Leverhulme Academy Trust

Leverhulme Academy Trust

Meet our Trustees and Members

Sarah Horan (Chair of the Trust / Member and Trustee)

Sarah Horan worked in the governance of occupational pension schemes for 30 years, and has been an independent professional trustee, chairing the trustee boards of a number of pension schemes. She was previously Head of Trustee Services at the Co-operative Group Ltd, managing the governance of the Co-op’s £12bn pension scheme assets. 

Sarah’s experience includes the development of long-term strategy, delivery of complex projects, managing resources, budgets and multiple stakeholders. 

Prior to the establishment of the Leverhulme Trust, Sarah acted as a parent governor for four years, and her three children all attended Rivington and Blackrod High School.

Alison Blackburn (Member)

Alison's career in higher education extends over 40 years. Throughout her career, she has occupied several senior positions within UK universities and collaborated with various higher education institutions and agencies both nationally and internationally on projects and consultancy work.

Her extensive roles have encompassed Executive responsibility for Student Administration, Student Experience and Support, Quality and Enhancement, School Operations, the Library, Legal and Compliance, as well as supporting, guiding and advising the Chair of Council (the University's governing body) and the wider Council. Alison is also a long-standing Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Reviewer.

Bob Atkinson (Member)

Bob Atkinson is a qualified mathematics teacher with classroom and leadership experience spanning 36 years based in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

During his career, he served as a Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher at two Bolton schools for 23 years. From 2009 to 2020, Bob was actively involved in supporting the promotion of educational standards and the raising of achievement and aspirations of young people in the Borough through his support for the Bolton Association of Secondary Headteachers, Manchester Diocesan Board of Education and as Chair of the Interim Executive Board at a local Church of England primary school. He also worked as a School Improvement Professional for Bolton Local Education Authority.

Bob is currently the Vice-Chair of Bolton Community Leisure Trust and he is a Member at one Bolton Multi-Academy Trust.

Chris Knowles (Member)

Chris is a chartered engineer and a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Asset Management. With 30 years of experience in asset management, primarily in the transport and utilities sectors, Chris has held various roles in major projects, asset stewardship, and strategic management.

Throughout his career, Chris has occupied senior executive positions, including serving as a board member of Lloyd’s Register Verification Ltd and as Chairman of the Examinations Board of the Institute of Asset Management. His extensive experience also includes director roles in companies in both the UK and Germany, where he led teams of up to 450 people. He has been directly responsible for capital schemes exceeding £100 million.

In addition to his professional achievements, Chris is a member of the congregation at Holy Trinity, Horwich, where he is currently Deputy Warden.

Anna White (Trustee)

Anna began her career in Bury as a teacher of English in 1980; she was Head of English in Blackburn and then Deputy Headteacher in Todmorden before being asked to take on the Headship of the Ridings School in Halifax in November 1996, where she served for nine years.
She stepped down from headship in August 2005 to become an Independent Education Consultant working in Bradford, Oldham and Liverpool.

From 2008 to March 2020, Anna was the Secondary School Improvement Lead for Bolton. She led a team of 10 Secondary School Improvement Professionals who took a strategic role in monitoring schools’ performance and making judgements about their strengths and areas for development.

Anna is currently Chair of the Standards Committee of the Leverhulme Church of England and Community Trust in Bolton. She was awarded the CBE in January 2000 for “Services to Education”.

Colin Higham (Trustee)

Colin is a former pupil of Rivington & Blackrod High School from 1971-78. After completing his A levels, Colin studied for a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University.

After a number of years in engineering, manufacturing and consultancy Colin started a new company selling and distributing construction products from which he has recently exited.  This company has become a leading brand in its chosen niche supplying DIY chains, the major builders merchants, bathroom and tiling retailers. 

Colin is now the Chairman of the Rivingtonians (formerly the Old Rivs), an association for former pupils of staff of the Rivington schools. The new focus of the association is to help maintain previous friendships through a variety of social events and using any funds raised to support the activities of existing pupils. The association also aims to support pupils through career advice, mentoring and lectures.

Hilary D'Arcy (Trustee)

Hilary has significant experience of success in transforming the life chances of secondary students in schools in deeply challenging circumstances. She is a retired Headteacher of a multicultural school in the North-West, where 37 different languages were spoken. Her school consistently appeared in the top 100 Most Improved Schools List for several years. Under her leadership, the school's management and leadership were judged as Outstanding by Ofsted.

Additionally, Hilary has worked as a School Improvement Professional, supporting various schools.

Judith Marsden (Trustee)

Judith has had a long and distinguished career in healthcare, serving as a nurse and midwife for many years. She began nursing training in Manchester in the 1970s before pursuing further training as a midwife in Stockport. In 1985, she relocated to Bolton, where she continued working as a midwife in Chorley and Bolton until her retirement.

In addition to her healthcare career, Judith has been actively involved in education and governance. She served as a primary school Governor for eight years and continued in this capacity for an additional 16 years at Rivington and Blackrod High School. She held the position of Chair of the Federated Governing Board of Ladybridge High and Rivington and Blackrod High School for several years and gained many skills in managing meetings, decision making and developing strong relationships, all while prioritising the best interests and opportunities for students.

Outside of her professional and educational commitments, Judith serves on the Manchester and District Hospitals' Choir committee and contributes to the organisation of an annual charity carol concert at The Bridgewater Hall, raising funds for CLIC Sargent. Judith has been a member of The Methodist Church for many years and lives her life through strongly upheld Christian values.

Paul Hannant (Trustee)

Paul has a wide range of business experience, which he has cultivated over a diverse career. He has held senior management positions in multi-million-pound organisations, primarily in the construction sector, where he gained significant expertise in risk management. Additionally, Paul has extensive experience in contract negotiation and financial management within the construction industry.

Paul serves as a governor in a primary school in Lancashire, providing him with valuable insights into school finance and operations. He is currently employed by Lancashire County Council as a project coordinator, overseeing apprenticeship grants and managing the UCAS/DfE Early Connect pilot project aimed at Year 13 students.

Paul Roach (Trustee and CEO)

Paul brings over 26 years of experience in education, with the last 15 years dedicated to serving as Headteacher across three schools. As a national leader of education, he has provided invaluable support to various schools, including those in community, Catholic, and Church of England settings.

In 2016, Paul took on the role of Headteacher at Rivington and Blackrod High School, where he played a pivotal role in establishing the Leverhulme Church of England and Community Trust. This involved merging Rivington and Blackrod High School and Sixth Form with Harper Green School, working closely with local governors.

Paul's journey in education began after graduating with a degree in Biology from LJMU in 1994. Following a year in Alaska, he returned to the UK to pursue a PGCE at Loughborough University. Since then, he has held various teaching roles, progressing to Head of Science and senior management positions. Along the way, he completed a master's degree and had the privilege of learning from esteemed leaders like Sir John Jones and Dame Enid Bibby. 

Vicky Chatterjee (Trustee)

With nine years as Headteacher at Clarendon Primary, Vicky has overseen two inspections, achieving a Good rating with Outstanding elements in 2016 and maintaining Good status in a 2020 inspection. Beyond Clarendon, Vicky has supported other Bolton schools, mentored new Heads, and collaborated with Manchester University on educational programmes. Currently, Vicky chairs the NAHT Union and sits on the Schools Forum.

Her educational philosophy prioritises fostering a positive culture and behaviour for learning. She believes in nurturing resilience, independence, and a strong work ethic in students. Clarendon's attainment of the Gold Healthy Schools mark reflects her commitment to creating a supportive environment. Her efforts have led to commendable outcomes, with Clarendon achieving its best SAT results in 2021/22 despite disruptions to learning in previous years.

While her expertise lies in primary education and leadership, she's eager to collaborate with the trust to facilitate cross-sector sharing of best practices. Given that many Clarendon students transition to Harper Green School and Rivington and Blackrod High School, she's committed to ensuring a smooth transition process. Drawing from her own experiences as a student at RBHS, she's motivated to contribute to shaping the direction of the school and making a positive impact on LCECT students.



We currently have one Trustee vacancy available. If you're interested in joining our Trust Board, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our Clerk for further details at clerk@lcect.co.uk