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Safeguarding Lead

Non executive director

Ilona has always been passionate about education and the importance of empowering young people to be aspirational in life and aim for ‘the higher gifts’. Ilona believe that education should offer a breath and variety of learning experiences but must also develop high standards and values. Ilona has a strong faith which is very important to her and this has helped her to lead through service and example.

Ilona qualified as an English and PE teacher in 1976 and went on to teach in secondary schools in London, Birmingham and Bedford until she retired in July 2015. Ilona held the posts of Head of Department, Head of Year, Assistant Head and Deputy Head and during all of these roles she learned a lot, as well as supporting others (students and colleagues) in their learning.

Through Ilona’s senior leadership roles she has worked closely with Bedford Local Education Authority; especially in the areas of, inclusion, behaviour and safeguarding.


Non executive director

Paul has lived in Stotfold for over 30 years, has a special interest in education provision in the local area and has served as a governor at Etonbury. Most of his working life has been in education as a university lecturer, researcher and administrator. He has also had commercial experience in publishing, including running his own company.  Paul retired from his last position at the University of London in 2016, and now spends most of his time writing fiction in a garden shed. He is a member of the Historical Writers Association. Two of his grandchildren are working their way through BEST schools. 


Executive director

Alan Lee is an educationalist. He is the Chief Executive Officer of BEST, a National Leader of Education, former Lead Ofsted Inspector, academic and public speaker.  As both an Executive Principal and Headteacher he has led schools, across all phases to outstanding status, securing numerous awards and exceptional year-on-year outcomes. As leader of both a National Support School and Teaching School he has successfully delivered school improvement projects across the South East. 

Alan’s doctoral thesis on Distributed Leadership, was the BELMAS Thesis of Year Runner-Up in 2009; he has published a number of papers in different journals (see Boundary Spanners, NCSL: 2010); and, he is remains the only non-US recipient of the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award (UCEA, 2009). Alan has visited, studied and presented papers to a range of audiences in some of the highest performing jurisdictions in the world, including: Singapore, New South Wales and Massachusetts. 

Under Alan’s leadership, BEST has continued to expand and excel.  Alan joined BEMAT (Bedfordshire East Multi-Academy Trust) in April 2016, relaunching the Trust as BEST (Bedfordshire Schools Trust) in September of the same year.  Since then, three further schools have joined BEST, a second BEST Nursery has opened and a new-build Free School – Pix Brook Academy - has been delivered on time and in budget.  Numerous successful Ofsted inspections have been completed and attainment outcomes for students have been amongst the highest in the country.


Non-executive director

Claire worked as Deputy Director for several Regional Schools Commissioners in the Civil Service for 6 years across East of England, West Midlands and London. She led on various strategies including MAT governance, capacity and development, intervention and support, and financial assessment. She joined the Civil Service in 2007, and her other roles included Head of Adult Learner Support programmes and Senior Advisor for academy compliance within the Education Funding Agency. Previously Claire was a nationally recognised leader of adult and community learning in Bedfordshire and Head of Lifelong Learning in Northamptonshire.

In 2020, when she retired, Claire became a director on the board of Folk Camp Society Ltd, a charity to preserve for the benefit of the public English folk dances and songs and other folk music, dance and song in their traditional forms.


Non-executive director

Anthony has a passion for education and worked in the Further Education Sector for thirty five years.  Starting as a part-time teacher he went on to become the Quality Director at Bedford College, Curriculum Director at Hammersmith and West London and later Vice Principal of a large College in Surrey.  He has always believed that students of any age have the right to expect and receive a quality of education that is second to none.

Anthony qualified as teacher gaining his Cert Ed in 1985 and went onto achieve his Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in 2001.  His career in teaching and educational management took him across the country from the South East to Yorkshire and Anthony continues to run his own management consultancy business in the education sector.

Anthony lives in Northamptonshire with his wife who works in local government.

David Morgan

Non-executive director 

During a successful 30-year career, David specialised in risk management within a number of well-known financial houses, ending his career with the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development. David has significant experience of leading business reorganisations and consistently promoted best-in class risk management, governance, policies and internal controls in complex financial institutions. He was frequently granted significant personal delegated authority in these institutions.

In early 2017 David took early retirement and became involved in local education. Until recently David held board positions with a Hertfordshire Multi-Academy Trust, and a leading independent school in Hertfordshire. In both institutions David chaired and sat on various committees including Finance and Audit. David is currently a member of Professional Risk Management International Association (PRMIA), and a member of the Institute of Directors

Jerry Tonge

Jerry is a qualified chartered accountant who has worked in a number of senior finance and general management roles over the last thirty years. In a career spanning multiple business sectors, and including time spent working in Spain and Italy, Jerry has developed particular expertise in business integration, change management and process re-engineering.

Returning to the UK in the mid-Nineties, Jerry and his wife settled in Bedfordshire and both their daughters were born in Bedford and completed their schooling in the local area at Carlton Lower, Harrold Middle and Sharnbrook Upper. His wife trained, qualified and then worked as a primary school teacher in Bedfordshire, most recently at Carlton Lower.

Following a four year stint as Finance Director at Frosts Garden Centres, Jerry is now looking to develop a non-executive portfolio and was keen to get involved in the Bedfordshire educational sector which has played such a large part in his family life.