Our Governing Body

Welcome to the Shadow Governing Committee of The Brian Clarke CE Academy

The Members of Shadow Governing Committee of The Brian Clarke CE Academy were officially appointed by the Trustees of the Cranmer Education Trust on 8th November 2021 and Governance meetings began in March 2022.

Local Governance Committee members have been appointed, bringing a diverse range of skills and experience to governance and being committed to the vision of the school. They are being led by an experienced trust Chair for the pre-opening and opening years

An election for the first parent governor will be held in 2023. We aim to create a stakeholder forum in the first year so that we have regular access to and feedback from parents and local employers.

A staff governor will also be appointed in 2023.

The Cranmer Education Trust has appointed Mr Neil Clephan, OBE, formerly the Headteacher of the Roundhay School, Leeds, West Yorkshire to be the independent School Improvement Partner for The Brian Clarke CE Academy, advising the governing committee and the trust on the quality of education in the school.

Meet our Governors

Dr Sean Curley

Chair of the Governing Committee and Trustee and Director of The Cranmer Education Trust

Sean has been a Trustee and Director of the Cranmer Education Trust Board since February 2019. He was born and educated in Oldham and has lived here all his life.

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He joined the trust because he is truly invested in the trust’s mission, vision and values – that all our children and young people should have access to the best possible educational opportunities.

Sean is a qualified lawyer. Up to recent times, Sean worked for over 20 years at a major clearing bank, the last 10 years there as head of litigation responsible for all aspects of the bank group’s contentious business.  Prior to this, he held roles of Head of The Law School at the University of Huddersfield, Dean of Law and Forensics at Staffordshire and Executive Dean of the Business School at The University of Bedfordshire.

Sean has extensive experience as a member of a senior management team and in the culture and governance of large and complex organisations, both private and public.

Sean lives in Greenfield with his wife and cocker spaniel.  He has four children, three of whom are teachers, so has seen education from both sides.

Allison Ash, Headteacher of The Brian Clarke CE Academy

Allison, is an Oldhamer by birth and has lived in the borough all her working life.  She has spent the last 17 years working at the trust’s first secondary school, The Blue Coat School, latterly as the Deputy Headteacher to the school and SCITT Director in our teacher training arm, Manchester Nexus.

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Allison said of her appointment; “I am absolutely honoured to be appointed as the first Headteacher of The Brian Clarke Church of England Academy. Having worked within the Cranmer Education Trust for 17 years I am extremely proud and privileged to have played a part in transforming the life chances of the young people and communities served and I am committed to building on these strong foundations to ensure The Brian Clarke Church of England Academy benefits from this legacy.

I am also committed to ensuring our school vision of luceat lux vestra – let your light shine (Matthew 5:16) – we celebrate the light within us all and the light we are all drawn to – the light which enables us to grow, thrive and understand – is at the fore of what we do.

I look forward meeting as many of our community as I can and helping them learn more about The Brian Clarke Church of England Academy.”

Allison has two children, attends worship at her local church and enjoys taking part in athletics.

Hilary Henderson

Hilary has been committed to improving education for children and young people in Oldham for her entire career.

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Hilary is currently the Headteacher at St Paul’s C E Primary School, Nursery and Additional Resourced Provision based in Royton, Oldham.

Hilary has extensive experience in teaching and learning and school leadership together with a profound understanding of and commitment to pastoral care and nurture. St. Paul’s is also a centre for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties as well as those with special education needs in the area of autism and social communication.

Outside of school, Hilary is a pianist and a walker. Hilary is also an active member of St. Chad’s Church, Saddleworth. She provides musical accompaniment for services at her own church and three others locally and also organises lay worship. She has been the musical director of Saddleworth Singers Ladies’ Choir for the past 8 years performing concerts to the local community.

Her three now-adult children all attended schools in Oldham and now have successful careers in banking, local authority management and nursing.

Hilary wants to use all her expertise and enthusiasm to support The Brian Clarke CE School as it begins a successful journey to provide excellent learning and education for the young people of Oldham. She feels extremely privileged to have been offered the opportunity to support this as governor of the school.

Mohammed Hussain

Mohammed is an experienced conveyancer who has worked for the past 5 years with Wrigley Clayton Solicitors in Oldham, advising clients in property sales and purchases, conveyancing and managing a team of referrers.

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He brings legal and negotiating experience and a professional understanding of working within systems and accountabilities that transfer readily to the public sector.

In addition to English, Mohammed speaks Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. He is deeply involved in the community, in a range of charitable fundraising and is a member of the Oldham Central Masjid and Islamic Centre.  He provides pro-bono advice and support in Immigration Law Chambers.

Mohammed has 2 sons, both of whom attend Oldham schools.  He enjoys and plays sports, especially 5-a-side football, tennis, badminton and table tennis.

Rubbi Bhogal-Wood

Rubbi is the Founder and Director of Wild and Form Digital Learning, Oldham, Co-Founder and Director of Skills 4 All Social Enterprise in Oldham and has just been appointed Vice-Chair of the Oldham Economic Review Board.

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Her professional work focusses on empowering business owners, school leaders and young people in the use of social media with greater intervention and purpose, to better and strengthen their organisations and their own wellbeing. Her commitment is to “create a better world for young people and help them to reach their potential”.        

She has worked both with students in our schools and with trust staff with huge impact. She comes to our governing body as an inspiring role model for young people in the digital age and particularly for young women.

Rubbi studied for her first degree in English Literature at Lancaster University and took her MA at Queen Mary University in London. From there she went into recruitment for new and emerging media agencies.  She has worked for Microsoft and as Head of Sales at Manchester Airport, before setting up her own business.

Rubbi is a regular headline speaker at business and enterprise events, particularly those focussing on lifting and raising women.  In 2019 she spoke at TEDx Oldham on ‘Social Media: Master or Slave?’

She is an Enterprise Advisor for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and has been a Trustee of Oldham Coliseum.

Outside of work, Rubbi is a keen and indeed passionate reader, gardener and loves to keep fit.

Having experienced major health challenges in her own life, Rubbi is passionate in her encouragement of young people who face barriers, whatever those are.

Luke Ireson

Luke, a former secondary school student at The Blue Coat School, is an education professional who works at the national education charity, Ambition Institute, in the role of Associate Director: Programme Leader, where he currently oversees the delivery of the Expert Middle Leaders programme – a DfE fully-funded programme for middle leaders with curriculum leadership responsibilities.

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Luke cares deeply about the potential, and impact, that a high-quality education can have on individuals, their families and their wider communities. Having followed the development of The Brian Clarke CofE Academy from initial application to become a new free school, through to its current realisation as an academy that will welcome its first intake of pupils in September 2022, Luke felt compelled to identify ways in which he could become part of the journey that lies ahead for the academy and the young people of Oldham. He brings with him all the personal values and his individual affinity to the mission and vision of The Cranmer Education Trust as an alumnus of a school within the trust.

Luke is a keen walker and runner and enjoys spending time as much time outdoors as possible – taking advantage of the nearby beauty of the Peak District with his new, enthusiastic dog. Time with his family and partner consists of eating out, trips to the theatre and exploring the wonderful cities of Europe, when possible.

Janet Francis

Janet comes to governance from a long and deeply committed background in public service, supporting and leading children’s social care and supporting Oldham schools.

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Initially she worked as a Residential Social Worker with children in care for Tameside Council and for a time she also managed a children’s home. During this period, she and her husband were foster carers for a young boy who lived with them from the age of 13 to 19 years together with their daughter. After a short period living in Canada, Janet worked for a private care company for 6 years as the Registered Manager, recruiting, training, and managing staff to support older people and families of children with additional needs. She then moved to Oldham Council as Senior Children’s Complaints Officer, a post she held for 15 years, managing the process for complex care complaints and providing the complaints service for schools across Oldham

Janet was brought up in the Church of England, attended Church Girls’ Brigade, and was confirmed at the church as a young teenager. In her late teens, she decided to attend an evangelical church youth group where she met her husband. They became members and were very involved in church life especially outreach towards children and young people. Over the years they have been Sunday School teachers, church house group leaders and have been involved in organising and running children’s holiday clubs.

Janet’s strong Christian faith has always been the foundation for her life and work and having recently felt it was the right time to retire she sought a role which will allow her to still be involved in public service, still be connected to children and young people, and in an area where there is a Christian ethos and vision.

The Reverend Canon Jean Hurlston

Jean is Borough Dean of Oldham and Associate Vicar at Oldham Parish Church. She has a deep commitment to community involvement and leadership, interfaith dialogue and joint working, and to provision for young people.

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Formerly a researcher who became director of Age Concern in Tameside, she secured the largest single capital grant at that time from the National Lottery to support a major building refurbishment.

Following a period of teaching religious studies in secondary and FE Jean moved into chaplaincy and a wide range of civic and community roles.  She is lead chaplain at Ashton Sixth Form College, part-time chaplain at Manchester Airport, and founder of Oldham Street Angels which keeps people safe by working in collaboration with local churches, Greater Manchester Police, Oldham Council and the NHS to co-ordinate teams of volunteers to work within the night-time economy in Oldham and provide a night-time drop-in for rough sleepers.

Jean is also joint Chair of Greater Manchester Interfaith Health and Social Care and Working Group, an elected public governor on the Pennine Care FT Council, a member of Leaders in Greater Manchester, a member of Greater Manchester Interfaith Forum, Oldham Interfaith Forum and the Priests and Imams Group.

Her previous experience includes serving on Tameside Magistrates Advisory Committee, the first female member and subsequent president of Ashton Rotary Club, and a Lay Assessor for NHS England National Commissioning Board.

Her huge contribution to citizen participation in all areas of public life has been recognised through the GMP Excellence Award (2012) and Pride in Oldham Ambassador Award (2014), a Civic Appreciation Award from Oldham Council (2018) and the Queen’s  Award for Voluntary Service (2021).

Find out about the
Trust overview structure

The Brian Clarke Church of England Academy is proud to be part of the Cranmer Education Trust

Cranmer Education Trust is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity. Company registration number: 07687709. Registered Office: Cranmer Education Trust, c/o Blue Coat School, Egerton Street, Oldham OL1 3SQ