South Pennine Academy

The Trustees

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 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 Governance Leader, qualified Accountant and Chartered Logistician, he also holds an MA in Psychotherapy, a Doctorate in Corporate Stress Management and an MBA. Phil is also a Trustee and Chair of the Pay, People and Performance Committee for Rodillian Multi Academy Trust.

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 Simon Gray - Vice Chair of the Board

Simon was appointed to the Board in October 2019, after identifying the opportunity through the Academy Ambassadors programme. Prior to this appointment he gained insight into education governance through sitting on the local governing body of a large inner-city primary school in Leeds. He spent 6 years on this board, holding the position of Chair for 2 years and leading various sub committees including finance and health and safety.

Simon’s original career plan was to join the Police force and attended college to help facilitate this. However, the part-time work at a local supermarket which he did to help fund his studies took him in a different direction, and over the following 12 years his career took him around the UK progressing into senior store operations management roles or a number of major retail brands including Tesco, Toys R Us and ASDA.

Deciding on a career change and seeking advice he went to see a recruitment consultant who suggested that his skill set may well suit recruitment. He joined a large national recruitment organisation where he was trained to specialise in sales, commercial management and senior appointments and over the course of 8 years he had progressed to director level.

In 2011 he decided to open his own business practice and operate as an independent consultant. He continues to run this business working on a national basis with several large organisations that require high level talent.

Simon was born and raised in the small mining town of Worksop near Sheffield but now lives in Leeds with his wife and 2 daughters of primary school age.

Simon firmly believes in education for all children regardless of their backgrounds and feels particularly passionate about children from challenging environments having the opportunity to reach their full potential in a safe and nurturing setting.

Mr Glyn Charles

Glyn is a career accountant who has studied accountancy at all levels, attaining a degree before qualifying in industry.  He has held various senior posts in large and small organisations, determined to make a difference and make an improvement.

He believes in continuous improvement and creating exciting opportunities and environments for people to get the best from them.  His experience has been gained in an wide range of industries and he will be able to utilise that experience for the benefit of the Trust and all stakeholders.

Mr Mick Kay

Mick is the founding CEO of a growing multi academy trust, West Yorkshire based, that has six academies across the primary, secondary, all-through and alternative provision sectors.

Mick is a system leader working closely with the DFE and RSC, improving connectivity across the system, ensuring support is targeted at schools that need it most.

Mick is a values driven leader, with a people-centred approach, driven by the mission to improve social mobility and social inclusion. Working collaboratively with partners, Mick has a track record for delivering sustainable school improvement strategies that lead to significant improvements in outcomes for children and young people.

Mr Chris Bond

Born and bred in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, Chris has worked within the construction industry for over 20 years and since 2008 has been the owner and managing director of a successful building services group of businesses.

An enthusiastic and compelling communicator, Chris has a track record of building long lasting and profitable business relationships which have sustained his companies through both good and very difficult trading conditions. Chris is entrepreneurial in character and energetic in his approach, leading and motivating teams to take action then deliver complex and often difficult projects.  He is a knowledgeable information management specialist who is adept at problem solving in business and corporate environments and is dedicated to providing support for multiple parties.

Effective at managing resources, training teams of employees and troubleshooting problems, Chris is devoted to developing a positive company culture in which employees embrace open conversations for new idea contribution. He has a real interest in personal development and encourage his teams to take every self-development opportunity available.

Having a 6 year old daughter at primary school in Wakefield, Chris has a very personal interest in education and the development, support and protection of children. He was incredibly excited when the opportunity arose to work alongside the Trustees at South Pennine Academies.

Mr Tom LIndley

Appointed to the Board in August 2020, Tom was recruited via the Academy Ambassadors programme.

Tom is currently a global marketing director for Mars Incorporated.  During his 20 years at Mars he has enjoyed a variety of positions in marketing, innovation and people leadership.  His expertise is in innovation, advertising development, strategy setting and organisational change management.

Tom believes in possibility thinking, setting stretching goals and empowering people and teams to be the best they can be.  He is incredibly passionate about sustainability and the responsibility of all organisations and senior leaders to help address climate change.

Having been schooled through the state school system before gaining a degree from the University of Bradford Management Centre, Tom is an avid believer of the right for all children to receive good quality education and to be educated in a school where they can flourish.

Claire Hewitt

Claire joined the Board in June 2021 having heard about the opportunity via the Academy Ambassadors programme. She is committed to making a difference and improving life chances for young people and this has underpinned her work in education. After starting out as a Chemistry teacher she spent over twenty years working in a variety of senior leadership posts including leading an 11-18 school and being headteacher of an all through school.

Claire has been involved in school inspections and was previously a governor of a free school in Manchester where she chaired the Teaching and Learning Committee. Although Claire is now retired, her passion for educating young people continues and she is involved in voluntary work as a maths tutor. In retirement she is enjoying having more time for walking, cycling and playing the piano.

Zoe Holland

Zoe is a highly motivated legal entrepreneur with extensive senior management Board experience together with over 25 years as a Solicitor. She is currently managing director of ZebraLC, a multi award winning adviser to the UK legal sector, having founded the business in 2012. Zoe is recognised as a trusted advisor to law firms, banks, funders, ATE insurers, accountants and private investors looking for advice upon WIP valuation, legal sector market knowledge, receivables risks, governance, financial and operational risk management including restructuring and turnaround. She has also advised in a number of the legal sector’s highest profile PI and clinical negligence M&A deals, advising acquisitive law firms and private equity investors. She is valued for leadership, strategy, operational and stakeholder management, people, business growth, transformation, M&A, compliance and operating models in the legal services sector.

Zoe is currently a Non-Executive Director for Jackson Lees Group and Frenkel Topping Group PLC.

Zoe has always championed young people supporting mental health of trainees during her role as President of Trafford Law Society in the early 2000s and becoming a Parent Ambassador for the Young Minds Charity in 2017.

Zoe has been dedicated to public and community service - acting pro-bono in inquests and being a member of the Clinical Negligence Core Group for the Civil Justice Council. Access to justice being at the heart of these roles. Her entrepreneurial skills brought her into the role of Vice Chair and Trustee of the SBA - The Solicitor Charity until December 2019.

In 2020, during COVID- 19, Zoe co-founded registered charity Silk Elephant CIO with a focus on delivering simple acts of kindness to those in need. To date, the charity has delivered over 60,000 handmade gifts to individuals in need and supported over 100 community-based projects. It has over 1,000 creative volunteers across the UK that help make gifts. The charity’s reach has also extended to the US, Europe and India as part of its ‘international kindness exchange.  In July 2020, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, awarded Zoe the UKs 1434th Point of Light for her contribution to community via her charity. She was also awarded the High Sheriff Award for Greater Manchester for her contribution to the community during COVID-19.

Mr Roger Mitchell - Co-opted Trustee

Roger is a highly versatile and very successful business analyst with a strong background in assessing and refining operational processes and procedures and working practices to create more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective methods of working to maximise opportunities and transform organisations.

He believes in building and developing strong long-term relationships with clients, colleagues, directors, trade unions, suppliers, and partner organisations to champion change and bring everyone along on the journey.

Working across retail, energy, and financial services industries in the UK and internationally, he brings a breadth of knowledge and best practices which can be of benefit to the education sector.

 Ms Jane Acklam OBE – Chief Executive Officer / Chief Accounting Officer

Jane is the CEO of South Pennine Academies.  She has considerable experience as a highly successful Headteacher and Principal.  Jane has been a National Leader of Education since 2009, and effectively supported and built capacity in a wide range of schools, locally and regionally.  As the Principal of Moor End Academy, she led them through numerous Ofsted inspections achieving outstanding in 2009 and again in 2012.  Jane has won national awards for her commitment to excellence in the professional development of teachers, and has been awarded a Teaching Award, as Headteacher of the Year. She has a wealth of experience working for the DfE on the Head teacher Board for West Yorkshire and Lancashire and as a Teaching and Leadership Adviser for NCTL.  Jane was awarded an OBE for services to Education in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list.