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The Orchard Community Trust home page The Orchard Community Trust home page

Orchard Community Trust

We're a Multi-Academy-Trust, based in Stoke-on-Trent.

Together we learn,
grow and achieve
Together we learn,
grow and achieve

Meet Our Team

Rob Johnstone

Senior Executive Leader 

I joined Orchard Community Trust in November 2018 and am currently the Senior Executive Leader of Orchard Community Trust-MAT. I am an experienced education professional with many years of experience in this field. I am a qualified teacher and have during my career been a teacher, Deputy Headteacher and have been a Headteacher of two schools. I have worked for different local authorities as an Advisor, Strategic Manager and most recently as the Acting Assistant Director for Learning Services. 


I am experienced in supporting and challenging schools to help them to improve and has experience of developing teaching and learning across Early Years settings and primary schools. I am also skilled in developing leaders to sustain improvement in their schools. In previous roles, I have led and managed a wide range of LA education services, including schools improvement, Special Educational Needs, Admissions, Traded Services, Governor Support and Employment Learning and Skills. I am a skilful negotiator, communicator and can motivate colleagues to learn and do well.


I also have experience as an OfSTED Inspector, School Improvement Partner and a Primary Assessment Moderator. I have been an Opportunity Area Board Member in Stoke-on-Trent and am also currently a Trustee on another local Multi Academy Trust Board and am a Governor in a local primary school.


Marcella Nixon

Chief Finance Officer

I joined Orchard Community Trust in September 2021 as Trust Business Manager. My previous role was in the finance department for privatised children’s social care. It was hugely important for me to remain in a sector where children and young people are the main focus.


I am now in the role of Chief Finance Officer for the Trust. I am delighted to be in this role and I am looking forward to further developing the Trust with colleagues.


I am a part qualified CIMA Management Accountant, with a view to completing the full qualification by November 2023. I take great interest in business operation’s areas with focus on Marketing and Mental Health and Wellbeing.


I am mum of two gorgeous daughters who make me proud every day, but are not without their challenges!


Tom Williams

Trust Business Manager 

I joined Orchard Community Trust in November 2022 after working as a Management Accountant for Portmeirion Pottery and as an Accounts and Business Advisor for RSM Accounting Practice. I am a part qualified CIMA Management Accountant, with a view to completing the full qualification by December 2023.


In my spare time I enjoy watching sports and spending time with my friends and family.


Andy Brookes

Trust Estates Manager 

I began working as Site Manager in 2015 at one the MAT schools prior to the formation of Orchard Community Trust.


Previous to this, my journey of working in school site management began in 2013 where I worked as a Site Supervisor across 2 schools. I have had a varied experience in different sectors ranging from commerce, the construction industry and manufacturing industry both on the shopfloor and as a Team Leader in the warehousing department. 


It was important for me to remain in the education sector where I can use the skills and experience that I have gained over the years in both schools and industry to ensure that the children who attend our MAT schools can learn in a safe and warm environment and that Staff, Parents, Contractors and visitors who work and use the buildings are safe. 


My hobbies include spending time with my family, walking, holidays and supporting Port Vale!


Alison Deaville

Trust Office Manager 

I started my journey with Orchard Community Trust at Forest Park Primary school. In September 2019 I joined the central team. Over the past 25 years I have gained extensive educational office experience, ranging from Admin Assistant to Personal Assistant to Director of Employer Engagement. 


My hobbies are spending time with my family, holidays, walking and reading.


Karl Lawton

Governance and Compliance Officer

I joined Orchard Community Trust in July 2021 after six years as the Governor Support Manager at Stoke on Trent Local Authority, and also as a School Governor myself for 22 years.  I hold a Post-graduate degree in Business Management and qualifications in both Clerking (NGA) and Academy Governance (Corporate Governance Institute), I also have a qualification with the International Compliance Association. 

I am a National Leader of Governance where I support schools through External Reviews of Governance across the West Midlands    My role is to support and develop the Trust in Governance, Risk and Compliance. 

In my spare time I enjoy walking in the Peak District and spending quality time with family. 


Kay Tong

Clerk to the Local Governing Boards 

I joined Orchard Community Trust in January 2023 as Clerk to the Local Governing Boards.  Previously I worked in Higher Education for 27 years as a Department Manager.  I have also taught in further and higher education. 


I ‘semi-retired’ in September 2021 and following a break applied for this role, as I wanted to continue to work in education, but in a more flexible, part-time role.


My interests include caravanning, walking my dog Dougal and meeting up with friends.


Michelle Johnstone 

School Improvement Lead

Following 12 years in headship, I am now the Lead for School Improvement for the Orchard Community Trust. Prior to my new role, I was the executive headteacher over two large and diverse primary schools within our Trust. I have experience of moving schools from inadequate to at least good. Before becoming a headteacher, I worked as a local authority adviser for early years and as an accredited School Improvement Partner for primary schools. I have developed expertise in supporting pupils for whom English is an additional language, early years, the primary school curriculum as well as leadership and management.


Hayley Sutton

Strategic Lead for Safeguarding and Inclusion  

I began this role in February 2022, as the Strategic Lead for SEND. I am able to oversee SEND across the Trust and work alongside the SEND teams in each school to conduct reviews, support individual pupils, families and develop practices across the Trust that are evidence based, robust and effective.


I have 18 years of teaching experience, mostly in the Early Years.  I led assessment across the school, meaning that I have a good understanding of data and how we can use this to improve outcomes for our pupils. 


Most recently I was the Deputy Head Teacher at Forest Park Primary School for 6 years, with responsibilities including SENCO, Safeguarding Lead and Pupil Premium Lead.  


Having completed the National Qualification for SEN (NASENCO), and the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) I bring up to date and relevant training to my role.


In addition to this role, I am the Inclusion Lead at Forest Park Primary School.  This role means that I am kept up to date with current practices and policies and am able to support our schools in the most effective way.  I am also a Governor at 2 of our Trust schools, developing my understanding of the role of governance and the leadership of a special school.


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Contact Us

Trust Office Manager, Orchard Community Trust, Genesis Centre,

North Staffs Business Park, Innovation Way,

Stoke on Trent, ST6 4BF

Company Number : 11620282

Registered in England