The Academy Council collectively provide a challenge and support function to the Head of Academy and the Senior Leadership Team.

The setting of rigorous and clear targets, and the frequent detailed monitoring and questioning of progress, is fundamental to providing the educational aspirations that Inspire Academy desires for all its students.

The Academy Council of an academy or Free School is responsible for ensuring that it is run to promote excellent pupil outcomes.  Its duties include:

  • Holding the Headteacher to account as a "critical friend"
  • Supporting the Headteacher
  • Agree policies delegated to this Council
  • Making visits to the school to meet staff and pupils
  • Monitoring the spend of the delegated budget, including Pupil Premium

Our Members

Sheila Kitchener Chair of Academy Council
Mark Jordan Executive Head / CEO of PLT
Helen Barnard Parent Member / Vice Chair
Martyn O'Donnell Executive Head
Mark Burgiss Head of Academy, Inspire Academy
Lynn Sims Behaviour/RRS link
Lynda Harris Head of Academy, Wandle Valley Academy
Robert Frost Clerk to Academy Council

Declaration of Conflicts of Interest and Attendance

Sheila Kitchener

Sheila is the chair of Academy Council for Inspire Academy in Chatham. Her background is within education, firstly as a PE teacher and then, after taking post. grad qualifications, she moved into SEN management and Dyslexia. She has taught for 45 years across all key stages and all management levels. She set up the first Dyslexia unit in a mainstream school in 1986 and then advised on others that they created in Kent. At present she tutors trainees, within the Royal Engineers, who have Dyslexia. Apart from being chair of the AC, she also volunteers for two other posts, firstly as a member of an advisory panel for 11-25’s with EHCPs, for the National Association of SEN (NASEN). Secondly, she is a member at her local hospital and form part of an observation team who carry out regular checks on the hospital’s care environment.

Mark Jordan

Mark is the current Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer for the Parallel Learning Trust and has had a range of successful leadership experiences in mainstream secondary schools, as an Executive Headteacher of SEMH and ASD 5-18 provisions as well as senior Officer posts in Local Authority. He is a skilled negotiator who actively encourages a truly personalised curriculum underpinned by a holistic support for students whilst being relentless in pursuing excellence in all aspects of performance. He has a wide range of experiences ranging from strategic lead of Primary and Secondary Alternative Provision, Special Educational settings, Teenage Mothers Provision, Hospital School, Home Tuition Service, Outreach service and as a School Improvement Partner. One of his most significant achievements was leading his last SEMH setting out of difficulty to be judged by Outstanding in all areas placing it in the top 1% of special schools in the country and successfully managed the education delivery of a £5 million pound a year, 5 year contract from a LA.

Martyn O'Donnell

Nearly 30 years experience in Education. Previously Headteacher of Mainstream, SEN/AP settings and Head of Service in a large Local Authority. NPQH in 2004 and NLP Master qualification. Martyn works directly with Headteacher quality assuring the strategic and financial development of the academy and developing Trust initiatives into Park Campus and other Academies within the Trust.

Mark Burgiss

Mark has worked in Special education since 2004 and was a PE teacher for many of those years. He has also worked for Medway Local Authority, as a behaviour specialist, in which he managed a team of Teachers and support staff, to offer a bespoke behaviour service to primary mainstream schools, in order to support them to be more inclusive, provide behaviour management to their staff and reduce the number of pupil exclusion across the Local Authority. He returned to Inspire Academy in April 2017 as an Assistant Headteacher, with responsibility for behaviour and welfare, where he gained a lot of experience as part of the Parallel Learning Trust. In May 2019, he became the Headteacher at Inspire Academy, which is where he is today.

Lynn Sims

Lynn has worked in Education for over 27 years and is currently an Inclusion Manager for Medway Council where she managed a small team. Her background is mainly behaviour support. She has had the pleasure of working in all types of educational settings from primary, secondary and special.

Lynda Harris

Lynda didn’t become a teacher until 1999, previously she was a Youth Worker and ran the Outreach Support for Hertfordshire. Alongside this, she was a Teaching Assistant in a large secondary school and an Outdoor Educational leader. Before Wandle Valley, she ran the behaviour support unit in a secondary school and assisted in the behaviour support across the borough. During her working career she has delivered CPD in a number of schools and in a DFE setting.

Kevin Kitchener

Ex Royal Engineer, followed by 11 years as a Government security driver. Kevin holds an HE diploma in youth work and a degree in behaviour management. After retraining, Kevin became a full time youth worker, which led to opening a unit for pupils with emotional and behavioural issues, in a large secondary school. He was, later, appointed to the post of behaviour manager for the school. Retired to start his own, very busy, archery coaching and instructing, this is delivered in schools and privately. In addition to being an AC member, Kevin is also a volunteer for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition assessor and chair of a field archery club.