Philip Vander Gucht
Chair of Trust
For the final eleven years of my business career I worked for a large international corporation based in London. I was responsible for the acquisition and expansion of several smaller companies located in Europe and South Africa. Analysing those companies strengths and weaknesses enabled me to put into place strategies for personnel development, for financial stability and for product and market growth. Working in Cape Town for the last five years, building a strong team and transforming an average company into a highly successful operation was the most satisfying part of my career. I hope many of the skills I have developed may be brought to The Galaxy Trust.
In my earlier career I was an English teacher working abroad for ten years. I had the benefit of experiencing the wonderful cultures of Japan, Abu Dhabi and France.
I am married with two adult children. Josephine is a successful musician, singer and songwriter, performing all over the world and William is a teacher having just returned from four years in Madrid and then Medellin in Columbia. We are an International family.
I am a senior Policy Officer with over 15 years professional experience in the field of Equality, Inclusion and Diversity.
I attended Keele University and graduated with an honours degree in Politics and Law and has an MSc in Public Sector Management from Warwick University.
I worked in a range of roles in the field of Equality and Human Rights, including an internship with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), then gained a place on the National Graduate Development Programme, which led on to a range of roles in service delivery and policy development.
I ams particularly interested in the implementation of equality and inclusion practice, with a focus on ensuring that they make a difference to the outcomes of individuals, groups and communities.
Adrian lives in the Dartford area and is married with three children. After graduating from Durham University with an honours degree in law, Adrian qualified as a solicitor and has spent the last 20 years working in the city. He has a very strong interest and passion for education as a means of inspiring children to rise to the best of their abilities and make the very best use of their inherent natural talents. He has been actively involved in recruitment and mentoring programmes as well holding various senior managerial positions. Adrian was elected as a Co-opted Governor in December 2015.
Rowena Estwick (Vice-Chair)
I am an educationalist with over 22 years of experience in teaching, and leadership, in fully inclusive, comprehensive settings. I have extensive experience as a coach and consultant including having worked for the SSAT. I am currently working as part of the leadership team for Heath Farm School, an all-through school for children and young adults with SEND and complex needs with many in foster care.
I live in Dartford with my husband and my daughter who spent her very successful primary educational career at Oakfield Academy. We also have four very spoilt and loved cats!
I am passionate about The Galaxy Trust and the potential it offers to all families to improve the life chances of all of our children.
With almost 30 years’ experience in education, I have had the privilege of working as a Deputy Headteacher in an inner London primary school, a Local Authority adviser for Literacy and school improvement, and regional lead of a national school improvement programme. I am currently contracted to the Department for Education as an Education Adviser/External Expert. Since 2011 I have supported the development and successful opening of over 25 Primary, Secondary and Alternative Provision Free Schools from initial concept through to their first Ofsted inspection. During my time working with the DfE, I have focused on promoting effective school improvement, identifying and developing strategies to support the narrowing of the achievement gap, and raising attainment particularly for vulnerable groups.
I also work as a Professional Partner for Hertfordshire Virtual School. As part of this role I undertake a range of activities to monitor and assess the quality of provision provided by schools for Looked After Children.
I am committed to ensuring that all children, whatever their individual needs, access a broad and enriched curriculum which allows them to flourish and reach their full potential academically, socially and emotionally.
Occupational background. I hold a First Class degree in Professional Practice (Musical Theatre Education) at Middlesex University, and I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Currently I am Programme Leader for BA ( Hons ) Musical Theatre Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
I have varied experience within education and training, with particular interests in curriculum development, timetable management and leadership. I have worked across a range of educational sectors with children from 3 years old through to adults and young professionals.
Special Interest area.
The most able and those with a particular gift or talent.
I am passionate about education at all levels, and am committed to the development of learning environments that allow all children to reach their full potential, and encourage the pursuit of excellence, whilst developing confidence, passion and embracement of all aspects of school life.
I currently have three children at Oakfield in years 1, 4 and 6.
Occupational background. 32 years as a Public Sector Accountant and Manager, 6 years as Public Sector Consultant, now retired.
Special Interest area. Looked After Children
About me. My aim is to ensure that all our children get the best education that we can provide and that what we provide is the best. I have been associated with Oakfield for many years. My wife taught in the old Infant School for 20 years and I became a Governor there about twelve years ago.
I have remained a Governor through the amalgamation of Infant and Junior schools and the creation of the Federation with Temple Hill.
I am currently Chair of the Resources Committee and take a particular interest in Looked After Children, having previously taken governor lead on NQT support and Early Years at different times. We have three grown up daughters who all still live in Wilmington. All our four grandchildren are currently at Oakfield.
Occupational background: Chartered Accountant and Internal Auditor in a FTSE 100 Bank.
Special Interest Area: Equality and Community
About me. I have 2 daughters, one in Year 4 and another in Nursery in Dartford. My aim is to work with the Federation and support the schools in creating an enabling environment for the children to be inspired and support them to maximize their potential. I believe every child in the community deserves a champion and I will like to work with the School Management to achieve this vision.
I am currently a member of the Teaching and Learning committee which works with the school management to optimise the use of available resources.
A Chartered Management Accountant who qualified in 2007, I’ve spent 15 years working at all levels of financial processing, reporting and management. I’m now commercial manager for City and Guilds, helping them as a registered charity make money to make a difference.
Ensuring children get the most out of the resources provided for them.
My work life has given me lots of experience in working efficiently and ensuring a company gets a fair and equitable deal. I’m keen to use that to improve the education and experience of children in the local area. I have two children currently at West Hill school and enjoy spending time with them and friends whenever possible. I help organise a local football team and manage my sons age group. After playing football all my life and getting the great physical and social benefits a team sport brings, I strongly believe in giving kids every opportunity to play, enjoy, learn and improve while making friends and forging a team.