Our Team

Trust Executive

Marion Plant OBE FCGI- Chief Executive Officer 

Marion Plant is Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust and Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC).  Marion served a 3-year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education.  In 2018 Marion was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and in September 2019 was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Leicestershire Live Women in Business Awards, devised to celebrate the outstanding achievements of female professionals in the region. 

She serves on several national/ regional bodies including:  

• Deputy Chair and Trustee of WorldSkills UK 

• Director for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead, leading the COVID reset plan response for Coventry and Warwickshire 

• Board member of Coventry University and Chair of the Academic Affairs committee 

• Member of Coventry and Warwickshire 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 

David Poole - Chief Financial Officer

David Poole has been the Trust’s Chief Financial Officer since 2016 and is also the Chief Operating Officer for North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.  David is a Certified Public Accountant with over 12 years’ experience of strategic financial leadership in the further education sector.   

David is experienced in leading organisations in improving their financial health and sustainability and risk mitigation as well as significant financial projects, capital, and efficiencies management. 

Robin Shakespeare - Director of Education

Robin is responsible for directing the Trust’s approach to curriculum, teaching, professional development and assessment and leading the work of the Trust academy improvement team.

Through working in close partnership with senior leaders and external partners, Robin ensures sustained improvement in educational quality, inclusivity and innovation. Robin has a long career in managing school improvement at scale, working across a local authority before joining the Trust in 2015. 

Careers and Transition Support

Claire Cooke- Strategic Lead- Careers, Transition and Partnerships 

Claire has considerable experience working in our schools promoting careers and post 16 opportunities with staff, pupils and parents. Her role  is to ensure that that every pupil has the information to access an aspirational career. Claire leads the Trust’s offer to all pupils at key transition points in our schools and this includes a close partnership with many of our linked primary schools. She has established reciprocal visits for Year 5 and Year 6 children supporting a smooth transition from primary to our secondary schools and facilitated teachers from both phases working together to the benefit of the children. Claire also works with our Post 16 providers to promote access to a wide range of destinations through employer encounters and visits which are all designed to raise aspirations and promote new career opportunities. 

Debbie Partridge- Careers and Employability Manager  

Debbie is an experienced Careers Advisor and holds a Level 6 qualification in career guidance. Debbie provides careers support to all pupils in our schools with a clear focus on ensuring every pupil has a 1:1 guidance interview and an individualised careers action plan to support their post 16 plans. Debbie also supports the wider careers curriculum and works closely with parents and Post 16 providers to provide career encounters, Careers Fairs, practice interviews as well as visits to local universities and businesses.  

SEND support

Baljinder Morrison- Trust Lead SENCO

As Trust Lead SENCO Baljinder has accountability for the Trust wide Special Educational Needs and Disabilities strategy to ensure that systems are in place to secure positive outcomes for pupils with an identification of additional needs. Baljinder works closely with SENCOs and the senior leadership team across all Trust academies. As Trust Lead SENCO Baljinder is responsible for the quality assurance of statutory compliance for SEND strategies and policies. The role focuses on partnership working with other schools and academies and local authorities so that the best possible outcomes are achieved for the pupils with additional needs.


Stuart Illey-Financial Controller 

Stuart has been in the role of Financial Controller for two years and has worked in the education sector in similar roles for 17 years. As Financial Controller Stuart is responsible for: 



  • Production of the Trust statutory accounts 

  • Production of monthly management accounts and individual school reports. 

  • Constructing the medium term business plan. 

  • Completing three in year re-forecasts of the Trust’s budget. 

  • Management of the Central MAT Finance Team. 

  • Co-ordinating external and internal audits. 

  • Submission of all financial statutory returns to the funding body. 

  • Submission of other financial returns such as VAT and Tax. 

  • Overview of the Trust’s capital spend. 

  • Working closely with the Procurement team to ensure value for money for the Trust is secured. 

Business Management and Administration

Gemma Whetton - Senior Business Manager

Sam Arnold- Executive Assistant 

Sam provides PA and administrative support to the Trust' Director of Education and central team. Sam is responsible for all communications with the Executive Principal’s office and acts as the first point of contact for the Trust.


Trust Lead Practitioners

Our new team of Trust Lead Practitioners are expert teachers and leaders who support our Directors of Education to improve the capacity and performance of their subject teams. Working within their Trust subject communities, they are serving practitioners, drawing upon their own practice to support staff and leaders across our Trust.

Megan Hoar - English

Megan is responsible for ensuring there is a high quality curriculum effectively implemented across the Trust through robust professional development and staff coaching. Through her work with DoLs and Trust-wide subject community professional development, she works to ensure all colleagues have a clear understanding of the curriculum intent, implantation and impact in order to ensure all pupils receive a highly ambitious, enjoyable English curriculum. Megan works with the English team to ensure all pupils receive access to a curriculum that encourages them to understand the world around them, both past and present, as well as inspiring them to find their voice in society and articulate this in a meaningful and empathetic manner. Megan also teaches English across the Trust, role-modelling her high expectations, subject knowledge and pedagogy to others through observations and regular coaching. Megan liaises with external providers and teachers within the Trust to facilitate effective professional development for all colleagues to ensure pedagogy and delivery are effective and aligned with current educational research.

Niall Bruce - Maths

Niall leads on the mathematics provision across the Trust as part of the Central Team. He oversees the development of the curriculum as well as the teaching and learning within the classroom. The role also involves teaching in one of the trust schools. Previously Niall worked as Head of Department in Leicester for 4 and a half years within a trust setting. He also works closely with the local Maths Hub and is currently leading a workgroup for Secondary Heads of Maths. 

Kalpesh Pancholi - Science

Kalpesh is responsible for the continued development and implementation of an exciting and aspirational Trust science curriculum that builds students’ critical skills and knowledge. Through collaboration with science leaders and teams at each Academy, Kalpesh works to ensure effective curriculum implementation secures students’ success, and inspires the next generation of scientists.

Sharing his expertise, and working with external partners, Kalpesh ensures our science teachers have the best professional development opportunities, empowering them with high-quality pedagogy that is backed by research and cognitive science.

Kalpesh is passionate about raising attainment through inclusivity and equality, improving the life chances of our young people. Through coaching and modelling of outstanding teaching practice, he aims to ensure sustained excellence of science teaching across the Trust, allowing colleagues to deliver the most effective learning experience to our young scientists.

Prior to becoming Trust Lead Practitioner of Science, Kalpesh was Director of Learning for Science and previous to that, Head of Physics. In both roles Kalpesh significantly raised the achievement of students in science, and developed his teams through coaching and supportive professional development.


Stuart Davison - Computing

Stuart is responsible for computer science provision across the Trust as part of the academy improvement team. He leads on the development of curriculum, pedagogy and practice in the subject through a regular teaching commitment enabling him to share examples of effective pedagogy, trial new approaches and showcase excellent teaching practice. Stuart also spends time visiting and working with subject colleagues and leaders across the Trust academies.

Stuart has a long career in developing the subject of computing nationally, including the education of new teachers at a university ITE provider, before joining the Trust in 2023.

Trust Subject Leads

Our team of Trust subject leads play a leading role in co-ordinating the Trust subject communities, alongside their duties as Heads of Subject or Directors of Learning. 

Trust Subject Leads 2022-23

Sharon Martini
Sophie Smith
Kat Patrickson
Hannah Clements
Kira Hewitt
Naomi Robottom
Performing Arts
Helen Pipe  Geography
Emile Petit
Joe Moretta