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Meet Our Board

The Board of Trustees assume full responsibility for the strategic direction of the Multi Academy Trust. The Trustees will be accountable for the entire business operation of the Trust. The Trust will take responsibility for the financial and resource management of the schools so they can concentrate on the education of its pupils. The strategic direction of each school will be set through the Local Advisory Board to whom the Trustees have delegated responsibility. Although the Board holds overall responsibility and control it is important that each school is able to self-govern through the local advisory board. This self-governance will look different within each school dependent on their journey and the individual challenges of the school. It will include holding the school to account for standards, curriculum and pastoral care. It will be strategic in the development of the school improvement plan and holding the school to account for it.  This will be set out in the scheme of delegation which may vary from school to school.

Our Chair of Trustees is Dr David Kershaw who can be contacted c/o Epworth Education Trust, Westleigh Lane, Leigh, WN7 5NJ.


Mr Max Bailey

  • Retired Solicitor. Former Managing Partner of large Bury firm of Solicitors where I guided them to Investor in People recognition and a Legal Aid Franchise.
  • Past President of The Bury & District Law Society.
  • Former Invigilator of Examinations at The University of Manchester.
  • Gift Aid Secretary at The Bridge Church Bolton 

Dr Jonathan Hustler

  • Trained for the Methodist ministry at Wesley House Cambridge from 1987-90, and spent a year prior to his first station at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His widespread experience of ministry has been gained through serving in a variety of places and roles across the country over the past 26 years.
  • Throughout his ministry, Jonathan has maintained a rigorous approach to scholarship, reading for his PhD while a circuit minister. From 2011-14 he served as Vice-Principal of Wesley House Cambridge, 2014-17 he served as the Ministerial Co-ordinator for the Oversight of Ordained Ministries in the Methodist Connexional Team, and from 2017 he served as the Assistant Secretary of the Conference.
  • Became the Secretary of the Conference in 2020. The Secretary of the Methodist Conference works closely with the President and Vice-President, and plays a principal part in the care, oversight and leadership of the Methodist Church. He is responsible for enabling the strategic development and implementation of the Church's vision of unity, mission, evangelism and worship and for encouraging good governance.

Dr David Kershaw CBE, JP, MA

  • Retired secondary Headteacher (Coundon Court, Coventry (21 years) Executive Head of two schools in Leicester City (four years)) and is currently serving as a Governor of two primary schools and two secondary schools in the Midlands.  
  • Also the Chief Executive of the Central Academies Trust.
  • Coventry City Councillor and was Cabinet Lead for Education from 2012 - 2016 (four years) and is a Methodist Local Preacher (from 1968).

Rev Paul Martin

  • Chair of the Bolton and Rochdale District which has 11 Methodist/Methodist Anglican Primary Schools.
  • Previously served as Chair of Governors in two Methodist Primary Schools and a Community Primary School.
  • Passionate about the need for children to get a good start in life through education and keen to encourage the missional and evangelistic opportunities which exist through our schools. 

Rev Roger Walton

  • Supernumerary presbyter living in the Manchester and Stockport Methodist District.   
  • Served the Methodist Church in Stourbridge, Liverpool and St Albans circuits and was Connexional Secretary for Adult Learning from 1987 until 1999, when he moved to be Director of the Wesley Study Centre, Durham. 
  • Chair of the Yorkshire West District between 2011 and 2019 
  • During 2016-17, served as the President of the Methodist Conference. 
  • His books include Learning for Ministry (Church House Publishing, 2005), The Reflective Disciple (Epworth Press, 2009) and Disciples Together (2014 SCM Press). 
  • In the last couple of years, he has been working on a Methodist Way of Life.
  • He is a widower, has grown up children, Laura and Andrew, and since January 2012 has been a granddad.  Yet he still plays a mean game of table-tennis!


Miss Cathryn Bale

  • Assistant Headteacher at a secondary school, overseeing early career teachers and staff development in teaching and learning.
  • Previously a Regional Lead Practitioner In Mathematics for a multi academy trust across primary and secondary schools in the North of England.
  • Previous roles within education includes Transition leader, Progress system leader for KS3, Head of Year and Teacher of Maths.
  • Experience working with primary schools and nurseries in both the UK and Australia.
  • Passionate about improving the lives of young people both in present day and to maximise their futures. 

Mrs Elaine Cleland (Chair of Standards & Effectiveness Committee)

  • Wide-ranging experience in senior management and leadership both in business and education.
  • Focus has always been on the engagement and development of the people, empowering them to perform more effectively to enable an organisation to realise its full executive and commercial potential.   

Miss Tracey Collier (Chair of Finance Committee)

  • A CII qualified Financial Consultant with several years private sector corporate banking experience in strategic research & development.
  • Now a Senior Manager in the Civil Service working with public sector teams around the UK. Managing departmental wide capability building projects including the development of digitalised and immersive learning technologies.
  • Also previous Chair of the Acorn Trust Finance and Audit Committee.

Mrs Barbara Easton

  • Professional background is in school leadership, and Religious Education. 
  • Head of Service for MAST (Methodist Academies and Schools Trust), a Trustee of MIST (Methodist Independent Schools Trust) and the Epworth Education Trust. 
  • Also involved with the Methodist Church as a Local Preacher and youth club leader.

Mr Tony Harris (Chair of Resources Committee)

  • Chartered Surveyor specialising in property dispute resolution.
  • Consultant in practice in London and a Chairman of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
  • Currently Chair of Governors at Farringtons (a MIST school).
  • As well as being a Methodist he has wide experience of advising on Church and charity property matters.

Mr David Harrison (Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees)

  • Led a number of businesses for 40 years and has a passion to see young people prepared for the 21st century work place,
  • Worked as Operations Director in one of the largest Multi Academy Trusts in England.
  • Now Chief Operations Officer in a growing MAT in the East Midlands.
  • Has had many roles in Governance over the last 18 years.
  • Previously the Chair of Governors in a secondary school that progressed from Special measures to Outstanding.
  • Been chair of 2 Local Advisory Boards where the Schools moved from Requires improvement to Good.
  • Served as a Trustee in a growing East of England Trust in 2011-12 and was appointed Trustee to a Lancashire based Trust in 2019 where he subsequently became Chair and jointly led the merger of this Trust with the Methodist MAT in 2020 to form the Epworth Trust.
  • Vice Chair of the merged Trust and heavily involved with the growth strategy of this national Trust.
  • Keen to see young people provided with the best academic cultural and sporting opportunities as a right and not a privilege.

Mr James Inman

  • Currently, seconded for two days a week as Executive Head at Washington Academy in the North East working in his capacity as Consilium Director of Education for the North East.
  • Director of Education (Consilium Academies) overseeing schools in the North East of England, Darlington and Greater Manchester regions.

James has enjoyed a number of roles including:

  • 1999 - French teacher at Wellington School where he was promoted to Key Stage 4 Coordinator.
  • 2001 he became the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator at Stamford High School, where he joined the SLT in 2005 in a new role as where he was responsible for Teaching and Learning where he was given the opportunity to work with Alistair Smith.
  • Curriculum Deputy Headteacher at Buile Hill Visual Arts College in 2008 where he was successful in securing the position of Headteacher.
  • Chaired the Secondary Schools Heads and Principals Association (SSHAPAS) and he has been an active member of the School’s Finance Forum Group representing Salford Headteachers within the LA in regards to finance for schools.
  • Currently seconded for two days a week as Executive Head at Washington Academy in the North East working in his capacity as Consilium Director of Education for the North East.
  • Holds his core beliefs of inclusivity and providing the very best educational opportunities central to all he does.  

Dr David Kershaw CBE, JP, MA (Chair of Board of Trustees)


Chair of Epworth Education Trust

  • Retired secondary Headteacher (Coundon Court, Coventry (21 years) Executive Head of two schools in Leicester City (four years)) and is currently serving as a Governor of two primary schools and two secondary schools in the Midlands.  
  • Also the Chief Executive of the Central Academies Trust.
  • Coventry City Councillor and was Cabinet Lead for Education from 2012 - 2016 (four years) and is a Methodist Local Preacher (from 1968).

Mr Kevin Meredith

  • Currently, Chair of the Local Advisory Board at Bedford Hall School with governance experience for over 14 years.
  • Member of the Methodist Church, a current Church Treasurer for over 30 years and a former Circuit Treasurer and Property Secretary, presently Circuit representative to District Synod.
  • Previously employed for 38 years in the cable manufacturing industry, holding positions of Head of Process and Product Development responsible for managing engineers and coordinating the design and development of processes and products.
  • Employed over 9 years in a Property Management Company, responsible for all aspects of maintenance.
  • Married with two daughters and four grandsons, Kevin enjoys walking, being a fan of Rugby League and also Club Secretary of his local Table Tennis Club.

Mrs Nicki Taylor (Chair of Audit Committee)

  • Has 20 years’ experience of working in law, the NHS and more recently the last 6 years working as a senior leader in education. 
  • Initially working in one secondary academy and progressing into overseeing the operational aspects of 11 secondaries within a large Multi Academy Trust, she works with an operational team to deliver the operational strategy of non-educational functions including administration, health and safety, pupil data, catering, parental communication, Ofsted compliance and site related issues within the schools.
  • Passionate about education and is currently studying at Loughborough University for her MSc in Strategic Leadership.

Mr John Weaving

  • A chartered accountant by profession
  • Finance director in the banking, retail and, most recently, the education sector working with both commercial and charitable organisations before retiring in December 2019.
  • Now undertakes a number of non-executive and Trustee roles.
  • Married to Diane and has three children and two grandchildren.
  • Now lives in Leeds and attends the Cathedral Church of St Anne’s.