learning from others who share the same aims - to provide the very best primary school experience for the children in our care. 

Time away from school is filled with family and the ideal weekend would consist of a long walk in the countryside, a fiercely contested board game, an afternoon at an athletics tournament (spectating rather than participating!) and the latest TV drama. I also have family in Estonia, where both of my parents were born, and I try to visit every year, if I can.  

Linda Barbuti                                                                                                                                                  Headteacher - Richard Bonington Primary & Nursery School

I began my teaching career in 1997 after graduating with a BA (QTS) in English from Warwick University.  My first teaching post was at a school in London where I taught for almost five years.

I moved to Newark in 2002 when I had my first child.  I then worked at a large three form entry primary school in Newark for fourteen years, initially as a part-time teacher while my children were young, moving on to become the Key Stage One manager and then the Head of Lower School.  I have been fortunate enough to teach the full primary age range during my teaching career and have had the opportunity to lead several different subjects; I am particularly passionate about the teaching of reading.

I moved to Robert Miles Infant School in Bingham as Deputy Head in 2017, and within a term became Acting Head and the Head.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time there for the next four years before moving on to my current post at Richard Bonington Primary & Nursery School.

I still live in Newark with my husband, three teenage children and my beloved cockapoo.

Jon Crone                                                                                                                                     Headteacher - Netherfield Primary School

I am head at the wonderful Netherfield Primary School, serving a vibrant community that very much has the feel of where I was born in the North East of England. Originally trained as a Secondary PE teacher, I served as a Headteacher in two Midlands secondary schools before being appointed at Netherfield, making the switch to primary at a time when I felt secondary headship seemed more about balancing books and HR than children.

Having joined the EQUALS Trust in December 2023, we feel supported, challenged and rewarded in EQUAL measure and it is fantastic to have the opportunities for our children and staff to be part of so many great events and initiatives.

Away from school, I have two grown up children and one granddaughter, I still enjoy sport myself, but my main hobby is undoubtedly my golden doodle, Cooper, who enjoys a lot of long walks!