Appointment of Academies Directors

Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) is delighted to announce the appointment of two Academies Directors to join the central team from June 2019. The two new posts will strengthen the Trust following the Williamson merger and growth to 23 open academies.

Tracey Trusler will take responsibility for academies in South-East London and North-West Kent, with the exception of Milestone Academy which continues to report to Neil Willis as Chief Operating Officer and Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy, reporting to Simon Beamish, Chief Executive.

Tracey’s journey started with LAT in 2010. Following the Ofsted verdict to place Wilmington Enterprise College into special measures, Tracey became Principal of the new Wilmington Academy and transformed the school. Ofsted judged leadership to be outstanding in both 2013 and 2017. Wilmington’s latest academic results are the best in LAT at GCSE and in the top 10% of Kent schools at post-16. It is now a thriving secondary school heavily oversubscribed for its 240 places in year 7 and accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organisation in 2017 as a World School.




Tracey said “I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with such an important role at this significant time in LAT’s evolution. I am looking forward to visiting the schools and working more closely with the Principals as we enter into this exciting phase of our development“.


Meanwhile Debbie Biggenden will take responsibility for academies in Central Kent and Medway, with the exception of Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School which continues to report to Simon Beamish.

Debbie joined LAT in 2015 with the transfer of Oaks Primary Academy from Academies Enterprise Trust. Oaks was ranked 5th of 461 schools in Kent in 2018 for its key stage 2 results and formally congratulated by Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, recently as amongst the top 3% of schools in England. As Executive Principal, Debbie has also helped lead Molehill Primary from special measures to good and Tree Tops Primary as the most improved academy in LAT in 2018. Debbie worked with the central team to open the brand new Langley Park Primary Academy which has performed strongly in every year since it opened in 2016.



Debbie commented “I am delighted to have been appointed to the role of Academies Director for the Central Kent and Medway academies. I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of my colleagues and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with them in the future. I am sure it will be a busy but exciting journey ahead“.

These appointments were made following a national recruitment campaign and a two-day selection process involving senior leaders and directors from across LAT. It is gratifying to find such exceptional talent within the Trust given widespread outside interest in these roles. Both successful candidates will now work closely with the Chief Executive to plan a careful transition into their new positions from September.

Simon Beamish
Chief Executive