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The Trust Board

Philip Vander Gucht


For the final eleven years of my business career I worked for a large international corporation based in London. I was responsible for the acquisition and expansion of several smaller companies located in Europe and South Africa. Analysing those companies strengths and weaknesses enabled me to put into place strategies for personnel development, for financial stability and for product and market growth. Working in Cape Town for the last five years, building a strong team and transforming an average company into a highly successful operation was the most satisfying part of my career. I hope many of the skills I have developed may be brought to The Galaxy Trust.

In my earlier career I was an English teacher working abroad for ten years. I had the benefit of experiencing the wonderful cultures of Japan, Abu Dhabi and France.

I am married with two adult children. Josephine is a successful musician, singer and songwriter, performing all over the world and William is a teacher having just returned from four years in Madrid and then Medellin in Columbia. We are an International family.


Akua Agyepong

I am a senior Policy Officer with over 15 years professional experience in the field of Equality, Inclusion and Diversity.

I attended Keele University and graduated with an honours degree in Politics and Law and has an MSc in Public Sector Management from Warwick University.

I worked in a range of roles in the field of Equality and Human Rights, including an internship with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), then gained a place on the National Graduate Development Programme, which led on to a range of roles in service delivery and policy development.

I am particularly interested in the implementation of equality and inclusion practice, with a focus on ensuring that they make a difference to the outcomes of individuals, groups and communities.


Adrian Denny

I live in the Dartford area and am married with three children. After graduating from Durham University with an honours degree in law, I qualified as a solicitor and has spent the last 20 years working in the city. I have a very strong interest and passion for education as a means of inspiring children to rise to the best of their abilities and make the very best use of their inherent natural talents. I have been actively involved in recruitment and mentoring programmes as well holding various senior managerial positions. 


Rowena Estwick


Occupational Background: Partnerships, strategy and community development in civil society/third sector

Special Interest Area: Reducing inequalities and an equitable educational offer.


About me: I have over 20 years of experience in the voluntary sector, working with children and young people and supporting grassroots community development. I also worked in a newly formed academy trust as an Extended Services Manager.  I currently work for an urban health foundation focusing on equity and inclusion. We work with central and local government, community organisations and  international bodies to reduce poor health outcomes faced  by people from low-income families and marginalised communities.  


I have 2 children myself and strongly believe that it is possible for every child to reach their full potential with the support of a nurturing educational environment that enables children to follow their own path not others expectations.


Sue Phillips

With almost 30 years’ experience in education, I have had the privilege of working as a Deputy Headteacher in an inner London primary school, a Local Authority adviser for Literacy and school improvement, and regional lead of a national school improvement programme. I am currently contracted to the Department for Education as an Education Adviser/External Expert. Since 2011 I have supported the development and successful opening of over 25 Primary, Secondary and Alternative Provision Free Schools from initial concept through to their first Ofsted inspection. During my time working with the DfE,  I have focused on promoting effective school improvement, identifying and developing strategies to support the narrowing of the achievement gap, and raising attainment particularly for vulnerable groups

I also work as a Professional Partner for Hertfordshire Virtual School. As part of this role I undertake a range of activities to monitor and assess the quality of provision provided by schools for Looked After Children.

I am committed to ensuring that all children, whatever their individual needs, access a broad and enriched curriculum which allows them to flourish and reach their full potential academically, socially and emotionally.  


Jim Rouncefield

Mr Rouncefield has lived in Dartford for over 30 years and has over 45 years of working experience in education, including leadership at all levels through to headship [16 years in two secondary schools – Kent and Bexley before taking up his role as Deputy Director School Improvement & Quality Assurance in Bexley. In that role he was responsible for 84 schools in as well as all forms of quality assurance, Early Years provision, including Child Care Centres, and Adult Education. Retiring from Bexley in 2010, he spent the next eight years working across London and the South East as an Independent Educational Consultant. He has chaired two Multi Academy Trusts, one large (40+ schools) and one small (4 Primary Schools), chaired two Independent Educational Boards and been Chair of Governors in Primary Schools, Chair of a Joint Governing Body of two secondary schools and a Primary School as well as a Regional Governing Body in Bexley.  Specialising in School Improvement, he has supported a considerable number of schools in raising standards, preparation for inspection, led Governor Training and been commissioned to review all aspects of educational provision. Fully retiring in July 2018, he has considerable experience of governance across all sectors of education.


Victoria Stretton

I  hold a First Class degree in Professional Practice (Musical Theatre Education) at Middlesex University, and I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Currently I am Programme Leader for BA ( Hons ) Musical Theatre Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

I have varied experience within education and training, with particular interests in curriculum development, timetable management and leadership. I  have worked across a range of educational sectors  with children from 3 years old through to adults and young professionals. My special area of interest is the most able children and those with a particular gift or talent. I am passionate about education at all levels, and am committed to the development of learning environments that allow all children to reach their full potential, and encourage the pursuit of excellence, whilst developing confidence, passion and embracement of all aspects of school life.  All of my children are attending or have attended Oakfield.



Ayotola Tiamiyu

I am a Chartered Accountant and Internal Auditor in a FTSE 100 Bank.

I have 2 daughters and I support the schools in creating an enabling environment for the children to be inspired and support them to maximize their potential. I believe every child in the community deserves a champion and I work with the School Leaders to achieve this vision.  My special area of interest is equality and community.


Tom Whelan

I am a Chartered Management Accountant who qualified in 2007, and have spent over 15 years working at all levels of financial processing, reporting and management. I am now the commercial manager for City and Guilds, helping them as a registered charity make money to make a difference.

I joined the Galaxy Trust to ensure children get the most out of the resources provided for them. My work life has given me lots of experience in working efficiently and ensuring a company gets a fair and equitable deal. I am keen to use that to improve the education and experience of children in the local area. I have two children currently at West Hill school and enjoy spending time with them and friends whenever possible. I help organise a local football team and manage my sons age group. After playing football all my life and getting the great physical and social benefits a team sport brings, I strongly believe in giving children every opportunity to play, enjoy, learn and improve while making friends and forging a team.


Sarah Steven, Clerk to The Trust



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