Meet our Members

Dr Sarah Charles 

Sarah is the Head of the Institute of Education at the University of Derby.  She has worked at the University of Derby since 2006, having first gained employment as a Senior Lecturer in Primary Initial Teacher Education.  In 2015 she was promoted to Head of Discipline for Primary Initial Teacher Education and, most recently, in 2020, she was appointed as the Head of the Institute of Education. In her role as Head of the Institute of Education she has strategic responsibility for educational research and all education focused undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Prior to working at the University of Derby, Sarah trained as a primary school teacher.  Throughout her time in the classroom, she taught all primary year groups and undertook a range of middle and senior leadership roles.  Drawing on both past and present experiences as a qualified teacher, she aims to motivate the next generation of educators to strive for excellence in their chosen profession.

She has sustained experience of school/Multi-Academy Trust governance, having been a school governor and currently being a Trustee of three other Multi Academy Trusts. She has extensive links, both locally and nationally, to a range of diverse educational settings.

Sarah is committed to quality, research-informed provision that encourages critical thinking and the application of knowledge and skills to real-life working.  Her doctoral research explored stakeholder attitudes towards students, with dyslexia, on Teacher Education programmes. Her current research explores trainee teacher preparedness to address homophobic bullying in primary and secondary schools.

Paul Drummond FCIPD

Paul has over 25 years Human Resources experience across various sectors including service, chemical and automotive organisations. During Paul’s career as HR Vice President of a major automotive supplier, he successfully designed and deployed meaningful HR programmes that have been implemented on a global scale.

As an experienced HR professional and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Paul’s first-hand experience is translated into practical solutions which are tailor-made to ensure the businesses that he works with have sustainable solutions leading to tangible results.

As the Managing Director of Consulting for the Quantum Group, he is responsible for employee engagement, human resource business partnering, organisational development and senior management coaching.  Enhanced by a postgraduate certificate in Executive Coaching, Paul is a Dad to two boys that have attended Primary and Secondary schools in Derbyshire and has also been a Primary School Governor for 3 years.


Sarah Armitage

Sarah has been a school governor for 12 years, a chair for 6 years and a National Leader of Governance for 3 years. She also has held the position of NLG Coordinator for Derby and Derbyshire since September 2017.  This involves supporting the work of the (currently) 11 NLGs across the county and liaising with commissioners of this work, including Teaching School Alliances, MATs and Local Authorities.

Professionally she specialises in leadership, team and cultural development and is dedicated to helping people work more effectively and collaboratively together.  She feels this is crucial for excellent governance and a productive, high-trust working relationship between school leaders, staff and governors.

Sarah has worked with over 20 schools and colleges in her capacity as an NLG and as a professional facilitator/development consultant and carried out many external reviews of governance. Her mission is to help schools/MATs/federations develop a high-performance culture and organisation built on a clear shared vision, values and a team-driven approach.

She has a degree in Educational Psychology and has worked at a senior level in Human Resources in the chemical industry (originally Courtaulds), contributing to significant organisational and cultural change.

Having established Work Vitality in 2007, Sarah now has a wide range of clients including Tarmac, the Vaillant Group, the University of Derby, Lafarge, Vinci Energies and the Volvo Group.

With a background in Human Resources, coaching qualifications and extensive experience of coaching senior leaders, Sarah brings a sharp understanding of how to develop an engaged and performing workplace to her governance system-leadership role.

Sarah’s two daughters both attended Richardson Endowed Primary school in Smalley (now within Embark Federation) and being Derby born and bred, Sarah is passionate about improving the education and life-chances for all children and young people in her home county.

Canon Carolyn Lewis

Canon Carolyn Lewis is the Diocesan Director of Education for the Dioceses of Derby and Leicester. This role involves advising the Bishop on all educational matters and in leading the vision and strategy for the Diocesan Board of Education which in Derby serves 111 church schools. 

Carolyn is also a member of the Bishop’s Leadership Team and so contributes to the wider life of the diocese.

Previously, Carolyn was a primary school teacher, headteacher and an inspector for Ofsted and SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican & Methodist Schools).

Congratulations Sarah Armitage MBE

01 Feb 2024

Embark Federation are delighted to inform you that our fabulous Chair of Trustees Sarah Armitage has been recognised in the New Years Honours...

Ladywood Visit

07 Sep 2023

Our Trust Leader Matthew Crawford paid a visit to Ladywood Primary School to take a look around their wonderful Art Exhibition. There were so...

Waingroves Primary visit

07 Sep 2023

Matthew Crawford our Trust Leader paid a visit to Waingroves Primary School to present the children with their Embark Awards in a special assembly.

Riddings Junior School

07 Sep 2023

Riddings Junior School had their very own Tough Mudder this year and it was a huge success!
Pupils, staff and families all took part...

Year 6 Performances

07 Sep 2023

Our Trust Leader Matthew Crawford visited the Embark Schools over the last few weeks of term and managed to watch a range of different performances...

Embark Conference 2023

07 Sep 2023

The Embark Conference was held at the Derby Arena this year and focused on our core purpose of Love Learning, Love Life. We had over 700 staff...

Derby Kids Camp Embark Week

07 Sep 2023

Some of our pupils embarked on a new adventure in the summer holidays.  They spent 6 nights on a remote location in the Derbyshire countryside....

Embark Football Tournament

06 Sep 2023

Our four secondary schools came together to take part in our first secondary football tournament which was organised and delivered by EFD Sport...

25 year anniversary celebrations!

06 Sep 2023

It was lovely to celebrate the work of some very special staff members with a beautiful afternoon tea at Horsley Lodge Golf Club.
Embark staff...

Embark Holiday

06 Sep 2023

A group of children from Kilburn Juniors, Chaucer Juniors and Ladywood Primary School all had the chance to experience a holiday in rural Derbyshire...