Trust Governance

Governance exists at different levels within the Focus-Trust.

The Focus-Trust Board

The trustees on the Focus-Trust Board bring a wealth of experience and expertise from within and outside education. This combination results in a focused approach drawing on best practice and previous success.

The Board meets regularly to maintain a strategic overview of the Trust’s work. The day to day work of the Trust is managed by the Chief Executive who is accountable to the Trust Board. The Articles of Association outline the relationship between the Trust Board and the partner academies within the Trust .

In terms of company and charitable law, the trustees of the Focus-Trust are accountable for the business operation of the Trust. Whilst the Trust Board sets the direction for the organisation, it is a key principle of our approach that leadership is devolved as close to the level of operation as possible, i.e. to the Local Academy Governing Body and the Academy Principal.

Clive Davies OBE
Chair of Trust Board and Founding board member

Clive is one of the founding Directors of Focus Education UK Ltd. Prior to establishing Focus, Clive worked as a headteacher, Ofsted Registered Inspector (RGI) and LA Adviser.

Clive draws on a wealth of experience working with schools nationally and internationally. Clive undertakes a mixture of work including key note speaker at large scale events; national conferences; training; and in-school consultancy.

Much of Clive’s work involves supporting schools to analyse their current position and supporting leaders to construct purposeful and fit-for-purpose self-evaluation systems which impact on pupil outcomes. Over recent years, Clive has been focusing particularly on the development of an approach to leading and delivering the curriculum which ensures a high degree of engagement for children. The Learning Challenge Curriculum® is being used in over 500 schools in England. Clive works in all areas of school improvement and works from early years through the secondary phase.

Linda Davies
Founding board member

Linda is one of the founding Directors of Focus Education UK Ltd. Prior to establishing Focus, Linda set up and ran the Inspection Unit for St Martin’s College at Lancaster University.Linda takes day to day responsibility for the management of the company including all financial and taxation requirements. She also leads the consultancy strand of the company.

Greg Caiger
Board Trustee

Greg Caiger is a Regional Risk Manager for HSBC Corporate Banking across Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.This is Greg’s latest role with HSBC where he has also worked in a variety of roles across the UK including being a Corporate Relationship Director, setting up International Subsidiary Banking in the UK and as a Credit Risk Officer.  Greg joined HSBC 12 years ago on the Graduate Executive Trainee scheme straight from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he achieved a degree in Business Economics. Greg also holds Financial Services Degree from the Institute of Finance Services.Throughout his career, Greg has volunteered with a number of organisations which included being a member of the Board of Governors for Allerton High School in Leeds and is Cub Leader of a unit in Leeds.Greg enjoys travelling and recently visited Thailand and India but he also enjoys getting around the UK to meet up with family and friends.  In his spare time, he enjoys mountain biking and has been in training for a 10k run. 

Amanda Clarke
Board Trustee

For 20 years Amanda has been an Entrepreneur, and previously ran a specialist training and consultancy company based in Cheshire.  She has trained over 100,000 participants and hundreds of instructors across the UK; and produced the UK’s first blended learning first aid course for home study. She has been involved in training early years practitioners since 1994. Amanda designs and delivers a wide range of learning programs in various media formats. Topics include management and leadership, mind management, behaviour analysis, personal communication, attitudes, values, performance, accelerated learning, time management and safety. In 2013, she took a career break and completed an MBA at Manchester Business School, graduating with Merit in 2015.From Amanda's consulting work, she has expertise in a wide range of business issues, in particular transformational change and continuous improvement, in industries as diverse as food processing, heavy engineering, retail, tourism, education and transportation. Her work takes her around the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. She is passionate about being able to be MAD (Making A Difference) every day and in her spare time, she contributes her time and expertise to a number of community projects and fundraising for smaller children's charities

Helen Lee
Board Trustee

Helen is currently Headteacher of Oakdene Primary School in St. Helens having been a  Headteacher  for 14 years. Oakdene has grown from a School causing concern to Outstanding under Helen’s tenure and it is now the Lead School in The Oaks Teaching School. Helen has been an Executive Headteacher and is now a National Leader of Education. She has supported many Schools and, in particular, has developed Leadership Teams improving outcomes for children and developing staff at all levels. Helen has been Chair of the local Headteacher Association and is currently on the SEND Task Force for St. Helens. Helen runs several programmes for Staff at all levels through The Oaks Teaching School and particularly enjoys nurturing new Headteachers into their roles to develop positive, experienced Headteachers to lead  Schools.

Matthew Milburn
Board Trustee

Matthew has been a secondary Headteacher for 14 years in two large secondary schools and is currently Head at Saddleworth School, Oldham.A National Leader in Education, Matthew works at a strategic level as a board member for the Oldham Learning Partnership. He is a qualified Coach and works with new Headteachers as they take up Headship.He Chairs the secondary heads group in Oldham and has a long term interest in creating school systems that enable children to flourish.

Helen Rowland
Chief Executive

Helen is the Chief Executive of the Focus-Trust. With over twelve years’ experience as head teacher of a school judged outstanding in all aspects, Helen was proud to join the Trust at the outset in 2013, as Academy Improvement Officer.Since becoming Chief Executive in March 2015, Helen works in partnership with academy leaders, governors and academy teams on developing & improving teaching, learning, assessment and leadership for positive impact on pupil outcomes. Helen is a qualified inspector, holds the Professional Qualification of School Inspectors (PQSI) and has recently undertaken Ofsted inspections.Having spent over 26 years in education, Helen is passionate about the difference Focus-Trust is making to its’ children, staff, families and communities, many of whom live in disadvantaged communities.

Dan Spencer
Board Trustee

Dan is a Senior Manager working for a leading multi-national support services and construction company. Dan specialises in property/facilities management with over 10 years’ experience of delivering these services to several central government clients throughout the north of England. Dan’s professional role includes strategic planning, project management, H&S management, regulatory compliance, operational auditing, stakeholder management and P&L budgetary control.Dan has over 10 years’ experience as a Chair of Governors in several schools with diverse and sometimes challenging contexts. Dan has a proven track record in improving school governance and providing the strategic leadership needed to help drive forward school improvement. In 2012, Dan’s commitment was recognised by the local authority via their award of ‘Outstanding Chair of the Year’. In November of 2012 Dan joined The Focus-Trust as a Board Trustee and he also chairs the Trust’s Operations and Finance committee.

Simon Willis

Prior to retirement Simon taught in London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire schools. He brings a wide range of educational experiences to the board, including 10 years of Headship and 10 years of Education Consultancy. Throughout his career all his schools have been challenging, large, inner city, multi-ethnic comprehensives.As a consultant Simon specialised in the quality assurance of Teaching & Learning although as his role developed in many schools he took on a range of diverse roles.He worked and continues to work with energy, passion, commitment and determination to ensure the very best learning outcomes for all pupils. He sees overcoming disadvantage as both a challenge and an opportunity.Over the years Simon has experienced Governance, in numerous schools, as a Headteacher, Staff Governor, Community Governor and Associate Governor.Currently Simon is Vice Chair of Governors at Thornton Primary School and a Governor at Wilsden Primary School.

Local Academy Governing Boards

Each academy has a Local Governing Board which sets the strategic direction of the academy. It is the role of the Governing Board to exercise leadership on behalf of the Focus-Trust Board in the operation of the individual academy. The Local Governing Board also provides ongoing information to the Focus-Trust Board about the running and success of the academy.

The key responsibilities of the Local Governing Board are to:

  • evaluate pupil outcomes;
  • challenge and support academy leaders;
  • take decisions about personnel management;
  • manage resources; and
  • raise concerns and risks with the Chief Executive and Board.


Each Local Governing Board includes parent/carer and staff representatives. The Board also includes members of the local community.

Accountability for the academy performance within the Trust is based on a strong and professional relationship of challenge and support. Each academy is evaluated against an agreed framework. This enables Trust leaders and Academy leaders to measure the impact of their work against agreed standards.