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Board of Trustees

We have a board of Trustees whose combined skills offer a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from within either education or business, which supports the Trust’s vision, purpose and strategy. The Trust Board is responsible for the oversight and scrutiny of the work of the Trust and holding staff of the Trust to account.

The Board of Trustees has responsibilities under Charity Law as Trustees, and under Company Law as Directors, as well as the responsibilities of Governors of a school.

In order to carry out its responsibilities, the Board of Trustees delegates some tasks to the Finance Committee, the Audit Committee, the Standards Committee and the Local Governing Bodies to ensure adequate monitoring of the work of the Trust.

Meet our Trustees

Ian Furlong - chair of trustees 

My career was wholly within policing from 1977 to 2012. I worked in several different disciplines, culminating in running a busy division as a Chief Superintendent. From 2010 to 2012 I was responsible for the business functions of the organisation. Latterly my areas of focus were predominantly around developing leadership, strategic planning and change management, performance management and governance provision.

I was fortunate to be able to retire in July 2012 and began working in school governance in 2013. In 2016 I became a National Leader of Governance (NLG). I now help, support and coach colleagues in various schools. I am qualified to conduct external reviews of governance, usually after Ofsted inspections. I also conduct independent complaint investigations.

I have always lived in East Yorkshire. I now have two adult daughters. I love a variety of outdoor pursuits and am a qualified mountain leader with a passion for mountaineering, backpacking and more recently all types of cycling.

Gillian Barley 

I have been a Community Governor at Winifred Holtby Academy for nearly 3 years and am currently Chair of Governors. In addition to being a member of the TCAT Trust Board I am also a member of the Audit Committee for the Trust. I have over 35 years experience working in the public sector in a range of roles. I left secondary school and achieved a moderate level of qualifications, however throughout my career I have studied part time and I achieved a Masters in Management 10 years ago. Whilst I do not have any children I am passionate about giving young people the best start in life and ultimately an education that will enable them to achieve their greatest ambitions.

martin craven - chair finance and resources committee 

I have lived in East Yorkshire now for over 30 years, during which time I have worked for major Hull based organisations in Finance, Commercial and Senior Management roles. Prior to retiring in 2015, I held the post of UK CEO at AAK, a global food ingredients business, where my responsibilities covered multiple sites, including a period in South America overseeing the establishment of a new facility in Brazil.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of seeing my three children grow up and be educated in the area, and now that I have finished full time working I have the opportunity to put my knowledge and experience to work assisting local schools and academies. I have been fully involved in the creation and growth of TCAT from its beginnings and am currently Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee.

Outside the MAT, I am active in the local community in a wide range of activities.

richard firth - chair audit committee 

I first joined Wolfreton School and Sixth Form College as a Governor after serving for some seven years in the Primary sector at Swanland School, which later became Swanland Education Trust. My joining coincided with a time of great change, with the opening of the new school and then the joining of Wolfreton to The Consortium Academy Trust where I became a founding Trustee in 2017.

I have two children at Wolfreton and feel very privileged to be able to contribute to the school. Professionally, I have had a background in finance all my working life and bring this experience to both the school and the Trust. I am active in community sport, coaching rugby union and rugby league locally over the last decade; I am a member of Hullensians RUFC.


I have been for more than thirty years a committed public servant. I have extensive experience of working across the public sector and specifically in roles that meet the requirements of this role.

Having graduated from The University of Leicester, my career started in the private sector in banking and audit before I moved into the public sector with roles in audit and consultancy. I was privileged to join Humberside Police in 1999 where I worked as the Assistant Chief Officer until I retired in September 2017. Since then I have been able to devote more time to my wife, Jan and my now 16 year old son, but I also have a role in the NHS as one of three Lay Members in the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group. I have specific responsibilities for their Audit and Remuneration Committees.

 I am recognised as a strong and committed team player, team builder and team leader by both fellow executives and members of the teams I have lead. I have long held the view that it is critical to be committed to the people who work with you as people, engaging actively with them, and supporting and encouraging them as individuals, making them know that they are appreciated. This has underpinned my being able to take teams of people with me on the journey to deliver sustained and successful outcomes in challenging environments. I have always practiced an open, honest and engaging leadership style, which I do not find difficult to sustain.

Public organisations are at a critical point in the development of and demand for the services they deliver. The increase in quantity and complexity of need is matched by the demand for continuous innovation and often reconfiguration of services as there is a need to live within increasingly challenging financial targets. This must place different and increased demands on the services for which the Board is responsible and on the role and function of the Board itself. I have extensive experience of working in such environments.

Peter hanmer 

As a resident of Cottingham for 7 years and of East Yorkshire in total for 22 years, I am passionate in helping to support the life chances of young people in the area. I am both a chartered accountant and chartered internal auditor with many years of accountancy and audit experience at a senior level. I am also an expert in corporate governance and risk management. Having been on the Board since its inception, and previously a governor at Cottingham High School, I have been active in supporting the Trust, particularly through my role on the Audit Committee where I have supported it in developing good governance and effective use of its resources. I am also a member of the Sixth Form Consortium Board of Governors.

Paul hogan  

I see a good education as the gateway to personal fulfilment for young people whichever career route they ultimately choose – academic or vocational.

To support schools in delivering a good education I have been involved with East Riding School Governance for more than twenty years, serving on all four state school governing bodies in Hessle and as Chair of Governors at three.

My children attended local schools and my wife currently teaches at a Trust academy.

After working as a Company Director for ten years I started my own company in 2004. Based in Hull my company trades internationally in the health care sector. Working in the private sector brings useful skills and experience to my Trustee role.

sharon milner 

I have been a Trustee since the Trust’s formation in September 2017, and serve on the Finance & Resources Committee and the Pay & Remuneration committee. In addition, I am the Chair and Safe Guarding Link Governor at Wolfreton School & Sixth Form. Appointed in February 2015 as a parent governor, I also serve on the personnel committee.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, I have run a local marketing company since 2009 and previously worked in senior communications roles at KCOM Group and Tata Steel. I believe the skills I have gained from working in corporates and running a small business help with my governance role on the Trust board, bringing a business focus to both challenge and support the Trust’s operations.

I live in Kirkella with my husband and two teenage sons. I have recently returned to my childhood passion of music, and can be found playing the flute in a local wind band.