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Acorn Trust

Acorn Trust

Meet the Board

The Board of Trustees assume full responsibility for the strategic direction of the Multi Academy Trust. The Trustees will be accountable for the entire business operation of the Trust. The Trust will take responsibility for the financial and resource management of the schools so they can concentrate on the education of its pupils. The strategic direction of each school will be set through the Local Advisory Board to whom the Trustees have delegated responsibility. Although the Board holds overall responsibility and control it is important that each school is able to self-govern through the local advisory board. This self-governance will look different within each school dependent on their journey and the individual challenges of the school. It will include holding the school to account for standards, curriculum and pastoral care. It will be strategic in the development of the school improvement plan and holding the school to account for it.  This will be set out in the scheme of delegation which may vary from school to school.




Rev Paul Martin

  •  Chair of the Bolton and Rochdale District which has 11 Methodist/Methodist Anglican Primary Schools.
  • Previously served as Chair of Governors in two Methodist Primary Schools and a Community Primary School.
  • Passionate about the need for children to get a good start in life through education and keen to encourage the missional and evangelistic opportunities which exist through our schools. 

Mr Graham White

  • Former Chair of the Trust and the Local Advisory Board (LAB) at Westleigh School and the Board of Trustees with almost 30 years experience as a governor with a significant number as chair of governors.
  • Worked for British Gas for 42 years, Technical Gas Support Engineer duties included leading teams of engineers, on the job training, assessing and monitoring.

Mr Kevin Meredith


  • Chair of the Local Advisory Board at Bedford Hall School with governance experience for 8 years.
  • Member of the Methodist Church. A current Methodist Church Treasurer for over 20 years and former Methodist Circuit Treasurer for 15 churches, responsible for financial accountability to Church and Circuit.
  • Employed over 38 years for a large cable manufacturer, positions held included Head of Process Development and Product Development responsible for managing engineers, coordinating development of new processes/products and appraisals.
  • Employed over 9 years in a Property Management Company, responsible for Property Maintenance, issuing and managing contracts and contractors.

Mrs Dawn Lancashire


  • Governor for 17 Years and Chair of the Local Advisory Board at Westleigh Methodist School
  • Headteacher at Light Oaks Infant School
  •  Bolton & Rochdale Methodist District Day School Visitor & Secretary of the Schools Forum
  • Methodist Education Officer representing the District at Methodist Connexional
  • Involved with Headteacher Performance Management for number of years





Mrs Julie-Ann Hewitt


Julie-Ann has extensive educational leadership experience at both school and Trust level and has been involved in education for over 25 Years of which 20 have been in leadership. She was the founding CEO of the Acorn Trust in the North West and has led it successfully for several years. She developed a vision for education within the Trust that focusses on providing academic success alongside opportunities to build cultural capital for all pupils. She has led school improvement within many schools across Wigan through the LA consortium model and has a successful track record of helping vulnerable schools make rapid progress.


BA (hons) Theology 2:1

Mr David Harrison

Chair of the Trust

  • Led a number of businesses for last 40 years and has a passion to see young people prepared for the 21st century Work place
  • Served as Operations Director of a systems leading Multi Academy trust
  • Chair of 2 primary and 1 secondary academies in Lincolnshire and the Humber area.
  • Previously served as Chair of Governors in a secondary school that progressed from Special measures to Outstanding.
  • Keen to see young people provided with the best academic cultural and sporting opportunities as a right and not a privilege.

Mr Max Bailey 

  • Retired Solicitor. Former Managing Partner of large Bury firm of Solicitors where I guided them to Investor in People recognition and a Legal Aid Franchise.
  • Past President of The Bury & District Law Society.
  • Former Invigilator of Examinations at The University of Manchester.
  • Gift Aid Secretary at The Bridge Church Bolton 

Miss Tracey Collier

A CII qualified Financial Consultant with several years private sector corporate banking experience in strategic research & development.

Now a Senior Manager in the Civil Service working with public sector teams around the UK. Managing departmental wide capability building projects including the development of digitalised and immersive learning technologies.

Also Chair of the Trust's Finance and Audit Committee.

Mrs Nicki Taylor

Nicki has 20 years’ experience of working in law, the NHS and more recently the last 6 years working as a senior leader in education.  Initially working in one secondary academy and progressing into overseeing the operational aspects of 11 secondaries within a large Multi Academy Trust, Nicki works with an operational team to deliver the operational strategy of non-educational functions including administration, health and safety, pupil data, catering, parental communication, Ofsted compliance and site related issues within the schools.

Nicki is passionate about education and is currently studying at Loughborough University for her MSc in Strategic Leadership.

Miss Cathryn Bale

Regional Lead Practitioner In Mathematics for a multi academy trust across primary and secondary schools in the North of England. Previous roles within education includes Transition leader, Progress system leader for KS3, Head of Year and Teacher of Maths. Experience working with primary schools and nurseries in both the UK and Australia. Passionate about improving the lives of young people both in present day and to maximise their futures. 

James Inman

Director of Education (North East/Executive Headteacher) Consilium Academies.

James has worked for Consilium Academies since Buile Hill Academy joined the trust in August 2016.

James has enjoyed a number of roles including:

  • 1999 - French teacher at Wellington School where he was promoted to Key Stage 4 Coordinator.
  • 2001 he became the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator at Stamford High School, where he joined the SLT in 2005 in a new role as where he was responsible for Teaching and Learning where he was given the opportunity to work with Alistair Smith.
  • Curriculum Deputy Headteacher at Buile Hill Visual Arts College in 2008 where he was successful in securing the position of Headteacher.
  • James has chaired the Secondary Schools Heads and Principals Association (SSHAPAS) and he has been an active member of the School’s Finance Forum Group representing Salford Headteachers within the LA in regards to finance for schools.
  • James is currently seconded for two days a week as Executive Head at Washington Academy in the North East working in his capacity as Consilium Director of Education for the North East.

James holds his core beliefs of inclusivity and providing the very best educational opportunities central to all he does.