Senior Leadership Structure

Executive Improvement Team
Director of Education (DoE)
Alongside the Chief Executive Officer, the DoE will lead the Executive Improvement Team and is accountable to the Board of Trustees for ensuring the educational success of the academies within the overall framework of the Academy Trust Strategic Improvement Plan (ATSIP) through collaborative practice and support, ensuring consistently high quality operational systems and practices are in place.

Lizzie Lethbridge


Lizzie has been a teacher for more than 20 years and has significant experience of school improvement, including central leadership roles in a contextually challenging, inner-city school that moved from Requires Improvement to Good. She taught in schools in Bristol and Plymouth before coming to Devon to join The Link Academy Trust as Academy Head of Harbertonford C of E Primary School in 2016. Lizzie subsequently took on the role of Executive Academy Head across both Harbertonford and Diptford in January 2018, leading both schools on a journey of improvement to achieve ‘Good’ Ofsted outcomes and a ‘Good’ SIAMs at Harbertonford.
Lizzie’s previous role as Academy Trust School Standards & Educational Outcomes Lead enabled Trust capacity to support a number of schools in terms of school improvement and in preparation for the next leader. Lizzie supports Academy Heads to achieve better outcomes for pupils and has run NQT/Early Career training and HLTA training programmes across the Trust.
Lizzie has a BEd Hons degree with a specialism in English. She has achieved the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) and is working towards her NPQEL (Executive Leader).
Lizzie has more recently moved into the role of Director of Education, heading up the Executive Improvement Team.

Director of School Improvement (DoSI)  
Alongside the CEO and Director Of Education (DoE), the DoSI will lead the Academy Trust Improvement Team and is accountable to the Board of Trustees for ensuring the educational success of the academies within the overall framework of the Academy Trust Strategic Improvement Plan (ATSIP) through collaborative practice and support, ensuring consistently high quality operational systems and practices are in place.

Sarah Clarke


Sarah graduated from University with a 2.1 degree in Education specialising in English. She has worked in a number of educational settings in her 20 year teaching career including schools in Birmingham, Plymouth, Devon and as far reaching as South Africa and Dubai.
Early in her career Sarah became a Lead Foundation teacher and worked in other schools supporting and developing good practice. Some of her research based work within this role has been used to train and inspire other teachers and she continues her passion for the Early Years to this day. She has also taken up the role of Lead Literacy teacher, supporting local training providers with sharing, celebrating and developing good practice. She has gone into many schools within and beyond her local learning community to support planning and specific areas of English and offer on the ground advice and ideas.
In 2011, Sarah joined Bearnes Primary School as Head of Teaching and Learning and supported the Executive Head in leading the school out of 'Notice to Improve' and imminent closure to ''Good' within two years. Numbers on roll also tripled under this leadership and the school was identified as one of the swiftest improving schools in the Southwest.
In 2013, Sarah moved to another school within the federation that required support to regain its grounding and working alongside the Executive Headteacher, returned the school to a 'good' school within a two year framework.
In 2016, Sarah became a mum to twins and returned from maternity leave to a newly formed Multi Academy Trust and a role as Academy Head.
In 2020, a move to the Trust senior leadership team presented Sarah with the opportunity to become responsible for strategic improvement across the Trust. Her passion for supporting others to find solutions and empowering individuals to fulfill their potential drives her day to day practice. She is an ardent supporter of coaching and is certified as an HNLP practitioner.

Director of Safeguarding (DoS)
With the CEO and as part of the Executive Improvement Team, the DoS will agree and monitor the highest quality Safeguarding procedures, protocols and record keeping in all Academies to ensure all children are kept safe. 

Alex Waterman


Alex is the Director of Safeguarding and Academy Head for Moretonhampstead Primary School.
Alex fully believes in inclusive education and she has 25 years of teaching experience in a range of schools with additional facilities for SEND. She is passionate about meaningful learning and catering for the ‘whole’ child, whilst achieving the very best academic results.
In her role as DoS, Alex supports Academy Heads and Safeguarding Leads across the trust to ensure best practice and support in all aspects of Safeguarding. She offers regular safeguarding updates, safeguarding audits, tailored support and a confidential sounding board. Alex also works closely with Local Boards and the Trustees.
Alex has a BAQTS (July 1995), NPQH (2003) and National SENCO award (2020). She has had a range of leadership roles in schools developing different phases and teams in schools in Cumbria, Leeds and Devon. Alex was an invaluable part of the leadership team who moved a school from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in just over 2 years. (March 2016)
Alex has a background in Environmental Science and Outdoor Education. She has led numerous teenagers on expeditions to developing countries across the world. Alex enjoys time with her two boys, walking, cycling and running. She is organised, positive, energetic and has a solution focussed attitude.

Director of Standards & Outcomes (DoSO)
Working with the Director of Education (DoE), Director of School Improvement ( DoSI), Director of Safeguarding (DoS) and the CEO, the DoSO is part of the Academy Trust Leadership Team and is accountable to the Board of Directors for ensuring the educational success of the academies within the overall framework of the Trust’s strategic improvement plan in terms of pupil attainment, tracking progress and accurate data, to ensure consistently high quality operational systems and practices are in place.

Andy Keay


Andy is currently Academy Head at Tedburn St Mary Primary School and is also part of the Executive Improvement Team with responsibility for standards and outcomes across the Trust.
Tedburn is a small rural primary, which has continued to excel since it joined the Link in March 2018. During this time the high standards demonstrated within school have ensured the very best outcomes for all pupils. With the support of the Trust, high quality CPD is available to all staff and has enabled them to grow and become even more effective leaders within school. Well-being within school has always been a high priority and the Trust’s Inclusion Hub has been a vital source of support. Tedburn has flourished since being part of the Trust and continues to go from strength to strength.
In his role as standards and outcomes lead across the Trust, Andy has seen all our schools move to a bespoke data platform that ensures consistency and effectiveness across schools. He supports schools and Academy Heads in quality assuring their data, with the emphasis on high expectations for all learners. Within his role he works closely with the EIT in supporting both existing schools and schools that join the Trust. They robustly analyse available data to ensure a clear picture of every individual academy’s pupil progress and educational outcomes, this enables them to offer support accordingly.
Andy says "I am proud to be part of such a dedicated, supportive, professional team who work to ensure the best outcomes and opportunities for all our pupils".

Director of Inclusion (DoI)
Working with the Director of Education (DoE) and as part of the Executive Improvement Team, the DoI oversees the thriving Improvement and Inclusion Hub (IIH), working closely with the IIH Lead, Becky Humphreys. Francesca and Becky work together with SENDCOs and Heads to ensure that the Link Schools offered the best possible outcomes for children with additional needs. They have a keen focus and strive to support and improve the Mental Health and Wellbeing of the children, staff and families in the trust.


Francesca McLoughlin


Fran has been working in primary education since qualifying with a BEd Hons degree from Leicester in 1987 (Early Years specialism) and has worked across a range of city and rural primary schools in Hampshire and Devon. She has worked in senior leadership for many years and has been the headteacher of Sparkwell Primary School since 2015, developing this school from a newly opened Free School to the inclusive and successful school it is today. She has the NPQH (2012) and a Masters Degree in coaching (Marjons, 2013) and has been a SENCo for almost 20 years with a passion to ensure all children get the best education in a nurturing, inclusive environment. She is also a qualified counsellor for children and young people and uses her counselling skills to ensure families, staff and children have a voice.
She was pleased to support Sparkwell Trustees in deciding to join the Link Academy Trust in 2023 to help the school on the next phase of its journey and is excited about developing the inclusion lead role.