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Who We Are

Trustees |  Executive Team |  Education Team

Trustees

Our trustees support the running of our linked charities – United Learning Trust, United Church Schools Trust and United Church Schools Foundation. Combining a wealth of experience from a range of sectors, they ensure that we are compliant, accountable and responsible, acting in the best interests of our pupils.

Richard Greenhalgh

Richard Greenhalgh

Chair of the Group Board, Chair of United Church Schools Trust, ULT Trustee, UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee

Richard is a former Chairman of Unilever U.K. and now has a portfolio of interests. In Business, he is on the Advisory Boards of Liaison Financial Services Ltd. and JustAccounts Ltd.

In the Public Sector he is Chairman of Surrey and Borders Partnership- a Foundation Trust for Mental Health. In the Not for Profit sector he is Chairman of Royal Voluntary Service . He is Chairman of British Youth Opera, and an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford.

Independently he is a trained Executive Coach and has a particular focus in working with Leaders who are transitioning to portfolio careers. He is a fellow of the R.S.A. and the I.O.D.

He is married with a grown up daughter and two grandchildren and interests include badminton, opera and coastal walks.


Nigel Robson

Nigel Robson

Chair of United Learning Trust, UCSF Trustee

Nigel’s involvement in Academies stretches back to 2002, when as Chair of the Chamber of Commerce in the North East he was determined to address the issue of historic underperformance of many of the regions LEA secondary schools. He was a lawyer in an international law firm and his positions included International Head of Engineering and Construction, Global Head of Energy, and Managing Partner.

He was an accredited Mediator, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a trustee of the theological training college, St John’s and Cranmer Hall, Durham University. Nigel joined the Board of United Learning Trust in 2011, and was elected Chair in 2014. He is Lead Trustee for the Northern Secondary Academies. Like other ULT Trustees he firmly believes that his knowledge and understanding of educational improvement is enhanced by chairing a Local Governing Body of the Trust’s Academies.

He is married with five children, many grand-children, living in Cumbria, and his interests are fell walking, mountain biking, (watching) rugby, most things Italian, and supporting the Diocese, including its educational responsibilities.


Dame Yasmin Bevan

Dame Yasmin Bevan

ULT Trustee

Dame Yasmin was Chief Executive and Executive Principal of the Chiltern Learning Trust and Head Teacher of Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire from 1991 until her retirement in December 2014.

She won ‘Head Teacher of the Year’ for the Eastern region in the 2005 Teaching Awards and Denbigh High School received the Times Educational Supplement's 'Secondary School of the Year' Award in 2009.

Dame Yasmin chaired the Department for Education's Secondary Heads Reference Group from March 2010 to July 2013.


Jon Coles

Jon Coles

Group Chief Executive, ULT Trustee

Since January 2012, Jon Coles has been Group Chief Executive of United Learning. Prior to this, he spent much of his career in the Department for Education, including four years on the Board as Director General for Schools and then Director General for Education Standards.

Previously, as Director of 14-19 Reform, he led work to raise participation post-16 and attainment at 19 and reduce NEET numbers.

As Director of London Challenge, Jon was responsible developing and implementing the strategy to improve secondary education in London, which also led to similar approaches in other parts of the country.

In his career, Jon has been responsible for various Green and White Papers and for taking the 2002 Education Act through Parliament. A qualified secondary teacher, his previous jobs included implementing the infant class size pledge and, on secondment to the Cabinet Office, developing a strategy for e-government.


Mary Curnock Cook OBE

Mary Curnock Cook OBE

UCST Trustee

Mary Curnock Cook is an independent educationalist.

From 2010 to 2017, Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS, the universities and colleges admissions service.  Earlier in her career she held executive and non-executive positions in the education, hospitality, food and biotech sectors.

She is Chair of Governors at Kensington and Chelsea College, Chair of Trustees of the Access Project and Chair of Governors at Swindon Academy. She is also a Council member at the Open University, a non-exec Director at the Student Loans Company, and a Trustee of National Numeracy. She is an investor and/or mentor to a number of edtech entrepreneurs.

Mary has an MSc from London Business School and she was awarded an OBE in 2000. She is an honorary Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire.

Dr Stephen Critchely

Dr Stephen Critchely

UCSF Trustee

Stephen is a chartered accountant and was formerly Chief Finance Officer of Transport for London. Previously, he had a wide-ranging career in accountancy, latterly leading the Public Sector practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in the East Midlands. He has a doctorate in Chemistry from Oxford University.

He is a Trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund and a member of the Audit Committee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Stephen is a trustee of Caterham School and sits on United Learning’s Finance and Risk & Audit Committees.

He is married with two sons. As well as being a keen follower of Leicester Tigers, his interests include music and the theatre.


Neil Davidson CBE

Neil Davidson CBE

ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee

Neil has had an extensive career in food manufacturing beginning at Northern Foods Plc where he became Managing Director of its milk division. Neil subsequently became Chief Executive Officer of Express Dairies Plc and Arla Foods UK. Neil is currently a Non-Executive Director of Morrisons Supermarkets Plc , Chair of Produce Investments Plc and Chair of The Cricketer Publishing Ltd. Neil was previously Chair of Cherry Valley Farms Ltd, Non-Executive Director of Permission Plc and Northern Recruitment Group Plc. He has been a Governor of Ashmount Special Needs School in Loughborough since 2006.

Michael George

Michael George

ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee

Michael is the Founder and Managing Partner of MxP Partners, an investment office based in London.

Previously, he was a Director at Electra Partners focusing on private equity and Head of Wealth Management at Durlacher. Prior to that, he was at Laing & Cruickshank and ABN AMRO Hoare Govett.

Michael is a Board Director of Amber Taverns and Whitworth Holdings. He is also Chair of Patrons at the Kew Foundation Board. He is Chair of the Local Governing Body at United Learning’s Northampton Academy.

He holds a First class honours degree from Durham University and is married with two children.


Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson

Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson

ULT Trustee

Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson is a practising doctor, a Consultant Radiologist at St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust. She directed the South West London breast screening service from 1991 to 2001, and was then Medical Director of St Georges Hospital until 2015. She is a Non Executive director at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Ros has research interests in the optimisation of breast imaging and decision making having published over 120 papers and abstracts. She has been involved with PHE work on implementing Duty of Candour in breast screening and is chair of the adult reference group of the UK National Screening Committee.

She has a lifelong interest in education and ran the St George's National Breast Screening Training Centre and has held the Royal College of Radiologists Breast Imaging Professorship. She is Chair of Governors of Dunottar School.

Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon

Ben is a Non-Executive Director of Britvic plc and St. Ives plc,  is a Trustee of the Canal & River Trust and is also the Chairman of Heal's.

Formerly, Ben was the Chief Executive of Mothercare plc for nine years and the former Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Disney Store, Europe and Asia Pacific. He has also held senior management positions with WHSmith plc in the UK and the USA and with L’Oreal S.A. in France and the UK.

Ben has an MBA from INSEAD and is a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers


Dame Reena Keeble

Dame Reena Keeble

UCST Trustee

Reena is a retired primary head teacher with 22 years’ experience. She has a proven track record in leading an outstanding school and in school to school to support, coaching future leaders, curriculum design and pedagogy. Until her retirement Reena was an NLE and her school was designated as a National Support School. Reena has successfully supported schools in weakness and acted as Executive Head teacher. Reena was awarded a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management in 2007 and DBE in 2011 for her service to education.

Reena led a review of the Artsmark resulting in a new Artsmark Award for schools on behalf of Arts Council England. Reena also led a review of Effective Primary Teaching Practice on behalf of the Teaching Schools Council.

Mike Litchfield

Mike Litchfield

UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee

Mike is an architect and project manager qualifying from Newcastle University and Harvard. He co-founded and was Chair and Managing Director of a firm of architects and surveyors working throughout Britain.

He specialised in educational projects from nurseries through to universities with particular emphasis on the design of schools. This started with one of the earliest Community Technical Colleges and led onto numerous academies as well as local authority, Church and independent schools and colleges.

In his ‘spare time’, Mike has tutored and examined in Architecture from undergraduate to professional level for more than 30 years.

Along with his wife, Chris, he enjoys trying to improve his golf game, rugby, travel and all things environmental and historic.


David Robinson

David Robinson

ULT Trustee

David is Chairman of specialist retailer Richer Sounds. He arrived at the company in 1983 and was appointed Managing Director in 1991.

He is also Managing Director of a privately-owned property development and investment company. He is a Trustee of the Persula Foundation and sits on the Board of Great Places Housing Group – a social housing association which provides over 18,000 homes in the North West.

David is Chair of the Local Governing Body at United Learning’s Stockport Academy.


Sara Squire

Sara Squire

UCST Trustee

After graduating from Newnham College, Cambridge, Sarah joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and worked as a diplomat, both in London and overseas, serving in Israel, Washington, Senegal, Macedonia and Croatia. From 2000-2003 she was HM Ambassador in Estonia.

Midway through her FCO career, Sarah took seven years out, while her children attended secondary school in this country, and worked for Cambridge City Council and for the Central Office of Information. She served as a Magistrate in Cambridge from 1992 to 2007.

From 2006-2014 she was President of Hughes Hall, one of the primarily postgraduate colleges of Cambridge University, and for six years was concurrently one of the team of deputy Vice Chancellors of the University. She is also a lay member of the chapter of Ely Cathedral.

She joined the Board of United Learning in 2013.

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