Academy Council Information

  • Marsha Douglas

    Academy Council Chair. Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding, Inclusion and SEN
  • Richard Steele

    Academy Council Vice Chair. Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium
  • Eunice O’Dame

    Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding
  • Nadine Anderson

    Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Inclusion and SEN
  • Alex Toogood

    Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium
  • Jane Whitfield

    Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium
  • Sophie Leighton

    Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding
  • Sarah Waddingham

    Vice Chair and Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium
  • Jo Sorensen

    Head of Lower School
  • Nikki Carpenter

    Head of Upper School
  • Ailsa Chapman

    Deputy Head of Lower School
  • Claire Binks

    Deputy Head of Upper School
  • Stuart Reid

Marsha Douglas

Term of Service started:

July 2022

Responsibilities:

Academy Council Chair. Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding, Inclusion and SEN

I have been part of the Cypress Community for over ten years, as both my daughters have attended Cypress Primary School. I became a parent governor in May 2014, Interim Chair in April 2016 and the official Chair of Governors in September 2016. When we officially joined Pegasus Academy Trust (PAT) in September 2017, I continued in the role as Chair for the Academy Council; which continues to have a strategic role with some slight variations on terms of delegation.

As a board we continue to ensure that leadership are held to account, through support and challenge, to provide quality teaching and learning that leads to positive outcomes. Our aim is to ensure that children’s welfare and education is such, that they make positive progress, have an enjoyable school experience and a curriculum that is accessible so children have the opportunity and foundations to pursue their dreams.

I have worked in education for over fifteen years, primarily with children and young people with additional learning needs and disabilities. I get to visit a wide range of schools and this gives me insight into what effective schools can look like and I hope this experience supports the school with moving forward.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with Cypress Community on this journey as we persevere to be the best that we can be.

Richard Steele

Term of Service started:

July 2015

Term of Service ends:

July 2023

Responsibilities:

Academy Council Vice Chair. Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium

My name is Richard Steele and I have been a parent governor since 2011.  All three of my children went to Cypress and my youngest, Theo, is currently in Year 5. I work as a Finance Director in the private sector and have enjoyed being able to share my financial and leadership experience to support Cypress.  Over the years I have been Chair of the Finance & Premises sub-committee and was Chair of Governors before Marsha.  Now that Cypress is part of the Pegasus Academy Trust I look forward to working with parents and staff to improve outcomes for children whilst ensuring that all that is great about Cypress and its community is preserved.

Eunice O’Dame

Term of Service started:

July 2022

Responsibilities:

Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding

I was elected Parent Governor in May 2014.  I joined the Cypress community when my son started at Cypress school in 2010.

Since joining the governing board, I have had various roles and it is very rewarding being part of a dedicated group of governors/academy council members, who work tirelessly to make sure every child and their families have the best experience this school can offer.

I have over twenty years’ experience working with a diverse range of professionals from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds both in business and commerce; the public sector and the voluntary sector.

I currently work in the public sector for the Department of Education and Social Services. I understand the importance of preparing our children to thrive in a continuously challenging and changing world. As such, I will listen and try to understand your views and perspectives. I am enthusiastically committed to supporting the staff and parents in delivering a rich education that meets the needs of the pupils and the school.

Nadine Anderson

Term of Service started:

July 2015

Term of Service ends:

July 2023

Responsibilities:

Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Inclusion and SEN

I became a co-opted school governor at Cypress in July 2015.  I have worked within the public sector for over 25 years, with the last 12 years at senior leadership level providing strategic advice, support and challenge at board level within local government and the NHS.  I have also led and worked on initiatives which have contributed towards improving outcomes for children and young people within Croydon.  As a South Norwood resident I have been a mentor for over 20 years supporting young people in visualising and reaching their full potential.  I bring to the Academy Council both my professional and local experience along with a passion and commitment towards continually improving educational outcomes for children.

‘Labor for learning before you grow old; For learning is better than silver or gold. Silver and gold will vanish away, But a good education will never decay!’

Alex Toogood

Term of Service started:

December 2020

Responsibilities:

Community MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium

I have been a co-opted governor at Cypress since December 2016, joining soon after my eldest, Jack, started at the school.  He is now in Year 5 and my younger son, Harry, is in Year 2. My daughter, Cora, is in Rainbows at Little Cypress.

I have lived in South Norwood for 10 years and I joined the Cypress governing board/academy Council in order to contribute to my local community and ensure that my children’s education, and that of other local children, is the best it can be.​

I work as Head of Strategic Communications at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), driving the delivery of HMRC’s communications plans and supporting senior leaders across the organisation.

Outside of work, I am a member of a local choir and I enjoy spending time with family and exploring the many parks and woodlands around South Norwood, Croydon and Crystal Palace with the children. It’s great to see the regeneration taking place in South Norwood, and I especially enjoy trying out and supporting new local cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Jane Whitfield

Term of Service started:

January 2019

Term of Service ends:

January 2023

Responsibilities:

Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium

I have been a parent MAC since 2018. My youngest son is currently in year 5 at Cypress and my oldest started secondary school in September. They have both had a brilliant time at Cypress and it’s great to be able to support the school build on its many strengths. I am a civil servant and have worked in a lots of different roles within the Department for Education.

Sophie Leighton

Term of Service started:

January 2019

Term of Service ends:

January 2023

Responsibilities:

Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Safeguarding

I have three children currently at Cypress  – currently in Nursery, Year 2 and Year 5. I am a curator, and really interested in the arts and education. I am looking forward to working with you and staff to enable Cypress to bring about the best possible experiences for our children.

Sarah Waddingham

Term of Service started:

November 2021

Term of Service ends:

November 2025

Responsibilities:

Vice Chair and Parent MAC. Roles and responsibilities: Pupil Premium and Sports Premium

I was elected as a parent MAC in November 2021 shortly after my son, Andre, started at Little Cypress in the Nursery class. Andre is a big brother to baby Ruben.

I work as a Subject Leader of French in a local Secondary School and have been teaching in South London for nearly 10 years, after qualifying and starting my teaching career in Leicester.

We live locally as a family and I am committed to supporting Cypress School in any way that I can so that it is able to continue to offer a quality education to its students.

Jo Sorensen

Responsibilities:

Head of Lower School

Nikki Carpenter

Responsibilities:

Head of Upper School

Ailsa Chapman

Responsibilities:

Deputy Head of Lower School

Claire Binks

Responsibilities:

Deputy Head of Upper School

Stuart Reid

Term of Service started:

November 2022

Term of Service ends:

November 2026

I was elected as a Parent MAC in November 2022. My eldest daughter is in Year 1 and my youngest will hopefully start in reception in September 2023. My wife, children and I are really enjoying being part of Cypress and its surrounding community, and I want to do my bit to help.
I am a Director within a management consultancy firm, with experience working with leadership teams in both private and public sectors. I pledge to use my skills to challenge and support the council and heads of school to drive continued improvement and success for our children.

Frequently asked questions about Academy Councils

Pegasus is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), governed overall by a Board of Directors and then a separate Academy Council for each school. This page is about the Academy Council for Cypress Primary School.

What is a MAC?
The three letters stand for ‘Member of the Academy Council’

What is the Academy Council?
The Academy Council consists of:

  1. 3 – 5 x Community MACs
  2. 2 x Staff MACs
  3. Heads of School
  4. 4 x Parent MACs
  5. Up to 2 x Board Representatives.

Alongside the heads of School the Academy Council is responsible for monitoring key aspects of each school’s performance – specifically:

  1. Outcomes for children and learners;
  2. Quality of teaching, learning and assessment;
  3. Behaviour and welfare (including safeguarding)

What does a MAC do?
A Member of the Academy Council (MAC) acts as a school governor, though there are differences: For example, in the Pegasus Academy Trust MACs don’t have any financial responsibilities as the executive group have this responsibility. MACs act as ‘critical friend’ to the school, supporting governance and strategy. Parent MACs specifically represent the parents of the school. Each MAC will have responsibility for a particular year group and area, for example sport or IT.

How do I become a MAC?
Parent MACs are elected for a four year period and fresh elections take place whenever terms expire.  Community MACs are appointed by the Academy Council themselves and may be local councillors etc. (not normally parents).  Staff elect their own representatives.

How can I contact a MAC?
You can contact MACs via the Cypress e-mail address cypadmin@pegasusacademytrust.org marked ‘For attention of [name of governor] or speak to any of us (photos above) on the playgrounds before or after school

Responsibilities of the Academy Council

Each school in the Trust has its own Academy Council. The Academy Council is responsible for monitoring key aspects of each school’s performance namely:

  • Outcomes for children and learners;
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • Behaviour and welfare (including safeguarding);
  • Ethos and values (and how they match the Trust’s overall values statements)

Members of the Academy Councils (MACs) are expected to establish for themselves what is happening in their schools and to ensure that they receive evidence on these key aspects from a variety of sources. A budget is set aside by Directors so that, when required, Academy Councils may commission their own consultants to give an independent view on areas of concern.

Academy Councils (sometimes known as ‘Local Governing Bodies’) are vital to Directors in ensuring that local voices are properly heard and the have the right to escalate matters to Directors if they vote to do so.  Since the formation of the Trust at least one Director has attended each Academy Council so that a quick response can be given where required.

Minutes of the Academy Council

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Attendance of members of the Academy Council

First published on 13th July, 2017 and modified 12th July, 2022

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