Local Advisory Board

What is a Local Advisory Board (LAB)?

The Orchard and Shepherdswell Local Advisory Board is the local tier of governance of East Midlands Academy Trust, and it acts as a sub-committee to the Trust Board. Members of the Local Advisory Board as known as Governors.

The key roles of the LAB are:

  • To offer proactive support and constructive challenge to the Headteacher
  • To advise the board of trustees about local issues they need to consider that affect the academy.
  • To ensure that EMAT vision, mission and values are evident throughout the Academy
  • Represent the local community.
  • Represent the Academy in its community.

 These roles translate specifically into the following tasks:

  • ensure that all children receive the best possible education
  • ensure safeguarding is effective
  • support the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team in the development and implementation of the School Development Plan and other relevant plans,
  • ensure the implementation of Academy policies.
  • regularly review the Academy’s performance.
  • oversee and monitor the effectiveness of local strategies
  • act as a key link between the Academy, parents, and local community.
  • support the work of the Academy in the community.

The LAB’s role is not to manage the Academy as such. This is done through the Board of Trustees. Therefore, the LAB is not required to take decisions on staff or financial matters affecting the Academy.

Governors at the LAB will gain an understanding of strategic issues that impact on the Academy and will be updated on them regularly by the Headteacher, but they are not required to have direct responsibility for them. Instead the LAB should be in a position to assess the impact of the Academy locally; how it is contributing to the local community, how it is relating to local families and how it understands local issues. This in turn, will enable the LAB to contribute effectively to decisions which may require LAB involvement.

The LAB is drawn from the staff of the school, parents and the wider community that the school serves. The usual term of office for a governor is four years but many members of the LAB stand for re-election and serve more than one term. Members of a LAB need to take a full and active role in fulfilling the role assigned to them by the Board. This will include regular visits to the Academy and attending up to six meetings per year.

To contact any of our governors, please email governance@emat.uk

Here is a list of our current governors 

Name Position
Callum Brown Orchard headteacher
Ruth Ryan Shepherdswell headteacher
Chris Apakwu Parent governor
Femi Okeya Chair/co-opted governor
Julie Stevens Co-opted governor
Colbie Robinson Staff governor Shepherdswell
Uday Nagaraju Co-Opted Governor
Emma Mundy Staff governor Orchard


  • Meet our governors

    Callum Brown
    Headteacher at Orchard Academy 

    Callum has spent his whole career to date working in schools and has been Headteacher at Orchard Academy since September 2017. Callum is a maths specialist, beginning his career teaching maths GCSE and A level at secondary schools in Bedfordshire. He became a leader at Lincroft Academy in Bedfordshire in 2012 which was then an outstanding school with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) Department. Many of Callum’s family members (seven, in fact) are, or have been, teachers and school leaders.

    Despite trying briefly to break away from the ‘family trade,’ earning an honours degree in Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies, he quickly realised that his calling was to follow in their footsteps and make a positive impact in young people’s lives. As well as through work in schools, this has been through leading the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and supporting, organising, and running residential trips in the UK and abroad. Callum is very proud of the work that everyone within the Orchard family does and is thrilled to be working with them and the wider EMAT group to help all of our children be the best they can be.

    Ruth Ryan
    Headteacher at Shepherdswell Academy

    Ruth is the headteacher at Shepherdswell Academy. She believes all children and staff should be given the opportunity to grow and achieve their aspirations within a safe and nurturing environment, where we learn from and value one another. Ruth has been teaching for over 20 years and during her career she has taught in EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3.

    She has been a deputy head within two other Trust schools, Castle Academy and NIA. She has had a range of responsibilities within each school, including teaching and learning, data and assessment and inclusion, and was part of building the teaching and learning hub at Castle Academy.

    Chris Apakwu

    Chris is an experienced business leader and human resources professional with extensive experience in banking, project management and human resources, specialising in business transformation, M&A, employee experience and leadership development. He is a Chartered member of the CIPD and an alumnus of the University of Sunderland Business School. He enjoys supporting young people with access to early careers as a mentor for the Social Mobility Foundation.

    Chris is a parent governor with two children at Orchard and Shepherdswell and is looking forward to bringing insights and experience to support Orchard & Shepherdswell values and maintain high standards

    Femi Okeya

    Femi is a Principal Engineer with a broad base covering railway plant asset management, plant traction and rolling stock operations, managed services team leadership, project delivery and sponsorship of projects.

    His professional qualifications are

    • Asset Management Diploma • 2018 • Institute of Asset Management
    • Project Management Qualification (PMQ) • 2018 • Association of Project Managers
    • Managing Successful Programes Qualifications (Practitioner) • 2018 • Axelos
    • Chartered Engineer • 2015 • The Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

    Character-wise Femi is driven, quick to learn, equally comfortable taking the lead as well as being a team player, strategically minded and easy to get on with. Femi has demonstrated his leadership ability, objectivity and proven record of project delivery. Femi lives in the community the schools are based.

    Julie Stevens

    Julie has 19 years teaching experience working across the different phases of primary education. She has spent her whole career to date working in schools. Julie started her career working in a two-form primary school and developed leadership skills to lead many teams across the school. Julie has a BA (Hons) in Primary Education and holds Qualified Teacher Status. Since becoming a teacher, she has gained lots of further qualifications including NPQH.

    Within her career, she has been a lead teacher for mathematics demonstrating current practise to visitors and also supporting other schools, as well as being a writing moderator for the local authority. Julie has experience working in schools within deprived areas and diverse communities and feels that this will support her with governance. Julie’s current role is the Head of School at Hardingstone Academy, and she is the DSL within this school. Julie brings all of this knowledge and understanding of safeguarding to her governor role. Working within the Trust she is committed to supporting the local community and primary connections in support of school improvement.

    Colbie Robinson

    Colbie is a class teacher and Teaching and Learning Lead with SLT at Shepherdswell Academy. She currently leads EYFS, Maths and PSHE and she is also a DSL. Colbie’s qualification was obtained from Northampton University, and she has a BA Hons in Early Years Education with QTS, as this is her passion. At Colbie’s previous school she led Early Years (Nursery and Reception) for four years and PE for two years. She also mentored and supported two teaching and learning university students who both passed. In addition to this she was also a school governor for two years. Colbie has experience working in schools within deprived areas and diverse communities. She is experienced in working with children with challenging behaviours, EAL and high SEND needs as she likes a challenge and likes to work in schools where she can really make a difference.

    Uday Nagaraju

    Uday is the founder of AI Policy labs, an international public policy think tank utilising the benefits of technology and innovation for societal development. He works at the intersection of innovation, policy, and development. Uday specialises in Artificial Intelligence for sustainable development goals and speaks and writes in the area. Uday has a Bachelors in Engineering (Computer Technology); a Masters in Science (Computer Science) from Oxford Brookes University; and a Masters in Public Administration from University College London in Development, Technology, and Innovation Policy. Uday has been the Executive President of Global Policy Insights for more than 4 years. He runs a technology consulting firm in Milton Keynes.

    Emma Mundy

    Emma is a teacher at Orchard Academy. She is part of the Year 6 team, but is also responsible for leading Maths and leading Teaching and Learning throughout the school. Emma has been a teacher for over 25 years, undertaking a variety of middle leader roles in this time. She began her career as a music / class teacher in Berkshire but made Milton Keynes her home over twenty years ago.

    Emma has a Ba (hons) in Music and Inter arts and a P.G.C.E in Primary Music. Since becoming a teacher, she has gained lots of qualifications including a Post graduate diploma in action research and she is presently working on gaining the NPQSL qualification so she can develop her skills as a senior leader. Emma has been a governor at Orchard and Shepherdswell for a year. She is developing her understanding of the role and is excited to be the SEND governor this year. Emma has been at Orchard Academy, as a teacher, for just over three years. She loves the family friendly atmosphere the school has and she enjoys going to work every day. The children are amazing!

    Richard Pearson

    Richard is a highly skilled public sector IT account executive, specializing in serving central government agencies. With more than 10 years of experience in the technology sector, he has developed extensive knowledge of various technology solutions, particularly those related to human resources.

    Richard is a proud product of Milton Keynes and attended primary, secondary, and sixth form schooling in the area before pursuing his BSc (Hons) in computing at Leeds Metropolitan University.

    In addition to his technical expertise, Richard is a personable and collaborative individual, who places a high value on building strong relationships. His time in industry has also allowed him to develop a commercial awareness that is welcomed here at the academy.

Declarations of interest

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