Together we Exceed


Trevor Evans (Chair)

An experienced, reliable and conscientious Chair is essential. Trevor was a successful senior consultant with Carnegie Leaders at Leeds Metropolitan University with an excellent reputation. His major focus was on National Leadership programmes including NPQH, NPQML and NPQSL. He is currently still involved in the field of business enterprise promoting the national suite of qualifications within a highly competitive market.

Previously Trevor was a primary school Headteacher for eighteen years and spent a total of thirty years working in the education sector. As Headteacher Trevor lead his school through three successful Ofsted inspections and was invited by Ofsted to become a team inspector. He therefore brings to the board a deep knowledge in the fields of leadership and education. Trevor was the Chair of another Trust prior to his appointment with Exceed. He brings authority, calm and, crucially, is willing and able to offer his valuable time to such an important role.

Duncan Jacques NLE

Duncan has a proven track record of leading school improvement in a variety of settings and environments. His work encompasses 30 years of valuable experience in Education, with 15 of those years as a highly successful Headteacher and Executive Headteacher. This success has been recognised and endorsed by Ofsted on a number of occasions and in a number of settings. Duncan has lead four schools to an “Outstanding” judgement, including taking a school from Special Measures to the “Outstanding” National Support School and Teaching School it is today. Duncan’s schools have always been exceptionally high performing despite the challenging circumstances of the communities they serve. His pedigree in school improvement and system leadership is exemplified through the rapid and sustained improvement evidenced in both MAT schools and partnership support work.

Duncan has an excellent reputation locally, regionally and now nationally as an NLE. Duncan’s expertise was recognised by his peers when he was elected to the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Head Teacher Board. His energy, drive and moral purpose have been essential prerequisites in establishing a successful and expanding MAT. Duncan has successfully inculcated a culture of high expectations, with excellent levels of professional accountability.

Saima Mahmood NLG

Saima is a highly respected and experienced Governor who has been an excellent Chair of Governors at Horton Grange Primary School. Ofsted acknowledged her significant leadership contribution as the school progressed from Special Measures to an Outstanding, National Support School and Teaching School in a period of just six years. Saima has taken a significant role in developing Governance to become effective so that Governors consistently and confidently hold senior leaders to account. Saima encourages in depth analysis, pertinent questioning and sustained challenge thus ensuring that schools are held to account and able to make accurate, evidence based judgements. Saima has confidently embraced her role as an NLG and, for example, has been involved in supporting a local Governing Body to become a more focused group and increasingly strategic in their work. Governance has improved rapidly as a result. Saima works closely with the Exceed Teaching Schools to develop Governor training and resources. Saima has excellent financial skills.

Professionally, she works as a VAT Specialist in the Large Business Department of HMRC. She is currently working towards a Tax Professional Qualification. Her role involves conducting business risk reviews for some of the largest businesses across the country, working closely with leaders and developing policy on VAT liability. She also carries out investigations into compliance. These skills have been invaluable in establishing Exceed Multi-Academy Trust.

Nadia Hussain NLG

Nadia has an excellent local knowledge and brings an extensive network of contacts to add value to the MAT and its schools. She has been immersed in community improvement work throughout her career and has been Chair of Governors at the ‘Outstanding’ Copthorne Primary School for over 5 years. An obvious choice as an NLG, Nadia has supported the school’s continuing success and has driven the development of Copthorne as a Teaching School, National Support School and more recently as a SCITT. Nadia attended Copthorne Primary school as a child and has invested time and energy into expanding her Governor skill set so that she is able to support colleagues in different settings. Feedback on her work is always positive as schools value her advice, challenge and support. Nadia is an active member of the broader Bradford community who consistently demonstrates an impact on sustained improvements for parents and other stakeholders. Her work is centered around some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country but she has ensured that her schools consistently produce outcomes well above national expectations.

Professionally Nadia has successfully used her financial expertise to ensure excellent outcomes from a wide range of projects. This is exemplified through the various charitable and voluntary projects that she has managed and supported. As a Chair of Governors, Nadia has a key role in ensuring Governing Bodies effectively challenge and support senior leaders and staff within schools to ensure they maintain the required improvement trajectory. Nadia has tremendous enthusiasm and is a passionate about her roles as a Trustee, Local Governor and NLG.

Sandra Whitson MA MSc PhD NLG

Sandra’s long and successful educational career brings a wealth of relevant experience and expertise to support the broader development of the MAT. Sandra adds an invaluable perspective and drive for the MAT’s strategy for secondary school improvement. She is totally committed to enhancing students’ life chances and educational outcomes. She brings a wealth of educational experience to the Trust and confidently represents the Secondary sector on the Trust Board. She offers both a local and regional perspective to MAT discussions and strategic planning. Sandra is a National Leader of Governance and has supported the Trust in rapidly improving the quality of Leadership and Governance at Appleton Academy. She was previously a highly regarded Headteacher at two Secondary Schools, an Assessor for Investors in People (IIP) and a Lead Assessor on the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). Sandra has fulfilled a range of Governor roles adding value in a number of different settings. Sandra has an impressive set of professional and academic qualifications that, when combined with her determination and commitment, provides excellent support for the MAT.

Ian Willoughby

Ian’s experience in HR and his extensive community knowledge is invaluable. Ian has worked for Incommunities (Social Housing – Bradford) for the past 15 years in the role of housing and income officer. His role involves the day to day running of a large multi-million pound not for profit organisation. A core element of his work is dealing with the diverse and sometimes chaotic lives of its stakeholders, many of whom are family members of pupils attending our schools. He therefore has an excellent understanding of the wider social needs of our schools’ local communities. Ian has previously run his own business, employing six members of staff within the public house retail sector.

For the last five years Ian has been a Union Representative within Incommunities, helping the business build robust policies and procedures to support the organisation in providing the best possible service for its customers and staff. Ian’s knowledge of employment law, practice and procedure is an invaluable asset to the Trust. He understands the complexity of staffing structures and organisational frameworks and has successfully negotiated the intricacies of employment practice in a range of settings.

Elaine Hughes CIMA

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 Public Health 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

A recent independent appointment to the Trustee Board, 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.


Register of Interest 2018-2019


Children playing at one of our Exceed schools

“We believe that successful schools develop their own identity and individuality and are best placed to meet their own community’s needs.”