Members and Trustees

Multi Academy Trust Governance

The Trust Board has full responsibility and control of the Multi Academy Trust as constituted by its Articles of Association.  In short, all governance flows from the the Trust Board and serves as the clearing house and ultimate decision-making authority on all matters. The Trust Board is responsible for ensuring that high standards of corporate governance are maintained. It will exercise its powers and functions with a view to fulfilling a largely strategic role in the running of its academies.

It delegates a number of decisions to individual Academy Councils (AC)  – or Local Governing Bodies – who act as sub-committees whose main priority is to focus on teaching and learning ensuring that the school performs well as a result of rigorous challenge and support. Each AC will draw its membership from the local community and must always include at least two elected parent councillors and at least one staff councillor. AC members are accountable to the Trust Board, who in turn are accountable to the Secretary of State. An annual skills’ audit ensures that all trustees and academy councillors possess the requisite skills to discharge their duties effectively.

As the Trust grows, the aim is to incorporate an additional layer of governance in the form of Regional Academy Councils (RAC). Each RAC will be responsible for overseeing the performance of a number of local academies and their ACs in the form of a hub. As well as providing the necessary scrutiny and challenge, RACs will also be the conduit between the Trust Board and the ACs. Membership of RACs will include chairs of governors of each of the hub academies plus a Trustee and whosoever the Trustees choose to appoint in addition.


The trust has five members, all local to the communities that they serve. The members act as the custodians of the constitution and have a number of powers. These include changing the Articles of Association, appointing Trustees, appointing the auditors and receiving the annual accounts.

Ayo Ajanaku

An academy governor and medical doctor practicing in Birmingham. Ayo is a university health researcher and Academic Clinical Fellow specialising in cardiovascular disease.

Ninder Johal

A founding trustee and CEO of his own international media and events production company. Ninder is former president of the Black Country chamber of commerce and sits on the board of the University of Wolverhampton and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

Gurinder Singh Josan CBE

Currently Chair of the Trust Board (see below). Gurinder provides an important link between Members and the work of the Board.

Amber Marshall

A parent councillor at the sponsor academy (Victoria Park) and experienced NHS professional. Amber has a law degree and background in counselling as well as running a successful consultancy business.

Noel Dunne

A founding trustee and director of his own company Creative Alliance. Noel has unique experience of working within the creative, cultural, learning and skills and enterprise sectors. Noel is a board member of a theatre company and a fellow of the royal society of arts.


The trust board has full responsibility and control of the multi-academy trust as constituted by its Articles of Association.  In short, all governance flows from the trust board and serves as the clearing house and ultimate decision-making authority on all matters. The trust board is responsible for ensuring that high standards of corporate governance are maintained. It will exercise its powers and functions with a view to fulfilling a largely strategic role in the running of its academies.

Gurinder Singh Josan CBE (Chair)

Gurinder has significant school governance, business and community experience. As well as chair of the trust board, he is the academy council chair at Devonshire Infants and Junior Academies, a governor at a local secondary school and chair at a Sikh faith free school in Leicester. Gurinder has also previously chaired an interim executive board and been a management committee member of a pupil referral unit as well as serving as a former Sandwell elected councillor. His other community interests include non-executive board member of the West Midlands strategic police and crime board (where he is also a member of the audit committee), a member of Sandwell police independent advisory group, a national executive member of Sikh council UK and a director and trustee of ‘Hope not Hate’, an anti-extremism campaign group and educational charity. Gurinder is a director of a long established family business. Gurinder was awarded a CBE in 2018 for services to politics. Gurinder’s skill set includes marketing/branding, managing director, audit, financial, risk, general management, chair, growth/change management and general non-executive skills.

Rob Elkington (Vice Chair)

Rob was former director of Creative Partnerships in Birmingham having previously been head of education partnerships at the Royal Shakespeare Company, responsible for leading a range of partnership programmes with schools, theatres and universities across the country and beyond. Rob is currently the director of Arts Connect for the West Midlands, responsible for the strategic direction and development of arts and culture in the region. For several years he also chaired a secondary academy interim executive board in Birmingham. Rob is a fellow of the royal society of arts (FRSA). Rob’s skill set includes marketing/branding, managing director, general management, chair, growth/change management and general non-executive skills.

Andrew Morrish

Andrew has over 19 years’ experience as a headteacher and is the founder chief executive officer of the trust. Andrew has significant experience of transforming schools, including from special measures to outstanding, and has worked in schools in Liverpool, London and the West Midlands. Andrew holds a first class B.Ed (Hons) degree as well as a Masters in educational leadership, both at the University of Liverpool. He is a registered lecturer at the University of Birmingham, a national leader of education (NLE), former Ofsted inspector, and sits on a number of boards. Andrew is a fellow of the royal society of arts (FRSA) and member of the institute of directors (MIoD). He is author of The Art of Standing Out, which among other things, tells the story of the transformation of Victoria Park academy.

Deidre Leeming

Deidre is the link school improvement trustee and brings over forty years’ experience as a teacher and education and leadership expert. Deidre served as a successful headteacher in Birmingham for a number of years before becoming a school improvement adviser in a West Midlands local authority. During this time she served as the school improvement partner for Victoria Park primary school (post-conversion) and played a key role in its rapid transformation from special measures to outstanding. More recently she has worked as a freelance leadership consultant supporting a number of schools, academies and local authorities. Deidre is currently chair of the board of a single academy trust in Birmingham. Deidre’s skill set includes educational leadership, general management, chair, growth/change management and general non-executive skills.

Luke Hill

Luke is head of commercialism at the University of Wolverhampton. Previously a property developer, Luke has 25 years’ strategic investment experience in the region. He is currently a member of several strategic advisory committees with a focus on educational and cultural sectors. Luke is also a member of a number of investment funds and initiatives aimed at stimulating start-up, growth and entrepreneurship in the Black Country and was a member of the project board for several new university technical colleges and free schools. Luke’s skill set includes property/estate management, marketing/branding, audit, risk, general management, corporate governance, entrepreneur/founder, growth/change management and general non-executive skills.

Shafiq Sharif

Shafiq is a chartered marketing and category management professional with over 25 years in commerce and industry and has also served as an executive board member on an industry trade association. Shafiq has been an award-winning parent governor and chair of governors at a primary school in Birmingham for 16 years where he was instrumental in its transformation from special measures. He is currently a member of the chartered institute of marketing (MCIM), master fellow member of the institute of sales management (MISM), non-executive director of a multi-academy trust in Coventry and committee chair and volunteer of the UKIM iCare interfaith food aid hubs in Birmingham. Shafiq’s skill set includes; marketing/branding, supply chain/procurement, general management, growth/change management and general non-executive skills.

Prem Gabbi

Prem is a strategic finance business partner and is currently finance director and board member of National Grid Property, having previously been their UK Controller. Prem is a Big 4 trained qualified accountant with over twenty years’ experience in a blue chip organisation. Prem is an associate member of the institute of chartered accountants, a charity trustee and financial adviser to the North Smethwick Development Trust. Prem is the chair of of the trust board’s finance, audit and risk committee. Prem’s skill set includes finance, risk, tax, audit, internal controls, corporate governance, compliance and strategy.

Sharon Mahli

Sharon is head of learning and organisational development at Rethink Mental Illness and has deputised for the CEO, bringing opportunity to garner significant board level experience. Sharon has a strong interest and passion for diversity at all levels. She was previously acting associate director of human resources and learning with her organisation, having also held the role of HR business partner, both at Rethink and Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust. She was also HR manager at Walsall Hospitals NHS trust. Sharon’s skill set includes HR, CEO, change and growth management, strategy, risk, corporate governance and compliance.

Baljinder Kang

Bal is currently executive director of human resources and learning at Midland Heart, a housing association based in the Midlands. She has significant senior strategic HR experience, with particular strengths in developing and delivering people strategies through high-performing teams, organisational design and development, reward and benefits, talent management, complex ER issues, engagement and wellbeing, learning strategy and delivery, payroll, pensions and resourcing. Bal is now a partner in the company and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Bal’s skill set includes HR, legal, compliance, risk, strategy, finance and change management.

Company Secretary

Roland Roberts is our company secretary and expert head of governance. Roland is also responsible for clerking each of the academy council meetings and to advise on all matters of local governance, ensuring consistency and compliance across the trust. Roland is an experienced paralegal with specialisms in company secretarial and governance work in the private and public sectors. Roland is a national leader of governance and currently chairs the governors’ association of a local authority. In his NLG role he advises schools, academies and multi-academy trusts on all matters pertaining to governance and is an acclaimed speaker and chair at national governance conferences. Roland is currently chair of a local academy trust as well as scout group. He is also a member of the institute of directors, paralegals and the chartered institute of company secretaries and administrators. Roland is a co-founding ​partner of a​​ ​general​ ​legal​ ​advisory firm ​specialising​ ​in​ ​business ​ownership, including mergers, acquisitions and sales.

In addition to sitting on at least one committee, each trustee assumes responsibility as a link trustee for each of the local academy councils. This requires them to attend at least one academy council meeting per year and to act as the conduit between the board and academy in order to ensure flow of communication.