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The current directors of the First Federation Trust are:


Alex Walmsley - Co-opted Director (Finance) - Chair of Directors and of the Strategic & Audit Committee

Alex is a chartered accountant and economics graduate and was for many years managing partner of a local accountancy practice. An experienced non-executive director, his background is in audit and business advice and support.

Alex is a chartered accountant and economics graduate and was for many years managing partner of a local accountancy practice. An experienced non-executive director, his background is in audit and business advice and support.

Alex is a director (finance) of Genesis MAT (a primary school multi academy trust) and a director and Chief Finance Officer of Ted Wragg MAT (an Exeter based multi academy trust). He is chairman of Devon Association of Governors (DAG) and represents primary academies at Devon Education Forum and DAG at Devon County Council's Heads Liaison Group.

He joined the board of directors of the First Federation because he wanted to build on his interest in supporting education after his retirement from full time work. His role is to chair the board and to support and hold to account the CEO, most particularly in his role as Accounting Officer, and the COO.


Ian Thomas – Co-opted Director (Business) – Vice-Chair of Directors and the Strategic & Audit Committee - Safeguarding Director

Ian has a wide range of expertise within the business sector. He is a member of his firm’s Executive Team and has responsibility for the management, recruitment and development of the Reserving Team. He also is also responsible for designing and implementing the calculations for Technical Provisions and Reserve Risk for Solvency II requirements and Long-Term-Pricing quarterly reviews. These key analyses were presented to the Directors to inform pricing and business planning decision.

Previously he has had responsibility for Actuarial strategy – reserving and pricing. He had an integral role in supporting the finance function, developing the knowledge of the insurance accounting team and development of checks and controls for the claims items in the P&L and on the balance sheet. He brings a wealth of experience within the corporate business world.



Paul Jones OBE - Chief Executive Officer – Member of the Strategic & Audit Committee

Paul has taught across the Primary age range having worked in a wide variety of schools (a caravan on a gypsy site, rural, town and city schools). He has been the Headteacher of two schools and is now CEO of nine. He has successfully lead schools through over ten Ofsted inspections and several HMI monitoring visits. Each time the Ofsted judgements across all areas have been Good, Excellent or Outstanding. He has taken three schools out of Ofsted categories, two within a year. Paul is an expert in federation and leading multi school organisations. He is a keynote speaker on the Primary Executive Headteacher programme and has worked with over 200 schools across the country on system leadership, federation, new governance and MATs. He has also worked with LA’s, School cluster (Learning Communities, Pyramids etc.) on transforming the system. The First federation has been used in numerous case studies by NCSL/NCLT, DfE, Leadership and Business magazines and Universities. He was awarded and OBE in 2010 for his services to Education Nationally and Locally. He is currently seconded on a part time basis to the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West. 


Nick Maguire – Foundation Director - SEN Director

Nick is retired but spent the whole of his working career in the computer industry. He started in systems development and service provision, progressing on to project management. He has worked on a variety of assignments for large organisations in UK and Europe. He presented state of the art lectures on his specialist areas of knowledge during the 1970’s and 80’s in London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. He has accumulated a wide range of skills including finance, marketing, sales, staff motivation and management. For the last ten years of his working life, he established his own successful IT consultancy business including work with Friends Provident, BT, SW Water and SWEB. He has been a governor for many years, becoming the Chair for the First Federation in December 2010, until he stepped down from the role in September 2015.



Rev Paul Wimsett - Foundation Director


Paul has a B.Sc (Econ) 2.1 Honours Degree in Economics & Politics at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and a M.A. in Theology with distinction in Theological Understanding of Industrial Society, University of Hull. He provides the spiritual guidance for the Directors. He is the Vicar of Chudleigh, Chudleigh Knighton & Trusham, has been a member of the First Federation Governing Body since 2006 and involved in Church Schools for 30 years. Since 2006 he has gained a good insight into the organisational running and development of federations.





Duncan Brown - Parent Director

Duncan has two daughters at Chudleigh Knighton C of E Primary School.  He is a Chartered Management Accountant and works as a Finance Business Partner in the public sector.  Through his work, he has a wealth of experience in the financial management of large projects.


Vacancy- Parent Director (2nd position on the board)


Vacancy - Co-opted Director (HR/Personnel)


Vacancy - Co-opted Director

Register of business and pecuniary interests

Directors are asked to fill in a register of business interests form when they are appointed, which is then updated annually. Directors are invited to declare any relevant interest at the start of each meeting so any conflict of interest can be managed appropriately.

Directors and senior staff are asked to fill in a 'related parties' form to declare any connection with any business who has provided services for the Trust annually as part of the audit process to support the annual report / financial statements.

A summary of the directors' relevant business interests is included below. The full register can be viewed at the First Federation office.

Meeting attendance

Directors are invited to send their apologies ahead of meetings they cannot attend. Their attendance at meetings is monitored and included in the annual report for the Trust. 

A summary of the directors' attendance at meetings during the academic year 2015-16 can be found below. 


Contacting the directors:

The directors, including the Chair, and the Company Secretary, can be contacted:

  • through any of the First Federation Trust schools,
  • by using the First Federation website contact page: click here, or
  • by writing to them at: The First Federation Trust, Blackpool CE Primary School, Liverton, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6JB.