Elms Bank teacher and pupils
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Our Members are similar to the shareholders of a company and act as 'gatekeepers' ensuring that the highest of standards are met in the operations of the Trust. However, unlike shareholders of a company, Members cannot take money or assets from the company. The Members have ultimate control over the Trust, with the ability to appoint some of the Trustees and the right to amend the Trust's Articles of Association (a document that defines the powers of the Trust and the powers of the Members and Trustees).

Bernadette Garner - Chair of Trustees

Bernie Garner is the Chair of The Oak Learning Partnership Multi Academy Trust. In her role Bernie draws upon a wealth of experience in Education, Business, Social Care and Local Government. Her career has been driven by her passion for equality and she has a proven track record of improving opportunities for disabled children and adults. Bernie’s role in the trust is ensure the development and delivery of innovative services, both specialist and inclusive, to support all children to develop and achieve.

Daniel Brown

Dan is a highly experienced senior leader within the Financial Services industry and has many years’ experience of working in senior roles across a range of blue chip financial services organisations. He has an excellent track record of delivering commercial change, turning around projects and introducing new systems into businesses to transform their efficiency and profitability. As well as being able to offer robust financial advice to the Trust, Dan is able to offer expertise in business and operations management.

Simon Toft

Simon is a franchisee owner operator of several national branded restaurants having bought his first outlet in 2010. He has consistently improving his business operations in terms of profitability and customer satisfaction. As a business owner he has made a commitment to the local area and uses his businesses activities to create a positive impact in the community, providing jobs, skills, and investment. Previously he worked in the newspaper industry for 23 years; latterly as Group Commercial Director and Assistant MD for Guardian Media Groups Regional Media Division.


Our Trustees ensure that the Trust is operating in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association and the Scheme of Delegation.  The Board of Trustees is the accountable body for the performance of all schools within the Trust. Trustees:

  • ‚Äčensure that the Trust has a firm strategic direction, well-defined aims and objectives, and  a strong ethos           
  • ensure that the CEO accounts to them for the educational performance of the schools and their pupils, and for staff performance
  • scrutinise the financial performance of the Trust, ensuring financial probity and value for money

Ashley Boroda

Ashley is a qualified business coach and communication trainer working with and advising small and medium-sized businesses and service providers. Ashley is passionate about improving the prospects of young people in the local area, and he is actively involved with Digital Advantage, which brings the workplace to schools to help students develop their thinking, analytical, creative, business and digital skills. His areas of interest include curriculum planning and careers advice.

Sheila Gaskell

Sheila has extensive experience of working as a School Improvement Officer in both primary and secondary education and she held the position of School Effectiveness Officer for Bury Children’s Services for many years.  During this time her main area of expertise was in helping schools to make effective use of pupil performance data to raise standards. Sheila also has a wealth of experience as a school governor, and has taken an active role in ensuring that governors support and challenge Senior Leadership Teams on the full range of school and Trust functions. Sheila has been instrumental in driving change so that governing boards are more accountable and effective, and more actively involved in daily school life. Sheila’s particular focus is upon raising standards, with the regular monitoring of pupil attainment and progress.

Gary Graham

Gary has held high ranking positions in Education and in the NHS. As the Chief Executive of Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Gary was instrumental in merging two previous services into one cohesive single entity. More recently, he was the Deputy Chief Executive at Liverpool John Moores University where he was accountable for organizational development, human resources, marketing, student recruitment, internal relations, stakeholder relations and events. His wide-ranging experience means that he can advise on a variety of Trust operations.

Steve Howarth

Steve currently works for the Ministry of Justice, advising on financial strategy and business intelligence. He is a chartered accountant with over 30 years’ financial experience across Government and the Higher Education sectors. His expertise in financial management and system implementation have resulted in significant savings to the public purse over the years, as he has implemented new legislation and government policy to improve efficiency and reduce cost

Dr Paul Rogers

Paul’s expertise lies in post-16 education and change management. He has extensive experience of working in the education sector, in HE and apprenticeships, and has also worked as a Business Psychology Consultant. He has an in-depth understanding of psychological underpinnings for behaviour and motivation and is currently leading on digital and blended learning solutions for professional development and apprenticeships.


Our Members and Trustees can also sit on our Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and/or our Standards and Curriculum Committee.

Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and Standards and Curriculum Committee

Steve Howarth is the Chair of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee. Dan Brown, Bernie Garner and Paul Rogers are members of this Committee. 

Sheila Gaskell is the Chair of the Standards and Curriculum Committee. Ashley Boroda and Gary Graham  are members of this Committee.

Oak Learning Partnership