DET Members

Every Trust has Members, who have a similar role to shareholders of a company limited by shares. They:

  • are the subscribers to the Memorandum of Association (where they are founding Members);

  • may amend the Articles of Association, subject to any restrictions created by the Funding Agreement or charity law;

  • may, by special resolution, appoint new Members or remove existing Members, other than, where there is one, the foundation/sponsor body, and any Members that it has appointed;

  • have powers to appoint Trustees as set out in the Trust’s Articles of Association and powers under the Companies Act 2006 to remove Trustees;

  • may, by special resolution, issue direction to the Trustees to take a specific action;

  • appoint the Trust’s external auditors and receive (but do not sign) the audited annual report and accounts (subject to the Companies Act);

  • have power to change the Company’s name and, ultimately, wind it up.

Una Connolly Una has over 25 years’ experience in education as a primary school teacher, senior leader and, more recently, as Headteacher of two primary schools in the London Borough of Havering. She started her career in teaching as an NQT in Barking and Dagenham, developing her teaching skills in a range of primary schools, culminating in a Deputy Headship in a large infant school before moving to Havering.
Una spent three years as a Local Authority Advisory Teacher for primary maths, while working in Barking and Dagenham. During this time, she worked with a range of primary school maths leaders to achieve significant improvement in end of Key Stage maths results. In addition, as part of this role, Una lead and coordinated a complete rewrite of the Borough’s maths scheme of work across the primary phase.
Una has a wealth of experience in school governorship through her roles as parent governor , co-opted governor, staff governor and Headteacher . Her seven years in Headship have provided a wealth of experience in budget management, Health and Safety and premises management as well as staff development and curriculum innovation.
Before going into teaching, Una worked in Hospitality and Retail Management for almost twenty years, including ten years at Marks & Spencer.

Paul’s career, apart from times with Christian charities, has been in the maintenance and construction of buildings, gaining extensive experience in managing employees, contractors, consultants and liaising with Statutory Authorities.

Paul was Supervisor of a Service Depot with Eastern Gas and a Technical Engineer managing district heating systems with the Greater London Council. Whist at the GLC, Paul developed a training department, teaching gas fitting to the Council’s plumbers. This involved converting an Area Office into a Training Centre, fitting it out, writing the course work and lecturing.

Then, as Maintenance Manager for Estuary Housing Association, supervising its housing stock of several thousand properties for twenty years. Paul left to take up a residential post, together with his wife, at Pilgrims Hall, Brentwood, a Christian Charity. During this time, Paul and his wife became involved in mission work in East Africa; primarily Kenya, something that they continue to be involved with to the present day.

After that, Paul formed his own company, providing Consultancy & Maintenance Services for businesses and private individuals. During this period, he took on the part-time role of Manager for Frontline, a charity supporting people with disabilities based in Sawyers Church, Brentwood.

Paul was approached by St. Martin’s School to take on a temporary part-time role supporting its Finance/Maintenance Officer. When the Finance/Maintenance Officer left, the school retained Paul’s consultancy services to manage its maintenance and buildings’ development. Paul was offered the post of Maintenance Manager and remained with the school until retirement, during which time it converted to an academy and Paul’s post became Estate Manager, as it grew into a multi-school academy trust.

Paul has had several periods serving as a school governor, first as a Parent Governor in a Primary school in Shoeburyness, then as Foundation Governor at Southend High School for Boys.

David Denchfield is the Executive Headteacher of Bournes Green Schools, part of the Southend East Community Academy Trust (SECAT). 
He has a degree in Business Studies, Law and Economics and obtained his PGCE in 1997.
David’s first teaching role was in 1998 and he has served in eight schools in Havering and Essex.
He obtained his NPQH ahead of his first Headship in 2012, and has now been a HT of one school, and an EHT of three schools prior to joining SECAT in January 2023.
David has successfully led schools through four OfSTED inspections as a HT, securing ‘Good’ judgements every time.
He is a member of many influential educational groups (e.g. Billericay SCITT Strategic Board, Director of LIFE Education Trust, Cluster Chair, Funding Forum, Havering Academy of Leadership, Chairs and Reps Group and Havering Transition Group).
He has been recognised nationally and internationally whilst at Benhurst Primary School as a result of the school’s influential work with SMART. This included being named SMART School of the Year in 2018 and being nominated twice for the TES School of the Year for IT (in 2018 and 2019).

Dave Smith is Head of Content at the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the trusted voice for education suppliers in educational establishments in the UK and beyond. Formerly a Local Authority senior inspector and business development lead at HES - Havering School Improvement Services, Dave spent 20+ years specialising in computing, education technology and online safety support for schools in the UK and overseas.  He was previously a teacher/senior leader in three schools and a university.  He is also a qualified coach, having attained a Certificate in Coaching at the University of Cambridge. His children attended Discovery Educational Trust schools, and he previously served as a Governor at Larchwood Primary School (including Chair and Vice Chair of Governors).   He is currently a Member and Governor of two primary/secondary MATs, and has been a Governor of four primary and secondary schools in Essex and London.  

Kanta spent 10 years working in the field of adult and children’s mental health before becoming a qualified primary teacher in 1991.  After working 3 years as a classroom teacher, she worked in an advisory and support capacity with schools cross phase throughout Essex on the education of Traveller children.. Kanta was President of the National Association of Teachers of Travellers for 3 years from 1997 to 2000, and in that capacity worked with HMI and Government Education Ministers, on national policy and guidance. From 2007 Kanta worked in the local authority children's services as a multi- agency team manager with a group of schools and agencies in East Basildon and as a Co-ordinator of Parenting and Family Support until her retirement in 2013.  As a local government officer Kanta has extensive experience of the performance management of staff and managing a substantial budget at a senior level. Using skills developed in her professional life Kanta has been involved in the use of pupil, group and whole school data to monitor school and individual performance.

Kanta has been a school governor for twenty years, thirteen of these as Chair of Larchwood Primary School. In that role she completed the Chair of Governors Leadership Development Course. In 2014 Kanta also became a Trustee of Brentwood Academies Trust (now the Discovery Educational Trust). 

Kanta was Chair of the Trust Board for the 2020/21 academic year and served as a Trustee until Spring 2022. She was appointed a Member of the Trust in March 2022.