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Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust Board

The Trust Board has a firm, consistent commitment to collaborative learning.  Trustees are clear about the accountability of sponsorship, including the financial responsibilities.
Our trustees are passionate about bringing about transformational change and improvement to vulnerable schools but also learning through collaboration with convertor academies.

Board membership reflects the skills from external partnerships that deliver impact for pupils – including a unique Independent – State school partnership with Birkdale School (bringing curriculum enhancement and scholarships) and collaboration with the National Education Trust (including projects on effective strategies for the Pupil Premium group and meta-cognition).

All academies in the MAT will be directly accountable to the Board of Trustees who will delegate operational powers to the Executive Leadership Team. Click here to see the governance structure diagram.

Decisions on expanding the Trustee Board will depend on the skills required for each phase of growth. Consideration will be given about recruiting Trustees from convertor schools, but this will not be automatic.

Where academies join the trust under sponsorship arrangements, a member of the Executive Leadership Team and / or a Trustee will have a place on the local governing body and a small, skills based Academy Intervention Board formed. This arrangement will be in place until each Academy’s performance is securely improved.

Each academy is subject to a review of governance at the onset of the conversion process, and annually thereafter. Where necessary new governors are appointed by the MAT. This is led by an NLG and overseen by a Trustee with this particular portfolio.

The Trust Leadership Team monitors standards at an operational level, with a standards and school improvement committee overseeing progress across all of the Trust’s Academies.

A record of Trustee attendance at Board and Committee meetings over the past year may be found here.

The Members of Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust:

Members are similar to a company’s shareholders – they sit above the board of trustees in an academy trust and have a largely hands-off role.

Their key responsibilities include appointing the trustees and holding them to account for the successful governance of the trust.

Stephen Betts

Date of appointment: 6 November 2017

Stephen is the Chief Executive of Learn Sheffield, which is an organisation owned by all of the schools and colleges of the city alongside Sheffield City Council. The focus of Learn Sheffield is school improvement and its belief is that this can only be delivered through strong partnership working. Before becoming involved with Learn Sheffield, Stephen was the Headteacher of Malin Bridge Primary School and had worked for seventeen years in the primary education sector.

Business Interests declared:

Current employment: Learn Sheffield Chief Executive
Charity trusteeships: Sheffield Theatres Trust
Any other conflict: Member – SSET and Minerva (both Sheffield based Multi Academy Trusts)

Tony Bowkett

Date of appointment: 15 February 2018

Tony is President and CEO at Nikken Kosakusho Europe limited and has more than 25 years’ experience as a managing director/founder.  He is currently directly responsible for 7 companies in the Nikken Kosakusho Europe Group Operating in 23 countries across Europe.  He is a Founder/industrial partner and non-exec industrial Board member of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, and a non- exec Industrial board member of the AMRC training academy in Sheffield.

Business Interests declared:

Current employment: President and CEO OF NIKKEN KOSAKUSHO EUROPE LIMITED

Company directorships: Nikken kosakusho Europe limited; Nikken kosakusho Limited – registered in (Scotland); Nikken Deutschland gmbh; Nikken Scandinavia AB; Procomo-Nikken (France); Nikken Turkey; Nikken South Africa.  Tier 2 representative board member Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing Sheffield.  Industrial board Member AMRC Training academy.

Immediate family/close connections to the Trustee/Member working in school: Kathryn Whittaker (sister)

Sue Hunter Portrait

Sue Hunter

Date of appointment: 23 June 2016

Sue is the founder of HunterSmith Associates Ltd. HunterSmith Associates Ltd delivers tailored consultancy services and training and development programmes. Sue has over 20 years hands on and strategic organisational and people development experience in a range of different sectors and a strong emphasis on schools development and change management.

Business Interests declared: Proprietor: HunterSmith Associates Ltd.

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Darren Pearce

Date of appointment: 23 June 2016

Formerly Finance Director at Meadowhall, Sheffield, Darren is now working as Centre Director in the shopping mall and has been in his post for the last 8 years. Darren has been incredibly influential in creating lasting and fruitful partnerships between Tinsley and Meadowhall and he brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise to help hold the academy to account.

Business Interests declared: Current employment: Broadgate Estates People Management Ltd. Businesses of which I am a partner/proprietor: Americas 5 LLP, Perfect World 1 LLP.  Charity Trusteeships: The Source Charitable Trust.

Dr Paul Owen Portrait

Marc Rowland

Date of appointment: 5 June 2019

Marc has worked for Rosendale Primary Research School and was formerly Deputy Director of the National Education Trust. Since the introduction of the Pupil Premium, Marc has worked with schools nationally to help maximise its impact and tackle educational disadvantage. This includes LA-wide projects in Warwickshire, Essex, Sheffield and North Yorkshire. His book, ‘An Updated Practical Guide to the Pupil Premium’ was published in December 2015 (John Catt Educational).  Marc has sat on a number of education advisory groups, including the recent Independent Review of Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants. Previously he worked at Ofsted, mostly focussing on inspection reform.

Business Interests declared: Currently employed by Rosendale Primary School.

Paul Owen


Appointed 17/3/2016

Resigned 17/5/2019

Our Trust Board is made up of the following:

Chris Bradbury

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 13 February 2018

Appointed by Members

Chris is a programme director delivering major transformational changes for Lloyds Banking Group and has been in his post for the last 8 years. Chris has over 30 years hands on and strategic organisational and people development experience and a strong emphasis on people development and change management. Chris’ expertise will guide, help and hold the academy to account.

Business Interests declared: Current employment: Lloyds Banking Group.

Peter Harris

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 10 July 2019

Appointed by Members

Birkdale School Headmaster, Peter Harris returned to the School in January 2019. He had previously worked as a teacher of Geography at the school for 10 years. Peter completed his teaching qualifications in Sheffield and worked in Dinnington and Worksop before joining the teaching staff at Birkdale in 1998. Ten years ago, he moved to the south coast as a Vice Principal in Bournemouth before becoming Principal of Ewell Castle School in Surrey for the last 5 years.

Business Interests declared: Current employment: Birkdale School.

Raj Joshi Portrait

Raj Joshi

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 20 July 2016
Appointed by Members

Raj Joshi is a retired Consultant in Restorative Dentistry and was also an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sheffield for over twenty five years. Raj chaired national committees developing specialist training programmes and related curricula. In addition to delivering specialist services, Raj was also responsible for developing these within Sheffield and, as Clinical Lead, managed services within financial constraints including recruitment of staff and their continuing professional development. He taught at all levels of tertiary education and specialist training.

Raj has a particular interest in developing relevant curricula and was involved with a similar primary school as a governor and acting Chair.

Business Interests declared: none

Nathan Ray

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 14 June 2019

Appointed by Members

Nathan is the Senior Innovation and Research manager at NIKKEN Kosakusho Europe Ltd and is responsible for the site and staff based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham. Nathan has been working in the advanced engineering sector for a number of years and maintains strong links with the University of Sheffield following his PhD studies. He is passionate about teaching and opening opportunities for young people to access the vast levels of technology at their doorstep.

Business Interests declared: Current employment: Nikken Kosakusho Europe Ltd from 03/2018: Senior Research & Innovation Manager

David Sandilands

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 25 September 2017

David has been involved in education for just over fifty years, initially as a teacher. Later in his teaching career he was appointed as a headteacher, firstly in a multicultural inner city school, and later in a school serving a large area of social housing where he was headteacher for seventeen years. On retiring from headship he initially ran a Learning Support Unit, supporting three schools in a deprived area of the city, before joining one of the newly formed Multi Agency Support Teams which were established in 2006. He also ran, and continues to run, a small business dealing in historical ephemera and artefacts which supports the history curriculum in schools with loans and presentations. In addition to this he works on a freelance basis for a local World War 2 Living History Centre putting on displays and giving presentations to children and adults.

Business interests declared: Proprietor at Hands On History Resources; Charity Trusteeship: Bradway Preschool.

Personal interests declared: None

Other schools with which the Trustee has a connection, and details of the connection: Governor, Fox Hill Primary Academy (part of Steel City Schools Partnership)

Kay Simpson

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 18 April 2018

Appointed by Members

Kay currently works for Sheffield Hallam University as Head of Finance for Sheffield Business School.  She has worked for Hallam University for 15 years, working as a Finance business partner leading the delivery of a high quality management accountant service to the Business School.  Kay sits on the Leadership teams for both the Business School and the Finance Directorate, enabling effective contribution to the shaping and delivery of the University’s strategy.  Previous roles include working for the NHS for 12 years within the Finance Department carrying out a variety of roles and where she gained her Accounting qualification (CIMA).

Business interests declared: none

Other school with which the Trustee has a connection, and details of that connection: Chaucer school – work as a mentor on the Diana mentoring scheme

Sheila Sutherland Portrait

Sheila Sutherland

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment: 1st May 2016
Appointed on incorporation

Sheila is a long term local resident in Tinsley. She has made significant contributions to the school as a governor of Tinsley Meadows over a number of years. Sheila is a key member of Tinsley Forum and is passionate about the development of the local area. Sheila is a strong advocate for high quality education and works hard to hold the school to account in relation to the outcomes for our children.

Business Interests declared: Company Secretary, Tinsley Tree Project.  Trustee, Tinsley Forum.  Tinsley Meadows Primary Academy, Governor.

Andy Wynne

Non-Executive Director

Date of appointment:  24 September 2019
Appointed by Members

Andy is currently Operations Director for Learn Sheffield. He has worked in education for most of his career, starting out as a lecturer in Further & Adult Education, before moving into the schools sector in 2001. His main areas of interest have included ICT and learning technologies, school leadership and governance.

Business Interests declared:

Current employment: self employed consultant, Andy Wynne Consultancy

Company Directorships: Crucible Co-operative Trust

Any other business interest: I currently work (as a self employed contractor) as Operations Director for Learn Sheffield, leading the Governance Improvement Service.  I deliver GDPR support service to Five Rivers MAT on behalf of Learn Sheffield.  The Trust has a contract with Learn Sheffield and I am the lead for service delivery.

Other schools with which the Trustee has a connection, and details of the connection: Chair of Governors, Ballifield Primary School, Sheffield S13 9HH

Trustees who have resigned in the last year:

Di Chilvers

Appointed 23/6/2016

Resigned 22/7/2019

Sue Hunter

Appointed 11/6/2018

Resigned 6/1/2020 (continues to be a Member)

Judith Richardson

Appointed 16/1/2017

Resigned 22/7/2019

Marc Rowland

Appointed 20/7/2016

Resigned 5/6/2019 and became a Member

Becky Webb Portrait

Rebecca Webb

Executive Director (non voting) - CEO

Date of appointment: 20 July 2016
Appointed by Members

Rebecca Webb is the CEO for Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust.

Rebecca first joined Tinsley Junior School (prior to the creation of Tinsley Meadows) in 2009 in her capacity as Lead Headteacher on behalf of the Local Authority. Since this time, Rebecca has successfully led the two schools (now one school) to achieve a ‘good’ Ofsted judgement in 2013 and 2014. Alongside strategic planning to achieve an ‘outstanding’ judgement for Tinsley Meadows, Rebecca is also providing consultancy support to a number of schools in Sheffield and Rotherham.

Business Interests declared: Member/Trustee of SSELP Company.

Emma Huntley Portrait

Emma Farmer

Executive Director (non voting) – Business Strategy

Date of appointment: 20 July 2016
Appointed by Members

Emma is the Director of Business Strategy for the Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust. Emma began her employment with Tinsley Junior School in September 2011. Prior to this she worked as Head of Unplanned Care within Doncaster Primary Care Trust; overseeing the commissioning, procurement and performance management of key NHS services. Having spanned 15 years in the public sector, Emma has brought valuable HR, leadership, strategic finance and business skills to the school. She is now a recognised SLE (Specialist Leader in Education) and is providing system leadership and consultancy across a number of schools in the region.

Business Interests declared: none

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