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.

Our Members sign The Memorandum and Articles of Association. They are responsible for establishing the Trust and appointing Trustees.

Our Trustees are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Trust. They are accountable for the performance of our schools and ensue financial probity.

    • Brendan Wignall

      Member And Chair Of Trustees

    • Sir John Timpson

    • Chris Penn

    • Iain Colledge

    • David Jones

    • Kirsty Cobb

    • Reverend Elaine Ollman

    • Michael Forber

      Vice Chair

    • Kay Cook

    • Adrian Walmsley

    • Steve Docking


    Terms of Office and Register of Interests
    • Name of TrusteeDate AppointedExpiry DateRegister of Interests
      Brendan Wignall (Chair)01/10/1701/10/21Brendan is headteacher at Ellesmere College, Shropshire
      Michael Forber (Vice Chair)01/10/1701/10/21Michael is Headteacher at Somerville Federation, Wallasey.
      Iain Colledge01/10/1701/10/21Iain is Executive Principal of Raha International School and a member of the senior leadership team at Taaleem Education in UAE.
      Adrian Walmsley01/10/1701/10/21Adrian is a governor of St Martin’s Academy, and a Trustee/Governor at the Queen’s School - both in Chester.
      Steve Docking (CEO)01/10/17N/ASteve is formerly headteacher at Delamere Academy and CEO of NWAT. He is also a director of ACT Education. He lives with Wenda Smith, Head of School at st Martin's, and they have two children.
      Kay Cook01/10/1701/10/21Kay is a Director at Oliver and Co Solicitors and governor at St Martin's Academy.
      Reverend Elaine Ollman01/10/1701/10/21Revd Elaine Ollman BTh is now retired as Rector of St Peter’s Church, Delamere, and a governor at Delamere Academy.
      Kirsty Cobb01/10/1701/10/21Kirsty is Executive Head of the Manchester Office at law firm DWF and Chair of Governors at Delamere Academy.
      David Jones01/10/1701/10/21David retired from his position as a Commercial Manager with Lloyds Bank in April this year after 40 years service.
  • members

    Brendan Wignall

    Member And Chair Of Trustees

    Brendan Wignall is Headmaster at Ellesmere College, Shropshire, a coeducational boarding and day school for pupils between the ages of 7 and 18. He was the founding chair of governors at St Martin’s Academy. He is currently chair of the national dyslexia accreditation charity, CReSTeD, and chair of the British International Education Association, a non-profit organisation with a mission to promote the best of British educational practice overseas. He is also chair of the Membership Committee of HMC (the leading association for independent school Heads and principals), and was recently elected as its Treasurer.

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    Sir John Timpson

    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.

  • members

    Chris Penn

    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.

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    Iain Colledge

    Iain Colledge is the co-founder of North West Academies Trust. He is Executive Principal of Raha International School, a 2,500 student IB school in Abu Dhabi, and a board member of four charter schools run by Taaleem Education in the UAE. 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.

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    David Jones

    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.

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    Kirsty Cobb

    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 We Mind The Gap. Kirsty attended the University of Sheffield where she studied law.

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    Reverend Elaine Ollman

    Revd Elaine Ollman BTh was Rector of St Peter’s Church, Delamere, and a governor at Delamere Academy, but retired from these duties in 2019. 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.

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    Michael Forber

    Vice Chair

    Michael Forber is the Headteacher of Somerville Federation, 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.

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    Kay Cook

    Kay is a Director at Oliver and Co Solicitors, a Chester-based 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. In addition to this, Kay is part of the Governing body of St Martin's Academy and also a parent of the school.

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    Adrian Walmsley

    Adrian Walmsley is a Governor at St Martin’s Academy and a Trustee/Governor at the Queen’s School – both in Chester. He was an elected member of Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council being the Chairman of one of its regulatory bodies. One time Cabinet Member for Finance and a local authority representative at the University of Chester, Cheshire Police Authority and the Countess of Chester NHS Trust.

  • trustees

    Steve Docking


    Steve Docking is CEO of NWAT. Previously headteacher at Delamere Academy, he instigated its transformation from a small school threatened with closure into 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 Winsford's former Greenfields Primary School into Oak View Academy.
    Steve was made a National Leader in Education in 2017.