Members and Trustees


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.

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.

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.

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.


An executive director of HR and learning at Midland Heart. Bal brings experience of working with trustees and boards in addition to her considerable knowledge in the HR sector. 

Board of Trustees

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 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.

The board can appoint sub-committees for specific tasks or areas.

The board has currently delegated powers and appointed Trustees to the following sub-committees:

  • Audit, Finance & Risk Committee – Prem Gabbi (Chair), Luke Hill, Alison Young, Gurinder Singh Josan
  • Health & Safety Committee – Shafiq Sharif (Chair), Rob Elkington, Rena Rani
  • Performance Management & Pay – Gurinder Singh Josan, Sharon Mahli, Alison Bruton
  • Standards Committee – Rob Elkington (Chair) , Sharon Mahli, Alison Bruton

Trustees attendance records at board and sub-committee meetings over the last academic year are available in our annual accounts.

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.

Gurinder Singh Josan CBE (Chair)

Gurinder has significant governance, business and community experience. As well as chair of the Trust board, he sits on the Academy Council of Devonshire Infants and Junior Academies and is a governor at a local secondary school. Gurinder has also previously chaired an interim executive board and a Sikh faith Free school in Leicester and been a management committee member of a pupil referral unit as well as serving as a former Sandwell elected councillor. Gurinder is a director of a long-established family business. His other community interests include member of Sandwell police independent advisory group and a director and trustee of ‘Hope not Hate’, an anti-extremism campaign group and educational charity. 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.

Gurinder Singh Josan – Appointed by members on 2 January 2015

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.

 Rob Elkington – Appointed by members on 9 April 2014

Shafiq Sharif

Shafiq is a chartered marketing and category management professional with over 30 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), and has recently been received a ‘Special recognition award for service to the community ‘ by UKIM iCare foodhubs in Birmingham. Shafiq’s skillset includes; marketing/branding, supply chain/procurement, general management, growth/change management and general non-executive skills. He is passionate about education, brighter futures and wellbeing for both children and staff.  

Shafiq Sharif – Appointed by members on 17 October 2017 

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.

Luke Hill – Appointed by members on 10 May 2017

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.

Sharon Mahli – Appointed by members on 7 December 2018

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.

Prem Gabbi – Appointed by members on 14 December 2018


Alison is a recently retired school business leader, having spent 30 years in special education, encompassing assessment nursery facilities through to sixth form and a small residential setting.   Alison has worked at both school governing body and board level, and has experienced many academic changes including converting four local authority schools to form the first Special Academy Trust in Worcestershire.

Alison feels strongly that investment is key to supporting development and progress.  In 2017 she worked with the University of Worcester scrutiny group to create the apprenticeship route to qualified teacher status; enabling many colleagues to benefit from this new opportunity utilising levy funding.  

She is passionate about creating opportunities and positive impact for pupils and staff in support of Victoria Academies Trust’s journey for us all to be the best we can be. Alison’s skillset includes SEND knowledge and experience, school business leadership and management including change, HR, strategic and financial planning, risk, compliance and governance.

Alison Young – Appointed 01 September 2021

Rena Rani

Rena is a senior leaders and consultant within the further education sector. She has over 15 years’ experience in General Further Education & Sixth Form, having expert knowledge of curriculum planning, AEB funding, 16-19 funding, Ofsted framework, and quality assurance marks.

Rena also bring experience of working with the charity sector, including as chair of a charity board of trustees.

Rena has a passion for ensuring ambition and aspiration for young people.

Rena’s skillset include governance, charity law, strategic planning, change management, data, and business development.

Rena Rani – Appointed by members 1 November 2020

Academy Councils

Academy Councillors

Each school has it’s own Academy Council. More details can be found on the school’s own website.