skip to main content

Who are we?

The Team.

Members

Nigel Robson

Nigel Robson

Member

Nigel Robson
Nigel Robson

Nigel was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and his 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.

Nigel joined the Board of Emmanuel Schools Foundation in 2008, and became Chair in 2011. He retired as Chair on 31st July 2018 but remains committed to ESF as a Member.

He is married with five children, eleven grand-children, living in Cumbria, and his interests are family, Lakeland fell walking, rugby, mountain biking, Tuscan village life and history.

Nigel is chair of United Learning Trust, with lead responsibility for their Northern Secondary Academies, and chairs the Education, Standards and Performance Committee. He is a trustee of the theological training college, St John’s and Cranmer Hall, Durham University. He supports the Carlisle Diocese, including its educational responsibilities through The Good Shepherd MAT.

Dr Beverley Kenny

Dr Beverley Kenny

Member

Dr Beverley Kenny
Dr Beverley Kenny

Beverley Kenny graduated in Medicine in Newcastle in 1983 and was a GP principal in Wallsend for over 20 years.

As a GP, a strong interest in patient empowerment through good quality, evidence based information led Beverley to co-found and develop the website Patient.co.uk. Beverley’s main role is now in medical education and she is currently the course director for Newcastle University's Graduate Entry Medicine (Accelerated) programme.

Pastor Kenneth Stone

Pastor Kenneth Stone

Member

Pastor Kenneth Stone
Pastor Kenneth Stone

I have had connections with King’s for the past five years and have been a regular visitor to school assemblies which I really enjoy, (hopefully the students feel the same way!)

King’s is an important part of our local community and I am delighted to be part of the governance team which work alongside both staff and students in ensuring we accomplish high and consistent standards allowing all our students to achieve their true potential.

I have been pastor of Hemlington Baptist Church for the past eight years and prior to this, I was a senior manager with an international food distribution company servicing the catering industry.

Over recent years I have also supported other local schools and I now serve as Chair of Governors at Viewley Hill Academy in Hemlington.

King’s is a great school with a proud record of achievements. I’m delighted to be part of thispro-active governance team and look forward to supporting both the Principal and all the King’s staff in ensuring we go from strength to strength.

Stewart McKinlay

Stewart McKinlay

Member

Stewart McKinlay
Stewart McKinlay

Stewart is married with four grown up children and in his professional life he currently leads the worldwide Research and Development activities for Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Wound Management Division based out of Kingston upon Hull. Smith & Nephew is Europe’s largest Medical Device Manufacturer and his teams research and develop new Medical Devices to be used in the Healthcare systems of over 130 countries. He has held increasingly senior leadership roles in Smith & Nephew for the last 15 years with leadership development, team performance, research and invention being core to his skill set. He also sits on cross-university industrial advisory boards in the fields of infection, biomedical engineering and wound healing.

Stewart has lived the majority of his life in the North East of England, was educated at Barnard Castle School and then Leeds University where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He joined ESF as a trustee in February 2017 and became Chair of the Board on 1st August 2018.

Stewart is also the chair of Directors for one of East Yorkshire’s largest Churches, Revive Church with its main centre in Hull and is currently co-leading the Revive Church congregation in Cottingham.

Board of Directors (Trustees)

Stewart McKinlay

Stewart McKinlay

Chairman/Trustee

Stewart McKinlay
Stewart McKinlay

Stewart is married with four grown up children and in his professional life he currently leads the worldwide Research and Development activities for Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Wound Management Division based out of Kingston upon Hull. Smith & Nephew is Europe’s largest Medical Device Manufacturer and his teams research and develop new Medical Devices to be used in the Healthcare systems of over 130 countries. He has held increasingly senior leadership roles in Smith & Nephew for the last 15 years with leadership development, team performance, research and invention being core to his skill set. He also sits on cross-university industrial advisory boards in the fields of infection, biomedical engineering and wound healing.

Stewart has lived the majority of his life in the North East of England, was educated at Barnard Castle School and then Leeds University where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He joined ESF as a trustee in February 2017 and became Chair of the Board on 1st August 2018.

Stewart is also the chair of Directors for one of East Yorkshire’s largest Churches, Revive Church with its main centre in Hull and is currently co-leading the Revive Church congregation in Cottingham. 

Maura Regan

Maura Regan

Vice Chair/Trustee

Maura Regan
Maura Regan

Responsibility: Education, Standards and Performance Committee

Miss Maura Regan OBE, DL
Chief Executive Officer, Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust (formerly Carmel Education Trust)

Maura began her teaching career in London teaching History and RE, she returned to the North East to take a pastoral role before becoming Deputy Head Pastoral and subsequently Principal of Carmel College.

Maura, as the architect of Carmel Education Trust, became its founding CEO having led the successful transformation of Carmel College from a single outstanding College to the lead school in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).The Trust is recognised as a leading organisation nationally.The Trust is now known as Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust comprising 18 schools both primary and secondary. It will become a Trust of 35 schools by 2022. All schools in the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust have been rated as good or better on inspection after joining the Trust.

In her role as an NLE, Maura and her Leadership Team have supported schools across the region from all phases.

Carmel College is one of the top performing schools nationally and is a Teaching School, a Maths Hub, leads a Science Learning Partnership and most recently has been designated a Research School.Carmel College has a long history of Initial Teacher Training and is now one of the largest providers in the North East.

Maura has been highly pro-active in supporting NETSP (North East Teaching Schools Partnership) in the delivery of NPQH, NPQSL and NPQML and a National College programme ‘Women into Headship’.Maura is regularly invited to be a keynote speaker for the National College NLE Induction Programme.

She is a Trustee of Schools North East and a Governor of Durham School.

Maura is regularly invited to address national audiences on the benefits and complexities of establishing and leading a Multi-Academy Trust in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and support for the common good.She is passionate about making a difference and believes that ‘every child should be given every opportunity to succeed’.

Maura is a member of the National Advisory Group with reference to the recently published Recruitment & Retention Strategy document.

She is a member of the sub-group working with the DfE on the Opportunity North East Programme established by the Secretary of State.

Professor Mark Pike

Professor Mark Pike

CEO/Trustee

Professor Mark Pike
Professor Mark Pike

Mark Pike was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of ESF with effect from 1st September 2017.

Mark is a Trustee of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation and is an educationist with almost 30 years’ experience in secondary education, teacher training, the continuing professional development of teachers and school leadership. He is also Professor of Education at the University of Leeds and Visiting Professor at Dreistar Educatief, The Netherlands’ No 1 ranked teacher-education University.

Mark’s areas of specialism as an educator include: teaching and learning in schools, school leadership and character education. His ESRC-sponsored PhD at Southampton University focussed on how to engage, motivate and raise the attainment of 14-16-year olds. Since then he has published numerous articles and books on different aspects of schooling (including the contribution of Christian-ethos schools to society) and speaks at conferences on education in places such as The Netherlands, Germany, US, UK and China. Funded by a £1.1m Templeton grant, Mark leads an international team of educators working on character education in schools and enjoys helping school leaders and teachers improve their practice.

Mark has lived in Yorkshire for 20 years; after a first degree at the University of Leeds and a teacher’s certificate at Nottingham University, he served as a teacher and curriculum manager in secondary schools for ten years before moving into teacher training and school leadership. He has been married to Barbara for 25 years (who he met as an undergraduate before they were teachers at the same school) and they now have three children at Trinity Academy. He enjoys travelling, especially in the US and Germany, walking coastal paths, black and white photography, reading good books (especially C.S. Lewis’ fiction, theology and ethics), cycling, swimming, supporting his local church and spending time with his family.

Mark’s webpage at the University of Leeds:

http://www.education.leeds.ac.uk/people/academic/pike

Information on the character education project that Mark leads in schools:

http://1r2qwo2yg0am48qb2w3qswxs.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2015/07/2016-EE-final-international.pdf

Martin Oldknow

Martin Oldknow

Trustee

Martin Oldknow
Martin Oldknow

Responsibilities: Safeguarding, and Health and Safety

Martin recently retired from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service after a career spanning 30 years. Martin reached the rank of Group Manager (Divisional Officer) and was Head of the Technical Fire Safety department. Martin has over 15 years’ experience in Fire Safety and Emergency Planning. He now runs his own Fire Safety Consultancy and Training Company

Martin is educated to degree standard, and possess a BA (Hons) in Law awarded by the University of Kent and has a University certificate in Forensic Science from the University of Central Lancashire.

Martin has been a school governor for over 30 years. Previously he took over as chair of a school in special measures and working with the Executive Head Teacher managed to turn the school around and it was categorised as ‘Good’ within 14 months. He then took the lead in federating the governing body of two schools into a successful hard federation. He has since assisted other schools to become federated.

He has been a member of an IEB at two schools and contributed to their improvement prior to them becoming part of an academy trust. Martin is also a Member of Exceed Learning Partnership. He is also a former National Leader of Governance.

Peter Pickthall

Peter Pickthall

Trustee

Peter Pickthall
Peter Pickthall

Responsibility: Health and Safety, and Finance and Resources Committee Chair

Peter was formerly the Group HR Director for R&R Ice Cream (renamed Froneri), the second largest worldwide ice cream manufacturer, where in addition to HR duties he was also responsible for staff training and development across all countries.

Peter was also a Justice of the Peace (Magistrate) in Cumbria for 23 years, in both the adult and youth courts where he was both a presiding magistrate and was Youth Panel chairman for 12 years until his retirement from the bench in December 2017. As a father of two, he has always had a real interest in education and school performance, resulting in him serving as a school governor for over 20 years, which included a spell as chair of Governors, in both the primary and secondary sectors.

Following a spell in the Army after leaving school, Peter qualified in agriculture and farm management before working in the chemical industry, becoming head of training and development for the UK business, before moving into HR. Whilst working he completed a second degree in psychology and in his work capacity, was a Chartered Manager. He later became Managing Partner in his own HR and Training Consultancy, prior to joining R&R Ice Cream as HR Director.

Currently enjoying retirement, he keeps busy as a Churchwarden, a position he has been in for 22 years. When time allows he likes to escape to go off-shore sailing; he completed an Atlantic circuit (to the Caribbean and back) in 2013 and a half Atlantic sail to the Azores and back in 2017. In addition he enjoys competitive sailing, annually taking part in the Round the Isle of Wight yacht race in a classic cruiser. He is currently planning his next long distance sailing trip to Cape Verde.

Simon Goon

Simon Goon

Trustee

Simon Goon
Simon Goon

Simon is Group Serviced Director at BE Group, a national media and business services company.

Simon originally started out as a chemist but for the last 20 years has held a variety of commercial and strategy development roles in the private and public sectors, including running his own business and an AI start up.

Simon is married with two teenagers and lives in Gateshead

Helen McEvoy

Helen McEvoy

Chair of the ESF Education

Helen McEvoy
Helen McEvoy

Helen McEvoy BSc., HDip.Ed., MA (Ed) taught Biology and Chemistry to A level and GCSE Physics and Maths for several years before working in School Improvement in a Local Authority and then gaining 12 years of secondary school headship experience.

As a Headteacher she led school improvement in three secondary schools in challenging contexts, taking one from Ofsted ‘Serious Weaknesses’ to ‘Good’ in all categories, which she attributes to putting in the right systems, and moving her other schools up Ofsted categories before retiring from full-time headship. 

Helen is a committed Christian and came to faith as a teenager, re-establishing that faith in her mid-20s. She has belonged to a Baptist church and two Assemblies of God churches, in different parts of the country where she has led the 20s Group and house groups. She is happily married with adult children (one of whom is a teacher) and one granddaughter.

Executive Team

Professor Mark Pike

Professor Mark Pike

Chief Executive Officer

Professor Mark Pike
Professor Mark Pike

Mark Pike was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of ESF with effect from 1st September 2017.

Mark is a Trustee of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation and is an educationist with almost 30 years’ experience in secondary education, teacher training, the continuing professional development of teachers and school leadership. He is also Professor of Education at the University of Leeds and Visiting Professor at Dreistar Educatief, The Netherlands’ No 1 ranked teacher-education University.

Mark’s areas of specialism as an educator include: teaching and learning in schools, school leadership and character education. His ESRC-sponsored PhD at Southampton University focussed on how to engage, motivate and raise the attainment of 14-16-year olds. Since then he has published numerous articles and books on different aspects of schooling (including the contribution of Christian-ethos schools to society) and speaks at conferences on education in places such as The Netherlands, Germany, US, UK and China. Funded by a £1.1m Templeton grant, Mark leads an international team of educators working on character education in schools and enjoys helping school leaders and teachers improve their practice.

Mark has lived in Yorkshire for 20 years; after a first degree at the University of Leeds and a teacher’s certificate at Nottingham University, he served as a teacher and curriculum manager in secondary schools for ten years before moving into teacher training and school leadership. He has been married to Barbara for 25 years (who he met as an undergraduate before they were teachers at the same school) and they now have three children at Trinity Academy. He enjoys travelling, especially in the US and Germany, walking coastal paths, black and white photography, reading good books (especially C.S. Lewis’ fiction, theology and ethics), cycling, swimming, supporting his local church and spending time with his family.

Mark’s webpage at the University of Leeds:

http://www.education.leeds.ac.uk/people/academic/pike

Information on the character education project that Mark leads in schools:

http://1r2qwo2yg0am48qb2w3qswxs.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2015/07/2016-EE-final-international.pdf

Mark Chambers

Mark Chambers

Chief Operating Officer

Mark Chambers
Mark Chambers

Mark’s education career has been in teaching, school and local authority leadership and latterly leading a Professional Association and Charity. Mark has curriculum expertise (he co-wrote the Programme of Study for Computing in England and has contributed to similar national curriculum development in other nations), school leadership and professional development experience (working with hundreds of head teachers on their professional development through the National College for School Leadership).

Mark has, on numerous occasions, worked with the DfE on evaluating bids, developing thinking and policy and promoting practice. Currently Mark supports young entrepreneurs and start-up companies in the Education space and is engaging with Parliamentarians in an APPG looking at Skills for a Digital Age. Mark and his family are fully committed to local church life and, wherever time and employment have taken them have sought to serve. Mark has led volunteer teams and served at conferences and events on repeated occasions and in various roles.

Andrew Thelwell

Andrew Thelwell

Principal (Bede Academy (Secondary)) / School Improvement Team)

Andrew Thelwell
Andrew Thelwell

Andrew Thelwell joined Bede Academy and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation as Principal of Bede Academy in April 2019. Andrew obtained a degree in Biblical Theology from Manchester University at Regents Theological College before completing his PGCE at Kings College, London. He then served as a Religious Studies teacher, senior leader and Deputy Headteacher in schools in Hertfordshire, Somerset and West Yorkshire. Andrew has a professional interest in values driven leadership, curriculum design (as a tool for raising academic attainment and developing student character) and the use of assessment to inform teaching as a tool for raising attainment.

Andrew is driven by a strong belief that we are all made in the image of God and are therefore all unique and have incredible talents. Being educators gives us the privilege of being able to help students and staff liberate these God given talents and see them used to benefit others. This requires developing students who are not only academically successful but also students of good character.

Andrew has recently moved to North Shields from Yorkshire where he lives with his wife and three sons. Andrew retains an interest in Philosophy and Theology. His sons are involved in sports teams, scouts and a wide array of activities but when not ferrying them about Andrew likes football (a lifelong Liverpool fan), taking his sons to watch T20 cricket, cycling, walks on the beach with the dog and playing board games with his family.

Wendy Adeniji

Wendy Adeniji

Principal (Trinity Academy / School Improvement Team)

Wendy Adeniji
Wendy Adeniji

Wendy has led Trinity Academy since June 2020. She is also part of the ESF Executive as a ‘Lead Principal’ helping to support other schools in the trust. Previously, she led Bradford Forster Academy for four years and prior to that was a Deputy Head at Immanuel College and Vice Principal at Dixons Kings Academy, both schools in Bradford. She studied for a degree in English and French Law, in at Kings College London and at the Sorbonne university in Paris, and then completed her PGCE in French and Spanish at the University of Sheffield. During her career Wendy has also inspected for Ofsted and has been a part time lecturer at the Leeds University School of Education, helping to train languages teachers, where she also studied for a Masters degree in Education.

Wendy is committed to comprehensive education, and, having worked for five years in Church of England schools prior to joining Trinity, is highly committed to working in schools with a Christian ethos. She believes that this ethos brings an extra layer of care and support for both staff and students, as well as the opportunity to develop character through a focus on the character education, which enables those of all faiths and none to develop spiritually and morally. She is highly committed to giving young people, especially those who have grown up with disadvantage, the opportunity to have the best possible life chances through strong teaching, careers education and pastoral support.

Wendy’s professional interests include school improvement, language learning, careers education, developing schools of character and developing students’ cultural capital through sports, drama, music and outdoor activities. Wendy is particularly keen that young people gain the opportunity to take part in some form of social action and learn that the joy of giving back is often greater than receiving.

Wendy has three children who have recently become adults and are starting to fly the nest. Her twin son and daughter have recently turned 18 and so she is excited to become part of the ESF family and take on some new challenges. She loves travelling and the opportunity to use her languages, as well as swimming and walking.

Principals

Bethan Harding MBE

Bethan Harding MBE

Bede Academy (Primary) Principal

Bethan Harding MBE
Bethan Harding MBE

Bethan Harding completed a primary education degree in her hometown of Cardiff. She moved to Swindon to start her teaching career and also experienced a year teaching in America before returning to teach in a large inner city primary school in Cardiff. In 2011 Bethan was privileged enough to became the Headteacher of that school which went on the become the only school in Wales to achieve 15 out of 15 ‘excellent’ judgments in their inspection.

Bethan was a member of the Ministers School Practitioner Panel, regularly contributing to policy and guidance. She was a lead member of the Central South Wales Strategy Group and the Teaching and Learning Board who developed school to school improvement work across the region. Bethan worked to establish a number of highly effective School Improvement Hubs, School Improvement Groups and Partner Schools. Her school was one of the initial School Improvement Hubs developing and providing training through a range of professional development programmes. Bethan was a trained School Peer Inspector.

In 2016 Bethan got married and moved to the North East to become Head of Primary Years at Bede Academy. In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for services to education recognising her contribution to school improvement. She enjoys learning, reading the Bible, being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Nicky White

Nicky White

Christ's College Principal

Nicky White
Nicky White

Nicky White graduated from the University of Exeter in mathematics and education and started her career as a mathematics teacher in Guildford. After three years, she changed career and qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant, working in the City of London for three years in international banking. Nicky moved up to Yorkshire to have a family. She resumed her teaching career following the career break and worked in outstanding schools within the primary and secondary sectors. Nicky led on the development of the primary provision at a Bradford secondary school to create an all-through school, serving an area of high deprivation. She then progressed to Vice Principal post at another all-through school in Bradford leading on Inclusion and the Primary provision. (Ofsted judged the primary provision as outstanding.) More recently, Nicky was Principal at a large three-form primary that was sponsored academy securing significant improvement in outcomes.

Nicky trained as a School Peer Inspector and supported schools as a peer head teacher. She frequently completes peer reviews for primary and secondary schools within the trust and locally. Nicky also worked with publishers to develop the highly successful Dockside reading scheme.

Nicky has recently relocated to the North East, as her children are now independent to take up a new post as Principal of Christ’s College, Sunderland. .Nicky enjoys walking, the theatre, dining out and spending time with family and friends. She has been part of the local church in Bradford for over 10 years and is looking forward to being part of a church in the North East.

Nicky has served on the governing bodies of four schools (2 primary and 2 secondary) requires improvement schools and has been part of their journey to good. 

David Dawes

David Dawes

The King's Academy Principal

David Dawes
David Dawes
Wendy Adeniji

Wendy Adeniji

Trinity Academy Principal

Wendy Adeniji
Wendy Adeniji

Wendy has led Trinity Academy since June 2020. She is also part of the ESF Executive as a ‘Lead Principal’ helping to support other schools in the trust. Previously, she led Bradford Forster Academy for four years and prior to that was a Deputy Head at Immanuel College and Vice Principal at Dixons Kings Academy, both schools in Bradford. She studied for a degree in English and French Law, in at Kings College London and at the Sorbonne university in Paris, and then completed her PGCE in French and Spanish at the University of Sheffield. During her career Wendy has also inspected for Ofsted and has been a part time lecturer at the Leeds University School of Education, helping to train languages teachers, where she also studied for a Masters degree in Education.

Wendy is committed to comprehensive education, and, having worked for five years in Church of England schools prior to joining Trinity, is highly committed to working in schools with a Christian ethos. She believes that this ethos brings an extra layer of care and support for both staff and students, as well as the opportunity to develop character through a focus on the character education, which enables those of all faiths and none to develop spiritually and morally. She is highly committed to giving young people, especially those who have grown up with disadvantage, the opportunity to have the best possible life chances through strong teaching, careers education and pastoral support.

Wendy’s professional interests include school improvement, language learning, careers education, developing schools of character and developing students’ cultural capital through sports, drama, music and outdoor activities. Wendy is particularly keen that young people gain the opportunity to take part in some form of social action and learn that the joy of giving back is often greater than receiving.

Wendy has three children who have recently become adults and are starting to fly the nest. Her twin son and daughter have recently turned 18 and so she is excited to become part of the ESF family and take on some new challenges. She loves travelling and the opportunity to use her languages, as well as swimming and walking.

Matt Waterfield

Matt Waterfield

Emmanuel College Principal

Matt Waterfield
Matt Waterfield
Andrew Thelwell

Andrew Thelwell

Bede Academy (Secondary) Principal

Andrew Thelwell
Andrew Thelwell

Andrew Thelwell joined Bede Academy and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation as Principal of Bede Academy in April 2019. Andrew obtained a degree in Biblical Theology from Manchester University at Regents Theological College before completing his PGCE at Kings College, London. He then served as a Religious Studies teacher, senior leader and Deputy Headteacher in schools in Hertfordshire, Somerset and West Yorkshire. Andrew has a professional interest in values driven leadership, curriculum design (as a tool for raising academic attainment and developing student character) and the use of assessment to inform teaching as a tool for raising attainment.

Andrew is driven by a strong belief that we are all made in the image of God and are therefore all unique and have incredible talents. Being educators gives us the privilege of being able to help students and staff liberate these God given talents and see them used to benefit others. This requires developing students who are not only academically successful but also students of good character.

Andrew has recently moved to North Shields from Yorkshire where he lives with his wife and three sons. Andrew retains an interest in Philosophy and Theology. His sons are involved in sports teams, scouts and a wide array of activities but when not ferrying them about Andrew likes football (a lifelong Liverpool fan), taking his sons to watch T20 cricket, cycling, walks on the beach with the dog and playing board games with his family.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall

Grace College Principal

Mark Hall
Mark Hall

Mark has led Grace College since April 2019 when the school joined ESF. He has extensive international educational experience having worked in schools in South Africa, London and Norwich before moving to Gateshead, as Vice Principal, Emmanuel College in January 2008. After school he studied towards a Bachelor of Science degree and completed his PGCE at the University of the Witwatersrand. Later postgraduate studies saw him further his interest in the environment undertaking a degree in Environmental Management at the University of Johannesburg.

Mark’s commitment to education is borne out of a desire to see young people flourish. To thrive young people, need to grow in character as they establish strong relationships and explore questions of purpose and meaning. Knowing who they are and not merely what they can do is at the heart of growing up. By making this a central aim he asserts that schools can, and should, make a significant impact in their wider community fostering spiritual, cultural and economic growth.

His current professional interests include building community in and through schools and educational initiatives in character education and learning beyond the classroom. The extent to which students engage with all a school has to offer is linked to their overall wellbeing and sense of community. Every student should consider doing something co-curricular; on the sports field, through drama or through music or elsewhere!

Mark is married with two grown-up daughters. As a family they are proud of their South African roots but have a deep love for the North East considering themselves adopted Geordies! His abiding interest in all things to do with nature and conservation often take him out onto the fells of Northumberland or the Lakes District. As a keen participant in sport you are likely to see him rowing on the Tyne or out cycling. 

Support Services Management Team

Darren Warburton

Darren Warburton

Director of Finance

Darren Warburton
Darren Warburton

DWarburton@esf-mail.org.uk

01670 543 400

Darren Warburton grew up in Yorkshire before obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics and his Master’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Lancaster University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the National Audit Office in London and is now a Fellow of the ICAEW.

Since moving to the North East in 1998, he has worked in a variety of financial roles in different sectors with Vaux Group plc, Arriva plc and Dewhirst, the clothing manufacturers, before spending 13 years working in the social housing sector with Gentoo Group and Home Group. In his most recent role at Home Group, one of the largest social landlords in the UK and the largest provider of care and support services to vulnerable people, he was a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Head of Finance with responsibility for the Group’s assets including its housing stock of 55,000 homes. This included investment appraisal and funding for a growth strategy for the Group’s house building programme aiming to build 10,000 homes over 5 years nationally for rent and sale.

Darren joined Emmanuel Schools Foundation in January 2017 and has overall responsibility as Chief Financial Officer for Foundation finance, IT, HR, facilities, governance, business development and uniform sales. Darren is married with two children and lives in Northumberland.

Andrew Strachan

Andrew Strachan

Director of Digital Strategy

Andrew Strachan
Andrew Strachan

astrachan@esf-mail.org.uk

Born in Yorkshire but with deep ties to his scottish family roots, Andrew grew up in the West Midlands and Melbourne, Australia.

Andrew spent time working in the live entertainment industry as a Technical Project Manager, supporting the lighting infrastructure and logistics for world wide concert touring productions, prior to entering teaching following his PGCE at The University of Warwick.

Andrew spent 10 years at St Thomas More Catholic School (Blaydon), where he was Head of IT and Digital Strategy, leading his department through the transition from IT to Computer Science, reforms to vocational subjects and leading the school in their transition to cloud technology, securing STM national recognition for their use of digital tools to support all aspects of school life.

Andrew joined ESF in April 2019 as an Assistant Vice Principal, where he was deployed as part of the school improvement team to Grace College, with responsibility for whole school data, timetabling and the school's local digital strategy. In April 2020 Andrew took on the additional responsibility of trust Digital Strategy, and led ESFs digital response to the global pandemic including supporting our schools in the rapid shift to remote learning, resulting in taking on a full time commitment to the trust as Director of Digital Strategy in January 2021.

Away from work Andrew lives on the edge of Northumberland with his wife, and four children, the youngest of whom are twins. In the small amount of free time he has, Andrew coaches the Blaydon U8's mini rugby team, attempts to still play rugby and loves to get out into Northumberland with his black Labrador Bruno. 

Mark Boyers

Mark Boyers

Project and Facilities Director

Mark Boyers
Mark Boyers

MBoyers@esf-mail.org.uk

After completing a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship with a multi-national design consultancy company Mark Boyers, worked as a Commercial Project Planner for an offshore construction company. In 1995 Mark moved into Project Management within the automotive industry working within the tier one supply chain, having responsibility for key projects for major Automotive manufacturers.

In 2003 Mark joined the Emmanuel Schools Foundation as the Project Manager working with the sponsor to develop and deliver the new Academy schools within the group. He was promoted to Project and Facilities Director in 2010.

Mark lives in the North East with his two daughters.

Heather Robinson

Heather Robinson

Head of HR

Heather Robinson
Heather Robinson

HRobinson@esf-mail.org.uk

After growing up on the Isle of Wight and studying Physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Heather Robinson commenced a management career at Tesco; where for 13 years she cut her management teeth in a variety of operational retail roles before specialising in Human Resources.

A move to the Legal Services Commission in 2004 saw her develop her HR experience further in a national and multi-site Business Partnering role in the organisation which managed the administration and delivery of £2.4bn worth of Legal Aid.

More recently the lead HR professional in Owen Pugh (a regional, multidisciplinary civil engineering contractor) Heather brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her post as Head of Human Resources.

Now well and truly settled in the North East, she married a Geordie and lives with him and 3 cats in Northumberland.

Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor

Company Secretary & Data Protection Officer

Christine Taylor
Christine Taylor

CTaylor@esf-mail.org.uk

Christine Taylor is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives. Christine has worked within the compliance industry throughout much of her career. She worked for a large multinational law firm in Leeds for over ten years before relocating to the North East in 2006.

Christine was the head of a Compliance Unit for a North East law firm for a further four years following which she set up her own compliance business which she still runs today. Christine has also worked for a listed company on the London Stock Exchange in Durham for three years.

She joined the Emmanuel Schools Foundation in 2015 as Company Secretary to the Board. Christine still lives in the North East and has one daughter.

Amelia Okeke

Amelia Okeke

Financial Controller

Amelia Okeke
Amelia Okeke
Darren Jensen

Darren Jensen

Business Development Manager

Darren Jensen
Darren Jensen