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 effectiveness.  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). 


Board of Directors

Helena Phillips​
Chair of the Board

Helena Phillips has senior management local government experience, most recently as the Chief Officer Shared Services for Leeds City Council. Committed to providing excellent public services, Helena has led many organisational reviews and projects focussed on building strong teams...



Kate Pearlman-Shaw
Vice-Chair of the Board

Kate is Leeds born and bred. She is a Clinical Psychologist who spent the  the first 18 years of her career working locally...



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 the memorandum 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.

Local Accountability Board (LAB) 

Leeds City Academy

The Trust Board

Colin Booth
CEO Luminate Group

Prior to joining Leeds City College, Colin was Principal of Barnsley College for seven years where he steered the College to an Ofsted rating of outstanding.

He has worked in the further education sector for over thirty years; his background is as a teacher and manager in Skills for Life an...


Andrew Whitaker
CEO of the White Rose Academies Trust

Andrew Whitaker enjoyed a ten-year career in the University sector, before moving into the 3-18 education sector as a Senior Leader.

As Senior Vice Principal of the UK’s largest all-aged special school based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Andrew led all operational areas of the school including Post 16 provision. 


Erica Hiorns


School Improvement Adviser, Leeds City Council

Erica Hiorns was a teacher for twenty-five years, of which eighteen were spent in schools throughout Leeds. As such, Erica is committed to the city and to the education of the children who live here...


Craig Williams

Craig is currently Governance Adviser and Clerk to the Corporation at two FE Colleges (one in Leeds and one in Greater Manchester) having had had a variety of senior operational and strategic roles across the education and training sector. 



Paul Morrisey

Paul was educated at a comprehensive school in County Durham and then went on to study History at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He also has a P.G.C.E from the University of Nottingham and a M.A. in History from the University of Huddersfield...



Cllr. Caroline Gruen


Caroline has lived in Leeds all her adult life and initially trained to be a teacher at Leeds University, gaining firstly a BEd and then a MEd in Education. She went on to teach in five of the city's schools before gaining a deputy headship and then held several School Improvement posts in four different Local Authorities. Her most recent posts were as the Director of Education...


David Strachan


David is a partner at Schofield Sweeney LLP. David has been a corporate lawyer in Leeds throughout his career, advising businesses on transactions and governance issues...



Margaret Parkes


Margaret is Yorkshire born and bred, currently living near Doncaster. Margaret is a graduate firstly obtaining an Economics BA Hon degree and then going on to achieve a Banking and Finance BSc Hon degree. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Banking and is ACIB qualified...



Lydia Devenny


Lydia is an experienced and commercially focused senior financial professional with a track record of strategic and operational financial management in a variety of sectors...



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.


The Trust Board has one Scrutiny Committees to which it delegates responsibilities and authority, as outlined in their Terms of Reference, the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee.

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 Academies Financial 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.

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.

Chair of Leeds West LAB is Caroline Gruen


Vice-Chair of  Leeds West LAB is Natasha Armitage-Evans

Chair of Leeds City LAB is Paul Morrissey

Vice-Chair of Leeds City LAB is Bill Jones

Chair of Leeds East LAB is Margaret Parkes

Vice-Chair of  East City LAB is Jeanne Rogers

Chair of Mill Field LAB is Annie McMaster

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.

The White Rose Academies Trust is a member of Luminate Education Group

TEL: 0113 284 4260


POST: Bedford Field, Woodhouse Cliff, LS6 2LG

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White Rose Academies Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee, Reg. No. 07958615

Registered Office: College House, Park Lane, Leeds, LS3 1AA

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