NET Academies Trust

Our Team

CEO, Accounting Officer & Executive Headteacher

Jo Coton


Chief Operating Officer

Jen Taaffe


Chief Financial Officer

Phil Norman




Board of Directors

Richard Carr (Chair)

Richard Carr (Vice Chair)

Richard is a Management Consultant and has previously managed various educational publishing businesses and served as a primary school Founding Governor. Richard has 10 years’ experience in coaching Board Members, Senior Executives and Middle Managers, specialising in performance improvement, talent and career development, outplacements and high performing teams.

Richard is qualified and registered with the British Psychological Society, a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and certified at Level 7 in Coaching and Mentoring. He has also designed and delivered Leadership Programmes for private and public sector organisations, including a particular focus on judgement and decision making, collaborative leadership, leading change and authentic leadership.


Harry Meikle

Harry Meikle is a Member of Advisory Board at Encore Capital LLP. He currently serves as the Chairman of Encore Capital investee company Stagecoach Performing Arts.

He played a pivotal role in the growth of QAS Ltd from 1992 till Experian bought the business in 2004, and successfully expanded QAS into new territories outside the UK (Australia, Holland, USA and France). He was appointed Managing Director of QAS in 2002 and group Managing Director from 2005 to 2007. Since 2007 he has been consulting as a non-exec director and chairman. He was Chairman of Pure360 an Encore backed business from 2008 until the sale of the business in 2013.


Nigel Wyrley-Birch

N Wyrely-BirchNigel is a Chartered Accountant and a partner in Ryecroft Glenton Chartered Accountants in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has extensive strategic experience in the independent and academy sectors of education, and much of his work involves assisting schools with growth and strategy. He is also a member of the Bishop’s Council Durham Diocese, and of the North East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association working on strategic issues including the work those organisations do with young people.


Derek Bell 

Derek is a teacher, researcher, adviser and advocate for improving and enriching education for all. He worked in schools and universities before becoming Vice Principle of Bishop Grosseteste College (now University), Chief Executive of the Association for Science Education (ASE) and Head of Education at the Wellcome Trust. He remains very active in education, nationally and internationally, through his consultancy (Campanula Consulting), committee and advisory work and has a wide range of publications. He has served as trustee for a number of organisations including STEMNET, Engineering UK, Understanding Animal Research and Centre of the Cell, and as an advisory member of the Inter Academies Panel Global Science Education Panel.

Derek is currently a trustee of the IBM Trust UK, a trustee of the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and a judge for the European Union Competition for Young Scientists (EUCYS). He was appointed Professor of Education by The College of Teachers in 2007 and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011. Derek is Director of LEARNUS and a visiting research associate at UCL Institute of Education, London.

Andrew Calderwood

Andrew was a Partner in a leading international law firm, working mainly on the funding of large projects both in the UK under the PFI programme and internationally. He has long-standing experience in finance and corporate law and in dealing with public sector and large private sector organisations. Andrew is currently Chairman of a fishing and conservation association.




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