Skip to content ↓

Who we are

We have been improving schools since 2011

Our multi-academy trust was founded eight years ago by Education Development Trust, an international company with charitable status that has been providing a range of education services all over the world for over 50 years.

Since starting out under the name CfBT Schools Trust with just three schools, Anthem now serves over 8,000 children and young people in 16 schools across the East Midlands, London and Thames Valley. 

All our schools are unique, and each has something special to offer. This rich diversity is what inspired us to change our name in the summer of 2019. We are no longer simply a ‘Centre for British Teachers’ (CfBT), but a place where everyone, wherever they are from, has an opportunity to learn and grow, and to be valued for what they bring to our community of schools.

Together, we create ambitious and successful schools where every child thrives.

Meet our leaders

Andy Yarrow

Chief Executive

View Profile

Sheila McKenzie

Chief Operating Officer

View Profile

Colin Sinclair

Education Director, Secondary

View Profile

Marie-Claire Bretherton

Education Director, Primary, East Midlands

View Profile

Karen Walker

Education Director, Primary, London and Thames Valley

View Profile

Andy Yarrow

Chief Executive

Former Headteacher Andy joined Anthem (formerly CfBT Schools Trust) in March 2017 having spent three and a half years at Oasis Community Learning as a Regional Director for the London and South East Region. During this time, he was responsible for primary, secondary and all-through academies, including Fresh Start and converter academies and newly established free schools. Prior to joining Oasis in 2013, Andy was Founding Principal of Chelsea Academy and Headteacher at Hornsey School for Girls in Haringey. Both schools achieved outstanding Ofsted judgments during his tenure.

Sheila McKenzie

Chief Operating Officer

Sheila joined Anthem (then known as CfBT Schools Trust) as Finance Director in February 2014, becoming COO in November 2017. A qualified accountant with 15 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, Sheila’s previous roles include senior finance positions at an organisation that supports people with learning difficulties, and a membership organisation that supports the NHS. Sheila also acts in a voluntary capacity as trustee of SOS Sahel UK, a small international development charity that works primarily in Sudan, and the National Deaf Children Society.

Colin Sinclair

Education Director, Secondary

Colin has responsibility for the professional governance of our five secondary schools. He is a highly experienced leader, having spent the past 10 years as a Headteacher, Executive Headteacher and Regional Principal raising standards in a range of educational contexts – including all-through schools. Colin is a trained Ofsted inspector and has recently embarked on a part-time Doctorate of Education programme.

Marie-Claire Bretherton

Education Director, Primary, East Midlands

Marie-Claire is the Education Director for Anthem’s five primary schools based in and around Lincolnshire, and the Executive Headteacher at one of those schools - Mount Street Academy. Mount Street is the lead school for the Kyra Teaching School Alliance, a partnership of over 50 schools focused on their collective improvement and ambition for all children. Kyra is also a Research School, working in partnership with the EEF across the East Midlands. In addition to being a National Leader of Education, Marie-Claire chairs the Lincolnshire Teaching Schools Together board, a coalition of six teaching schools working to secure transformation school improvement in Lincolnshire school.

Karen Walker

Education Director, Primary, London and Thames Valley

Karen oversees Anthem’s six primary schools based in London, Reading and South Oxfordshire. She has played a pivotal role in rapidly improving schools under her care, and leading work on primary assessment across the Trust. An experienced educationalist, Karen has worked with a variety of different agencies, local authorities and communities of schools on all aspects of school improvement. With a background in primary headship, Karen is also a trained coach and mentor for school governors through the National College and an accredited School Improvement Partner.