Network Support Team

Lynne Hyland

Head of Finance

Lynne is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants, qualifying in 2002. Lynne is a strong believer in delivering high quality business partnering to non-finance colleagues for effective financial management, alongside effective supplier contract management to ensure the highest impact when funds are limited, delivering improved outcomes for pupils. Lynne and her team will be working to ensure that Ventrus is a financially sustainable environment to both learn and work.

Lynne has held a number of senior financial roles, including Head of Finance for the Business & Research section of Plymouth University, Finance Director for environmental charity The Westcountry Rivers Trust and finance advisor to the national charity, The Rivers Trust and most recently Interim Finance Director for Delt Shared Services, a spinout company jointly owned by Plymouth City Council and NHS N.E.W. Devon Clinical Commissioning Group where she implemented all the finance systems and procedures for this new start-up company to enable them to trade commercially and facilitating £1m of savings in their first full year of trading.

Maria Phillips

Finance Manager

Maria has 13 years experience in School Administration. She is committed to developing her knowledge of School Business Administration and has achieved a Certificate in School Business Management. Maria leads Finance across the trust and her responsibilities include building and monitoring a fit for purpose budget, with input from senior leaders, ensuring that financial procedures are followed and maintained. She implements procedural changes as and when required and reports on finance to the senior leadership team and Directors . Maria is determined to help provide the best possible education for children within the trust whilst always seeking ‘value for money’ options.

Since the Trust has been formed Maria has successfully worked with the accountants meeting all given deadlines. In addition, she is responsible for meeting with the responsible office to ensure compliance. Maria works closely with the accounting officer to ensure that the financial aspects of Ventrus run smoothly and efficiently.

Simon Levi

Head of Human Resources

Simon is our first Head of HR. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and has extensive HR and business experience across a number of sectors. Simon has extensive experience of improving performance through effective people management practices. Simon firmly believes that good HR policies and practices leads to improved outcomes for pupils and it is his ambition that the Trust continually evolves in its ongoing quest to be a great place to work.

Simon’s role involves the strategic oversight of HR which includes key areas such as recruitment, advice, HR policies, attendance, diversity and employee engagement. Simon has experience in both generalist and specialist areas of HR. In his earlier career Simon provided strategic HR oversight for a growing company in the automotive industry leading them to secure Investors in People recognition. More recently Simon was accountable for building capability and improving the skills base of large areas of the civil service. Before joining the Trust Simon was accountable for reward, payroll and the provision of HR services for the Rural Payments Agency. This wide ranging experience in all key areas of HR places Simon is a strong position to enable the Trust continually improve in its aspiration to be an employer of choice.

John Cooke

HR Manager

John is an experienced and successful HR professional who brings a wealth of experience from both the private and public sectors. John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has a track record of delivery across the entire range of HR specialisms including employee relations, change management, HR policy & processes, and leadership development. His initial focus will be to review our key HR processes and IT systems and to provide a first point of contact for Bickleigh, Duchy, Hemyock, Sampford Peverell, Sidbury and St Andrews.

John says “I’m excited to be here and am very much looking forward to working with the management teams of the schools, the HR Support Team and Ventrus as a whole. I’m confident that together we can continue - and further develop - the excellent work that’s already being achieved on behalf of the children in our schools.”

Sharon Samuel

HR Business Partner

Sharon is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Psychology graduate. As an experienced business/HR professional across the private and public sector, she is used to working in a fast paced environment, working closely with senior leadership teams to support the delivery of business strategies and targets. Her experience includes employee engagement, performance management, delivery of soft skills training (transactional analysis), coaching line managers, reviewing HR policies and HR processes.
Her previous roles include HR Advisor at Landmark Information Group, a division of DMGT plc, together with extensive experience of working with schools as an Employee Reward Advisor across Devon. Sharon also worked as a Business Manager covering 17 schools in West Devon, and a governor for a large secondary school.
At Ventrus, Sharon is responsible for providing support in the various human resource functions. These may include organisational design and development, performance management, reward, diversity, employee engagement, managing staff attendance and management information. She fully supports collaborative working and is committed to the Trust's core values.

Sally Richards

Company Secretary

Sally's background is in law. She trained as a solicitor and worked in London and abroad for 12 years. She took an extended career break when she moved to Devon to raise her family and during that time undertook a variety of voluntary roles for local charities. Since then she has expanded on her portfolio of skills working with troubled families in a Family Assessment Centre, working as a Company Administrator at an arts and food venue and as Clerk to the local governing body of her local school. Sally brings to this role her ability for logical and analytical thinking, her efficiency and her organisational skills together with her passion for each child to have the opportunity to reach its potential.