Meet the Directors

Stephen Bielby (Chair)

Responsible for:

Governor, HMYOI Moorland

Stephen has 16 years experience of working and managing in a custodial setting. Currently Head of Security and Intelligence, he works with some of the most difficult and troubled Young People in the country. These young boys have issues ranging from behavioural problems, mental health issues and serious learning difficulties. He has formulated and implemented projects within this challenging setting to develop and engage the creative and communication skills of the young people with great success, working with experts such as Billy Bragg on a recent musical project.

As a father of 5, he has previous experience as a school governor at a successful local school and is fully committed to the long term future and goals of XP.

Stephen is our Link Governor to the public services community

Appointed 2nd January 2013 - reviewed annually in the Autumn Term Board meeting

Dr Richard Pountney (Vice Chair)

Responsible for:

Principal Lecturer in Education, Sheffield Hallam University

Richard is the Teaching Fellow for Curriculum and Professional Development in the faculty of Development and Society. His role is to support the development of learning and teaching in his faculty and specifically to work with course teams to plan their courses, make changes to the curriculum, address their own professional development and (increasingly) respond to the national and institutional drivers for change in Higher Education.

Richard is our Link Governor to the academic community and will help drive the CPD of XP staff and academically validate its practice and pedagogy.

Appointed 2nd January 2013 - reviewed annually in the Autumn Term Board meeting

Rachel Scott

Responsible for:

Internal Auditor, DMBC Local Authority

Rachel has lived in Doncaster all her life and after completing her degree in Public Sector Management has worked at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council as an Internal Auditor. This involves assessing organisation’s processes and procedures to give an independent assurance opinion on how these are working, as well as to add value to and help to improve the organisation’s operations.

Having 2 children of her own, when hearing about XP and its philosophy, Rachel was intrigued by project based learning and became incredibly enthusiastic about this more ‘real life’ approach. Now being part of the school herself she is even more committed and dedicated to the development of XP to ensure that the students have the best start in life by receiving a first class education.

As a Parent Governor, Rachel will be able to use her link between the school and parents to enable a balanced approach to be taken on decision-making.

Appointed 25th October 2016 - reviewed annually in the Autumn Term Board meeting

Andrew Buxton

Responsible for:

Andrew has over 30 years experience working in schools with high levels of depravation, both in Doncaster and the North East of England. He had almost 20 years of successful experience as a head teacher in two schools in Doncaster, with his most recent school being graded outstanding by OFSTED. OFSTED described him as an‘inspirational’ leader, and described the school as ‘a first class example of its kind’.

Having been a free school meals child himself he is very passionate about outcomes for Disadvantaged Pupils and raising aspirations for all pupils. He believes in supporting them to aspire to succeed and working towards their goals. In this he feels the XP approach to learning and the underlying philosophy are in synch with his beliefs and is excited by the potential of the approach and is fully committed to helping the Trust achieve its goals. As a father of two he can see how this approach would have benefited his two boys.

Away from education he is a passionate cricket fan, and loves to travel, as well as being a voracious reader.

Andrea Mead

Responsible for:

SEN (Wellbeing Committee)

Secondary Special School Headteacher.


Andrea has 26 years of experience working in schools, her career in teaching  starting in a middle school.  However, she knew that her heart was set on working in the specialist sector and has been since 2000.  In 2013 Andrea became a Headteacher at a secondary special school, where an in-house Intervention Team ensures a multidisciplinary approach can be used and has the added advantage of having expertise 'on tap'. 

 Andrea is a huge advocate of trauma informed practice in schools, to ensure that all young people have emotionally available adults and has witnessed the transformational impact this can have on young people. She is passionate about developing the child holistically, emotionally and academically and encourages all her staff to be professionally curious and solution focussed to remove any potential barriers. 


Andrea has previous experience of being a Governor at a Pupil Referral Unit and is the current Chair of Governors at XP Gateshead. She knows that  in education you are never ‘done’, but are always on a journey to get even better at what you do and feels privileged to be given the opportunity to be  involved with supporting XPG as the school grows.


Andrea is delighted that her son has a place at XPG and in the one year that he has attended has seen him grow in confidence and achieve more because of the wonderful opportunities he has been given.

Tom Blair

Responsible for:


Tom worked for 37 years at Campsmount School followed by 6 years at XP. In that time he became Deputy Headteacher at Campsmount with specific responsibility for the Pastoral Support of students and the evaluation of data to support students learning. Tom also during his time at Campsmount worked as a consultant for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust advising schools in the use of performance data.

On leaving Campsmount Tom joined XP and has been responsible amongst other things for setting up the processes and procedures for the administration of the external exams at both XP and XP East. Tom currently chairs the Local Governing Committee at XP/XP East.

Now retired and as a keen sportsman Tom is looking forward to spending time on the golf course.

Andrew Best

Responsible for:


Andrew  was born and brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He went to RGS School. He read law with French Law at Leicester and Strasbourg.

Andrew started working at HSR Law Solicitors in Doncaster in 2002. He is Senior Partner and heads the corporate and commercial team. Andrew has gained a broad understanding of legal, business and compliance matters.

Andrew’s daughter is a pupil at XP East. He is motivated to  apply his skills to help the Trust meet its goals.

Craig Jones

Responsible for:


Craig has over 20 years experience within motor industry finance and is currently a Divisional Finance Director working for Vertu Motors. Starting his finance career within the car industry in Barnsley where he was born and bred. His ethos is born of team and “being the best version of yourself”. 

Craigs education within finance has come from working from bottom to top and experiencing every level of working within this industry in order to understand how each level works and aspires to achieve. 

From within a private sector industry Craigs interest lies with an open interest in the public sector where his wife has worked for 23yrs and his daughter is now on her secondary school journey. 

He has explored and very much believes in the local school that is committed to its students and families entering in their next journey to adulthood. Primarily committing themselves to a future long term goal. 


Craig understands the importance of a balanced financial regime within this environment but also comes from the side of looking for the best approach for children working towards their next steps in life and ensuring these steps are taken in a balanced nurturing environment. 

Lee Daniells

Responsible for:
Facilities and Risk Management

Pre-construction Manager


Lee has worked in the construction, design and facilities management industry for over 35 years. His roles have covered design and construction of a wide range of buildings including a large number of schools across the Yorkshire and Midlands areas including several around Doncaster. Working with University’ and colleges Lee also has broad expertise in the procurement, delivery, and operation of educational facilities.


Lee’s son is a pupil at XP and they both follow the guiding principles of XP, trust, honesty, integrity and striving to achieve the best through collaborative working.