Edwina Grant OBE

Chair of Members

Edwina Grant OBE is a children’s services consultant holding several associate posts with Newton Europe, The Chartered Institute of Public Service Accountants, Whole Education, The Family Safeguarding Unit, and the Greenwood Academy Trust.

She is a qualified teacher with a master’s level qualification in education specialising in Special Educational Needs. She has been a Director of Children’s services in four local authorities. She has chaired improvement boards in the London Borough of Croydon and Manchester Council. In 2015, she was awarded the OBE for services to children’s social care. She was educated in Blackpool and is a qualified executive coach.

Dr Paul Barker

Dr Barker has a wealth of experience in the education sector starting his teaching career following his completion of a PhD in Digestive Physiology. He was Deputy Head Teacher of Montgomery High School, Bispham for 21 years, when the school was oversubscribed and seen as the ‘first choice’ school in the area.

After leaving Montgomery Dr Barker became a Senior Education Officer for Blackpool Council with responsibility for data and worked with data on behalf of the National Association of Looked After Children.

He is now retired but still tutors students in Maths.

Dr Barker is Chairman and Trustee of the Friends of Blackpool Music Service and the Blackpool Male Voice Choir.

Lesley Gwinett

Lesley is the CEO of Endeavour Learning Trust. Lesley originally became Head at Tarleton Academy in 2011, developing this Single Academy into a Multi Academy Trust.

Lesley has considerable experience of leading and shaping the school improvement process in a wide range of schools, including those in challenging circumstances, as well as extensive experience of managing school finances, HR and operational processes at scale. Lesley is also a National Leader of Education who has contributed significantly to system leadership, including currently as the Chair of the BBL (Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire) CEO Network. She has sat on the multi-agency Lancashire Children and Young People Partnership Board and was an established member of the LWY (Lancashire and West Yorkshire) RSC Advisory Board for three years (2019 – 2022).

Jenny Olivine

Jenny has worked in a diverse range of high schools from Salford 11-16, Bolton 11-18, Fleetwood brand new 11-16, Broughton almost brand new 11-16 and then to a very old 11-16 with 20% Asian heritage pupils. She learned how to educate and support a very wide range of young people, including those with Mld and Spld, those with challenging home circumstances and diverse cultural backgrounds etc. She also has experience leading schools and was a consultant delivering training programmes to aspiring Headteachers.

Jenny also delivered Governor training for LCC for several years and was a founder member of Women in Education training women teachers to progress along their chosen career paths.

Jamie Truelove

Having graduated from Cambridge University in 2001, Jamie became a Leading Maths Teacher within the county of Cambridgeshire and was on the finance committee of his school's governing body before returning home to Blackpool. He has spent the vast majority of his career teaching in KS2, including being a member of SLT. He has a strong interest in sports, the personal development of pupils and the provision of a wide range of enrichment opportunities. He has also worked for seven years for a world class entertainments company being involved with customer service, guest relations, online ticketing, e commerce and marketing. Jamie has been Chair of Governors at Boundary school for the last two years (for over 5 years in total) and has had the pleasure of supporting the school on it's journey to outstanding in all areas.


Susan Strother

Chair of Trustees

Susan was born in Blackpool and worked at Blackpool Council in a number of departments including planning, estates and the school’s capital team. She is now employed by Lancashire County Council as an Asset Manager leading on the academy conversion programme.

She has been a governor at 3 local schools and this has enabled her to widen her skill set to encompass finance, legal and curriculum knowledge. She is committed to improving educational chances for pupils within disadvantaged areas.

Nicola Farrer

Joint Vice Chair of Trustees

Nicola was born and educated in Blackpool qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant in a Blackpool firm in 1996; She has been involved in accounts preparation, audits (including academies) and budget preparation for small/medium/large companies, charities and trusts.

For over 25 years, she has been a school governor serving as both Chair of Finance and Resources and Co-Vice Chair of the Governing Board. During her time as a governor, she explored options of mergers via academisation or otherwise, successfully navigated budget issues, built a brand-new school and saw the number on roll double.

She wholeheartedly believes in keeping the child at the heart of everything we do and striving for all students to reach their potential.

Gemma Duxbury

Joint Vice Chair of Trustees

Gemma is a partner in a Preston-based law firm and has been a practising solicitor for 18 years, spending time in both the public and private sectors.

Her experience includes dealing with all but one of the academy conversions in Blackpool and providing advice to all Blackpool Schools on a whole range of matters including exclusions, admissions, subject access requests, data protection, procurement, contracts for services and statutory duties.

Ainsley Cheetham

Ainsley has worked in education and training for 40 years. He has successfully led curriculum development in a number of establishments supporting over 200 schools with curriculum design and funding.

Ainsley has a clear understanding of government and ESFA funding and uses this to maximise opportunities for all pupils.

Jo Hirst

Jo retired as the Headteacher of Bispham Endowed Church of England Primary School in August 2020, following a career in primary education spanning thirty seven years, teaching in schools in both Lancashire and Blackpool.

During her eighteen years of headship, Jo was very involved in the wider educational landscape of Blackpool as Chair of the Schools’ Procurement Board, Chair of the Schools’ Forum, Chair of the Primary & Special Headteachers’ Group and a member of the Blackpool Education Improvement Board.

She has over thirty years’ experience as a governor / trustee in Blackpool schools, including in the role of Vice Chair of Governors / Trustees.

Jo currently works part time as an Education Consultant for Blackpool Council’s School Improvement Team supporting both maintained and academy schools. Jo is passionate about making sure that Blackpool schools are supporting the town’s children and families in any way they can, enabling Blackpool’s young people to be the best they can be.

Gill Hughes

Gill Hughes has worked in education all of her working life. Having graduated from Edge Hill with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1989, she worked at Moor Park Junior School for 11 years as a yr. 3 teacher, senior teacher with responsibility for pastoral care and then SENCO.

She then moved to Park Community Academy, where she has worked for 22 years. Having started there working 20 hours a week providing PPA cover and small group support, she then became KS2 team leader, then KS3 team leader and then led the school’s bid to become a Specialist College for the Performing and Creative Arts.

Following the success of this bid she became Assistant Head/Director of Specialism and was then Deputy Head for 7 years.. Following the retirement of the previous Head, she was appointed as Headteacher in January 2021.

Matt Mciver

Matt has been involved in education in Blackpool for over 16 years. He spent 8 years as a School Business Manager at St George’s High School and led the school through the academy conversion process. Matt is now the Chief Operating Officer for Cidari Multi Acaemy Trust supporting 14 schools across Blackpool. Blackburn and Lancashire. Matt is also a member of the ISBL, CST and is currently completing a CPIFA Diploma in School Financial and Operational Leadership.

Rachel Tax

Rachel has worked in Early Years and Primary aged childcare for over 30 years. Rachel has also been involved in governance for the past 17 years, firstly becoming a parent governor at Stanley Primary School. This enabled Rachel to gain experience and knowledge on how schools are managed and led, curriculum, planning, budgets and finance.

She is also involved as Group Scout Leader, Trustee of the Blackpool Reform Jewish Congregation and the Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company as a trustee.

Terms of Office- Trustees

Updated: 25/04/2024 24 KB