Chair of Trustees
Dr Allan Howells
Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education
Former Members and Trustees
Former Trustee Appointed 01.07.2018 - 12.07.2022
Former Member Appointed 16.03.2018 - 31.08.2022
Former Trustee Appointed 16.03.2018 - 31.08.2023
Former Member Appointed 16.03.2018 - 31.08.2023
Former Trustee Appointed 16.03.2018 - 20.12.2023
Chair of Trustees
Paul joined the Trust in October 2020 with almost forty years senior leadership experience gained in an Executive career in the transport sector and six and a half years as a Non Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Paul’s other Non Executive experience has been on the board of a number of small digital start up businesses and as an external advisor to the University of Wolverhampton.
Paul’s Executive career has seen him undertake senior leadership roles in the transport sector in the UK and overseas, initially in commercial and business development roles which led to Chief Executive and Managing Director positions in major UK transport businesses. The financial and operational transformation of customer focused and highly regulated organisations have been common themes in his achievements in the sector.
As Chief Executive Paul led the iconic National Express coach business and drove the wider Groups sales and marketing strategy. In the rail industry as Managing Director he led the financial and operational turnaround of a failing high speed rail franchise. His commercial and business development experience was used at Stagecoach to design, develop and mobilise the megabus.com value travel brand and to rebalance and significantly improve the commercial profile of a major regional rail business, part of the First Group of companies.
During his time based in Paris, Paul was a co founder of the innovative mobility start up Ouibus, part of the SNCF State transport group, and now the biggest operation of its kind in France and one of the biggest in Europe.
Watching football, cricket and live music, playing golf and walking the dogs fill Paul’s leisure time.
Julian is a business graduate and qualified accountant with over 25 years finance experience. He joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 1992 and qualified as an accountant and worked for PwC until 1998 performing a wide range of external audit, internal audit and consulting assignments in both the commercial and public sector, including the establishment and audit of Grant Maintained Schools. He joined KPMG in 1998 as Head of Operations for the Infrastructure and Government Department managing a diverse portfolio of clients and delivering fee income of circa £100m on behalf of 5 Partners and managing 6 sub departments of 100 audit staff and 80 consultants based in Glasgow, Manchester, London and the Midlands. He was part of the team that raised the finance for the Cardiff Bay Regeneration and also consulted on Manchester’s delivery of the Commonwealth Games.
For the last 15 years Julian has worked for HomeServe Plc (formerly South Staffordshire Group Plc) in a number of senior finance and operational roles, including Group Assurance Risk and Best Practice Director, Property Repairs Finance Director, Buildings Division Finance Director, Group Financial Projects Director, HomeServe Membership Ltd Compliance Director and Global Quality and Best Practice Director. During his career Julian has developed a strong understanding of Governance and Oversight whilst delivering results in a dynamic and changing environment. He has significant experience of working with Boards, Audit Committees and Regulators.
Dr Allan Howells
Allan has been a Trustee at Empower since it was established in 2018. He served as Chair from 2018-22. He now works as Director of Quality at The Learning Alliance – a nine school Multi-academy Trust based across Cheshire and Staffordshire. Allan has previously held senior management positions in three Universities and has extensive experience of school governance.
Allan offers extensive governance experience. His experience includes serving as a Community Governor at Market Drayton Infants School for approximately 12 years, including a period as Chair, and serving as a Trustee and Governor at Sir John Talbot Secondary School and Sixth-Form College for 2 ½ years. His has also been a Member, Trustee and Chair of a in Staffordshire-based Multi-Academy Trust for 22 months, and a Trustee and Director of a faith-based free school (MAT) in Birmingham.
During his professional career, Allan has managed Governance, Risk, HR, and Marketing & PR and communications teams, so has a strong understanding of activities within these spheres, sufficient to be able to plan, support and challenge the leadership within the MAT. He has experience of developing and managing significant budgets (seven figure) and has delivered transformational projects across organisations, including those where there has been the need to realign resources. He has also led and managed teams across multi-sites (campuses).
Allan is a great believer that education is a “key” to unlock the potential within and to provide opportunities that can transform and improve quality of life. He is passionate that everyone has a responsibility to use their skills and experience to give something back to society by making a contribution to their local communities. In his spare time he advocates to support the musical education of talented youngsters, he enjoys the occasional game of golf, and retains his keen interest in human spaceflight.
Steve has over 40 years of experience in the educational sector. He taught Mathematics at four secondary schools, two in Warwickshire and two in Wolverhampton, including as a Head of Department. As a Senior Deputy Headteacher, he led on curriculum review, analysis and design, timetable construction and assessment and reporting of progress systems.
Steve was seconded to Wolverhampton Building Schools for the Future Team in 2007 and was fortunate to visit schools of all kinds around the world. The role was to help to write the Educational Brief, re-imagine learning spaces, and model curricula and timetables for 21st century learning. Back in school he oversaw the architectural development and construction of a multi-million pound school with innovative design features and a one to one student laptop solution.
Steve took a lead role in the academisation process when Highfields School decided to become a Multi-Academy Trust, dealing with the legal ramifications and the funding complexities of a PFI school becoming a MAT.
On retiring from full-time employment in 2016, he became an educational consultant. Since then, he has been supporting MATs and secondary schools to develop curriculum models that realise the school’s vision and ambitions and create timetables that efficiently meet the needs of their students. He also analyses schools’ present curriculum and timetables to compare it with national statistics and reports where improvements can be made. He enjoys training staff and has successfully worked alongside a number of colleagues to help them develop the skills to complete their own timetable. He regularly completes quick projection timetables, for example when a school wishes to understand the curricula, staffing and facilities implications of taking an extra form of students for the next 5 years.
Visiting his grown-up children and their partners, being in the countryside with the dog and spoiling him with a good walk and playing golf are amongst his leisure activities.
He is keen to support and challenge the Empower Multi-Academy Trust leadership team to provide the best possible educational experiences for the children in their care.
CEO of Empower Trust
Ian is a National Leader of Education and CEO of Empower Trust. Ian was previously Headteacher of St.Peter’s CE Primary and Nursery School – a National Support School and a National Teaching School. Ian was also Director of the North Shropshire Teaching School Alliance, a National Pupil Premium Grant Reviewer, a founding member of Shropshire Schools Forum, a member of Shropshire’s Central Policy Group, a Trustee of the Market Drayton Learning Partnership Trust, and a member of the Chairs of Headteachers National Executive Board. Ian was previously Chair of the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Teaching Schools Sub-Regional Group and represented the group on the West Midlands Regional Teaching Schools Alliance. Ian met Prime Minister Gordon Brown at No 10 Downing Street and has experience of working with Ministers and DfE officials on education policy issues.
As one of the first cohort of National Leaders of Education, Ian has supported over 20 schools and academies to move out of Ofsted categories. Under Ian’s leadership St Peter’s school became the first Leadership Development School, National Support School and primary National Teaching School in Shropshire. Ian has designed innovative school-led school-to-school support strategies promoting effective collaboration between schools, leading to improved outcomes for Shropshire children. He played a key role in developing and leading the first £500,000 Strategic School Improvement Fund project focused on improving outcomes for children in 24 schools across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
Ian has worked as West Midlands Associate for the National College of School Leadership (NCSL), promoting leadership development in schools and academies, an Ofsted inspector and a School Improvement Partner. He has delivered keynote speeches at regional and national conferences and was a founding member of the Food for Life National Education Advisory Board.
Ian has also been Headteacher of two primary schools and a large junior school. He has undertaken many part-time roles including Consultant Leader and advisory teacher for both ICT and Curriculum and Assessment.
Michael started his working life in 1964 in industry, as a clerk with ICI Paints Division in Slough, Berkshire. He gained a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and then embarked on a career in Personnel and Training, primarily in Berkshire. He officially retired in 2007 having spent his last nearly 30 years as a Royal Air Force Administrative (Secretarial) Officer.
He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, (he was recently commended for 50 years membership of the Institute) and in 2009 he gained an MA in Human Resource Management from Wolverhampton University.
Michael lives in Market Drayton, Shropshire. He is, inter alia, the LA appointed Governor (and immediate past Chairman) of Buntingsdale Primary School, past Chairman of Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education, a Member of the St. Chads Academy Trust, a Trustee of Empower Trust and a member of the Shropshire Schools Forum, representing primary schools.
Mike started teaching in 1987 after completing a research degree at Liverpool University. He taught in the North West and was a successful secondary head teacher in Crewe until he was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) in 2002.
He was a member of the school improvement division, working across England in primary and secondary schools, and led teams of HMI when inspecting schools.
In 2005, he was appointed a Senior HMI and led nationally on the inspection of local authority children’s services working with local and central government, senior politicians, and the other public service inspection bodies. In 2009, he returned to the North of England and oversaw the inspection of schools, colleges, early years and independent schools. He was accountable for around 10,000 inspections annually, a budget of around £45 million, a call centre, national quality assurance processes, a large dispersed inspector field-force, and around 400 office-based employees.
From 2012, he returned to another key national role as he led Ofsted’s work on school inspection, introducing the ‘requires improvement’ grade and accompanying changes to inspection, the introduction of eight new Ofsted regions and associated infrastructure changes, and most recently led the development of new inspection of schools, colleges, independent schools, and early years. He has extensive leadership and management experience gained in these different contexts and has worked closely with the most senior figures in education.
As a key member of the executive board at Ofsted he worked with five Chief Inspectors, and his posts included National Director, Inspection Reform and National Director, Schools.
He returned to school leadership in January 2015 and is currently the Executive Principal of Knutsford Multi-Academy Trust. He is Interim Chair of the Board of Directors of a new rural Multi-Academy Trust in Shropshire.
Ann Fisher is a Partner at the Shrewsbury-based legal firm Hatchers Solicitors LLP.
Ann has a particular interest in advising owner managed businesses on a wide range of matters including business sales and acquisitions, start-ups, shareholder agreements, articles of association, share options, joint ventures, intellectual property, agency and distribution, manufacturing and supply agreements, e-commerce, website terms and conditions and general commercial contracts.
Ann works with a number of partnerships, including medical practices and farming partnerships, advising on issues such as succession planning, retirement and admission of new partners. She acts for a wide range of not for profit organisations, including charities, schools and societies, advising on matters such as constitution, company secretarial and commercial contracts. She is Company Secretary of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.
Ann is married with four (grown up) children. She lives near Market Drayton, on the borders of Shropshire and Staffordshire and she is a Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire. Ann is also a member of Council at Lichfield Cathedral and for several years served as Deputy Pro-Chancellor at Keele University. Ann is passionate about education and has been a school governor for many years, as well as a trustee at the Willoughbridge Garden Trust.
Originally from the West Midlands, Ann studied at Oxford University where she gained a Master’s degree in biochemistry. She subsequently studied law at Staffordshire University and the College of Law in Chester. Whilst at Oxford she was a keen oarswoman, earning her ‘Blue’ as captain of the university women’s boat race crew.
Andrew Connell is Associate Professor and Head of Group (Education) and CPD at the University Centre, Shrewsbury (UCS). Andrew leads on the growing number of education-based courses at UCS and has recently taken on Shropshire County Council’s provision for CPD for teachers.
Until January 2019 he was Head of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Chester. In that role, Andrew led on the development, quality assurance and enhancement of teacher training and other education courses at the University of Chester. Andrew is part of a very strong Partnership of school, colleges, nurseries and Teaching Alliances across the region. In the last Ofsted inspection, the Partnership gained ‘outstanding’ for its primary and secondary provision and ‘good’ for post 16 and EYTS, remaining the only Partnership in the North-West to have Grade 1 for both primary and secondary. Which reflects the excellent training our students receive from the whole Partnership.
Andrew is the Chair of the Council for Subject Associations, Treasurer for the Technology and Pedagogy and Education Association (TPEA) and a long-standing executive committee member of the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE). He has been on several national subject expert groups for Computing and ICT, including groups drafting the Computing curriculum, Subject Knowledge Enhancement content and ITE content and on several advisory groups on Teacher Standards. Andrew was previously at Keele University and Liverpool Hope University. Prior to moving into Higher Education, he was a teacher and Head of Computing and Business in secondary schools and taught in primary schools.
Andrew has jointly edited and written several chapters in the latest edition of ‘A Practical Guide to Teaching Computing and IT in Secondary Schools’. He has contributed to other books on teaching Computing and ICT and written guides to support teachers and teacher trainers of computing on behalf of Government Agencies. He is regularly present at conferences on the Pedagogy of Computing and on Managing Teacher Training.
Andrew is passionate about educating beginning and experienced teachers to help them provide the best possible learning experience for young people. When he has the time, he likes walking the hills and long-distance trails, real ale and live music.
Ken Greetham originates from a farming background and has spent his entire career in the agricultural industry. He has been associated with Wynnstay Group plc since 1987, joined the company in 1997 and became Chief Executive in 2008, retiring from the business in 2018.
Ken has significant experience in corporate planning and the development of commercial businesses and has chaired a number of companies in the Group. He has also been a member of several national committees representing the UK agricultural merchanting industry and still maintains an active interest in the sector.
Having lived in Adderley for over 30 years he is a keen supporter of rural communities and has actively participated in many aspects of the village. He was a Governor at Adderley CE primary school from 1993 until 2001, serving as Chair for 5 years. He is also a member of the Village Hall Committee and has been involved with many fundraising activities, both within the village and beyond.
Ken gained an HND in Agricultural Marketing and Business at Harper Adams Agricultural College, which is now the highly reputable Harper Adams University. 40 years on, he is pleased to be able to make a contribution to the institution and has an active role on the Audit and Risk Management Committee.
Ken is married with two adult daughters, who live away from Shropshire. He is now able to spend more time visiting his family and enjoys walking, gardening and travelling. He is also very keen to provide guidance to the younger generation through academic and early career development.
Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education
Lichfield is one of the 42 Dioceses which make up the Church of England. Within this family of Dioceses, Lichfield can claim to be one of the most ancient with its roots in the Diocese of Mercia, founded in 656 AD and St Chad, who became the first Bishop of Lichfield in 669 AD. The Diocese now covers most of the County of Staffordshire, the northern part of the County of Shropshire and a substantial part of the former Metropolitan County of the West Midlands. The Diocese envelops all or part of 7 Local Authorities and has 206 Church Schools and academies in its remit.
The principle focus of the work of the Board of Education is on its Church Schools, which have approximately 45,000 pupils in them. This presents enormous opportunities to the Diocese, its schools and parishes to promote the Christian message and values among so many children and young people – the greater part of whom will have no links with their local church.
The Board provides excellent support services for its church schools through the Service Level Agreement. This provides the means for schools and academies to access advice, information and professional support on Collective Worship, Spiritual Care, Religious Education and the development of a school’s distinctive character as a Church of England school.
The Board works in partnership with the seven Local Authorities in the Diocese (Sandwell, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall and Wolverhampton) and also with the Department for Education and a number of Academy Trusts. The Board also works alongside higher and further education providers.
The Board ensures that headteachers, teachers and governors have the intellectual and spiritual resources to promote the distinctive Christian character of our schools. The Board also supports the collaboration between clergy, parishes, church and community schools.
Alison’s teaching career began in Moss Side, Manchester, in 1989 after completing a B.Ed Honours degree, specialising in primary mathematics. She became a member of the Senior Leadership Team in her second year of teaching, leading on Mathematics. The school was a hub for research and was a significant contributor to the World Studies Programme in the early 90s. Her teaching was recognised in this research and contacts have been maintained throughout her career. Alison’s interest in Development Education and the importance of global learning has been an integral aspect of her career.
In 1997 Alison moved from Manchester to Cheshire to take up the role of Deputy Headteacher at a large junior school. She was instrumental in transforming the curriculum at this school and in managing the amalgamation of her school with an associated Infant School alongside a new Headteacher. In 2005 she moved on to become the Headteacher of a primary school in Cheshire, where she embedded global education in the curriculum making it a mainstay of pupils’ personal development and overarching school culture. This work was underpinned by her role as a British Council Ambassador and her school was accredited with 5 consecutive International Schools Awards, recognising 15 years of excellence in the field as well as gaining the Rights Respecting Schools Gold Award accredited by UNICEF.
She is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and her commitment to shared leadership and desire for excellence resulted in her school being formally recognised by the British Council as a school of excellence for global learning. She has an MA in Development Education and is a recognised trainer in Global Learning. She has led in facilitating training and bespoke support for global school partnerships with UK schools and those in Kenya. At the peak of this work Alison was supporting 36 partnerships and delivering training to teachers in Kenya and the UK.
In September 2023 she stepped away from Headship after 18 years and took on the role of School Improvement Adviser for The Learning Partnership Trust.
Alison is married with two children. She enjoys reading, keeping fit, watching sport and walking the family dog in the fields near home and out on the fells of the Lake District. She believes passionately that to thrive both professionally and personally it is important to demonstrate a commitment to your work place, community and make an active contribution to make a difference.
Rehana has over 30 years of educational experience within the primary sector. She has worked predominantly within inner city Birmingham and has taught across both key stages 1 and 2. Over the years she has held a number of leadership roles and has served as both Head Teacher and Executive Head Teacher across a number of schools.
She has provided school to school support to a number of schools and as an Executive Head Teacher, she has worked closely with Ofsted/HMI in bringing schools out of special measures and moving them to Good in all areas within a short time frame.
In January 2014 she co-founded Leigh Multi Academy Trust and was appointed the Deputy CEO and continued to support schools in an Ofsted category. Over the last 10 years Leigh Trust has grown as a family of 5 large primary schools which are all offering an excellent educational experience for all the pupils.
Rehana is committed to nurturing and developing leaders at all levels across the Trust and has ensured that talent spotting is at the heart of the growth and succession plan.
She has been a school governor as well as having served on a number of Interim Executive Boards and fully appreciates the need for schools, governors, leaders and staff to be held accountable whilst having a firm commitment to every individual child.
Rehana is a driven individual that thrives on a challenge and she whole heartedly believes that school leadership, coaching and school to school support are the key to driving school improvement and ensuring better outcomes for all the children in our care.
Holly has been teaching since 1996 after completing a degree in Sports Science and History at the University of Liverpool (Chester campus). She then completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the West Midlands Consortium (Thomas Telford School).
Holly has taught PE in both Wolverhampton and Telford & Wrekin. Holly has led in a variety of roles including Head of PE, Head of Year, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and currently as Headteacher of a secondary school. Holly also has experience of establishing and leading a team of ‘expert groups’ across a multi academy trust of 18 schools specialising in leadership, quality of education, literacy & reading, numeracy and school culture.
During the last twelve years Holly has gained significant experience of governance at both primary and secondary level serving as a governor of William Brookes School in Shropshire and Kingsway Primary School in Warwickshire, both for a full term of office.
During her career Holly has experience of leading significant change and growth, coaching, leadership, safeguarding, and pastoral care. She has experience of managing school and trust wide budgets.
Holly believes in a holistic approach to education, where well rounded pupils with sound moral values leave school to become a valuable part of society. Holly believes that all pupils have the right to an excellent education regardless of their circumstances.
Outside of work Holly enjoys running and long walks with friends and family and spending time with those she loves.
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