Edition 18: Sir Peter Simpson, Dame Kathy August, Nick Weller and Sally Willcox

Sir Peter Simpson is to become the Independent Academies Association’s (IAA) first chief executive officer following a strategic review that identified the association could no longer solely rely on a voluntary chair and board.

Dame Kathy August is its new chair, taking over from Nick Weller.

Sir Peter says: “I’m proud to take this role and I’m looking forward to growing and developing the association, working closely with members and its board.

“The IAA has shown itself to be an effective voice for the sector, dedicated to speaking out on behalf of academy and free school leaders on specific issues and in its ongoing dialogue with colleagues at the Department for Education, Education Funding Agency and beyond.”

Sir Peter was chief executive of the Brooke Weston Trust and principal of Brooke Weston Academy. He managed the development of both the academy and the wider trust of four secondary academies, a secondary free school and four primary schools.

His contribution to education was recognised with an OBE in 2006 and a knighthood in 2011.

Dame Kathy was principal of Manchester Academy, one of the first sponsored academies.

She has since held a number of other posts including deputy chief executive of United Learning Trust and a senior education adviser at the Standards and Effectiveness Unit.

Dame Kathy says: “As a principal of one of the first 13 city academies it’s a great honour to have been given the opportunity to be a voice for the academies programme.

“The IAA needs to speak up for academies and help lead the transformation of our education system.

“We remain committed to supporting academy leaders and we will use our increased capacity to improve the impact of our advocacy on members’ behalf. The renewed clarity about our strategic direction and confidence and pride in the distinctiveness of the IAA brand identity will remain at the heart of all that we do.”

She is married with two sons and was made a dame in the 2014 New Year’s honours list.

Mr Weller remains as a board member of IAA.

Meanwhile, Sally Willcox has been appointed the new executive assistant for Dame Rachel de Souza who runs the Inspiration Trust in East Anglia.

“Managing her diary is a job in itself,” she says. “Then there are meetings to attend with her to take minutes, visitors to organise, support staff across the trust to liaise with, correspondence, an office to run – the list goes on.

“But I love the job. Helping in a small way to improve our community’s education and transform young lives is so worthwhile.”

Mrs Willcox previously worked for former education and home secretary Charles Clarke and George Freeman, under-secretary of state for life sciences.

She started her new role last month.


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