The purpose of governance is to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. An effective governance structure will:

  • Hold executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its students
  • Ensure the effective and efficient performance management of staff
  • Oversee the financial performance of the Trust, making sure that money is spent well.

Our Board holds high aspirations for WPT and is committed to continuous improvement to enable the best possible outcomes.

Wickersley Partnership Trust is made up of three ‘tiers’ of governance:

  • Board of Members
  • Board of Directors
  • Local Governing Bodies

Governance Structure


For all enquiries about governance, please contact


The Members’ role is a tier of governance that a maintained school does not have. Members are the equivalent of shareholders in a commercial company and have overall “control”.

Members of an Academy Trust have a different status from the Directors (also known as Trustees). The Members are the subscribers to the Trust’s memorandum of association, and any other individuals permitted to become members under its articles of association. Members have an overview of the governance arrangements of the Trust and have the power to appoint Trustees and remove these Trustees. Members approve the annual accounts and Directors’ annual report each year at the Annual General Meeting.

Members can amend the articles and may do so to support stronger governance arrangements.

As Members we need to ensure that our Directors are providing appropriate support and challenge to the leaders within the Trust. Above all else we need to be assured that the vision and values on which the Trust was originally built are being upheld.


Alan Richards

About Me

I have been involved in school governance since 2001, and have been a National Leader of Governance since 2012. I have a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wales. A member of the Institute of Leadership and Management and the Society of Education and Training, I am passionate about school improvement, ensuring that all children are able to achieve to their full potential.


As a National Leader of Governance, I have supported and helped to develop Leadership and Governance in Schools and Academies throughout the region. I am also a Director serving on several other Boards of Multi Academy Trusts and School Improvement Companies in South Yorkshire.


I currently run my own business as a Consultant Leadership and Management Trainer, designing and delivering courses for, amongst others, the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry and working with many businesses across the region. I run training programs and seminars developing and promoting Leadership and Emotional Intelligence skills throughout the Country.

PM Photo

Phillip Marshall

About Me

I have a broad range of intensive educational leadership experience spanning 3 decades, having served 13 years as a secondary headteacher in Rotherham.


Since 2011, I have worked with the Department for Education as an ‘Education Specialist’, in addition to serving as a Director of Learners First Schools Partnership.

I am also a Director of PM Impact Ltd, providing leadership and support to academies, Multi Academy Trusts and schools.


Steve Calvert

About Me

Hello everyone I’m Steve.

I work for TJX (you may know them at as TK Maxx and Homesense where I look after the logistics team across Europe.

I love the outdoors and run and walk to keep fit but my real passion is gardening. I also love to travel.


Mark Wheeler

About Me

Present working role:
Associate Lecturer/ Link Tutor for the University of Huddersfield, working with trainee teachers on their journey towards qualified teacher status.
Director of the Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust.
Member of Wickersley Partnership Trust.
I began my career in teaching quite late after initially working at Parkgate steel works. My teaching career has been within Rotherham Primary Schools up until 2017 when I retired from headship. I enjoyed the position of Head Teacher for twenty years, the last five years as Executive Head of three primary schools. In 2013- I became a designated National Leader of Education- working with Learners First School Improvement team and Wickersley Secondary School to form a Teaching School Alliance aimed at supporting the development of educational practice across Rotherham and beyond.
I have a particular interest in the development of new teachers and how as a profession we can inspire our children’s learning. My interests outside of teaching are linked to family life, sport and the great outdoors, which are all often combined.

Directors (Trustees)

The Directors set the overall strategic direction for the Academies collectively and are the people responsible under the Academy Trust’s articles of association for controlling its management and administration. They have responsibility for directing its affairs, and for ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the Trust’s charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public.

Although the Directors are directors of the company in company law terms, they are also charity trustees, as the Academy Trust is charitable in law.

To perform their role effectively, the Board of Directors must have a real understanding of the Trust’s structure, its aims and how it means to meet those aims. The recruitment and development of Directors is critical to good governance. The Trust aims to have an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable Board of Directors that collectively are able to provide strategic leadership and challenge Trust performance in the following key areas as a minimum:

  • Student Welfare
  • Teaching and Learning Pedagogic Performance
  • Human resources and staff professional development
  • Asset management and operations
  • Financial management

The Directors have appointed Local Governing Bodies (committees) for each academy within the Trust to which duties are delegated. Day to day operational matters are delegated to the Headteacher and through the Headteacher to the senior leadership team of each Academy.

The Trust has appointed a Chief Executive Officer who is an ex-officio director of the Academy Trust.


Steve Calvert (Chair)

About Me

Hello everyone I’m Steve.

I work for TJX (you may know them at as TK Maxx and Homesense where I look after the logistics team across Europe.

I love the outdoors and run and walk to keep fit but my real passion is gardening. I also love to travel.


Abigail Dombey (Vice Chair)

About Me

I am a Chartered Environmentalist, and have been working in the field of sustainability for over 20 years. I have extensive experience of sustainability in the education sector. This includes being a Committee Member on the Greater Brighton Infrastructure Panel, and a previous Board Member at Brighton Students Union Bright’N’Green. I was also Head of Sustainability at the University of Brighton. I am currently an Energy and Sustainability Engineer at Carbon13, Venture Builder for the Climate Emergency.

I am also fluent in both spoken and written French.

Punch Annual conference 2018

Jackie Burn

About Me

I have over 25 years experience working within HR, and have been HR director of Punch Pubs & Co since 2011. This includes operating as part of the Board and Executive Team.
I strongly believe that young people should have every opportunity to be the very best that they can be.


Andy Hague

About Me

2019 year marked 50 years since I started at Ashwood Road School, and thankfully I still see some of those pals on a regular basis. Having visited the school recently, it seems it’s aged much better than all of us! So when I was asked to put something back in via the Trust I was more than happy to spend the time and hopefully give something back. There is no doubt that my early education has shaped my later life and anything I can do to help current kids gives me great satisfaction. Equally, I feel I’m learning much from the Trust, and have been very impressed by the dedication and skills of Helen and her team.

I graduated in Business then in later life got a Masters. I’ve worked in Logistics for over 30 years primarily in the Grocery Sector (Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury) but latterly in Retail and E-com (Asos, House of Fraser and TKMaxx). 


David Owen

About Me

I’m Head of Education in the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) at Sheffield Hallam University. Prior to that I taught in primary and secondary education in London and Glasgow.  I’m committed to widening participation and raising standards in education, and have supported educational projects in these two areas at local and national levels.


Peter Sadler

About Me

I am a marketing director in one of the UK’s largest software businesses, Advanced. I work with organisations ranging from small manufacturers, schools and colleges, to the National Health Service. I have over twenty five years of business and leadership experience, at least half of it working exclusively in the education sector. In my spare time I like to cycle and run, and whisper it very quietly, I am an Aston Villa supporter.
Being part of the Trust allows me to help by adding my experience and insight to the overall organisation. The goal that we should “never do any less for someone else’s child than we would do for our own” is one that I completely support. Living in Derbyshire and working in central Birmingham, I hope I can also bring a perspective from outside the immediate area.


George Scott

About Me

I am a legal and risk management professional with particular expertise in the financial services sector.  I was General Counsel and CRO of Pacific Life Re, a global life reinsurance business, until 2021.  I qualified as a solicitor in 1995 and previously held roles specialising in M&A and corporate finance transactions at Ashurst, Nomura International and RSA.  I now work on a freelance basis as an executive coach, Non-executive Director and risk consultant.

I also serve as a Trustee at Whitefield Academy Trust which operates schools in North London serving pupils with special educational needs. I spend a lot of time out on my bike and also volunteer with Citizens Advice and the local Foodbank.

Jhansi Devineni (Custom)

Jhansi Devineni

About Me

Jhansi has been in a technology leadership role for HSBC UK and HSBC Europe during its major business and technology transformations from 2015 resulting in double profits year on year until and including the 2022 financial year. While performing a technology implementation role she guided C-suit members to make right technology decisions to separate HSBC bank into 2 entities during UK Banks Ring Fencing regulation. Jhansi specialises in identifying areas to automate and also expanding technologies to improve efficiencies in operational activity. While working in the Legal industry, Jhansi removed the secretary concept to all lawyers by introducing digital dictation which was a game changer for law firms in the UK.


Emmeline Ford

About Me

Emmeline has been a headteacher for ten years, working in schools that serve areas of high disadvantage in West Yorkshire. She has had success in improving outcomes for children at all key stages and improving the Ofsted gradings of her schools, taking schools out of special measures.


Emmeline trained as a musician and has seen, first hand, the difference that the arts make to children’s lives; developing confidence, social and cultural capital and adding joy to the life of a school. She believes in working collaboratively with a variety of organisations in order to improve children’s life chances, including introducing the Opera North, In Harmony programme to her school, with great success.


Emmeline believes in the power of Multi Academy Trusts to improve standards and has been a Headteacher in two MATs, of varying sizes. She takes on the role of Director at Wickersley Partnership Trust as she believes the future of schools is in successful MATs and she wants to support Wickersley on its realistic ambition to further improve life chances for children in areas of disadvantage.


Emmeline has recently qualified as an Ofsted inspector.


Alistair Budd

About Me

Having spent his childhood in Rotherham where he attended Brinsworth Whitehill Primary School and then Brinsworth Comprehensive School, Alistair trained as a teacher and has taught in Oldham, Maltby and Barnsley.


Now the Principal at Upperwood Academy in Darfield, Barnsley, Alistair has always taught and lead in the primary sector. His philosophy for education is firmly rooted in the belief that ensuring young children who get a great start in schooling will go on to succeed in education and in life.


Alistair has broad experience in the primary sector, supporting other schools in leadership, in delivering strong outcomes for children and in supporting teachers to be their best in the classroom.


Alistair firmly recognises that the classroom is where the difference for pupils is made and much of his focus is spent ensuring that the classroom experience is mutually supportive and respectful. 


Outside his professional life, Alistair is the proud father of three children, and plays competitive sport.


Paul Eastell

About Me

Currently employed as a Civil Servant, Paul has spent the last 13 years working in the DWP, HMPPS and the HSE. During this period, roles have included Head of Technical Compliance and Audit, Regional Service Lead – Health, Safety, Fire and Litigation and HM Inspector of H&S.
Paul has also worked for a local authority as Principal H&S Officer and in local steel works and coal mines for many years.
Paul is a Chartered Member of IOSH, Certified Member of IWFM and Associate Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers. His learning in the H&S field has included work-related study at the University of Warwick where Paul was awarded Postgraduate Diploma in Regulatory Occupational H&S.
Paul is very pleased to be joining the Trust and looks forward to working together to help shape further progression.
Married with two grown up daughters, Paul lives locally. Out of work he enjoys playing golf (sometimes good, often not so good!) and has a keen, but remote eye for Sheffield United.

S Cavell (web)

Stephen Cavell

About Me

I am a senior private equity professional with over 25 years’ experience in the sector, latterly as Head of an Investor Relations Team responsible for several highly successful fundraisings in varied and difficult environments. I have an atypical background in that I have worked in all areas of private equity, including mid-market deal execution and listed fund-of-funds management.

Following recent approaches by mid-market private equity firms in the UK and on the Continent I have worked on various fundraisings as well as working with a leading UK charity. Since Graphite I have also had time to pursue my interests in politics, finance and economics and I am now ready for a new and challenging role. Finally, I am also a bi-lingual French speaker. 

Joseph Diston-web

Joseph Diston

About Me

I’m an Audit Director for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP within their Centre of Excellence team. I oversee a team of c.180+ individuals across a number of locations within the UK and have a strong focus on audit quality, client service and people management. I am a fellow of the ICAEW, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in May of 2010, having graduated from Newcastle University with a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance. I have worked in a number of different locations across the globe including the Cayman Islands, US and Australia.


I am an avid follower of Sheffield Wednesday FC (for my sins), having represented the club from the ages of 9 to 18, together with representing my town and county at various age groups. I also enjoy both cricket and golf alongside travelling and spending time with my young family.


Helen O'Brien (CEO)


Audit and Risk Subcommittee

Chair – George Scott

Education Subcommittee

Chair – David Owen

Premises and Health & Safety Subcommittee

Chair – Abigail Dombey

Finance Subcommittee

Chair – Stephen Cavell

Staffing and HR Subcommittee

Chair – Jackie Burn

Local Governing Bodies

The Directors consider schools to be an integral part of their local communities and aim for community links to be fully embedded into the life and work of the school. Local Governing Bodies (LGB) are appointed for each Academy within the Trust and are accountable to the Trust’s Board of Directors.

The LGB’s for each academy essentially fulfil the same role as the Governing Body of a maintained school. Their core focus is the attainment and progress of their students.

Our Local Governing Bodies  are responsible for:

  • Developing a vision and strategy for the school
  • Holding the school leaders to account to ensure that every pupil has the best possible education
  • Engaging with students, staff, parents and the school community to understand their views of the school

Our LGBs meet six times a year and follow a set agenda to look at information and evidence around topics such as education, data, admissions, subject audits and policies.

Chairs of LGBs


Deborah Cooke

About Me

I have worked for many years in the private sector for a variety of companies in business administration for the first part of my career, moving into accounting and finance.  I trained in business accounting and finance whilst I worked and attended university part time.   I now work for the family business and manage the accounts and a small accounts team.


I have seen through my employment how a good education gives the basis for so many opportunities. I am passionate about education and believe that every child should have access to good quality education.  I want to be involved in ensuring that all the children at Foljambe and Aston Hall are happy and flourish with the best opportunities regardless of their ability.

Aston Hall Junior & Infant School

Full governance information for Aston Hall Junior and Infant School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Steve Watson

About Me

I was pleased to join the  Aston Lodge governors early in 2021, and extremely honoured to now chair the local governing body. It’s been a challenging few years for children, parents and teachers. I have 2 children in the school, and I’m more than aware of the stresses and strains we have all felt as parents throughout the pandemic, and as we are now back to ‘normality’. I know as parents we are all grateful to each one of our teachers who have worked so hard to support and educate our children through the last few years. Most of all, we’re proud of the children who have shown how resilient they are.
I have worked in the charity sector for most of my career in Sheffield, Rotherham, Bradford, and Liverpool. I am now Chief Operating Officer for a large charity working across the North of England, and am responsible for around 150 staff, and the support of over 1000 clients. I am passionate about excellence mixed with care, and I know this is a passion of the Head Teacher and all the staff at Aston Lodge too. In my free time, I enjoy running, cycling, BBQ-ing, and am chair of trustees for a small national charity.

Aston Lodge Primary School

Full governance information for Aston Lodge Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Hellen Bolton

About Me

Brinsworth Whitehill Primary School

Full governance information for Brinsworth Whitehill Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.

Helen wetherall (Custom) (1)

Helen Wetherall

About Me

Helen has over 35 years’ experience in all phases of education and different public and private sector organisations as leader, manager and as part of DfE commissioned intervention teams. She has undertaken leadership and chief officer roles in a variety of settings including:

  • Managing Director of AMF(UK)Ltd – Advisory and consultancy service in support of
    public and private sector companies associated with education
  • Assistant Director Children’s Services – Performance and Improvement, Norfolk
    County Council
  • Assistant Director Children’s Services – Transformation, Leicester City Council
  • Director of Property, Leicester City Council
  • Heads of Service roles for Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Norfolk County
    Council and Northamptonshire County Council
  • Client Director for Place Group, Education Consultancy
  • Manager of Excellence in Cities Programme, Doncaster
  • Head of Department for Health and Social Care, Chesterfield College.


In addition, Helen has a wide-range of experience of governance including:

  • Member of the board of governors, Doncaster College, Chair of the Curriculum and
    Standards committee
  • Member of the governing body, Fir Vale School, Sheffield
  • LA nominated governor for Fullhurst Community College, Leicester
  • Chair of St Matthews C of E Primary School, Stockport; Chair of Curriculum,
    Standards and Safeguarding Committee
  • Chair of Derby Cathedral School.

Clifton Community School

Full governance information for Clifton Community School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Deborah Cooke

About Me

I have worked for many years in the private sector for a variety of companies in business administration for the first part of my career, moving into accounting and finance.  I trained in business accounting and finance whilst I worked and attended university part time.   I now work for the family business and manage the accounts and a small accounts team.


I have seen through my employment how a good education gives the basis for so many opportunities. I am passionate about education and believe that every child should have access to good quality education.  I want to be involved in ensuring that all the children at Foljambe and Aston Hall are happy and flourish with the best opportunities regardless of their ability.

Foljambe Primary School

Full governance information for Foljambe Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Shaun Flynn

About Me

I spent 27 years in my chosen profession, raising and qualifying from trainee, through branch, area and regional management to MD and CEO.

With no challenge left, and 20 years left to work I wanted a new goal and 5 years ago joined the motor trade, I am currently a sales manager for new cars at a Ford dealership. 

I joined the board of governors at TGA (my third school governorship) nearly 6 years ago and have had the absolute privilege to be chairman for the last 3.5 years. Over the years I have been involved in many groups and organisations but my connection to TGA is the one I enjoy and am proud of the most. We have come a long way at TGA in recent years and now belong to a fantastic “family” in Wickersley. I have been lucky enough to work with three terrific head teachers, all of whom brought individual talents and skills to their role. We are far further ahead now than we have ever been, we must continue this trajectory, all of you are part of this.
Just like my business career we need challenges. Every student here at TGA is an important part of these challenges. My challenge to you students here at TGA is to do your best, be part of our present and our future but above all let’s all work together to make this school the best we can, a school that puts out great town firmly on the map and a school we are all proud of.

The Gainsborough Academy

Full governance information for The Gainsborough Academy, including meeting attendance, can be found here.

Adam Dawson (web)

Adam Dawson

About Me

Having been educated in the town, from nursery to college, I went to study Primary educational studies at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln. Returning back to Rotherham, I started my teaching career at a number of local schools before moving into senior leadership. Currently I am a Headteacher at a primary school in Pontefract. I have always wanted to give back to my local community and I am keen to ensure that all pupils at Monkwood get the bet possible teaching, learning and curriculum possible, underpinned by a strong personal development offer. I want the children of Monkwood to excel, thrive and enjoy coming to school each day.

Monkwood Primary School

Full governance information for Monkwood Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Helen Walker

About Me

I work for Sheffield Hallam University as a project manager in the South Yorkshire Futures team. This team supports various projects that aim to improve the educational health of the region and improve life chances for young people across South Yorkshire. Many of the projects that I work on involve working closely with schools and young people, and it is this combined with my passion for education that sparked my desire to become a school governor. Outside of work, I enjoy sports and play netball for the Maltby Wasps.

I wanted to become a governor as I felt I had something to offer, I wanted to do my part in supporting the young people of Rotherham and knew how in need of support schools across the country are. 

I am so proud to be chair of governors at Ashwood Primary School and part of the wider Wickersley Partnership Trust family. Not only is it inspiring to work with so many people who cannot do enough for every child within the trust, but I get to utilise the skills from my day job including decision making, leading and motivating a team and utilising individual strengths. These skills have been critical during a period of change at Ashwood over the past two years, however knowing that I have been able to play a part in turning the school into a place of positivity and determination to succeed is tremendously rewarding. We are an Ashwood family and that sense of togetherness provides a benefit to governance which I could never have imagined.

Rawmarsh Ashwood Primary School

Full governance information for Rawmarsh Ashwood Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Jodie Laing

About Me

I left school in 1999 before gaining an NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing. I then started training to support teenage pregnancy and teenage mums in education, using this education to support teenage parents to get them back in to work and with parenting life. I continued to build my area of expertise with mental health first aid training and counselling, working with the local authority to help safeguard and keep children safe.

 I have gained many extra skills and an understanding of how the world can be seen in a different way. I have a qualification in behaviour that is challenging, Level 2 Safeguarding and a Diploma in Autism and SEN. I also have a qualification in speech and language, and other qualifications around children with additional needs.

I originally joined RCS as a parent governor in February 2022 and from this progressed to Chair of Governors. I am hoping to put my knowledge and skills to good use, supporting the students at Rawmarsh to be the best that they can be.

Rawmarsh Community School

Full governance information for Rawmarsh Community School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


John Kanes

About Me

I am an internal auditor currently working for the Government Internal Audit Agency. Previously I have worked across the public sector including the Church of England, Prison Service, local government, House of Commons and the 2nd oldest UK overseas territory (St Helena). I have previously been a governor in several local schools – both primary and secondary – as well as a trustee and Audit Committee chair. I am a keen sports watcher following Rotherham Titans and Gillingham FC. I also sing in some local choirs and quiz (although not very expertly).

Rawmarsh Sandhill Primary School

Full governance information for Rawmarsh Sandhill Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Joanne McCreath

About Me

I have been a Governor at Thrybergh Academy for many years. I started as a parent governor while we were a 3-16 Through School with Foljambe Primary so have experience within the Primary phase of education as well.
I have worked for many years in customer service and management positions. I am currently a full time carer. My caring role has inspired me to learn more around disabilities and inclusion and how to advocate for someone to get the best outcome they can achieve.
I am passionate about education for all and believe all children should have access to good quality education. I want to ensure all children have the ability to achieve their very best and get the outcomes they need to reach their goals.

Thrybergh Academy

Full governance information for Thrybergh Academy, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Richard Chamberlain

About Me

Since leaving university and following a brief career in finance, I have worked in the recruitment sector, advising professionals in Yorkshire on their careers and supporting organisations with their recruitment strategies. I am currently studying towards an MBA at Sheffield Management School.

I became a Governor because I am passionate about supporting young children and making sure they are in the best possible environment to thrive, develop life skills and ultimately build a livelihood and a career for themselves.

I am proud to support and represent Thrybergh Primary School.

Thrybergh Primary School

Full governance information for Thrybergh Primary School, including meeting attendance, can be found here.


Anna Lidster

About Me

I work for the NHS as a clinical assistant for the Sheffield Learning Disability Intensive support service. The aim of the team is to keep adults with learning disabilities, complex mental health needs and challenging behaviour out of hospital and secure accommodation and to enable them to live in the community. My main role within the team is to deliver appropriate training to  staff teams, families and individuals accessing the service.

I am the licensed Lay Evangelist and Church warden at St James Church Clifton and am involved in organising and running many activities for young people within the community including a yearly Musical in a week project in the summer holidays in partnership with Jesus College Oxford.

Wickersley School and Sports College

Full governance information for Wickersley School and Sports College, including meeting attendance, can be found here.

Charity Commission Guidance

Charity trustees are the people who serve on the governing body of a charity. They may be known as trustees, directors, board members, governors or committee members. Charity trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of a charity.