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Our Trustees

Hearl Lenton MBE FRICS (Chair of Trustees)

Hearl is a commercially and strategically astute senior professional, with non-executive director and board advisory expertise.

He is quick to add value and to make an effective contribution, offering sound judgement in both a supportive and challenging capacity. With a longstanding business background and specific property sector subject matter expertise, Hearl is able to provide objective input into organisational decision-making. He is able to advise strategically and challenge constructively in support of achieving the best possible outcomes for the children and young people served by the Trust.

Hearl has extensive experience of chairing the board of another multi-academy trust which alongside his knowledge and skillset will support Exceed to further develop as a well respected and effective Trust.

Victoria Eaton MCIPS Chartered

Victoria is a very well regarded procurement and supply professional, bringing to the Trust indispensable independent expertise in these areas. Victoria is a senior commercial leader within the Government, currently leading on commercial activity in public health and health security.  She previously lead on a range of national digital and complex technology projects. Victoria is commercially astute, legally knowledgeable and has a strategic, financial background.

Previously, Victoria worked with the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care advising ministers on commercial matters, as well as a number of local authorities leading on a range of high profile and large scale procurement activity.

Her wider experience is invaluable as the Trust embarks on increasingly large scale procurement projects and Victoria plays a crucial role in the independent oversight and scrutiny of procurement and supply within the MAT.

Victoria is Bradford born and educated and is passionate about making a difference to the next generation within the City and beyond.

Jason Edwards MBA BA(Hons) CMgr FCMI CertIoD CIMA Adv Dip MA GCGI MInstLM RAF

Squadron Leader Jason Edwards is a highly skilled and respected individual who brings to the Trust an array of experience and knowledge in a variety of fields.  Jason joined the Royal Air Force soon after leaving school and has enjoyed a long career in varying roles and gained a range of professional qualifications along the way.  As well as being a part-qualified accountant he secured numerous master’s degrees and holds a Certificate in Company Direction with the Institute of Directors. He is currently the Director of Estates and Facilities at RAF Lossiemouth (a busy operational airbase home to four Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons, one Poseidon squadron, and an RAF Regiment squadron).  He has also spent, 3 years as the Chief Operating Officer for the Community Welfare Fund for NATO at the Strategic Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) based in Belgium, 2 years as Director of Estates at the home of the Chinook Helicopter Force (Odiham in Hampshire) as well as 7 months as Head of Human Resources in Qatar. 

Jason has developed a broad range of skills including finance, HR, estate and business development, which will enhance the Board of Trustees across a breadth of areas offering constructive added oversight and analysis.

Belinda Fearnley

Belinda brings a wealth of experience and expertise across a range of human resource disciplines and organisational change. A seasoned HR professional, she has worked at a senior level across a range of industries including broadcast media, banking and financial services, utilities and retail. She is skilled in talent management, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, organisational design, performance improvement and change leadership.

Belinda is passionate about collaboration across communities and sharing learning experiences to ensure the best outcome for all. She believes strongly that all young people should be encouraged to realise their true potential, regardless of social or economic background, gender or ethnicity. During her career, she has been pivotal in the delivery of several successful projects to promote social mobility, combat gender stereotypes in traditionally male dominated work areas and promote careers for young people from BAME backgrounds.

Iain Gordon

Iain sits on the senior leadership team of First Direct Bank (part of the HSBC Group) and has a role overseeing all change management.  Originally, Iain completed a law degree and had a period playing professional rugby but when he felt that a life as a professional sportsman was not what he wanted he returned to university to complete a master’s degree in business management and joined HSBC as a graduate trainee.  Iain worked for the bank supporting small businesses with their growth plans and had a range of leadership roles including a spell working at the UK HQ in Canary Wharf. Iain now leads a team of staff to implement a range of changes to banking approaches. He is used to agile team management to deal with the varying projects that he develops and implements. These include technical and operational changes as well as fundamental changes to business approaches. 

Iain’s wife is a primary school teacher and thus he has an insight into education but his interest has become more heightened as a father to two young children.  Iain brings a range of skills to support the Board's work including broader strategic development as well as change, risk and general management. 

Elaine Hughes CIMA (Vice-Chair) (Chair of SAFE Taskforce Cttee)

Elaine is a recognised expert in all aspects of financial management, compliance and control. She provides essential independent financial expertise for the Trust Board. Elaine is an active Chartered Management Accountant within the Independent Health​care Sector. She is therefore responsible for the operational finances of a large organisation and leads a dedicated finance team. Her work entails the production of financial metrics for performance, budgeting, forecasting and the production of management accounts. Elaine’s work is particularly relevant for our MAT as she has to work within a framework of legal and financial probity. Her experience is an invaluable support and sounding board for the Trust’s CFO as well as providing a high level of scrutiny for the Audit and Risk Committee. Her role encompasses oversight of budgeting and financial planning at a strategic MAT level. In addition, Elaine also provides business partnering support to senior leaders with commercial financial analysis and guidance for business cases. Elaine has an essential role in the independent oversight and scrutiny of our MAT financial procedures and risk management.

Sharon Lambert (Chair of Teaching School Hub Committee)

Sharon brings a wealth of educational experience and expertise. The former Headteacher of an “Outstanding” School and long standing Inspector of Schools, Sharon has the expertise and professional knowledge to ensure the Trust’s school Improvement Strategy is immersed in evidence based practice and leads to rapid and sustained progress. Sharon has an intimate knowledge of the Ofsted framework which forms the basis of our own rigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures. Her ability to make accurate and informed judgements about all aspects of school improvement provides the MAT with an essential external validation of these monitoring and evaluation procedures. Sharon has dedicated her career to the city of Bradford and remains determined to continue her advocacy for the disadvantaged communities she successfully served throughout her life in education. She is passionate about creating connections across schools and communities to strengthen outcomes for all children. Her commitment was recognised in 2016 when Sharon was awarded a Leadership Award in recognition of her commitment and leadership in making the school a “shining light” for what primary schools can be and making it a “cohesive School where staff, pupils and parents value each other”.

Sharon also sits on the Board for CORAM Life Education and has previously been invited to present and speak at a number of Parliamentary Committees on Education reform. 

Christopher Webb

Chris has worked in the Further Education sector for over 25 years, firstly as a teacher/lecturer, then as a Departmental Head, and then from 2009 at Senior Leadership Level. He has been a College Quality Nominee, Vice Principal for Curriculum and Student Support, Deputy Principal Planning and Finance, as well as holding two very different Principal/CEO roles at two Colleges in Yorkshire, Barnsley College and Bradford College, which he continues to lead now.

Chris brings with him to the Board experience in governance, having previously been a Parent Governor of his children's Primary School in Easington Colliery, having served full terms as an independent governor in two schools, and having been a Trustee to two Academy Trusts in Barnsley.

Additionally, Chris supports the Education & Training Foundation Oxford Said FE Leadership Programme by co-presenting on the strategic areas of 'Culture' and 'Strategic Alignment'. He is a sector coach and mentor and has represented FE on a number of panels and boards regionally and nationally.

Chris has a strong commitment to serve the needs of students and the communities of Bradford and West Yorkshire.