The White Horse Federation appoints education heavyweight as new CEO

++ Dr. Dan Nicholls to join the Trust from September ++

The Board of Trustees for The White Horse Federation is today announcing that Dr. Dan Nicholls has been appointed as the new chief executive. Currently Deputy CEO at Cabot Learning Federation (CLF), Dr Nicholls will formally take up post on 1 September.

Dr Nicholls is an extremely experienced senior leader with a strong pedigree in the south west. Previously, Executive Principal for secondary academies at CLF, Dr Nicholls was Principal of Bristol Brunel Academy for three years. Before this, he was Deputy Head at Devizes School, which is part of The White Horse Federation.

At Cabot Learning Federation Dan has overseen and led education across primaries, secondaries, post-16 and special schools. He is also a respected educationalist through his sector working, system leadership, writing and presenting on leadership, teaching and disadvantage.


Dr. Dan Nicholls, designate chief executive said:

“I am honoured and privileged to be appointed as the new chief executive of The White Horse Federation. This is an important and exciting time for the trust, and I look forward to leading it into the next phase.

“The trust has a long history in the sector and there is currently a unique opportunity to do something important for children, families, and the communities that the trust serves. Every day committed and dedicated colleagues across White Horse enhance the lives of children. I look forward to leading and enabling all colleagues across the Trust to collaborate and improve the life chances of young people.

“Over the last ten years I have benefitted enormously from my time at Cabot Learning Federation, where I have learnt much and been inspired by numerous colleagues. I will take this and other experiences into the role at White Horse, to build a great organisation. The foundations are already in place and the conditions exist that will enable the trust to move forward with confidence and into a successful next phase.

“I look forward building relationships with colleagues, understanding the trust and to establishing The White Horse Federation as a leading trust in our sector.”


Ninna Gibson, chair of trustees said:

“I am delighted that we have appointed someone of Dan’s calibre as our new chief executive – he brings a wealth of leadership experience and has a particularly impressive track record in the South West, developed over many years of working as a school leader, and latterly as a Deputy CEO and an executive director of education.

“The next chapter for The White Horse Federation will be an exciting one as we execute our strategy to unleash the potential of every child and to achieve our ambition to become the best academy trust in the region.

"Providing a sound financial footing so that we can invest appropriately in our schools, we are well-positioned to build on the strong foundations that are now in place.

“I also want to put on record the board’s sincere gratitude to Simon Cowley as our interim Chief Executive, leading with a calm and reassuring authority".