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The White Rose Academies Trust is a company limited by guarantee and is also (under the terms of the Academies Act 2010) an ‘exempt charity’, ie, it has charitable status but is exempt from registering with the Charity Commission due to it being accountable to the Department for Education (DfE).


Effective governance is key to our success. Transparent, empowered, assured governance is a strategic objective, in keeping with the Trust’s values and is hard-wired into our constitution and in our ways of working.


All Academy trusts have two layers of governance – Members and Trustees. Some (like White Rose) choose to have a third, ie, Local Accountability Boards (LABs). View our governance structure below:

Luminate Education Group (previously Leeds City College FE Corporation)is a Government approved Multi-Academy Trust sponsor, responsible for setting up the White Rose Academies Trust. The sponsor appointed the original Members and has the right to appoint Directors. The sponsor is able to demonstrate robust governance and clear lines of accountability. The Trust is the vehicle for sponsoring schools.

Members are the custodians of the governance of the trust. But although they constitute the top governance tier, they have limited powers and a largely hidden role in terms of the running of the trust. The first members will be the signatories to thememorandum of association when the trust was set up and selected by the governing body which agreed the trust’s first articles of association. These articles will include how members are recruited and replaced. Members do not technically have a term of office.

Our Members are:

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Governance Structure:

Stewart Harper
Chair of the Board



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Corporate Members
Luminate Education Group


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Jo-Anne Sanders
Service Director – Learning and Early Support at Kirklees Council



Board of Directors/Trustees

Paul Brennan
Education Management Consultant at Tactic Consultancy Ltd



Members of the Trust Board are Directors of the company and Trustees of the charity. They are legally responsible for the Trust and

are accountable to the Secretary of State for the effectiveness of their Academies.

They are responsible for the three core strategic governance functions, ie:

  • ensuring the Trust’s clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

  • holding the Trust’s leadership to account and

  • overseeing the Trust’s financial performance.

If you would like to request to view approved and signed Trust Board minutes, then please contact the Governance Manager at

Our Trustees are:

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Stewart Harper
Chair of the Board

Stewart has lived in Yorkshire for nearly 20 years and having worked in the Higher Education sector for much of that time, he now has an emphasis on primary and secondary education.


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Andrew Whitaker
CEO of the White Rose Academies Trust

Andrew Whitaker was born, raised and educated in the city of Leeds. And is raising his own family in the city. ​Andrew holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in business and management from Leeds Business School (Leeds Beckett University) and a postgraduate diploma in financial management...


Cllr. Caroline Gruen

Caroline has lived all her adult life in Leeds and is currently an elected City Councillor representing the ward of Bramley and Stanningley where she is Chair of the Local Accountability Board at Leeds West Academy...


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Simon Flowers

Over the last 20 years, Simon has served as a secondary Headteacher in three inner city schools across Leeds and Wakefield. He became Headteacher of Carr Manor Community School in April 2005; a school working with some of the most complex and diverse communities in Leeds.


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Elizabeth Sandwith

Liz Sandwith CFIIA is a chartered internal auditor by profession. Liz has over 33 years’ experience in internal audit and risk management. She has worked for a number of private and public sector organisations, helping to develop risk management and control awareness...


Kelly Newby

East AIP Project Director (Since 1 Sep 2022)

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Annie McMaster

Annie has worked in a variety of roles throughout her life, she began in HR and took professional qualifications in this area before moving into performance and improvement work.

She retired from Leeds City Council at the end of 2020 and now spends more time on a range of other areas.



Karen Burns

Karen was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Carillion Academies Trust in 2016. She subsequently decoupled sponsorship from Carillion and created a new entity, Victorious Academies Trust, which is now a medium sized Trust consisting of a group of primary schools in Tameside and Derbyshire.



Claire Daniel

National Head of LLB Programmes

Programme Leader GDL and LLB, Leeds

District Judge employed by the Ministry of Justice since March 2018

Colin Booth
CEO of Luminate Education Group
Asad Razaaq

Police Officer for West Yorkshire Police and Chief Executive of CATCH

Board Scrutiny Committees

Audit, Risk & Finance Committee

The purpose of the Committee is to assist the decision-making of the Trust by providing a process for independent checking of financial controls, systems, transactions and risks.

The Academy Trust Handbook published by the Education Funding Agency (ESFA) requires that the Audit & Finance Committee’s work must focus on providing assurances to the Board of Directors that risks are being adequately identified and managed by:


  • reviewing the risks to internal financial control at the Trust; and

  • agreeing a programme of work to address, and provide assurance on, those risks.


As part of a multi-academy trust (MAT), the Committee’s oversight must extend to the financial controls and risks at constituent academies.


Oversight must ensure that information submitted to DfE and ESFA that affects funding, including pupil number returns and funding claims completed by the Trust and its constituent academies, is accurate and in compliance with funding criteria.


The outcome of this work should inform the Governance Statement that accompanies the Trust’s Annual Accounts and, so far as is possible, provide assurance to the external auditors.

Local Accountability Board (LAB) 

LABs are delegated significant responsibility by the Trust Board.   Each LAB is, in effect, a committee of the Trust Board.

Consistent with the Trust Board’s role Trust-wide, they are responsible for the following three core areas in respect of the Academy/ies which they oversee:

·        Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction at Academy level and with reference to the Trust

·        Holding the leadership to account for the educational performance of the Academy and its pupils

·        Overseeing the financial performance of the Academy/ies, making sure that money is well spent.

Leeds City Academy

Interim Chair of Leeds City LAB is Jill Wood

Vice-Chair of LAB: TBC

Leeds East Academy

Chair of Leeds East LAB is Elizabeth Sandwith

Vice-Chair of LAB is Sue Wynne

Leeds West Academy

Chair of Leeds West LAB is Caroline Gruen


Vice-Chair of Leeds West Academy LAB is Darren Finlay

Alder Tree Primary

Chair of Alder Tree LAB is Annie McMaster

Vice-Chair of Alder Tree LAB is Agnieszka Brewood

Schemes of Delegation (SoD) define lines of responsibility and accountability, ensuring that individuals and bodies within the organisation are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Kelly Newby


Elizabeth Sandwith


Sam Stevens
Co-opted Member


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