South Orpington Learning Alliance

Trustee Profiles

Robert Sampson - Chair of Trustees


 I am the Chair of the Trustee Board at SOLA.  I have extensive Governor experience including being a Trustee at SOLA for many years, and previously a Governor at The Highway Primary School and at Tubbenden Primary School.


During the years my main focus has been on the Finances/Resources as I have brought my knowledge of analysing Accounts, Management information and Forecasts that I used on a daily basis in my Coaching & Training role at Barclays Bank.


I am a true advocate of ensuring the best education for all of the children within the Trust and encouraging continual improvement within the schools and ensuring that the annual budgets are aligned to these two.


In my personal life I am married with three daughters, my youngest daughter is a NQT now teaching in a Local Primary School. 


As for hobbies I have regularly run park runs ( weekly 5 kilometre runs) and have run 10K races and a half marathon.  I also regularly play badminton. I am interested in most sports particularly Cricket (a happy Kent supporter) and football. I have also co-written and acted in a number of Pantomimes as a Dame.


Diane Moss - Vice Chair of Trustees 


Diane Moss joined the  SOLA board of trustees in 2022.  She lives locally and is passionate about providing the best possible educational and broader life opportunities for all children.


Diane spent a number of years in central government devising tax policy but for the last decade or so has been self employed as an educational governance consultant, training governors, carrying out reviews of governance in academy trusts and helping schools through the academisation process.  Diane was chair of another primary phase trust for several years, has recently served as a trustee on the boards of a couple of secondary schools and now also sits on the board of a local housing association.


Diane has a degree in geography from Cambridge University so if nothing else, is the ‘go to’ person for working out the best route from one SOLA school to another!



Ceri Howells


Ceri is a CIMA qualified accountant and has over 25 years accounting experience across Mining, Media and Logistics with over 18 years at Anglo American PLC. Ceri’s roles have primarily focused on forecasting and analysing results to provide decision supportive information to senior Executives and the Board as well as Finance Transformation and Savings Projects. Ceri has a degree in Mathematical Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London.


Karen Bowden-Brown

In addition to my Trustee role I am employed full time as the Head of People and Culture for a Bank.

For the previous two decades I have held various HR roles in Financial Services, Aviation, the High Tech Sector and Education. I have been a key contributor to large scale change projects involving culture transformation - most recently involving a governance review. I have extensive HR experience from working with unions negotiating pay deals and workforce changes in my earlier career to resolving complex employee relations problems and working strategically with the senior team in my current leadership role.

I believe that governance and decision making are essential to creating a great culture that will benefit children and their education.  I am passionate about the importance of creating a culture that is inclusive, celebrates differences and embraces diversity of thought, as I believe this leads to better decisions.

I hold a Masters in Human Resources with MCIPD membership and I recently obtained a distinction in a post graduate Coaching qualification. Now all that study is out of the way I am delighted to have more time to spend with my family and friends.

I live locally and I have two boys - one at primary school in Chislehurst and the other at a local grammar school.

My favourite way to relax is walking in the local woodlands with our other family member, Belle, a black Labrador.


Stella Odusola

Stella Odusola


Stella joined SOLA in 2019 as a Parent Governor and was invited to join the Board of Trustees in 2021. She is dedicated to improving outcomes for all children, favouring a holistic child centred approach to teaching and learning. Stella is a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion and is passionate about advancing these practices across the Trust. She provides expert advice on inclusion matters, namely supporting in driving our anti-racism agenda.

Stella spent 16 years working as a teacher and held several additional roles including Head of Department and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead. She currently works in Higher Education using her vast knowledge and passion to drive organisational change that fosters parity of provision for all. Stella enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves good food, travelling and meeting new people. ​


Susan Gregory


I am a proud parent, and a grandparent of four! Three of my grandchildren are currently at primary/secondary schools.

I have worked in or with schools since becoming a qualified teacher many years ago. I was a headteacher for almost 12 years and following secondment to a local authority I was appointed to Ofsted in 2000 as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI). While at Ofsted, I held a number of leadership posts, including National Director for Inspections in primary, secondary and special schools and the early years. Since retiring from full-time employment at Ofsted I have worked as an Education Consultant, and support schools across the sectors.

I was a Trustee and Chair of a London based teaching school alliance for several years. I was also a Trustee with the charity Speech and Language UK (formerly known as I CAN) for nine years until September 2023, when I stood down and took on the role of non-executive director of Speech and Language UK Services LTD. I currently Chair its Education Committee and oversee governance of its schools. Until recently, I was a governor of a local Kent primary school.

Grainne Beeney


Grainne is a Chartered Accountant and over the last 20 years has held several positions within the finance departments of large media and creative agencies. Grainne is currently the finance director of a group of PR agencies.


Grainne is passionate about education, the role it plays in children’s development and wants to help improve outcomes for the younger generation.


Grainne has three teenage boys who attend a school in Croydon and she can be found most weekends supporting them from the side of a rugby pitch or a swimming pool.


Alex Francis

I joined the SOLA Board of Trustees in 2024.  I am passionate about the role that schools and their community have in enabling all children to grow and flourish.  I have worked in education for many years including as a Deputy Headteacher of a Primary School and in an Improvement Lead role for a Multi Academy Trust. My particular interest is developing curricula which support great teaching and help close the disadvantaged gap.  

Aside from my trustee role I continue to work within the education sector and am a mother of a child who is of primary school age.


 Executive Team Profiles

James Turvey – Chief Executive Officer


I was born and grew up in Orpington - believe it or not my educational journey began as a pupil at one of our SOLA schools. At eighteen I spent a short period working in banking, and then pursued a career in teaching after attending University in Wales. My education experience has been gained in various schools in East London where I lived for ten years, in Kent and latterly in Bromley, as Headteacher at Darrick Wood Junior School for eleven years, and most recently at Tubbenden Primary.


I am passionate about education, and wholly committed to the moral purpose of SOLA, and its success. I want to ensure that children in our schools receive the very best education we can give them. That means that as well as achieving academic success every child should be introduced to strong values, have access to a broad curriculum and enjoy a wide range of experiences.


I am a committed family man, with two adult sons who also attended local schools. I love music, modern westerns and Arsenal.  


Nicola Diamond – Chief Operating Officer


Prior to the Trust establishing in April 2016, I worked as the School Business Manager for Tubbenden Primary School and since then, have greatly enjoyed my role as the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). Before joining Tubbenden 5 years ago, I worked for a large American investment bank for 19 years in a similar role, and for a support group for bereaved children.  


As COO, I’m responsible for overseeing the ‘back office’ of the Trust - the finances, ICT, premises and administrative support. I’m keenly focused on operating the Trust to ensure that we make the very best use of all we have to ensure best outcomes for children.