Skip to content ↓

Leadership Team

Ian McNeilly - Chief Executive

Ian McNeilly is the Chief Executive Officer of The de Ferrers Trust. His previous role was as Senior Her Majesty’s Inspector working for Ofsted. His main responsibilities at the inspectorate included the oversight of academies, multi-academy trusts (MATs) and teaching school alliances in the East Midlands. He led on the reviews of the effectiveness of MATs. He acted as Ofsted’s main regional link with the Department for Education including the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner. He was also responsible for schools within the local authorities of Derby, Derbyshire and Leicester and for the oversight of Initial Teacher Education providers across the East Midlands.

Ian has successfully supported many headteachers and senior leadership teams to improve their schools and had the best rate of any HMI in moving schools from requiring improvement to being judged good or better. A qualified teacher with a Master’s degree in Literature, he worked in a variety of educational settings for 15 years, including in leadership roles. Ian led a national subject association for eight years, liaising with a wide range of stakeholders across the curriculum, and from early years to teacher training. He was an advisory board member of a Russell Group university’s Education department. As an Ofqual subject expert, Ian took part in projects including standards reviews and an international comparability study. Ian has particular interest and expertise in English and literacy, and in improving the achievement of all children, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

Steve Allen

Steve was the Principal of The de Ferrers Academy from January 2012 until May 2016 when he took the role of Chief Executive of the Trust. He has over 32 years’ experience as a teacher in several large 11-19 schools and academies across the West Midlands. He has over 12 years’ experience as a Headteacher and Principal in 4 schools/academies with numerous inspections at 'good+' and a record of always improving progress and overall levels of attainment. Extensive experience and commitment to school to school support.  Steve will retire from the Trust at the end of July 2018.  The new Chief Executive, Ian McNeilly will assume the position from 1 May 2018. 


Craig Brown – Director of Education


Craig has been involved with supporting Trust schools since the Trust’s inception and now works full fime for the Trust, with overall responsibility for educational outcomes.  He works closely with the Academy Principals to improve performance and instill best practice in all aspects of education.  Craig leads an expanding team of cross-phase educational Lead Practitioners, who work at both a strategic and an operational level, helping the Trust Board to hold each Academy, and their leaders, to account.

He has a degree in Sports Science and Mathematics from Loughborough University and has taught Mathematics in secondary schools for over 16 years.  Craig has taught all elements of Mathematics, from Year 6 transition to A-Level Further Mathematics and Higher Level International Baccalaureate Mathematics.  He has an outstanding track record within examination group performance, as well as supporting colleagues into A-Level teaching. 

Prior to joining the Trust, Craig was Vice Principal at The de Ferrers Academy with responsibility for Data and Timetable.  He led the development of regular data tracking and reporting at the Academy and created an accountability model that underpinned dramatic improvements in outcomes over a sustained period.  Craig also successfully supported a number of other schools in both development of data protocols and timetable creation, with each establishment reporting significant performance gains over the period. 

He is passionate about educational performance, particularly in the local area; he is a Director of a local primary academy that was previously in Special Measures.  Craig is also passionate about technology in education; he is an Apple Teacher and was one of the original exponents of the 1-to-1 iPad programme at The de Ferrers Academy. 


Amy Taylor - Director of Finance

Having graduated from Keele University with a degree in Mathematics & Finance, Amy joined BDO Stoy Hayward (later taken over by RSM Tenon/Baker Tilly) to train as a Chartered Accountant becoming a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) in 2005. Amy remained in practice until 2016, becoming Senior Audit Manager servicing a large and varied portfolio of clients but specialising in Charities & Academy Trusts. Amy joined The de Ferrers Trust in 2016 bringing with her a wealth of experience from her client work in both the private sector and with other Academy Trusts.


Jo Harrison - Director of Human Resources

Jo began her career in a Derby law firm.   After taking her first HR role in the private sector, she gradually gained knowledge and experience in a variety of situations whilst positioned within a medium sized software development company.  During this time she gained her Postgraduate Diploma in HR Management and became a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).  Following a number of redundancy processes and ultimately the closure of the software company, Jo assisted in the set-up of a new venture with the same board of directors.  Jo’s next move was working at The de Ferrers Academy late in 2013, and a vast portfolio of experience has followed this move.  Jo is a generalist HR practitioner covering all areas of HR.


Tammy Pyszky - Director of Governance and Compliance

Having graduated from university with a degree in Law, Tammy spent 9 years working for a Lexcel accredited law firm of solicitors that ranked highly in the prestigious Legal 500 directory.  She spent some time as a Practice Manager, before specialising in legal compliance and moving to The de Ferrers Academy in 2013. 

Tammy has undertaken the NCTL’s Clerk’s Development Programme and has a good understanding of governance in education.   She is responsible for ensuring 'Outstanding' governance across the Trust.  Tammy facilitates Governor Development Programmes on behalf of Alliance of Leading Learning in an effort to improve governance nationally. 

Tammy was the project lead for the conversion to Multi-Academy Trust status and will support schools joining the Trust with the legal process throughout their transition.