In  order to prepare for growth, the trust commissioned a governance review in September 2022 which identified the significant strengths of the Trust. The vision and strategy of the Trust were recognised as a strength.

"The trust board is made up of individuals who bring a good set of skills to the board, and they are well led by the chair.  They are committed to the trust and are clear about their duties and responsibilities to both challenge and support around trust improvement." NGA September 2022


Derek Morgan - Chair of Resources and Infrastructure Committee

Derek was appointed Chair of Trustees for the Coombe Academy Trust in December 2020 having been a Trustee of the Trust for four years and before that was the Chair of Governors of Green Lane Primary and Nursery School. Derek is semi-retired and has been a Chief Executive/Chief Operating Officer in large multi-national corporations for the last thirty years, most recently as Global COO for the Consulting Division of Aon. He is also a Trustee and Treasurer of Médecins Sans Frontières UK, part of the international medical aid charity MSF.

Samia Ahmad

BSc (hons) in biochemistry, PGCE Primary. Samia worked as a primary school teacher for fourteen years, leading ICT and RE and as the school coordinator for a collaboration of local schools. She also briefly served as a member of SLT and was a school staff governor for four years with a focus on curriculum. Samia has taken early retirement to travel and spend time with family but is still teaching when needed. She has lived in New Malden for nearly 40 years and has wide connections amongst the local community. Before becoming a teacher, she worked as the Support Worker for the Kingston Childminding Association. Samia has been involved in a range of charity work and served on local liaison groups. She has four daughters, three of whom previously attended Coombe Girls' School.

Rowena Bass - Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

BSc FCA qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in London and has extensive audit experience in the private and not for profit sectors. She currently works for a number of the accounting institutes and training providers on accountancy exams and apprenticeship assessments. Rowena is a Councillor with the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, director of Kingston Chamber of Commerce and till recently a governor at Robin Hood Primary School.

Marcus Bhargava - Vice Chair of the Educational Standards Committee

Head of School of Education, Midwifery and Social Work at Kingston University and a member of the University’s Senior Leadership Group. He is responsible for the strategic direction and operational and financial activities of his School. A former secondary school teacher, Marcus has significant experience in educational experience having served as a member of two National Curriculum expert panels in Citizenship Education, a former consultant to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority leading a national exemplification of assessment project and leading teacher training at two Universities. He is a former governor of an Outstanding Infant School, where he chaired the learning committee and a large secondary school. He has a son at Coombe Boys’ School.

Margaret Hunnaball - Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Margaret is a former physics teacher, with senior leadership experience in both state-maintained and independent secondary schools. She holds a PhD from King’s College London, where she conducted ESRC-funded research into cross-sector educational partnerships. Her research interests are: partnership working, leadership, and education beyond the formal curriculum. Outside education, Margaret is passionate about hockey, she was an International Hockey Federation (FIH) umpire and is now on the World Panel for Umpire Managers. She also serves on the European Hockey Federation Appointments Committee and served on the FIH Rules’ Committee for sixteen years.

Emeka Okorocha - Vice Chair of the Resource and Infrastructure Committee

Emeka is a Managing Consultant with PA Consulting, a management consultancy in London. He has over 20 years experience in project management and engineering of major infrastructure and construction projects. He specialises in project governance, business case and contract negotiations working on several occasions as the client agent. Emeka has served as a parent and co-opted governor in a maintained school in Merton for 6 years and was involved in the formation of a Federation of two schools and the appointment of an Executive Head to bring one of those schools up from requiring improvement. He is married with 3 children, one of which attends a school in the Coombe Academy Trust.


Jonathan Lin

Jonathan has been a trustee with the Coombe Academy Trust since September 2022. He is a qualified solicitor and works at an international law firm in London. He specialises in advising financial sponsors, corporates and management teams on private equity, venture capital, cross-border M&A transactions and general corporate matters. He has extensive knowledge and experience of corporate governance from his professional career and provides mentoring opportunities to young adults who are interested in a career in law.

Emma Thomas - Chair of the Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee

Emma has been a trustee with Coombe Academy Trust since March 2018. She is a CIMA qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience in government finance. Her work has focussed on financial leadership and the development of high-quality finance business partnering in recent years, looking to drive efficient and effective use of scarce resources resulting in value for money and positive outcomes, though business intelligence, data insight and high quality strategic financial advice. She is currently a Finance Director at the Ministry of Defence.

If you would like to register your interest to become a Trustee, please contact Adnan Ahmed at



Trustees apply the highest standards of conduct and ensure robust governance. They follow the Governance Handbook and aid compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook through leading:

  • strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy;

  • accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance;

  • people with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity;

  • structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities;

  • compliance with statutory and contractual requirements; and

  • evaluation of governance to monitor and improve its quality and impact.

The Trustees comply with the Trust’s charitable objects, with company and charity law and with the funding agreements. Their duties are to: act within their powers; promote the success of the Trust; exercise independent judgement; exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence; avoid conflicts of interest; not accept benefits from third parties; and declare interest in proposed transactions of arrangements. They ensure regularity and propriety in use of the Trust’s funds and achieve economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The Full Board of Trustees meets twice per term.










The Purpose of the Full Board Meeting

The purpose of the Full Board meeting is:

  • to ensure that the Trust’s funds are used in accordance with the law, the Trust’s Articles, its Funding Agreements and the Academies Financial Handbook;

  • to ensure that the Trust and its academies are operated in accordance with the law, the Articles, its Funding Agreements and the Academies Financial Handbook;

  • to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction, propose overarching aims and objectives for the schools;

  • to monitor the quality of educational provision across the Trust;

  • to challenge and monitor performance including overseeing the performance of the EHT;

  • to oversee the financial performance of the Trust;

  • to determine Human Resource Policy and Practice;

  • to comply with their duties as company directors and charity Trustees, including to exercise reasonable skill and care in carrying out their duties;

  • to ensure the Nolan principles of public life are adhered to (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership); and

  • to recruit EHT and Executive Directors.


View the attendance log to board meetings

Trustee Sub-Committees

The Resources and Infrastructure Sub-Committee

This committee focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of the management of the financial and staffing resources of the Trust and on the compliance of the Trust with regard to Health and Safety, Premises and ICT to support the objectives of the Trust. Within this remit of HR and financial resources, the Committee will address any matter raised by the CEO or COO; or that the Committee reasonably considers to be within its remit and that is not a Reserved Decision. Under the Infrastructure remit, this Committee also covers Health and Safety; Infrastructure (including premises, buildings and ICT); and Data Protection.

The Audit Board Sub-Committee

This committee maintains an oversight of the Trust’s governance, risk management, internal control and value for money framework. It reports its findings annually to the Board of Trustees and the Accounting Officer as part of the Trust’s annual reporting requirements.

The Remuneration Board Sub-Committee

This committee will maintain an oversight of the Trust’s pay policy and pay procedures, performance management of the leadership and executive leadership teams and leadership succession planning. It will report any findings to the Board at the December and July meetings.

The Education Sub-Committee

The committee’s specific function is to support the trust board, CEO and relevant members of the executive team in their responsibilities for the educational performance of the trust and its pupils in the context of the trust’s strategy.