Members and Trustees


The members of the trust ensure that its activities are properly directed to achieving its objectives and are responsible for its constitution and for appointing the Board of Trustees.

 Marian Simmons


Marian’s background is in educational leadership and development. She has worked as an Ofsted Registered Inspector, inspecting schools across all phases; she was an Assistant Director for Education in Manchester and then Head of Education and Skills with Redcar and Cleveland.

Currently Marian is Director of Independent Coaching and Consultancy, working on school improvement and leadership development with headteachers and schools in the North-West.



Oldham Hulme Grammar School, Corporate Member


Represented by Rebecca Knott

Rebecca is Head of Juniors at Oldham Hulme Grammar School. Prior to her appointment as Head of Juniors, she was the Director of Studies for the Prep school. Rebecca has also worked for EdExcel in a variety of ways as part of the Test Development Team developing Maths SATs tests and has supported research in the teaching and assessment of Maths run by Exeter University and Manchester University.



Raz Mohammed


Raz has extensive experience of successfully working in some of the most challenging wards and towns in England including Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Batley, Huddersfield, Blackburn and Oldham. More recently Raz has held various roles at Mahdlo (Oldham) Youth Zone and has recently returned from Blackburn Youth Zone as the interim CEO.

During Raz’s time in Oldham he has developed a new hub and bespoke service. Along the way his organisations were highly commended for Partnership Working and reducing anti-social behaviour by Greater Manchester Police. Raz represents the voice of young people and the voluntary sector on the Social Mobility Opportunity Area board for Oldham, The Arts, Culture and Mental Health Evaluation steering group and various other health and community forums and partnerships across Oldham and Greater Manchester.



Des Hewitt


Des is Head of Primary and Early Years Teacher Education at the University of Warwick. He has been involved in advising UK government organisations in developing English and reading for University ITT providers. He also has also lead Universities in developing practice in special education needs and disability.

Working with schools and the Teacher Education sector in Tanzania, has been a focus for Des in recent years. Collaborative projects with researchers and educators in Finland, Germany, India and Hungary have also provided the opportunity to share ideas about teacher education, partnership development and research skills, internationally. Des supports emerging researchers through the European Educational Research Association.







The Trustees are responsible for conducting the affairs of the Trust to achieve its objective.

Anne Weinstock, Chair of Trustees


Anne’s background is in the voluntary sector. She was Chief Executive of Rathbone CI, a charity responsible for the training of disadvantaged young people. She was latterly a Director in the Department for Education where she established Millennium Volunteers, The Connexions Service and headed up the Youth Task Force. She was awarded the CBE in 1994 for services to the training of disadvantaged young people.



Kit Thorne, Vice Chair


Kit has been a professional educator for over 40 years. His roles have comprised those of teacher in secondary and primary; adviser and Ofsted inspector in both phases; school improvement manager and strategic lead for continuing professional development (CPD) in schools and academies.



Graham McGuffie


Graham is an Independent Consultant. He has worked in education for over 40 years and in Oldham for 30 years as a senior leader in a secondary school and subsequently as a school adviser, trainer and governor.

He brings with him experience of working closely with the higher education sector, education advisers in neighbouring authorities and teacher networks.

He is a qualified School Improvement Partner.



Sajen Bakht


Sajen is a Civil Servant and a resident in Oldham: he works in HMRC and is currently working to the Crown Commercial Services (Cabinet Office) on loan as a Senior Manager.

His children attend Greenhill Academy, and he was Chair of the Local Governing Body prior to conversion.

He brings valuable financial expertise to the Board.



Norman Hole


Norman worked 36 years for the Department for Education, latterly as Assistant Director leading on all aspects of the Academies programme in the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Region working closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner to deliver the government's policy for achieving sustained improvement in the region's schools.

Prior to that he was Assistant Director working on the development of the government's 10 Year National Youth Strategy "Aiming High" and leading the implementation and delivery of a number of cross-government and departmental youth programmes.



Olwyn Smythe


Olwyn joined Yorkshire bank at the age of 19 whilst still deciding on a career and almost 40 years later is still in banking. Currently she works for HSBC looking after around 600 Premier clients with their banking, mainly their financial planning needs, pensions, investments and ensuring they do not pay unnecessary tax.

Olwyn has welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the Trust as her daughter, Charlotte, is a teacher at Richmond Academy and has spoken of her passion for her career and the academy.



Ian Robinson


A Chartered Mechanical Engineer with over fifteen years’ experience in the rail industry. Ian is currently employed as Chief Engineer, UK Sevices for Bombardier Transportation. Ian has a range of professional experience including; project delivery, safety management, due diligence, TUPE transfer and auditing.

Ian is the parent of a pupil at Carlyle who has special educational needs and has a keen interest in the needs of SEN pupils within the school and the wider city of Derby. Ian joined the Harmony Trust Derby Hub Board in June 2019 and has been involved in the development of a Derby Hub Dashboard, Pupil, Staff and Parent forums and engaging with local councillors on SEN funding for Derby schools.



Emma Farmer


Emma is the Director of Business Strategy for the Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust. Emma began her employment with Tinsley Junior School in September 2011. Prior to this she worked as Head of Unplanned Care within Doncaster Primary Care Trust; overseeing the commissioning, procurement and performance management of key NHS services.

Having spanned 15 years in the public sector, Emma has valuable HR, leadership, strategic finance and business skills. She is also a recognised SLE (Specialist Leader in Education) providing system leadership and consultancy across a number of schools.



Sian Hopwood


With a background in Technology, Sian has worked as a member of the Senior Executive Team of a Global Supply Chain and Execution software company for some 17 years, previously having worked in the Healthcare sector. In Sian’s current role she is responsible for the operations of a number of Business Units across multiple continents within the larger company, in ensuring that the company deliver to its customers in an efficient and cost-effective manner, given the challenges of the Worlds Supply Chain today. Sitting as a member of the Executive Leadership team, Sian works with her peers to develop and implement strategy across the business.

Sian has been involved in a number of initiatives at the business, including that of Diversity & Inclusion, and the Women’s Network, both of which ensure the fostering of an inclusive and diverse work environment across the globe in order to develop and value team members of all backgrounds and experiences. Sian is passionate about the younger generation, and in ensuring that each child is given the opportunity to be their best self.






Governance Professional Support

 Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne Thompson, Suzanne supports the efficient functioning of the board by providing:
  • guidance to ensure the board works in compliance with the appropriate legal and regulatory framework,  
  • advice on procedural matters relating to the operation of the board, and
  • administrative and organisational support.