Our Team


Executive team

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 

Simon Lomax- Executive Principal

Executive Principal of the Midland Academies Trust. Simon is a Geography Teacher who prior to his current role was Principal of the Nuneaton Academy for 5 years, and a Senior Leader within the Midland Academies Trust since 2012.   

As Executive Principal, Simon is responsible for:  

  • Executive Principal responsibility for several designated academies 
  • Leading the MAT Central Management Team 

  • Supporting the CEO and MAT Board in the strategic development and operation of MAT 

  • Reporting to the Chief Executive on academy performance, progress and operation  

  • Reporting to the MAT Board and Raising Achievement Boards (RABs) (as appropriate) on the performance of academies 

  • Ensuring that the MAT ethos, principles, policies and procedures are embedded 

  • Ensuring that each academy is outward looking and fully engages as a member of the MAT fulfilling its partnership and collaboration responsibilities and contributing to shaping the vision and direction of MAT and the wider school led education system 

  • Working with the CEO and the Board to provide direction and ambitious vision for MAT, developing and delivering the MAT Strategic Plan and MAT policies and procedures.  

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. 

Nicola Morrison- Executive Director for HR, Organisational Development and Marketing 

As the Executive Director of Human Resources, Organisational Development and Marketing, Nicola’s responsibilities cover all aspects of HR and Marketing.  Nicola is responsible for enabling all people-based activity within the Trust, both operational and strategic.  This includes the formulation and delivery of the Trust’s People Strategy, which sets out the MAT’s ambitions to operate as an employer of choice, attracting the most capable and skilled people and building an inclusive and high performing culture. Nicola provides leadership and oversees all aspects of human resources management on the full portfolio of people matters including workforce planning and development, talent acquisition and management, inclusion, leadership development, reward and recognition, workforce wellbeing, employee relations, organisational culture and behaviours.

Robin Shakespeare- Director of Education

Robin is responsible for directing the Trust’s approach to curriculum, teaching, professional development and assessment and leading the Trust school 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

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.  


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

Sue Beech- Senior Business Manager

Sue has been in post since January 2021 and has been Business Manager at the Nuneaton Academy since September 2016. 

Sue is currently Business Manager at the Nuneaton Academy and Senior Business Manager for the Trust. Sue is responsible for: 

  • Support academy Business Managers. 

  • Quality assures business and support processes and policies in academies. 

  •  Ensure that all finance, administrative systems, policies, processes, and procedures across of the academies are consistent and where appropriate are centralised to maximise efficiencies. 

  • Act as Educational Visits Co-ordinator for the Trust. 

  •  Identify and develop new policies as appropriate with the Director of Education and Executive Principal. 

Marie Blower- School Business Administrator 

As School Business Administrator, Marie supports the school Business Managers in the operation of their roles at all four academies. Previously a member of the administration team at The Nuneaton Academy,  Marie’s responsibilities play a crucial role in the day-to-day life of a school by providing a wide range of administrative support to keep everything running as smoothly and consistently as possible.

Sam Arnold- Executive Assistant 

Sam provides PA and administrative support to Simon Lomax, Executive Principal and The MAT 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.