GEMS Learning Trust Central Board

GEMS Learning Trust Board

Our Central Governing Board

All schools are overseen by the central Governing Board.  All Directors are selected for the range of skills and expertise they bring to help realise our vision and values in the GEMS Learning Trust academies and to ensure effective strategic leadership and management. Terms of office are four years. Parent governors sit on the Local Academy Boards and their details can be found on the LAB page of each academy website.



Chair of the Trust Board – JASON MURPHY 

Jason is a qualified civil engineer with extensive engineering experience. He manages design delivery for residential and commercial developments and assists with planning authorities and statutory consultations on all aspects of project delivery. He helps companies plan and grow, and advises on Health and Safety/CDM, Technical Standards and quality management. Jason will sit on the GLT Operations Committee as well as chairing the full board.



Jodie Croft is the founder and chief executive of the GEMS Learning Trust. She joined GEMS in January 2013 from Swedish Free School Company, IES, where she established a new secondary free school in Norfolk, UK, and her previous roles have included Deputy Head of Brentside High School in Ealing and Middle Leadership at Longford Community School in Feltham. Jodie oversees all operational matters as well as providing executive oversight of GEMS Learning Trust.


Danielle is the COO for LEAD Academy Trust in Nottingham, overseeing a Trust of 25 academy schools. Previously Danielle led the development, design and implementation of the strategy for recruiting Principals/Head of Schools/Executive Leaders from around the world for GEMS Education. Danielle assists the GEMS Learning Trust in all matters relating to human resources as well as assisting with the governance of all operational matters.

Director – LARA ROBSON

Lara is a qualified and experienced solicitor and mother of 2 primary age children. She has professional experience in both the education and charity sector and has trained Boards of Directors in aspects of compliance with company articles and assisted with legal updates. She is also experienced in handling and resolving legal disputes. Lara gives her time to Trust governance on a voluntary basis.


Director – ROWENA DUFF

Rowena is a qualified and experienced chartered accountant with a career in public and private sector audit in Canada and 11 years in the UK.  She has worked at Thomson Reuters for nearly ten years in a number of roles in Finance, and lately in Technology Finance.  She has experience of different educational settings and is a working mother with two pre-school age children. Rowena gives her time to the Trust on a voluntary basis.



Pari is currently working as a strategic change consultant and has a professional background in governance and strategy review as well as an earlier career in teaching.  Formerly, Pari was Chief Executive of two charitable organisations (the LSE and Students ‘Union of the Art)s and worked closely with both their boards. Her key purpose was to add value and to improve systems and processes. Pari brings the GLT Board expertise in governance,  leadership development, coaching & mentoring, workforce diversity and equality action plans and impact assessment.


Director – ALISON HILL

Alison Hill  is a tax partner at PwC advising high net worth families in relation to their international tax positions. She is responsible for a portfolio of clients, leading relationships and ensuring clients receive the advice they require from across the firm.  Alison is a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser and lends her expertise to the Trust Board on a voluntary and independent basis.



Silvia Holgado-Gomez  is a Relationship Manager in the Corporate Division  of BBVA, providing  banking facilities and services for large corporations. She currently manages Spain-based companies, most with international subsidiaries in different industries and services. Her expertise includes assessment of financing lines, investment banking products and cross-selling activity coordinating product specialists with the goal of creating new businesses. Silvia has strong knowledge and experience in many transforming transactions, from origination to final execution, developing technical skills and know-how in different banking products, including loans, capital markets, M&A and derivatives. She is an independent and voluntary trustee.

With thanks to Dr. Harry Ziman, former Chair of the Trust

Dr Harry Ziman chaired the GEMS Learning Trust from early in 2015 until Christmas 2019, when he retired from his volunatary role. Under his leadership, the Trust benefitted from his extensive knowledge and experience across the sector as well as his willingness to take advantage of the new freedoms to innovate as an academy trust. Harry not only brought this level of expertise but also a wisdom and kindness that helped determine the culture for a successful and warm organisation, with children at the very centre. The GEMS Learning Trust is forever in Harry’s debt.

In Memory – Andy Collings

Very sadly, Andy Collings, our Director of Finance, Audit and Risk, passed away in April 2018.  Andy was a director of the GEMS Learning Trust from very early on and was committed to successfully setting up and running the trust on a voluntary basis. Andy was also Chief Operating Officer of the Challenger Academy Trust  and former Finance Director of GEMS UK and Europe. We will remember Andy for his endless energy and good nature and for the pride he took in all his roles.