• Translate
  • Search
Home Page

Great Academies Education Trust

Inspiring Greatness

Trustees and Members


Annette Hall

Tony Powell

Mike O'Hare



Paul Jones (Chair)

Annette Hall (Vice Chair)

Barbara Daykin

Catherine Williams

Chris Bowes

Frank Norris MBE

Kal Kay

Mike Blakey




Paul Jones (Chair)

Paul is a highly experienced, commercially aware Director, with a proven background in delivering success. This is achieved by applying lean methodology to improve processes, reduce costs and remove quality defects. Using his experience, dedication and most importantly his ability to bring a team with him, he has delivered sustainable growth in all his roles.

Experienced in managing large scale projects, combining manufacturing facilities to deliver savings and future factory vision, along with most recently turning a failing business into a profitable growing company. The speed and quality of his delivery saw him shortlisted for Director of the year award by the IoD. Skilled in waterfall, agile and scrum project management.


Time served toolmaker that has fulfilled many roles from shop floor to senior management, to now completed a turnaround of two companies from loss making to profitable.

Annette Hall (Vice Chair)

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.


Barbara Daykin

Barbara is an experienced education leader.  She led Bristol Local Authority's School  Advisory Service and has been a head teacher in two challenging primary schools, leading both to an Ofsted judgement of Outstanding.  


Barbara was CEO of Endeavour Academy Trust in Bristol and led the growth of the Trust from one, to four primary academies, through the sponsorship of challenging schools as well as building a brand new academy. Under Barbara’s leadership, Endeavour became the national strategic partner for Teach First and Barbara has led aspects of the programme, particularly in the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). As a National Leader of Education, Barbara has supported many academy leaders with a wide range of strategic support, particularly in strengthening systems to improve pupil outcomes. 


Barbara believes that all pupils deserve the very best provision and that home or economic circumstance should not dictate any pupil’s achievement.  Following a move the North West, Barbara remains committed to educational excellence for all, through outstanding teaching and leadership.  She believes that the academies programme provides the best strategic framework through which this can be achieved. 


Catherine Williams

Catherine has 25 years’ experience in developing, aligning and implementing people strategy within Services businesses. She has operated at all levels of the people function and progressed from business partner to work as a Board, Remuneration Committee and an Executive team member for over 15 years.


She has established a track record in supporting business growth through mergers, acquisitions and integrations, to meet the desired commercial objectives within the UK and internationally. She has brought together and led people functions, including: Recruitment; HR Business Partnering; Reward; Organisation Design; Talent Development; Diversity and CSR.


Catherine is the Founder of People Investment Partners and is an advocate of People Strategy being integrated into business strategy and owned by businesses. She believes executive teams must be visible, collaborative and accountable for creating great places to work and to do business.


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.


Frank Norris MBE

The bulk of his teaching career was in Stockport but his two headships were in Trafford and Cheshire. In 2001, he was appointed as HMI and led the introduction of detailed grade descriptors, supported the online self-evaluation form and established the use of contextual value-added data. He led inspections in a wide range of schools and settings including secure units, independent schools, prisons, initial teacher education as well as secondary and primary schools in England and abroad.


In 2005, he was appointed as the senior Ofsted manager responsible for local authority inspections. In 2008, he was appointed assistant to Ofsted’s National Director with direct responsibility for the monitoring and evaluation of the national school inspection programme. In 2009, he was promoted to Divisional Manager for Education and Care and led the development of the two school inspection frameworks that were introduced in 2012. Much of Frank’s work with Ofsted involved many nights away in London so he was pleased when he was appointed as senior school improvement adviser for Stockport from September 2012.


In March 2013, he was approached by the Co-op to become their Education Director to support their wide range of education programmes, including at the time, six sponsored academies in the north of England. In 2014, he was appointed Director (CEO) of the Co-op Academies Trust and oversaw the merger of three trusts into one legal entity and the number of academies growing to twenty-three following a funding commitment from the Co-op of £3.6m. The intention is to increase the number to 40 by 2022. The Trust is highly regarded and is one of the highest performing for disadvantaged students according to DfE, EPI and Sutton Trust reports.


In September 2019, Frank stood down from the CEO role and became the Co-op’s adviser on education and school matters. He was awarded an MBE in summer 2019 for his services to education.


Kal Kay

Kal is an experienced Finance Director with a strong background in finance and management gained from across a variety of sectors, throughout the last 25 years. She is responsible for providing financial leadership across the Great Places Housing Group, shaping the long-term financial plan to align with strategic objectives.


Kal qualified as a Certified Chartered Accountant in 2006 and later gained an MBA from Derby University. She joined Great Places from The Guinness Partnership, where she was a member of the SLT responsible for shaping and steering the property and repair maintenance division. In addition Kal has held senior finance positions in a variety of public sector organisations, as well as providing strategic direction to Arcon Housing Group through her previous role there as a Board Member. 


Kal is passionate about driving innovation and change to ensure the Finance Directorate for Great Places delivers the profit-for-purpose agenda. 


Mike Blakey

Mike is a Group Director overseeing the quality of fostering, schools and residential services and has responsibility for all clinical services across the UK. He is a highly effective leader of education and children's services with a proven track record of rapid children’s service and school improvement.


Mike is a former Ofsted inspector of schools, children's centres and teacher education with QA responsibilities for inspection reporting. Former trained Early Years inspector. Former Inspector of education with the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau and Abu Dhabi Education Council.


He was a graduate of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's future CEO leadership programme and the DfE future Director of Children's Services programme.


Previously the chair of the Board of an Academy and former Director of two Multi-Academy Trusts. Former Board member of a free school and a group of independent schools. Also formerly the chair of an Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and the Children's Fund. Mike has a wide range of experience of working to lead and improve children's services, children's centres, schools, academies, virtual schools and local authority services. Successful experience of leading free school bids. Extensive track record in commercial / business development.


Received two Queen's medals for Mountain Rescue. Former team leader of Patterdale MRT, one of the busiest teams in England and currently operational lead for the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association.


Michael holds a private helicopter pilot’s license and loves flying. 

Contact Details