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Who We Are

The Team

Executive Team

Robert Farmer – CEO

Robert Farmer has worked in education since August 2004 starting as Vice Principal and Business Manager at Upper Shirley High and developing the Upper Shirley Learning Community Trust.  Prior to that Robert worked as the Financial Director for a large multinational company.  He has worked for the National College on their school business management programme advising schools and local authorities.

Gemma Carr – Deputy CEO (Business)

Gemma Carr, Deputy CEO, Business – has worked in education since 2008 with business management experience across infant,  junior,  secondary and special phases.  Prior to this she was a Director of a legal recruitment consultancy for 8 years.  She has a degree in management,  CIPD qualified,  a Specialist Leader of Education in Management and Leadership, a Designated Safeguarding Lead,  a student mentor and an adult mental health first aider.  She leads the business on the business aspects of the managed service team, which covers finance, HR, IT, estates management and legal.  She is also the lead Data Protection Officer and Company Secretary for the Trust.

Extended Executive Team

Sean Preston - Chief Financial Officer

Sean is a qualified accountant who joined Hamwic Education Trust in 2014.  Prior to joining the Trust, he worked for a large secondary academy in Hampshire and has supported schools across all phases of education.

Christine Bulmer - Standards Officer

Chris is a qualified teacher and has worked in education since 1996.  She was a headteacher for 11 years in primary and junior schools.  Chris began work as a school improvement officer in 2014 having been headteacher of one of the first schools to join Hamwic Trust.  In addition to the work in the Trust, Chris carries out other inspection work in both mainstream and SEN schools.  Chris holds the NPQH and PQSI.

Abbie Wilkinson - Standards Officer

Abbie Wilkinson has worked in education since 1996. She held senior leadership roles in primary schools including the headship of a large inner city Infant school.

Abbie spent seven years in local authority school improvement, leading on primary English, assessment, profession learning and working as a school improvement officer to support underperforming schools.  She was previously one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors in the SE region.

Donna Fox - Standards Officer


Donna Fox has worked in Education since 1991. She held senior leadership roles for 26 years, with 19 of these as Headteacher. Donna has worked in a range of schools and has a proven track record of school improvement. Before joining Hamwic Education Trust, Donna held the position of Principal Advisor for School Improvement, Governance and Community Learning in West Berkshire. Donna hold a masters degree in Education and the NPQH.

Julie Turvey - Standards Officer


Julie has worked in education since 1987, teaching in secondary schools. She holds the national professional qualification for headship, and has over 24 years of senior leadership experience in 4 secondary schools. She has 14 years experience as a Head teacher in two secondary schools. She was Headteacher at the The Westgate School in Winchester, which also had an early years nursery as well as secondary provision. Julie then became Headteacher, Executive Headteacher and finally Trust Leader at Hounsdown School, Totton.

Julie has experience of working with other schools locally and nationally to support school improvement, through various networks including teaching schools and MATs. She has also worked as a lecturer at the University of Chichester, training both primary and secondary teachers in their undergraduate programme, and has been an Associate Lecturer for Winchester University delivering the NPQH programme for both aspiring and experienced Headteachers

Head of Department

Beverley Collins - Head of HR


Beverley has worked in education since 2002.  She joined Hamwic Education Trust in 2012 and prior to that she worked in a secondary school in Southampton.  Previous experience includes working for Hampshire Probation Service, an International Technical Recruitment Agency and the Swatch Group.  Beverley is MCIPD qualified and oversees a team of 3 supporting 30 academies across Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole and Dorset.  As head of HR, Beverley provides strategic and human resources management on a range of HR issues and oversees the HR operations to ensure the delivery of an efficient, professional and effective HR service for the Trust.

Nikki Thorne - Head of Estates

Nikki has been part of the JET schools for a number of years, starting when both her children attended Shirley Infants & Juniors some 18 years ago.  She has worked across the Jet schools for the past 14 years in differing roles before moving into her current role in Hamwic Education Trust in 2012.

Previously she worked within retail, as a Regional Loss Prevention/H&S Manager across retailers such as BHS, Boots, and Woolworths.

Nikki provides strategic H&S Management on a range of H&S issues to schools. To ensure the Trust remains compliant and fulfils its duty of care under the H&S at Work Act 1974.

Louise Newman - Head of Governance & Compliance

Louise joined HET Managed Services in her current role in 2021.  She has worked in education since 2001 in various school-based roles, most recently running a governance consultancy business across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.  She comes from a local authority administration background and holds a business administration degree.

Louise provides advice and support to our Trust Board and local governing bodies around governance requirements. 



Jai Solanki - Head of IT

Jai has been working in the education sector for 7 years,  5 of which are with Hamwic.  He has come from a corporate background, and brought his knowledge through from that sector to the education sector to assist schools streamline processes and make IT work better in schools.