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Who are we?

The Team.

Board of Directors

Nigel Robson

Nigel Robson

Chairman/Member

Nigel Robson
Nigel Robson

Nigel’s involvement in Academies stretches back to 2002, when, as Chair of the Chamber of Commerce in the North East, he was determined to address the issue of historic underperformance of many of the region's LEA secondary schools. He was a lawyer in an international law firm and his positions included International Head of Engineering and Construction, Global Head of Energy, and Managing Partner. He was an accredited Mediator, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Nigel joined the Board of Emmanuel Schools Foundation in 2008 and became Chair of the Academy in 2011. He is married with five children, eleven grand-children, living in Cumbria, and his interests are family, Lakeland fell walking, mountain biking, Tuscan village life and history.

He is a trustee of the theological training college St John’s and Cranmer Hall, Durham University. He supports the Carlisle Diocese, including its educational responsibilities through The Good Shepherd MAT. Nigel is also chair of ULT, with specific responsibility for the Northern Secondary Academies.

Martin Oldknow

Martin Oldknow

Trustee

Martin Oldknow
Martin Oldknow

Martin recently retired from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service after a career spanning 30 years. Martin reached the rank of Group Manager (Divisional Officer) and was Head of the Technical Fire Safety department. Martin has over 15 years’ experience in Fire Safety and Emergency Planning. 

He now runs his own Fire Safety Consultancy and Training Company. Martin is educated to degree standard and possesses a BA (Hons) in Law awarded by the University of Kent. He also has a University certificate in Forensic Science from the University of Central Lancashire. Martin has been a school governor for over 25 years. 

Most recently he took over as chair of a school in special measures and working with the Executive Head Teacher managed to turn the school around; it was categorised as ‘Good’ within 14 months. 

He then took the lead in federating the governing body of two schools into a successful hard federation. He has since assisted other schools to become federated. He has been a member of an IEB at Kirk Sandall Junior School and contributed to its improvement prior to it becoming part of an academy trust. 

He currently also sits on two other IEBs. Martin also chairs the school improvement board of a secondary academy that was in special measures and has become the vice chair of the full board. 

The school is now on a sound trajectory to becoming ‘Good’ or better. He is also a National Leader of Governance assisting 5 other schools at present to varying degrees and he is the vice-chair of the Doncaster Education Improvement Board.

Professor Mark Pike

Professor Mark Pike

Trustee/Member

Professor Mark Pike
Professor Mark Pike

Mark is Vice Chair of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation and is an educationist with almost 30 years’ experience in secondary education, teacher training, the continuing professional development of teachers and school leadership. He is Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education at the University of Leeds and also Visiting Professor at Dreistar Educatief, The Netherlands’ No 1 ranked teacher-education University.

Mark’s areas of specialism as an educator include: teaching and learning in schools, school leadership and character education. His ESRC-sponsored PhD at Southampton University focussed on how to engage, motivate and raise the attainment of 14-16-year olds. Since then he has published numerous articles and books on different aspects of schooling (including the contribution of Christian-ethos schools to society) and speaks at conferences on education in places such as The Netherlands, Germany, US, UK and China. Funded by a £1.1m Templeton grant, Mark leads an international team of educators working on character education in schools and enjoys helping school leaders and teachers improve their practice.

Mark has lived in Yorkshire for 20 years; after a first degree at the University of Leeds and a teacher’s certificate at Nottingham University, he served as a teacher and curriculum manager in secondary schools for ten years before moving into teacher training and school leadership. He has been married to Barbara for 25 years (who he met as an undergraduate before they were teachers at the same school) and they now have three children at Trinity Academy. He enjoys travelling, especially in the US and Germany, walking coastal paths, black and white photography, reading good books (especially C.S. Lewis’ fiction, theology and ethics), cycling, swimming, supporting his local church and spending time with his family.

Mark’s webpage at the University of Leeds:

http://www.education.leeds.ac.uk/people/academic/pike

Information on the character education project that Mark leads in schools:

http://1r2qwo2yg0am48qb2w3qswxs.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2015/07/2016-EE-final-international.pdf

Donald Hutton

Donald Hutton

Trustee

Donald Hutton
Donald Hutton

Don Hutton was born in Northumberland and after nearly 40 years working in Yorkshire has retired with his wife to his home county. Don Hutton was the Regional Director of ISIS (Independent Schools Information Service) North from September 2000 until the closure of the ISIS regions in September 2007. During the seven years as Regional Director he delivered a business consultancy service to many schools in the North of England and also in Scotland, the Eastern region of the country and internationally.

He enjoys an excellent reputation in delivering in-house training on all areas of school governance and has a heart for the creation and encouragement of inspirational teaching. He is a Mathematics Graduate and previous to his role with ISIS North taught at Giggleswick School, Settle, North Yorkshire for 24 years, and also at Barnard Castle School, County Durham. During that time he taught Mathematics, was Head of Business Studies and Economics, Housemaster, qualified Teacher Mentor, Director of Sport and Director of Marketing. He was an OFSTED inspector and currently is a governor of two educational establishments in the North East (Blyth and Gateshead).

Don is a member of Alnwick Baptist Church and is actively involved in outreach activity in his local area. He attended Westgate Baptist Church, Newcastle, as a youth and came to know Christ as his saviour in his twenties. He is married with three children.

Stewart McKinlay

Stewart McKinlay

Trustee

Stewart McKinlay
Stewart McKinlay

Bio coming soon!

Peter Pickthall

Peter Pickthall

Trustee

Peter Pickthall
Peter Pickthall

Peter has recently retired as Group HR Director from R&R Ice Cream (renamed Froneri), the second largest worldwide ice cream manufacturer. In addition to HR duties he was also responsible for staff training and development across all countries.

He is a Justice of the Peace (Magistrate) in Cumbria in both the adult and youth courts and has been Youth Panel chairman for the past 12 years. As a father of two, he has had a real interest in education and school performance, resulting in him serving as a school governor which included a spell as chair of Governors, for over 20 years in both the primary and secondary sectors.

Following a spell in the Army, Peter qualified in agriculture and farm management before working in the chemical industry, becoming head of training and development for the UK business, before moving into HR. Whilst working he completed a second degree in psychology and was a Chartered Manager. He later became Managing Partner in his own HR and Training Consultancy, prior to joining R&R Ice Cream as HR Director.

Currently enjoying retirement, he keeps busy as a Churchwarden and with JP duties. When time allows he likes to escape to go off-shore sailing; he completed an Atlantic circuit (Caribbean and back) in 2013 and plans to do a half Atlantic sail to the Azores and back in 2017.

Maura Regan

Maura Regan

Trustee

Maura Regan
Maura Regan

Maura is the architect of Carmel Education Trust, having led the successful transformation of Carmel College from a single outstanding College to the lead school in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).The Trust is recognised as a leading organisation nationally.

In her role as an NLE, Maura and her Leadership Team have supported schools across the region from all phases, all of which are now showing significant improvements in outcomes for students.

Carmel College is one of the top performing schools nationally and as a Teaching School leads initiatives across the region focussing on ITT provision, work force development and School to School support.

Maura has been highly pro-active in supporting NETSP (North East Teaching Schools Partnership) in the delivery of NPQH, NPQSL and NPQML and a National College programme ‘Women into Headship’.

She is a Trustee of Schools North East and a Director for the Church of England Diocese of Carlisle Good Shepherd Multi Academy Trust.

Maura is regularly invited to address national audiences on the benefits and complexities of establishing and leading a Multi-Academy Trust in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and support for the common good. She is passionate about making a difference and believes that ‘every child should be given every opportunity to succeed’.

Tony Bird

Tony Bird

Trustee

Tony Bird
Tony Bird

Tony is married with three children, and has been Deputy Head of the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne for the last 13 years.

A former Director of Music, Director of Studies, he has a wide experience of all aspects of school leadership. He was an inspector with the Independent Schools' Inspectorate for a number of years, and studied for a Masters Degree in School Improvement, Management of Change and Innovation, and School Systems and Personnel.

In his current management role, he has a particular interest in teaching and learning, professional development of teachers, teacher training, the appointment of staff, and the all-round development of students.

As a trained Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church, he is no stranger to the pulpits of the north east. His interests are music, history, sport, and hill-walking.

Simon Goon

Simon Goon

Trustee

Simon Goon
Simon Goon

Simon is the Managing Director of Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham. Simon originally started out as a chemist but for the last 20 years has held a variety of commercial and strategy development roles in the private and public sectors, including running his own business.

Simon is married with two teenagers and lives in Gateshead.

Revd Professor David Wilkinson

Revd Professor David Wilkinson

Member

Revd Professor David Wilkinson
Revd Professor David Wilkinson

Bio and photo coming soon!

Pastor Kenneth Stone

Pastor Kenneth Stone

Member

Pastor Kenneth Stone
Pastor Kenneth Stone

I have had connections with King’s for the past five years and have been a regular visitor to school assemblies which I really enjoy, (hopefully the students feel the same way!)

King’s is an important part of our local community and I am delighted to be part of the governance team which work alongside both staff and students in ensuring we accomplish high and consistent standards allowing all our students to achieve their true potential.

I have been pastor of Hemlington Baptist Church for the past eight years and prior to this, I was a senior manager with an international food distribution company servicing the catering industry.

Over recent years I have also supported other local schools and I now serve as Chair of Governors at Viewley Hill Academy in Hemlington.

King’s is a great school with a proud record of achievements. I’m delighted to be part of thispro-active governance team and look forward to supporting both the Principal and all the King’s staff in ensuring we go from strength to strength.

Dr Beverley Kenny

Dr Beverley Kenny

Member

Dr Beverley Kenny
Dr Beverley Kenny

Beverley Kenny graduated in Medicine in Newcastle in 1983 and was a GP principal in Wallsend for over 20 years.

As a GP, a strong interest in patient empowerment through good quality, evidence based information led Beverley to co-found and develop the website Patient.co.uk. Beverley’s main role is now in medical education and she is currently the course director for Newcastle University's Graduate Entry Medicine (Accelerated) programme.

Executive Team

Vacant

Vacant

Chief Executive

Vacant
Vacant
Jonathan Winch

Jonathan Winch

Executive Principal (Educational Standards)

Jonathan Winch
Jonathan Winch

JWinch@esf-mail.org.uk

0191 460 2099

Jonathan Winch is the Executive Principal for Educational Standards and is accountable to and reports directly to the Board of Directors of Foundation. Mr Winch is responsible for monitoring, developing and implementing both short-term and long-term plans to ensure educational improvement within the Foundation’s schools.

Chris Drew

Chris Drew

Executive Principal (Growth and Development)

Chris Drew
Chris Drew

CDrew@esf-mail.org.uk

Chris Drew is the Executive Principal for Growth and Development and is accountable to and reports directly to the Board of Directors of the Foundation. Mr Drew is responsible for developing and implementing both near-term and long-term plans for the Foundation.

Vacant

Vacant

Executive Principal (Primary Education)

Vacant
Vacant

Darren Warburton

Darren Warburton

Director of Finance and Support Services

Darren Warburton
Darren Warburton

DWarburton@esf-mail.org.uk

01670 543 400

Darren Warburton was educated at Lancaster University where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics, and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with the National Audit Office in London.

Since then he has worked in a variety of financial roles in different sectors with Vaux Group plc, Arriva plc and Dewhirst, the clothing manufacturers, before spending 13 years working in the social housing sector with Gentoo Group and Home Group. In his most recent role at Home Group, one of the largest social landlords in the UK and the largest provider of care and support services to vulnerable people, he was a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Head of Finance with responsibility for the Group’s assets including its housing stock of 55,000 homes. This included investment appraisal and funding for a growth strategy for the Group’s house building programme aiming to build 10,000 homes over 5 years nationally for rent and sale.

Principals

Gwyneth Evans

Gwyneth Evans

Bede Academy Principal

Gwyneth Evans
Gwyneth Evans

Bio Coming Soon!

Matt Waterfield

Matt Waterfield

Emmanuel College Principal

Matt Waterfield
Matt Waterfield

Matt Waterfield joined the Emmanuel Schools Foundation in February 2008 as Assistant to the Director of Schools, having previously taught mathematics, RE and PE and having served as a deputy head teacher. In 2009, he joined the Senior Management Team at Emmanuel College and has been Principal since April 2016.

Matt has a passion for the economic, cultural and spiritual regeneration of the North East. He moved to Northumberland in 1990 and has remained in the region since then.

Matt holds a BA in Archaeology from Newcastle University and an MA in Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Warwick, and has a particular professional interest in leadership studies, character education, effective assessment and curriculum design. He also retains an interest in the history and archaeology the Roman Empire and in Early Christian Studies.

Matt lives in Gateshead with his wife Kerry and their four children. Personal interests include playing and listening to music, watching (regrettably no longer playing) rugby and walking.

David Dawes

David Dawes

The King's Academy Principal

David Dawes
David Dawes

Bio Coming Soon!

David Page

David Page

Trinity Academy Principal

David Page
David Page

Bio Coming Soon!

Support Services Management Team

Joy Saini

Joy Saini

Head of IT

Joy Saini
Joy Saini

JSaini@esf-mail.org.uk

Having already worked for 14 years in the Information Technology in both the private and public sector, Joy was able to perfectly align his core strengths when he joined ESF in June 2013 as Head of IT. 

Joy has the overall control of the Foundation’s IT operations, infrastructure, networked communication, data centre, disaster recovery, project delivery, software licences, procurement, contracts management, planning and related on-going advice for the senior stakeholders. 

His position sees him identify, develop and direct the IT strategy. He is responsible for developing, improving and growing IT within the Foundation’s schools and for building core relationships with the stakeholders and partners.

Joy has the overall responsibility for the IT teams in the Foundation schools and Supports Services.

Mark Boyers

Mark Boyers

Project and Facilities Director

Mark Boyers
Mark Boyers

MBoyers@esf-mail.org.uk

Bio Coming Soon!

Alison Seaward-Birchall

Alison Seaward-Birchall

Head of HR

Alison Seaward-Birchall
Alison Seaward-Birchall

ASeaward-Birchall@esf-mail.org.uk

Alison joined ESF in April 2013 with a remit to provide specialist HR advice, guidance and practical support to the Foundation and its schools. She deals with a range of employment matters including those relating to complex conduct and capability, employee relations, employment law, policy review, organisational restructure and change management and HR strategy. 

A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Alison has significant experience at HR Director level in both the private and public sector (including FTSE 100 and 250 companies; Fire Service, NHS and private family-owned businesses). Alison was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1998 and, although originally from Cheshire, has lived on the coast in North Northumberland since re-locating to the North East in 2007.

In addition to HR delivery, Alison has responsibility for overseeing the Payroll team. As well as delivering monthly payment and adjustments in respect of all ESF staff, the team administer pension membership, compliance with HMRC requirements and the childcare voucher scheme. 

Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor

Company Secretary

Christine Taylor
Christine Taylor

CTaylor@esf-mail.org.uk

Christine Taylor is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives. Christine has worked within the compliance industry throughout much of her career. She worked for a large multinational law firm in Leeds for over ten years before relocating to the North East in 2006.

Christine was the head of a Compliance Unit for a North East law firm for a further four years following which she set up her own compliance business which she still runs today. Christine has also worked for a listed company on the London Stock Exchange in Durham for three years.

She joined the Emmanuel Schools Foundation in 2015 as Company Secretary to the Board. Christine still lives in the North East and has one daughter.