South Pennine Academies

The Members

Dr Phil Wheeliker - Chair of the Board – Academy Ambassador Mentor

Phil is a South Yorkshireman by birth and is a former Royal Air Force Logistics Officer who gained active service experience during the Falklands and the First Gulf War. Subsequently he spent many years within a variety of industries, gaining executive experience in general management, training provision and in business rescue and transformation. A business psychologist and psychotherapist, Phil currently runs a thriving international business, based in Wakefield, specialising in management training, corporate and individual performance coaching and in stress and anxiety control. He is a visiting lecturer for Rolls Royce in the UK and both OPEC in the Far East and the Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation in the Middle East, currently coaching their senior executives to cope better with mounting work pressures.

A qualified Financial Accountant and Chartered Logistician, he also holds an MA in Psychotherapy, a DUniv in Corporate Stress Management and an MBA. Recently his expertise was further recognised when he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for Services to Psychotherapy.

Having left school himself at 16 to undertake a Factory Administration Apprenticeship, Phil is keen to ensure that our pupils get the best possible start in life.

Mr Richard Gilliland

Appointed to the Trust in June 2015, Richard is an ex-Moor End High School student, attending in the mid-1980s. Having extensive experience at senior level within the heavy vehicle and logistic support arena with both worldwide and local organisations, Richard was appointed for his expertise in both corporate and strategic planning, along with his understanding and experience in financial management, senior-level communications and detailed Health and Safety knowledge.  Richard currently holds a directorship role within Scania, a national but family-owned company based in Manchester.  He is committed to bringing his knowledge, experience and expertise to the South Pennine Academies team.

Prof. Tim Thornton

Tim is a professor of History who studied at New College, Oxford. In 1997 he was awarded the Royal Historical Society's David Berry Prize; in 1999 he was proxime accessit for the Society's Alexander Prize. He was the first scholar based in a new University to win one of the Society's prizes.
 
Tim has served in a variety of roles at the University of Huddersfield, including a secondment as Head of University Centre Barnsley during 2005-6 and time as Dean of the School of Music, Humanities and Media. He was appointed Pro Vice-chancellor (Teaching and Learning) in October 2008 and then became Deputy Vice-Chancellor in September 2015, being associated with the University’s achievement of Times Higher Education University of the Year and, most recently, Gold status under the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework and the Global Teaching Excellence Award. 

Mr Darren Smith

Darren left school at 16 (1986) and started out his working life with completing an apprenticeship in sheet metal fabrication with a Slaithwaite based company.

He moved into banking in 1995 working in a customer services call centre for Girobank (then part of Alliance & Leicester, now part of Santander); before eventually moving into an operational role. He moved into the commercial Bank in 2001 and has worked with many sizes of businesses / organisations from owner managed to large national corporates and the public sector. He spent 5 years specialising in the banks healthcare, education and communities team before moving into the banks new agricultural team in 2013.

Following redundancy in 2017 he moved to work as part of Yorkshire Bank's agricultural team. Here he is responsible for looking after and growing the portfolio of farming clients in the Yorkshire region, helping them develop viable business plans for their farms alongside managing the bank’s lending exposures.

He is passionate about education and helping others achieve their full potential as well as most things rural and outdoors activities. He has been a volunteer with the Friends of Beaumont Park woodland maintenance group for 10+ years and until 2017 was also a charity trustee with the Friends.