The Diocese of Coventry

Multi Academy Trust

Together, pursuing life in all its fullness

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The Multi Academy Trust Board

The Executive Board of the Multi Academy Trust, fulfilling the role of both directors under company law and trustees under charity law, exercise the powers and carry out the duties of the Multi-Academy Trust. The Board of Directors are responsible to the Members of the Multi-Academy Trust as well as the parents, pupils and staff at the academies. Directors may also be known as governors of the Trust.


The directors are responsible for the three core governance functions – setting the strategic direction of the Trust and the academies within the Trust, holding the Headteachers to account and ensuring financial probity. Directors work with the local governing bodies to ensure the quality of education and financial management provided at each academy.


Two committees operate under the MAT Board. The Academy Effectiveness Committee monitors academy performance, Christian distinctiveness and pupil welfare. The Resources Committee focuses on finance, buildings and staffing issues


The MAT Directors



Paula Whitfield – Paula is an FCA, having trained as a chartered accountant with PWC, working in their London, Cardiff and Sydney offices. Paula worked for PWC for 15 years, finishing her career with PWC as a director in their pensions audit and assurance business.  Paula also worked for British Airways for 3 years in their engineering division reviewing business performance and being involved in the sale of a business.  For the past 10 years she has worked for the GEC 1972 Plan and Telent Ltd specialising in pensions accounting for the company and the pension plan and supporting the Board's Audit Committee on various topics such as risk management, controls, financial reporting, taxation and audit (both internal and external).  Paula is an experienced school governor, having started on the governing body of her local infant school 12 years ago where she became Chair of Governors.  She is currently a governor at two local primary schools and is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee at another secondary academy trust.  She has successfully steered two schools through their SIAMS inspection, with one school achieving a judgement of outstanding.


Mandy Coalter - Mandy is the Founder of 'Talent Architects' with a simple mission: helping schools become places for pupils to learn by being great places for adults to work. Talen Architects provides consultancy/advisory support to school groups, coaching and mentoring, training and events/conferences. Mandy's successful book: 'Talent Architects: how to make your school a great place to work' was published in 2018.
From 2012 to 2019 Many was Director of People at United Learning, responsible for HR, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Marketing and Communications. United Learning is one of the largest school groups in the UK, running circa 80 schools across State and Independent sectors employing over 8000 staff.  Mandy built the group reputation as an employer, taking forward key priorities such as developing leaders, talent management, employee engagement, well-being, recruitment, pay and performance management.

The United Learning HR team won the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ‘HR Team of the Year’ in 2016.  HR Magazine listed Mandy in the top 10 ‘HR Most Influential’ in both 2018 and 2019 - where she was ranked the 7th most influential HR Director in the UK.  Mandy was also shortlisted for the HR Excellence Awards ‘HR Director of the Year’ 2018.   

Mandy has previously worked in the NHS, Local Government, the Charity sector and with schools.  She is also a very experienced Board Director and advisor on aspects of corporate governance. 


Ian Dewes – Ian is the executive headteacher of two OFSTED outstanding schools in Warwickshire. Over the course of his career he has taught and led schools in Warwickshire and London. Since 2016 he has been a National Leader of Education and in this role he has supported a number of schools in a wide variety of contexts. As well as school improvement, Ian has a particular interest in governance. He is studying part-time for a professional doctorate researching governance in academy trusts.


Ruth Marlow - Ruth was born and brought up in Sheffield before going to the University of Birmingham where she studied biological sciences and geography. After completing her degree Ruth moved to Nottingham and joined Nottingham City Council where she worked in the council’s Housing Department. In 1985 Ruth qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Ruth continued her career in Housing over the next twelve years, before becoming the Chief Executive of North Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire and then Managing Director of Mansfield District Council. In these roles Ruth focused on organisational development and service improvement as well as staff training and development. She qualified as an Executive Coach and Leadership Mentor in 2010. In 2014 Ruth became a trustee of TNT – Transforming Notts Together – a member of the CUF Together Network. In September 2016 Ruth was appointed as the Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Coventry. Since joining CDBF Ruth has also taken on the chair of Together for Change Coventry and Warwickshire another joint venture in the CUF Together Network. Ruth is a member of the Diocesan Board of Education and a Diocesan Trustee.


Roger Medwell - Roger has recently retired as Chairman and CEO of NP Aerospace Ltd. He is currently Chairman of Imagineer Technologies and is involved in Imagineering, an independant educational charity with the aim of introducing young people of ages 8-16 to the world of engineering, science and technology.


Peter Grieves-Smith - Peter is a practising Barrister specialising in the prosecution of homicide and complex fraud and with knowledge of many areas of law, including criminal law, property law, employment and charity law.

Peter enjoyed being a school governor previously and wants to make a contribution to education and the running of schools. His work involves the analysis of hugely complex information, often at very short notice, and he believes that he can make a positive contribution to the Board of Directors. He has extensive experience in sitting on committees and was the lead representative of 15,000 employed barristers for two years.

Mr Michael Cowland -
Michael has been working in multi academy trusts since 2011 having made a successful transition from local government.  This transition started with Northampton Academy a large secondary academy run by United Learning and most recently with the Diocese of Peterborough, where he was part of the senior leadership team who established the Peterborough Diocese Education Trust (PDET).  The PDET has since grown to become the home of 30 academies, 5500 children, 950 members of staff and has a turn over of £25m.  Michael spent time acting as interim Chief Executive Officer to cover a period of absence where he led the trust through four Ofsted inspections, the trusts's twenty third academy conversion and the successful secondment of a Head of Learning and Achievement, a post which resulted in a step change in the trust's academy improvement services.  Michael is a Cranfield School of Management Executive MBA.


Ms Michelle Nisbet



Directors Appointments and Attendance


All directors are appointed by resolution of the Members of the company


  Director Date Appointed End of Term Full Board
Meeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance
  Mandy Coalter 04-10-2016 03-10-2020 4 / 6 1 / 1
  Ian Dewes 01-07-2016 30-06-2020 6 / 6 1 / 1
  Ruth Marlow 12-12-2016 11-12-2020 5 / 6 1 / 1
  Roger Medwell 21-04-2015 20-04-2019 4 / 6 1 / 1
  Paula Whitfield 09-07-2019 08-07-2023 0 / 1 n/a
  Michael Cowland 12-08-2019 Ex-officio n/a n/a
  Peter Grieves-Smith 05-03-2020 04-03-2020 n/a n/a


Directors Resignations


  Director Date Appointed Date Resigned Full Board
Meeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance
 Jason Slack 26-04-2018 18-07-2020 5 / 6 1 / 1
 Peter Law 17-07-2014 31-12-2019 4 / 6 1 / 1
 Andrew   Armbrister 01-04-2017 31-12-2019 6 / 6 1 / 1
 John Wade 19-12-2013 03-10-2019 4 / 6 1 / 1
 David Morris 10-02-2015 31-12-2018 0 / 1 1 / 1
 Previous Resignations
 Linda Wainscot 19-12-2013 18-12-2017 0 / 1 1 / 1
 John Green 14-02-2015 17-07-2017 N/A N/A
 James Kennedy 27-02-2013 17-07-2017 N/A N/A
 Rex Pogson 27-02-2013 06-03-2017 N/A N/A
 Simon Lloyd 27-02-2013 29-04-2016 N/A N/A


Declarations of Interests


 Director Pecuniary and
Business Interests
Educational Establishments Relationships Date of Declaration
  Peter Law

 Chairman - South  
 Warwickshire Plato 


 None Declared  None Declared 18-07-18
 None Declared

 Employee- United

 Learning, Multi

 Academy Trust

 Parent -  


 Hastings Church of

 England Academy

 None Declared 18-07-18
  Ian Dewes  None Declared

 Executive Headteacher -   Dunchurch School's   Federation


 Governor - Northlands   Primary School


 National Leader of Education

 None Declared 11-07-19

 Diocesan  Secretary,
 employee  - Diocesan Board
 of Finance

 Trustee - Coventry 

 Diocesan Trustees


 Trustee -  Coventry 

 Diocesan Board  of Education 


 Trustee - Together 

 for Change 

  Coventry and

 Director   - Ruth Marlow Ltd

 Trustee - Transforming

 Notts Together

 Director / Trustee - Diocesan 
 Board of Education
 None Declared 18-07-18

 Trustee - Warwickshire

 Mark Benevolent Fund


 Trustee & Treasurer - 

 Hope4 (Rugby) Ltd

  None Declared

 Wife is a  member

 of Bishop's  Council for the Diocese of



 Director/Chair - Coventry 

 City of Culture 2021


 President – Armonico

 Consort Trust


 Director – MTLS Eco Ltd


 Director – Composite Ltd


 Director – Culture Coventry 

 Ventures Limited

 Director – Alderson House

 (Warwick) Ltd


 Director – Culture Coventry


 Director – Imagineer 

 Technologies Ltd


 Director – Medwell 

 Productions Ltd


 Director/Chair – The Godiva 

 Awakes Trust


 Director – Medwell Hyde Ltd

 Governor - Broad

 Heath Community


 None Declared 15-09-18



 None Declared

 Headteacher of

 King Henry VIII


 None Declared  18-07-18



 Director – Whitfield 

 Consultants Ltd


 Director – Stanhope

 Pension Services Ltd


 Director – Custodian

 Holdings Ltd


 Director – Telenet


 Pensions Trust Ltd

 Governor – Lawrence

 Sheriff School


 Governor –  Dunchurch   School’s Federation


 Governor – Stretton

 CofE Academy

 None Declared  11-02-20
 Michael     Cowland  None Declared

 None Declared

 None Declared  16-08-19

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