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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 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 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.



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.


Ms Michelle Nisbet



Directors Appointments and Attendance


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


  DirectorDate AppointedEnd of TermFull Board
Meeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance
  Mandy Coalter04-10-201602-10-202410 / 112 / 2
  Ian Dewes01-07-201631-05-202410 / 112 / 2
  Ruth Marlow12-12-201611-12-202410 / 112 / 2
  Paula Whitfield09-07-201908-07-202311 / 112 / 2
  Michael Cowland12-08-2019Ex-officio11 / 116 / 6
  Barry Cockroft11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A
  Steve O'Neill11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A
  Keith Tudor11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A
  Andy Burbidge11-01-202110-01-2025N/AN/A


Directors Resignations


  DirectorDate AppointedDate ResignedFull Board
Meeting Attendance
Meeting Attendance
  Peter Grieves-Smith05-03-202014-07-20214 / 70 / 2
 Roger Medwell21-04-201531-12-20206 / 111 / 2
 Jason Slack26-04-201818-07-202011 / 111 / 2
 Peter Law17-07-201431-12-20191 / 3N/A
 Andrew   Armbrister01-04-201731-12-20192 / 3N/A
 John Wade19-12-201303-10-20190 / 1N/A
 Previous Resignations
 David Morris10-02-201531-12-2018N/AN/A
 Linda Wainscot19-12-201318-12-2017N/AN/A
 John Green14-02-201517-07-2017N/AN/A
 James Kennedy27-02-201317-07-2017N/AN/A
 Rex Pogson27-02-201306-03-2017N/AN/A
 Simon Lloyd27-02-201329-04-2016N/AN/A


Declarations of Interests


 DirectorPecuniary and
Business Interests
Educational EstablishmentsRelationshipsDate of Declaration
 None Declared

 Director - Mandy Coalter HR Ltd, 
 trading as Talent Architects

 Parent -  

 Dunchurch Junior School


 Director/Trustee - Teaching Awards   Trust

 None Declared13-07-20
 Ian   Dewes None Declared

 Executive Headteacher -   Dunchurch School's  Federation 

 until April 2021


 Governor - Northlands   Primary   School


 National Leader of Education

 CEO - Odyssey Collaborative   Trust

 None Declared20-01-21

 Director/Trustee -   Transforming Notts 



 Employee - Diocesan 

 Board of Finance

 Trustee - Coventry 

 Diocesan Trustees


 Trustee - Together 

 for Change 

 Coventry and

 None Declared None  Declared25-06-20
 Director - Coventry 

 City of Culture 2021


 President – Armico

 Consort Trust


 Director – MTLS Eco Ltd


 Director – Composite 



 Director – Alderson

 House (Warwick) Ltd

 Director – Culture


 Director – Imagineer 

 Technologies Ltd


 Director – Medwell 

 Productions Ltd


 Director/Chair – The 

 Godiva Awakes Trust

 Director – Medwell

 Hyde Ltd

 Governor - Broad

 Heath Community


 None Declared19-06-20



 Director – Whitfield 

 Consultants Ltd


 Director – Stanhope

 Pension Services Ltd


 Director – Custodian

 Holdings Ltd


 Director – Telenet


 Pensions Trust Ltd

 Governor/Director – Lawrence

 Sheriff School


 Governor –  Dunchurch   School’s Federation


 Governor/Chair - Leamington

 Hastings CofE Acadey

 Governor – Stretton

 CofE Academy

 None Declared 13-07-20
 Michael     Cowland None Declared

 None Declared

 None Declared10-07-20
 Andy   Burbidge Employee - RMD   Kwikform None Declared None   Declared15-01-21
 Barry   Cockcroft

 Director - Aftica   Consulting


 Trustee - Britch   Fluoridation Scoiety


 Exec Director -   Integrated Dental Holdings

 None Declared None   Declared14-01-21
 Keith   Tudor

 Owner - Company   Guardian Ltd


 Owner - Agrico International Ltd

 None Declared None   Declared15-01-21
 Steve   O'Neill Director - Ignis   Marketing Ltd None Declared None   Declared15-01-21

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