The Trust Team

The Trust has a core team focussed on critical areas of school improvement, with a wide range of experience across all educational sectors. As more academies join us, additional capacity will be created so that schools and colleges can access all our centralised services and school improvement expertise.

Chief Executive Officer: Richard Ronksley

The Chief Executive Officer is accountable to the Trust Board for school improvement and the academic performance of all the academies in the Trust. He is responsible for supporting the Trust Board in formulating and implementing the strategic plan and ensuring the Trust’s vision and values are consistently applied in all its academies.The CEO is a successful and highly experienced leader, manager and teacher, with a track record of achievement in senior roles in education. While one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors he led inspections of a wide range of post-16 educational providers. He retains his links with Ofsted and is a practising inspector in addition to his current duties. As a result of his wide experience, he has extensive knowledge of what works (and how) and what doesn’t (and why) in education.

The CEO is also the Principal of Rochdale Sixth Form College which is a beacon of excellent practice in education. As an Ofsted outstanding provider, the college has been ranked as one of the most consistent colleges in terms of A level progress in the country. The college has an excellent track record for disadvantaged pupils (e.g. level 3 progress data 18/19: +0.26) and has been instrumental in improving the life chances of young people in the borough. The CEO also has a high profile in the local community and works closely with a wide variety of stakeholders to improve education and tackle disadvantage. Examples include primary and secondary schools, the local FE college, the local authority and local businesses.

The Director of Finance and Resources is a chartered accountant and has extensive experience of managing the finance functions of both a sixth form college and a secondary school, as well as broader experience of all support functions in a school. Her role will provide expert advice and enable Trust academies to draw on a wealth of experience in a range of services such as finance, HR and IT. At a time of increasing cutbacks to educational budgets, it is vital that all academies can operate on a sound financial footing. Close monitoring using a central finance system is another aspect of the Trust’s capacity that has a direct impact on school improvement. Our aim is to provide financial expertise and support to headteachers, which allows them to focus on the progress and welfare of the children in their care.

The Head of Academy Improvement (HAI) is an experienced senior leader who has worked across a number of secondary schools, most recently as the senior deputy headteacher in an Ofsted Outstanding school within the authority. The HAI plays a key role in the Trust by ensuring that all academies continue to improve and work towards Good and Outstanding Ofsted grades. The HAI is directly line-managed by the CEO and is responsible for producing accurate and timely reports to the CEO and trustees regarding the progress of each of the academies. He has a detailed understanding of each of the Trust’s academies and his primary role is to support and challenge school leaders to drive improvement within their organisations. In conjunction with the CEO, the Head of Academy Improvement will direct headteachers only when necessary and can work directly with Local Academy Councils. This would only occur where there are significant concerns with leadership and/or governance within the school, which may impact negatively on the safety of students.

The Governance Professional works in the education and charity sectors providing clerking/company secretary support to boards. She is legally trained having worked as a fee earner in private practice for 25 years before moving into governance in education in 2013. The Governance Professional’s specific practitioner experience within the education sector includes:

  • Working with chairs, chairs of committees, individual governors and boards as a whole to develop board engagement and overall effectiveness
  • Ensuring governors receive relevant induction and ongoing training to enable them to provide relevant support, scrutiny and challenge to the executive team
  • Encouraging and developing greater self-assessment for individual board members and the board as a whole
  • Working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and FE Commissioner Team through informal and formal intervention
  • Supporting a board through a Structure and Prospects Appraisal (SPA) process and working on mergers and a de-merger

The Operations Manager is a fully qualified Business Leader who works as part of the senior team, graduating from the National College of School Leadership in 2017.  The Operations Manager provides professional leadership and management of support staff in partnership with teaching staff to promote the highest standards of business ethos within the administrative function.  She has worked across a number of secondary schools and has a vast array of knowledge and experience in areas such as Health and Safety, GDPR, ICT, Estates Management and Procurement.  Her role ensures that the school makes the most effective use of its centralised resources and delivers a first-class service for all our academies. 

As the Trust expands, it will look to further develop its capacity to ensure that academies in different phases have access to high-quality support and expertise.