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Scholars Academy Trust

Scholars Academy Trust

Trustee Information

  Inderjit Sandhu OBE – CEO

Date of appointment: 01/01/2002
Term of office: Whilst in post

Inderjit been in education since 1986 and have worked in a variety of schools during that time. She has a breadth of experience in teaching across the primary age range from Foundation to Year 6.  She has been a Headteacher since 1997, first as Acting Headteacher and subsequently as Headteacher in two different schools.

Inderjit became a National Leader in Education in 2008 and as a result have considerable experience in supporting other schools to ensure pupils gain the best from primary education.  She completed a teaching fellowship in 2012 which enable her to appreciate education on all levels i.e. local, national and international basis. 

Inderjit passionately believe that we must ensure all children receive the best education that can provided.  In order to do this, she feels that school leaders must work collaboratively both within and beyond our schools.  Inderjit has been a member of the Advisory Board since 2018.  Inderjit also lead the Oadby Learning Partnership Teaching School and now works in partnership with the Local Teaching School Hub.

Sarah Richards (FCA) 

Date of appointment: 25/10/2015 
Term of office: 4 years


Sarah has wide reaching experience of governance within schools and at a trust level.  Sarah became involved in education when she was appointed a school governor at Launde Primary in 2008 in order to support the school in continuing to deliver high standards.  Sarah was a founding member of Scholars Trust in 2013 and supported the Trust through the academy conversion process.  She was instrumental in supporting the governing body when the Trust sponsored Glenfield Primary school. Sarah is currently the chair of the Trust and a member of the finance and education committees.

Sarah believes that it is important that all pupils have a chance to thrive in a caring and supportive environment and have opportunities to achieve their full potential.  She aims to use her experience within the Scholars Trust to achieve this. 

Sarah is a qualified chartered accountant and has over 25 years’ experience working within finance both in accounting practice, industry, charities and private firms.  She brings a unique blend of skills and experience, combining financial and business insight together with project management, organisational skills and a strong people focus.  Sarah has worked in due diligence and transactional services and has experience in providing both strategic and operational financial support. 

Mr Rob Padgett

Date of appointment: 06/09/2016 
Term of office: 4 years

Prior to becoming a trustee at Scholars Academy trust Rob was a governor for almost 30 years.  He has worked in the telecommunications industry for much of his working life where he was responsible for project financial and technical management of infrastructures and processes. 

Rob also has educational experience as head of a Pastoral service at a local secondary school which supported students in understanding the educational landscape and how schools fit into it.  His business experience supports him in the finance committee and its wider understanding of health and safety supports school on the estate management and risks associated within the Trust.

Rob is chair of the audit committee and also supports Finance and education committees.  His key responsibilities within the trust are around pupil welfare safeguarding and health and safety.

Mr John Berry OBE - MBA, MSc, MA(Ed), PGD (Law), FCIPD, JP (Link Trustee)

Date of appointment: 26/01/2016
Term of office: 4 years

John has a wide breadth of experience across a number of sectors.  He was a prison governor for 31 years and was also a part-time assistant director with the physiotherapy company for 10 years.  He is currently a mental health act manager for Leicestershire, Rutland and Nottinghamshire NHS Trusts as well as three private hospital providers ensuring that patients are not illegally detained under the mental health act.  He recently retired as a family magistrate and is currently a member of the independent monitoring board for HMP Leicester.

In his spare time John sits on the local FA disciplinary panel and is a member of the Ministry of Defence East Midlands veterans pensions advisory committee.  John is fully aware of all the significant challenges that Trusts and schools are facing and his wide breadth of experience supports Scholars moving forwards.

 He currently has responsibility as Chair of the finance committee and provides human resources health and safety advice and support as required.

Graham Smith 

Graham brings a combination of business and charity experience to Scholars Trust.  He has been a director of the family business, managing significant change due to the changing market needs.  He was responsible for managing his team and agreeing strategic plans within the financial position of the business, which provides a good foundation for supporting Scholars Trust.

Graham has been involved in a number of charities over the years and has been a Chair for one of them as well as sitting on several committees.  The charity work has given Graham an oversight of the charity world and the regulations within them.  Experience of sitting on boards is a valuable skill that he brings, alongside his ability to analyse information given to the Trust Board and provide appropriate challenge to the trust leadership team.  His experience of innovation within businesses is a valuable asset to the Trust Board bringing a different perspective of managing the business aspect of the Trust.

Mrs Lynn Bruce

Date of appointment: 24/11/2020
Term of office: 4 years

Lynn is a qualified teacher and spent her entire teaching career in Leicestershire.  She has experience of a wide range of schools from small village schools to large primary schools.  Lynn has experienced the amalgamation of infant junior schools in the challenges and excitements of blending schools and creating a new one.  This provides a unique experience to understanding the development of and amalgamations of schools to form MATS. 

Lynn has been a head teacher within Leicestershire from which she retired in 2015.  Lynn’s background in education gives her clear understanding of the need of to provide the best education children deserve regardless of need or background.  She has an excellent understanding of special educational needs as she was responsible for a special need’s unit within her role as Headteacher.

Since retiring Lynn has continued to work education supporting teacher trainees and early career teachers alongside providing leadership coaching within the teaching school.  Lynn’s understanding of educational standards ensures that she is able to support the trust leadership team in evaluating educational outcomes and via challenge to them.

Lynn is part of the education committee that her wide experience also enables her to fully contribute to other aspects of school life and development.

Ashwin Kagdadia

Ashwin is a qualified accountant of 37 years with significant skills in business and employee management. He has experience of audit, taxation and financial matters. Ashwin has been a consultant with Haines Watts accountants from which he retired in February 2021. He now owns his own property portfolio as Director of AGK Ltd. Ashwin has previous experience of being trustee on the Board of Trustees at Leicester College and as a governor at the previous Riverside College.

Ahmed Fulat

Ahmed is a qualified solicitor providing legal and compliance counsel for a multinational company. He has excellent knowledge around legal aspects of HR, health and safety and more recently Covid matters. As part of his role he has been responsible for appointing external law firms internationally for the company. 

Ahmed has considerable experience in real estate and has worked with companies around acquisitions of property.

Marian Garfield 

Marian is an experienced EHSQ practitioner, with extensive experience of developing, implementing and reviewing business EHSQ strategies and systems, whilst facilitating learning and cultural and behavioural change in businesses.  She actively works within businesses to attain a standard of EHSQ excellence and to effectively create an environment that delivers exceptional business EHSQ performance. 

In addition to the health and safety experience she brings to the role she has knowledge on sustainability matters and manages steering groups for carbon, energy and water.  Alongside this she is responsible for managing compliance within businesses.

Marian's experience in industry on Health and safety will support the Trust in ensuring health and safety within schools is of the highest standards. 

Sarah Ridley 

Sarah is currently Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Mead Trust.  Previously she has worked as Headteacher or Executive Headteacher at five inner city primary schools in Leicester City and has a strong track record of supporting schools firstly as an LLE, NLE and within her current role where she is responsible for school improvement. 

Sarah’s particular areas of expertise and interest is in achieving social justice in terms of attainment, progress and enrichment for disadvantaged families. Strategic planning at executive level has been one of her main areas of responsibility. Other areas of strength are; assessment, provision of high-quality Early Years’ experience, the promotion of high standards across the primary and secondary phase, behaviour management and developing inspirational and memorable curriculum.  Sarah has considerable experience of governance through her roles as Academy Chair Council and as a staff governor alongside her involvement in governor as a headteacher.

Sarah brings energy, a spirit of professional generosity and commitment to the role and is keen to engage with others to make decisions for the wider good.