James Darnley

Director of Finance

I began my career in the exciting profession of Accountancy, working straight from school in an accounting apprenticeship with a firm of chartered accountants in Canterbury. If you can believe it I didn’t die of boredom but managed to keep working for the next 14 years, spending the last 6 years working almost exclusively with schools and academies.  

This is where life got a little more interesting, I worked with over 50 schools in those 6 years and found where I wanted to be. I came across the Samphire Star Education Trust and built a relationship with the leadership team advising on keeping the trust safe by Internal Audits. I loved the way David and the trustees worked, not for their own gain, but because they were motivated to support the children and community in their schools. I remember thinking to myself… I could work here. 

As it happened 12 months later I came across the advert for Director of Finance and felt, I have to go for this. 

Today my work is much more varied, yes there is a lot of finance, or ‘number thingy’s’ as my colleagues tell me, but there is much more than that, I deal with suppliers and contracts, making sure the schools have enough money to literally at the moment keep the lights on! It feels like my work means a lot more than it used to and this gets me to work in the morning and between that and a bucket of coffee we so far have managed to keep those lights on!