Board of Trustees

Alan Shadrack

Chair of the Trust

Alan is a retired Headteacher of Middle and Primary Schools, retaining a passion for education. He has led three large schools and undertaken two Acting Headships locally, at Melbourne and Stamford Bridge, during a teaching career spanning forty five years. His first substantive leadership role was as Deputy and subsequently Acting Head of the Cathedral 9-13 CE Middle VC School, Wakefield, where he worked closely with the Chair, the then Cathedral Provost. He is an ex-Ofsted Team Inspector, External Advisor for Headteacher Appraisal and is an Affiliated Member of ICSA: The Governance Institute. He currently serves as an external advisor for the Primary Steering Group at York St John and is a governor at Tang Hall Primary School, York.

Jonathan Britton

Chief Executive Officer of the Trust

Jonathan is CEO of the Wolds Learning Partnership. As Headteacher at Woldgate School he moved from Requiring Improvement to Good and has been identified by Department of Education as one of the ‘top 100’ most improved schools in the country in 2016. In 2018 he became a National Leader of Education. He was previously Deputy Head at an Academy graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and experienced the transformation of that school from it being one parents actively sought to avoid due to its reputation, into one that was highly successful and oversubscribed. He was also integral to the leadership of school improvement and the grading of the school as ‘Outstanding’ and has led an ‘Outstanding’ SIAMS Inspection. He had also overseen the creation and construction of a new Sixth Form that would be recognised by the Department of Education as the highest performing vocational centre in the country, and he also established a highly successful teaching school. As Head of the Pathfinder Teaching School, he has led on school improvement, staff development, leadership and teacher training. Teacher of Maths and Physics.

John Sinclair

John is a determined, innovative and successful waste and renewable energy professional. He has created and delivered new European markets for waste wood biomass and refuse derived fuels for large corporate clients and many smaller businesses. He continues to advise, negotiate fuel contracts and supply waste derived fuels throughout the UK and Europe. In tandem with this work John and partners have developed a £30 million combined heat and power plant burning waste wood biomass at Holbrook, near Sheffield. This supplies heat to the local district heating schemes and electricity to the Grid. His family firm farms a small mixed unit in the Scottish Borders. A governor of 12 years standing at primary, federation primaries and secondary school means John brings both passion for children’s education and extensive experience in governance of schools. He is particularly adept at working with schools bringing to bear his extensive finance and development skills developed in his working life. He also brings extensive leadership experience, particularly in working with teams to assess, review strategy, set targets and deliver improved performance. He has also had broad experience in managing organisational change.  His enthusiasm for helping to bring about better schools for better outcomes for pupils remains undiminished after many years of governing.

Karen Taylor

Karen is a Chartered Certified Accountant working with a number of schools in North Yorkshire to provide financial management and business manager support. She also holds the CIPFA Certificate in Financial Reporting for Academies. Karen previously ran the Finance Department for Castle Howard Estate and also worked for the NHS where she provided support financial management.

Graham Cook

Graham has 30 years in the computer software industry with a broad range of technical, operational, organisational, financial, strategic and international experience including 2 years working in the USA. He undertook a management buyout with 2 colleagues in 2011 to establish the software business Agility Multichannel which is based in York where he was CTO until the business was sold to US technology company Magnitude in 2017 and is now a Vice President. He has been a Director and co-owner of local toy making business The Rocking Horse Shop since 2009. He has been a Parent Governor since 2009 and he also served as Chair of Woldgate from 2011 to 2015, a period which saw the reorganisation of GB structure, appointment of the current Head and improvement in the Ofsted rating from RI to Good.

Stephen Burley

Stephen is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a Registered Valuer, Managing Director of RM English and a Partner and Auctioneer at York Auction Centre. As a long-standing Pocklingtonian, he is committed to the continuing development of excellence in our com- munity and schools. He was born and bred in Pocklington and attended Pocklington Community Junior School in the early 60s, so has seen the major changes to the school over this time and in more detail since becoming a co-opted Governor in 1999. Stephen has been involved in all the major capital works undertaken at the school during this time. He took over the Chair of Resources Committee in January 2016 and hold specific Governor responsibility for finance, health and safety and the fabric of the school.

Angela Ekers

Angela studied for her NPQH and then obtained headship at Bugthorpe CE School in 2010. In 2012 she was asked to be Head of Sutton upon Derwent CE Primary School, and the following year was very busy promoting the strengths and supporting the weaker areas of two village schools. Angela commented that “Being an Executive Headteacher is a busy and rewarding role, as you develop the school teams to be independent, yet need to monitor their overall success. Working in close contact with the village communities is equally rewarding, with children and families’ wellbeing and futures at the heart of everything we do.”

After twenty years in education, Angela took early retirement in 2017, in order to spend more time with her family and create a small family business in hospitality.

Julia Thomson

Julia was a Director for Human Resources and Training at Shiseido, a global Japanese cosmetic business and is a past Chair of COPRA (cosmetic and perfumery retailers association). She was a Governor at a Surrey school for 15 years, and Chair of resources for 10. In retirement and making a return to her native Yorkshire, Julia joined PCJS in October 2014 as a Governor and then as Chair from July 2015. She is a Fellow of the NSPCC and has undertaken extensive fundraising for Save the Children and Cancer Research.


Our five principles

A Trust Board that aspires for our children to have high expectations and high outcomes both in school and within the wider community.

A Trust Board that recognises the importance of a sense of local belonging and the empowerment of its local communities.

A Trust Board whose principal remit will be the oversight of quality educational outcomes across the partnership, underpinned by prudent financial management.

A Trust Board that incorporates expertise in the areas of teaching, school improvement, finance, employment law and educational law.

Trust Board that is innovative, promotes collaboration and is outward looking.


Telephone 01759 302395

Email office@wlp.education

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