Who are we?

Members and Directors

iMAT Key Contacts

Name & Position




Antony Witheyman

iMAT CEO & Director

Antony is the CEO of Innovate Multi Academy Trust. He has been in education for 18 years, and held a variety of senior positions, working in a variety of educational settings within trusts, both in and out of schools.

Innovate Multi Academy Trust was formed in 2014 as a collaboration of innovative and dynamic schools with the sole aim of making them great places where pupils will have a great time whilst they learn and staff will have a great time teaching them. Antony is also a fully accredited Ofsted Inspector. (But don’t hold this against him…)


Karen Falvey

Chair of Directors

Academy Ambassador

Karen has been a Trustee of IMAT since September 2016, and is currently Chair of The Hawksmoor Learning Trust in Towcester and Brackley. Karen was also made a National Leader of Governance in 2016, and has carried out several External Reviews of Governance for local schools either at their request, or when required by Ofsted.

Karen is from a scientific background, with a degree in Pharmacology. She worked for several years for Esso Petroleum in a variety of roles including marketing, airport operations, refinery planning and as section head of the laboratory where all products going to market were tested. Whilst in this role, Karen worked with schools in the Southampton area to encourage girls to get more involved in science.

Company Secretary

As One Solutions Ltd.

Terri Lifford


A Northamptonshire local, now living in Banbury, and currently Chair of Governors at Woodford Halse Primary Academy, Terry Lifford is a long standing Post Graduate educationalist with 20 years plus Headship experience. She was one time Chair of Northamptonshire Primary Headteachers’ Association and Chair of Daventry and District Headteachers group. She also worked for several years for Northampton College presenting educational related modules to aspiring senior managers.

Now semi-retired, she has worked as an Academic Tutor for The University of Northampton for sixteen years, supporting teaching assistants working towards a degree in Teaching and Learning.

She is also an enthusiastic, proactive volunteer for the National Trust at Canons Ashby.


Peter French


(Diocese Rep)

I am currently the deputy Director of Education for Peterborough Diocese and prior to that I was Assistant Director of Education in Birmingham Diocese for twelve years. I was before that a Church of England Vicar in Handsworth, Birmingham and Bury in Lancashire.

I am a National Leader of Governance and have a particular expertise in Governance, Admissions and Senior leader appointments in education as well as supporting church schools with their Christian Ethos.

I am married with three daughters, one who is working in London and the other two are currently attending university. I am also (and this is a bit sad) a season ticket holder at Northampton Town.

Deputy Director of Education for Peterborough Diocese

Helen Holmes


Academy Ambassador

Helen is currently Director of Children and Families at the National Deaf Children's Society, where she has responsibility for operational services across the UK, whose aim is improving outcomes for deaf children and young people. Prior, she held senior roles at two other major charities. At Scope, she led the development of services, education and transition provision for disabled children; at Leonard Cheshire Disability developing services for adults with disabilities.

Helen's earlier career involved a number of years working in secondary education : a Head of Department role at Northampton High School for girls and teaching role at a large comprehensive school in London.

National Deaf Children's Society

Douglas Spenceley


(Diocesan Rep)

My working life has been fully in education, firstly within secondary education rising to Associate Head for about 10 years, after which I was appointed an Assistant Education Officer for SEN in the local LA, with special interest in AAC (Augmented or Alternative Communication). I was ordained in 2009 and am now an Assistant Priest in the Emmanuel Group of Churches, Northampton, having recently retired after 8 years as Bishop’s Vicar for Church Schools in Peterborough Diocese. I sit on the Diocesan Board of Education and two committees. I have experience of being a governor and Chair of Governors in LA and Church schools, and have previously served for several years as a Member and Director of a mixed MAT.

I am married with three, but now, sadly, only two grown up children and have three grandchildren, the most recent having been born only in October 2020! One of my sons is the Rector of Emmanuel Church, where I serve.

Peterborough Diocese Bishop’s Vicar for Church Schools

Peter Banks

Member & Director

Peter retired from his position as Internal Control Supervisor at Ford Motor Company, European Parts Operations in 2005 after 30 years service with the company.

Peter is a long serving past chair of governors (and past pupil) of Badby School and a long serving past chair and current governor of The Grange School, Daventry. As well as being a member and director of the Innovate Multi Academy Trust he is also a founder and current trustee of Ask Education and founder and current trustee of the Inspire Multi Academy Trust.

One of Peter’s passions is sport and he is a trustee of The Daventry and District Sports Trust and Director, Life Member and founder player of Daventry Rugby Football Club.

Retired - Internal control supervisor

Joanne Sanchez

Jo has been the Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer of the Learning for Life Trust since September 2016.

Jo has a very wide range of experiences working in education over the past 30 years: she has worked in eight different schools in the UK and the US and taught every age group from Reception to sixth form. She has been headteacher of 2 schools, worked as a local authority school improvement partner and as an independent education consultant, and has the privilege of visiting schools on inspection. She has been a school governor in three schools before joining the Trust. She is also a trustee of a Single Academy Trust in West Northamptonshire.

CEO of the Learning for Life Trust

Peter Cantley



MSc in Educational Leadership and Management, NPQH and BA Hons QTS. Director of Education for The Diocese of Peterborough. Directorships also with Peterborough Diocese Education Trust and Peterborough Diocese Church Schools Trust. PDCST Corporate Board Member for: Nene Education Trust, Montsaye Community Learning Partnership, Guilsborough Multi-Academy Trust, Innovate Multi-Academy Trust, Evolve Church Academy Trust and The Rutland Learning Trust. Rutland County Council Education Performance Board Member, Peterborough City Council Children & Education Scrutiny Committee Member, and Northamptonshire County Council Children, Learning & Communities Scrutiny Committee Member. 15 years’ teaching experience in both primary and secondary Church of England schools, and 7 years’ teaching experience in community schools. Extensive senior leadership experience in ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ Church of England secondary schools – Twyford CE High School, Trinity School and Canon Slade CE School, and with the Community Schools Alliance Trust, as well as contributing to major regional and national education programmes - Excellence In Cities, Greater Manchester City Challenge and National Challenge. NPQEL professional mentor and significant project leadership experience of complex change management projects, from new school launches to school restructuring and school mergers. National educational consultancy work undertaken with BBC Schools Television, QCA, CARE, Damaris Trust and Culham College Institute.

Director of Education for Peterborough Diocese

Janet Wincott


I have lived in Weedon for 35 years and my granddaughter attends Weedon Bec Primary School. I have spent most of my working life in local government, latterly at Northamptonshire County Council for over 23 years in areas of transport and procurement. I retired in 2011 and almost immediately became a governor at Weedon Bec Primary School, later becoming Chair. I was involved in the formation of IMAT.


Ian Brown


After university and a period in manufacturing industry, Ian trained as a science teacher and began his career in Staffordshire. He worked in secondary schools for 36 years and was a head teacher of three schools over a period of 24 years. On retiring from teaching, he then worked for The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) as a field officer for six years. ASCL is the professional association for senior staff in secondary schools.

He has some 30 years’ experience as a Governor most recently as a governor and chairman of Weedon Bec Primary School. Ian was also one of the directors when iMAT was established. He retired as a governor in 2018.

He has three adult children and a steadily increasing number of grandchildren.

Chris Lofts


Chris Lofts has a background in public service working for various Local Government bodies. He has been an elected councillor on both South Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Councils and West Northamptonshire Shadow Council until May 2021.

Chris has lived in Northamptonshire since 1997 with his wife and two daughters and currently lives in Badby near Daventry. Chris has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Health, Diploma in Management Studies and has extensive local government experience having worked as a Deputy Chief Executive until 2006 managing multi-million pound budgets and multi-disciplined professional staff in complex organisations.

Since retiring Chris has continued to be involved in the local community and is currently a Trustee on the Hawksmoor Learning Trust leading on Safeguarding policies and practices. Chris has worked with Age Concern and Citizens Advice Bureau on project work, chaired a mental health charity, assists with the VCSE Assembly in Northamptonshire and volunteers with the National Trust.

iMAT Central Team

Lindsey Evans

Director of Education

Lindsey has been a successful headteacher for six years at Badby School. As a founder member of the trust, she has been able to help shape the vision and ethos of iMAT. Lindsey has had experience of headship across two small primaries and has also worked as an Executive Headteacher across two schools within the Trust. Prior to headship, Lindsey held numerous leadership roles including Deputy Headteacher, SENDCo and English Lead and has enjoyed a wealth of teaching experience from EYFS to Year 6. Lindsey achieved NPQH in 2006 and is currently working towards NPQEL.


Ed Newton

Director of Education

Ed has loved every minute of his 13 years in education. He was most recently Headteacher of Woodford Halse CE Primary Academy (within the IMAT), where he worked with a fantastic team to turn an RI grading into a Good within 3 years, by quite simply empowering individuals. Previous to that Ed has been lucky to work in a diverse cross section of school settings, from large town schools, to small village ones and as Director of Education for an international private school too. He worked in business prior to moving into the education sector with a background in sales and marketing.


Lucy Flavell

iMAT Chief Finance Officer & Co Secretary

Lucy is CIMA qualified and has a commercial finance background previously working for GAP inc and Jewsons Ltd mainly in senior cost management roles. Lucy joined iMAT in September 2016 to strengthen the trust finance structure and is involved in strategic planning, CIF funding as well as ensuring routine finance and audit duties are performed. Lucy enjoys playing netball and spending her spare time with her husband and 2 young children


Andy Lakatos

iMAT Education Standards Consultant

Andrew Lakatos (BEd, NPQH) qualified as an Ofsted Inspector in April 2017. He has over 10 years of experience of being a successful headteacher and now works as a private consultant and School’s Education Advisor for Peterborough Diocese alongside his role for iMAT. He works in the main with senior leadership teams, specialising in evaluating provision, developing monitoring cycles and creating impact measures across a broad range of areas. His subject expertise includes; maths, SEND, EYFS and leadership and management. In his spare time Andrew enjoys cycling and cookery


Heather Fishwick

iMAT Executive Assistant

Governance Professional to the Directors

Heather joined iMAT as an Executive Assistant in February 2020. She aids the trust with communications, administration, website compliance and GDPR. Heather has previously worked in Secondary Schools as an Learning Assistant and Librarian. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature, and recently achieved an MA with distinction in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults.

iMAT Executive Assistant