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Pen Portraits - Members & Trustees

Members

  1. Jack Pugh – Chair

Jack has over 35 years’ service in the education sector, serving as a school governor in one capacity or another. For 10 years Jack has served as a Chair of Governors / Chair of an Academy Trust Board.

Jack was recruited as a Chair when two failing local schools amalgamated and began a journey of improvement. Jack appointed a new Headteacher and they both quickly developed a new senior leadership team that in turn supported the school in achieving an Outstanding Ofsted judgement.

As an established expert for raising achievements, in both primary and secondary settings Jack supports all schools within our trust to achieve and in particular schools in challenging circumstances.

Jack is adept at providing both challenge and support as the need arises.

  1. Karen Ardley

Karen Ardley is a highly successful leadership consultant, and facilitator, specialising in all aspects of primary and secondary leadership.

Drawing on her wide experience as a teacher and leader in all phases of education, Karen designs and delivers outstanding and inspirational leadership programmes focused on change and improvement.

Her previous projects have included working with the education ministries of England, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kenya through NCTL. She is currently designing a leadership and quality assurance programme for a United Nations school.

Recent international work has involved teachers and leaders from over sixty countries and KAA work successfully in partnership with several Teaching Schools and Multi Academy Trusts in England, as well as individual schools.

  1. Brenda Szwandt

Brenda is a retired primary school Head teacher with over 19 years’ school leadership experience spanning across all phases of Primary education including EYFS. Brenda has also worked with Wigan LA supporting a number of primary schools to develop leadership and management within failing schools. Brenda has countless examples of schools which have been quickly turned from requiring improvement to good or outstanding status with Ofsted.

Brenda was one of the five founder Head teachers of the highly successful and profitable Wigan Excellence Cluster and also chaired an Education Improvement Partnership as well as establishing the Kingsbridge Graduate Teacher Training Programme.

  1. Neil Bailey

Neil played football professionally for Burnley, Newport County, Stockport County and Blackpool before joining Stockport as a Youth Team Coach.

His career then took him to Blackpool, Manchester United as Youth Team Coach and onto Sunderland where he worked with the first team.

He has worked with the England U19 Team in UEFA Finals.

Neil Bailey joined the PFA as a Regional Coach Educator in the North West in 2010 and can deliver the L2 CCF, UEFA B, A Licence and Youth Awards Module 1-2.

Neil has been a school governor/trustee and member at different points over the past twelve years. He is committed to improving educational chances for pupils within disadvantaged areas and is an active and respected member of the community.

  1. Angela Holland

Angela is part of the Wigan’s EarlY Years leadership team and has a passion for early years’ education, learning and creative learning experiences. Angela leads whole authority and Greater Manchester training initiatives within her role as Early Years Operational Support Manager and works in partnership with the trust in support of its apprenticeship delivery.

Angela leads a team who offer guidance for professionals including childminders, teachers and out of school clubs on supporting children with special educational needs setting high standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.

Trustees

  1. Jack Pugh – Chair

Jack has over 35 years’ service in the education sector, serving as a school governor in one capacity or another. For 10 years Jack has served as a Chair of Governors / Chair of an Academy Trust Board.

Jack was recruited as a Chair when two failing local schools amalgamated and began a journey of improvement. Jack appointed a new Headteacher and they both quickly developed a new senior leadership team that in turn supported the school in achieving an Outstanding Ofsted judgement.

As an established expert for raising achievements, in both primary and secondary settings Jack supports all schools within our trust to achieve and in particular schools in challenging circumstances.

Jack is adept at providing both challenge and support as the need arises.

  1. Sue Darbyshire

Sue Darbyshire is CEO at Community First Academy Trust. Sue is also a National Leader of Education and supports school improvement nationwide. She started teaching in 1992 and has been in leadership positions for over twenty years, seventeen of these have been as Headteacher or Executive Headteacher.

Sue is the founder of Westbridge Teaching School Alliance and CEO of Kingsbridge EIP SCITT; an outstanding provider of initial teacher training for both primary and secondary trainees. Sue is totally committed to raising standards and to providing all pupils, staff and trainee teachers with opportunities to excel.

Sue successfully amalgamated two failing schools not a new primary school and took it to ‘Good’ in 12 months and ‘Outstanding’ in its next inspection. She specialises in school from within disadvantage areas. 

Sue delivers middle and senior leadership training locally, nationally and internationally to both primary and secondary colleagues. She is a qualified coach and NLP practitioner. Sue has completed the UCL MAT Leaders programme and The Future Leaders Trust’s Executive Educators Programme. She has a Master qualification in Educational Studies.

Sue continues to work with her Local Authority at a strategic advisory level, serving on the Wigan Educational Partnership Board, the System Leadership Group and as a School Improvement Lead on the School Improvement board. She also serves on the board for FASNA (Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association). 

  1. Geoff Ashton

Geoff is a consultant who has been an education adviser to the previous and present Governments for the last ten years. Twice recognised by Ofsted as an outstanding Secondary Head Teacher, Geoff was one of the country's first Secondary Executive Heads. He was elected Chair of an Excellence Cluster and also chaired an Education Improvement Partnership as well as a Graduate Teacher Training Programme.

He has been responsible for the successful educational structures and deliverables of over 90 Academies, 6 UTCs, 2 Studio Schools and 6 Free Schools. He has been the DCSF/ Department for Education (DfE) representative at the selection and appointment of many Academy Principals for secondary, primary and alternative provision schools.

  1. Carl Sweeney

Carl has worked for the Environment Agency for over 16 years within a variety of regulatory roles.  Carl is currently an elected member of Wigan Council and has been for over 14 years. In the last 2 years Carl has operated as the Chair of the council’s Audit and Governance Committee. Carl was heavily involved in the shaping of the implementation of Wigan's 0-5 Start Well services (childrens centres). Children’s centres provide support and activities to help parents, carers and childcare providers give children under five the 'best start in life' 

Carl is also currently vice chair of St Mary’s CE Primary School, Platt Bridge (a two form entry primary school with a private nursery) and has served as a school governor in one capacity or another for over 15 years including a chair role.

Carl  is passionate about helping young people achieve their potential through education and ensuring children have the best opportunities to succeed whilst growing into responsible and caring individuals. I am really looking forward to working with the children, staff and families within the school community. 

  1. Simeon Woosey

Simeon is a professional Chartered Accountant with many years of experience and leads a Corporate Finance Practice across the North West of England. He also oversees financial advisory services across the region which comprises Corporate Finance, Valuations, Debt Advisory, Transaction Services (Due Diligence), Infrastructure Advisory and also involves M&A tax and Consulting Services.

Simeon has been a Corporate Finance Advisor for 25 years. He has advised hundreds of companies regarding Strategy and Corporate Finance transactions.

  1. Mark Rowlands

Mark was initially a parent governor at Platt Bridge Community School and has always been proactive and dedicated to the local community that our schools serve.

Mark has worked for over 15 years within the public sector with various project management and health & safety high profile positions.

  1. Ruth Rule-Mullen

Ruth is a legal partner and has extensive experience in Employment and HR matters with a particular specialism within the education sector representing schools, academies and FE providers. She has also worked with a number of businesses including those within the manufacturing and hospitality industries.

Ruth considers herself a "people" person and believes that her pragmatic approach and straightforward style coupled with her experience gives clients confidence in dealing with their employees.

She has regularly represented clients successfully at Employment Tribunal and also enjoys providing bespoke and interactive training sessions to clients.

  1. Jane Chambers – Vice Chair

Jane Chambers is a National Leader of Education with 28 years working in education, 12 years as Headteacher. Prior to becoming Headteacher Jane held a wide range of roles (SENCO, Expressive Arts leader, Parent Partnership development officer) that developed a sound understanding of what excellent quality education provision should both involve and lead to. 

In 2006 Jane became Headteacher of Orrell Lamberhead Green Primary and childresn centre / nursery which was a school with many challenges, not least of which was that attainment was grade E* in the old style RAISE (PANDA). In 2015 the school was judged to be outstanding by Ofsted due to Jane’s determined raising of aspirations and outcomes. Outcomes have continued to improve. In the 2016 and 2017, KS2 tests attainment was above national and progress in reading and maths was in the top 10% of schools nationally.  Jane is described by Ofsted as “an inspiring leader” and “relentless in her drive” (Ofsted 2008); “providing a strong sense of purpose” and “instrumental in leading improvements” (Ofsted 2012); “demonstrating exceptional leadership” having “tenacity and unrelenting drive leaving nothing to chance in making the school the best it can be” (Ofsted 2015).

Jane achieved NLE status in 2016 which recognised her role in supporting other schools to improve.  All Janes work is undertaken by a clear and determined passion to ensure every child gets the most form their one chance in life to be at school and the belief that collaboration, not competition, makes us stronger.