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Alex Walmsley

Alex Walmsley - EDEN Foundation Director (appointed on 01/06/2017 for four years by EDEN) - Chair of Directors and of the Strategic & Finance Committee - Lead Director for Finance - Member of the Education Committee and of the Audit Committee


Alex is a chartered accountant and economics graduate and was for many years managing partner of a local accountancy practice. An experienced chair and non-executive director, his background is in audit and business advice and support. Alex is a trustee and Principal Finance Officer of Ted Wragg Trust (an Exeter based multi academy trust).

He is chairman of Devon Association of Governors (DAG) and represents academies at Devon Education Forum and DAG at Devon Schools Finance Group. He has worked with a range of schools and academies on governance related matters. He joined the board of directors of the First Federation because he wanted to build on his commitment to supporting education and in particular multi academy trusts. His role is to chair the board and to support and hold to account the CEO and the COO.

Alex has wide experience of Trust structures, governance and growth. This has included CEO and CFO recruitment and the development of MAT financial, operational and governance structures. Alex has undertaken External Review of Governance training, has experience of IEBs and school partnership management agreements and has supported a number of schools, academies and MATs in particular in connection with strategy, structures, governance, business planning and budget/financial management. He is an experienced mentor of chairs of governors and has provided induction training to chairs and governors. Always with the aim of supporting school improvement and providing the very best education to the young people in our schools.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker - Chief Executive Officer (appointed on 01/09/2017 by the Board of Directors) – Member of the Strategic & Finance Committee and of the Education Committee


Paul has been the CEO of the Trust since his appointment in January 2018. Paul has been the headteacher of several schools in Devon, many in challenging circumstances. Previously he was the CEO of the small Genesis Trust, which merged with the First Federation in September 2017. Paul is a Local Leader of Education and has recently qualified as a Lead Inspector for Ofsted. He has also served on the Devon Association of Primary Headteachers for many years; chairing the group for several years.

Andrea Gosling

Andrea Gosling - Salisbury DBE Foundation Director (appointed on 31/08/2018 for four years by SDBE) – Chair of the Audit Committee - Member of the Strategic & Finance Committee and of the Education Committee


Andrea first became a parent governor when her son was at All Saints Infants School (now Sidmouth Primary School Vicarage Road site) and appreciated seeing the workings of the school from both sides. She was on the governing body when three schools amalgamated to form Sidmouth Primary School, and then federated first with Musbury and then Hawkchurch Primary Schools. The schools then went on to academies and Andrea joined the board.

With an Honours Degree in Biology, Food Science & Nutrition and a postgraduate diploma in Dietetics Andrea spent her early working life as a Registered Dietitian in the NHS specialising in Paediatrics. Joining the family business, a camping and caravan park, in 1998 Andrea is now Managing Partner and has a Foundation Degree in Tourism Park Management. Her day to day roles and responsibilities include HR, finance, PR and marketing, Health & Safety and customer relations. Her varied day job means that she can appreciate the role of a Foundation Director.

Ann Denner

Ann Denner - Co-opted Director (appointed on 01/05/2017 for four years by Foundation Directors) – Vice-chair of Directors – Chair of the Education Committee – Member of the Strategic & Finance Committee and of the Audit Committee


Ann has been a school governor for 15 years, starting out as a parent governor at an Infant school, and currently serving at both primary and secondary level. During that time Ann has been part of governing bodies working towards an amalgamation of schools, forming a federation and converting to Multi Academy Trust status.

After graduating with a degree in History & Politics, Ann spent 15 years working as an Insurance Broker specialising in Domestic & Export Trade Credit and Political Risk cover, working with a wide variety of UK and multi national clients and Underwriters.

Currently, Ann works for a group of schools in East Devon, providing administrative support for a number of areas of collaboration, as well as assisting her husband with their kitchen design and fitting business.

Rev Paul Wimesett

Rev Paul Wimesett - EDEN Foundation Director (appointed on 01/11/2019 for four years by EDEN) - Lead Director for Christian Distinctiveness and Ethos


Paul has been the Vicar of Chudleigh, Chudleigh Knighton & Trusham since 1999 and Governor/Director with the First Federation since its beginning in 2004. He has been involved in Church Schools for 35 years. Paul has a particular role in helping to develop the Christian Ethos of the Trust church schools and the distinctive ethos of all the Trust other schools.

Quite a long time ago Paul gained a B.Sc (Econ) in Economics and Politics as well as an MA in Theology.

Outside the world of church and schools, Paul follows from a distance a non-league football team and like many vicars have a great fascination for railways. You may also see him taking a Golden Retriever on walks around South Devon, which is his nod in the direction of keeping physically fit!

Carolyn Bromfield

Carolyn Bromfield - Co-opted Director (appointed on 18/07/2017 for four years by Foundation Directors) – Lead Director for SEN and Pupil Premium pupils – Member of the Education Committee


Carolyn has recently retired from the position of Principal Lecturer in Inclusive Education Studies and Director of the MA Education Programmes at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Previously worked on the MEd programme at the University of Plymouth. Her professional commitments involved writing, supporting and tutoring classroom management and behaviour modules on the Postgraduate Professional Development Programme for teachers/educators in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and other partnership Local Authorities and schools. This also included consultancy work such as whole school in-service, contributing to school development plans on behaviour issues and working with individual teachers. Involved in NQT training in several counties with a particular remit for behaviour management and supervision of the NQT Professional Portfolios. Carolyn also contributed to the undergraduate programme and delivered modules on classroom organisation, SEN and PSHE for the BA ITE degree course, Joint Honours and PGCE Programmes. She was regional co-ordinator for the Behaviour4Learning Initial teacher Training Professional Resource Network. Carolyn was a successful bid writer enabling the Education Faculty at UWE to facilitate SENCO training programmes and initiate a new Masters Programme: The Masters for Teaching and Learning (MTL).

Carolyn has lectured nationally on the subject of behaviour management and regularly contributed at NASEN Special Needs conferences in London and the rest of the UK. Also lectured internationally with annually visits to Denmark (Jelling Teacher Training College) and the University of Lapland to deliver lectures to the undergraduate students. Books published in the area of PSHE and the use of Circle-time in Primary Schools. Published research includes issues linked with inclusive education, the impact of ICT on teaching and learning, and target setting. Doctoral research entitled: Behaviour for Learning: An analysis of trainee teachers’ concerns.


Chris Frankland - EDEN Foundation Director (appointed on 01/02/2018 for four years by EDEN)- Lead Director for Safeguarding – Member of the Education Committee


Chris is a lecturer at Exeter College. More information to follow.

Rachel Shaw

Rachel Shaw - EDEN Foundation Director (appointed on 06/05/2020 for four years by EDEN)


Rachel was born, educated and trained to be a teacher in Devon and is committed to giving back to a County that has enabled her to develop and grow her career. She believes passionately that education provides choices and opportunities for our children’s futures and that we have a duty to ensure that no child gets left behind.

She has worked in Devon schools for 26 years and spent 22 of those in senior leadership positions. After leading several schools across Devon, some in very challenging circumstances, she became the CEO of South Dartmoor Academy Trust which required significant transformation in order to have a secure future. Following this work, she took up the position of CEO of Exeter Learning Academy Trust, leading a group of Primary Schools based within the city. Rachel is also an Executive member of the Devon Association of Primary Headteachers and a Trustee within Exeter Learning Academy Trust. She has been a governor, director or Trustee of a school for over 25 years.

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 previous and current academic year can be found below. 

Please note that during the period of schools' closure and partial opening, the board of directors varied the scheme of delegation in order to be able to take the rapid decisions needed to respond to the situation across the Trust. Delegation to the education, strategic & finance, and audit committees, and to the hub boards, was suspended during this period (see resolution here). The board of directors met more frequently than planned in order to fulfill its responsibilities

Contacting the directors:


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


  • through any of the First Federation Trust schools,
  • by emailing them at: ,
  • by writing to them at: The First Federation Trust, Blackpool CE Primary School, Liverton, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6JB.

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