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Scholars Academy Trust

Scholars Academy Trust

Trustee Information

  Sam Coy – CEO

Date of original appointment: 03/04/2023
Term of office: Whilst in post

Sam's extensive experience in the education sector spans across a variety of primary and secondary schools and leadership roles throughout the country. He has taught students ranging from Foundation to Year 6 and has held various leadership positions in subjects such as pastoral and behaviour management, community engagement, and overall subject leadership. As a Lead Practitioner in an All-Through School, Sam played a crucial role in coaching, mentoring, and developing teachers to achieve their full potential.

Before joining Scholars as the CEO in 2023, Sam had already established himself as a Headteacher, Executive Headteacher, and most recently an Education Director across two different Multi-Academy Trusts and several local authorities. During his time as the Headteacher of Benjamin Adlard Primary School, Sam was responsible for turning around an inadequate school to become a good school in just 12 months, despite working in an area of extreme deprivation. Under his leadership, the school was later named the Pearson UK Primary School of the Year. Sam also supported leadership development in Lincolnshire as a Local Leader of Education through the Kyra Teaching School.

Sam's commitment to providing the best possible life chances for all children is apparent through his relentless dedication to making a difference in schools and beyond. He firmly believes in the importance of collaboration and sharing best practice to achieve the best possible outcomes for students. As an Education Director, Sam led the trust-wide strategy for SEND and behavior, ensuring that all students had the support they needed to thrive.

Sam's diverse experience in the education sector, coupled with his unwavering passion for creating a positive impact has been instrumental in turning around schools and improving the life chances of students.

Sarah Richards (FCA) 

Date of original 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. 

Rob Padgett

Date of original 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. 

Graham Smith- Chair of the Trust Board-  

Date of appointment: 30/11/2021 (Appointed Chair- 23.01.24)
Term of office: 4 years


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.

Ashwin Kagdadia

Date of appointment: 5/4/2022
Term of office: 4 years

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

Date of appointment: 27/9/2021
Term of office: 4 years

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 

Date of appointment: 5/4/2022
Term of office: 4 years

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 

Date of appointment: 5/4/2022
Term of office: 4 years

Sarah is currently 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.