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Amanda Nicholson - Chief Executive Officer

Amanda Nicholson - Chief Executive Officer

I have led my previous school in Knowsley through an outstanding Ofsted inspection in 2009 and I have led Oakwood Academy through academy conversion in 2012 and two outstanding Ofsted inspections in 2013 and 2017. We currently have 203 pupils aged 9 – 16 at the main Oakwood campus in Eccles Salford. In 2019 we opened a 6th Form College at Media City Salford, we have 75 students and 10 supported internship students. We increased our age range up to 19 years and lowered our age range down to Y5 so we can facilitate smoother transition to secondary education. We have opened an Enhanced Resource Provision (ERP) for 15 children with ASC at Silver Street campus in Irlam.

I became a National Leader of Education in 2015 and Oakwood was designated a National Teaching School in 2016. We are now working hard to train the next generation of SEND teachers and undertake school to school support in a variety of settings and deliver extensive CPD.

My specialism is SEND. I have worked in the field of SEND for 25 years and have worked in a wide variety of settings with children of all ages and disabilities. I am committed to ensuring they get the best education possible and we give them the start in life they deserve.

David Donnelly - Chief Operating Officer

David Donnelly - Chief Operating Officer

I have worked in special education for over 20 years. Although I have had many different roles within schools, my specialism is in the pastoral care of children and young people and working teachers to support and engage with pupils with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.

Over this time, I have developed and maintained provision within schools to support pupils’ social, emotional, behavioural and mental health needs and put in place, facilities and alternative education programmes for children with complex needs which has enabled these pupils to fully engage in learning and school life.

My current role as COO, involves with closely with the head teachers of the schools within Trust on all operational matters, including, HR, Health & Safety, Project Management, Site Management and ICT.

Jonathan Poole - Chief Finance Officer

Jonathan Poole - Chief Finance Officer

I joined Kings Academy Trust as CFO in the summer of 2021, bringing with me a wealth of experience in education finance garnered over a twenty-five year career.

There are several highlights in my background that I believe it is useful to share. I spent the first part of my career providing financial support services to the Grant-Maintained sector (in many ways a precursor to Academies and Multi-Academy Trusts), and I later went on to manage the support services division of this company.

I was then appointed as the Business Manager, and later Finance Director, of a prestigious north-west school (a state sector grammar consistently ranked in the top 10 schools nationally) before being a key part of the team that led the process to convert to Academy status, create a Multi-Academy Trust, and manage the incorporation of a further eight schools into the Trust.

A highlight in the later part of my career has been an 18-month period working as a freelance consultant to open a new school in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The school had a particular remit for improving the quality of Saudi girls’ education, which has historically lagged behind boys’ education, and I was proud that the school opened on time, within budget and effected positive social change.

I am delighted to have joined Kings’ Academy Trust, and I believe the ethos of the Trust echoes my own. I hope that my role in the organisation can help in some small way to improve the outcomes of the young people we serve.

Ann Rose - Trust Business Manager

Ann Rose - Trust Business Manager

I have worked in the education sector for most of my adult life. Prior to working at Oakwood I worked for an educational charity promoting STEM in high schools and colleges in Greater Manchester, working closely with the British Association.

I started working for Oakwood in 2010 as a Receptionist, working my way up to Office Manager, then School Business Manager before becoming part of the Central Executive Team as the Trust Business Manager, demonstrating the strong career progression that is available within the Trust.

I am also the Clerk to the Trust Board and set meeting dates, agendas, documents at take minutes of each meeting for the Trustees and Committee Members.

I have a daughter with special education needs which gives me a good insight into the excellent provisions that the Trust provides throughout its provisions helping to maximise the potential of all its pupils.

Emma Elsey - Finance Assistant

Emma Elsey - Finance Assistant

I have worked within the education sector since leaving school myself at age 16; completing my AAT qualifications up to level 4, whilst working as a Finance Assistant at a local independent school. After this I joined Kings Academy as Finance Officer 3 years ago. Since joining the Trust I have completed my school business management diploma and hopefully this will enable me to contribute towards ensuring the best education and environment is available for all pupils.

Catherine Mclaughlin - Director of Teaching and Learning

Catherine Mclaughlin - Director of Teaching and Learning

I have worked in education for over 10 years across some of the most challenging areas within Greater Manchester in both primary and secondary settings. After working for a number of years in mainstream education in disadvantaged areas, I turned to teaching children with special educational needs and disabilities at Oakwood Academy. During this time, I continued to learn and grow as an educator. I began supporting the delivery of School Direct training and the Outstanding Teacher Programme and was able to share my knowledge and skills with the next generation of educators. 

I progressed within Oakwood Academy through middle leadership as Head of Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Stage. I then became a Senior Leader, moving to Oakwood's enhanced resource for pupils with ASC and SEMH needs, as an Assistant Head and eventually as Head of the provision. 

I am so proud of the work I have done enhancing outcomes and life chances for vulnerable young people and now work as Director for Teaching and Learning for Kings Academy Trust, supporting staff across all settings.

Michelle Navin - Director of Safeguarding

Michelle Navin - Director of Safeguarding

I have worked for Oakwood Academy since 2010 and held many positions within this time. I started as a 1.1 worker progressing to Teaching assistant, learning mentor, lead learning mentor and inclusion manager/ Deputy safeguarding lead. I am also the staff governor, representing both staff and pupil voice to all governing bodies.

More recently, alongside my role as Inclusion Manager I have taken up the position of the Director of Trust Safeguarding, working for Kings Academy Trust, overseeing the safeguarding practices and procedures for all trust schools working in collaboration with them to ensure outstanding practice throughout.

From the moment I began my career at Oakwood, I realised my passion for supporting the most vulnerable young people in the community, being an advocate for them and their families to ensure their safety and inclusion, not just within an education environment but for their future lives.

Kings Academy Trust
Chatsworth Road, Ellesmere Park, Eccles, Manchester M30 9DY
Tel: 0161 921 2880