Trust Members

  • Dr. Steve Smith – Chair of trustees

I am now retired but was an inspector of primary and secondary schools, and Lead Inspector of primary schools for Ofsted, from 2002 until 2015.

I entered the teaching profession in 1977 and taught in four secondary schools, two selective and two non-selective, over a period of 20 years, holding middle and senior leadership posts for most of my career. In 1997 I was appointed to a team which set up the new Education Authority of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, when the county authority of Berkshire was broken up into six Unitary Authorities. In 2001 I moved to the London Borough of Bexley and was appointed a Local Authority senior school improvement officer working with primary, secondary, special schools and academies in Bexley, and across London and the South East.

Prior to my appointment as Chair of Trustees I was a governor of two Bexley schools.

  • Mrs Liz Dawes

I was a governor of Upland Primary School for eight years, whilst my children were at the school. For two and a half years I was chair of governors and during that time, the team were runners up in a national award for outstanding governance. I’m delighted to be able to continue my work with the school as part of the academy trust.

I have a background in finance, specialising in regulation and compliance and I continue to work in that field on a self employed basis.

  • Mrs Cathy Watkins


  • Mr Paul Davis

Paul works for CRiBS, a local Christian charity that works in Bexley primary and secondary schools, supporting the teaching of Religious Education. He worked as a civil servant for 16 years before completing a PGCE to transition into teaching, initially for 3 years at a primary school in Greenwich, before joining CRiBS in 2014. Paul is also a member of the leadership team at his church and leads the children’s work. He is married and has three children.

  • Mrs Jo Leadbetter

I began my teaching career in Liverpool over 20 years ago having studied for the role in the city. I returned to Kent and taught at a secondary school in Dartford. After the birth of my two children I returned to teaching at a special needs school, working with students with emotional and behavioural difficulties. After a time as a borough School Sports Co-ordinator specialising in supporting the borough’s special schools, I also co-ordinated Bexley’s SEN teams at the London Youth Games. I currently teach at the borough’s largest SEN school teaching mostly children on the Autistic Spectrum. Both of my children attended Upland Primary.