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Meet the Villiers Park Trustees

Our trustees come from diverse backgrounds and provide us with outstanding strategic guidance.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people from all walks of life to help us achieve our mission.

Adrian Ball, Chair 

Adrian is the Chief Executive Officer at the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust, which is responsible for 39 primary schools across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Peterborough.

Adrian first became involved with Villiers Park when he was Headteacher at Thetford Academy through the participation of a number of his pupils in the programmes offered by Villiers Park.

Throughout his career Adrian has always worked in areas of socio-economic need and has worked to reduce disadvantage through the provision of a high quality education.


Benita Udegbe (Alumni Trustee)

I have first-hand experience of the amazing work done by Villiers Park, having been a Future Leader (née Scholar) myself. My most memorable experience was the residential, which cemented my desire to study law at university. I bring a different perspective to the board as a person who has gone through the Villiers Park experience and I advocate for voices of young people, being a fresh graduate myself.

I studied Law at the University of Southampton, having a keen interest in public law and public policy in general. I currently volunteer for Cancer Research and I am an aspiring lawyer. I believe that education is important, but more importantly I believe everyone should have the equal opportunity to choose their own future.

I love baking and reading. My favourite author as a child was Jacqueline Wilson. Currently, I am learning to knit a hat as I’m tired of knitting squares!


Professor Sir Les Ebdon

Professor Sir Les Ebdon, who received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for 'his services to higher education and social mobility', is the former Director of the Office for Fair Access. He stepped down from the role ahead of its merger with the Higher Education Funding Council for England into the Office for Students.

During his tenure, Sir Les had a major impact on encouraging universities to think more carefully about their role in fostering widening participation from under-represented groups  - and his achievements have been considerable. Universities now spend more than £800million of their fee income on boosting the number of students from a disadvantaged background embarking on a degree and the participation of these students has been steadily increasing during his time in post.
An award-winning analytical chemist by training, Sir Les secured his PhD from Imperial College in 1971 and went on to lecture at universities including Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) and Plymouth University, where he rose to deputy vice-chancellor ahead of his move to the newly formed University of Bedfordshire in 2006. He was appointed CBE for his services to higher education in 2008. He is currently the chair of council of University Centre Peterborough, and a governor of the University of East London, Spurgeon’s College and the Inspire Education Group.


Stephen Norton

Stephen is a client relationship and business development professional with a career in investment banking, corporate trust and corporate services. He is a former President of The Association of Corporate Trustees.

He has been a director of over 50 companies and has extensive corporate governance experience, and is an experienced mentor, having mentored younger and less experienced colleagues for over 20 years; he is currently a trustee and non executive director of a number of charities including Goldsmiths Students’ Union, and EnhanceAble which provides support services for young people with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities in south west London.

Stephen is a Social Administration graduate of the University of Bristol.


Nick Ratcliffe

Nick is a management consultant with substantial experience across the civil service and the UK education sector. He advises on the management, organisation, governance and funding of education and training across a wide range of settings.

He was previously a senior manager at the Further Education Funding Council and the Learning and Skills Council. He has also worked as a public affairs professional with the leading university mission group, where Nick led their work on widening participation in higher education.

Nick is currently a trustee and deputy chair of the board of City University Students’ Union. He was previously a school governor and FE college governor.
Nick is an English graduate of the University of Nottingham and was General Secretary of the University students’ union and later a trustee of the students’ union.


Simon Smith

Simon qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant in 2004, and is Chief Finance and Operations Officer for the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, a multi academy trust and lead for the North Birmingham Teaching School Hub based in the West Midlands.

He has worked in and around schools for over 12 years and led on a range of transformative projects that improve outcomes and efficiency, including the development and implementation of shared services, that helps reinvest back into frontline teaching.

Prior to joining the ATLP, Simon helped support another multi academy trust to achieve its growth aspirations and has held various senior roles across the public and private sector including Children’s Services, Economic Development and Probation Services. 

Starting from humble beginnings, Simon is committed to improving all support services that help deliver better outcomes and life chances for all children and young people, but particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Mumin Humayun

Mumin is the principal at the Stockwood Park Academy (part of the Shared Learning Trust) and began their teaching career in 2002. Mumin studied cognitive science at university and gained a Masters from UCL. Mumin brings a different perspective to the board at Villiers Park, being part of the 0.1% of Headteachers in England from a British-born Bangladeshi background.

Mumin states that his experiences growing up shaped his philosophy and passion to leave the world a little better than he found it and help level out the playing field. Mumin believes passionately in the power of education and the aims of Villiers Park - to improve equality in education and careers for our young people.


Harriet Riches

Harriet has worked in education for over 20 years, researching and lecturing in the history and theory of art at universities and colleges including Middlesex University, Kingston University, Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts (CSVPA) and ARU. Harriet has extensive experience in developing successful courses, with a particular focus on improving recruitment, engagement and outcomes for under-represented groups.

Harriet is currently assistant principal at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, where she is responsible for all aspects of the student experience, including progression and empowering students to explore their next steps. Harriet is a passionate advocate for the power of creative education to help young people develop the skills they need to build happy, enriched and fulfilled lives.


Anusha Nirmalananthan

Anusha has been a technology leader at start-ups and for global tech companies including eBay, Microsoft and JustEat for over 15 years. She’s an advisor and coach for individuals and SMEs and is an experienced people manager developing cross-functional teams, across complex organisations to drive delivery, commercial impact and innovation from within.

Anusha is also an advocate and public speaker on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.


Negar Mihanyar

Negar is a Partner with over ten years experience at Hawkins/Brown, one of the UK’s leading architectural practices. She specialises in the education and research sector and has been responsible for delivering high-profile projects for clients such as the University of Cambridge, Central Foundation Boys’ School and the GLA. Negar has worked in New York and Tokyo and brings a unique global perspective.

Negar is currently supervising a research project looking at how architects can help address education inequality by developing safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces within universities. She also leads the practice’s apprenticeship programmes, is an external examiner at the Glasgow School of Art and sits on the RIBA Academic Validation Panel.


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