Castleford Academy Trust

Members & Trustees

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The Trustees are responsible for the strategic direction of the Academy Trust. They set the vision for the trust, development plans, general policy and the budget. The Trustees monitor performance in education, compliance and finance. They make major decisions about the direction of the Academy Trust, capital expenditure and senior staff appointments. The Board of Trustees holds each governing body of academies within the Trust to account.


The role of members in the running of the trust is one of oversight.The members are responsible for monitoring the performance of the board of trustees and to ensure that the charitable object is being fulfilled.

List of Members and Trustees

Adam Fletcher – Member & Trustee (Chair of Trustees)

With an extensive, successful career in the Law Sector, Adam’s knowledge and expertise affords the Castleford Academy Governing board a vast and unparalleled range of challenge and judgement.

Adam qualified as a Solicitor in 2003, having trained with Hartley & Worstenholme at the Castleford and Pontefract offices. Specialising in Property and Practice Management, Adam is currently the Managing Director of Ridley & Hall Legal Limited, a multi award winning law firm based in Huddersfield.

Adam is also a Trustee of Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), a charitable trust which manages 13 leisure facilities and swimming pools on behalf of Kirklees council. Further to this, Adam created Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance (KDAA) in 2014 and was honoured to be appointed Chair. Adam is invited to speak at various events about the promotion of the Alliance, to raise awareness of those living with dementia and also, to establish a greater understanding of the efforts undertaken by their carers.

Adam has also become a keen supporter of Huddersfield University, specifically the Law Department and Law Clinic, and has been invited to assist with regular training sessions for the students and the Law Clinic concerning client care and practice management.

Adam became a Community Governor at Castleford Academy in July 2015 and was then appointed as Trustee of Castleford Academy Trust in January 2016.

If you wish to contact Mr Fletcher, please direct mail to:

c/o Castleford Academy,
Ferrybridge Road,
WF10 4JQ,
United Kingdom,

John Hughes – Member and Trustee (Chair of Members)

John is the founding member and, currently, a Member and Trustee for Castleford Academy Trust. John is also a governor for both Castleford Academy and Castleford Park Junior Academy Governing Bodies. Outside of school governance, John is Vice Chair of the local Labour party ward and Delegate to the Labour constituency party and district Labour party. John’s vast experience on local governing boards, coupled with his lengthy career within the Trade Union Sector, afford John substantial awareness which provides instruction and challenge to the Castleford Academy governing board.

John has been a school governor since 1990, beginning as a parent governor when his children attended the school, to the present day where John is now a community governor. John has acquired an abundance of skills through his first-hand experience during this time and has witnessed both exam results and pupil progress improve at Castleford Academy.

John retired in April 2016, following a notable career where John spent 37 years as a Trade Union Representative and 12 years as a full-time HR Specialist Trade Union Official for Unison (representing members in schools and children’s services). Other duties John carried out during his career include performing restructures in schools, TUPE transfers of staff and individual cases of disciplinary action and grievances, along with school mergers. In his role, John was able to observe how schools and services evolved over the years and used this information to construct lessons for his own schools,

To remain updated, John attends numerous training courses each year and reads information distributed by DfE, NGA and other governor websites.

John has been a delegate to Wakefield District School Forum for the past 13 years, initially from his union, Unison, and more recently as an Academy School Governor. John has found this role useful for sharing best practice across the district and ensuring that the Castleford Academy Trust are adhering to this guidance.

Angela Pool – Member​

I am educated to degree-level, with a Bachelor of Science degree. Upon receiving my degree, I proceeded to gain 20 years of marketing experience within Retail and Financial industries.

Currently, I work with a Global Bank with a turnover of £11 million in which I lead a team who deploy a variety of projects across Marketing Channels (both digital, print and point of sale). The role constitutes a combination of leadership, innovation, problem-solving, relationship-building, Human Resources and financial acumen. Another key aspect of my role involves mentoring and leading training sessions and educational days for Clients.

Gary Hetherington – Member

Gary is the Chief Executive Officer at Leeds Rhinos Rugby Club and a former rugby league footballer and coach. In 1996, Gary joined Paul Caddick to take over the ailing Leeds CF&A Co Ltd, owners and operators of Headingley Stadium and Leeds Rugby League Club. Under Gary’s leadership, the Rhinos turned from perennial underachievers to World Champions in less than ten years and won their first Championship for 32 years in 2004. He has promoted a policy of nurturing local talent that has seen the Rhinos become the envy of world rugby league with a squad of young, talented British players, the majority of which are play for their home town club.

Off the field, Gary has been the driving force behind Leeds Rugby’s ground breaking partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. The partnership was strengthened further when Leeds Met took control of the Tykes and renamed the club Leeds Carnegie for their return to the Premiership in 2007. In 1989, Gary was awarded the Rugby League Writers Association Order of Merit for his outstanding contribution to the sport and in 2004 had the honour of being President of the Rugby Football League. Gary is passionate about supporting the local community and ensuring children have the best start in life with the very best education. 

Kathryn Stainburn – Member

Kathryn has a long history of community engagement. Her paid employment saw her working for the probation service, a trade union, local government and in parliament. All these roles were public facing; supporting and encouraging individuals and helping to build stronger communities.

She has previously served as a school governor in several local schools. Kathryn was instrumental in setting up Trinity Mission Foodbank at her local Methodist church in Castleford, where one of her current roles is Safeguarding Officer. As Secretary to the Friends of Castleford Valley Gardens, Kathryn has worked with others to bring life back to this much-loved local park. Her role as Vice Chair of WDH Communities Together Forum, sees her actively involved in encouraging community groups to develop and become sustainable. She has organised several Corporate Social Responsibility events in the area and is a member of Castleford Civic Trust where she is working on delivering the first blue plaque in Castleford for a woman.

John Iveson – Trustee

With primary experience in the Emergency Service Sector, and a specific focus on health and safety, John brings a plethora of established challenge and guidance to the Castleford Academy governing board.

John has been a Trustee at Castleford Multi Academy Trust since April 2016, following fifteen years as a governor at Three Lane Ends Academy, of which eight years were spent as Chair of Governors. During that time, John was part of the Standards Committee, Health & Safety Committee and Finance & Personal Committee. As Chair of Governors, John was profoundly involved in the conversion of Three Lane Ends becoming an Academy.

John has had a long and successful career in the Emergency Service Sector, beginning as a firefighter, before becoming a Crew Commander with West Yorkshire Fire Service. John was also the Brigade Organiser for the Fire Brigade Union in West Yorkshire. During this time, John was responsible for the health and safety of his team which comprised involvement in numerous grievances, disciplinary action and the development of HR policies. John retired from this position in 2016. Both of these roles afforded John the opportunity to manage an assortment of challenges, awarding him a specialised skillset which he brings to the role of Trustee. As a father of two sons, John has a keen interest in the standard of education offered to future generations, and not just academically, with the teaching of life and social skills being equally important before students take their next steps into the adult world.

Marie Hunter​​: NPQH; NLE – Trustee

With broad and comprehensive experience in the Education sector, both in a teaching and leadership capacity, Marie’s accomplishments and understanding provide inestimable benefit and service to the Castleford Academy Trust.

Marie started her career as an English teacher but enjoyed wider experiences as Coordinator of SEND, Careers and as a Pastoral leader, before becoming Co-Headteacher of Wakefield City High School.

In March 2013, Marie co-led Wakefield City Academy through its third consecutive ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted Inspection (Grade 1 in all categories). Following this, Marie gained accreditations as a National Leader of Education.

As part of her NLE work, Marie coordinated and brokered support from external providers for 9 primary schools and 7 secondary schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Working with their school improvement team and a primary consultant, Marie monitored the action plans and the work of the support teams against specific budgets, timescales and outcome targets.

Upon conversion to an Academy, and formation of a Trust, Marie continued to co-lead the Academy but also became a Senior Director of the Trust, seconded to work two days each week mentoring new head teachers, and working with secondary school head teachers and leadership teams to improve education and raise standards within a positive and caring ethos.

In addition to this, Marie was formerly a facilitator for NPQSL and NPQML, organising and delivering inset and training courses. Marie also led training and hosted events for the SSAT, Whole Education and The National Leading Edge Partnership, as well as presenting at local and national conferences for these organisations. As a Leading Edge Coordinator, Marie led a team, working with two local secondary schools and two from Country Durham to organise joined CPD, training and immersion visits to share best practice.

Marie is also a trained Pupil Premium Reviewer.

Marie was also the Co-Chair of the Wakefield Learning Community; a collaborative group providing CPD, network meetings and school improvement conferences for the Wakefield District. Although retired, Marie still retains a passion for education, believing that all students should receive the best education possible and feels privileged to be part of the Castleford Academy Trust.

John Morrison – Trustee

John is a strong believer in the need for increasing investment in, and the support of, educational environments that seek to maximise the motivation, aspiration, attainment, and life chances of local children, having previously been a School Governor at St Wilfrid’s High School and Sixth Form College and prior to this, The Sacred Heart School, Hemsworth, where John was a Governor for eighteen years, with the role of Chair for eight years.

John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA) and a Chartered  Global Management Accountant (CGMA). In addition, John has a Honours Degree in Financial Management and a Masters Degree in Finance.

John was the Resources Director at WDH (Wakefield District Housing), having held responsibilities for Treasury, Finance, Accounting, Legal, Procurement, Business Strategy and Performance, Risk Management and Information Technology  Additionally, John was also a Director of Bridges Homes (Yorkshire) LLP, a joint venture with Wakefield Council.

Prior to John’s Twelve years working in the Housing Sector with WDH, John held the posts of Finance Director, Company Secretary and Pension Trustee in the  Mining, Engineering, Civil Construction and Insurance sectors. Having held senior posts in both the private and public sectors for some Forty years, John has a wealth of knowledge and experience of Financial and Strategic Planning, Financial Management and Control; Risk Analysis and Mitigation; and Corporate Governance, Quality Management and Social Responsibility Accounting.

John is also a Director and Treasurer of Castleford Heritage Trust and has additional significant experience in the voluntary sector as a former Independent Member of Wakefield Council’s Audit Committee and as President, Director and Treasurer of the local White Rose Credit Union.

Jennifer McNichol: NPQH – Trustee

Link Trustee for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Jennifer’s considerable experience working for Wakefield Local Authority in multiple capacities affords the Castleford Academy Trust a valuable member.

Previously, Jennifer worked for Wakefield Local Authority for almost 40 years as a primary school teacher, Deputy and Headteacher. Primarily working in the Castleford area, Jennifer became Headteacher at Airedale Infants before becoming the Headteacher of Hemsworth Grove Lea Primary school for 10 years until retirement. In her role as Headteacher, Jennifer was involved with many networks for school improvement and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Education Management at the University of Huddersfield.

Following retirement, Jennifer worked as an Executive Head teacher, supporting leadership and management in three Wakefield primary schools. She has served on a variety of governing bodies for 40 years with designated roles for Special Educational Needs and Early Years. Jennifer keeps updated through educational publications and is a life member of the National Association of Head Teachers.

Jennifer volunteers regularly at a local primary school teaching individual and small groups of children to improve their phonics, reading and writing skills, Jennifer also helps with the administration of statutory assessments and assists with many educational visits and finds volunteering very rewarding. As a Trustee, Jennifer sees the benefits the Trust brings to all its member schools and believes that the education and aspirations of its pupils are key to its future success.

Jonathon Hughes – Trustee

Jon Hughes is the Managing Director HARIBO UK & HARIBO Ireland, positions he has held since November 2018.

Jon, has been part of the HARIBO business since 2017 and during this time, he has supported continued year-on-year growth; worked on the strategic introduction of HARIBO’s new sugar reduced products, accelerated the roll out Haribo’s own retail stores as well as continue the development of Haribo’s iconic advertising.

Jon has extensive commercial leadership experience across the consumer goods and healthcare sectors and studied Business and Finance at the University of Luton and Leadership at London Business School.

George Panayiotou – Trustee

George is the CEO of Castleford Academy Trust and the Executive Headteacher at Castleford Academy. George started his teaching career at Castleford Academy in 2003 as a Teacher of PE and has developed and gained a vast amount of leadership experience from there.  George is a National Leader of Education which has seen him support numerous schools nationally on school improvement including pupil premium and school reviews.  George contributes to a number of local and regional working groups, including the West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership group.

George is committed to raising standards and to providing all pupils, staff and trainee teachers with opportunities to excel.  In October 2019, George led Castleford Academy to become the first secondary school in the country to gain an Outstanding Ofsted rating under the newly introduced framework. 

George is experienced in delivering training both locally and nationally including leading and hosting a range of CPD and training for NPQEL and NPQSL. His extensive coaching skills and experience are used to improve teaching, develop leadership, accountability and improve the performance of key members of staff.

Joanne Barton – Trustee

Link Trustee for Safeguarding

Joe has worked in education for the whole of her career holding posts in a number of local authorities.  She has worked five contrasting secondary schools, enjoying a senior position in four of them.  She is a serving CEO for a Trust in Leeds consisting of four primary schools and one secondary with Sixth Form, of which she was both Deputy and Principal for eleven years.

Joe’s degree is in Music, and was the main subject that she taught in secondary schools. She also has a Master’s degree, the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and is committed to continuous professional development for all.

Joe has held both curriculum and pastoral leadership posts.  She has also led on HR and estate development.   She has held governor roles at both primary and secondary levels.  This variety and range of experiences has allowed her to develop the knowledge and skills required for her role as a Trustee.

Joe is passionate about serving the needs of a community through the provision of a first class education for all, both in and beyond the classroom.

Gemma Doyle – Trustee

Gemma has a law degree from Leeds University and went on to train as an accountant at Deloitte, specialising in restructuring and insolvency. 

She has 16 years of commercial and accounting experience specialising in the retail, telecoms and manufacturing sectors. She recently joined Magnet Kitchens as their Finance Director, with roles previously at Communisis and KCOM. 

Her focus has been on ensuring business growth and profitability through investment, increasing sales, efficiencies and continuous improvement. Gemma gained a lot personally and professionally from the dedication of the teaching staff at the various schools she attended and feels it is now important to give back to the local community.