Andy Wilson

Chair of Trustees

Andy has over 27 years management experience across the public and private sectors including strategic, operational and change management roles within commercial and educational organisations.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a National Leader of Governance.  With over 20 years of governance experience he has been involved as a Trustee of The Rowan Learning Trust from its beginning in May 2012.  As a National Leader of Governance (NLG) Andy provides support outside of the Trust for other chairs of governors and their governing bodies to improve how they challenge their schools’ performance.  These deployments involve understanding data, building relationships, evaluating performance, self-evaluation and how to hold effective meetings. He has provided support to High schools, Primary schools, Pupil Referral Units, Academies and Multi Academy Trusts.  Through the Rowan Learning Trust, he has provided additional training to support other governing bodies.  He also undertakes External Reviews of Governance providing an analysis of where improvement is required and agreeing an action plan with the governing body.  This is separate to the NLG support role but is carried out by recognised NLEs or NLGs.

Anne Isherwood


Anne has over twenty years teaching experience and began working at Hawkley Hall High School in January 2005 as pastoral assistant headteacher. In this position she oversaw the first review of The Hawkley Way which is a code of behaviour written by students based on respect for all. Anne’s work at Hawkley contributed to the positive change in ethos which helped the school on its journey towards outstanding success. She helped develop the Inclusion Faculty and was instrumental in embedding the inclusive ethos that pervades the school. This was recognised when the school became the first in the North of England to achieve The Inclusion Quality Mark. She was the Designated Child Protection Officer for the school, as well as the Lead Professional when the school was recognised as a Lead Behaviour School by the DfE in 2011. A specialist in working with challenging and disaffected students, Anne was appointed headteacher of Wigan’s Pupil Referral Service in September 2012. Since then she has restructured and relocated the provision, before taking it through the academy conversion process and joining the Rowan Learning Trust. Three Towers was judged Outstanding by Ofsted in February 2018. Anne was appointed CEO designate in June 2018 and will take up the post of Chief Executive Officer in September 2018.


Philip Rimmer

Executive Headteacher and Accounting Officer

Phil is Headteacher at Hawkley Hall High School and Executive Headteacher for the cluster which includes Hawkley Hall, Kirkby High School and Three Towers.  Phil holds an MSC in Educational Leadership and Management and NPQH.  He is currently in the first cohort of the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL). He was a member of the DfE Teacher Workload: Data Management Review Group and was part of the writing group for the NLE toolkit.

Phil has been in senior leadership since 2006 and prior to taking up his current post was the Director of Education for the Rowan Learning Trust. During this period he worked closely with the previous CEO, the Trust Business Manager, Director of Operations, Headteachers in the trust and the wider School Improvement Team. In addition, he has a wealth of experience in school improvement and has co-ordinated, and led, the support for more than twenty schools, demonstrating significant impact.


Royston Halford

Roy was the Chief Executive Officer of the Rowan Learning Trust until his retirement in April 2018. He is a National Leader of Education (NLE) and has been a headteacher and then executive headteacher for over 14 years. Roy’s work as a system leader has been extensive since 2010 in which time he has provided support for over 40 school headteachers. Roy is a member of two educational reference groups: The DfE Secondary Headteacher Reference Group, which meets half termly to act as a national consultation group/sounding board for educational policy, and the North of England Ofsted Headteacher Reference Group.

DJ Leonard image

David Leonard

David Leonard, a member of the Chartered Management Institute is a transport professional who has extensive and varied management experiences working for several companies in the north of England in a variety of operational and business roles since 1980. David has been a parent governor at Hawkley Hall High School since 2004 and is currently chair of the Buildings & Community Committee and the Staffing and Curriculum Committee. David was elected onto the Board of the Rowan Learning Trust (RLT) in 2012. David is also a Trust Governor at Kirkby High School and was a member of the Governing body of Marus Bridge Primary School for 7 years. His key areas of speciality include safety management and operational process implementation.


Alison Foster

Following Hawkley’s conversion to academy status in 2012, Alison became a Trust Governor and a Director of the Rowan Learning Trust. She has been a member of the Hawkley Hall Governing Body since 2005, initially as a Parent Governor, then as a Community Governor. She has served as Vice-Chair of the Governing body for several years and is also the SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities) Governor at Hawkley. Her background is in finance and accounting, having worked as an Accounts Manager/Credit Controller in the Insurance Broking market for 16 years. In 1994 she became a full-time mum until her daughter started primary school at which time she began working as a voluntary classroom assistant. She was also involved in the primary school PTA prior to joining Hawkley’s Governing Body. Alison is a director and the company secretary of the Western Skills Centre which was formed by Hawkley Hall and four other local high schools for vocational education in trade skills (e.g. building, carpentry, plumbing and painting/decorating) for 14-16 year olds. Since February 2015, following its academy conversion and joining the RLT, Alison has also served as Chair of Governors at Three Towers Alternative Provision Academy which was graded “Outstanding” by Ofsted in March 2018.

MWoodhouseMargaret Woodhouse (BA, M Ed. NPQH)

Margaret was Director of Education and Early Years and Deputy Director of Children’s Services for Trafford Council until her retirement in 2012

Between 2012 and 2016 she was the Operational Director of By Schools for Schools, a not for profit company set up by Greater Manchester Headteachers to take forward the legacy of the Greater Manchester Challenge and support the development of school-to-school support across Greater Manchester. BSfS was subsumed into the GM Learning Partnership at the beginning of the academic year 2016-17

Margaret now chairs the Greater Manchester Learning Partnership, which brings together all the key education bodies (Teaching schools, Local Authorities, Dioceses, RSC, governor representatives) into a coherent strategic partnership to improve outcomes for the children and young people of Greater Manchester

She is Chair of the Trafford MBC Fostering Panel and works in a voluntary capacity as Chair of Governors at Manchester Academy and St Augustine’s CE school In Salford. She also serves on the governing body of her local catholic primary school.

Tony BallAnthony Ball

Anthony Ball is a C-level financial professional and Chartered Accountant. He has 19 years of experience spanning financial services roles within the City of London and Europe. Responsibilities centred within the Global Investment Banking arena and recently within PE investor strategies and start-up SME’s. Anthony has sat on several Boards and has significant Corporate Governance and Regulatory experience.

Prior to his role in the City, Anthony was a Regular British Army Officer. More recently he served with the Grenadier Guards in Afghanistan.

Anthony is married with 2 children and is a keen amateur cyclist and runner.

Mel Chadwick

MelI became an English teacher at the age of thirty after a successful career in HR.  I have now worked at a senior level in sixth form education for over seventeen years and as Vice Principal of Winstanley College have been a senior manager in an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ institution for twelve years.

I have learned through this experience that a key factor in maintaining outstanding status is collaboration; not only because this helps retain key staff but also because every institution has areas for development however ‘outstanding’ their Ofsted label might be.

I am motivated by individuals surprising themselves by how much they can achieve; whether they’re trustees, governors, teachers or students.  I believe everyone needs to know what outstanding looks like and to receive clear and careful feedback on their performance compared to this definition.  This clarity about standards can often be best achieved within a Multi Academy Trust.  This is why I remain committed to the ethos of the RLT; to support children, students and adults on their journey to become outstanding