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The Diocese of Coventry

Multi Academy Trust

Together, pursuing life in all its fullness

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The Multi Academy Trust Board

We are currently seeking Directors for the Trust Board, the Directors recruitment pack includes details of the role application information.

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.


Three committees operate under the MAT Board. The Education and Ethos Committee, the People and Pay Committee and the Business and Finance Committee.

The Trust 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 Mandy 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 CEO of Odyssey Collaborative Trust, an academy trust in Derby with seven primary schools. Prior to this he was the executive headteacher of the Dunchurch Schools' Federation in Warwickshire. Over the course of his career he has taught and held leadership roles 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. He has taught in Early Years and Key Stages 1 and 2 and was formerly part of the inaugural cohort of Haringey's Leading Teachers Scheme.  As well as school improvement, Ian has a particular interest in school governance having a cumulative total of over 25 years' experience of governing in maintained schools, local governing boards in trusts and central trust boards. He is currently the Chair of Governors at Northlands Primary School. He is studying part-time for a professional doctorate where he is researching the influence of neoliberalism on governing boards who are considering joining an academy trust. He lives and worships in Rugby.


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.


Barry Cockcroft - Barry Cockcroft has lived in Warwickshire since he graduated from Birmingham University in 1973. He worked as a dentist in Coventry and Rugby until he was appointed Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England at the Department of Health in 2002. He became Chief Dental Officer in 2006 and held that position until his retirement in 2015. He is a member of the Birmingham University Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme and a Non Executive Director of Integrated Dental Holdings, the largest provider of dental services in the country. Barry has three children and eight grandchildren, all educated in Warwickshire. His wife was a primary school teacher for many years. He was instrumental in the establishment of two new dental schools in 2005 and was awarded a CBE in 2010.


Steve O'Neill - Steve has spent over 20 years in marketing and PR leadership roles for large consumer organisations in the UK and Europe, across the retail, telecommunications and financial services sectors. After starting his career at the John Lewis Partnership on their graduate scheme, Steve has worked for Orange, Carphone Warehouse, HSBC, Amigo and PayPoint. He specialises in developing high performance teams, spearheading proactive corporate communications, leading digital transformation and championing customers through research and behavioural insights. He is currently Interim Corporate Affairs and Marketing Director for PayPoint plc, leading their marketing, PR and investor relations efforts in the UK. 

Steve studied French and Drama at the University of Bristol. Originally from Liverpool, he now lives in Rugby with his partner and two daughters.


Keith Tudor - Keith is the founder and CEO of Company Guardian, which works alongside the Executive boards of companies to maximise their potential and to enable owners to realise value from their lifetime investments.  

A graduate in finance from the City of Birmingham University and a Chartered Accountant, he held senior financial positions at Cadbury Ltd and Sandvik Ltd before progressing into general management.

For over 20 years he has been leading international companies through significant growth, with all the structural and cultural changes and challenges which that entails. His companies have picked up some accolades along the way including a number of Queen’s Awards for Export and Scottish Company of the Year.

A native of Birmingham, he and his wife, a former teacher, lived happily for 15 years in Binley Woods, where their daughter received her primary education.


Andy Burbidge - Andy originally qualified as a Mining Engineer at Imperial College, London. He is now the Strategy and Performance Director for an International Construction Equipment business based in the West Midlands.
He initially held leadership roles in the Buildings Materials sector and after completing his MBA at Warwick University spent 15 years in a Business Improvement Consultancy, which resulted in him living in the Middle East for 8 years, and working in sectors including construction, health, education and financial services.
Andy has significant experience in driving performance improvement both within individual businesses and also across a portfolio of companies ensuring change is effectively managed whilst being sensitive to the cultural differences that exist in those businesses and geographies.
He lives with his wife and daughter in Warwick.


Lindsey Wright - Lindsey has over thirty years’ experience in education, fifteen of which were in senior leadership. 

She was Associate Principal at an all through (ages 2 to 16) Church of England school in Leicester serving a social priority area in the city. As a senior leader in the school, responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the school, Lindsey played a key role in establishing the ethos and culture of the school, appointing and developing the large teaching & learning team, and developing a distinctive approach to pedagogy which combined the best of primary with the best of secondary teaching.

Prior to this, Lindsey worked for two years as Area Schools & Community Officer at Warwickshire Local Authority, supporting Headteachers and Governing Bodies in over 50 primary, secondary and special schools throughout South Warwickshire.

In 2003, she was seconded from her post as Deputy Headteacher in a large secondary school to work with the DfES Innovation Unit on a project to research how organisations, such as Microsoft and Honda, at the cutting edge of their practice established cultures which encouraged creativity and innovation in their staff in order to discover lessons to be learnt for schools.

Before retiring in 2014, she was employed as a Leadership Coach working with young and aspiring middle leaders in schools in challenging circumstances.

Now retired, she is a governor in three schools in the Coventry Diocese, Chair of the Diocesan Governors Reference and Advisory Group, a Director on the Diocesan Board of Education and works as an external advisor for Headteacher performance management with a number of schools, both primary and secondary.


Jianhua Yang - Dr. Jianhua Yang is a currently Senior Teaching Fellow at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), University of Warwick. He leads the Electrical and Digital Discipline Group. He also serves as the Academic Conduct Officer (UG) for the WMG and a co-chair of the Working Parent Network for the University.
Jianhua started his career in higher education in 2006 as a postgraduate research fellow at the School of Engineering, Warwick University, while working towards a Ph.D. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems Engineering in 2010, following which he has been working as a bioinformatics researcher first, and then as a lecturer teaching various ICT undergraduate/postgraduate courses and supervising research projects. Jianhua has also worked in the automotive industry before returning to Warwick in 2018.
Jianhua is a member of the British Computer Society, a Chartered Engineer, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA ), a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He serves as a reviewer for a number of international journals.


Heather Lees - Heather is a CIMA qualified accountant and history graduate who has worked for several different styles of organisations so has collected a wide range of experience from the commercial, public and third sectors. This includes working in challenging situations for example for an Ombudsman, a Regulator, a Police Force and a Local Authority as well as charities and membership organisations. Heather has also gained her experience of the broader corporate services such as estates, IT, governance, HR, information management as well as finance.

Heather is the CFO for Brooke Weston Trust, a multi academy trust based in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire so brings knowledge of the MAT sector to the board. Heather is also an ex-pupil of one of our schools, St Bartholomew’s, she lives in Coventry with her 2 children and her granddaughter.


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 then with the Diocese of Peterborough, where he was part of the senior leadership team who established the Peterborough Diocese Education Trust (PDET).  Michael held the post of Business Director and 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, a Chartered Manager and a member of the Chartered Management Institute having passed his level 7 Senior Leader Masters Degree with a Distinction in 2021.


Lorna Nix

Lead Roles

Teaching and Learning Director - Ian Dewes email Ian 
Safeguarding Director - Ian Dewes email Ian 
SEND Director - Lindsey Wright email Lindsey
Pupil Premium Champion Director - Lindsey Wright email Lindsey
Whistleblowing Director - Barry Cockcroft email Barry
Training and Development Director - Paula Whitfield email Paula

Directors Appointments and Attendance


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





End of TermMeeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance

Full Board

CommitteeFull BoardCommittee
  Mandy Coalter04-10-201602-10-202410 / 112 / 28 / 86 / 6
  Ian Dewes01-07-201631-05-202410 / 112 / 28 / 87 / 7
  Ruth Marlow12-12-201611-12-202410 / 112 / 26 / 85 / 6
  Paula Whitfield09-07-201908-07-202311 / 112 / 28 / 87 / 7
  Michael Cowland12-08-2019Ex-officio11 / 116 / 68 / 820 / 20
  Barry Cockcroft11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A4 / 45 / 5
  Steve O'Neill11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A4 / 42 / 3
  Keith Tudor11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A4 / 44 / 4
  Andy Burbidge11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A4 / 44 / 5
  Lindsey Wright09-09-202108-09-2025N/AN/AN/AN/A
  Jianhua Yang20-09-202119-09-2025N/AN/AN/AN/A
  Heather Lees20-10-202119-10-2021N/AN/AN/AN/A


Directors Resignations







Meeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance
Full BoardCommitteeFull BoardCommittee
 Peter Grieves-Smith05-03-202014-07-20214 / 70 / 21 / 81 / 3
 Roger Medwell21-04-201531-12-20206 / 111 / 24 / 42 / 3
 Previous Resignations
 Jason Slack26-04-201818-07-202011 / 11N/AN/AN/A
 Peter Law17-07-201431-12-20191 / 3N/AN/AN/A
 Andrew Armbrister01-04-201731-12-20192 / 3N/AN/AN/A
 John Wade19-12-201303-10-20190 / 1N/AN/AN/A
 David Morris10-02-201531-12-2018N/AN/AN/AN/A
 Linda Wainscot19-12-201318-12-2017N/AN/AN/AN/A
 John Green14-02-201518-07-2017N/AN/AN/AN/A
 Alistair James
 Rex Pogson27-02-201306-03-2017N/AN/AN/AN/A
 Simon Lloyd27-02-201329-04-2016N/AN/AN/AN/A



Declarations of Interests


 DirectorPecuniary and
Business Interests
Educational EstablishmentsRelationshipsDate of Declaration
 None Declared

 Director - Mandy Coalter 

 HR Ltd, trading as Talent

 Parent - Dunchurch Junior



 Teaching Awards Trust



 Ian   Dewes None Declared

 Executive Headteacher -   Dunchurch School's 

 Federation (ceased

 April 2021)

 Governor - Northlands   Primary School

 National Leader of 


 CEO - Odyssey 

 Collaborative  Trust




 Director - Ruth Marlow


 Director/Trustee -   Transforming Notts 


 Employee - Diocesan 

 Board of Finance
 Trustee - Coventry 

 Diocesan Trustees

 Trustee - Together 

 for Change Coventry and

 None Declared






 Director – Whitfield 

 Consultants Ltd

 Director – Stanhope

 Pension Services Ltd (ceased Nov 2021)

 Director – Custodian

 Holdings Ltd (ceased June 


 Director – Telenet


 Pensions Trust Ltd (ceased Nov 2021)

 Governor/Director – 

 Lawrence Sheriff School

 Governor –  Dunchurch   School’s Federation

 Governor – Stretton

 CofE Academy (ceased July 




 Michael     Cowland None Declared

 None Declared



 Andy   Burbidge

 Employee - RMD


 None Declared None   Declared15-09-21
 Barry   Cockcroft

None Declared

 None Declared None   Declared23-09-21
 Keith   Tudor

 Owner - Company   Guardian Ltd

 Owner - Agrico 
 International Ltd

 Owner - Quinvex Ltd

 Director/Guarantor - 

 Millfield Barns Access 1 Ltd

 None Declared None   Declared15-01-21
 Steve   O'Neill

 Director - Ignis
Ltd (ceased August 2021)

 None Declared None   Declared09-09-21
 None Declared  None Declared None   Declared21-09-21
 None Declared

 Director - Diocesan Board

 of Education

 AGC Chair - St James CofE

 AGC Member - St

 Bartholomew's CofE


 Governor - Dunchurch

 Heather   LeesTrustee - Museums Association CFO - Brooke Weston Trust None

Dates of Meetings for 2021-22 are:

BoardBusiness & Finance CommitteeEducation & Ethos CommitteePeople & Pay CommitteeAudit & Risk CommitteeTrust Governance Committee





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