The Active Learning Trust has a senior leadership team who engage directly with all of our academies. Working in all of our settings the team is able to address needs, challenge and support whilst also developing the professional networks between members of the trust. The leadership team is able to create and broker bespoke school improvement initiatives alongside the Hub leaders that lead to outstanding performance. 


Gary Peile


Gary Peile is the Trust’s Chief Executive. He provides the leadership for the Trust, is a Trust board member and also leads on our relationship with the Department for Education and Local Authorities. He is committed to maintaining the highest quality support whilst keeping the cost and time of administration to the minimum, thus increasing the time we and schools will have to concentrate on leadership, management and school improvement. Gary plays a vital role in building and sustaining our relationships with schools, Local Authorities and other education institutions and along with the senior leadership team, will expand the professional support team to match the needs of schools as the Trust grows. The Trust will also draw on Gary’s specific experience in the recruitment and retention of senior leaders.

David Hilton

Director of School Improvement and Development

David is the Director of School Improvement and Development for the Trust. He is an experienced educationalist who works directly with schools, hubs, senior leadership teams on whole school improvement, data and tracking, intervention and assessment. He has created curriculum, teaching and learning materials and e-learning packages for the education sector across all phases. With extensive experience of classroom coaching, he's worked nationally and internationally to develop outstanding teaching and learning in the classroom. David works directly with schools to drive change and move settings through the improvement process with rigorous, focused and 'hands on’ working. He has developed support and challenge for school improvement at all levels and also works with Local Governing Bodies to develop their capacity in the improvement process.

Jan Steel

Director of Human Resources

Jan is the Director of Human Resources for the Trust. She leads on all aspects of HR Policy and people management for the Trust and its academies, and in doing so is committed to ensuring that sound and effective personnel and payroll services are in place. Jan’s long career prior to joining the Trust at its inception in 2012 has spanned the full range of non-teaching services for Local Authorities, particularly those relating to Education & Children’s services, as well as senior leadership and consultancy roles across the education sector and including those for national projects for school improvement. Her specialist area is the provision of HR support services in which has increasingly become the professional focus of her work across the last 15 years.

Marilyn Toft

Director of Professional Development

Marilyn is a visionary, strategic thinker, with a high national profile, who works effectively with policy-makers and government departments across all sectors. Marilyn has successfully directed two high-profile cross-phase programmes on healthy schools and behaviour and attendance to achieve positive outcomes for all children and young people. Working now with a range of academies and schools to secure school improvement, Marilyn's particular expertise is on collaborating with senior leaders to undertake supported self-review to achieve positive behaviour and regular attendance across the whole community as well as to develop professional development that responds to priorities and needs. Marilyn's inspirational leadership and strong management qualities, as well as her excellent inter-personal skills, command the confidence and trust of others.

Clive Paskell

Director of Finance and Operations

Clive joined The Active Learning Trust in July 2015, from a similar role in Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT). He joined Swavesey Village College (Part of CMAT) in 1992 from a previous career in banking and has experience of managing most aspects of the operation of a school including administration, finance, site, ICT, catering, external services. Clive was responsible for the finances across CMAT which grew to six schools between 2011 and 2015, including five secondary schools and one primary school. He has broad experience of the conversion and sponsorship process of schools to Academies under a multi academy model. In addition he was involved with the creation and support of Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET) a three school primary multi academy trust and was a trustee on their board and managed the provision of the finance support contract from CMAT to CPET. He has been Chairman of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Academies Group (CPAG) for many years and has represented business managers as a member on the Secondary Heads Finance group. Clive has carried out consultancy work for schools in London, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, within both Primary and Secondary sectors.

Joy Parke

Director of Primary Standards

Joy Parke is the Trust's Director of Primary Standards. She has over 20 years experience of working in schools where she has held a variety of posts. Joy, most recently, was the headteacher of a successful primary school where providing an outstanding educational experience for every child was the key priority. Joy is committed to partnership working in all its forms and knows the benefits that collaboration can bring in enhancing the opportunities for raising standards in teaching and learning and pupil outcomes. Strategic planning is a particular strength of Joy's, where responding positively to the changes, developments and opportunities, in the national and international educational landscape, as well as recognising the context of each school, are key. Joy works directly with the Trust's schools on whole school improvement with a particular focus on standards.