Meet our Central Team

We are pleased to introduce you to Tarka Learning Partnership’s central team below:

Andy Cotton, CEO

Great schools are created by great teams; where everyone pulls together to support the children and the development of the school as a whole. It is about the whole not individuals.

As CEO of the Tarka Learning Partnership I am privileged to work alongside some outstanding and gifted colleagues who work hard on a daily basis to make their school a better place. I was appointed as CEO in 2017, but with others created the Tarka Learning Partnership through a bid to the RSC in 2015. Previously I have been Head Teacher of three schools ranging from a small school in rural Leicestershire to a 500 pupil primary school – Newport in North Devon where the team secured two consecutive outstanding Ofsted inspections (2008 and 2015). In 2010 I trained to be an Ofsted Inspector.

My passion is to work alongside schools to support school improvement which I have been doing in various guises as an Assigned Head Teacher with the Local Authority for the past 15 years and as an NLE for 7 years. This has brought me into contact with over 40 schools and it is always rewarding to see the school team taking action and gaining confidence over time.

The Trust also leads with Horizon MAT, Plymouth a 45 strong Teaching School known as the Devon Teaching School Partnership covering Devon including parts of Torbay and Plymouth. Devon Primary SCITT, which has secured 3 consecutive outstanding Ofsted outcomes, is also a partner in the Trust.

Nationally I have worked with Ministers, DfE personnel, RSC, Academics and national leaders to compile a report on the future development of the school led system through the NCTL Fellowship. This was a rich and rewarding experience and one which allowed me to see the school system in a new light.

As CEO the Trust aims to better the education outcomes for the young people of North Devon under the Trust’s care by supporting schools. The Trust provides essential support including personnel, IT, GDPR, Estates, governance, compliance, finance etc. as well as Head Teacher support. As lead for the Trust I am blessed with a high-quality team to support these services to allow Head Teachers, teachers and support staff to focus on teaching and learning. We are here for the young people and that is at the heart of what we all do at the TLP.

Mo Cann, Chief Finance Officer

I went straight from school to work in the banking sector where I spent the first 10 years of my working life. After taking a 5-year break when my boys were young, I returned to part-time work in a small village primary school; that was 1999 and I have been immersed in the education sector ever since both as an employee and a student!

I completed my Association of Accounting Technicians qualifications in 2004 whilst working part-time and supporting my family. In 2006 I completed the DSBM course through the National College of School Leadership and went on to graduate through the ADSBM programme in 2009. It was at this time I moved to full time employment and joined Newport Community School as School Business Manager, joining the Leadership Team in 2010.  I have worked within the Academy Sector since 2011 and have been on the journey with our schools during the formation of the Tarka Learning Partnership in July 2018, commencing my role as Chief Finance Officer in September 2018.

It is a real privilege to work within education, supporting colleagues across a range of settings who are working hard to achieve the best outcomes for our children.

Jo Down, Human Resources Leader

I have worked in the Education Sector for over 25 years, predominantly in Further Education. I am passionate about children and young people having high aspirations and reaching their full potential through outstanding education.

My career in Human Resources started in 1995 in personnel administration and I progressed to managing and leading the HR function at Petroc college, before moving to Tarka Learning Partnership. I gained my level 7 Human Resources CIPD qualification in 2006.

The community of North Devon is important to me and I was proud to serve as a primary school Governor for 5 years, and now in my spare time, I am a trustee for the local North Devon charity ChemoHero.

Erick Muzard, Estates Leader

I joined the Trust in November 2019 as the Estates Leader. Previous roles include Facilities Management and Project Management of new builds.  I have over 20 years of experience in managing estates and commercial activities within the Arts and Hospitality sectors.

My role as part of the TLP estates team is to oversee Estates Management across the Trust, including Health and Safety and the management and effective use of SCA funding.  I am responsible for the delivery of all building projects for the Trust, including new build projects, redevelopments, and improvements to existing sites.  Alongside this, I manage the centralised procurement of energy, maintenance and other similar contracts across the Estate.

I aim to be a highly visible, supportive and inspirational leader.  I am committed to supporting the Trustees, our CEO, the Headteachers and their respective teams to deliver excellence and offer safe, secure and stimulating learning environment for the children across the Trust.

Andy Ogden, Deputy CEO & Teaching School Director

I have responsibility for school effectiveness and the development of the quality of teaching, learning and leadership across the TLP. I have a wealth of educational experience drawn from a range of roles over 25 years including:  Director of Devon Teaching School Partnership, Programme Manager of Devon Primary SCITT, Headteacher, Local Authority School Improvement Advisor and National Strategy Consultant. I bring an understanding of the complexities of school improvement processes and the leadership of teams across schools. I have been a facilitator on NPQ programmes for 6 years and am described as having ‘inspirational leadership that models and secures outstanding personalised training, professional development and pastoral support.

Della Oliver, Senior Administrator/Lead Clerk

At Tarka Learning Partnership I support the governance structures, data compliance, communications and administrative functions, ultimately to help the Trust and its schools to run smoothly. I hold a GDPR Practitioner qualification through IT Governance and have completed several Clerking courses through the Virtual College programme.

With a firm belief that education has the power to improve lives, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help uphold the Trust’s mission to empower local students through learning and raising aspirations. Before joining the Trust, I worked in education publishing for a decade, publishing education books and websites across a variety of subjects to support students and teachers.

Nikki Rostock, Senior Finance Officer

I started working in education in May 1993 at the North Devon Professional Centre, I then moved to the Area Education Office at the Civic Centre and worked with various teams – SEN Team; School Support; School Transport – yes I have walked remote parts of North Devon with a yellow wheel!  Later I joined the Education Welfare Service and spent many years helping to develop whole county systems and procedures and managing the EWS Budgets. 

 I then moved to a part-time position in a local secondary school,  a view from the other side of the fence!  I thoroughly enjoyed many years working in a secondary school.  I started as PA to the School Business Manager and progressed to become their Finance Manager.  This was the first secondary school in the area to become an Academy, exciting times!  I spent my last year on the Leadership team to further develop my skills and knowledge.  I was fortunate to secure an amazing career opportunity and moved on to a local primary school as their School Business Manager; this school joined Tarka Learning Partnership and here I am today; back on the other side of the fence supporting schools!

 As they say every day is a learning day in education.


Terry Simons, Estates Officer

I have worked in the premises management side of education for the last 16 years in the role of Site Manager. I ensured that high levels of Health & Safety were met; minor & major building projects ran smoothly, on time, at best value cost; and that the day to day running of the premises ran safely and smoothly for all users.

I joined the Tarka Learning Partnership as Estates Officer in January 2020 to apply the skills I have gained over the years to support, advise and ensure high standards of premises management are met across the Trust school members.

I believe in ensuring Pupils, Staff and Visitors have a safe, clean and enjoyable environment to learn, work, have fun and be a part of.

Chris Wardle, Director of Inclusion and Safeguarding

My role is to support school improvement and development around the areas of inclusion and safeguarding as well as providing continued professional development of teachers and support staff, specifically Early Careers Teachers. I also support training on the Devon Primary SCITT programme.

I am a fully qualified educational psychologist who supports schools working with individual children and groups of staff.

I have taught in secondary schools and special schools for over 14 years. I have worked extensively within local authorities across the country and for the national government supporting schools with special needs provision, behaviour issues and the development of social and emotional skills.