Board of Trustees Profiles

Keith Bannister

Apart from being at university and a short period of residing in Colchester, Keith has lived in Maldon all his life and is passionate that all local students have the best opportunities to help progress and attain in all areas. Keith has five grandchildren of school age either at Plume Academy or attending a local Maldon primary school.

Keith is a retired Essex primary school head teacher formerly in post at Trinity St. Mary’s, South Woodham Ferrers and latterly at Great Totham Primary School until retirement in 2014.

Towards the end of his career Keith chaired the Blackwater Partnership of Primary Schools and is keen for local links to continue and further develop with the academy.

Currently Keith is also a ‘member’ of the Eveleigh Trust of six primary schools and since retirement, has been a governor of Wentworth Primary School.  Keith is also chair of the Pupils’ Performance and Personnel Committee of Governors at Wentworth.

Mike Chaplin

Mike has been a teacher since 1975, he started in the East End (Tower Hamlets) and over the years has held various posts of responsibility in education in different parts of the country. He also spent a short while working for a Global IT Company.

Mike has retired from teaching but occasionally provides supply cover for schools. Mike wants to see the Plume further develop for the wider community for students of all abilities. His interests include fishing and he is a water bailiff for two local fishing clubs and works closely with the Environmental Agency. He combines bailiff duties with long walks with his dogs. His other interests include gardening and model railways.

John Everard

John is a qualified Engineer who has worked in the manufacturing industry from apprenticeship into Senior Management positions. He now runs his own Engineering Consultancy business. He has been a trustee at Plume for over 20 years and is Vice-Chair of Trustees. John is also a member of the Audit and Personnel Committees and is Chair of the Pay Committee. He is the trustee link for Student Voice and monitors a range of Key Performance areas, including leadership and management and students’ personal development, behaviour and welfare. John has had two sons attend the school, both of whom now work in London; he still has several nephews and nieces at the school. John’s other local interests include playing golf, his home and garden. His vision for the future is to see Plume become the school of choice for those living in the local area.

Jessica Finch

Graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Environmental Science from University of Essex, Jessica is data-driven, highly analytical and results focused, She has over 15 years’ experience as a business professional working in multiple industry sectors including data management, engineering, offshore wind, oil and telecoms.  Today Jessica works for Global Marine Group in Corporate Development (mergers and acquisitions) where she drives forward strategically significant and complex commercial/negotiation opportunities. 

Jessica is a Member of United Nations Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) where she contributes to informing and influencing global Governments and Policymakers.  More recently Jessica has become a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador with an aspiration to demonstrate the value of these disciplines in life and careers. 

Jessica is a trained Mental Health Fist Aider and as a trustee, she wants to apply emphasis on mental health and wellbeing of both the academy’s students and staff. Believing in a zero stigma, Jessica’s vision is an ecosystem that is safe and supportive, where ALL individuals can thrive maximising their learning and career potential. 

Once upon a time Jessica attended the Plume School and currently has a son in Year 11. In her spare time Jessica is a keen sailor, skier and amateur photographer.

Mark Howell

Mark is an IT professional with 40 years’ experience. He has worked in many industry sectors including Automotive, Banking, Stock Broking, Pharmaceuticals, Oil, local government and charity. He has been a school trustee since 1997, and is currently a trustee both at both Plume and Maldon Primary. Mark is the link trustee for Health and Safety, Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Strategic Development Committee. Mark has a daughter and niece at the school; another niece left recently to attend the University of Sussex. Mark moved to Maldon in 2004 and his local interest is focused on the Chelmer & Blackwater canal where he has a boat moored. His many interests include improving the local environment. Mark’s vision for the Plume is that is the first choice for Maldon parents - he expects the school to play a key part in ensuring that its students have the key skills required to lead a rewarding life.

Mark Judd

Mark has worked in the automotive industry for a single Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for 35 years starting as an apprentice as a 16 year old working through various positions in manufacturing, quality, engineering, logistics and is currently the Site/Vehicle Test Manager of a large Product Development Centre in Essex.

Originating from Dagenham, Mark moved into the Maldon district in 2006 with his family which includes his three children who have either been part of or are still part of the Plume Academy family.

Mark takes a keen interest in sport with his main interest, outside of his family, being Maldon Rugby Football Club where he is currently the head coach for the club and also lead coach for his middle son’s side and has been part of the community club for 14 years.

Mark hopes his passion for the community can aid the academy in its journey of educational excellence for all.

Elliott Judge

Elliott has lived in the Maldon District for 15 years and as of September 2018, his daughter started in year 7 at the academy. As a serving Police Officer with Essex Police he holds the position of Detective Superintendent within the Crime and Public Protection Command. This role provides him with the opportunity to lead on key areas that are important to him including safeguarding, mental health and domestic abuse. He hopes to use his 27 years of working with and serving the community of Essex to ensure that our children are safe and receive the best opportunity to maximise their potential.

Paul Nagle

Paul has worked within a wide variety of Public Sector organisations over 30 years as an Accountant, Audit and Risk Management specialist and more recently in Change Management. He has also served as a Treasurer and Trustee for SWANS, the local disability support charity. Paul has been a trustee at Plume since September 2014 and from April 2020 has been Chair of Trustees. Paul has been actively involved with the Pay Committee, was formerly Chair of the Finance and Estates Committee and is also a member of the Strategic Development Committee. His other interests have been the quality of teaching, SEND provision and sustaining the excellent facilities the academy is able to offer its students. He has lived in Maldon for the past 20 years and has three sons all whom have benefited immensely from a Plume education. He feels passionate about Plume continuing to thrive and providing a first class education and development opportunities for students of all abilities, so making it the first choice for parents and carers in the Maldon area.

Lisa Smart

Lisa’s career in the environmental sector has spanned 30 years, working for Natural England and the National Trust before moving to Essex Wildlife Trust. She has been responsible for the Trust’s visitor centres and education delivery since 2014, overseeing the development of Essex Wildlife Trust into one of the leading providers of outdoor learning in the UK, covering everything from preschool to Key Stage 5 with the ultimate aim of inspiring a lifelong love of nature.

She manages a large countywide team, encompassing nature reserve management, trading activities and community events. She is a trained ecologist, having studied her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and her Master’s in Ecology, and combines her education with business training in order to deliver the Trust’s charitable objectives in ways that make a genuine difference to both people and wildlife.

Both of Lisa’s children attend the academy. Her passion is for ensuring that students of all ages experience the benefits of engaging with the natural world, particularly in relation to mental health and sustainable lifestyles. In her spare time, she enjoys sailing and walking Essex’s 350-miles of stunning coastline. She is a lead for safeguarding and sustainability practices.

Steven Watterston

Steven has worked in education for 25 years. He has held many positions including teacher of Physical Education, Head of Department in the Secondary sector and Director of Teaching & Learning and most recently Associate Director of Quality improvement in the Further Education sector.

Key strengths to bring to the role centre around data analysis and teaching and learning.

Originating from Dundee on the East coast of Scotland, he has lived happily in Maldon for 17 years.

He has two children at Plume Academy and is confident that that they will be successful at the academy and hopes as a Trustee, he can help to ensure all students at the academy are successful and are ready to move to the next steps of their lives.

His interests include sport (armchair fan) but participates in walking, cycling and golf. Other interests include music particularly Scottish music and classical music.

Clare Whitaker

Clare graduated from Exeter University with a degree in French and Spanish before joining City Insurance Brokers Willis Ltd as a graduate trainee. She worked in this sector for 15 years, joining Heath Lambert in 2001 where she specialised in PFI projects, gaining a great deal of experience in risk and insurance requirements of banks and government bodies in major school, healthcare and prison construction projects.  She is currently working as the Agency Manager of a Lloyd’s underwriting agency.


 Clare has a son and a daughter at the academy and is keen to help forge stronger links between the academy, its students and their Parents/Carers.  She has frequently attended Parent Voice meetings and is particularly interested in helping the academy to ensure the wellbeing of all its students so that they may best achieve their aims – academically as well as in sport or any other area.  She is committed to helping the team of Trustees to achieve the aim of making Plume the academy of choice for Maldon and surrounding villages.  Her interests include tennis, walking her dogs on the stunning sea wall in and around Tollesbury and helping with the local sailing club.

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Plume, Maldon's Community Academy

Fambridge Road, Maldon,

Essex, CM9 6AB

Tel: FRC - 01621 854681    

       MRC - 01621 879803


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