Central Team

The Trust has an established Central Services team that supports all schools within the Trust. The link to the right contains more information on the core services to schools that are provided by the Trust.

  • Jonathon Peck

    Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
  • Andy Johnson

    Executive Director of Education
  • Sylvie De Groote

    Director of Finance
  • Kerry Solarz

    Director of HR
  • Rob Buck

    Director of Maiden Erlegh Institute
  • Mal Fjord-Roberts

    Director of Special Education
  • Alison Walker

    School Improvement Director (Culture and Safeguarding)
  • Sara Elliss

    School Improvement Director (Quality of Education)
  • Kelly Nash

    School Improvement Director (SEND)

Jonathon Peck

Chief Executive Officer and Trustee


Jon is the Chief Executive Officer of Maiden Erlegh Trust following his appointment to the role in 2022.  Previously he was the Chief Financial and Operations Officer and Company Secretary of the Trust from 2017.

He joined Maiden Erlegh Trust and was instrumental in the development of central services and the growth of the Trust including the award of two new Free Schools, River Academy and Oak Tree School. 

He is a Business Economics and Finance graduate from Loughborough University, holds an MBA in Education Management, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA CGMA) and also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI). Prior to moving into the education sector, he had an extensive career in the Aerospace and Defence and Global Professional Services sectors where he held various financial and operational leadership roles. 

Jon is also an experienced school governor having held governor roles at Cove School in Farnborough, he was Vice-Chair of Governors at All Saints CE (Aided) Primary School and Nursery in Wokingham and Vice Chair of the Management Committee at College Hall in Bracknell Forest. Additionally, he has sat on a number of Interim Executive Boards to support schools on their improvement journey.

Andy Johnson

Executive Director of Education

BA (Hons), MSc (Managing School Improvement), PgCert, QTS, NPQH, SLE, FCCT

Andy is Executive Director of Education for Maiden Erlegh Trust.

Following an earlier career in youth and charity work, Andy joined the profession as a trainee RE teacher at Maiden Erlegh School and has been with the organisation for eighteen years. He held a variety of middle and senior leadership positions before joining the team to lead the Trust’s first free school in east Reading in 2015. He was appointed Headteacher in 2018 and led the work to sustainably grow the school to 900 students and to provide high quality education within a vibrant and successful community. In 2020 Andy was appointed to the Principal Designate role for River Academy and asked to lead the Trust’s exciting new school project to serve communities in north and west Reading. He carried out this role alongside directing the provision of high-quality education and care across the schools in our Trust until June 2023 when a new Principal Designate was appointed allowing Andy to focus on his role as Executive Director of Education. 

Andy has extensive experience in leading and developing highly performing teams and has provided school to school support as a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) to a number of schools. He has also presented at national conferences and DfE roadshows and is a serving Ofsted Inspector.

Sylvie De Groote

Director of Finance

Sylvie is the Trust’s CFO and leads the central finance team in all aspects of financial management. She is responsible for the operational line management of the finance function and manages the financial accounting and transactional finance, ensuring systems are up-to-date and reporting to the Trustees on the financial performance of all schools.

Kerry Solarz

Director of HR

Kerry leads the HR and Payroll team, supporting over 600 full and part-time employees. She manages all aspects of our HR work, including relationships with third party suppliers.

Rob Buck

Director of Maiden Erlegh Institute

Rob is responsible for Maiden Erlegh Institute and Trust Professional Learning across our family of schools, alongside teacher training and development, school to school support and our wider system leadership work.

Rob joined the profession as a trainee Business Studies and Economics teacher at Maiden Erlegh School and has been with the Trust since 2009. He has worked in a number of different middle and senior leadership roles both within Maiden Erlegh School and at Trust level. In 2018, he was appointed Assistant Headteacher and then also Trust Lead for Careers, Destinations and Higher Ability Provision.

He then oversaw Berkshire Teaching School Alliance in 2020 (now Maiden Erlegh Institute) and in 2022 was appointed Director of Maiden Erlegh Institute and Trust Professional Learning. As part of this role, Rob ensures that the Trust has a clear strategy for professional and career development so that colleagues across all functional areas of the organisation can identify clear development pathways and are supported to achieve their professional goals, from Initial Teacher Trainees through to Chief Operating Officer. He oversees areas such as Initial Teacher Training and our Early Career Teacher Programme, school to school support commissioning, the Trust Annual Conference, Thames Valley Challenge Partners Hub network, the Trust apprenticeship-levy funding and NPQs, the Behaviour Hub designation and is one of the local leads for Appropriate Body on behalf of Teaching School Hub Berkshire.

Rob has also presented at national conferences for both Careers Education and provision for More Able Learners and is a serving Associate for NACE (National Association for Able Children in Education), a Careers Ambassador on behalf of Berkshire.

Mal Fjord-Roberts

Director of Special Education

Mal has a wealth of experience within SEND schools in Local Authority and Independent sectors as well as within Multi Academy Trusts, occupying all levels of leadership in a variety of settings including primary, secondary, straight-through and residential schools across London and the South East. 

Mal was appointed as a Headteacher within 10 years of starting his Career and gained leadership experience across a range of SEND settings.  Mal has managed several schools through Ofsted inspections, gaining or maintaining “Good” outcomes. 

Mal started his educational career in PE and outdoor education, developing and raising standards and inclusion in sport for SEND pupils across Surrey, including managing the Surrey U18 disability football team and developing players who have represented England.

Mal is passionate in his pursuit to build better futures for all pupils and is dedicated in his pursuit of supporting SEND pupils, families and schools to ensure the best possible outcomes are reached for all. 

Alison Walker

School Improvement Director (Culture and Safeguarding)

Alison oversees and leads on all matters of safeguarding, behaviour, and inclusion across the Trust. She works with school leaders to ensure that they act fairly, proportionately and within the law. In addition to this she supports schools with their approaches to personal development, behaviour management and child welfare. She also is a strong advocate for trips and visits and leads on this area for the Trust. 

Alison is a maths teacher and prior to taking up her current role she held various roles in pastoral leadership up to and including Deputy Headteacher. She is an accredited safeguarding trainer and regularly delivers training for Designated Safeguarding Leads across the area, as well as bespoke inhouse training for non-Trust schools. 

Sara Elliss

School Improvement Director (Quality of Education)

Sara is responsible for ensuring that all schools within the Trust offer a high quality appropriate curriculum which meets the needs of all learners, and leads the Trust's Continuous Improvement Strategy. 

Sara is a geography teacher and an experienced curriculum leader who previously held the positions of Assistant Headteacher – Standards and Outcomes at Maiden Erlegh School, and Deputy Headteacher – Curriculum, Standards and Outcomes at Maiden Erlegh School in Reading.  She has led both schools to secure the Basic Skills Award and Maiden Erlegh School the NACE award for More Able provision.  She has experience of timetabling, admissions and recruitment and is a specialist in Curriculum, Assessment and Closing the Gaps, and Geography. She successfully completed the NPQEL qualification with UCL during 2023.

Kelly Nash

School Improvement Director (SEND)