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Welcome from the Chair of the Northern Education Trust Board, Mark Sanders OBE

I am immensely proud to chair an organisation that is so focused on ensuring our students receive the best possible educational experience in order to enhance their life chances. Effective governance plays a crucial role in this as the board has collective accountability and responsibility for the trust and assuring itself that there is compliance with regulatory, contractual, and statutory requirements.

The board provides:

  • Strategic leadership: the board defines the trust vision for high quality and inclusive education in line with its charitable objects. It establishes and fosters the trust’s culture and sets and champions the trust strategy including determining what governance functions are delegated to the local academy council
  • Accountability and assurance: the board has robust effective oversight of the operations and performance, including the provision of education, pupil welfare, overseeing and ensuring appropriate use of funding and effective financial performance and keeping the estate safe and well maintained
  • Engagement: the board has strategic oversight of relationships with stakeholders. The board involves parents, schools and communities so that decision-making is supported by meaningful engagement.

 

Organisation Structure

The governance structure of the Trust is detailed here:

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Public Attendees

Trust committee meetings are subject to strict protocols and procedures. If any member of the public wishes to attend Part A of any meeting you must make arrangements with the Trust Secretary. Please contact Stephanie Arnett, Senior Executive Assistant – [email protected].

  • Governance Information
  • Mark Sanders OBE Chair of Trust

    Mark is the Chairman of NET’s Board of Trustees and formally of its Audit and Risk Committee. He was a founder member of the Trust in 2012. Living in South Yorkshire he was formerly the Chief Executive of one of Manchester’s Metropolitan Councils for ten years, with a further ten years as a Chief Officer in other Councils. During that time, he served on a number of national bodies responsible for learning and young people including: Young Persons Learning Committee, Learning and Skills Council, and as Vice Chair of the Young Persons Learning Agency. Subsequently he was the Vice Chair of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Chair of its Audit Committee and a member of the Department of Education’s Audit Committee.

    Besides the role with Northern Education Trust, Mark has been:

    • Chair of Locala Community Partnerships – a large community health provider in West Yorkshire;
    • a Board Member of the Lancashire Fusilier’s Museum in Bury and other community and education bodies.

    He currently also Chairs the board of the Northern College for Adults, located in Barnsley.

    Mark was awarded an OBE for services to Local Government in 2011, holds an MBA and is a qualified teacher.

    He is committed to high standards of governance, and having an efficient, well managed organisation so as to maintain NET as one of the leading trusts, dedicated to improving the life chances of all those young people in the communities it serves.

    Andrew Kilburn

    Andrew joined the Trust as a member in March 2023. He is also Chair of the Pinnacle Learning Trust, a multi academy trust based in Oldham which comprises Oldham Sixth Form College, Hathershaw College (an 11 to 16 academy), and two primary schools-Werneth and Broadfield. Prior to the establishment of the Pinnacle Trust in 2017 Andrew chaired the Sixth Form College Governors for five years.

    Andrew’s professional life was spent in local government in a range of administrative, managerial and policy development roles. He held the position of Chief Executive in three separate local authorities- Redcar and Cleveland, Oldham MBC and the London Borough of Waltham Forest for a total of fifteen years and retired from full time employment in 2010.

    In addition to his involvement with education, Andrew also works with Emmaus, the international charity working with homeless and disadvantaged people. He chairs the local project based in Mossley and also serves as a trustee on the Board of Emmaus UK. Andrew is also a trustee of the Housing Association, Community Accommodation Group.

    Andrew has a degree in Political Studies from Leeds University, an MBA from the Open University and a diploma in Executive Coaching from Leeds Metropolitan University. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Huddersfield University in 2007.

    Chris Roberts

    Chris Roberts is currently vice chair of Newcastle College group, trustee of Greenwich leisure, and previously was a Director of the Skills Funding Agency.

    Grant Shearer

    Graduating from Sunderland Teacher Training College in 1966 with a distinction in history; Grant started his career as a teacher in the primary phase and quickly progressed to deputy head and then headteacher. He has a wealth of experience in the education sector; and lives with his wife Sandra.

    Bernard Trafford

    Dr Bernard Trafford retired from teaching in 2018 after 28 years as a headteacher, including nine years at the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School. He read music at Oxford and started his career as a music teacher. He helped to found the West Newcastle Academy (Free School) in 2015, and remains a Member of its Trust. He is a former Chair of the independent schools’ association HMC, served for many years on the Council of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and is currently Chair of Trustees of The Purcell School for Young Musicians in Hertfordshire.

    Bernard has published books and articles (and advised both the UK Government and the Council of Europe) on school democracy, student voice and school leadership. He was a regular columnist for both the (Newcastle) Journal and the educational publication, TES.

    He has written two novels, and choral music. In retirement, mostly in Oxford, Bernard and his wife are both active musicians.

    Mark Sanders OBE Chair of Trust

    Mark is the Chairman of NET’s Board of Trustees and formally of its Audit and Risk Committee. He was a founder member of the Trust in 2012. Living in South Yorkshire he was formerly the Chief Executive of one of Manchester’s Metropolitan Councils for ten years, with a further ten years as a Chief Officer in other Councils. During that time, he served on a number of national bodies responsible for learning and young people including: Young Persons Learning Committee, Learning and Skills Council, and as Vice Chair of the Young Persons Learning Agency. Subsequently he was the Vice Chair of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Chair of its Audit Committee and a member of the Department of Education’s Audit Committee.

    Besides the role with Northern Education Trust, Mark has been:

    • Chair of Locala Community Partnerships – a large community health provider in West Yorkshire;
    • a Board Member of the Lancashire Fusilier’s Museum in Bury and other community and education bodies.

    He currently also Chairs the board of the Northern College for Adults, located in Barnsley.

    Mark was awarded an OBE for services to Local Government in 2011, holds an MBA and is a qualified teacher.

    He is committed to high standards of governance, and having an efficient, well managed organisation so as to maintain NET as one of the leading trusts, dedicated to improving the life chances of all those young people in the communities it serves.

    Tom Grieveson Deputy Chair of Trust

    Tom has extensive experience of school and system improvement and inspection. As a senior HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector) with Ofsted, Tom had direct accountability for managing and deploying the regional team of HMI and additional inspectors, to deliver inspections in the NEYH region. He has consistently led high-profile inspections in several parts of England and gained significant expertise working with maintained schools and academies, in Ofsted categories of concern.

    Prior to joining HMI, Tom spent 12 years as a Headteacher and held senior positions in local authority school improvement teams, including as Head of Service. He works on a range of initiatives as an educational consultant, recently completing a major research project into the performance of disadvantaged students. Tom is also a Governor at a special school academy and a Trustee at Kielder Observatory in Northumberland (KOAS), supporting its educational outreach programme.

    Neil Barker

    A practising Chartered Architect with over 40 year’s professional experience and over 20 years as a non-executive director of large public sector organisations including NHS Trusts, with particular interest in governance and audit. Chair of Newcastle Gateshead Area of North East England Chamber of Commerce, Trustee at Wallsend Memorial Hall & People’s Centre, President of Northern Architectural Association and Director of International Newcastle. Representative of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) on Newcastle Conservation Advisory Panel and Newcastle Council’s Heritage Environment Advisory Panel. Design Council Expert adviser and panel member of DesigNE design review. Past Board Member of NE1 (Newcastle’s Business Improvement District). French speaker. Senator of JCI (Junior Chamber International). Life Fellow of RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures & Commerce).

    John Copping

    John lives in Thornaby and has more than 30 years’ experience of education from a volunteer and governance perspective. He has chaired a number of primary and secondary schools in the North East and has led many schools to achieve Outstanding Ofsted judgements. He joined NET in 2015 as a trustee and is now Chair of Audit and Risk managing a budget in excess of £100million per annum. He works as a Senior Director in the oil and gas, power sector across Europe and has a wealth of experience and knowledge operating at board level in the private sector.

    John has a wealth of experience in dealing with complex financial and risk management issues coupled with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He is passionate about ensuring the best opportunities are being afforded to all pupils, regardless of their social background or heritage.

    Robert Flack

    The early part of Robert’s career was in the private sector. Joining the NHS in 2002, Robert worked in senior leadership roles in Community care across North and West Yorkshire. These roles included being Chief Executive of one of the largest social enterprises to deliver NHS services in the country – Locala.

    In 2018, Robert joined the global not for profit organisation, GS1, working with corporate partners to deliver safer care using global data standards.

    Robert’s most recent role is as Director of HCRG care group, an organisation delivering community and primary care in many locations across the country.

    Robert’s understanding of healthcare in community settings, and experience of innovating in the public sector will be invaluable as Northern Education Trust continues to develop and grow.

    Jo Heaton

    Jo has a wide range of experience as CEO of a Multi Academy Trust and DfE Teaching School Hub in the North East. Prior to this, Jo was an Executive Headteacher and has a long history of working in school improvement, including as a National Leader of Education and has a history of providing school improvement and support.

    Jo currently sits on a number of DfE national and regional advisory groups, including the Recruitment and Retention Expert Advisory Group. Jo is currently an Ofsted inspector and sits on the Regional Director Advisory Board.

    Julie Kelly

    Julie sits on the Audit and Risk Committee which provides challenge to the organisation and ensures probity. She is also a member of the Curriculum Standards and Welfare Committee which exists to review performance and compliance with Trust policies. This is achieved by desk top reviews and visits to academies.

    Julie is also the Chair of the Combined Academy Council for The Blyth and Thorp Academies. The Academy Council provides support and challenge to the Principals and leadership teams at both schools.

    Julie qualified as a Housing Professional and spent her career in Social Housing, starting her career at Gateshead Council before moving to Sunderland City Council. Whilst in Sunderland she was a key member of the team responsible for the establishment of Sunderland Housing Group which later became known as Gentoo Group. She operated as a Senior Executive and executive member of the Group Board. Julie gained an interest in the impacts of education and social opportunity on individuals and communities, subsequently chairing the board at Academy 360 in Sunderland and the board of Meadowwell Connected in North Shields.

    Chris Roberts

    Chris Roberts is currently vice chair of Newcastle College group, trustee of Greenwich leisure, and previously was a Director of the Skills Funding Agency.

    Rob Tarn CBE Accounting Officer & Chief Executive
    John Copping Chair of Audit & Risk Committee
    Neil Barker Audit & Risk Committee
    Robert Flack Audit & Risk Committee
    Julie Kelly Audit & Risk Committee
    Rob Tarn CBE Accounting Officer & Chief Executive
    Tom Grieveson Chair of Curriculum, Standards Welfare Committee
    Jo Heaton
    Julie Kelly
    Rob Tarn CBE Accounting Officer & Chief Executive
    Mark Sanders OBE Chair of Trust
    Tom Grieveson Deputy Chair of Trust
    John Copping
    Rob Tarn CBE Accounting Officer & Chief Executive
    Academy
    Governance Information
    Abbey Park Academy
    Badger Hill Academy
    The Blyth Academy
    Dyke House Sports and Technology College
    Farringdon Community Academy
    The Ferns Primary Academy
    Frederick Nattrass Primary Academy
    Freebrough Academy
    The Grangefield Academy
    Hilton Primary Academy
    Kearsley Academy
    Kirk Balk Academy
    Manor Community Academy
    Merlin Top Primary Academy
    Mount Pellon Primary Academy
    North Shore Academy
    Norton Primary Academy
    The Oak Tree Academy
    Red House Academy
    Thornaby Academy
    Walbottle Academy
    Whitecliffe Academy
    Did you know? All of our 21 inspected academies are graded GOOD or OUTSTANDING

    And Northern Education Trust underwent a Multi-Academy Trust Summary Evaluation visit by Ofsted in March 2023.

    Read our MAT Summary Evaluation