'Come as you are and leave as a champion'

Meet the Team

Executive Officer and Accounting Officer
Mrs Lynne Bennett
Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Mr Sam Compton
Chief Financial Officer
Mrs Amanda Wilkinson
Head of Business and Operations
Mrs Lynn Thorley

Member (Chair) - HHJ David Fletcher CBE

I am a Circuit Judge since 2004, prior to my judicial appointment I was a solicitor working in North Staffordshire. I am the diversity and community relations judge for Stoke on Trent and Stafford. I have been a Governor serving as a chair during the last 12 years.


Member - Mr Tim Blackhurst

I am a successful business-man who runs both a local and national businesses. I am the MD of Ladymoor Foods LTD and have been since 1996. I am also the Executive Director of Hyland Crown LTD and NCB Food Service LTD. I employ over 80 people across Staffordshire and the surrounding area.


Member - Mr Eric Barbour CFIOSH, FInstLM, FIIRSM RSP, GCGI

I am a local business owner of EBB Limited, a Health, Safety and Fire Management Support consultancy. I have served as the Chairman of Newcastle under Lyme Homestart Borough. Also I served in the Royal Marines for 23 years, seeing active service around the world, while also having the honour to serve on the Royal Yacht Britannia. 





Trustee (Chair) Mrs Laura Austen

I graduated from University with a BA(hons) Law and Business in 1997 and have worked at senior manager level within marketing in several blue chip FCA regulated companies where I completed my Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification. I have worked within the education sector as a Company Secretary and Governance Manager and am a Director of our local family run bakery. In 2015, I attended and passed, the National Governor Leadership Programme with Edge Hill university.



Trustee and Chair of Finance Committee -

Mr Robert (Bob) Owen MBE

I am a Chartered Engineer and until retirement was a General Manager in Siemens, responsible for a number of Large Project Engineering Businesses mainly operating in the international market place.
A former Vice-Chair of UMIST and a Board Member of The University of Manchester I have recently been a member of an IEB helping restore a failed school on its journey to recovery.


Trustee - Dr Lee Crofts (resigned 14/05/2021)

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology and Human Resource Management. I graduated with a B.Sc (Hons) in psychology in 1997 and completed my Doctorate from Keele University in 2012. I have been a University Lecturer for 20 years and have a wealth of experience in the education sector. I have been involved in school governance now for the past 12 years in many roles, including LEA Governor, Chair and Behaviour Governor. I’m currently the Transnational Education Manager (Middle East Portfolio) with responsibility for education partners in Dubai, Oman, Cyprus and Prague


Trustee - Mrs Jill Cheadle

I am a retired Headteacher with a vast experience of working in challenging schools. In addition I was a LA Consultant in Staffordshire LA and Stoke LA. I retired from Headship at Brookhouse Green Primary School, Wellfield Road Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent December 1989 and joined Staffordshire LA as a District Inspector January 1990.


Trustee - Mrs Victoria Dalgarno

I am a business owner and Parent Trustee who also works in the independent education sector. I have a number of years experience working in various educational institutions. 

I have experience as a Company Director, and HR Specialist working with Senior Managers to improve business. 

 I hold various qualifications in Business, Management and HR, in addition to a BSc (Hons) degree.


Trustee - Mrs Lynne Bennett (CEO and AO)

I am a National Leader of Education with extensive experience of School to School Support and School Improvement; with over 12 years of Headship experience in challenging schools. I am also the Head of Hempstalls Teaching School Alliance, which is the only Primary teaching school in Staffordshire.


 Trustee - Mr Bernard Kellett

Prior to my retirement I set up and ran my own Human Resources Consultancy business and prior to that was Director of HR at two Russell Group Universities. Before moving into higher education, I was employed by four Local Education authorities undertaking mainly HR roles.
Outside my employment I was a primary school governor for a number of years undertaking a wide range of roles including being Chair of Governors and chairing sub-committees. I was Parish Clerk to my local Parish Council for seven years and I am currently Secretary to the Patient Participation Group at my former GP surgery.
I hold a BA degree and an MSc. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators FCG and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development MCIPD.
I am a trained relationship counsellor and accredited in Alternative Disputes Resolution.



Trustee - Dr Peter Ford

I am an experienced business leader who has built, led and transformed international information technology, consulting & digital organisations of up to 1,000+ people. I have a strong background in project delivery including managing multi-million pound programmes and have led senior teams creating change programmes that have included restructuring, growth and systems, process & culture change. I have a BSc (Chemistry) and PhD from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Open University.




Trustee and Chair of Audit Committee -  Richard Huntley ACIB

I am a retired corporate banker, having spent nearly 40 years in banking, with the last 20 years being with Santander. I also spent 10 years on the board of Wulvern Housing from inception when the housing stock was transferred from the local council.


Trustee - Mrs Andrea Jones

I am currently the Head of Finance at Siemens plc, Congleton.  I am married and have 3 children and am passionate about Equality, diversity and Inclusion within the workplace, in particular encouraging females in to STEM careers.  I joined Siemens in 1988 as a Finance apprentice working across multiple departments and  Siemens sites across the UK.  Latterly spending 12 months on delegation in Germany, I returned as the Head of Finance at Congleton, back where my career started.