The Trustees ensure that the Trust delivers on its aims and provides support and challenge to individual schools. They have a key oversight role as well as being involved in the management and delivery of Trust services. Click the links below for more information about the Trustees.
John has been involved in school governance for over fifteen years. After primary experience, he became a governor at a local secondary school, Archbishop Holgate’s, where he served as Chair from 2008 – 2022 and led the governing body’s response to the “outstanding” OFSTED inspection in October 2021.
He has been asked by two local authorities to work as an additional governor in some very different school contexts. This has included the huge satisfaction of working with the Governing Boards and Heads at two primary schools, one in serious weakness and one requiring improvement, to achieve “good” judgments in both cases. He also delivers training courses, licensed by the National College, for the National Governors’ Association for current and aspiring Governing Board Chairs.
He is passionate about outcomes for children, believing that one of governors’ key roles is to work with the Head and Senior Leadership Teams of schools to build aspiration and create “other tomorrows” for pupils. There is a well evidenced link between the quality of governing bodies and the outcomes for learners and he believes that governors need to focus limited resource on things that drive outcomes and “make the boat go faster”; not just in academic attainment (although this has to be non-negotiable) but also in educating the whole child.
Since August 2016 he has chaired the Board of the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust, a MAT of eleven schools based in York now with around 650 staff, more than 4000 young people and an eight figure turnover.
John spent the first half of his working life in various senior sales, marketing and operational roles working for a number of companies including Sainsbury and Nestlé. Since becoming self-employed in 2006 he has built a successful consulting business in both the private and public sectors. He also works as a trainer and specialises in delivering training on leadership and negotiation to more than a dozen blue chip companies in the commercial world, as well as working in the education and health sectors.
Until resigning in October 2014, he sat as the senior non-executive director and deputy Chairman on a local NHS Hospitals Trust with a £480m turnover where he also chaired the Performance and Finance committee. He runs his own wine importing business. He has in recent years also become fascinated by the potential of simple businesses to alleviate poverty in the developing world and has spent some pro bono time in Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria exploring this. In September 2018 John was made a Lay Canon by the Archbishop of York and appointed to the Chapter of York Minster (the cathedral’s governing executive) where he served a three year term until 2021.
Outside work he is involved in St Hilda’s church in Tang Hall and enjoys spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren as well as reading, long distance walking, playing the piano, and competitive backgammon.
Claire has been an active member of the Local Governing Committee at Hempland Primary School since 2012, sitting on both the Finance and Premises Committees. Claire was part of the original group set up to investigate and formalize the decision-making process to become an Academy School as part of a Multi Academy Trust and is committed to its success.
Claire is currently working to improve the IT and reading provision at Hempland Primary School. She is working with the Senior Leadership Team at Hempland to extend the provision of Chromebooks within Key Stage 2. Claire is also involved in a major upgrade of reading resources within the school, working with individual teachers to provide ‘magical and inspirational’ reading areas in each and every classroom.
Claire has over fifteen years’ experience as a Business Leader and Company Director, working nationally in both the technology and publishing business areas, and is also a Food and Nutrition Author, writing best-selling healthy cooking books published through HarperCollins and Orion.
As a Master of Mathematics, Claire is well-qualified to take on financial roles and her strong analytical and data skills complement the Board. She has worked as a Finance Director at two successful York businesses and understands educational finance well due to her time on the Finance & Staffing Committee at Hempland Primary School.
On a more personal note, Claire lives in York with her husband Andy, and spends more time than she should running after her three children. She also has a penchant for classic detective fiction, reflected in the output of her publishing company, Pepik Books.
Role as link Director for Values
Alison and Claire work together to ensure that all schools, Church and Community, big and small, are able to flourish and maintain their own distinctive values and ethos while working together to share strengths and support across all the schools within the Trust. Their job on the MAT board is to make sure that in the pursuit of excellence across the Trust, we are not overlooking the individual needs of our schools and pupils. We do not seek to change or improve the Trust’s Vision and Values but rather to safeguard these collaborative values in the decision-making process, making sure that the values of both our schools and the Trust are maintained into the future.
Andy works as a Consultant Histopathologist which is the tissue diagnostic branch of laboratory medicine. He is a member of Christ Church in Heworth. He is deeply committed to the Christian ethos and values of Archbishop Holgate’s school and has been a governor there for the last eleven years.
Andy is a MAT Board member, school improvement lead and Chairman of the MAT Standards Group. For Archbishop Holgate’s he is Chairman of the Curriculum Committee, a member of the Pastoral Committee and a Foundation Governor.
Andy’s three children have all completed their education at Hempland primary school and Archbishop Holgate’s school and have moved on to higher education and beyond.
Outside work and school, among many other things he enjoys dinghy racing with his family, being a partner in a small wine business and attempting to unravel the mysteries of his golf game.
Role as link Director for School Improvement
Andy brings his experience on the curriculum committee to his role as school improvement lead for the MAT. This role is delivered through the standards committee which is where results are scrutinised in detail, priorities are set for the year ahead and progress against the priorities is monitored throughout the year.
This strategic work is done in partnership with the Heads Group which delivers the operational implementation. In addition to scrutinising results, priorities and teaching and learning for each group of learners, the standards committee considers carefully the wider curriculum as each of our schools seeks to prepare their children as fully as possible for their next stage in life.
Margaret is an experienced educational professional, with considerable experience working in schools and in various school improvement roles within several local authorities.
Margaret has enjoyed a successful career in a wide range of schools as a classroom teacher, phase leader, deputy headteacher and headteacher. As a headteacher she was instrumental in significantly raising standards of provision and outcomes for pupils, which were sustained over time, leading to a highly successful Ofsted inspection and the school being included in HMCI’S annual report (1995/6).
Seeking a new challenge, Margaret opted for a new direction in her career and gained an appointment as a Local Authority School Improvement Adviser at the start of 2000. Working in school improvement teams in the North East and Humberside she was able to contribute to the introduction and successful implementation of a number of important initiatives and key areas of educational reform before moving to York as Principal Primary Adviser. Whilst in this senior post she led a talented team of consultants, advisers and School Improvement Partners (SIPs) working across the authority with a clear focus on leadership development, improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, accelerating pupil achievement, closing the gap in outcomes between groups of pupils, and improving overall school effectiveness.
Following retirement from her full-time post in York, Margaret became an independent educational consultant in 2013, working directly with schools in different and diverse local authorities with a focus on improving provision and outcomes for children and young people. This included working with school leaders and teaching teams in individual schools / groups of schools and supporting work between schools in a locality or a multi academy trust.
In all of these roles Margaret has had the opportunity to share knowledge, skills and experience with all sectors of the school workforce and governors, impacting positively on the quality of provision, educational outcomes for children and sustainable improvement across individual schools, groups of schools and local authorities.
Throughout her career in education, Margaret has endeavoured to create opportunities and initiatives to enable all children and young people in her care to engage in the process of fulfilling and exciting learning. She is a firm believer in the fundamental value of education as the touchstone for the growth and development of individuals as positive, creative and productive members of society.
Margaret is married and has lived in York since 2004. She enjoys reading, gardening, walking, relaxing with family and friends and having a great time with her young grandson.
Allie is a former lecturer in Sports Science with a particular interest in Anatomy, Physiology and Nutrition in Sport. As a qualified Registered General Nurse, she also taught in the Health and Social Care faculty specifically focussing on physiology in a clinical setting.
Allie has a wealth of knowledge and experience gleaned from serving as a governor and subsequently Chair of Governors for 11 years at Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School, the largest in York. During this time she was Safeguarding Lead, member of the finance and staffing committee, SEN Governor and involved in ensuring the welfare and pastoral care of staff. This included newly qualified and student teachers. She also ensured the effective use of Pupil Premium funding alongside attainment & progress reporting for each year group on a termly basis. Her other roles included performance management of the Head Teacher, interviewing staff and supporting the school during two Ofsted inspections.
Allie is a passionate believer in the accessibility of holistic education for all, ensuring each individual is given the ability to develop and achieve their utmost potential in order to thrive and become happy and productive members of society. As a MAT board member she is fully committed to ensuring all children and staff are allowed the opportunity to learn, grow and achieve.
As a swim coach, her spare time is spent encouraging her development squad to swim faster, have fun and always leave with a smile. She enjoys family time away from the pool, walking their dog Viking and generally having fun. Allie and her family love travelling (especially in the USA) and watching and participating in a variety of sports.
Jake has a strong background of working within the education support services sector having spent 10 years in various senior estates management roles in York schools across all Key Stages. Through Jake’s experiences he has developed a broad skill set including property, project, risk and health & safety management. A Certified member of the Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management, Jake has Chaired the National Educational Estates Conference and in 2017 he won the inaugural IWFM Strategic Learner of the Year Award. Jake’s full time role as Head of Facilities Management Operations at the Ministry of Justice involves responsibility for the delivery of FM Services to Prisons, Probation, Home Office and MoJ HQ Properties.
In previous roles, Jake has experience within the legal sector and more recently had the opportunity to coach soccer (football!) to young players across the continental US.
As someone who feels passionately about the development and continuous improvement of Pathfinder MAT, Jake brings to the Board a commitment to strive for excellence in all that we do as a family of schools, celebrating each school’s own unique character and history, whilst at the same time never losing sight of the synergies created through collaborative working and the promotion of our shared values as we help each pupil in our care to achieve their potential.
Jake is married to Denise and likes to spend free time travelling, running, football refereeing and walking with St. Bernards Elsa & Nahla.
Role as link Director for Estates and Health and Safety
As part of his role as link Director for Estates and Health and Safety, Jake works closely with the MAT’s CEO, COO, CFO and Estates and Facilities Manager, interfacing between the MAT Board and the MAT central team in these subject areas. These meetings explore specific areas within the field of Estates and Health and Safety and focus on key strategic priorities, such as the development of the MAT Health and Safety Management System, medium to long term financial forecasting around estates development, the monitoring and evaluation processes, and, ultimately, how the Board are reported to and informed in these areas.
A key aspect of Jake’s link role involves ensuring that the Board are provided with assurances in terms of the MAT estate’s compliance with statutory provisions. As part of his full-time role within central government, Jake is able to keep abreast of the latest developments and innovations within the Estates, Facilities Management and Health and Safety sectors, and can support the central team in identifying where these can be adopted and used to add value to the MAT’s systems and processes.
Sandara graduated in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bradford in 1995 before joining Nestle UK. She has over 22 years’ experience working in various Quality Management and Technical roles, including Technical Manager for the Cocoa processing and Chocolate manufacturing plants, and Quality Manager with multi-site responsibility. After the birth of her second child in 2007 she returned to work part time, joining the 3rd Party Team as Quality Manager working with Nestle Affiliates in Europe, Co-manufacturers and Licensees.
At the end of 2014 Sandara joined the Corporate Quality Assurance function initially with responsibility for Supplier Quality Assurance for the market and then later becoming the market expert for chemical contaminants and food fraud. Sandara is responsible for developing cost optimised surveillance plans for the UK, monitoring factory progress against the plans, identifying training requirements and providing training to the factory teams.
Sandara is an experienced food safety and compliance auditor. She regularly audits suppliers and 3rd Parties against the Nestle Food Safety Management System requirements and audits other Nestle functions against ISO 9001:2015 Quality System Management requirements.
Sandara has volunteered her time since 2010 supporting local primary school children in individual and guided reading. She also is a member of the local community swimming pool committee. Sandara has also helped out at Cub and Scout meetings and events, including hikes and weekend camps.
On a personal level, Sandara lives near York with her husband and two children. Sandara enjoys the outdoors including walking her dog, running, and spending as many weekends as possible in the summer camping with her family.
Role as link Director for Compliance
As link Director for compliance Sandara supports the MAT board in identifying areas in which compliance is required, monitoring compliance to relevant standards and ensuring the MAT board is informed of specific issues. Recently this included Sandara working with the MAT Operations Manager to review the progress against the implementation of the new General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Other activities include confirming adherence to mandatory policy review schedules and constructive questioning and challenge of senior leaders relating to compliance issues. Within the Pathfinder MAT board there are also link Directors for key compliance areas (Education, SEND, Finance, Safeguarding, Health & Safety). Sandara has experience of monitoring compliance to internal and external standards, and advising on the EU Regulations within her current role in Nestlé UK.
Derek is an experienced Human Resources professional, having held several positions of responsibility in large and medium sized global and UK based culturally diverse companies. His roles have covered all areas of strategic and operational HR within a business, including people development, succession planning, change management, acquisition integrations and compensation management. He considers the role of the HR function within an organisation as critical – people are often a key differentiator, and as individuals they deserve to have the best opportunities they can whilst at the same time delivering a maximum return to the organisation.
He recently joined British Steel as its Group Human Resources Director. This role is focused overall on helping enable and drive a performance based culture whilst ensuring a strong level of employee engagement. A large employer in the areas where its operations are located, British Steel places great value on working closely with its communities – including investing in strong apprenticeship and school link programmes.
Derek relocated from London to York in 2016 for family reasons including superior education opportunities and an improved standard of living for his young family. Prior to the 12 years he spent in London, he and his wife lived in France.
He attributes his family and professional success to having had a strong education when growing up – he feels that he was presented with some great opportunities that met his individual needs, and that have ultimately led him to where he is now. He has also had good insight into educational life through his wife, who is a primary school teacher.
His personal and professional experiences, and the fact that he has a young family, have led to his passion for the importance of the right start in life for young people.
Role as link Director for Human Resources
As link Director for Human Resources (HR), Derek works closely with the MAT HR Manager, providing an informal interface between the MAT board and the MAT HR function. Discussions cover all areas of HR/People activity, ranging from strategic direction discussions to day to day operational issues. A key output of the link relationship is the ability to provide to the board a comprehensive and robust overview of employee related matters, metrics and trends, in order that key decisions can be taken in this area.
Kathryn is Chief Executive of York Museums Trust (YMT) and has been in post since January 2023. YMT is the charity responsible for running York Art Gallery, York Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens and York St. Mary’s.
Prior to moving to YMT, Kathryn was Chapter Steward/Chief Operating Officer at York Minster for nine years. There she was responsible for leading a team of 200 staff and 500 volunteers, for the daily operation of the Minster, its Museum, Collections and visitor experience and for running the six hectare estate, mainly scheduled ancient monument which includes 56 listed properties and the Minster. She also had oversight of the Minster’s finances, including investments and the property portfolio. She led on various projects including registration with the Charity Commission, the Covid response and the development of two, five year strategic plans. During her time in post, Kathryn was Chair of the Cathedral Administration and Finance Association and served as a member of Bishoprics and Cathedrals Committee.
Before her time in York, Kathryn worked for eight years for the Science Museum Group, finishing her time there as Deputy Director of the National Media Museum in Bradford. There she led the public programme which included: temporary exhibitions; permanent galleries; annual film festivals; schools, community & life-long learning programmes and the oversight of a digital media and design studio. Before moving to Yorkshire, Kathryn spent five years working for BBC Sport as a Producer, leading on the implementation of new technology into on-screen coverage including Hawkeye on tennis, Skycam on rugby and virtual graphics on athletics. She was also joint Senior Producer, of the 70 strong production team, responsible for red button coverage of international sporting events, Olympics, World Cup, Wimbledon, Open Golf who were awarded a BAFTA Interactive.
Kathryn lives in York with her husband and two children.