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Great Academies Education Trust

Inspiring Greatness

Trustees and Members






Ian Munro (Chair)

Ian has worked in Environmental Health and Housing for over forty years. Originally from the North East he has worked in Cheshire, London and South Wales, developing a passion for Urban Renewal and ensuring partnership working with agencies, Government and communities.

He moved to Tameside in Greater Manchester in 1991 and became Director of Housing in 1992. He supervised the implementation of one of the country’s first, and most successful, Renewal Areas levering in over £70M in private sector investment into one of the Borough’s townships.

He led the transfer of Tameside’s housing stock to New Charter Housing Trust Group in March 2000. This was the first Metropolitan transfer and at the time the biggest and first to a new group structure. The Group has just completed its 10 year £300M investment programme. Aksa Housing Association, providing homes and services for Black and Ethnic minority customers in Greater Manchester, joined the Group in 2005.


November 2008 saw the transfer of 3,500 homes from Gedling BC in Nottinghamshire to form Gedling Homes and a new subsidiary for the Group. The Group now owns 19,500 homes.


He has re-engineered the Group to reflect system thinking to provide additional resource for neighbourhoods and capacity building. The Group now has one of the highest satisfaction ratings from its customers in the UK. He credits the introduction of coaching at all levels in the Company as one of the keys to the Group’s transformation.


Threshold Housing Project, a major homelessness charity, joined the Group in April 2012.


Ian was awarded the OBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List for Service to Housing.

Tony Powell (Vice Chair)

Tony has over 40 years’ experience of working in Local Authority and Social Housing. Extensive knowledge of Housing Management, Housing Advice, Homelessness, Supported Housing, and Community Regeneration. In recent years, he has developed a number of partnerships/consortiums, and has established the Commercial Partnership Directorate which has enabled the Group to position itself to achieve its wider Corporate Plan Objectives.


As a member of the Management Team, he is responsible for developing and delivering the strategic direction of the Group, Performance Monitoring, Risk Assessments, Governance, new development, asset management and New Charter Building Company.


Tony is a member and director of the Great Academies Education Trust and a Chair of Governors at a local Primary School, and Board Member for Challenge4Change.

Chris Amyes

Christine’s background is in organisational, team and personal development. She has worked with many public and private organisations in developing organisational capacity to deliver high performance. She is an experienced executive coach and has worked successfully with CEOs and Directors in a range of contexts to improve performance.


Christine joined New Charter in 2001, taking up her post as Director in 2006. She has led the development of the organisation to one where both employee and customer satisfaction is over 90%. Her responsibilities include Customer Experience, Communications, Organisational Development, Human Resources, Health and Safety, Legal Services, Governance, Risk Management and Audit.


Christine is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a Board Member of the Tameside Prosperous Board, prioritising employment, enterprise and skills across the borough.


She is passionate about young people having access to high quality education and as a member and director of Great Academies Education Trust is a key part of developing the Group’s involvement in the education of local young people . She is also Chair of Governors at Copley Academy. Christine works with local and regional partners to support access to employment for local young people including those who leave our academies.

Chris Bowes


Chris is a solicitor and a partner in the global law firm CMS. He is a very experienced real estate lawyer with specialist expertise in planning and development work. Chris acts for clients in both the public and private sectors and has been involved in some of the UK’s biggest regeneration projects, which has often involved balancing the competing requirements of a multitude of stakeholders.


Chris is also a trustee of MICAIA UK a charity that supports the work of the MICAIA Foundation and eco-MICAIA (a social enterprise company), both organisations seek to address the causes of poverty in Mozambique.

Dr Anna Ferguson

Anna has experience of working at senior levels in engineering consultancy companies. She is currently Strategy Director with TNEI (as specialist energy consultancy) and was previously Head of Power Networks with Atkins.


As Strategy Director with TNEI she has responsibility for developing TNEI’s strategic direction, for managing the business development team and for developing TNEI’s core services into new areas. She participates in the Directors’ meetings and contributes to decisions regarding operations, personnel and organisation. Anna also has experience in restructuring teams and organisational change.


Anna is a Chartered Engineer and a member of a number of professional organisations and working groups in the electricity networks sector. She regularly speaks at conferences and chairs conference panels.


Anna has a strong academic background with degrees from Cambridge University and Bath University and a PhD from Leeds University. She was also a member of the teaching staff for Bath University on their MSc in Electrical Power Systems by Distance Learning. She is, therefore, passionate about education and helping to enable the best possible education for all young people.

Annette Hall

Annette is a very experienced education leader with a proven track record of achieving educational improvement. Annette’s most recent role was for White Rose Academies as Executive Principal and CEO, a Multi Academy Trust with 3 Academies based in Leeds.


Her leadership was judged outstanding whilst at Leeds West Academy and she has an excellent understanding of accountability frameworks within schools and within regional and national frameworks. Annette has wide experience of accountability within multi-academy trusts at local governance and board level. As a successful principal and CEO, she has strong inter-personal skills, the ability to create and articulate a vision and well developed strategic planning skills. Annette has led and project managed significant and challenging programmes e.g. the LWA building was considered the ‘flagship’ BSF Leeds school.


Annette is committed to educational excellence and fully invested in the academies programme. She is values driven in all aspects of her work and believes in attention to detail and a relentless focus on what matters - teaching and learning, leadership and how to develop the skills and attributes needed for excellence in others to improve schools.

Sue Hutchinson

Sue is an Audit Partner in a Top 10 North West accountancy practice specialising in not for profit and public sectors.


Having over 15 years’ experience Sue has been involved in the audit and assurance of academies, further education establishments, charities and housing associations. Sue is very experienced in providing support to clients in delivering their financial reporting, regulatory and Governance objectives.


She also enjoys presenting at sector specific seminars and conferences.


Sue’s recent academies experience has included working with MAT’s on specialist due diligence and Governance projects.

Kieran Quinn

Councillor Kieran Quinn has been the Leader of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council since 2010 and a Labour member for Droylsden East since 1994.


Kieran is also the Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund Management Panel. Greater Manchester Pension Fund is the largest Local Government Pension Scheme fund in the United Kingdom with assets of just under £18bn. Greater Manchester Pension Fund is amongst the best funded of LGPS schemes. The strength of GMPF’s funding level is built on excellent long term investment returns, and the Fund is ranked 1st amongst the WM local authority universe over 25 years. In 2013 GMPF was selected as the sole administering authority for the Probation Service’s LGPS interests. The Fund has an allocation to local investments of up to 5% including local property.


Kieran is the Chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, a national body that co-ordinates the ESG for £200billion of Local Authority Fund assets.


Kieran is the Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead member with responsibility for the Investment and Business development portfolio. Within this area, and alongside lead responsibility for GMPF, Kieran is responsible for the Combined Authority approach to its multiple investment funds, European programme and general investment funding matters across Greater Manchester. Kieran chairs the GM Local Management Committee for the 2014-20 ERDF programme, the investment board and sits on the board of the Greater Manchester Growth Company to advice on investment issues.

Helen Whittingham

Helen has worked in finance for the last 25 years for Local Authorities, Registered Providers and Greater Manchester Police. A Chartered Accountant since 1994 she has undertaken numerous accountancy roles throughout her career, including being part of the transfer team for the creation of New Charter Housing Trust.


Helen worked at New Charter Housing Trust since its inception in 2000. She undertook the position of Director of Resources, a Group role which was responsible for the Financial Planning & Control Team, which had in excess of £100m annual turnover; and the Governance Team which provided services for the Great Academies Education Trust. Helen previously held the role of Executive Director of Finance at Equity Housing Group.


Helen is currently Head of Finance for Trafford Housing Trust, a North West leading registered provider. She is responsible for the delivery of financial services to the Group.


As well as being a Board member and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee for Great Academies Education Trust, Helen is also a member of the Audit & Risk Committee at ForViva Housing Group and a Board Member at Wrekin Housing Trust.


Helen has a passion and commitment to continual learning and development, and is currently studying for an ILM in coaching.


Helen Curran (co-optee)

Helen is a Chartered Accountant with over twenty five years’ experience gained in public practice and the private sector. Her expertise includes commercial and technical aspects of financial planning, management and control, investment appraisal, organisational redesign and international project management.


Helen currently runs a micro accounting practice in Cheshire providing accounting, taxation and business planning services to small businesses. She is also co-Director providing financial support for an independent advisory firm which delivers management consultancy in public-private partnerships.

Prior to her most recent roles Helen spent eleven years working in senior management positions for an international pharmaceutical plc. Astra Zeneca. She is now keen to bring her experience and skills to benefit the Trust and its schools.

Allison Crompton CBE


Allison is the Chief Executive of Great Academies Education Trust joining in September 2016. She has worked in schools in various boroughs of Greater Manchester for over thirty years, joining Middleton Technology School in Rochdale as head teacher in 2004. In 2006 Middleton Technology School was judged outstanding in all areas and has sustained its academic success and Ofsted judgement since then. The school under Allison’s leadership has been nationally recognised for the work that it does.


In 2009 the school was highlighted by Ofsted in “Twelve Outstanding Schools: Excelling against the odds.” The report sought to answer - why some schools succeed brilliantly against all the odds while others struggle? It provided evidence-based answers and drew on the schools’ practice, experience and ambitions to identify how they: achieved excellence, sustained excellence and shared excellence. It talked about leaders of vision, courage and conviction, with the ability to create and inspire teams whose members work consistently for each other. It characterised - no effort spared, a passionate belief in all young people, no challenge insurmountable, the hard-won respect and confidence of the community and an attitude that was neither elite nor saw the school as an exceptional island.


Allison has been a national leader of education (NLE) since 2008 and MTS a national support school. The school has had numerous specialist strands and was a national hub for educational leadership, supporting school leaders up and down the country. A member of the SSAT national head teacher steering group and chair of the national steering group for Design and Technology, Allison also chaired the Rochdale Association of Secondary Heads for many years and in 2012 set up the Rochdale Pioneers Trust serving as its CEO and leading the Teaching School at MTS. Allison was honoured in 2011 for service to education.

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