When I joined a large, national, multi-phase multi-academy trust a year ago as Head of Corporate Affairs, I faced a conundrum about the purpose of local governance within a trust context. Many of our local governors – and our leaders – were confused about the role and governors said they felt ‘neglected’.

It became pretty clear to me early on that the difficulties are not purely structural – they relate to the very purpose of governance itself. We are all familiar with the ‘purposes of governance’ from the DfE’s Handbook, but the overriding sense most people have is that governance is a critical part of our wide-ranging and somewhat overbearing approach to ‘accountability’.

Few of us would suggest that those who are paid to provide education on behalf of taxpayers should not be ‘accountable’, but I do not believe there is consensus about how that accountability should take shape. Michael Pain is among many who have written recently about our unresolved lack of clarity in this area, and the unique opportunity we now have to redefine it from within the education system.

For me, there are two key questions that are absolutely not settled in regard to educational accountability:

  1. To whom are we accountable – perhaps, more than the DfE, we are actually accountable to our learners, their parents and the community?
  2. For what are we accountable – perhaps, it is for more than just that which can be quantified in performance tables?

But, even if we were able to agree on the answers to those two questions, is our traditional model of governance up to doing the work? I have been questioning a lot within our trust whether formal meetings, ‘dry’ reports and bags of process are the best way to do it.

So, at a recent webinar with over 60 of our local governors, we began exploring the concept of ‘dynamic’ local governance. I want to re-energise and empower the marvellous people who give of their time to support our work through governance. I truly believe that a reinvigorated approach to local governance can begin to get us closer to the heart of community accountability and also challenge us to measure and evaluate what really counts – whether or not our students and their parents believe we have made a difference to their lives.

Our initial concept of ‘dynamic’ local governance focuses on several things:

  • Drawing governors from as broad a cross-section of the local community as possible
  • Investing time in the relationships between executives and governors to create a sense of joint endeavour
  • Focusing on activity which delivers a tangible impact to what is done in the academy – even if that impact is just to make leaders think about what they are doing
  • Listening to as many voices as possible and really getting ‘under the skin’ of what the academy feels like – for students, colleagues and parents
  • Being the strategic voice of the community when the academy is forming plans
  • Actively collaborating with others inside and outside our trust to share good ideas.

In short, I am working hard to liberate our local governors so that they can really make a difference. I am often asked for permission to do something by one of our local governors. My reply is always that they can do anything they want to do as long as it respects the difference between executive and non-executive roles, is within the scope of our Scheme of Delegation and seeks to make a real difference to the experience of our students.

And that, for me, is what multi-academy trusts should be all about – working together to make a real difference – as we put it in our trust, #transforminglives. We have the flexibility and the possibility to create governance operations that can really support that. Our next chapter is about giving people the confidence and the tools to seize that opportunity.


Andy Gannon

Head of Corporate Affairs



We take governance very seriously – we believe strong governance is the mechanism by which we are held to account by the most important people – the pupils, parents and communities served by our academies. You can read more about our approach to governance in our

Governance Scheme of Delegation

Our Members, Trustees and local Governors are committed to #transforminglives. They give of their time and energy to oversee our work and take on a lot of responsibility.

We are always looking for others who may be interested in joining our governance – our mission will only be enhanced if we have more people involved in our governance from a wider variety of professional, social and cultural backgrounds. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to find out more.


NameDate of AppointmentTerm of OfficeDate Stepped DownDeclarations of Interests
Patricia Mary Beanland1 June 2016--Chair of Governors at Moseley Secondary School since 2008
Bernard Dickenson21 November 2016---
Matthew McDonagh18 January 2018--Employee at Kier Construction since 2018; Director at MMcD Construction Ltd (construction consultancy) since 2016
Gurpreet Bhatia DL24 August 2020--Partner at Harbans Singh & Co since 1995; Deputy Lieutenant of West Midlands since 2017; Advisory/Trustee roles: Centre for Sikh and Punjab Studies (2019), Sant Nirankari Mission (2014), Legacy West Midlands (2017), Your Trust Charity (Sandwell and Birmingham NHS Trust) (2018), Sandwell Business Ambassadors (2020)
Tracy Campbell24 August 2020--Headteacher, Executive Headteacher and Trustee at Plantsbrook Learning Trust since 2014
Carl Edwards3 January 201918 months27 July 2020Owner at Executive Business Management Ltd (Management Consultancy) since 2003
Michael A Edwards18 February 201911 months3 January 2020Trustee at King Edward 6th Grammar School since 2019


NameDate of AppointmentTerm of OfficeDate Stepped DownTerm ExpiresAppointed byDeclarations of InterestsBoard Meetings AttendedPossible Board Meetings (2019-20)
Bernard Dickenson14 Nov 20164 years-14 Nov 2024Member Appointed-56
Patricia Mary Beanland22 Nov 20164 years-22 Nov 2024Member AppointedChair of Governors at Moseley Secondary School since 200836
Margaret Wilson22 Feb 20184 years-22 Feb 2022Member AppointedNon-executive director at Pearson Education Ltd; Board member at Anglia Ruskin University; Director at Thrive Academy Trust since 2018; Exec Head/Governor at James Hornsby School since 2012; Deputy Lieutenant of Essex since 201856
Phillip Milligan1 Mar 20184 years-1 Mar 2022Co-opted by BoardTrustee at the Samuel White and Lady Middleton Christian Charity and the Samuel White and Francis Willoughby Charity for Relief In Need since Sept 2020; Adviser to Quality Lead at Plantsbrook Learning Trust from Jan 202166
Tom Clark CBE1 Nov 20184 years-1 Nov 2022Member AppointedChair of Advisory Board at GovNet since 2016; Trustee at Foundation for Leadership in Education since 201766
Simon Jones14 Feb 20194 years-14 Feb 2023Member Appointed36
Alistair Milne19 Aug 20194 years-19 Aug 2023Member AppointedFounder and Director at Transformation through People since 2018; Consultant at LIBF since 2019; Trustee at Kenilworth MAT since 202066
Richard Elms16 March 20204 years-16 March 2024Member AppointedWife (Samantha Elms) employed part-time by Academy Transformation Trust since 201922
Michaela Jackson30 March 20204 years-30 March 2024Member AppointedHead of Distribution at Columbia Threadneedle Int’l since March 202112
Richard Priestley6 May 20204 years-6 May 2024Co-opted by BoardEmployee at Regen Holdings Ltd since 2017; Employee and statutory director at Axil Integrated Services Ltd and Regen Devco Ltd since 201811
Bernard Cook26 Jul 201727 months16 October 2019Member AppointedDirector at Frost’s Garden Centre Ltd; Chairman/advisor/shareholder at Shipton and Co; Director at Dartmouth Land Co. (Management Ltd); Partner at The Smithy Partnership01
Neil Lucas15 Feb 201821 months4 December 2019Member Appointed-12
David Trotman21 Mar 20174 years21 Mar 2021Co-opted by BoardWife (Sue Trotman) is an independent consultant in PE and Dance education since 201756

Sub Committees

Audit and Risk CommitteeChairSimon Jones
MemberDave Trotman and Phillip Milligan
Finance and Resources CommitteeChairRichard Priestley
MemberMichaela Jackson and Richard Elms
Pay and People Performance CommitteeChairPhillip Milligan
MemberAlistair Milne and Bernard Dickenson
Standards and Outcomes CommitteeChairPatricia Beanland
MemberMargaret Wilson, Tom Clark, Richard Elms and Michaela Jackson

Local Academy Committees

Please visit academy websites for details of governor attendance and more information about the work of our Local Academy Committees.

Beck Row Primary AcademyChairLloyd Hughes
Vice ChairJames Bailey
Bristnall Hall AcademyChairSara Burroughs
Vice ChairDavid Hubbard
Caldmore Primary AcademyChairAnnette Crumpton
Vice ChairSharon Dicken
Great Heath AcademyChairLloyd Hughes
Vice ChairVacant
Iceni AcademyChairAlex Smith
Vice ChairSeth Charlesworth
Jubilee Academy MossleyChairGary Smith
Vice ChairVacant
Kingsmoor AcademyChairMelanie Scull
Vice ChairDavid Simmons
Mildenhall College AcademyChairIan Gray
Vice ChairRev. George Samiec
North Walsall Primary AcademyChairWendy Browning-Sampson
Vice ChairSaima Kauser
Phoenix AcademyChairDavid Grice
Vice ChairNeil Toplass
Pool Hayes AcademyChairJacqueline Thompson
Vice ChairLynne Williams
Ravens AcademyChairSteve Miller
Vice ChairVacant
Star Academy SandyfordChairSue Finney
Vice ChairFather Chris Routledge
Sun Academy BradwellChairSue Finney
Vice ChairFather Chris Routledge
Sutton Community AcademyChairPete Edwards
Vice ChairLinda Hill
The Dukeries AcademyChairGill Empson
Vice ChairMargaret Staples
The Hathaway AcademyChairStephen Sweeting
Vice ChairNick Trencher
The Nicholas Hamond AcademyChairPhil Anderson
Vice ChairVacant
The Queen Elizabeth AcademyChairAnn Webb
Vice ChairTed Walker
Westbourne AcademyChairCaroline Rayner
Vice ChairMichelle Taylor
ATT Further EducationChairMartin Rigley MBE
Vice ChairPeter Edwards

Accounting Officer

Debbie Clinton, Appointed 13/9/18,  Declarations of Interests –  Education Advisory Board Member for GovNet (events management company) August 2015.

We are proud to be a part of the Academy Transformation Trust family of academies.

Our cross-phase group of academies was founded in 2011 and, since that time, we have grown to our current family of 21 academies (primary, secondary, post-16 and FE) operating across 10 English local authority areas.

We are responsible for the education of over 13,500 learners; for the careers of almost 2,000 colleagues; and for the most effective spending of over £80 million of taxpayer income each year.

We have one simple purpose:

To have the biggest positive impact in the varied communities we serve through ensuring top-drawer education for our learners.

We encapsulate that ambition in one simple slogan: #TransformingLives.

Our Trust is led by Bernard Dickenson, our Chair of Trustees and Debbie Clinton, our Chief Executive Officer.

You can find out more about our team here.

You can access information about our Trust governance here.

You can read the most recent set of Trust-wide accounts here.

You can contact our Trust at:

Academy Transformation Trust, Unit 4, Second Floor, Emmanuel Court, Reddicroft, Sutton Coldfield , B73 6AZ.

Email – office@academytransformation.co.uk

Phone – 0121 354 4000

Alternatively click here for more contact details.

Foundation Secretary (COO) of the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation since April 2011, a small group of schools educating around 2,400 pupils, employing c600 staff, with an annual turnover of £34m. The role incorporates all aspects of business/charity strategy and governance, as well as operational oversight of shared services provision for the four schools within the Foundation.

The grounding for this was gained in two other independent schools from 2002 to 2011, delivering change management following the withdrawal of central Government funding at the turn of the century. This was preceded by eight years financial grounding in companies ranging from a plc to large and medium sized family owned businesses. Before pursuing a financial career, my work had been in the construction industry, initially in junior engineering and administration roles, before managing small building projects for the retail sector.

Simon has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) since 2005.

Tom was formerly Chief Executive of George Spencer Foundation School and Technology College in Nottingham

For 3 years Tom was Associate Director of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and led on workforce-remodelling and helping to develop international school networks to support  Deputy Headteachers in preparation for Headship.

With the DfE, Tom published booklets on ‘study leave’, ‘benchmarking and financial planning’ and ‘workforce reform’.

For 6 years Tom was Chairman of FASNA (Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association) and advised successive Secretaries of State on policy matters and contributed to publications on governance and on effective financial management in schools

Tom worked with the DfE team on the development of the National Fair Funding model.

Tom presently chairs Govnet’s Education Board and is helping to re-shape their Schools and Academies (biannual) Shows bringing an international dynamic to these events.

Andy Gannon is our Trust’s Director of Corporate Affairs, with responsibility for all aspects of our governance and corporate compliance. He is also Company Secretary and Clerk to the Board of Trustees.

Andy’s career has been spent in the world of education and skills, initially as a secondary school teacher of modern languages, and then within further education colleges, where Andy led and managed marketing and admissions activity, student support services and careers guidance and employability programmes.

More recently, Andy moved into the world of policy and strategy, serving as Director of Policy for the 157 Group of large further education colleges for several years before taking on consultancy roles working with Boards and executive leaders in organisations ranging from Local Enterprise Partnerships, colleges and training providers to membership organisations within the charitable sector.

Andy is committed to delivering the best possible education for the pupils, learners, parents and communities that our Trust serves and to ensuring the highest standards of probity and performance within a governance operation which is both ethical and effective.

Academy Transformation Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales with company number 07846852. The Registered Office is at Unit 4, Emmanuel Court, Reddicroft, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6AZ.

You can access company information by clicking on the following links:

ATT Annual Report 2019-20

ATT Annual Accounts 2019-2020

Memorandums and Articles of Association

Funding Agreement

Modern Slavery Statement

Gender Pay Gap Report 2021

Gender Pay Gap Report 2020

Gender Pay Gap Report 2019

Trade Union Facility Time 2019-2020

Trade Union Facility Time 2018-2019

Our Governance Scheme of Delegation

Higher paid staff

In accordance with the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook, the number of employees whose employee benefits (excluding employer pension costs) exceeded £100,000 was:

In the band Year to 31 August 2020 Year to 31 August 2019
£100,001-£110,000 1 5
£110,001-£120,000 2
£120,001-£130,000 1
£130,001-£140,000 2
£170,001-£180,000 1
£180,001-£190,000 1