CENTRAL SERVICES

SENIOR SERVICE MANAGERS

Central Services

Darren Warburton

Director of Finance

Darren Warburton grew up in Yorkshire before obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics and his Master’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Lancaster University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the National Audit Office in London and is now a Fellow of the ICAEW.

Central Services

Heather Robinson

Director of HR

After growing up on the Isle of Wight and studying Physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Heather Robinson commenced a management career at Tesco; where for 13 years she cut her management teeth in a variety of operational retail roles before specialising in Human Resources. A move to the Legal Services Commission in 2004 saw her develop her HR experience further in a national and multi-site Business Partnering role in the organisation which managed the administration and delivery of £2.4bn worth of Legal Aid.

Central Services

Steven Weatherley

Director of Data Analysis Services

With a decade of experience in the Education sector, Steven has cultivated a specialisation in Data and Curriculum. In August 2021, he became a valuable addition to the ESF central team, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge gained from his role as the Data and Exams Manager at Grace College.

Central Services

Andrew Strachan

Chief Information Officer

Born in Yorkshire but with deep ties to his scottish family roots, Andrew grew up in the West Midlands and Melbourne, Australia. Andrew spent time working in the live entertainment industry as a Technical Project Manager, supporting the lighting infrastructure and logistics for world wide concert touring productions, prior to entering teaching following his PGCE at The University of Warwick.

Central Services

Jonathan Ferstenburg

Director of Teaching and Learning

Jonathan Ferstenberg has been a teacher and school leader for over 25 years. He began his career as an Assistant English Teacher in a rural Japanese Junior High School before returning to his home country, the United States, to study for a Juris Doctor in Law at Columbia University in New York. After practicing law for the New York office of an international commercial law firm, he returned to teaching – first in the US and then in the UK. He has taught History, Politics, Economics, Religious Studies, Sociology and Philosophy.

Central Services

Amelia Okeke

Financial Controller

Amelia started her career early in Finance by completing a BTEC in Business and Finance and then qualified as an Accountant in 2002. She has worked in a variety of financial roles in different sectors which included ScS Upholstery for 10 years where she developed an automated banking system. She moved into consolidated accounting working for Eaga Energy which administered the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme. After Eaga dissolved Amelia joined Emmanuel Schools Foundation in July 2011 as a Management Accountant which then developed to Financial Controller when the foundation became a MAT.

Central Services

Mark Boyers

Project and Facilities Director

After completing a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship with a multi-national design consultancy company Mark Boyers, worked as a Commercial Project Planner for an offshore construction company. In 1995 Mark moved into Project Management within the automotive industry working within the tier one supply chain, having responsibility for key projects for major Automotive manufacturers.

Central Services

Christine Taylor

Company Secretary & Data Protection Officer

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. 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.

Central Services

Darren Jensen

Business Development Manager

Darren Jensen has worked in commercial, marketing, operations, and customer service roles throughout the whole of his career, including over 35 years in middle and senior management roles. An intensive management development programme in retail took him all over the UK including an extended period as Head of Customer Relations for Bhs in London. Darren joined ESF in 2010 and has been responsible for income generation and for establishing our in-house uniform retail operation - EAS Schoolwear.

IT AND DIGITAL MEDIA SERVICES TEAM

Central Services

Andrew Strachan

Chief Information Officer

Born in Yorkshire but with deep ties to his scottish family roots, Andrew grew up in the West Midlands and Melbourne, Australia. Andrew spent time working in the live entertainment industry as a Technical Project Manager, supporting the lighting infrastructure and logistics for world wide concert touring productions, prior to entering teaching following his PGCE at The University of Warwick.

Central Services

Kevin Bowker

IT Infrastructure Manager (South)

Kevin Bowker is an invaluable asset to ESF as the IT Infrastructure Manager, boasting an impressive 20-year tenure with the company. With a wealth of experience under his belt, Kevin has honed his skills in IT and network management.

Central Services

Jamie Arkle

Trust Digital Media Manager

Jamie embarked his professional journey as a Graphic Designer, He then naturally transitioned into the domains of marketing and media. With ownership of his own print and design studio, he then moved into education where he has worked for the last 10 years. In his role as Trust Digital Media Manager, he oversees all related aspects within the trust, using his expertise to further the Trusts digital communication endeavours and marketing efforts.

Central Services

Mike Bainbridge

IT Infrastructure Manager (North)

Mike Bainbridge is a seasoned professional with exceptional expertise in IT and network management. His journey began at Bede Academy, Over the years, Mike has honed his skills and knowledge, becoming a proficient leader in his field. His deep-rooted understanding of IT systems and networks has been instrumental in shaping ESF's robust infrastructure.

HR TEAM

Central Services

Heather Robinson

Director of HR

After growing up on the Isle of Wight and studying Physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Heather Robinson commenced a management career at Tesco; where for 13 years she cut her management teeth in a variety of operational retail roles before specialising in Human Resources. A move to the Legal Services Commission in 2004 saw her develop her HR experience further in a national and multi-site Business Partnering role in the organisation which managed the administration and delivery of £2.4bn worth of Legal Aid.

Central Services

Clare Harland

Trust HR Manager

Clare started her career in retail whilst studying at Northumbria University. She had a variety of operational management roles before deciding to return to education to study for her Level 5 CIPD Qualification in 2017. Since then, she has gained her experience in HR between both Private and Public sector. Clare joined us from NCG, which comprises of 7 colleges across the UK, primarily supporting Newcastle College and Newcastle Sixth Form College in the role of Senior HR Business Partner.

FINANCE TEAM

Central Services

Darren Warburton

Director of Finance

Darren Warburton grew up in Yorkshire before obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics and his Master’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Lancaster University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the National Audit Office in London and is now a Fellow of the ICAEW.

Central Services

Gillian Beadling

Finance Officer

Central Services

Amelia Okeke

Financial Controller

Amelia Okeke, is a pivotal figure in the trusts financial management. With her sharp financial acumen and meticulous attention to detail, she plays a crucial role in ensuring the fiscal health and stability of the trust.

Central Services

Shona McLaughlin

Business & Finance Manager

Central Services

Julie Banks

Payroll Manager

TEACHING & LEARNING TEAM

Central Services

Jonathan Ferstenburg

Director of Teaching and Learning

Jonathan Ferstenberg has been a teacher and school leader for over 25 years. He began his career as an Assistant English Teacher in a rural Japanese Junior High School before returning to his home country, the United States, to study for a Juris Doctor in Law at Columbia University in New York. After practicing law for the New York office of an international commercial law firm, he returned to teaching – first in the US and then in the UK. He has taught History, Politics, Economics, Religious Studies, Sociology and Philosophy.

Central Services

Kelly Weaver

Trust Science Lead

Kelly graduated with an honours degree from Durham University. Before teaching Kelly had a career in the financial industry working in the City of London before returning to the North East to complete her PGCE. Over her 10 year career in education thus far Kelly has held roles as Physics teacher, Head of Department, Lead Practitioner of Science and whole school Teaching and Learning Manager. She is passionate about improving the quality of education for all and believes that all students should be given opportunities to achieve the best outcomes regardless of their background.

Central Services

Dee Garcia

Trust Mathematics Lead

Inspired to go into teaching after completing the Student Associate Scheme whilst studying for her undergraduate degree at Durham, Dee began her teaching career in London whilst also studying for her MA in Secondary Mathematics Education. Dee trained in some challenging inner-city London schools before working as a Lead Practitioner of Mathematics where she pursued her passions for delivering exceptional mathematics education to young people and for supporting the development of new teachers. Dee relocated to Madrid for three years where she was Head of Mathematics at a British International School. Originally from Northumberland, Dee returned to the North East with her husband in 2019 to work as Lead Practitioner of Mathematics at Walbottle Campus, contributing to their school improvement journey under Northern Education Trust. Dee was thrilled to join ESF in January 2023 where she hopes to bring her wide range of experience to support improvement in Mathematics education across the Trust.

Central Services

Michelle Green

Trust English Lead

Having been born in central Gateshead, Michelle Green was delighted to gain a placement on the Graduate Teacher Programme at Emmanuel College Gateshead in 2002. Michelle remained at Emmanuel College for 17 years during which time she served as Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Head of English, Director of English and then as an Assistant Vice Principal between 2015 and 2019. In April 2019, Michelle was seconded to the newly adopted sister school Grace College, as an Assistant Vice Principal. In addition to her first passion, teaching English across Key Stage3, 4 and 5, Michelle was responsible for working with leaders and teachers to improve teaching and learning, with a focus on staff development. In April 2023, Michelle was appointed as ESF Subject Specialist Lead for English, a role that encompasses her passion for English with a drive to support school improvement across the North-East.

FACILITIES TEAM

Central Services

Mark Boyers

Project and Facilities Director

After completing a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship with a multi-national design consultancy company Mark Boyers, worked as a Commercial Project Planner for an offshore construction company. In 1995 Mark moved into Project Management within the automotive industry working within the tier one supply chain, having responsibility for key projects for major Automotive manufacturers.

Central Services

Paul Slater

Compliance and assets manager

Paul Slater has been appointed Compliance and assets manager for facilities, he was formally the facilities manager at Bede Academy. he began his career as an assistant quantity surveyor spending 4 years in the construction industry gaining an ONC, HNC in building studies as well as recognition from the chartered institute of builders, before moving into the food retail sector. having carried out a number of roles within the sector the last being head of maintenance for the north region of a large supermarket chain.

Central Services

Neil Spooner

Regional Facilities Manager

Neil Spooner was born and raised in South Africa. He was educated at Hilton College and undertook a wide range of additional studies including internet business strategies, web development and plumbing. Following extensive travel through Europe, the Middle East and period of time living in Australia, he settled in the Northeast of England. Neil worked in the retail industry for a number of years before making the move into the education sector, where he has over 18 years’ experience working in Compliance, Estates and Project Management.

Central Services

Derek Colborn

Regional. Facilities Manager (south)

GOVERNANCE TEAM

Central Services

Christine Taylor

Company Secretary & Data Protection Officer

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.

Central Services

Kelsey Stoddart

Governance Clerk

Kelsey Stoddart has lived within the Northeast all her life and has over fifteen years of administration experience, ranging in a variety of roles and levels, of which were mainly within the NHS. Alongside her Business Management degree and Director experience she hopes to now have success within the educational sector, bringing experience to aid the Trust in achieving their mission and core values.

Central Services

Abby Milburn

Support Services Administrator

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