Board of Trustees

Paul Whitman (Chair)

Paul worked for 10 years in retail financial services in the UK and Africa. For the last 10 years he has been running his own business as an independent Learning and Development Consultant working in Europe, Asia, Far East, US and India. Paul has a passion for development and leadership at all levels in organisations and enjoys the challenge of working and facilitating diverse cultural groups. He is married and has two children at Abbey Grange Academy and one at St Chad’s Primary School. Paul is a keen, if slightly slow, triathlete and an active member of South Parade Baptist church in Headingley.

Tessa Mason

Tessa Mason was a primary teacher for 25 years and a Headteacher in Leeds for 16 years prior to joining the Department for Education undertaking the following national roles: Regional Programme Leader for the Training & Development Agency (TDA) for schools (2007-2011), DfE NCSL Regional Associate (2011-2014) and is currently DfE Education Adviser for the Academies Division, Professional Mentor for the Arts Council England and DfE Teaching & Leadership Advisor in Yorkshire & the Humber for NCTL and ACOD. Living in Weetwood, Tessa is a mum and grandma.

Steve Simkins

Steve is an Actuary and a Partner of KPMG where he is the Head of Public Sector Pensions. He is part of KPMG's Public Services & Healthcare practice and has many clients across the sector, including school academies and local authorities, working closely with colleagues on a wide range of issues. He is married to Naomi and has four children who have all attended or are still at Abbey Grange Academy. Steve lives in Calverley and is a member of St Wilfrid's C of E Church. In his spare moments Steve might be found playing the trombone or riding his bike.

Frances Baker (Vice Chair)

Fran is a barrister specialising in civil litigation and practising out of Zenith Chambers in Leeds. She read law at Oxford University and was called to the Bar by Lincolns Inn in 2007. Fran also acts as an external examiner for the Bar Standards Board and provides training in advocacy and public speaking. She has two young daughters and in her spare time she enjoys cooking and gardening.

Dean Stratton

Dean is the Centre Manager at Land Securities’ White Rose Shopping Centre in South Leeds. Land Securities is the largest commercial property owner by value in the UK and a FTSE 100 Company. Dean has been based at White Rose for eight years and has helped to establish the shopping centre as one of the most successful retail destinations in the UK. On a day to day basis he is responsible for the operational performance of the asset. Prior to joining Land Securities Dean had a successful ten year career with Debenhams, working in human resources and operations management roles around the UK. Dean is based in Leeds, though originally from Cleethorpes, and is a Business Studies (BA Hons) graduate with a particular interest in strategic planning, operations management, health and safety and social legitimacy.

Peter Laurence

Peter was Principal at Brigshaw High School in Leeds until 2010, before becoming Development Director of The Brigshaw Co-operative Trust, an eight-school partnership in outer east Leeds which became a multi-academy trust in the autumn of 2016. He has combined this role with being a Regional Adviser for The National College and, more recently, providing support for schools and local authorities looking to develop stronger school collaborations. Peter is also a member of the WYAD Diocesan Board of Education.

Reverend Jude Smith

Jude Smith is the Pioneer Team Vicar based in Hawksworth Wood and Moor Grange. Prior to ordination Jude graduated in History from the University of Cambridge and worked as a secondary school teacher, youth worker and charity development officer, as well as in community development and regeneration. She will often be found running (well jogging) or generally getting excited about sport or politics. Rev Jude is the Trust Board’s Safeguarding Champion.

Colin Blair

An alumni of Abbey Grange, Colin Blair has been with the University of Huddersfield for over 27 years and has been instrumental in managing the transformation of its academic estate into one of the best examples in the HE sector. Colin has a wide experience of educational property issues and has provided advice to and served as a board member at schools, colleges and other charity groups within West Yorkshire. Colin was recognised for his services to Higher Education and the community of Huddersfield with the award of an MBE in the Queen’s 2016 New Year’s Honours List.

Gefrin Price

Gefrin has worked for Lloyds Banking Group for 26 years. He is currently the Regional Director for the Halifax and the North which involves leading teams across circa 120 branches, helping to develop the broader brand strategy and supporting the bank’s overall purpose of Helping Britain Prosper. An MBA graduate, Gefrin’s career has seen him undertake a range of leadership, policy and strategic roles. He enjoys working with others to help maximise opportunities and overcome challenges, whilst coaching individuals to help them reach their potential. Gefrin is married; enjoys running, hill walking, reading and all things food related.

Name & Registered Office:

Abbey Multi Academy Trust
c/o Chapter House
Abbey Grange Church of England Academy
Butcher Hill
LS16 5EA
Registered Company Number: 07705552