• We believe that all children deserve a choice of outstanding educational provision. Our Trust is focused on raising standards, narrowing the gap and ensuring that all children at our schools have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Steve Docking, CEO of North West Academies Trust


We know that effective governance and a clearly defined structure is crucial to our trust’s success. North West Academies is focused on delivering the best outcomes for pupils, alongside accountability. We are proud to have a team who bring with them a wide range of professional and personal experience to support and challenge both our trust and its schools.

  • Members

  • Members sign the memorandum and articles of association. They are responsible for establishing the trust and appointing trustees.

  • Brendan Wignall, Member and Chair of Trustees

    Brendan Wignall is Headmaster at Ellesmere College, a co-educational boarding and day school for pupils between the ages of 7 and 18. Ellesmere prides itself on providing a highly-focused personalised education which ensures pupils leave the College with much more than simply the necessary grades to progress to the next stage of their lives. Brendan is also Chair of Governors at St Martin’s Academy Chester, Chair of the national dyslexia accreditation charity CreSTeD, and serves on the membership and finance committees of HMC, the leading association for independent school heads and principals.

  • Sir John Timpson, Member

    Sir John Timpson is a highly successful businessman, author, columnist and founder of the Timpson Foundation. He is a governor at Delamere CE Academy. John has previously been a trustee at Uppingham School in Rutland, Brookway High School in Wythenshawe, and Terra Nova School in Cheshire. Until its merger with the NSPCC, John was a trustee of ChildLine.

  • Iain Colledge BEd (Hons) MA, Member

    Iain Colledge is the co-founder of North West Academies Trust and currently Principal of Raha International School; an outstanding 2,000 student, IB school in Abu Dhabi, He has held leadership roles in four British international schools and in each he has significantly improved the quality of education and grown the school beyond expectations. Iain has previously been a governor in a state primary school and carried out various consultancy roles to improve school standards and develop leadership and management in primary and secondary schools. He is also an inspector for Ofsted and inspects British international schools in the UAE. Outside of running schools, Iain has also been CEO of World Academies and European Early Years Director for the British Council.

  • Chris Penn, Member

    Chris Penn is appointed Director of Education for the Diocese of Chester. He leads the education department which supports the 116 Church of England schools across the Diocese of Chester. Prior to taking on this role, Chris was the headteacher at St Peter’s CE Primary School in Heswall for 10 years. He has also held various teaching and advisory posts on the Wirral.

  • Trustees

  • Trustees are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the trust. They are accountable for the performance of our schools and ensure financial probity.

  • Brendan Wignall, Chair

    Brendan Wignall is Headmaster at Ellesmere College, a co-educational boarding and day school for pupils between the ages of 7 and 18. He is the chair of governors at St Martin’s Academy, chair of the national dyslexia accreditation charity CreSTeD, and serves on the membership and finance committees of HMC, the leading association for independent school heads and principals.

  • Michael Forber BSc (Hons) PGCE, Vice Chair

    Michael Forber is the Headteacher of Somerville Primary School, Wallasey. This is his fourth headship after successfully leading two schools out of Ofsted categories and raising attainment and achievement in both schools. Michael has been praised twice by the Department for Education for reversing a school’s attainment from the bottom 4% to the top 1% of school performance tables and raising a school’s value added progress to the 14th best school in England. He has also been the chair and vice chair of two education partnerships.

  • Steve Docking BA (Hons) PGCE NPQH, CEO

    Steve Docking is CEO of NWAT. He is also the principal of Delamere Academy, a small school which became the first primary academy in Cheshire West and Chester in April 2011. Steve’s leadership and management has been developed across five schools and during time spent learning in South Africa, the USA and Holland. He has held three different headships and is experienced in raising standards in schools, including moving a school from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘outstanding’ in less than three years.
    As CEO of NWAT, Steve has led the trust’s development, including opening St Martin’s Academy, the first primary free school in Chester, and overseeing the transformation of the former Greenfields Primary School in Winsford into Oak View Academy.
    Steve was made a National Leader in Education in 2017.

  • Adrian Walmsley, Member of Cheshire West and Chester Council

    Adrian Walmsley is a governor at St Martin’s Academy and Upton-by-Chester High School. He is a former Member of Cheshire West and Chester Council, a role which included the chairmanship of a regulatory committee. Adrian was previously a local authority representative at the University of Chester and the Countess of Chester NHS Trust.

  • Kay Cook, Trustee

    Kay is a Director at Oliver and Co Solicitors, a Chester-based global law practice offering a comprehensive range of expert legal advice. Kay is no longer involved in the day-to-day legal work, but is responsible for developing new business both nationally and internationally. In addition to this, Kay is part of the Governing body of St Martin's Academy and also a parent of the school.

  • Reverend Elaine Ollman, Trustee

    Revd Elaine Ollman BTh is Rector of St Peter’s Church, Delamere, and a governor at Delamere Academy. Prior to being ordained, Revd Elaine worked for more than 20 years in school administration. In addition to her theology degree and ordination training, she has undertaken a wide-range of courses including Bereavement Counselling and Pastoral Listening and has achieved a British Sign Language Level 2 qualification. Elaine has also previously sat as a magistrate on the Wirral Bench for 10 years.

  • Kirsty Cobb, Trustee

    Kirsty is Executive Head of the Manchester Office at DWF, a world-renowned law firm. She is also the Chair of Governors at Delamere Academy and a parent at the school. Additionally, Kirsty sits on the board of Trustees at Vision for Children and is a board member at Girls Out Loud. Kirsty attended the University of Sheffield where she studied law.

  • Julie Roberts-Joyce, Trustee

    Julie Roberts-Joyce has worked in education for more than 25 years as a secondary school teacher, senior leader, and GCSE and A Level examiner. She moved from teaching to take up a consultancy role in inclusive education and SEND for a local authority. Julie has a degree in history and the NPQH. She is also a parent governor at Delamere Academy.

  • David Jones, Trustee

    David retired from his position as a Commercial Manager with Lloyds Bank in April this year after 40 years service.
    Born in Ellesmere, Shropshire, he spent all his working life in the North West, with the final 15 years in Chester, where he lives with his wife Sarah.
    They have two children - a son, Matthew, who lives and works in Oregon, USA, and a daughter, Francesca, who has just finisher her Masters Degree in International Business.
    David is a lover of all sports but football in particular. He and Sarah hold season tickets at Anfield.
    They are also keen travellers, having visited Australia, USA many African countries and most of Europe.