Michelle Callaghan

Michelle is the Platform Director for a data management company where she is responsible for the delivery and support of all internal IT systems across the organisation, with a passion for delivering change whilst ensuring an exceptional user experience. Michelle is also a core member of her current organisations’ Incident Management Team and Audit / Risk management committee. Previously Michelle held the position of Head of Solutions Architecture for a large facilities management and construction company after working as a consultant for a number of large IT professional services organisations for over 25 years across different industry verticals. Michelle was keen to work with the Midland Academy Trust and understand how she can bring her experience to help and contribute to the students, wider communities and MAT initiatives. 

Mike Coult - Chair of the Audit Committee

Mike Coult

Mike is a chartered public finance accountant and retired in July 2012 after 40 years’ service for Coventry City Council.  Most of his career was spent in financial management but he retired from the post of Assistant Director - Transformation Programme. Mike is the Chair of the MAT Audit Committee.

Steve Dover

My first job at the age of 15 was as an Apprentice Shipbuilder with Cammell Lairds in Birkenhead. I went on to Further Education and eventually achieved a Degree in Environmental Engineering at Newcastle Polytechnic in 1978. I spent 24 years in construction operating in the UK, Jordan, Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman. I led the overall construction of some of the largest developments in the City of London during the ‘80s and early ‘90s as well as leading on

major construction projects for the Royal Oman Police and Sultan’s Armoured Regiment in the Sultanate of Oman – where I got to drive a Chieftain Tank and fire the gun – which was fun! In 1999 I led the implementation of the Criminal Records Bureau quickly followed by the establishment of the London Congestion Charge. Following those I started my own company and worked with Thames Water / ITNET / Transport for London / Stratford District Council / HMRC and Cap Gemini Aspire and Central Government. I became a top Civil Servant in Central Government and was a leader of the major Welfare Reform Programmes in the Department for Work & Pensions (Employment & Support Allowance and Universal Credit). I also led in the outsourcing initiative of Departmental back office services to two Shared Services Providers across all Government Departments. Moving on from Government I went to transform the charity Help for Heroes and latterly have led and advised on major Transformations in the UK Higher Education sector – within which I continue to strive to make a difference.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and have led two major scientific expeditions to the remotest part of the Sultanate of Oman discovering the wreck of the first British Merchant ship to be sunk by the Germans in World War One; a new species of Humpback Whale and untouched tombs and dwellings over 5,000 years old. Google it to see more if you like. My interests are family (married with 3 grown up kids and 3 Grandchildren) / scuba diving – which I have been doing now for 40 years / climbing & walking / photography / writing poetry -published author. I wanted to join the Midland Academies Trust (MAT) because I feel my professional and personal attributes and experiences have much to offer the Trust; the Academies within it and the children coming through the Academies. And what better use to put these to than supporting the next generations and the positive societal differences they will influence and make for the future. I aspire to serve and make a difference to the society within which I live and the people around me.

Ian Dunn (Chair)

Ian Dunn

As Provost for Coventry University Group, Ian is Chief Academic Officer and takes responsibility for driving the highest standards of academic excellence and supporting the leadership of the Education & Student Experience, Research and Enterprise & Innovation pillars of the corporate strategy.

Ian has worked at Coventry University since 1992, beginning as an academic in the Engineering Faculty and has subsequently taken many roles in Engineering and Computing before being appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2010, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2013 and Provost in 2018.

Ian led the development of Coventry University College in 2011 and was involved in the subsequent developments to create campuses in Scarborough and Dagenham. He led the creation of Coventry University Online in 2017 to create a suite of fully online degrees available in partnership with FutureLearn.

Ian is highly engaged with the higher education sector both nationally and internationally. He is a member of the QAA Advisory Committee for Degree Awarding Powers in the UK and a member of the European University Association steering committee for learning and teaching. In 2016 Ian was voted “Inspiring Leader of the Year” at the Guardian Higher Education Awards. He is highly engaged in his local communities, working with schools, the justice system and charities.

Paul Joesbury

I am a qualified accountant who works across a number of industries including manufacturing, construction leisure and my current employment area, financial services.

I am recognised as a senior leader by the Financial Conduct Authority and have Director responsibility for change programmes, risk and health and safety, with over 50 staff reporting to me.

I am the father of 2 daughters and have a great passion for improving the educational opportunities of our school age children, providing them with the help, guidance and support in their chosen goals and professions.

Andrew Mackereth

Andrew is an experienced educationalist who has served as a Secondary Head, Senior Executive Leader in a large multi academy trust, Ofsted Inspector and School Improvement Advisor.

Fuelled by a life long passion for music, Andrew graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with specialisms in conducting, composing and performing before entering a career as a music teacher.

Raising standards and building inclusive communities have been hallmarks of his leadership career and led to opportunities to work with the Department of Education and the British Board of Film Classification, where he was a member of the advisory panel on children’s viewing for over a decade.

Andrew brings a wealth of experience in transforming schools facing challenging circumstances and has a desire to contribute significantly to the life chances of the young people of his adopted hometown and neighbouring communities.

Ann Melville (Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance and Resource Committee )     

Ann Meville

I am now retired but was Assistant Executive Director of Children’s Services in Liverpool. Prior to that post I worked in several different posts in community education including Head of Community Education in Tameside. I have been involved in the Midland Academies Trust since it was established. I am a Governor of a primary school in Leicestershire. I am also Vice Chair of Citizens Advice Leicestershire.

I have maintained an interest in policy developments within Education. I am committed to promoting equality and diversity in all the organisations I have worked or volunteered in, and have experience in the delivery of diversity and equality training.

When I retired I moved down to Leicestershire to be closer to my family.

Kirston Nelson

Kirston has served as a Director/ Assistant Director for Education for over 12 years across 2 Local Authorities. She has significant knowledge and understanding of the operating environment and a high level of experience working with Local Authorities, the Department for Education, the Regional Schools Commissioner, Ofsted, WMCA and Government.

Kirston wanted to join the MAT Board to give something back to the profession that she has served for 25 years and offer her expertise in the best interest of improving outcomes for children, young people and the local area.


Marion Plant OBE FCGI

Marion Plant

(Principal and Chief Executive)

Marion Plant is Principal and Chief Executive of a large FE College; North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in Leicestershire and Warwickshire.  She is also Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which sponsors four secondary schools. Marion also served a 3 year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education and in March 2018 was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

She serves on several national/ regional bodies including:

  • Deputy-Chair and Trustee of WorldSkills UK·      
  • Board member (Director) for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead; leading the COVID reset plan response for Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Member of West Midlands Combined Authority’s Skills Advisory Panel
  • Vice Chair of the Nuneaton Towns’ Fund Board
  • Trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England)
  • Member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group
  • Member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Programme Board
  • Member of the AoC’s Portfolio Group for Climate Change

Tim Render

Tim Render

A chartered public finance accountant and a trained town planner, Tim retired as Director of Finance for a major local authority in 2008. He is “retired” but occasionally still works as a consultant in finance and governance, and holds a number of non-executive roles. He is also the independent chair of the audit committees at North East Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Tim is a trustee and non-executive director in the public and private sector of various local charities including Hinckley Homeless Group, CAB, Food Bank and Worklink and the family and work initiative. 

Tim is Chair of the combined George Eliot / Hartshill School RAB.

Phil Rowley 

Phil Rowley

Phil is a chartered engineer with 28 years’ experience of delivering transportation strategy advisory services to senior government figures and agencies.

He is currently delivering a national traffic management project in the UK. Phil is a Director of a small business services consultancy and has previously managed consultancy business in the middle east. He holds a BSc Hons in International Studies and has an Executive MBA.

Phil is keen to bring his strategic and Governance experience to the MAT and help make a difference to the students and communities the MAT serves.


Paul Brown

I am currently Chief Executive of The Y (Leicester YMCA) which is one of the largest youth organisations in the city, providing Housing, Education, Arts, Sports and IAG. Prior to this I was head of young people's services in Camden London and an area youth officer in Birmingham. I am also chair of the regional YMCA group supporting 14 CEO’s across the East and West Midlands .

I am a serving magistrate and previously sat as a member of the Leicestershire Police Authority. In my personal life I have 4 children and enjoy exotic holidays, salsa dancing, films and funk and soul music.