Governance and The Board of Directors

Welcome from the Chair of the Board


Dear Parents/Carers

Welcome to the Governance page of Smallwood Academy Trust.

My name is Tom Pear and I am the Chair of Directors for Smallwood Academy Trust.  

We have attached a number of Governance documents on this page to give you more information on how we operate and what our Governance structure includes.

Should you wish to contact any of the Directors you can do so through sending a letter into the school which will be passed on to the Director concerned or you can email myself,

During the year there will be opportunities for you to meet face to face with Directors should you wish to; please check school diary dates, emails and texts for these dates.


Yours sincerely,

Tom Pear

Chair Board of Directors


Smallwood Trust

Director & Member Profiles and Information




Thomas Pear MBA - Chair of Directors

I am Managing Director of Reliance Medical Ltd, a medical supplies business supplying Government and the NHS in the UK and a network of distributors worldwide.  I joined the Board in 2016 and have built experience and expertise in governance, crisis management, PR, marketing and strategy.  In 2014, I was awarded an MBA from The University of Liverpool.  I have also represented Reliance Medical at trade association meetings and have acted as Chair of our section for the past two years, shaping and advising on national standards for first aid in the workplace. 

I have been a member of Castle Primary School LGB for more than five years and became Chair in early 2022.  Whilst at Castle Primary, I have built up a broad range of skills related to the roll and a far greater understanding of how schools operate.  Castle Primary is part of a MAT, which has provided further insight by way of shared best practice between member schools.  My time at Castle Primary has also afforded me the opportunity to train in areas such as safeguarding, panel work, exclusions and safer recruitment, among others. 

Helen Canham - Vice Chair of Governors

I am a retired Assistant Headteacher (secondary) and taught Modern Foreign Languages and PHSE for 34 years. In addition, I was seconded to Manchester’s Advisory Service to train teachers and was also an examiner for the PGCE MFL students at Liverpool John Moores University. I therefore have a variety of skills within the field of education which have proved useful in my role at Smallwood.

My passion is for teaching and learning and I am Chair of the Teaching & Learning Sub-Committee. I enjoy my monitoring role within school and being able to help move the school forward by giving advice and support. The school was rated GOOD at its last inspection. The aim of the School Leadership Team and the Governing Body is to strive to achieve an OUTSTANDING grading for Smallwood CofE School.

I have a vested interest in the school, as both of my granddaughters are pupils here. I am also a practising Christian and believe that the Christian ethos of the school is fundamental in giving our pupils a firm foundation as they go forward in life.

I have learned a lot about primary education since joining the Governing Body and am keen to continue this journey, honing my skills and taking up training opportunities.

My main hobbies and interests include world travel, reading, baking and all types of needlework.

Ann-Marie Naylor - Director

I am the rector of Astbury and the Vicar of Smallwood Church.  I am a qualified accountant and can contribute to the school in several different aspects.  My true passion is around the Faith and Ethos of the school and building on the community relationships whilst ensuring the children receive an Outstanding education.

Howard Hall – Director

I am very proud of Smallwood School – it remains a very special place that focuses on the individual child and their complete educational, emotional and social development. The school has always had a genuine sense of community that results in a caring environmental that is always child centred.

As a resident of Smallwood, both of my 2 children attended the school and I was fortunate to be a Parent Governor for 8 years, latterly overseeing the school’s conversion to an Academy.

As a profession, I have been involved in Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare for 35 years, initially as an Environmental Health Officer, then for the past 25 years in the private sector. During that period, I have managed multi-million pound P&L accounts for the consultancy support service that I have been responsible for.

I am also an active member of the Smallwood Fete organising. This was set this up 8 years ago to establish community fund raising events to help develop the opportunities for use to gather as a community and raise essential funds for the School, Church, Chapel and Village Hall. These all require active support to ensure that they remain viable options for our growing Smallwood community.

I would be happy to offer my support to the Governing body as the school continues to grow and evolve under the Headship of Iestyn.

Andy Rayner – Director

Having worked in secondary education for the past 14 years in a variety of leadership roles I have experienced the challenges facing schools in a changing world. As a parent of two, the first of whom started at Smallwood in September, I would welcome the opportunity to listen carefully to the school community, using my experience and insight to best represent the voice of parents on the governing body. Like the best governors, who have supported schools I have worked in, I understand it's important to get the balance right, taking a pragmatic and supportive approach whilst being prepared to question processes when and if it is necessary. I welcome this opportunity to support the school in ensuring our children receive the best possible experience for their development, both academically and emotionally.

Alex Thompson - Director

Awaiting Pin Profile

Oliver Lofthouse – Director

For nearly 30 years I have gained experience working in a variety of sales, commercial and leadership roles in market leading organisations such as British Sugar, Mars, Vodafone, and Chess ICT.  I have also had experience of running my own business.  I have led and supported large teams of up to 300 and held board and senior management roles throughout my working life. Much of my career has been spent working in a technology arena and I have consequently developed strong skills in this area.  Outside of my work I have a love for most things equine which include competing, training and coaching across a variety of disciplines.  I am a keen sportsman and my competitive spirit encourages me to take part in a wide variety of sports.  I also like to travel and to spend time with friends and family.

With three young children, 2 who are already at the school I have an active interest in seeing Smallwood Academy realise its vision and feel my role as Director will give me an opportunity to contribute to the goals that we aim to achieve along the way.

I am energised, committed and have a passion to learn new skills and offer support, advice and experience to others where I can.  This is an exciting time for Smallwood and I am proud to be part of the journey.

Nicola Holt - Director

I am delighted to fulfil the position of Foundation Director for Smallwood.

I am passionate about education and the welfare of children in our local community.  Isaac is currently in year 4 and Lily will be starting reception in September 2023, I therefore have a long-term interest in the development and success of school as a whole, which nurtures each child through their own growth and development journey. 

I am a local resident of Smallwood village, a caring and compassionate person and an active member of the PCC.  I will focus on ensuring our Christian Ethos is maintained & continues to be deeply embedded in the culture of our school.  I am also interested in increasing the level of parental engagement to ensure a fully inclusive approach.  I can offer an unbiased voice for parents and the wider community to ensure we successfully deliver the best possible learning experiences for the children and a safe and secure environment for all members of the Smallwood family.




Chris Penn - Chester Diocesan Board of Education Corporate Member

Chris Penn is appointed Director of Education for the Diocese of Chester. He leads the education department which supports the 116 Church of England schools across the Diocese of Chester. Prior to taking on this role, Chris was the headteacher at St Peter’s CE Primary School in Heswall for 10 years. He has also held various teaching and advisory posts on the Wirral.

Clare Pear – Parent Member

Is a parent of two children at Smallwood.

Thomas Pear - Chair of Directors

As above.


Name of Academy Trust: The Smallwood Academy Trust

Company Number: 09118770

Registered office address is Smallwood Church Of England Primary School, School Lane, Smallwood, Sandbach, Cheshire, England CW11 2UR

Please click link for further information on Members and Directors and:





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